This article is going to look at the cordless electric Lawn and & Garden tools systems available for 2018.
Cordless-electric outdoor power equipment has evolved to the point where it is a good choice over gas-powered yard tools. In fact cordless electric yard tools now outsell the gas equivalents. It’s now time to take a serious look at what’s available and what is the best for you. I see hundreds of articles expounding the virtues of this cordless mower and that cordless string trimmer or blower but almost no reviews that include the complete line of tools each brand’s battery covers.
It doesn’t make a lot of economic sense for you to buy the best of each the way these articles want you to do, for example, an EGO string Trimmer, a Troy-Bilt leaf blower and a DeWalt chainsaw. You end up spending $150-$200 extra for each tool just for batteries. It’s really advantageous when you can have just two or three of the same batteries that will work in all your cordless yard tools. Some of the battery systems I will list will even work in your cordless hand tools!
A few things to remember when shopping for cordless Lawn and & Garden Tool Systems.
Battery voltage is not a measure of performance. A 36-40 system can be just as powerful as a 56-80 volt system. Battery capacity in amp-hours (AH) and the battery voltage (V or Volts) together gives you the power available. Amp Hour x Volts = Watt Hour. For example, a 5 AH battery will last twice as long as a 2.5 AH for the same voltage. But a 40 volt 5 AH battery will give you about the same power available as an 80 volt 2.5 AH. Watt Hour is the easiest way to compare different batteries and battery system. Watt Hour is not always listed in the specs but is printed on the battery itself.
The efficiency of the electric motor will also determine how long a battery lasts. Most of the current reliable brands have switched to the high-efficiency brushless motors and a few have gone to the patented CORE system. Many of the systems now come with 1 hour quick chargers so you can be using one battery and have another one charging quickly. If you are trying to rotate them too fast through the charger thermal overload protection will keep them from overheating and ruining the battery.
Remember, the cost of the initial product includes the battery and charger so that is like buying the item and 3 or more years of gas, oil, and filters all up front. Once you have a product or two with batteries you can buy just the “bare tool” without the extra batteries and charger. That will save you considerable money. So, the initial cost is higher but when you look at total operating costs, not just purchase price cordless electric starts to make real sense. Typically a hedge trimmer or string trimmer costs just 2 cents per hour to operate—which is about 95 cents per hour less than a comparable gas unit. What does that mean? If the battery-powered unit cost $100 more than the cost of a comparable gas-powered unit it will start paying for itself around the 100-hour mark. If you have more than one tool using the same battery the savings over gas-powered will show up quicker.
Lots of marketing terms:
Smart Cut Technology, ARC Lithium Design, MaxLithium, Brushless Motors and Smart Lithium Battery Tech. These are marketing terms and the engineering is not specific to that one tool or brand. Brushless systems now have speed/load sensors built-in that increase the torque/speed when the load is greater and reduce the power/speed when the load is light – saving battery life. The Lithium batteries and chargers used in these kits have overload and overcharging tech built-in so they don’t explode or melt down your workbench. Most cells are wrapped to pull heat away from the cell. I’m not aware that any of the chargers have built-in battery cycling, cell balancing and or battery peaking tech.
One more little marketing detail on voltage. Here in the U.S., the brands are allowed to “fudge” the voltage label. For example, maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload on a fully charged battery) is 20, 56, 60, and 80 volts. So, that is the number they typically use on the label – i.e., Pro 80V or 40V MAX. Nominal (actual working) voltage is 18, 46, 54 and 72 volts. – i.e., a 58-volt battery is not better than a 56 volt. This will also affect the Watt-Hour label on the battery. Some manufacturers are using peak voltage to figure Watt Hours. The actual battery capacity is less.
It’s important to look at the whole package: the battery in conjunction with the motor and the tool being used, along with the ergonomics and overall engineering. It’s not simply a matter of how big the battery is.
An essential line of lawn & garden cordless tools, in my opinion, would include: Just my opinion –
- String Trimmer for weekly trimming .065-.080 line. This works well for most suburban yards. Most brushless systems now use .080 or higher. If you have rock or brick landscape borders or chain link fence you may want a string trimmer with thicker .080 or .095 line.
