After four months of ownership, around 40 hours of usage, the self propel motor unit on my Ego 21″ Self-propelled electric lawnmower (Model LM2100SP) failed. Before this failure I was very happy with its performance, and although it was repaired under warranty, the procedure took longer than I think was reasonable.
Ever since I purchased the mower, I have been monitoring the Ego community forums, and I knew that reaching a customer support representative would sometimes take extended hold times, and I had heard that taking a mower to Home Depot for repair could be an extended procedure, so when my self propel motor failed, I was relatively well prepared on how to handle the situation.
August 29th, 2017 – The self propel motor fails. I finish mowing my front lawn pushing the mower by hand (which makes me realize that paying extra for the model with the self propel motor was the right choice.)
August 30th, 2017 Time to call customer support. After re-charging the battery, and letting the mower sit overnight to cool, I tested it again (yep, still no motion) and then called Ego customer support early in the morning (to avoid a long wait on hold.). I only had to wait a few minutes on hold, and then a helpful customer support representative walked me through a few simple questions (yes, my mower blade would turn on and spin, so the battery was good, and the folding handle interlocks were correctly latched, etc…) to verify that the drive motor had actually failed. After that, she “made a note in my file” and told me to take it to Home Depot.
What I wish she had told me: 1. Home depot will charge you a $20 deposit, just to look at the mower (and you authorize up to $150 worth of repairs upon drop-off). They will refund this deposit to you if the work is covered under warranty (mine was). 2. You can only take the mower to a Home Depot that has a tool rental / repair clinic (call first to check). 3. The Home Depot repair clinic doesn’t have their own EGO batteries for testing, so be sure to leave your battery in the mower. [This makes sense in hindsight, but I was hesitant to leave 7.5 AH battery that costs $400 to replace at HD, so this required me to make a second trip back to HD with the battery a few days later.]
Also, after talking with her I received an email from Ego that stated my “case had been closed” (this is the case associated with the phone call to Ego only…but the wording of the message didn’t inspire confidence.)
Because I had heard horror stories about the Home Depot repair clinic taking a long time to repair EGO mowers, I made sure I called them every week to check on the status of my mower, just to make sure it hadn’t fallen into any cracks. I also posted an update every Monday on the ego customer forums, which may have also helped things behind the scenes.
Sep 18th 2017: They are still checking on the mower, but the HD technician felt that they could repair it locally instead of shipping the mower to Atlanta.
Sep 25th 2017: In progress, waiting on a part which usually takes a week or two (presumably the motor/gearbox unit).
October 2nd 2017: HD is still waiting on the part. [After this update to the Ego community forum, April from EGO said that they were tracking the shipment and that the part should be arriving at the HD store within a few days.]
October 9th 2017: HD claims to still be waiting on the part. [I mentioned this on the Ego community forum.]
Finally, on Thursday night (Oct 11th), Home Depot calls me to tell me the mower is ready for pickup. Because the home depot with the repair clinic is 12 miles away from me, I delay pickup until Saturday.
So, it took Home Depot / Ego about five weeks to get my mower repaired, and this was with me keeping on top of Home Depot and making sure that Ego knew what was happening at each step. Reading several other reports on the ego community forum makes me believe that my experience was actually on the faster side of things, as 8-10 week delays are not unheard of if the mower gets shipped to Atlanta for repairs. I paid $180 to a lawncare company and took a break from mowing my yard, but there are at least three other options to keep mowing if you find yourself in this situation.
Take advantage of Home Depot’s 90 day return policy
Many others in the Ego forums have bought another Ego lawnmower and used it while theirs was in for repair, returning it under HD’s 90 day return policy once their mower was repaired. I felt that this action would be ethically questionable, but after waiting five weeks for HD to repair my mower, my ethical resolve is beginning to weaken, and should the mower fail again, I will seriously consider this option.
Buy a second mower
I did consider buying a second Ego mower (and keeping it), mostly as a way to purchase a second 7.5 Ah battery (it is almost as cheap to buy the battery and mower together as to buy just the battery, plus you get a “hot spare” mower). Other than the fact that you have to store the 2nd mower, this does have certain advantages. If one mower fails, you can just switch over to using the second mower while the first is in for repair. And, you get the advantage of having twice as many batteries and chargers. Unfortunately, at the time Home Depot was not offering the same $50 discount on the mower as when I initially purchased mine, otherwise I may have done this. [My wife points out the questionable logic of using the failure of a product to justify the purchase of a duplicate of the same product…]
Of course, you could also buy a cheap used gas mower and several gallons of gas for less than the $180 that I paid for lawn care service, and probably be able to resell it at almost the same price you paid when finished.
Due to the fact that my self propel motor failed after 4 months of ownership, combined with a 5 week repair time, I can’t recommend the EGO electric mower to everyone. At least with a gas mower your options for repair are numerous and much faster. However, if you have decided that you will be going with an electric mower, I still think that the Ego line has the best performance. (I have also posted a review of the mower.) I also own the hand-held leaf blower and chainsaw from their Power+ line, and have been quite happy with them.
The new self propel unit installed by Home Depot failed again (after 9 more months of usage) but I’m much happier with how Ego handled the warranty repair (via a direct replacement), which you can read about here.
2nd Update: Ego has started to produce updated 21″ SP models that have a new self propel unit that matches the one found in their dual battery (premium) mowers. Look for a picture of a phone on the box (see this video for details: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtLkT5X4MQw )
3rd Update: My self propel unit failed a 3rd time, but this time the replacement I got looks different, so I think I may have the new model now!