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Outdoor Power Equipment – Information

Definition of Outdoor Power Equipment: Speaking broadly, Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) consists of any product used outdoors (for landscaping or building maintenance, etc.) that utilizes an engine to make it work. Usually, the engine is a gasoline-powered engine; although, both electric motors and propane-powered engines may be used.

Types of Outdoor Power Equipment: The most common gasoline-powered OPE products we represent are:

  • Walk behind lawnmowers
    • Residential: Usually 21 inch. A variety of manufacturers – Honda, Toro, Lawnboy and others. Usually 4 hp to 6.5 hp. A variety of engine manufacturers – Honda Suzuki Briggs & Stratton Tecumseh Kohler LawnBoy (originally Outboard Marine Corp. – OMC).
      • Two main engine types. 4-cycle – separate gas & oil or 2-cycle – gas and oil mixed (largely discontinued on lawnmowers today).
      • The most common mower engine – traditional side-valve design. The newer overhead valve (OHV) design uses less gas & oil than a side- valve engine. Better OHV engines frequently have a cast-iron cylinder sleeve for durability.
      • 2-cycle – gas & oil mixed. Lighter than a 4-cycle engine. Runs at a higher speed than a 4-cycle engine. Sometimes has a cast-iron cylinder sleeve for durability.
      • Dedicated bagging mower. Usually will accept mulching accessory or side discharge kit.
      • Dedicated mulching mower Usually will accept bagging accessory or side discharge kit
      • -3-in-1 mower. Mulches-Bags-Discharges.
      • Cast aluminum cutting deck – traditional deck material of choice.
      • Lightweight Durable – can last almost indefinitely. Won’t rust. Costs more than steel decks.
      • Steel cutting deck – costs less than aluminum decks. Rusts. In cheaper mowers it splits because it is so thin. Does not last nearly as long as aluminum deck.
      • Plastic cutting deck – no rust. No denting. Highly impact resistant.
      • Color all the way through the plastic. Can be readily recycled. Not as rigid as aluminum deck. Lacks the stable feel of a cast aluminum deck. Probably all mower decks in the future will be plastic.
      • Honda and Toro are the two leading lawnmower manufacturers in the industry today. Please “Click” here to connect to our Honda lawnmower webpage, and “Click” here to connect to our page on Toro lawnmowers.
    • Commercial: Usually 21 inch. Steel or aluminum decks. Usually steel wheels with greasable ball bearings. Usually engines with cast iron cylinder sleeves for added engine durability. Usually 5 hp to 6.5 hp engines. Either Honda or Toro make high-quality 21″ walk-behind commercial lawnmowers. “Click” here to connect to our Honda webpage, and “Click” here to connect to our Toro webpage.
  • Snowblowers
    • Single-stage snowblowerLighter and more compact than twin-stage snowblowers. Less “systems” – i.e., no transmission, etc. Frequently “paddle propelled” with rubber paddles installed on the auger. 3 hp to 6 hp 4-cycle & 2-cycle engines. Recoil & electric start. Excellent for small to average-size lots having flat, paved surfaces. Some models will throw the snow up to 33 feet. “Click” here to connect to our Honda snowblower webpage, and “Click” here to connect to our Toro webpage.
    • Twin stage snowblower Larger than single-stage snowblowers. Utilizes a propelling system.
      • Wheel drive Gear driven. Hydrostatic (fluid) driven which is more precisely adjustable to snow conditions and has no shifting of gears – easier to go forward or in reverse.
      • Track drive. Gear driven or Hydrostatic driven. More traction than a wheel-drive model. Suitable for steep inclines & hard-to-access areas. Twin -stage units use a slow-speed front auger to feed the snow into a high-speed impeller which then discharges the snow through an adjustable chute. Usually 5 hp to 12 hp 4-cycle engines.
      • Recoil & electric start.
      • The better twin-stage snowblowers are always more powerful than the better single-stage snowblowers. The best units (Honda) will throw the snow up to 50 feet.
      • Our most popular snowblowers are made by Honda, and our Toro snowblowers are a close second. “Click” here to connect to our Honda snowblower webpage, and “Click” here to connect to our Toro webpage.
  • Line trimmers
    • Bent shaft. Traditionally used by homeowners. Straight shaft units are steadily replacing bent shaft line trimmers.
    • Straight shaft. Usually more powerful than bent-shaft units. Unlike bent-shaft trimmers straight shaft trimmers will accept cutting blades for tall weeds & brush. Usually uses a 2-cycle engine. We carry Echo and Stihl – two of the leading manufacturers of line trimmers and brushcutters. “Click” here to connect to our webpage on Echo line trimmers, and “Click” here to connect to our webpage on Stihl line trimmers.
  • Walk behind intermediate mowersUsually 36 inch to 60 inch. Gear driven or hydrostatic driven. Usually used by lawn maintenance professionals. Toro is the industry leader in intermediate mowers. “Click” here for our Toro webpage on intermediate mowers.
  • TractorsSelected for larger, more demanding work. Defined as lawn tractor or garden tractor. Will accept accessories such as a tiller or snowblower only if it is a Garden Tractor. Garden tractor is invariably a better unit than a lawn tractor. Cutting deck sizes usually range from 30 inches to about 50 inch. Cheap tractors are just that. Better tractors are a bit pricey but will last almost indefinitely. Usually offer the options of mulching, bagging or side discharging.
  • Riders
    • Residential:25 inch to about 38 inch. 8 hp to 12 hp. Usually offer the options of mulching, bagging or side discharging. The good ones are good; the cheap ones are cheap.
