Review****New 21-inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower (LM2102SP)**** Review

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  • Updated 4 years ago
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4/5 stars

I would have loved to give this new improved mower 5 stars but it is failing in one critical aspect...it is mulching poorly. This is an important feature of the way we care for lawns as mulching provides many positive benefits for a healthier lawn. I can't understand why this mower is not able to mulch as effectively as the previous model. From the first cut on dry grass only cutting off 1/2" - 1" I found the clippings building up on a row on the left side of the mower on the top of the grass. I have re-sharpened the blade to no avail. It seems that the change in the decks underside shape has effected the mulching dynamics.

We have a second SP mower coming this week and I look forward to seeing if it produces the same or better results.

Please let me know if others are having a similar problem or any ideas how this can be corrected.

Now for the good news...this mower looks like it is built to last with it's much heavier duty construction. We look forward to seeing how it stands up to 25-30 hrs/week of operation. The longer lasting battery is great, added height adjustments are nice and the self propelled feature is very helpful. There is no question that this new model is much improved over the last and should provide a longer life of service for our business needs.
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Steve Valdes

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Posted 4 years ago

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Blue Angel, Champion

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Wow Steve, I'm surprised by the mulching issue.  You are probably the first person I've heard with a mulching issue.  We've had more than one report now of people forgetting to remove the mulching plug before heading out to bag their lawn, only to mow for some time and find an empty grass bag.

Hopefully this is an anomaly of some sort!

Keep us up to date with the performance of your first mower as well as how the second mower stacks up.  Really dumb question... was the mulching insert installed?  I know, I know.  I'm just wondering why a strip of grass trimmings would show up along one side of the cutting path?

Either way, thanks for the review!  It's comforting to hear the build appears to be up to your commercial standards.  Hopefully it lasts well for you and your crew.

Also nice to hear that the mower is available in Canada now!  :-)
(Edited)
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DJDDay

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I'm wondering if the fact that the new 21" RPM is noticeably slower than the old 20" has anything to do with the mulching performance?
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DJDDay

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I'm wondering if the fact that the new 21" RPM is noticeably slower than the old 20" has anything to do with the mulching performance?
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Luis Luna

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I also have mulching issues. I was going to take my LM2100SP back but I decided against because of all the other positives I saw in it. I might be swapping out blade for an aftermarket one. This is my first EGO mower so I can't compare the RPM's, but low RPM's can be an issue with poor mulching. .
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Rob

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I haven't researched it personally but it has been mentioned several times that the rpms were lowered on the 21 inch vs. The 20. Yes, that could be why the 20 cuts better....at least on my lawn.
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mowoman

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My new mower also leaves strips of mowed grass to the side of the mower. The mulch isn't as good as I had hoped.
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Steve Valdes

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UPDATE...We have used the 2nd mower this week and found the mulching still to be a problem. Debris collects along the left side of the mower on top of the grass. I have checked that the mulching plug is in properly, sharp blade, and walking speed does not make a difference. I am talking about cutting only 1/2 - 1 " of grass at a time as well.  Maybe it does come down to the slower blade RPM. Seems like a design flaw. I am very disappointed and perplexed.
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DJDDay

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@Steve Valdes: can you please report where you are located in the world (if in the US, which state) and what type of grass you are attempting to cut with the SP 21"?

I'm in Michigan cutting Kentucky Bluegrass and Perennial Rye and I'm not experiencing this issue with the 21" SP, although I did with the standard 21"...
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Jacob

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The rpm for a rotary mower is regulated by some institute. See image.
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SCDC, Champion

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Nice one Jacob!  that's the ASI standard.  They have standards for about everything!  That was an interesting catch!
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Yes, nice catch Jacob!

However, it would seem neither Ego mower is limited by the rules:

20"


21"


Perhaps the limit could be an issue for the 21" mower when it speeds up in heavier grass, but I don't think that would hurt its overall performance?
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Steve Valdes

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I bet the mulching performance would be great if the maximum blade tip speed was closer to the 3454 rpm to achieve the 19,000 ft/min. I would be willing to sacrifice some run time to achieve better mulching results.
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DJDDay

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I would as well, especially seeing as how I own 2 of the 7.5 amp batteries.  Wanted to have a second on hand so when the snow blower drops this fall, I'll be ready to go!  ;)
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Jacob

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This means that Ego was more forced to decrease the rpm for the 21"mower. However, this is a good reason for them to make me a 39" self propelled mower ; ) dual 20" blades, 1" overlap
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David Cline

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Those are both 20" blades, one came on the mower and the other was purchased at Home Depot. I was swapping these out for several months to keep a sharp blade on the mower, but never had them side by side to notice the subtle differences until a few weeks ago.

