The pros and cons of electric lawn mowers

Electric lawn mowers have specific strengths and weaknesses.

Ry Crist / CNET

Once upon a time, all lawn mowers were gas-powered beasts whose starting engines relied as much on elbow grease as they did on internal combustion just to start. These days you have more options. While big box stores still have plenty of gasoline models on display, there are a growing number of electric mowers available for purchase.

If you are new to electric lawn mowers, there are some things you should consider before purchasing one. Electric mowers certainly offer some unique advantages, but they also have performance limitations that you’ll want to be aware of as well.

This guide examines both the pros and cons of electric mowers. Once you are done, you will hopefully have an idea of ​​whether or not they are suitable for your specific lawn care needs.

Ego Power Plus sells a popular line of electric lawn mowers.

Ego Power Plus

Benefits: Quieter operation

Electric mowers can produce up to 75 decibels (think about the volume of the washing machine), while gasoline mowers are a bit noisier at 95 decibels (motorcycle volume). If you live in the suburbs, an electric mower will be a less disruptive option for your neighbors.

Advantage: Less maintenance

One of the main advantages of electric mowers is that they require less maintenance. With gasoline mowers, you have to replace parts every year. Examples are spark plugs, oil and air filters. This is not the case with electric mowers. And those savings will increase each year, making an electric model more economical.

Advantage: easier to maneuver

Electric lawn mowers are lighter than their gasoline-powered siblings. This means they’re easier to get around on tight bends and navigate your yard. For example, the EGO Power Plus 56-Volt 21-inch Cordless Electric Lawn Mower weighs 62.6 pounds after assembly.

The Craftsman M250 lawn mower.


Conversely, gasoline lawn mowers can be much heavier. The Craftsman M250 160 cc 21 ” Self-Propelled Lawn Mower with Honda Engine weighs 90 pounds. While the self-propelled motor improves maneuverability when mowing, there’s still a heavy object to lug around when it’s not in use.

Pro: cleaner for the environment

Gasoline mowers emit a lot of air pollutants. According to the California Air Resources Board, an hour of mowing generates the same pollution as drive a car for 300 miles. Indeed, the Environmental Protection Agency states that gasoline-powered lawn mowers contribute the lion’s share of non-road air pollution generated nationally.

A clear and clean alternative is the electric lawn mower. The Electric Power Research Institute notes that if we replaced half of the gasoline lawnmowers with electric ones, it would reduce the same amount of emissions as elimination of two million vehicles of the road.

Advantage: They can be cheaper

If you’re looking to save money, electric lawn mowers might be a smart option to consider. Electric models start as low as $ 88, the price of the Sun Joe 11-inch 10-amp Electric Hover Push Mower. However, this model has a relatively narrow cutting width.

On the other hand, the prices of gasoline mowers tend to start at around $ 170. For example, the Yardmax 166cc OHV 20 inch Push Gas Lawn Mower and 20 inch 125 cc Briggs & Stratton Petrol Walk Behind the models cost $ 169 each and cut wider strips of grass.

So saving a little bit of money also means that you will take more time and effort to mow the same area as with a bigger mower. As a general rule, the wider the cutting deck, the more money you will pay. For example, the widest Sun Joe Mow Joe 20 inches model will cost you $ 170 even if it is an electric model.

Disadvantage: shorter execution times

If your yard is over half an acre, an electric model may not be the best choice. Many electric mowers, like the Sun Joe Hover Walk Behind model, use a cord. It allows you to mow a yard up to a quarter of an acre. However, this tether can also be a hindrance while you are working.

Other electric models operate with charged batteries and offer backup times of between 20 and 45 minutes. If it takes longer than that to mow your garden, this limitation is a problem. To complete the job, you will have to wait for the mower to charge. A better solution is to keep another charged battery on hand to extend your mowing time. However, this requires that you purchase an additional stand-alone battery.

Ryobi is known for its cordless power tools, but it also sells electric lawn mowers.


Disadvantage: Not the best for large jobsites

For owners of hilly or larger terrain, finding the right mower can be a challenge. A riding mower like the gasoline mower Toro Toro IronForged Deck Zero Turn Lawn Mower will do the job. It has a whopping 60 inch cutting width and will definitely finish large jobsites faster.

You can also buy electric riding mowers. The Ryobi 42 inch 75ah zero turn battery electric mower offers a decent 42 inch cutting width. Still, if you have a yard spanning several acres, it will take longer to complete the job with an electric model like this.

Disadvantage: they are not as powerful

When shopping for a mower, one thing to consider is its torque rating. Torque is the driving force behind the rotational motion of a blade. Electric lawn mowers generate on average much less torque than a gasoline mower. This means that a gasoline powered mower will be a much better choice for tackling difficult terrain like hills and dips.

Overall, the lawn mower market continues to expand with diverse offerings. For owners of large lots, gasoline mowers will always be the best solution, as they have the durability and power to tackle large projects with ease.

In the meantime, if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, an electric lawn mower is the way to go. Either route you take can help you achieve a healthy looking lawn that increases the curb appeal and value of your home.

In the meantime, here are a few more tips for keeping your garden beautiful:

Read more:

How to maintain your lawn during the summer

How to make a simple and inexpensive lawn sprinkler system

How to start a compost pile: a beginner’s guide

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