Under the right circumstances, a well-made electric lawn mower can tackle your mowing needs every bit as effectively as one with a gas-powered engine. As a matter of fact, a corded or battery-equipped engine’s performance will actually maintain lawns up to certain sizes and topographies even more cost-effectively and efficiently than a heavier mower with more power and a wider deck. I wouldn’t have believed it myself until I tried one on a mid-sized, reasonably flat yard a few years ago myself and left behind a manicured yard that could pass for the 9th Hole rough at Augusta in under an hour with no noxious gasoline reek to overpower that saintly aroma of freshly cut grass. A number of these eco-conscious mowers among the ocean of options to choose from even manage to outsell a number of their petrol predecessors.
What Is An Electric Lawn Mower?
Better late than never, I suppose: it took a half a century before improved technology and design made farmer C.C. Stacy’s original electric lawn mower a practical notion. His original blade simply wouldn’t satisfactorily cut grass in any timely manner with the limited power electric motors of the time offered. Today, corded and cordless mowers can both administer the torque and blade speed needed for a succession of clean cuts across a plant’s stem.
If you have a small to medium-size yard with few steep inclines, an electric lawn mower might just be your ideal lawn-care companion.
Who Is An Electric Lawn Mower Ideal For?
I would opt for an electric lawn mower to trim many fairly level yards spanning ¼ to ⅓ of an acre. Whether you choose a corded or battery-powered mower and the merits of a push mower versus self-propelled motion both depend on your physical hardiness to shove it around and how far you can expect to have to mow from the closest outlet, among other considerations. Being about half the weight of an average gas-powered mower at most, an electric lawn mower is a prudent choice for owners who need to mow but want or require something that won’t prove too exhausting to operate.
What Are The Benefits Of An Electric Lawn Mower?
Let’s make this as plain as possible: an electric lawn mower weighs under 50 pounds and produces crisp, clean cuts as smoothly as a gas mower with none of the air contamination and less than half the noise pollution. Without having to buy spark plugs or fuel ever again, it reduces maintenance to spraying down the deck after each use to stave off build-up, sharpening the blades every fall and spring, and buying at least one (admittedly pricey) replacement battery about every five to 10 years. Most come to life with a combination of turning a key and either pressing down a handle or pushing a button instead of tiresome pull-choke starts. When not in use, most take up impressively little storage space; some will even fold and hang on a wall. For many ordinary suburban lawns, it offers cutting quality comparable to a gasoline lawn mower with a higher upfront price but a fraction the upkeep expenses throughout its lifespan and virtually none of the environmental disturbance.
How To Choose An Electric Lawn Mower?
So, you know an electric lawn mower will effectively cut your yard’s typical growth as smoothly as a gas-powered or reel mower with less weight to shove around, maintenance to toil over, fuel purchases to drain your wallet, and noise and air pollution to soil your home’s atmosphere. Which mower do you choose, anyway?
Once more, the size and shape of your yard should play a key role in your decision. A self-propelled mower with a larger deck that cuts plenty of grass in a single pass suits manicuring a square or rectangular, reasonably open yard quickly and easily. If you have a narrower yard with plenty of shrubbery and trees to maneuver around, either a push or self-propelled mower with a narrower deck will navigate obstacles more easily, since the smaller space won’t make the size of your swath quite such an urgent difference-maker in the time it takes on average to get the job done. Besides, a larger deck and blade necessarily means more weight to move and more real estate needed in your shed or garage between mowing days.
Take a tape measure to your lawn before deliberating between a corded or battery-powered mower. Most corded mowers will limit you to about a 100-foot radius around the nearest outlet at most. Yes, there are specially crafted extension cords with thoroughly durable exterior coatings and extra-thick wiring to withstand potential collisions with blades, but longer cables mean more cord to keep an eye on in order to ensure you don’t run it over. Just the same, battery-powered mowers make time very much a factor. You have a finite amount of time per fully charged battery to cut everything in your yard and tackling inclines and particularly thick growth can amplify the drain on your power supply.
What Size Electric Lawn Mower Do I Need?
