So, it’s time for a new mower and you’re considering going electric. The new electric mowers are quieter, more efficient and simply look cooler. Are these new high-tech landscaping machines worth their salt or should you stick with the tried and true gas powered mowers? In this article we will delve into the differences and I’ll follow up in closing with my own personal take on which option I prefer.
Lawn and garden maintenance involves a lot of time and patience nnd, of course, you also need the right tools for the job. When it comes to tools, lawn mowers will always be on the list. But, if you’re planning to buy one, it’s never just a simple case of going to the store and buying the first lawn mower you see.
Technology has come a long way, and now you have various options when buying lawn mowers. Do you want the battery-powered electric lawn mower or the corded one? Or do you prefer a gas-powered lawn mower instead?
In this article, let us help you decide between gas-powered and electric lawn mowers. Check out the things you need to consider and how to make an informed decision to get the best value for your money.
Types of Lawn Mowers
Comparing lawn mowers will never be an exact science, so you need to look at the different types available in the market. You have the gas, corded, and battery-powered electric mowers. The latter requires a charged battery to operate, while the corded one requires being plugged into a power outlet. Meanwhile, gas-powered lawnmowers are run with gasoline.
Circa 2010 and prior almost all mowers in the average consumer’s garages were gas-powered. These days, the options have cut this number far, far down. Gas-powered mowers may be loud, but they remain a viable option as they come at lower cost per feature and power along with relatively high reliability when compared to electric alternatives.
Gas-powered mowers are more water resistant as there are minimal eclectic features and circuits which can get ruined in the rain or even just dewing grass.
When your gas-powered mower breaks down you simply take it to a small engine mechanic or fix it yourself. This is not quite the case with electric mowers.
From a cost-per-cut standpoint, the amount of gas that needs to be used is almost negligible. However, time is money, and you will need to go and fill up that gas can every few months.
One of the biggest downsides to gas-powered mowers is the noise. Gas engines can make quite a racket which is why high-end landscaping companies are starting to make the switch. If you live in a hot climate area (like Pinellas County, Florida) you likely prefer to mow early in the morning. For the love of all things in need of rest, please don’t mow with your gas-powered monster before 8:00am.
If you’re looking for a deal while keeping your cut quiet, corded electric mowers might be just right for you. These electric mowers are free of needing expensive lithium-ion batteries and therefore are significantly less expensive than their battery-powered alternatives.
Don’t mow in the rain! Corded mowers are generally the most prone to water damage as manufacturers know their target market is looking for a deal, and thus they cut a few corners to keep their production costs lower. Plus, you’re running an extension cord likely hundreds of feet which in and of itself is a risky endeavor especially considering the very tool you’re pushing around can easily snap that cord into bits.
Mowing while holding a cord behind you, making sure to not run it over can be painstaking and for this reason, the corded electric mower takes it’s place on the podium as the least viable option for a viable mowing machine.
Battery Powered Electric
Biggest Pro: Convenience.
Quickly taking more and more market share the battery-powered electric mowers are becoming commonplace in consumer usage across the country. These voltage-powered tools of the future are almost silent when compared to gas-powered mowers however that’s not the biggest selling point. Electric battery mowers are extremely convenient. Just throw the batter on the charger the night before the mow and you’re good to go. Some of the more premium mower batteries can even hold a charge for weeks, allowing consumers to get multiple mows on a single battery. Batteries capable of such feats come at astronomically high prices even reaching into the thousands for small consumer-level push mowers. Conversely, smaller, less expensive battery machines may require a battery change once, or even twice just for a small yard.
Biggest Con: Cost.
Battery-powered mowers can be purchased for roughly the same price as a gas-powered mower however, a $200 gas-powered mower will be significantly more powerful than a $200 battery-powered mower. To get the same level of power you’d need to spend roughly 40% more on the battery-powered alternative.
Aside the direct cost of purchasing an electric mower, you’ll also need to maintain the machine and for the most part there really isn’t much needed in the way of maintenance. Keep the blade clean, properly care for the batteries (really important actually) and that’s about it. However, when an issue does arise such as the motor malfunctioning you will need to find a specialty shop to assist you, or somehow send your mower back to the manufacturer for repair.
The real X factor: Battery longevity. Lithium-ion batteries have a shelf live. A premium battery properly cared for can last for up to 5 years. In the battery’s end of life, the ability to hold a charge will diminish. This means that even the best mower will start to see significantly less usage time per cycle. Thus, by the third or fourth year of ownership you may find that you need to change batteries twice, or even three times to complete the same mowing job you initially were able to do with a single battery.
