Recently I had the chance to put my second hand electric chainsaw to the test in an epic battle against my in-law's overgrown garden on their quarter acre block.  I also used their Black and Decker scorpion (jigsaw/hand saw) and a cheapish electric hedge trimmer from Aldi.

If there was ever a test for this admittedly lower-end electric gardening equipment, the in-law's garden was it.  5 huge fruit trees darkened the backyard with their overgrown branches as did the neighbour's hedge which had turned the sideway as dark as twilight due to its overgrown state.

Looking forward to the challenge I plugged in the hedge trimmer and set to work.  I was pleased to find that the trimmer sank through the thick hedge like it's petrol cousin with the added advantage that I didn't choke on petrol fumes or need to spend time messing around with two-stroke fuel/oil ratios, electric gardening tools are quite literally plug and play.

Of course extension cords are annoying and limiting (then again so is petrol), but it doesn't take long to get the hang of working around them. And a 20 m extension cord gives you access to pretty much the entire garden, even on a quarter acre block i.e. 1000 m2 and they are considered on the large side these days.  The other point is that electric power tools now have some pretty serious battery power behind them Ego tools have a range that includes 7.5 Ah 56 v battery packs. 

The hedge trimmer made short work of the hedge (no significant power disadvantage there v petrol), the electric hand saw could have done with a sharpen but it also did a nice job pruning back the large branches of the fruit trees, it was also safer to use up high than a chainsaw.  Next came the time to test out my recently sharpened electric Chainsaw on a dead avocado tree.  Now, I have had my doubts about this thing since I bought it, it was not great when I chopped up my neighbour's fallen tree but it was second hand and more than likely not maintained or sharpened.  So it's performance issues were either being underpowered or not sharp and I had just sharpened it with a cheap sharpening kit I bought online.   To my delight it sliced through the dense wood of the avocado tree, all it took to give it the same performance as the petrol powered chainsaws I'd used was a $12 dollar sharpening kit.

In summary I found electric gardening tools in this application as good if not better as petrol powered ones.  I find keeping petrol and two stroke oil on hand annoying (it is never there when you need it for some reason), there is also no need to top up the fuel with plug in options and you don't choke on fumes.  So I'd say for the quarter acre block (even one with some serious foliage) electric tools are a superior option (I'm yet to try a plug in lawn mower but will have a chance soon).

It is not really a surprise that electric power tools are more convenient around the house than their petrol powered cousins; the big question is how electric tools handle tasks around a bush block, where they will need to deal with things like blackberry bushes and fallen logs.   There I am less confident that electric tools will be the better performers, however, with companies like Ego electric tools aiming their offerings at the commercial market you never know.   How battery powered electric gardening tools handle tasks on a bush block will be have to be a part 2.