Electric lawn mowers vs gas lawn mowers, that is the question. This post will be about the differences between the two types. I will go over the pros and cons of each and give you as much information as I can to help you make a decision about which is better for your situation.
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Lawnmowers have been around since the early 19th century. The early mowers were all push powered and quite heavy. Early in the 20th century a gasoline powered lawnmower was introduced. Electric mowers did not come along until much later time. When that happened all of sudden people had three different types to choose from. If you found this article you are probably already discounting getting a push type mower, although I believe that is still a good choice and I will include in-depth reviews on those here at a later time. If that is still an option for you be sure and check out the Fiskars 6201 Push Lawn Mower. For a people powered mower its one of the best.
First let’s go over the pros and cons of the gasoline powered lawnmower.
Gas Mower Pros
- Powerful engine
- Not tied to a cord
- No batteries to recharge
- Been around a long time
- Able to be serviced by most lawnmower shops
- Great if you like the roar of an engine
Gasoline Powered Cons
- Requires gasoline
- Requires oil and oil changes
- Need tuneups at minimum annually
- Exhaust contains noxious gases
- Gasoline can be dangerous to store
- Can be difficult to start
- Most are started with a pull cord
Now from this list of pros and cons there may be some that stand out particularly for you. If you are thinking about an electric lawnmower to replace a gasoline powered mower you may recognize some of these as difficulties you have encountered. Let me list the pros and cons of the electric lawnmower next and then we’ll get into a more thorough comparison in this post.—(Return to Top)
Electric Lawn Mower Pros
- No pull-cord
- No need for gas or oil
- No need to go to the gas station
- No pull-cord
- No tune-ups
- Much quieter than a gasoline powered mower
- Cleaner and no environmental hazards that can be spilled
Electric Mower Cons
- Motors are generally weaker than a gasoline powered mower
- Corded models you have the cord to deal with
- Battery-powered models you have the battery to charge
- Battery-powered model you need to replace the battery after several years
- Not the greatest for long grass
- Generally not recommended for brush-hog type work
- Not able to leap tall buildings in a single bound
Just from these two lists you may be able to to decide which type of mower you want to go with. You may have noticed I am not particularly fond of pull-cords. I would miss the ability to tackle overgrown weeds but I do that rarely anyway and could always do that with a weed-whacker.
If you’re worried about being environmentally friendly then probably the most green choice is a corded electric mower. The reason it is greener than a battery-powered electric mower is because you do not have a battery that needs to be disposed of after several years. Pollution from the power plant are far fewer per amount of power received and there is no comparison when you’re considering a green choice.
Emissions! Now this is one area that there is no comparison at all. Gasoline powered mowers stink, literally. From the gas that you pour in to the burned oil that you have to change and exhaust that comes out the tailpipe it all smells and none of it’s good for you. Electric mowers win hands down in this department. On another site someone listed the approximate number of homes that fire up a gasoline powered lawnmower at 54 million every weekend. That’s a lot of pollution.—(Return to Top)
As far as initial costs go gasoline, corded electric and cordless lawn mowers can have a wide range of prices. It all depends on the number of features, the power of the mower and the size of the cutting deck. When it comes to operating costs however electric almost always wins out. Yes it takes power from the power company to operate your electric lawnmower whether battery or cordless but it costs a lot less.
I did a lot of searching on the Internet before I wrote this short article and found people that have actually compared the cost of running their electric lawnmower to using a gasoline powered mower that they replaced. The person or persons in question must have been scientifically minded. They calculated the cost of about $4.70 an acre, may be bit more with gas prices today, for running a gasoline powered mower. The cost for a electric lawnmower was between 67 cents and $1.20 per acre. Again electric mowers win in this department after the initial purchase.—(Return to Top)
Don’t let anybody tell you that electric mowers are quiet. They are much quieter than a gas powered lawn mower but they still sound like a vacuum cleaner in most cases. Even with electric lawnmowers there is a range of sound levels some are a bit louder and others can be quieter. It’s been stated that the electric mowers are at least half of the sound level of the gas mower and many times as low as one quarter.
The other department that electric lawnmowers shine in is the maintenance department. Maintenance on a gas powered lawn mower will far outstrip the maintenance on electric lawnmower. Between oil changes, tune-ups and blade sharpening the gas powered mower takes a lot more maintenance. In general an electric lawnmower will only need to have the blades sharpened periodically.—(Return to Top)
Power and Ability
These are the two areas that the gas lawnmowers may outdo an electric lawnmower. The power of the gas lawn mower cannot be matched by an electric lawnmower. Letting your grass go for three weeks at a time is not a good option if you have an electric lawnmower. If you tend to do this you probably should stick with the gas powered lawn mower or you will be using your electric lawnmower twice. The first time at a high setting and the second time lowered down.
When I say the gas powered mower has better ability it’s because it is stronger it’s not tied to a cord and if you run out of gas you can refill it immediately. If you’re using a battery powered mower that is not tied to a cord then you have to wait until the battery is recharged if you run out of juice. If you opt to buy a second battery this increases the initial expense of a battery-powered lawnmower.—(Return to Top)
One of the biggest factors you need to look at in choosing a lawnmower is what type of yard you have. A yard that is more than 1/3 to 1/2 of an acre may require that you have a gasoline powered mower just for ease of use. There are people that use electric lawnmowers on lots up to 1 acre but either they have outlets available easily or they opted to purchase a second battery for a battery-powered model. The other thing you need to look at when deciding what type of mower is how many obstacles you have in the yard. If you have a lot of obstacles you may want to go with a gasoline powered mower or a battery powered mower because too many obstacles make using a cord a bit more difficult.
In reading reviews on different corded electric mowers I found that most people adjust fairly well to dealing with the cord. It becomes a non-issue after you have done it a few times. Be sure and check out my article on mowing with a corded lawnmower. You can still do cross-hatching with an electric mower if you follow what I will show in that article.—(Return to Top)
I hope this article has helped you even just a little bit. You probably need to get a new mower to replace an old gasoline beast or you have a new home and you’re just starting out. There is lots of information on my site to help you decide which electric lawnmower you want to get if you want to get one at all. If you decide to go with gasoline I would recommend the Husqvarna 7021R model. If you’re going for an electric lawnmower please take a look at some of my other articles on the best mowers for 2012.—(Return to Top)
To cleaner quieter mowing,