Testing shows some petrol-powered tools are up to 3x louder than battery alternatives

New testing commissioned by Challenge 2025 and EGO Power Plus has uncovered that some petrol powered tools are up to three times louder than battery alternatives. 

Every professional gardener understands the familiar loud sounds of hedge trimmers, lawn mowers and more of the popular petrol power tools. While the loud noise is temporary during the use of the tools, the noise is such they are disruptive to the environment around them – interrupting meetings, waking up neighbours and much more.

Also, long-term exposure to high levels of noise and vibration can cause various health issues for operators in the future.

As part of the Challenge 2025 initiative, the latest research found by EGO Power Plus has confirmed that battery power tools are quieter and safer to use, alongside avoiding unnecessary emissions.

The testing

To understand the difference between petrol power and battery power, and the individual noise and vibration levels they emit, independent tests were carried out across five product categories: rotary mowers; hedge trimmers; line trimmers; leaf blowers and chainsaws. A petrol and battery tool were tested for each category, each comparable in relation to performance and cost.

Accuracy was assured as testing was completed by Earlsmere, a leading vibration and noise testing company. They measured the ‘real-life’ levels of noise and vibration which can be expected when in use.

Also, for noise and vibrations, regulators set daily limits that should not be exceeded. These limits can be found inside various work-related safety documents, including the Control of Noise at Work Regulations (2005), and for vibration, Control of Vibration at Work Regulations (2005).

Noise testing

When measuring noise, a logarithmic scale is used which means in decibel terms, a doubling in perceived loudness corresponds to roughly an increase in 10 db(A). In every category, EGO’s tools produced less noise than petrol-powered alternatives.

Line trimmers were found to be the loudest of all the tools, generating an alarming 103.8db(A) – nearly three times louder than the EGO BCX3800 line trimmer. Putting this into context, 100db(A) is the same as standing 305 metres away from a jet taking off.

At the other end of the scale, EGO’s line trimmer still exceeded the HSE’s exposure limit of 87db(A), but only just at 88dB(A). This shows the difficulty in keeping line trimmer’s sound down, but EGO are helping the industry move in the right direction with a battery-powered alternative.

Putting this reduction in real terms, reducing noise levels from 100dB(A) to 85dB(A) means a user can be exposed to noise for three hours before a risk assessment is needed.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the noise testing, an EGO mower was proven to generate just 74.7dB(A). This figure is 10.3dB lower than the exposure limit level and 30% quieter than the market-leading petrol equivalent.

Vibration testing

During vibration testing, three out of five battery-powered tools came in under the daily vibration exposure limit of 2.5m/s2m, set by HSE, at which vibration becomes a concern for the user.

However, petrol tools showed completely opposite readings. Four out of five of the tools tested exceeded the exposure limit. These startling results means most petrol-power tools tested cannot be used for the duration of a working day (8 hours) without causing long-term health concerns for operators.

It’s time to end long-term exposure to noise and vibration

Prolonged exposure to high levels of noise and vibration has negative health implications for all operators. Conditions include: temporary, partial or full hearing loss, Raynaud’s phenomenon that affects blood circulation in the hands and fingers, and even cardiovascular problems. The latter represents a particular problem as the European Environment Agency estimates this contributes to 48,000 premature deaths every year.

That’s why it’s important that noise and vibrations levels are managed for professional gardeners. This can be done by ensuring they have a basic level of PPE. Most important is education, ensuring operators understand the noise and vibration exposure levels and the tools that are most harmful.

The biggest action anyone can do is to make the switch from petrol to battery. For example, an EGO Mower can be used for 12.5 hours without exceeding any harmful limits while a comparable petrol mower can be used for just 5 hours.

Pledge to make the switch today to not only protect the health of all garden tool operators, but also help save the planet at the same time. Also encourage others to do the same.

You can join Challenge 2025 today by downloading The Report to discover more of our findings or finding out what you can do to help leave petrol in the past.

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