The team at Pro Tool Reviews spends a lot of time focused on outdoor power equipment. As we reflect on 2023, we pulled together our best lawn care equipment and OPE products covering core categories, including gas and battery options.
Professional lawn care crews who focus on residential lawns (affectionately known aa “mow and blow” crews) have to hit a lot of lawns every day during the mowing season and they’re tough on their equipment. Exmark, Hustler, and Scag all come up frequently in conversations about the best commercial mower, and our top choice is the Hustler Hyperdrive series.
While the Super Z series is likely more popular, the Hyperdrive series adds additional durability to the transmission system, keeping your downtime to a minimum.
Deck sizes range from 60 to 72 inches and there are 35 to 40 HP engine options from Kawasaki and Vanguard. For those of you who like to mow at speed, you can run up to 16 MPH on this model. No matter what your mowing style is, Hustler has a 3,000-hour warranty on the hydraulic system and a 5-year/1200-hour warranty on the full mower.
Price: Contact your local dealer
As we bid adieu to Honda this year, the HRC series still gets two thumbs up from us while you can get them. From there, we turn to Exmark and its Commercial X line that complements its Lazer Z zero-turn mowers well. Some professionals will certainly turn to the higher-capacity 30-inch model, but we expect the 21-inch model will find its way onto more trailers.
Exmark wisely uses a Honda 163cc GXV engine with a legendary reputation for reliability. It’s fed by a generous 1-gallon fuel tank and turns the blade at tip speeds up to 18,500 fpm. There’s also an option for a Kawasaki FJ180V engine if you’d like to step up to a 179cc engine.
The deck is 1/4-inch aluminum construction that keeps the weight down (112 pounds) while maintaining high durability. The deck is adjustable from 4.5 inches on the high side all the way down to 1 inch while the drive runs at speeds up to 4.2 MPH.
Price: Starts at $1799.00
Boasting a monstrous 10 ft-lbs of torque (more than a 200cc gas engine!), Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel self-propelled lawn mower is the strongest battery-powered walk-behind we’ve tested so far. Using a pair of 12.0Ah batteries, it can run for up to an hour in light conditions and we ran it for more than 40 minutes when taking off 4 – 6 inches of growth. If there’s a downside, it’s that the drive thumb bar introduces some thumb fatigue, but we were able to adjust our grip to deal with it.
The mower also has a tough build designed to handle professional use while offering the convenience of single-point height adjustments and vertical storage. While there are larger options now available (such as Greenworks’ 82V 30-inch), Milwaukee’s price tag is much easier on your budget.
Price: $1099.00 with two 12.0Ah batteries and a dual-port rapid charger
There’s a ton of debate about the best gas string trimmer overall, and Echo consistently shows up in it with their X-Series SRM-2620/2620T model. The only difference between the two is the “T” model has 2:1 high-torque gearing, and we generally recommend that one for professional use.
This model balances all things well. The 25.4cc engine keeps the weight reasonable (12.5 pounds dry) and is consistently easy to start. In terms of power-to-weight ratio, the 2620T is as good as it gets. Holding just under 21 ounces of fuel, it has solid runtime. It’s also highly maneuverable and the narrow guard gives you great sightlines on the 17-inch cutting swath. As an added bonus, the Speed-Feed 400 head makes line changes simple.
Price: $389.99 ($359.99 for the 2620)
EGO started back in the day with surprisingly strong performance for a cordless string trimmer and eye-opening vibration control. Since then, it’s only gotten better as battery and motor technology have improved. Add to that, EGO’s PowerLoad feature makes line changes the easiest to load we’ve ever used—just thread your line to the middle and press a button.
As for the latest advancement, Line IQ automatic line feeding keeps a 16-inch cutting swath without having to bump the head. It sets the bar very high for any other brand hoping to compete for the title of the best battery-powered string trimmer.
Price: Price: $219.00 bare, $299.00 with a 4.0Ah battery and charger
A few years back we ranked the Stihl BR 700 at or near the top of our best backpack leaf blower list. The Stihl BR 800 C-E Magnum backpack blower improves upon that model in two very important ways. First, it blows about 20% harder. In fact, it nets around 41 Newtons of force and blows an impressive 239 MPH of average air velocity with 912 CFM.
You might find the second improvement even more impressive. Stihl integrated the Easy2Start system. Rather than having to take the blower off your back to pull the cord, a quick pull of the side handle overcomes the engine’s compression and starts up the blower. Yes, you heard that correctly—you can start the blower while wearing it. Take my money!
And that might be the only downside to this blower. While it starts easy, blows hard, and runs forever on the 2000cc (over 1/2-gallon) fuel tank, it’s expensive. Even so, we still think this is the best commercial backpack leaf blower around and it has a large dealer network for service after the sale.
