Gaia x GTFO = Discounted GPS!


My favorite power tools for the yard

When it comes to lawn and garden maintenance it all starts with a good set of tools.

When it comes to the power tools, I'm generally partial to battery powered equipment. The maintenance is practically nonexistent, they're far quieter, and since they don't run on gas they don't pollute or require trips to the gas station and fuel-oil blends. Ryobi's One+ system of 18 volt battery powered tools is the way to go--the entire line of tools use the same battery so you can power your mower, impact drill, and dust buster all with the same power source. Ryobi also makes a 40 volt line of battery powered equipment for those who need more umph, but the product line is far more limited than the 18v options.  I have three of the 4 amp batteries and they are all I need to mow, weed eat, and have juice left over for my driver when needed.

So far in two years of running battery powered yard tools, I have never once wished for a gas powered tool (except for a chainsaw).  Even if my yard were three times the size, at most I'd be looking to the 40v Ryobi models.  They come in standard push and self propelled.  Heck, you can even get battery-powered riding mowers!  If you're really set on gas powered yard tools, Echo is the brand to use.  All the pro landscapers I see around town run Echo, and I can take the hint. 

The Essentials

For my yard the Ryobi hybrid mower--which uses battery or power cord--is perfect. It only has a 16" deck, but that's enough to finish mowing in 30-45 minutes (grass portion of yard is approx 2,500 sq. ft.). Most of the time I'm able to finish on one charge of the batteries, but if the grass is especially thick sometimes they go out before I'm finished...which is where the hybrid power comes in. I just grab the extension cord, plug it in, and finish off the last few passes. After two years of weekly and twice-weekly mowing (Phoenix has no off-season), I have no complaints about this mower and it continues to work without issue despite such frequent use. If you have a smaller yard or the hybrid's price is too rich for your blood, Ryobi has a wide selection of other 18v mowers...but don't forget that the 2 batteries included with the hybrid are about a $100 value themselves.

For trimming and weed-eating, I use the Ryobi one+ brushless weed eater.  Brushless motors let you vary speed depending on how much you pull the throttle, meaning you can control your trimmer better.  I grew up running a gas-powered weed eater around the yard and I can't tell any meaningful difference in the one+ battery version and a gas least not for suburban home use.  And anyone who has spent frustrated minutes yanking on a weed-eater pull starter will appreciate the instant-on from the battery.  This gives the yard a nice manicured look after quickly dispatching the grassy patches the mower can't reach.

When it comes to clean up, the one+ brushless blower gets the job done.  We had a little Black and Decker blower that works well enough for blowing dust off the back porch, but when it came to blowing grass blades off the driveway and sidewalk it was a complete failure.  After a year of temptation and sweeping, I finally grabbed the Ryobi blower and it has been amazing.  After-mowing cleanup is so much easier now, as is controlling the tiny little pine cones that fall from our neighbors tree in the thousands.  This guy will gulp down juice on big jobs running full blast, though, so have a fully-charged battery available.

The hedge trimmer is the only one of these tools on the list that I don't own because we already had a different hedge trimmer.  But I spend a lot of time in my Home Depot visits looking at this one and wishing I had it.  Like the rest of the tools, the hedge trimmer feels sturdy and well built, without being bulky and cumbersome.  This tool is likely the least necessary since not everyone will have bushes that need trimming, but if you do this is the way to go.

The Incidentals

If you want to take your yard from nice to amazing, give it an edging.  That creates crisp distinctions between lawn and sidewalk/driveway and will really set your yard apart from the rest.  This is really more of a vanity tool to make your yard look better than the neighbors, so it's definitely not essential, but once you see how good it looks you'll wonder how you managed without it.

The chainsaw is the one place where I have to deviate from the Ryobi and battery-powered recommendation.  If you need a chainsaw, two brands that you can't go wrong with are Echo and Husqvarna.  We ran one of each back on the farm to cut firewood and clear roads through the woods and each are champs.  I tried to go the Ryobi one+ chainsaw route to take down a tree in the front yard, thinking one little tree couldn't be that hard, and I was attracted by the battery that came wiht the saw.  I was wrong.  So then I tried to save some money and get a Ryobi gas powered saw.  Still couldn't cut it.  Finally, I bought an Echo and had the tree down and sectioned in minutes.    If you're just cutting things that are a little too big for loppers then you could get by with the one+ saw, otherwise save yourself some frustration and get an Echo.


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