EGO Power+ Newest ZTR Is A Go
EGO Power+ Z6 with E-Steer and Select Cut XP
The official start of summer is just under a month away, but with all the rain that's been falling this spring, lawns everywhere are making up for lost time. But before you start on the thankless task of de-winterizing your gas-powered mower (cleaning sparkplugs, changing oil, draining leftover fuel, etc) consider how much easier it would be if you could just pull your mower out of storage, start it up and go…no extra maintenance required.
EGO Power+ zero turn (ZTR) and push mowers are battery powered and out-perform most gas mowers on the market. They require little to no regular maintenance (other than the occasional cleaning of the mowing deck and sharpening of blades). And they’re better for the environment. Having tested EGO's products for five years now, I can attest that their batteries retain their capacity year after year.
EGO has had battery-powered ZTRs and push mowers on the market for a while now, so what makes these mowers the best they've ever produced? Let's take a look.
EGO Power+ with E-Steer
Let's not bury the lede. One glance at the picture and you can already see what makes the latest EGO Power+ ZTR different from previous models. Instead of dual levers, which most ZTRs on the market use for steering and propulsion, the Z6 with E-Steer has a centrally-placed steering wheel.
While it looks like a regular steering wheel (or maybe like a Mario Kart wheel attached to a lawnmower), it has the same zero-turn function of the dual lever system, allowing you to easily operate the mower without flailing around like you're on an elliptical. Propulsion is controlled with a foot pedal. Reverse is engaged by pulling back two paddles on the wheel. It's all very intuitive once you sit down. If you can drive a go-kart, you can operate the Z6 with E-Steer.
That said, if you're used to dual-lever ZTR control, you'll have a bit of an adjustment period. My first couple of mows, the Z6 with E-Steer performed exactly as I expected, but I still found it "weird" after years of dual-lever control. The steering wheel also is a bit close, even at the farthest setting. Especially after operating a ZTR where there's nothing in front of me, I would've liked a little bit more room.
However, I wouldn't give up the Z6 with E-Steer for a second because of one crucial design improvement. The mower controls and LCD that are off to the right-hand side on the company's dual-lever ZTRs are now on the steering wheel itself.
Everything you need at your fingertips
Instead of having to turn your head or stop the mower to adjust things like propulsion and blade speed, check the battery level, or turn on the LED lights, you can do it all from the centrally-placed LCD control center at your fingertips. And since you're operating the Z6 with E-Steer with a wheel, it's no big deal to hold on to the wheel with one hand and make adjustments to the mower with the other (or just use your thumbs). It sounds like a small thing, and it is, but it makes an enormous difference in the overall ease of use.
Other than the wheel, there aren't very many differences between the Z6 with E-Steer and the other ZTRs in the line. The side storage cubby that houses the USB charging port is a bit smaller and the hose connector for the deck washout comes attached to the deck (rather than having to find and screw it on every time). That's really it. It still has the super-bright LED deck lights, a convenient lever to raise and lower the deck, and a hydraulic seat suspension that you can adjust to give you a stiff or cushiony ride. My only complaint is that the Z6 still doesn't come with a mulch-plug, it has to be purchased separately.
Anyone who's been woken at the crack of dawn can tell you that gas-powered riding mowers are noisy, noxious machines. The EGO Power+ Z6 is neither. It has the equivalent of a 22 horsepower engine, powered by up to six 56V ARC Lithium batteries (it comes with four). While it's certainly not whisper quiet, the whir of the blades isn't so loud that you can't hold a conversation with the mower running. And as far fumes go…there are none.
Out of the box (well…crate, this is a large machine), you can mow up to 2.5 acres on a single charge, even more with an additional two batteries. What's nice is that you don't have to take the batteries out of the mower to charge them up. The Z6 with E-Steer comes with a wall charger that plugs into a port on the mower, allowing you to charge everything all at once. It takes about an hour, maybe a little more to charge to full.
The other thing I really appreciate about the batteries is that they can be used to power your other EGO Power+ tools. I have a fairly average-sized lawn and after mowing I can easily pop out a battery and use it for my push mower (there's a considerable slope in my backyard that I can't mow with the ZTR), multi-head tool (for edging and hedge trimming), carbon-fiber trimmer, and blower. If the one I'm using ever runs low, I just pop out another battery and keep on doing the yardwork.
The Z6 with E-Steer is $5,999 and is available at Lowes, Ace, and other hardware stores. Assembly isn't too difficult, but if you don't want to deal with unboxing a crate and undoing lots of shipping bolts, I'd recommend finding a store that will sell it pre-assembled. You can find out more about the Z6 on the EGO Power+ website.
EGO Power+ Select Cut XP
The latest push mower from EGO Power+ is no mere self-propelled mower. Rather than manually adjusting the speed that the mower assists you, the Select Cut XP automatically adjusts to your walking speed, anywhere from 3.1-9 MPH. It's especially handy when you have a lawn with a variety of grasses like mine. In some spots I can go full speed, no problem, but others the grass is so thick I need to walk slower to avoid clogging the blades. Instead of constantly tweaking the self-propel control, the Select Cut XP just handles it for me.
Handy and convenient
Another new addition to this year's mowers is a convenient LCD screen mounted on the handlebar. From here you can monitor the battery life, control blade speed, activate the Speed IQ self-propel system, or turn on the LED lights (if you fancy an early morning or dusk mow). The collapsible handle locking system has been improved as well so that it's more reliable (previous models could latch even if the bar wasn't completely extended). There's also a small storage pouch that you can pop your phone into if you're so inclined.
The "XP" on this model refers to the multi-blade system. The plastic mowing deck has two blades mounted in it. The lower blade can be swapped out for mulching, bagging, or extended runtime (the Select Cut XP can go up to 75 minutes on a 56V ARC Lithium battery). All perform perfectly but I prefer the mulching blade. Between it and the upper blade, grass clippings are chopped up so fine, you can't even see them.
The brushless motor is super quiet. Without the blades running, all you'll hear is a slight whine as self-propel engages. The cutting height is easily adjusted with a convenient handle. And like everything else in the EGO Power+ line, you can use the battery to power your other tools.
While the Select Cut XP is definitely more expensive than a high-end gas-powered mower, the fact that you don't have to keep gas and other fluids around or suck down fumes as you mow more than makes up for it. Without having to worry about small engine maintenance, the mower will last longer and perform more consistently season after season. Plus, while some might knock the mower for having an all-plastic body, it means that it's weather resistant and considerably lighter, making it much easier to maneuver.
The 8.3 ft. lbs. of cutting torque provides better performance than most gas mowers. Plus, since it's battery-powered, you can collapse the handle, fold it flat onto the main body, then stand the entire mower vertically. It means that I don't have to dedicate a large rectangle of floor space in the garage to a mower and can tuck it conveniently in the space between my garage door and the outer wall.
The Select Cut XP Mower is $849 at Lowes, Ace, and other local hardware stores. Find out more on the EGO Power+ site.