In recent years, lawn mower technology has changed for the better, particularly in the arena of electric power. Gone are the days of being tethered to an electric cord, with poor cutting power to boot. Cordless, or battery-operated lawn mowers, now can compete with and even exceed in many areas traditional gas-powered lawn mowers. This is all thanks to the advent of lithium ion battery technology.
Discerning readers and researchers want to know the pros and cons of electric lawn mowers vs gas lawn mowers. You may have a hint as to the outcome of this discussion based on the website you have arrived at. But this is for good reason. Read on.
Getting Ready to Use Your Mower
- Typically, with a gas mower you will want to make sure there is enough gas in the tank. Do your best not to spill gas or breathe the fumes. Also don’t forget to check the oil, depending on your engine type. You might also need to be concerned about the condition of your spark plug(s) and any filters such as air, fuel or oil filters.
- With a cordless electric mower you just take a charged battery and plug it in. You are ready to go. No mess and no fumes. A wonderful bonus I learned when I purchased my mower is that modern electric lawn mowers do not require oil. There are no filters or spark plugs to get dirty or wear out.
Starting Your Mower
- We have all had the dubious pleasure of starting a typical 2 stroke or 4 stroke gas engine. Press the primer multiple times. Set the choke. Pull the string over and over to start the engine. Hopefully you don’t have back or shoulder problems. There are electric start gas lawn mowers that help to reduce the agony of the experience, of course
- When I start my electric lawn mower, I press a button and hold down the safety bar (bail switch or switch lever), and it starts, right away, every time.
Sound and Gas Fumes
- Gas lawn mowers tend to make noise. A lot of noise. You should be wearing hearing protection when you use one. You also have to consider what time of day you are mowing your grass. The noise can be irritating to neighbors, family or even pets and animals around you.
- Gas lawn mowers also produce exhaust, which is a health concern for both you and the environment around you. The smell tends to get on you, your clothing and hair as well.
- Electric lawn mowers are much more quiet than gas mowers.
- Electric lawn mowers produce no emissions. There are no smelly fumes or health concerns associated with them.
More details on this section in my Yard Work Safety Tips Blog.
The Lawn Mowing Technique – Gas Vs Electric
Prior to the purchase of my first electric lawn and garden tool, I had years of experience with the typical gas-operated equivalent tools. Due to the hassle of starting, discussed above, people tend to leave a gas lawn mower or other tool running the entire time they use it. We don’t want to have to stop and start it over and over.
Often gas-operated lawn mowers get left running even when not cutting. Perhaps we have finished one portion of our lawn, and are walking over to another. We might be bending down to pick up a stick. If you have dogs like me, you might be bending down to get rid of something else.
With an electric lawn mower, the starting process is so easy and rapid, that we don’t mind stopping and starting as needed. We only run the motor when we are actually doing the work. Over time, this creates a huge difference in both the amount of energy used, and the amount of run time and wear and tear on the engine.
Typically, you will have at least one spare battery that is charged. It takes an instant to replace the discharged battery with a charged one and keep on mowing.
When you’re running low on gas or oil for your gas lawn mower, assuming you have more and do not need to go out to the gas station, you need to repeat the fill process all over again. Once more you must deal with the mess and fumes.
Using Your Mower Over Time
Warranties vary by manufacturer, but we can use them as a rough reflection of expected durability of the lawn mower.
- A typical gas-powered lawn mower will come with a two-year warranty.
- My favorite brand of electric lawn mower comes with a five-year warranty. The batteries and chargers come with a three-year warranty.
What About Cost?
Electric mowers will end up costing less than gas mowers over time. Your electric mower is likely going to last longer than a gas one, as I noted regarding warranties. Also, you won’t have to be purchasing gas or oil for it.
What About Power?
I see a lot of reviews on the Internet that mention how gas engines have more power than electric. Practically speaking, with actual use, I don’t see this. I live in an area that gets lots of rain in the fall and winter. Grass around here grows really fast! My 21 inch electric mower can easily compete with gas mowers in this regard, even including the ability to mulch grass. I have used both gas and electric mowers at my home and work, in the same conditions, so I have a good real-world basis for comparison.
I have also noticed that unless gas lawn mowers have excellent maintenance, they tend to slowly run more and more roughly and lose power over time. Additionally, they tend to become harder to start over time. That is not the case with electric mowers. As with gas mowers, the blade on electric mowers does require sharpening or replacement periodically, but that is where the similarity ends.
Can You Get Other Uses Out of Your Mower?
While possible, it would take a lot of work, with more potential mess and unhealthy fumes, to take gas out of your mower and use it in other tools.
The batteries that are used in cordless electric lawn mowers can be used in many other things. I personally have a lawn mower, a chainsaw, a weed trimmer and a hedge trimmer that all can use the same batteries. My batteries can even be used in a portable power station to provide electric power to my house in a power outage!
The Verdict Is In – Electric Lawn Mowers Have Arrived
Years ago, as a boy going door to door in my neighborhood with a gas lawn mower, I never would have believed that an electric lawn mower could have replaced it. Times have changed.
In almost every way, the best electric lawn mowers have surpassed their gas-powered counterparts. If you have been considering the purchase of a new lawn mower, and wondering whether electric is worth it, I encourage you to take the plunge. It is well worth it!