Outdoor Power Equipment Learning Center
The perfect yard requires some specialized knowledge. Choosing the right power equipment can make a huge difference in your pocketbook and in how the look of the yard turns out. Here, at outdoorpowerequipment.org, we are seeking homeowners to send in yard pictures and power equipment reviews. Please send contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Outdoor Power EquipmentWhat kind of outdoor power equipment do you need? For most of us, we will find the greatest use and pleasure for having the following equipment.
Lawn MowersHow do you even cut the lawn without a mower? The founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, had a field of weeds and they used borrowed some goats to eat them. It was a novel strategy to be green.
For those of us who can't incorporate such a fun strategy, the lawn mower becomes a wise choice.
Small LawnsFor small lawns, the reel or manual lawn mower is a great choice. They are inexpensive to purchase and there are no maintenance costs. You can get a reel mower out and finish before a gas mower has been checked out to see if it is ready.
Medium Sized LawnsThe twenty one inch self propelled walk behind lawn mower is the way to go. Honda, by far, makes the best personal lawn mowers for homeowners. Their engine is so good many other companies use it on their own outdoor power equipment. It is commonly known amongst power equipment manufacturers that Honda makes the best engines.
The other great thing about Honda lawn mowers is that the design is the best. You can start the engine without engaging the blade. This makes the engine easier to start. Honda is the easiest to start of any mower.
The handle is easy to use and doesn't offer up fatigue. To engage the blade, you simply press a button. It is simple and effortless. The competition requires you to hold in the handle the entire time and the machine will also self propel constantly.
Honda is different. You can easily let off the self propel. The control is much greater.
Large LawnsEstates will best be served by John Deere Riding Tractor Mowers. They are durable and cost efficient. You can get a lot of attachments and do just about anything that needs done. They are also comfortable to ride on. Their experience in the field of agriculture is legendary.
ProfessionalsA professional will most often find that a Walker, Bobcat, or Toro is the best choice. Toro has the most dealers and that makes them easier to find parts for and get serviced.
Walker is known for having the best quality and great design. Many large landscaping companies use walker. The Walker is a little more expensive than Toro or Bobcat.
Bobcat is new to lawn mowing. They certainly know how to make high quality equipment and their service centers give great service.
String TrimmersThe best string trimmers are made by Echo or Stihl. If you care about service, then Stihl is really the only option. The main benefit of Echo is that it is a bit lighter and well balanced reducing fatigue for the operator. Stihl is more durable and serviced better. You can buy Echo from big box retailers or Stihl from local outdoor power equipment shops.
Straight ShaftThe straight shaft is the best. It is by far easier to get under or around things with a straight shaft. In addition, the string is further away from the operator and that makes it safer.
Straight shaft trimmers cost more. They are more expensive to produce because the technology that goes into the shaft is greater.
Curved ShaftThe curved shaft trimmer will work find for a homeowner. However, in case you are wondering, the straight shaft is better; it is easier to use.
The curved shaft curves in towards you. It makes the trimmer closer to your feet, it is harder to see what you are doing and harder to maneuver. The increased cost of a straight shaft isn't enough to make a curved shaft worth buying.
String Trimmers with AttachmentsIt seems exciting to buy the string trimmer that can have all the attachments put onto it. You can can get a pole lopper, an edger, a chain saw, and a bunch of other things. These versatile string trimmers will cost about $200.00 more, on average, than a regular string trimmer.
Changing the attachments can be a pain. For most people, the edger attachment makes good sense. So, when you are done trimming the lawn, you need to take off the old attachment and put in the new one to edge the lawn. It is usually a pain because the attachment will only fit in a certain way and it has to be about perfect. It isn't recommended to get this more expensive string trimmer. The best thing to do is just buy a separate edger and a separate chain saw. You weren't going to get much of a chain saw out of a string trimmer anyway.
Leaf BlowersThe leaf blower is nearly a necessity. Many people put off getting one, but they are so handy and save tons of time. You can blow the sidewalk and driveway off in a matter of minutes what might have taken you an hour. When leaves drop in the fall, you can blow the loose ones into a pile. It sure beats sweeping them all up.
Backpack BlowersIf you have a large concrete area (Wal-Mart for example), then a backpack blower is a great idea. The only reason for a backpack blower is that it will reduce operator fatigue. Reducing fatigue is a substantial concern for those using a blower more than two or three hours at a time. A backpack blower will cost around $200.00 more than a regular leaf blower.
QualityThere are lots of power equipment brands out there. The best brands are Honda, Stihl, Husqvarna, and Echo. Each brand has its own niche. For lawnmowers, Honda is the best, for string trimmers, Echo is probably the best, for chain saws, Stihl and Husqvarna are about equal. The best way to get good equipment is to be careful with big box stores. Even though big box stores carry some good equipment, how are you going to know what to stay away from? The power equipment worth consideration at big box stores is John Deere, Echo, and Honda. Stihl and Husqvarna are only available at small local power equipment dealers. You should also know that top name brands often refuse to sell their best products at big box stores. The best products are reserved for local service dealers. For example, the best Honda lawnmowers are not sold at Home Depot or Lowes.
Most of the low end power equipment is made to get you by for a year or two and sometimes three. Many homeowners have went through low end chainsaws and mowers. Some people just plan on buying a new mower and trimmer every two years.
One property manager told a story about going through riding lawn mowers every two or three years. Then, one day, he decided to buy a John Deere. Since then, he has never had to replace the riding lawn mower. Sure it cost more up front, but buying a new item every few years is not cheap either.
Other Equipment – Don't Forget it!Its fun to think about the work you can do with power equipment. You can make the yard look really great. You can till the garden and get it ready for planting. You can plant flowers for the neighbors or cut down that old unsightly tree.
When planning your equipment choices, don't forget the little things. Some nice safety glasses that are comfortable and stylish to wear will make string trimming a lot more enjoyable. You might also want hearing protection for using a chain saw or string trimmer. It is nice to have a set of hearing muffs and ear plugs. Ear plugs tend to get dirty and lost and hearing muffs tend to make you sweat like crazy. Most people like to have a set of each.
Do you have gloves? Many of the new gloves that are integrated with spandex and Velcro stay on really well and are very comfortable. Ideally, you should know your hand size because a well fitting glove is much more comfortable. Don't settle for some two dollar cotton gloves. They don't help much at all. Form fitting leather gloves feel the best and offer enough protection.
Finally, don't forget about the sun. You need protection from UV rays. The best thing to use is a wide brimmed hat. Brimmed hats will keep the sun off the back of your neck and face. Then, the arms and legs should have sunscreen applied.
Dressing in layers is another great way to keep the sun off of you. In the morning hours, before the earth is totally hot, you can wear long sleeves. Do you ever get that morning burn on your arms or legs right about noon? Most people that wear long sleeves until noon, don't feel the burn. Even when it is cool outside, the UV rays are still getting you.
SummaryWe hope this site will be informative in helping you make the best outdoor power equipment choices. We have lots of experience with outdoor power equipment and feel we can give you some suggestions that will save you a lot of time and frustration.