Tips for Selecting Battery-Powered Equipment
Regulations and ethanol are pushing landscape contractors toward electric handheld equipment. Use these tips to select the right tool.
SiteOne March 6, 2018
The past few years have seen a tidal wave of new electric, handheld equipment from seemingly every power equipment manufacturer. Rest assured, what’s happening in this space is no fad and will soon change the game for many landscape contractors.
Across the country, many cities, counties, homeowner and neighborhood associations are implementing local noise ordinances regulating the hours of operation for noisy, gasoline-powered equipment. This move is simply the latest expression of a consumer desire to see the green industry become greener.
Most of the U.S. electricity supply is still generated by burning coal or natural gas, so the debate about what’s holistically “cleaner” is far from over. But for contractors, the more troubling trend is the expansion of ethanol in gasoline – which wreaks havoc on small engines – and shows no signs of slowing down.
As a landscape contractor, if local regulations aren’t pushing you toward electric handheld equipment, then wear and tear from ethanol may cause you to at least consider it. In addition to expanded hours when quieter battery-powered equipment may be operated, it also carries greatly reduced maintenance requirements compared to gas-powered units.
There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting battery-powered tools for your professional landscaping crews:
- Consider running one system: Many companies offer systems where multiple handheld tools can operate on the same batteries. Purchasing tools from the same family creates efficiency in terms of parts, extra batteries and ease of use.
- Know what power numbers matter: Remember that a battery’s ampere capacity is much more important than volts. Ampere hour (Ah) is the measure of battery duration. Ah is in essence your gas tank; the larger your tank, the longer a battery will operate. Below are standard battery sizes and associated Ah values.
- 82V 2.5AH = (20) 2.5AH Lithium Cells
- 82V 4AH = (40) 2AH Lithium Cells
- 82V 5AH = (40) 2.5AH Lithium Cells (Twice the capacity of the 2.5AH)
Wh (watt hours) is the technical unit of measure for battery capacity. It’s important to remember that 1 Wh does not always equate to one hour. Length of run will be affected by the tool, load and other conditions. For professional contractors, this is an important number because you want the most work from a single charge.
- Choose the right tool categories: For many reasons, electric string trimmers may not be the best investment but electric hedge trimmers, leaf blowers, pole saws and other ancillary tools can be just as effective as their gasoline counterparts. Make sure that the tools you choose to replace with electric equipment can deliver equivalent power to complete the job.
As with many trends in the green industry, the best advice will come at the local level. SiteOne experts at your local store can provide insight on current regulations and the best equipment selections for your area.
For more information, contact your local SiteOne representative or visit SiteOne.com to find a branch near you.