Battery-Powered Garden Tools — A Love Story
The first time I held a battery-powered leaf blower in my arms, I knew true love. Never again would the gas-powered monster break my heart every time he failed to start. Oh, he was strong and powerful, but mercurial. One day he would fire up, the next he refused to answer my pleas to help around the yard, leaving me in tears. His heavy weight dragged me down, and I found it difficult to enjoy our time together. His constant need for maintenance and attention created bitterness and resentment.
But now, I know the joys of leaf blowing. With a new battery-powered partner, I can see a happy future full of garden cleanup done with ease. With the soft touch of a button, an affectionate squeeze of a trigger, his motor starts, much quieter and gentler than his predecessor. If he tires, I refresh him with a simple battery swap or a recharge, and we tackle the yard’s challenges again. Hand in handle we blow through life, laughing and carefree! He introduced me to his battery-powered garden tool family, all as easygoing and hardworking as he is, and I’ll never go back to the frustrating gas-powered world I lived in before.
Why I love battery-powered tools
My introduction was frivolous, but I really can’t help but wax poetic about battery-powered garden tools. I used to fight with my gas-powered leaf blower and finally gave up, opting to sweep and rake, taking far more time. Once I discovered how easy a battery-powered garden tool made my maintenance tasks, I was sold. Here are a few of the advantages that swayed me:
- Lightweight Though some batteries can have a little weight to them, most are still lighter than gas-powered tools.
- Less noise Battery-operated tools are extremely quiet in comparison to their gas counterparts.
- No exhaust No gas means no fumes.
- Freedom of movement Unlike with electrical tools that have a cord, you are not limited in range.
- Minimal maintenance No oil to change, gas to fill or spark plugs to buy. Just charge the battery, keep it clean, sharpen a blade and lubricate a few moving parts.
- Save money Battery-operated tools are often less expensive, and you don’t need to purchase gas or oil.
There is a wide variety of battery options and price ranges available for garden tools. Some batteries are integrated into the casing of the tool and you simply plug a charging cord into the unit. These are generally cheaper in price and more lightweight, usually better for small jobs since the smaller batteries don’t hold a charge as long.
Tools with a chargeable battery pack cost a bit more than integrated battery versions, and are a little heavier, but have more power with a longer run time (up to an hour or more depending on the tool). Though you may need to commit to one brand for this, often different tools will have battery packs that are interchangeable (so you’ll always have a spare if your charge wears down). Be sure to check to make sure the batteries are compatible, with the correct size and voltage.
6 battery-powered garden tools I can’t live without
Take a look at our list and perhaps you’ll discover a new battery-powered garden tool to add to your garden shed this season!
Battery-powered hand-held shear
Spring garden cleanup became a breeze after I started using this handy tool. Comfortable to operate with one hand, it shears off dead stems in no time. What used to be time-consuming and hard on my hands with repetitive movements using hand pruners is now a job swiftly dispatched. My hand-held shear has two interchangeable blades — a short hedge shear for cutting in larger swathes, and a grass shear with longer teeth for fleshy stems and deadheading.
What a battery-powered hand-held shear is best for:
Shearing shrubs or dead stems of perennials, deadheading, fine detail trimming like topiaries.
Battery-Powered Hand-held Shears We Recommend:
BLACK+DECKER Cordless Shrub Trimmer/Grass Shear Combo (shown above)
Worx WG801 20V Shear Shrubber Trimmer
Ryobi Cordless Grass Shear and Shrubber Trimmer
Battery-powered chain saw
A battery-powered chain saw might not have the power to cut down a 100-year-old dead tree (that’s a job best left to professionals), but it’s a tool many gardeners can utilize. Could you saw that dead branch off with a hand saw? Yes, but you might tire out before you’re all the way through. Make a quick, clean cut with a battery-powered chain saw. It’s lightweight and easy to use, but it is still a chain saw so handle it carefully and follow all the safety recommendations in the owner’s manual.
What a battery-powered chain saw is best for:
Cutting up fallen branches, thinning shrubs, removing small trees.
Battery-Powered Chain Saws We Recommend:
Wild Badger Power 40V 16" Cordless Chainsaw
Worx WG384 40V Power Share Cordless 14-inch Chainsaw (shown above)
DEWALT 20V MAX XR Chainsaw
Husqvarna 120i Cordless Battery Powered Chainsaw
Battery-powered string trimmer
Starting a gas-powered string trimmer with a pull cord was always an awkward thing to do, simply because of the shape of the machine. But a battery-powered engine is a breeze to start, usually with a trigger and a button, so you can start and stop easily—a bonus when you are working in the garden and just want to clear a bit at a time. It’s really quiet, so your ears won’t be ringing if you use it for a long time, though it’s wise to use ear protection whenever you use power tools.
What a battery-powered string trimmer is best for:
Cutting down weeds, “mowing” small patches of grass the mower can’t get to, edging around flower beds.
Battery-powered hedge trimmer
I may only use this tool a couple times a year, but it is so worth it. It takes the tedium out of cutting down dead ornamental grasses — just tie them up in a bundle and shear them off in seconds in a neat, clean cut. I used to use one with a cord, which always made me nervous, fearing I would cut the cord. Get one with a telescoping pole (inset) for shearing tall hedges, or to sweep under low-growing evergreen branches to cut weeds and small volunteer trees growing underneath and out of reach.
What a battery-powered hedge trimmer is best for:
Shearing woody shrubs, evergreen hedges, ornamental grasses and overgrown weeds.
Battery-powered lawn mower
New batteries and technology have made battery-operated mowers a viable option, with more power, variable mowing height and speeds to take care of tougher lawns once the domain of gas-powered engines. Push mowers are ideal for most yards, and can mow for up to an hour per battery charge. There are battery-powered riding mowers that can handle the average city lot easily on one battery charge. Get a spare battery to swap out if you have a bit more lawn than that. And the best part? No more gas can or mixing with oil to run your fume-spewing lawn mower.
What a battery-powered lawn mower is best for:
Battery-Powered Lawn Mowers We Recommend:
EGO Power+ Cordless Select Cut Mower (shown above)
WORX 40V Power Share 20" Lawn Mower
Ryobi Battery Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower
Battery-powered leaf blower
The battery-powered tool that changed my view: the leaf blower. It starts, every time, no fighting, no crying. Because it’s lightweight and cordless, I can go anywhere with this tool, even up on a roof. I once blew out a dusty desk drawer in my office with one. There are a few leaf blower/vacuums available, and though most are not powerful enough to suck up and chop leaves into mulch quite as well as an electric or gas model, new and improved batteries should change that in the future.
What a battery-powered leaf blower is best for:
Clearing leaves, blowing dirt and debris off steps and patios, even blowing water that collects in low spots on the sidewalk.