Both blades performed well, this is just an observation that sometimes there can be little variations in the same part from the same company, and sometimes those differences could possibly impact performance.
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Kid Rock

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Thanks for posting all the info you do. And about the small differences in blades.
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DJDDay

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Thanks David.  Are they the same length though?  I realize they're both for the 20", but it appears as though one is longer than the other - but admittedly - I can't tell if it's parallax from the angle your photo was taken at...
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David Cline

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Same length.
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DJDDay

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Thanks
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Jacob

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Doesn't the self propelled model slow down when it senses that it's overloading the mower motor? So when you hit thick spots, it automatically regulates the speed of the propel motor? If not this needs to be one in future designs as it would be a simple implementation. Kind of like a "smart" switch.
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DJDDay

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Which "propel" motor?  The blade or the wheels?
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Kid Rock

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Jacob, DJ, I've read that the mower will increase power to the blade when experiencing higher loads. Or maybe reducing the speed when it senses lighter loads.

But this is for the blade motor. I haven't read anything about the onboard computer regulating the walking speed of the mower.

But yes for other people, there are two different motors. The blade motor on this mower is a 1000 watt motor and I don't think that the walking motor is or has been advertised.
(Edited)
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Rob

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Why would the self propulsion motor need to be regulated when thick grass is hit?

Only the blade motor needs to Rev up...which it does.

Common sense should tell the operator to slow down when they hear the blade Rev up. That's the way to get a better cut.
(Edited)
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Kid Rock

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I suppose if you're using a self-propelled mower that if the blade motor can't handle the thick grass. As in it's already at maximum power. That's slowing down the walking motor would make sense.

As far as the common sense about the operators slowing down, the OP in this thread is saying that the self propelled design doesn't go slow enough to allow a person to adjust it slower. You're right that would be common sense. And that's what I always do when my mower can't handle thick grass. But I haven't experienced that on this mower yet. And I hope that continues.
(Edited)
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Jacob

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Common sense isn't common my friend. I was just curious.
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Kid Rock

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Steve,

Have you seen this review from WorkshopAddict. A recent review... Apparently on mulching of the 21" Self-Propelled Lawn Mower by Ego.

Maybe there is a difference between your mower and theirs or a difference in the grass? I was trying to see grass being left behind in the video.

https://youtu.be/7nuQ4sWhcyM
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Rob

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I didn't have the problem with the line of grass. What I did notice was that the mower wasn't standing my grass up as it got thicker. I would finish cutting and find that my grass was all matted down and some had started to turn brown from lack of sunlight.

The 20" does a much better job even though it tends to leave individual standing blades all over the place.
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David Cline

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I saw the line of clippings yesterday for the first time. I didn't really have time to mow but saw that it is supposed to rain here every day for the next 10 days and I didn't want to give the grass a head start.

Since I was short on time and wasn't taking much height off I cranked the SP speed up to about 75%. No uncut blades, but when I looked back I could see clusters of poorly mulched grass grouped around every other stripe.

I've never seen this at my usual 50% SP speed, so at least for me it seems that it only happens over around 3mph. Keep it down to 2.5mph and it should be fine.
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DJDDay

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**UPDATE**

I finally got my 21" SP. unlike the standard 21", I didn't get any unmulched lines with the SP. I was cutting a fairly thick spring Michigan lawn at about 50% speed.

I'm very happy with the SP's performance so far!!!
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Dave .

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I have the SP model as well. It doesn't really mulch.  It cuts the grass and leaves the full length of the clippings.  it doesn't recut like my Honda does, into tiny clippings.  The Honda has two blades, which may be the key to superior mulching performance as well as more brute power and RPM.
(Edited)
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Rob

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No, you don't need two blades for good mulching. You do need a blade with good lift to stand the grass up for cutting and a good blade/mower well design to allow the grass to keep circulating so it's cut up fine.
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DJDDay

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I think it would help a great deal if people would report what states or areas of the country/world they are in when reporting cutting results.  Clearly Michigan grass differs from Georgia, North and South Carolina grass.

These reports may help EGO dealing with Q&A performance.
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Dave .

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blue grass/rye in Bay Area.   It's called "Prestige" at the local grass farm in Morgan Hill.
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Dave .

