Battery products have come a long way in the last few years and continue to improve. Handheld battery products (trimmers, chainsaws etc) have comparable power and run times as gasoline powered products under 40cc. Over 40cc gasoline products are still far superior to any battery alternatives.
As with any items, there are high quality products made by reputable manufacturers. These will perform well, offer years of dependable service, are backed by extensive parts and service networks which together provide an excellent investment.
Alternatively, there are many products offered online or through retailers that offer none of the above. The offshore brands are usually inexpensive but quality and performance are poor. Product support, if you are fortunate, is normally an 800 phone line to connect you to someone in a distant country who has little product knowledge. Local support is non-existent. These purchases generally don’t last long before they make the trip to the landfill.
Major power tool companies have expanded into the outdoor power segment. These are large, well known brands who do plenty of marketing. What worked well for them previously when products needed service is a completely different situation when dealing with larger, bulkier & often more complex outdoor power equipment. Packing up your non-functioning drill and sending it off to a distant repair centre, although time consuming and inconvenient, is much easier than trying to do the same with a bulky, heavy, lawn mower system.
People have told us of their frustrating experiences trying to resolve problems with this type of system. Imagine having to pack up your complete mower system, which sometimes due to size and weight must ship by transport, and send it off to California. This is all at the customer expense. The repair centre will then evaluate whether the repairs are indeed a warrantable repair. If not, the customer pays for the repair and the expensive round trip shipping. Wait times can be extremely lengthy.
If you are considering a purchase online or through a non servicing retailer, make sure to receive contact information for future parts & service support. Here is the most important part, CONTACT THEM BEFORE PURCHASING. Many retailers boldly proclaim warranty policies. True, there is a warranty BUT just try accessing it. Likely you will have to ship it to a distant location as in the example above and deal with all the headaches listed above. Some companies will provide you with contact information for a service centre that either no longer supports their product or never did. We receive a large number of calls from both customers and manufacturers of random brands trying to find someone who can help. The manufacturer never established an effective service network or due to extensive problems, the companies in the service network have discontinued their support. Extended warranties are notorious for this as well. You pay a premium for the extended warranty but good luck if you need to make use of it.
Quality battery products have come a long way. They will play a significant part in certain segments of outdoor power equipment. Consumers need to do their research before purchasing. For the foreseeable future, gasoline engines, which have made great strides in efficiency, will continue to dominate many product categories. Alternate fuels will likely also be part of this mix.