Being a home owner, as well as a practicing home improvement geek, I’ve become acquainted with a lot of power tools.
I inherited a lot of “hand-me-down” old tools from my Dad as well as my Father-in-law and they helped bridge the gap from the young newlywed world to more modern times.
Today with several battery-powered drills, screwdrivers, staple guns and even finish-nailers, I sometimes wonder why I keep my standard screwdrivers around.
Over the years, I’ve had a myriad of battery-powered lawn tools too.
I recall a plug-in charged set of lawn clippers that worked great for the first 90 days and then the battery started to lose its’ ability to hold a charge.
The little clippers would scissor back and forth for fewer and few minutes until I had to resort to the hand clippers.
Tried the battery-powered, plug-in edgers and trimmers and had similar results over the years.
But, I’ve also seen how the battery-powered tools have “upped their game” and my son-in-law has a few battery-powered saws that he speaks highly of.
I haven’t ventured into that arena…yet but I’m getting closer.
So that’s why we made a step off the “battery cliff” recently when we started looking at lawn mowers than don’t run on gasoline.
Let’s just say I was intrigued at whether one of these battery-powered lawn units could “cut it.”
To be perfectly honest with you, I gave this project more “due diligence” than is my norm.
I’ve actually purchased new vehicles with less time invested than I did in-stores and on-line in looking at the mower options.
It’s clear that the battery-powered mower is the “thing” of the future.
You have no shortage of choices when you start looking for one.
This new mower would be primarily for my bride to use and I was looking for something that could handle the front yard and the fenced-in back yard.
I also wanted something that had rear-wheel drive, bagging or mulching options and be light enough that my wife could maneuver it.
We finally settled on a mower and the clerk who assisted us turned out to be prophetic.
I told him I was willing to give this new technology a try but I was not totally comfortable or confident.
He quickly stated, “Well, you have up to 30 days to return if if you’re not satisfied.”
So, my wife and I checked out with this new electric mower and we toted it home, unloaded it from the truck and set it on the garage floor.
Here was another sign.
I carefully opened the box so as not to damage it and saved all the plastic bags and special cardboard spacers and such.
Normally, I grab a utility knife and “slice and dice” the carton to quickly gain access.
The first thing I did was locate the charger and plug it in.
The battery was found and I placed it in the charger.
When I turned it on, it sounded like a hair dryer on low speed.
The fancy green lights, indicating the battery charge started to flash and within a few minutes, the charger shut off, giving me a fully-charged battery.
Now, the company propaganda indicated we would have about 60 minutes of battery power to mow.
I figured that would be enough time to “lower the elevation of the red fescue” in the front yard as well as the fenced-in backyard.
I adjusted the handle and asked my bride to give it a try.
First of all, it had a sound like a loud purr and when she took off, it seemed it was easy to handle.
So I ventured to the “lower 40” of the “palatial Foster Estate” to work on my “carbon footprint” with the fossil-fuel powered grass cutter.
By the time I had finished, Neav had mowed nearly all I figured she could get on a charge and the electric mower was sitting in the garage.
Curious, I put the battery back in the charger and it indicated we had about 15% of the charge remaining.
I pushed this new unit to the backyard barn and parked it in the spot I figured would be its’ new home.
Then a funny thing happened.
My wife and I looked at each other and while nothing was said, the decision was made to return it to the retailer and get our money back.
I thought the yard looked okay where my wife had run the mower and she had no complaints but I think we were still having “buyer remorse” over the initial investment.
Plus, it just didn’t seem powerful enough.
Years ago, we bought a car vacuum that plugged into the cigarette lighter.
When you turned it on, it whined loudly, similar to a two-seater, clam-shell canopy T-37 aircraft that we had at Craig AFB in the early 70’s.
It also wouldn’t pick up anything unless you placed the material near the nozzle and even then, anything heavier than a feather was undisturbed.
I thought it made sense to have a 2nd battery for this mower but one of those cost more than the first car I bought in 1967.
So, my wife wiped down the mower, I put it in the box with all the saved pieces of cardboard packing and I drove it to customer service and we got our money back.
Our electric lawnmower experience lasted about 6 hours.
Now, we still need a 3rd mower but it will be one of the classic air polluters, as it guzzles and burns petroleum products.
I’m, sure that the technology will continue to improve but I guess I’m not ready for an electric mower just yet.
But, unlike that old car sweeper, this mower did at least cut some blades of grass.
And it was a lot quieter, too.