    • Commercial:Out-front cutting decks or mid-mount cutting decks. Usually hydrostatic transmission. Dual hydrostatic design drives each wheel independently allowing for “zero-radius” turning. Extremely fast & manuverable. Can mulch, side discharge or bag depending on design. Usually used by lawn maintenance professionals. Our most popular zero-turn tractor is made by Walker – please “Click” here to connect to our Walker webpage.
  • Chainsaws12 inch long cutting bar to an average of 36 inch cutting bar. A better saw runs more smoothly – i.e., less vibration. The key to a good chainsaw is the power to weight ratio – i.e., as powerful as possible yet as lightweight as possible – all other things being equal. A good chainsaw will last indefinitely in residential or light commercial use. Stihl “owns” the chainsaw business internationally. “Click” here to connect to our webpage on Stihl chainsaws.
  • Tillers/CultivatorsTillers are front tine & rear tine design. Tillers will break hard sod. Cultivators are not primarily designed to break sod. Cultivators are, rather, designed to cultivate existing gardens. Some units are classified as tiller/cultivator and will do a bit of each task. We carry Mantis cultivators, and Honda tillers and cultivators. Please “Click” here to connect to our webpage on the Mantis (Little Wonder) cultivator, and “click” here to connect to our Honda tiller/cultivator webpage.
  • Pressure washersCold water pressure washers, hot water pressure washers or steam pressure washers. Gas & electric models. Average 800 psi to 3000 psi. GPM (gallon-per-minute is as important as psi). A variety of accessories for many different applications. All the better units have brass pumps & usually ceramic-coated pistons for durability. The German pressure washers are typically considered the best in the world. We only stock Kranzle pressure washers – they are awesome! “Click” here to connect to our webpage on the industry- leading Kranzle pressure washer.
  • Leaf/Debris blowers
    • Hand Blowers: Electric. Limited power & life expectancy. Limited range – i.e., “married” to the cord
      Gas. More powerful than electric blowers. Last much longer than electric blowers. Much more mobility & versatility than electric blowers. Usually utilize 2-cycle engines.
    • Back pack blowers More power than hand blowers. Easier to use than hand blowers. Nearly always use gas (2-cycle) engines.
    • Ground (walk-behind) blowers. Nearly always gas powered. The most powerful type of common leaf blower. The better ones use dual air discharge for enhanced performance. The better ones are made of plate steel for durability. The better ones use air (pneumatic) tires for ease of use (with air tires the unit “floats” across the lawn; with solid tires the unit gets “trapped” in roots & hollows in the lawn). The better ones can blow air from the front or from the side which provides more versatility.
  • Outdoor vacuums Can be used to vacuum parking lots, curbs, warehouses, lawns, etc. The good ones will gobble everything including glass bottles and cans. The good ones can convert with an intake hose to clean garden beds or difficult-access areas. The good ones last somewhat indefinitely.
  • Gas generatorsIt is generatorly (ha ha) agreed that Honda makes the best gas generators in the world. “Click” here to connect to our webpage on Honda generators. A generator usually uses a 4-cycle engine and Honda makes the best small 4-cycle engines. Long run times and quiet operation are important as you don’t want to have to refill it with gas every two hours, nor do you want to lie awake listening to your generator. Easy-start is important as different family members may have to start it depending upon circumstances. Reliability is mandatory – i.e., if it doesn’t work, it is useless.Generator sizes vary. Standard generators range from 350 watt units to about 6500 watt units. “Click” here for our wattage chart to see the wattage requirements of different types of appliances – i.e., refrigerator, sump pump, furnace, etc. A generator should be purchased to supply the necessary power for specific or important appliances – i.e., you can’t start a 2200 watt (surge) furnace induction motor with a 1000 watt generator. Generators vary enormously in price as a result of quality differences. A generator is a type of insurance policy. If the furnace can’t run & so you can’t heat the house in winter the water pipes may freeze, if the sump pump can’t run a finished basement might get flooded with water and If the refrigerator can’t keep the food cold, etc.

    Generators can be used as “stand-alone” with extension cords from the generator supplying power to different appliances. However, the ideal way to use a residential or office generator is to have a certified electrician install a transfer switch which then enables the generator to supply electricity to various circuits in the house In this situation, once the generator is operating the usage of various appliances in the house is to simply turn them on as usual, etc.

  • Other Products There are other, sometimes more specialized Outdoor Power Equipment products such as pole pruners, hedge trimmers, etc. We carry them all; but for the sake of brevity (?) have listed above the main OPE equipment. Simply contact us if you have questions on other OPE products.

NOTE: It is vital to periodically run any OPE Product with a gasoline engine to ensure that the gas in the fuel system does not break down and go “bad”. A majority of all service-related problems are a direct result of bad fuel. Frustration is defined as owning a nice snowblower that won’t start when the snow finally comes …..