8 Years and Counting

Since the start of July, I have been on vacation, had my power go out for almost 3 days due to a massive thunderstorm, and been absolutely slammed with work at my job. All of this leads to fewer posts, but it isn’t like I have been posting on a regular basis anyway. Over the last year, I’ve been lucky to get a couple posts a month done. But after 8 years of doing this and 2843 posts, I think slowing down a bit is just fine. Especially since this isn’t a full-time gig.

When this blog started out, it was primarily focused on the modern house my wife and I had purchased. It was originally going to last a year and then quietly fade away into internet oblivion, but you know how things go. One thing led to another and I started going on about design and other things and here we are today. One of the first posts I did focused on the Worx battery powered lawn mower I bout for the new house. The design and functionality of a standard lawn tool and using it. With that said, I think it is appropriate that for the 8th anniversary of this blog, I talk a little bit about a new tool I picked up from Worx, that I absolutely love. The 20 Volt Switchdriver.

When I first saw this I was pretty skeptical. After reading a handful of reviews I thought I’d give it a shot. I needed a new drill, and I was completely fascinated by the design of this product, and couldn’t understand why no one had thought of this sooner. I decided to pull the trigger and pick it up from Amazon. If I didn’t like it, I’d send it back and be on my way. Suffice to say that after 3 months, I’m hooked. The Switchdriver isn’t a heavy duty drill, but for light to medium work it’s killer, and the rotating chuck is so damn cool.

If you aren’t familiar with the Switchdriver, here is the way it works. The drill has two chucks on a rotating head so you can switch between drill mode, and screw driver mode on the fly, or between different bit sizes. This actually comes in handy for drilling a pilot hole and then switching to something like a spade bit.

This 20V cordless drill comes with two 20v Lithium Ion batteries and charger, automatic LED light, electronic torque control, and the main feature, the 2-speed rotating 1/4″ hex dual-chuck drill which allows you to quickly switch between two bits. It features a comfortable ergonomic handle which has a small shield to protect your hand from the bit that isn’t in use. It’s light weight which helps with fatigue, and it has variable 2-speed gearing which tackles all common drilling & driving functions. Like I said, it’s not nearly as powerful as my corded Milwaukee drill, but it is plenty powerful enough for most common jobs around the house.

My only knock is the hex bits that you have use with the quick connect chuck. There is nothing wrong with them, you just can’t use the drill with your current drill bits so it means you have to buy a second set.

I Need a Good Blower.

After the second major snowfall of the season, I am trapped at home today. I got the driveway shoveled but there is so much snow in the street, I can’t make it out to any main thoroughfare. So here I am, working at home on a logo design, and I am having a hard time getting my head wrapped around it. When this happens my mind tends to wander and I find myself thinking of all sorts of things. Things like, “I wish I had a snow blower so I wouldn’t have to shovel so much.” So I started digging around on the internet looking for snow blowers, and found a few that look promising, although I won’t be buying any of these today.

I’ve narrowed my choices to three based on about 50 reviews that I have read today, and I’m kind of leaning to the more expensive Toro brand. The choices are the Toro 15 Amp Electric Curve Snow Thrower, and the GreenWorks 26032 (20″) Electric Snow Blower, and the WORX WG 650. The price difference is $200.00 with the Toro coming in with the high price point, and the others right at $299.00.

All 3 cut an 18 inch path which is great, but the Toro has just a bit more power and will go through snow up to 10 inches deep. The Greenworks and WORX blowers can only handle snow up to 8 inches deep. The question is though, how often do we get a 10 inch snowfall at one time? Not very often, even last nights big storm only dumped 8 inches on us, and last years massive 36 inches of snow came in 4 separate storms.

All of them have great features, and have gotten great reviews, I’m just not sure if the Toro offers that much of an advantage over the others. I’m thinking with the $200.00 I save by buying the WORX or GreenWorx brand I could get myself a really warm pair of snow boots and gloves. Two things that are really important when you are out in the snow.

After One Year of Use, The Final Worx Cordless Lawn Mower Review.

