Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Tool Review: Greenworks 60V Self Propelled Wheelbarrow

Anybody who knows me knows that I love gardening and working in my yard. I am notorious for working myself to complete exhaustion, at which point my wife will ask me if I can moderate. The short answer is no. I cannot. I am like a toddler. I either go 120% or 0%. I have an on/off switch, and that's it. 

Case in point. Two weekends ago I wanted to plant a fruit tree. The problem was that I had two oleander bushes in my way. Over the past four years I have averaged one oleander bush removal per year, while needing an entire year to forget how terrible that process is. But this fruit tree had to be planted, two oleander bushes

needed to be removed, and by the end of the day I could barely move my arms. 

I was recently asked to try out the new Greenworks 60V Self Propelled Wheelbarrow. I am somewhat of a purist, and didn't see the need to improve on a regular wheelbarrow, but I accepted the wheelbarrow in exchange for an honest review. Here's how it went. 

In order to put the wheelbarrow to the test, I decided to get a delivery of wood chips and logs from Chip Drop (Chip Drop is a free service that connects you to a landscaper who has a load of logs, wood chips, or a mixture. They drop off a truck load in your driveway, and you have free mulch. Read more about them here. Within two days of signing up, I had 20 cubic yards of wood chips and logs in my driveway. 

Game on! 

I started immediately with the Greenworks wheelbarrow: load it up, motor it to the spot where the wood chips are going, dump it, repeat. Over and over and over. And over. 

The first time I got Chip Drop, about two years ago, I had wood chips in my driveway for about three months. I just chipped away at the pile (see what I did there!), little by little. For three months. 

With the Greenworks wheelbarrow, I had all of the wood chips distributed, the logs moved, and the driveway cleaned off in six days. Six days, man! 

So here are the things that were amazing about the wheelbarrow---these are my honest opinions. 

1. Balance - with two pneumatic wheels, and one rotating wheel for steering, the weight of what was in the wheelbarrow was never on my arms. That meant more energy for shoveling, and less energy for moving the load. 

2. Self Propelled - I never thought this would be a great thing, but it definitely is. The motor was doing the work for me. All I had to do was steer it to where it needed to go. There are two speeds (rabbit and turtle). Granted, the rabbit speed will not be winning any derby races, but it was a doable pace. 

3. Hydraulic Dump Lever - Again, the piston gets to do the work for me. Pull a lever, slightly lift the handle, and the bucket goes up. There is no balancing that needs to happen, allowing the user to shovel, scoop, or otherwise move the material to where it needs to go (trying to balance a wheelbarrow with one hand while using your other hand to scoop the material out is a thing of the past).

4. Crazy long runtime - in using the Greenworks 60V Self Propelled Wheelbarrow for more than 8 hours, I used one battery the whole time. Granted, I wasn't running the motor continuously, what with shoveling, dumping, shoveling, dumping ad nauseam. But the thing did not quit. 

5. Forward and reverse - stuck in a tight spot? The reverse direction will help you back out. The only thing it's missing is the beeping noise we all have come to love. 

6. Maneuverability - the rotating back wheel makes it really easy to maneuver the wheelbarrow, although there is a little bit of a learning curve. Get the front to where it needs to go, wheel the back to direct it, and move it along. 

7. Kid "wow" factor - with a normal wheelbarrow, I am usually physically spent. When the kids ask for a ride, I give them one or two, but after that, I need the break. Maybe you've experienced this? You wheel the material to where you dump it, and the trip back - when you were hoping to catch your breath with the empty wheelbarrow - is when your wiggly, heavy kids want a ride. You either have to exhaust yourself to hear those giggles or be haunted by their disappointed eyes indefinitely. But with the Greenworks wheelbarrow, since the motor is doing the work, your kids can have as many rides as they like, and you still get your break. (Please note that this lawn tool is not intended for transporting children. I am using it completely off-label and accepting all associated risks, etc. etc. But hey, I said I was going to be honest, and wheeling my kids around is what I do.) 

7.1 Kid capacity - With the 220 pound capacity, you can load the kids up two or three at a time. Sure, it also helps with gravel, wood chips, compost, and anything else that you need to move around the house, home, castle or cabin (#rosieonthehouse), but it's a lot more fun to give the kids a ride, especially when you intentionally run over the bumps, ruts and sticks. (See disclaimer above re: this wheelbarrow is not intended for children.)

The only disadvantage to the Greenworks 60V Self Propelled Wheelbarrow is the price tag. At just under $700 as of March, 2021, it is significantly above the price of a normal wheelbarrow, which some homeowners may have difficulty with. 

Fear not, I have two solutions for you. 

First, Greenworks often has sales on their website and social media. I suggest you follow them on Facebook like I do so you can keep an eye out and watch for a deal. 

Second, and more importantly, take a page out of the Renaissance Dad playbook. When I feel the need to get a new tool, I find a project that could utilize it, and then I look for a way to financially justify the purchase. 

For example, I could have hired a landscape crew to spread wood chips around all of my landscaping for between $1,000 and $1,500. But purchasing the Greenworks 60V Self Propelled Wheelbarrow (and getting free wood chips through Chip Drop and doing all the work myself) actually saves me $300-$800. It also saves me a trip to the chiropractor. My wife falls for this sees the logic every time. 

If you need free wood chips, contact Chip Drop. If you need awesome lawn tools, check out Greenworks. And if you need help finding justification for a new tool, send me a note and I will help you out. 

Enjoy the spring. Enjoy your yard. Enjoy your family!

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