- Debris/Leaf Blower strong enough to move leaves on your lawn. Today many of the brands have leaf blowers that are as strong as a handheld gas blower. (400 cfm plus)
- Hedge Trimmer. Great for bushes, hedges and even trimming off prairie grass in the spring.
- Pole Saw. 10-12 foot reach is nice.
In addition, the following would make the tool line even more versatile.
- 16-inch Walk-Behind Trim Mower. Most riding mowers can get close enough to obstructions that a 16 inch trim mower is all you need.
- Chain Saw. If you have lots of older, mature trees an electric chainsaw is very convenient for making dropped limbs small enough to handle. At this time there are only a few brands that have chainsaws heavy-duty enough for cutting a cord of firewood.
Additional tools that would be nice but most of us don’t have to have:
- Heavy duty string trimmer .80 line or larger. The larger line allows you to clear that strip of tall weeds and grass you forgot out behind the shed.
- Walk-Behind Mower at least 19 inches. Some of the brands now have 19 and 21-inch walk behind mowers that are capable of mowing your small yard. (40-60 minute runtime) Some even have metal decks and are self-propelled
- Garden Weeder/Tiller
- Backpack Blower
- Jaw Saw
So let’s take a look at the complete line of tools the different brands offer and the performance of each line as a whole. I’ve broken the list down into two groups – Residential and Commercial. Note: some of the brands offer more than one line – I’ve just included the latest system.
Residential Cordless Systems
Update: I just posted an article on four cordless string trimmers I’ve tested. I’ll include the trimmers here and you read all about my findings here: Brushless String Trimmer Shootout! DeWalt Flex-Volt, Toro PowerPlex, Stihl AP, Troy-Bilt CORE
Please click on the link to read more and buy! I make a small commision when you purchase from Amazon and The Home Depot. There is no order or preference to this list.
1. Toro PowerPlex Brushless
I have six string trimmers from different brands I use for long-term testing but when I want to trim my yard I almost always grab the Toro PowerPlex. With the battery, it’s under 9 lbs and has plenty of power to trim my landscaping on my one-acre lawn. I have over 600 linear feet of landscape beds, chain link fence, and trees to trim around. I can trim the entire property twice on one charge of the T90 battery.
This system is missing a walk-behind mower. If you want to go total-electric look at the DeWalt 20 volt, Troy-Bilt CORE, Stihl AP, Ryobi 40 volt and EGO Power+
Toro PowerPlex 40 volt system. Buy Here: Amazon is the best choice
- Toro PowerPlex 51482 Brushless 40V Lithium-Ion dual line 14″ Cordless String Trimmer, 2.5 Ah Battery & Charger Included
- 480 CFM 150 MPH leaf blower,
- 24-inch hedge trimmer,
- 13-inch single line trimmer/edger,
- 14-inch chainsaw,
- double capacity T180 battery.
2. Stihl Cordless System
Like many of the brands in this article Stihl is a very well know name that makes high-quality products. Currently, they offer three lines of cordless systems. I tested the commercial AP Series and I highly recommend it if you want the very best on the market. Stihl is dealer only so you have to go to a local dealer to figure out if it is the best system for you.
Note: Stihl is not available online – you have to buy Stihl through your local dealer.
- Cordless Lawnmower
- Hedge Trimmers
- Pole Pruners
- Cut-off machine
- All sizes of batteries including all-day backpack style.
DeWalt has three lawn and garden systems, the 20V MAX for residential, 60V FLEXVOLT for construction professionals, and the 40V MAX Professional Landscaper
3. DeWalt 60V FLEXVOLT
This line is new for 2017 and unique in that the batteries will also work with your 20V MAX and FLEXVOLT tools.
- DEWALT DCST970X1 FLEXVOLT 60V MAX String Trimmer, 3.0AH battery at Amazon >.080 and .095 line
- DEWALT DCBL770X1 FLEXVOLT 60V MAX Handheld Blower, 3.0AH battery at Amazon
- DEWALT DCCS670X1 FLEXVOLT 60V MAX Brushless Chainsaw, 3.0AH at Amazon
4. DeWalt 20V MAX Residential Cordless System
This line is a good choice if you trim every time you mow.