- Best For: Professional use
- Engine: 79.9 cc
- Airspeed: 239 MPH
- Airflow: 912 CFM
- Blowing Force: 41 Newtons
- Noise Rating: 78 decibels
- Dry Weight: 25.8 lbs
We had blowers from EGO, Ryobi, and Stihl all hitting more than 21 Newtons. But that was then, and this is now. EGO’s 765 CFM blower is redefining the landscape by producing more than 25 Newtons with its stock 5.0Ah battery. It even touched 26 Newtons using a 10.0Ah battery in our tests. That’s legit backpack blower territory! When it comes to handheld models, this is the most powerful cordless leaf blower you can get.
- Best For: High-performance homeowner and property owner use
- Max Airflow: 765 CFM
- Max Air Speed: 200 MPH
- Blowing Force: 26.0 Newtons
Price: $249.00 bare tool, $329.00 with a 5.0Ah battery and charger, and $499.00 with two 5.0Ah batteries and charger
Stihl HSA 130 Series Hedge Trimmers
Stihl’s HSA 94 series hedge trimmers are excellent, but the HSA 130 series steps up to another level for commercial landscape crews. They take the battery off of the tool, shifting it to your belt or back and reducing the overall weight in your hands to 9 pounds.
If you’re familiar with Stihl’s hedge trimmer lineup, the “R” and “T” designations are already familiar. If not, the HSA 130 R offers three speeds: 2800, 3000, and 3200 SPM. Its strong motor combines with a 1/5-inch capacity specifically to handle applications that include pruning.
The HSA 130 T targets high-speed cutting and does so impressively. Geared to 4400, 4700, and 5000 SPM cutting speeds, you’ll make quick work of your customer’s regular trimming and shaping.
In our book, the best gas pressure washer isn’t just one model—it’s the Simpson SuperPro Roll-Cage series. We love the 4-wheel, heavy-duty roll cage frame design, and that they’re made in the USA with global materials. Whether you’re rolling it in and out of your shop or loading and unloading from a trailer, it’s easier to move than traditional 2-wheel designs.
We prefer the Honda-powered models, and there are also Kohler and CRX engine options. Pressure ratings range from 3000 to 7000 PSI with flow ratings from 2.5 to 8.0 GPM. If you use pressure washers professionally, you’re sure to find a PSI/GPM combination that works for you.
Price: $949.99 – $5299.99
When it comes to choosing the best battery-powered chainsaw for professional use, we see the theme of three models separating themselves from the competition continue. This time, we added some new brands to the mix, though. DeWalt, Greenworks Commercial, and Stihl all came out with legit battery-powered Farm and Ranch class 20-inch chainsaws with performance that leaves everything else in their wake.
Stihl earns our vote as the top choice in this class, with 3 performance settings so you have options when you want to prioritize runtime over power. It has an LED screen that displays power status, mode, the chain brake position, and has a low oil alert. For those of you managing inventory, it’s also Connected 2 A compatible.
Stihl also introduced the AP 500 S battery along with the saw, giving the MSA 300 C-O an advanced power source to pull its high performance from.
- Motor: brushless
- Bar length: 16 – 20 in
- Weight: 9.9 lbs (powerhead only), 14.1 lbs (with AP 500 S battery)
- Low oil sensor
- Electronic operating system with 3 mode selections
- Captive bar nuts
- Magnesium motor housing
- Ematic bar/Oilomatic chain compatible
- Quickstop chain brake
Price: Starting at $799.99 bare (prices may vary)
Honda 2-Stage Track Drive Snow Blower HSS1332ATD
Two Made in the USA models made it to the final cut in the best 2-stage snow blower class: Honda’s 32-inch Track Drive and Toro’s 32-inch self-propelled model. There are cases to make for both and it may come down to whether you want tracks or not.
Toro is the stronger of the two with a 420cc engine that can throw snow up to 65 feet. Honda’s no slouch with its 13HP GX390 engine offering 56 feet of throw and a bulletproof reputation. Both are capable of clearing 32 inches of width and up to 21 inches of depth. They’re also both full featured, making them highly convenient to use.
Aside from the engine, the biggest separation is in the drive system—tracks for Honda and wheels for Toro. If you’re clearing particularly slick or sloped areas, those tracks will make a big difference.
For us, the reliability of the Honda engine and the Track Drive kicks it into the win column, even though we give up a little power.
- Motor: Honda GX390
- Stages: Two
- Clearing Width: 32 inches
- Optimal Clearing Depth: 21 inches
- Rated Throw: 56 feet