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Rob are you saying that Honda's second blade has little effect on mulching performance?  My personal opinion is it mulches grass down to incredibly small pieces.  My Ego SP just cuts each blade of grass once.
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SCDC, Champion

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There are some great aftermarket mulching blades. When I had my Honda, the dual blades mulched my grass in to small chicklett sized pieces. It was the best mulching mower I've ever owned.
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Steve Valdes

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I checked again yesterday if walking speed is a factor in mulching performance and I found that it doesn't seem to be. It still mulches poorly no matter how slow I go. What I have found is that the blades of grass do not get re-cut (mulched) into micro clippings. They basically stay at the size of the cut portion of the grass blade. ie.1/2', 1" etc. What I found with the 20" model was the ability of the mower to actually mulch the cut blades into micro clippings (1/4-1/2") that did not sit on the top of the grass in rows like they do now with the 21".
I think the lower blade RPMs on the 21"is probably the cause of this unfortunate problem. Also note that the mower blade is always kept sharpened and the mulching plug is inserted properly.

It would be nice if someone at EGO would respond to my ongoing concerns about the mulching problems but they have been silent. Is a fix possible? How about that other blade that is available in Europe? If that allows the grass blades to be lifted more effectively to be re-cut that might be the solution to the mulching problem.

Other than the mulching deficiency; this mower has lots of improvements over the 20" model that make it superior.
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Steve Valdes

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I would like to add that poor mulching is most evident on thick lush turf which I am proud to say is from our organic lawn care methods. Also this with with weekly cutting so we are not talking about over grown grass. The poor mulching performance is cramping our effectiveness and style..
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Rob

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Be sure that bright sun isn't it going supernova..lol
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Chris Deiter

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Please let us know how the generic blade idea works out.
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SCDC, Champion

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Will do Chris.  It's pouring outside right now, the next clear day will be Sunday.  I'll go out and see whats available.

Rob, that is exactly what I'm scared of.  I'll be wearing a bullet proof vest, and bomb squad outfit when I fire up the mower with a generic blade on it.  

If you see the Northern lights coming from South Carolina, you know what happened.
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Rob

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Oh, you're in SC?
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Steve Valdes

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When it comes to over grown grass (6"+) that has been trampled down I don't think any mower can lift up the flattened grass to cut it. That's what you need the EGO blower for silly. Cut it, blow it, cut it again. If mulching...blow away the clippings. :-))
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Jennifer VandeWater, Community Manager

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Just wanted to chime in here for a moment to relay information to those who may not have read all of our threads on the different availability of accessories in North America vs. Europe as well as the mulching concerns.  

First, we are looking into bringing the accessories that are Europe-only to North America. Your views and desires have been heard loud and clear.  We closed the topic because we don't have an update, for now, and it's not really productive to just say "we want it" 100 times.  We know you want it. :) It's not as simple as just shipping a box over and handing them out. We hope you can understand that setting up anything in North America takes time (regardless of our retailer of choice).

Second, we're sorry to see some of the mulching challenges you are experiencing Steve. Our 21" mower has been reviewed by quite a few third parties (Consumer Reports, Pro Tool Reviews, etc.) and we know you all look at their reviews. This mulching challenge is certainly news to us.  We're keeping a close eye on this but for now, no changes are being made.  There haven't been any running changes to the mower either so there's not a next generation of this mower vs a 21" mower that came out a few months ago.

Steve, we're going to contact you offline to try and figure out if there is anything else we can do to help ease your issues.
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SCDC, Champion

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Rob,

This is tough for me, but I'm giving EGO the benefit of the doubt.  There are a ton of variables when cutting a lawn.  I'm sure your neighbors grass is different than yours.  Lawns always look better from across the road.

I can't wait to see what a different blade does.  A higher lift blade might serve two purposes.  The mower will sense a bit more resistance and might kick up the RPM's a little, I don't know.  While it will shorten the battery life, it should in theory provide one hell of a cut!

I wouldn't be so harsh on EGO at this point.  Maybe it is just a few of us having some issues.  Whatever it is, it'll get resolved.  Believe me, they know about it and are not sitting idle.

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Rob

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OK champ
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SCDC, Champion

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Rob,

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Cece Clark

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Jennifer,
Could you help me understand -before I buy- if I could order a high lift blade and have it shipped from Europe until such time as a retailer or warehouse space could be found?
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Jennifer VandeWater, Community Manager

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Cece, you can certainly try to order the blades but I don't think they are shipping to the US from the dealers in Europe.  Please let us know if you are successful.
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Steve Valdes

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Now having heard someone saying that the 21" non SP mower mulches better than the SP version I think I will get one this weekend and give it a try and let y'all know what I find out.