Replacement Battery Costs
Replacement mower batteries can range in cost from $50 to $300. One of the common electric mower brands, EGO, currently has one of the top selling mowers, the EGO Power+ LM2102SP. This mower comes in at a price point of $600 and a single battery carries a cost of $130 or more. You may need two batteries to complete the job so be prepared to spend roughly $300 every few years to replace your batteries and that’s assuming the company is still producing that particular model.
Battery Powered Unmanned Robot
Yes, in case you didn’t know, unmanned robotic lawn mowers exist and beginning to take up a small market share in the consumer mower marketplace. This technology is still very young and such mowers carry price tags over $1,000. Given the relative newness to the market, the high price tag and minimal user feedback, we are not seriously considering this an a viable option to recommend to the public just yet.
These lawn mower types all have their pros and cons. Choosing which one suits you will depend on how and where you will use it. If you are looking for a lightweight mower with low maintenance, you can go for the corded electric mower or the battery-powered one. The corded mower is easy to start and has endless run time but is not very maneuverable since it must be plugged into an outlet. It is also not recommended for wet conditions.
On the other hand, the battery-powered lawn mower is very maneuverable and has a low run time. Most mowers of this type also have a long charge time, and the batteries get expensive as you will need replacements every few years. If you prefer the gas-powered mower, be prepared for higher maintenance however, longevity and long-term costs would be lower.
Things to Consider When Buying a Lawn Mower
Now that you have some idea about the pros and cons of buying each lawn mower, it’s time to understand the factors you need to consider when getting one. There is actually no right or wrong choice; you have to consider which one will give you the best value based on your needs and budget.
- Power output – this is one of the most important considerations when choosing a mower. You want one with the decent power output if you frequently mow or cut long thick grasses.
- Usability – you need to consider how heavy or light and how much maneuverability a mower allows. If you have a big yard, you may want to opt for a battery-powered or gas mower so you don’t get hindered by cords.
- Running time – how much time you have before a mower runs out of battery can be a deal-breaker for a battery-powered mower. And in this aspect, the gas mower is the sure winner.
- Eco-friendliness – the gas mower is out of the question since they have lousy emission output. Look for a mower that has an option to be plugged or charged using renewable sources if eco is of importance.
- Price and maintenance costs – the cheapest among the three types of mowers is the corded one since they don’t require batteries or fuel. You can also find an excellent battery-powered mower that might be in the same price range as a mid-range gas mower. But, you also have to think about maintenance, and the gas and battery-powered models can go head to head, often yielding a tiebreaker based on manufacture warranty.
There are many factors to consider when buying a lawn mower. It would help if you looked at various things, including price, efficiency, and even environment-friendliness. Aside from these, it would help to consider the size of the yard you need to maintain using your mower and whether there are uneven patches of land, uphill parts, and obstructions.
It would be best to consider which among the popular brands you’d like to buy. Established lawn brands are usually preferred because of the availability of replacement parts or repair centers. Some of the names you should look at include John Deere, Honda, and Troy-Bilt.
Having owned both a battery and gas-powered mower as well as hearing direct feedback from many other owners of both options, I can tell you with pride that the mower in my garage right now is a gas-powered Toro which is over 7 years old and still running like a top. I sold my battery-powered mower without functional batteries at a huge loss after my second set of batteries only lasted 15 months before only holding a charge for a few minutes, creating a frustration level beyond reason.
On the bright side, I mastered the efficiency in which I mow my front yard. Knowing you only have about 9 minutes total run time before your batteries will need to charge for 6 hours really lights a fire under your feet and forces your mental mapping math to the maximum.
The Electric Option
This isn’t the space to review the battery-power mower I owned, and hated, so I won’t do that. If you possibly need a silent mower due to living circumstances or it’s for replacement and you have a strong budget, here’s my advice on what to get:
- Don’t skimp on the brand or power. We recommend one of the higher-end models offered by EGO or GreenWorks or a mid to high-level Toro.
- Be prepared to spend at least $600 on the machine and another $150 on an extra battery.
- Check the warranty and be certain the batteries specifically come with at least a 2-year guarantee.
- Follow directions. I know the feeling of thinking “come on now, how hard can be it, plug it in, use it, repeat…” however, when it comes to these expensive mower batteries, it’s very important to properly follow the battery instructions.
Properly charging, discharging and storing the batteries based on the manufactures instructions are KEY to prolonging the lifetime of the batteries, which in some cases can otherwise be very, very short.
Hire a Proper Lawn Service
But, if you don’t have the time or money just yet to buy a lawn mower, you can always entrust your lawn maintenance with Lawns & Palms Inc.. We offer professional lawn care and landscape maintenance. We also guarantee that we have all the right tools and the best landscaping solutions for every household.