Battery powered outdoor power equipment has improved and is still advancing in leaps and bounds putting pressure on traditional petrol-powered machines in the commercial environment. New to the market is the EGO Power+ Commercial Series – a 56-volt backpack battery powering a new range of commercial landscape maintenance tools.
I have used some EGO battery equipment in the past where the battery is inserted into the machine, but this new range operates from a larger backpack battery. It is worth noting that the older EGO tools can also run off this new backpack battery with a lightweight adaptor inserted into the machine in place of the old-style battery.
The biggest concern with battery powered equipment in the landscape maintenance industry is run times. Many landscape maintenance professionals don’t have the facility to recharge out on the job and I feel this is what is deterring a lot of people to making the switch to battery equipment.
The new EGO 56 Volt backpack battery and various tools have some of the best run times available. The various tools draw different amounts of power so they have different run times, but pretty much a full day’s work can be achieved with a selection of EGO’s tools.
The hedge trimmer has the best runtime at 7 hours, which is exceptional; closely followed by the brush cutter and line trimmer at 5 hours; and the blower, which varies between 5 hours 40 minutes at the lowest speed to 1 hour 10 minutes at full speed.
There is no doubt that the battery is a heavy unit at 10.04kg including the harness, although with the well-padded and adjustable shoulder and waist straps it was quite comfortable to wear. The shoulder straps did dig in on the side on my shoulders a little whilst swinging the hedger overhead for a long period but this is a task not often needed; I was tackling a tall and long conifer hedge.
The battery has a charge indicator on the back, which lets the operator know charge levels via an LED light display with the push of a button. It also has a very handy USB port, which I am using right now at the time of writing to charge my phone and also a 12V port, both very handy when out on site. There are two charging modes: a standard 8-hour charge from flat and a rapid charge mode taking only 4 hours. The battery is also extremely tough, weather and dust proof, which means there is no excuse for downing tools in bad conditions.
I used the line trimmer, blower and hedge trimmer and they all performed well. I was particularly impressed with the hedge trimmer, which out-performed most petrol-powered hedgers with the only disadvantage being no rotating rear handle.
As mentioned, this type and quality of battery is expensive to purchase initially but has the advantage of minute running costs compared to petrol powered machines (some comparison specs are available on the EGO website). Other obvious advantages are greatly reduced maintenance costs of the tools themselves and no harmful emissions for the operator or the environment.