BTW...I paid just over $1000 cdn for the SP mower to have shipped (included $60 shipping costs...no free shipping here) from HD Canada to my home. That's a lot of $$ for a non-mulching mower eh!
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Steve Valdes

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I like to go forward with the mower as much as I can...where ever it takes me . Backward only when I am heading home. Tomorrow I will mow backwards allday and let you know how it mulches.beep beep beep
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Careful... people might think you're nuts if you do their entire property backwards!!! :-)
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David Cline

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Backwards mulching is DEFINITELY worse with a single pass. This last pass was pulling back rather than pivoting the mower around:



I'd sure cut moving forward wherever possible!
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Kid Rock

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It would be cool if everybody who had or experienced a mulching issue, would post their picture. Otherwise it's a bit subjective.

Thanks David.
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Rob

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Here is an area I failed to mow over again on this past Monday. The clippings have turned brown.
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Terry Nelms

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Just used my 21" SP for the first time today going from a Honda 21" with the micro cut twin blades.  The Ego is impressive!  The grass in my back yard is very thick and many times would bog down, though never kill, the Honda.  The Ego went through it without slowing at all.  I will have to agree with Steve, the mulching is not quite as good as the Honda (blades are left longer) but it actually seems to cut better.  The Honda has always taken 2 passes to get all the grass completey mulched and the Ego is the same.  After the initial cut and a 2nd pass though, the yard looks just as good with the Ego as it ever has with the Honda.  I'm very happy with it so far.  Also used the 15" trimmer for the first time and it's definitely my favorite.  Goodbye gas trimmer!!  So, for me at least, while the mulching is a little lacking it's definitely not a show stopper.  I'm sure Ego will eventualy come out with a better blade design or some way to improve it.  If not, I get a little extra exercise making the 2nd pass :-)  At least the battery was still good after cutting the front with one pass and 2 passes in the back.  
(Edited)
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Kid Rock

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My experience... Just for the record ( not saying there isn't room for improvement with other people's grass and mowers)...

I used my 21 SP for the first time in mulch mode. I would say my grass is fairly average in thickness compared to all my neighbors on my street. I found no problem with the mulching.

The details...

I did look at the grass clippings after mode and saw very small bits with a mixture of longer blades. I suppose in some areas the small bits would probably fall through and the longer blades might sit on top. But the longer blades were only about a half inch long. My boys were cutting about one-and-a-half to two inches of grass off the top.

So...
I'm in the Sacramento Valley of California and I wish I could tell you what kind of grass I had ( but the blades of grass are definitely NOT wide). So West Coast Valley in California, and average thickness lawn of unknown type.)
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Dave .

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My yards aren't huge, so I'm simply going to use the clippings bag instead of the mulching insert, as in my experience, the Ego SP doesn't mulch.  It just cuts off the grass and leaves that full length of grass on the lawn.  ie, I see no recutting going on.  My Honda Harmony with twin blades was a superb mulcher.  After more than 12 years of use, I just sold it for $200!
(Edited)
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Gerry Litvin

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I just gave my lawn it's second cutting with my new Ego 21" Non-SP.  It's first cut was 4 days ago in mulching mode on level 3 (2.5") and I did notice it left a line of clippings behind the left wheel. Today I tried level 4 (3") only cutting off about 1". So I barely noticed any clippings this time along with better performance. I do still wish it had better suction, mulching and grass lifting ability so my mind is still not made up yet whether or not I will be keeping or returning this mower. I also decided to keep on cutting my lawn for a second time just to see how long the battery would go for. It lasted an amazing 1 hour and 15 minutes before it quite on me. I don't expect to get that result again as I don't usually cut after only 4 days. After cutting I went over to HD with my sales slip to see about getting the free extra 56V 2.0 ah battery since I bought it only 3 days before the sale started. They had no problem working it out for me and I got the extra battery for free in case I need it.
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Troutboy

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Just received my 21 SP Ego yesterday and tried it for the first time. I'm in Denver, this time of year the grass (fescue) is very thick. All in all it did okay in mulch mode. Left some lines, but not too bad. Used level 3 depth. It does not create small mulch blades, they are very long, and although only a few lines on left side of mower, it leaves the large blades laying on top of the grass. They don't seem to fall into the grass.


I replaced an old HONDA gas, quadra cut HRX217, that did two things better. 1 created very fine clippings, small, and had superior lift. We have straw, small twigs, and fine wood mulch that get into the grass. The old mower would lift these up and mulch or bag them. NOTE: the HONDA would also leave a line behind, especially when taller and wet.