- DEWALT DCST920 20V Lithium Ion XR Brushless String Trimmer at Amazon >.080 line
- DEWALT DCBL720 20V Lithium Ion XR Brushless Blower at Amazon
- DEWALT DCHT820 20 V Max Hedge Trimmer at Amazon
5. Kobalt 80-Volt Max Residential Cordless System
- Kobalt 80-Volt Max 16-in Straight Brushless Cordless String Trimmer >.080 line
- Kobalt 80-Volt Lithium Ion (Li-ion) 500-CFM 125-MPH Heavy-Duty Brushless Cordless Electric Leaf Blower
- Kobalt 80-Volt Max 26-in Dual Cordless Hedge Trimmer
- Kobalt 80-Volt Lithium Ion (Li-ion) 18-in Brushless Cordless Electric Chainsaw
- Kobalt 80-Volt Max-Volt Brushless Lithium Ion (Li-ion) 21-in Deck Width Cordless Electric Push Lawn Mower
6. Ryobi Outdoor Products Residential Cordless System
I just want to point out that Ryobi has an absolutely mind-boggling array of tools in their 18 volt ONE + system. The lawn & garden tools are good for small lawns but they have some specialty tools that no one else has. For example RYOBI ONE+ 18-VOLT CHEMICAL SPRAYER at The Home Depot. This is the handiest tool for applying Round-up or Weed-B-Gone.
I’m not going to list the entire line of ONE+ but you can read more here: Ryobi ONE+ System at The Home Depot
7. Ryobi 40 V Residential Cordless System
- 40V STRING TRIMMER / EDGER at Home Depot >.080 line
- 40V-X EXPAND-IT STRING TRIMMER at Home Depot >.080 line
- 40V HEDGE TRIMMER at Home Depot
- 40V JET FAN BLOWER 300 cfm at Home Depot
- 40V BRUSHLESS 14 IN. CHAIN SAW at Home Depot
- 40V-X 10 IN. Expand-it ATTACHMENT CAPABLE CULTIVATOR at Home Depot
- 40-VOLT 20″ BRUSHLESS MOWER $299 with battery and charger! at Home Depot
- 40V 20″ BRUSHLESS SNOW BLOWER Non-self-propelled single stage. at Home Depot
Ryobi 48 V Riding Mower
There is only one yard tool in the Ryobi 480 line but it’s important that I list it here.
- Ryobi RM480e 38 in. Battery Electric Riding Lawn Mower at The Home Depot
- Ryobi RM480e 38 in. 100 amp Battery Electric Riding Lawn Mower at The Home Depot
8. EGO Power+ System at The Home Depot Residential Cordless System
EGO Power + has gotten a lot of press over the last year and it is a good residential system but please remember – What I think or what Tools In Action or thesweethome.com thinks is the best is not always the best for you. If you are already committed to a battery platform or your neighbor loves his system don’t feel you have to buy what we say is the best. Feel free to ask comments below and I’ll help you decide.
- 56V Cordless Self-Propelled Lawnmower
- 56V 575 CFM Leaf Blower
- 56V Carbon fiber String Trimmer >.095 line
- 56V Hedge Trimmer
- 56V 145 MPH 600 CFM Cordless Backpack Blower
- 56V Single Stage non-self-propelled Snow Thrower.
Troy-Bilt CORE Residential Cordless System
Troy-Bilt CORE has gotten NO press but I have to say it’s the “sleeper” system of all the residential cordless lawn & garden systems for 2017. Troy-Bilt markets to residential customers but the CORE system was designed as a commercial cordless power platform. It uses the patented CORE motors that are the strongest brushless electric motors currently used. In addition, they are some of the highest efficiency electric motors so they can use smaller amp-hour batteries for the same amount of work. The CORE motors have a lifetime warranty.
- Troy-Bilt CORE TB4200 40V 16-Inch Straight Shaft Cordless String Trimmer Kit at Amazon
- Troy-Bilt CORE TB4300 40V 545-CFM 125 MPH Cordless Electric Leaf Blower Kit at Amazon. Largest CFM Handheld blower!
- Troy-Bilt CORE TB4400 40V 22-Inch Cordless Hedge Trimmer Kit at Amazon
- TB510 CORE™ Push Mower at Troy-Bilt Metal Deck!
- TB610 CORE™ FWD Self-Propelled Mower at Troy-Bilt Metal Deck!
