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Handyman: Battery technology improves in lawn equipment

Glenn Haege
Special to The Detroit News

Now that you have stored the snow thrower, it is time to get the lawn equipment out for the weekly ritual of keeping your lawn and hedges looking good. If you are in the market for some new equipment, you may be surprised how far the technology has advanced.

“If you have an older riding mower, they aren’t very stable on the side of hills, but the newer zero turn models provide far more stability,” said Ron Weingartz of Weingartz, (586) 731-7240,

Weingartz said most zero turn mowers use twin-lever lap bar steering handles, but newer models from Cub Cadet ( have steering wheel control and four-wheel steering, making it easier to use for the weekend lawn warrior at home or at the cottage.

While lawn mowers and tractors have mostly remained the same, there has been a much bigger technological advancement in other outdoor equipment items like trimmers and blowers, thanks to the move toward lithium batteries.

Most homeowners and DIYers are accustomed to lithium batteries powering their drills, but that technology has advanced far enough to provide reliable power options for lawn equipment. Weingartz said Cub Cadet has new CORE or Conductor-Optimized Rotary Energy technology that uses a circuit board to power the equipment, and a sophisticated motor technology to deliver more torque with longer run times. This technology is featured in the Cub Cadet’s string trimmers. In addition, Weingartz said other companies like Stihl ( also have lithium battery-based hand-held products.

“The power for these lithium products has improved greatly, so they are more on par with gas models,” he said.

If you are looking for a gas blower, Echo ( and Stihl are now offering the same type of backpack type blowers popular with professional lawn service companies for the residential market that are lighter and more powerful than hand-held models.

One of the more popular brands of hand-held lawn equipment, Black & Decker ( has launched its new Smartech line of connected products that rely on lithium battery technology, including string trimmers, leaf blowers and hedge trimmers.

The lithium batteries that featured this Smartech technology will link with the free Black & Decker mobile app so users can view a list of their connected batteries and select and interact directly with an individual battery when in Bluetooth range. Users can also lock or unlock the battery, view the percent of the battery’s remaining charge, use the locate feature to find a missing battery.

“Our new Smartech products also have some other unique features, such as allowing the user to feed trimmer line with the simple push of a button rather than having to bump the trimmer head on the ground,” said Black & Decker senior PR manager Sarah Windham. “Our Powerboost Sweeper has a blowing speed of up to 130 miles per hour, and we also have a button you can push on the hedge trimmer that powers through branches.”

Husqvarna ( is another manufacturer of lawn equipment that is at the forefront of lithium battery technology.

This time of year, it’s not uncommon to try to crank up your gas or electric trimmer of blower and realize it may be time for a newer model. So when you go to the lawn equipment supply store to look for something new, consider these lithium battery based models. With the improvement in performance and battery life, along with the benefits for the environment, buying that lithium-powered model can be a win-win.

For more home improvement advice, call “The Handyman Show with Glenn Haege" on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. The HANDYMAN SHOW can also be heard on more than 135 radio stations nationwide.