The Ego will not lift any of these off the grass, this is a little annoying. However, it performed well enough, I like the feel, quietness, and no more gas, so I plan to stick with it. It is a very nice machine, well built. It would be great if a better mulching blade could be designed that provided more lift.....
(Edited)
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Gerry Litvin

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   I just gave my lawn its 3rd cutting with my new EGO 21" Non-SP. This time after 5 days of growth instead of 4. It is being used in mulching mode and I had it set to level 4 (3"). The trail of clippings along the left side wheel was definitely quite noticeable once again. I had to cut it twice to get a decent looking cut. I love this mower except for this mulching flaw and lack of suction to lift grass or embedded leaves up. Based on the poor mulching performance with cutting grass, I am now quite fearful of what the performance will be like in the fall when It will need to mulch growing grass along with a yard covered in leaves, Unless EGO comes up with an answer and fix for this soon, it will probably be a deal breaker and back to HD for a new Honda (dreaded) gas mower for me.
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Rob

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I've owned the 20" a couple years now. The 21" sp didn't work for me because of what your mentioned...no lift. It just matted my grass down.

Anyhow, when it comes to Fall don't depend on the mower to actually pick up any serious amount of leaves. It will leave half of what's there if not more.
(Edited)
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Steve Valdes

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I was mowing a lawn at a customers place yesterday having to bag the clippings because of the poor mulching ability. I look next door and the neighbour is mowing his lawn in mulch mode and he is using an ECHO 58V. It was mulching great which really pissed me off. Last year when the ECHO came out I was happily using the old 20" EGO and didn't think anything of the new 21" ECHO 58V. Since mulching is such an important factor in our mowing practice and the 21" EGO now SUCKS in this department and there doesn't seem to be a solution around the corner...maybe it's time to look at testing the ECHO 58V. I hate to have said that because I have been a committed EGO user for 3 years now. 

I have a lot invested in the EGO brand...3x 20" Mowers (2 now in poor shape from wear & tear),
2x 21" SP Mowers, 2 old blowers, 2 new blowers (great improvement), 1 - 15" line trimmer (not using-not as good as our Core Outdoor Power trimmer- except they seem to be out of business...so let's say it's a back up or will be returned) & 1 new hedge trimmer (like very much after first day of use). We also have a lot of batteries... 4x 4ah, 5x 2a/h, 2x 2.5a/h & 2x 7.5 ah.

What to do?
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Steve, I'm not sure if you've seen this video or not, but as a commercial user who often recharges batteries immediately after use this may be of interest to you:

https://youtu.be/8jPgrPtGH7o

In repeated use the Echo batteries take forever to charge as they simply don't manage heat. And while this is only just my personal suspicion, I question the long term durability of a design that operates the batteries constantly at high temperatures.

Food for thought... I have the 20" mower so I'm of little use. :-)
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Rob

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Wow, you've got yourself quite a situation there. In my opinion, competition is always good. If Ego isn't working for you and your business then as a businessman I know you know that you should make the move....at least on the mower front.

I purchased the Ego 15" trimmer not long after it came out and had to return it because it didn't work for me and picked up the Worx 56v trimmer...had great manners and all the power I needed.

I also picked up the Ego 21"sp mower as well....as you can see, it doesn't mulch well. Not even as well as the 20" Ego that I am currently using. I had not given Echo a second though but maybe it's worth looking into.
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Rob

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By all means, do your research. I was one of the first ones here to get the 21" sp in hand and even wrote a glowing review of it. As I mentioned in that review, I would need to see what it did once my grass began actively growing. Wasn't great at that point.
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Jennifer VandeWater, Community Manager

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Steve, I've sent you an email privately to try and figure out a good resolution for you.  Please reply at your convenience.  We want to help get you back out as a happy EGO family member and take pride in your investment with us.  We know you're frustrated and we want to help.
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Rob

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Odd, I've never gotten anything like that.
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Terry Nelms

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Second time out with my 21" SP today and I have to say I'm much happier this time.  I raised the mower to the correct height for my grass type (tall fescue, set to level 3) this time and after cutting the front and the even thicker back there were no decernable clippings at all.  We had a hail storm here earlier this week and I have leaves all over the back yard.  While it did not completely mulch the leaves I didn't really expect it to.  Green, damp, small apple tree leaves are pretty tough and never mulched well with the Honda either.  I did not try using the bag to pick them up.  It mulched well enough that they will disappear in a few weeks when they dry out and get cut a couple more times.  I'm a happy camper now, definitely a keeper.

On a side note, I also received the 530CFM blower + free battery yesterday.  It is awesome!!  It is so much better than the 40v Ryobi blower.  There is really no comparison between the 2 as far as I'm concerned.  Love the speed control personally, much better than variable speed trigger to me.  Turbo mode is a beast!
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Blue Angel, Champion

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I'm with you - Turboooooooo! :-)

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