Husqvarna has a great line of commercial cordless yard tools including a 26 AH back-pack battery
Milwaukee has a small line of M18 Fuel Commercial cordless yard tools that use the same battery as their power/hand tools. Don’t let the 18 volts fool you. Higher voltage does not mean better performance. Milwaukee understands battery tech and brushless motor tech and their 18 volt is more powerful than most 56 volt and higher systems. They just introduced a chainsaw to go with this system and when it’s available I’ll put a link in here. What’s interesting is the price is very comparable to the residential systems.
- M18 FUEL 18-Volt Lithium-ion Brushless Cordless String Trimmer Kit at The Home Depot >.080/.095 line
M18 FUEL 100 MPH 450 CFM 18-Volt Lithium-ion Brushless Cordless Handheld Blower Kit at The Home Depot
- M18 FUEL 18-Volt Lithium-ion Brushless Cordless Hedge Trimmer Kit at The Home Depot
SnowJoe/SunJoe Residential Cordless System at The Home Depot
SunJoe/SnowJoe has a line of cordless that includes a 2-stage self-propelled snow blower but they are missing one important piece in their system – a string trimmer. If your yard is too big for a cordless trimmer or you don’t need one then the Snow Joe line makes sense. By the way, the 2-stage snow blower throws snow very well and it’s extremely quiet.
- Sun Joe iON 40-Volt Cordless 16-Inch Lawn Mower w/ Brushless Motor
- Sun Joe iON 40V 4.0 Ah Cordless 3-in-1 Blower/Vacuum/Mulcher with Brushless Motor
- Sun Joe iON 40-Volt Multi-Angle Cordless 8-Inch Pole Chain Saw
- Sun Joe iON 40-Volt Cordless 16-Inch Chain Saw w/ Brushless Motor
- Sun Joe iON 40V Hybrid Cordless or Electric 16-Inch Lawn Mower – Corded and Cordless!
- Sun Joe iON 40V 4.0 Ah Cordless 12-Inch Garden Tiller/Cultivator
- Snow Joe iON PRO Series 21-Inch Cordless Single Stage Brushless Snow Blower – non-self-propelled
- Snow Joe iON 80V Max 5.0 Ah Cordless Self-Propelled (Two-Stage) 3-Speed + Reverse Snow Blower w/ Dual Port Charger
Black & Decker Residential Cordless System
Black & Decker has just introduced 60V MAX walk-behind mower. No word yet if there will be a yard system with trimmers, etc that will go with it.
The primary battery for the yard tools at this time is the 40V MAX* Lithium.
Black & Decker, Stanley and DeWalt are all the same company. Both B&D and DeWalt have 20V MAX tools but they are not compatible with each other. But the 20 V MAX B&D cordless tool line use the same batteries as lawn tools.
Snapper Cordless System
Snapper has two lines – a 60 volt and 82-volt system. The price is surprisingly competitive!
Snapper 60 volt Outdoor Tools at Amazon. The 82-volt system is the newest model.
Snapper 82 volt Outdoor Tools. at Amazon. RECOMMENDED!
Remember it’s the battery’s Watt-hour rating that matters, not the voltage. The batteries may seem small but they have the same Watt-hours as 40 volt with twice the AH.
Commercial Cordless Systems
I’m not going to spend a lot of time reviewing the commercial systems in this article. I’ll list the brands I am aware of and give you a quick summary of the system they offer. If you want a commercial grade system Green Industry Pro Magazine has a very good article here: Battle of the Batteries
DeWalt 40V MAX (dedicated 40V commercial system – not compatible with 20V and Flex-Volt)
DeWalt has a nice solid line of 40-volt commercial outdoor tools including an extended reach hedge trimmer! Check them out at the link above.
I’m not sure if the Cub Cadet cordless system is considered commercial duty but I’ll put them here. Cub Cadet decided to produce a modular system. One powerhead that fits a string trimmer, blower, and hedge trimmer.
As a homeowner, you probably have never heard of Shindaiwa but it is one of the heaviest duty commercial lines available. They have a 56-volt commercial string trimmer, blower, and hedge trimmer.
Other manufacturers currently making commercial cordless lawn & garden tools: These are all dealer only items.
Echo Professional Grade 58V
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