When it comes to shopping for a lawnmower, most homeowners are faced with a choice between a gas or electric rotary mower. Sure, there are reel mowers, which offer an exceptional cut and are available in gas, electric, and manpower options, but they aren’t for everyone (especially not the man-powered ones). Reel mowers are only feasible on small lawns and at mowing heights of under one inch. Unless you have time to cut your grass multiple times a week, a rotary mower, which is the type with a blade that spins under a steel deck, is for you.
But what about an electric model? Suppose you want to make cutting the grass more environmentally sustainable or don’t have the storage space that a gas-powered mower requires. In that case, an electric mower could work for you, and there are lots of battery-powered options available if you don’t want to drag around an extension cord.
However, electric mowers tend to be less powerful than gas mowers, so you’ll need to stay on top of keeping your lawn manicured – electric mowers can struggle with longer grass. And battery-powered mowers might not have the oomph to tackle a larger yard. Here’s what you need to know before committing to an electric mower.
Electric Mowers Aren’t As Powerful As Gas Mowers.
One of the main drawbacks of an electric mower is that the battery-powered engine doesn’t have the same amount of torque that gas-powered engines have. That means your electric mower won’t be as powerful as a gas mower might be, and therefore won’t be able to tackle long grass or weeds or even mulch dead leaves that have fallen onto the lawn (you’ll have to rake them instead).
However, corded electric mowers may offer a little more power than battery-operated models, and even those battery-operated electric models are improving all the while. There are plenty of battery lawn mowers on the market that claims to be capable of tackling all turf types and even mowing heights of three inches or more, so don’t write off an electric mower just because you’re not the most diligent about keeping the grass neatly clipped.
You Also Can’t Pour More Electricity Into Your Electric Mower.
The great thing about gas lawn mowers is that they can run as long as you need them to and as long as you have more gas. When it comes to electric mowers, at least the battery-powered ones, you need to worry about whether it will hold a charge long enough to let you get through your whole lawn. Lawnmower batteries tend to last for 30 to 60 minutes, so if your lawn takes more than a half-hour to mow, electric may not be the right option for you. Even if you have a small lawn, you may want to buy a second battery to keep charged as a backup in case you run out of juice halfway through.
Corded electric mowers also eliminate the problem of running out of juice, but they do it by making you drag an electric cord around your yard. This requires special mowing techniques to avoid running over the cord, and you need to make sure you get an extension cord large enough to power the mower. Check your owner’s manual for the proper cord gauge.
However, Electric Mowers Do Have Their Perks
There are several reasons why an electric mower might perform better for you than a gas model. For one thing, electric mowers don’t require gas, oil, spark plugs, air filters, or any of the tune-ups or maintenance that gas mower engines require. That means no spilling gas on yourself, no need to dispose of used oil, and no small engine maintenance. Just hose and scrape off your mower deck after each mow, and you’re done. And because there’s no gas, your electric mower isn’t a fire hazard, so you don’t need to worry about storing it in a detached garage or shed — but you definitely should avoid using an electric mower while your grass is wet because you could get an electric shock.
Electric mowers are also quieter and cleaner than gas mowers — there’s no exhaust to choke on, or loud engine sounds to wake the neighbors. Go ahead and cut the grass at 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday — no one can hear you! Electric mowers start at the push of a button, and you can even get self-propelled electric lawnmowers now.
If you have a small lawn and can commit to keeping your grass well-manicured, an electric mower might be right for you. It can save you the hassle of ongoing small engine maintenance, remove the need to store gas in your home, and help you save the environment — one mowing session at a time.