The new Troy-Bilt Flex modular outdoor power equipment system is kind of like a Transformer for your yard. In just two seconds, you can turn a lawnmower into a snow thrower or a pressure washer or a leaf blower. And more options are on the way.
The affordable system works with a series of attachments that snap onto a single, self-propelled engine called the Flex Power Base ($400). It's not unlike the way you can attach multiple different tools to your vacuum, except the Flex is much, much more versatile and powerful. You literally snap the attachments onto the front of the motor and do whatever chore you want.
The Flex 28' Wide-Cut Mower and Flex Pressure Washer
The Flex is designed for the average consumer who would normally have to buy several different pieces of power equipment for yard and home maintenance, then wrestle them out of the garage and struggle to remember how to start and operate each machine. The Troy-Bilt solution allows you buy one engine, the Power Base, and add attachments as you need them. The system is launching with four attachments: a 28" wide-cut mower ($500), a 3,000 psi pressure washer ($280), a jet sweep for leaves ($280), and a snow thrower ($400). But the company plans on releasing over ten attachments in the next two years, including a chipper/shredder, a water pump, and a log splitter.
Troy-Bilt showed off the system for the first time on a rooftop in Midtown Manhattan. I got the chance to manipulate the modular parts myself, and it was just as easy as advertised. Each piece of the Flex system is light enough for one person to handle—though lifting the Power Base is easier with two—and clicking them together is about as easy as snapping together two Lego pieces. If only something like this had existed when I was doing chores as a kid and tripping over a half dozen different machines in our family's shed!
The Flex Jet Sweep and Flex Snow Thrower
The Troy-Bilt Flex goes on sale in March 2015 at Lowe's. Again, the system launches with four attachments and Troy-Bilt will be rolling out more next fall and the following spring. Troy-Bilt says that buying attachments that snap onto the Power Base ends up saving consumers about 30 percent. Of course, the real deal is the convenience and envy you'd surely draw from your neighbors when they see your new yard Transformer.
The Flex Power Base with nothing attached