This post is a paid partnership with Lowe’s.
With summer winding down and fall nearly upon us (how?!), it’s that time of year to prep our little Chicago postage stamp yard for cooler temperatures!
We’ve been using a combination of gas-powered and plug-in electric outdoor power tools as long as we’ve been in our home, and our mismatched set has always gotten the job done. But now that options for battery powered outdoor power tools have increased, we were finally ready to quiet things down and reduce our environmental impact with a modern Kobalt 40v cordless electric set!
Look, Ma, No Gas!
Let’s face it. Gas-powered mowers, blowers and trimmers are smelly and not great for the environment. They also require a decent amount of maintenance, frequent trips to the gas station and storage of additional fuel. What a hassle! This year, we upgraded to a set of new Kobalt tools that utilize heavy duty 40v batteries to replace gas and oil all together.
Noise Reduction to Be a Better Neighbor
Not only do gas-powered tools require costly gas (obviously) and produce smelly exhaust, but they’re noisy as all get out! In Chicago, our homes are very close together. Like, stick your arm out the window and touch your neighbor’s house close together. Because of the close quarters, noise travels easily between houses and can be quite a nuisance. For example, a well-meaning neighbor at the other end of our block was mowing his lawn the other morning. As Kim and I sat on our front porch working, we actually paused our verbal conversation to communicate via laptop text messages because it was easier than shouting over the sound of the lawnmower. I wish I was kidding!
Our battery-powered tools are not much louder than a hair dryer. This allows us to take care of our yard work at almost any time of day without worrying about bothering anyone (although we’ll stick to the hours between 8-8 for common courtesy). Not only was our new 40v string trimmer easy to use, it was quiet enough that Kim and I were able to have a conversation at normal volume while using it in our own yard!
The 40v self-propelled mower impressed us with more than enough power and run-time to mow our usual patch of lawn. This includes our tiny yard inside the fence, our tree lawn, and our neighbors’ tree lawns down to the end of our block. As a funny aside, while Kim was taking the photo below, she said, Okay, you can turn it on! And I said, It is on!
Yeah, it’s that quiet.
Once I finished mowing our yard and moved out to take care of the tree lawns, Kim used the pole hedge trimmer attachment from this combo kit to give our boxwoods a little bit of a haircut before temperatures start to dip. This kit also includes a pole extension and an 8-in chainsaw attachment that will come in very handy for managing all of the mature vegetation at Tree House. The whole set is compact enough that we’ll have no problem bringing it back and forth between Chicago and Michigan as needed.
Using Hand Tools for Quick Tasks
In addition to moving to battery-powered tools for larger tasks, we also try to use mechanical hand tools that require no power for as many tasks as possible. This year, we’ve continued the tradition of splitting and dividing the larger Hostas from our front yard. After this batch of transplants, we’ve officially connected the back yard to the front yard, and it feels really good!
Like last year, Kim dug holes between the sidewalk and fence approximately 16″ to 18″ apart while I split the Hosta roots with our trusty Root Assassin. She then planted each one and groomed the dirt back into place. Any stems that snapped in the process were trimmed up with our bypass hand pruners. Hostas are incredibly resilient and should, fingers crossed, pop back up next spring!
Much like we love a cordless battery powered vacuum cleaner for inside the house, we feel that a battery powered outdoor blower is a near-mandatory tool for any home with a yard to maintain. We find that the easier a tool is to use and access, the more likely it is to be utilized. Kim found the 40v Kobalt blower to be lightweight and balanced. After the first few passes of blowing debris, she stopped what she was doing and exclaimed, This thing is FUN! If chores can be made as enjoyable as possible, they’ll get done faster and more frequently.
Compact Storage for Winter
Another massive benefit of battery-powered tools is that they’re incredibly easy to store! Our lawnmower, for example, folds in half and stands up on its’ end, requiring about 1/4 of the storage space of our old gas mower! Storing our smaller battery tools like the string trimmer and blower also store easier than their gas powered counterparts. These tools can be hung and stored vertically or horizontally. Vertical storage never would have been possible with gas tools since the fluids would inevitably succumb to gravity and leak all over garage. Batteries sure are convenient!
Removing the Hassle of Yard Maintenance
With these tool upgrades, we’re able to complete all of our yard maintenance tasks without using a drop of gas! In addition to nixing the gas completely, yard and lawn care tasks are much more enjoyable when the hassle is removed from the process. As long as we ensure that our batteries go back on their chargers between uses, they’re always ready to use.
The move to battery powered tools has us working more quietly, more efficiently and with less environmental impact than ever before. And the less time we spend taking care of our yard, the more time we have to spend as a family.