It has been almost 0ne year since I bought the 19 inch Worx Cordless Electric 24 volt lawn mower. Since last August I have mowed the lawn at least 50 times, and I think I have a fairly solid grasp of this mowers positives and negatives. After one year of use, with at least 2 more months of mowing to go, I am posting an updated review based on my personal experience with this product.

I want to say that this mower is a great piece of lawn equipment. The battery has never failed to last for an entire mow cycle, and I have a huge yard. If you keep the underside clean of collected clippings it does the job, and doesn’t run out of  juice. Now with that said, I am going to be upfront here and tell you straight out, this is not a mower for large yards, or yards with hills and here is why.

This thing is heavy, and it is not available as a self-propelled mower. The mower weighs in at a whopping  87 pounds, which is mostly due to the weight of the battery. I’m telling you, pushing this thing is a workout, especially up a moderate to steep incline.

Another thing that makes it less ideal for a large yard is the 19 inch cut width of the blade. I know this is going to sound trivial, but the extra 5 inches you get with a 24 inch mower makes a huge difference, especially when you are cutting dense grass areas and having to overlap the cuts in order to get the grass that is knocked down by the wheels rolling over it.

This mower does a great job, it cuts well, and has enough power to do the job. It cuts clean and never runs out of battery power. I mow almost 10,000 square feet of lawn, and I have never had the battery die on me before I was done cutting.

The handle system is one of the best I have ever used. It is ergonomically designed to reduce fatigue, and believe me you can feel the difference.

It has Mulch, SIde Discharge, and Bag options. I have used all 3, but almost always mulch. There is no performance degradation when this mower is used in much mode, and the blade does an excellent job of mulching the grass it cuts.

Another plus is, that the handle collapses for easy storage, so if you have limited space, this mower folds up into about 4 cubic feet.

I got the mower because I wanted to do something more positive for the environment, and the idea of running a gas mower just didn’t cut it (no pun intended). So at the end of the day I am happy with the Worx mower, I just wish it weighed less and was self-propelled.

At the end of the day, this is an excellent choice if you have a smaller yard that is fairly flat, or if you want to get a serious workout when mowing. On a scale of 1 to 5 I give it a 4 for performance and durability. My only real gripe is the weight, and unfortunately that is a result of current battery technology, not the Worx design team.

Worx Electric Lawn Mower Review Part 2.

Worx 19 inch cordless mowerWell I have now mowed my lawn a total of 3 times with the Worx 19 inch cordless electric mower, and I feel fairly confident in giving a complete review of the mower. Since this is an update, I am simply going to break this down into bulleted items based on observations and facts about my experience with it.

• Weight. The mower is heavy. The battery weighs in at 35 pounds pushing the total weight to about 45 pounds overall. This doesn’t sound like much until you are going up an incline. Then you feel it.

• Battery Life. Well it does it all and then some. I mowed over 16 thousand square feet on a single charge, and finished with almost half the battery left.

• Handle height and adjustment. At 6 foot 4 it would be nice if I could raise the handle about 2 to 3 inches to accommodate my arm length. At the highest point the handle is just a bit low making pushing on anything but flat uncomfortable.

• Bag Capacity. It needs to be about 30 percent larger

• Mulching. Unless you have thin grass, or a small yard, forget it. It does a good job, but it eats the battery for lunch, and it chokes in dense damp grass.

• Mower height adjustment. Super simple and easy. Pull the lever and set the height. Done.

Overall this is my take. The mower has more than enough juice to put away a half acre yard with out issue. But realistically you wouldn’t want to. The mower is heavy and a bit hard to push on rough ground and inclines. If you are over 6 feet tall pushing the mower can be even tougher. It does a great job mowing and the battery life is phenomenal. If I had a smaller yard this would be ideal. I have to say though, according to the pedometer I pushed the mower for almost 5 miles and I was spent by the end of the run.

I recommend this to anyone with a normal yard. The mower is made of superior materials, and the construction is solid. If you are looking to lose the gas engine and go electric, this is a solid mower for you despite the minor issues with weight and handle height.