There’s nothing worthwhile gained from taking on more mower than you need. In fact, opting for a larger model than you really need may negate some of the more appealing advantages an electric lawn mower offers.
Decks measure between 15 and 20 inches across. Most electric lawn mower bodies are made from natural plastics or synthetic polymers and even those built from quality steel usually weigh considerably less than a heavier gasoline mower, thanks in no small part to the smaller motor. Many batteries weigh less than three pounds, especially as manufacturers have phased out lead-acid units in favor of Lithium-ion power. Take into consideration that a 20-inch deck will indeed finish a yard in 75 percent the time it would take one with a 15-inch deck, but don’t make that reality a deal-breaker.
After all, the bigger blade that accompanies a wider deck demands more of the battery’s mojo to keep it rotating at the speeds needed for quality cuts. On the other hand, going after exceptionally hardy vegetation with too small a blade and motor will overtax your power source to the same result: you won’t get nearly as much of your money’s worth out of the time your mower can keep chugging until its juice taps out.
What are the different types of Electric Lawn Mowers?
Corded Electric Lawn Mower
The constant density of a corded electric lawn mower’s uninterrupted power supply allows for even, clean cutting as long as it remains plugged into an outlet. Like all electric mowers, it emits sound no louder than about 75 decibels and leaves behind no noxious pollutants to hang in the air over the aroma of freshly cut grass. Best of all, you won’t have to pay as much as the cost of a new mower itself in at least five years to replace a battery.
Unfortunately, that also means sharply limited movement. At best, expect 100 feet of range from your home in any direction, unless you shell out extra money for an extension cord. Even then, minding the lay of the cord in order to avoid running over it will always be a distraction while mowing.
Cordless Electric Lawn Mower
As the name implies, a cordless electric lawn mower never chances dicing up a wayward cable. Enjoy all the quiet, green cutting power with advantageous easy, free-roaming maneuverability.
On the other hand, don’t forget to charge any batteries you plan to use the day before you mow. When your last one dies, you’re done. Replacements and backups aren’t exactly cheap, either. Battery-powered lawn mowers also have a tendency to lose performance as a draining battery’s power loses its density.
Battery Electric Lawn Mower
Batteries help make electric lawn mowers practical and effective on par with gas-powered mowers for yards larger than what a 100-foot cord will span. The transition from original lead-acid batteries to Lithium-ion components that weigh less than a gallon of milk also contributed to widening the weight difference between feathery cordless electric mowers and even the lightest gas-powered machines, making battery-powered models even easier to handle than they already were.
Many mowers have integrated batteries keeping them moving but just as many offer removable batteries and often include a spare to swap in or out as needed. Granted, mowers with replaceable batteries weigh less overall and allow for essentially doubling your mowing time, as long as both units are fully charged. Beware, however: if you buy a mower with a removable battery that doesn’t include a backup in the cost, an extra battery can be an expensive add-on that negates an otherwise lower price tag. Still, while an integrated battery may mean you won’t be shelling out for multiple power supplies, that also has the drawback of recognizing that once your power runs out, that’s it. You are simply done until the mower recharges.
When considering the strength and duration of your battery, be advised that most will withstand anywhere from 40 to up to 70 minutes of mowing, depending on the nature of what is being cut and the battery’s voltage. High-voltage batteries won’t drain as rapidly when cutting thicker grass and the superior torque they are able to power results in smoother cuts across any degrees of growth. At minimum, your battery should be able to withstand ¼ acre of mowing on a full charge and finish with juice to spare. Many can actually last through ⅓ acre. The more RPMs your mower can generate, the less resistance the blades will offer to tough grasses, roots, stems or debris, but hills and unruly weeds will always increase drain to some degree or another.
Push Electric Lawn Mower
For total control over your mowing, especially when cutting a narrow space that forces plenty of twisting and turning to circumnavigate gardens and trees, a push electric lawn mower is without a doubt the way to go. As a bonus, you get an incredible workout while dutifully tending to your property’s handsome landscaping.
The only drawback: some homeowners just will not physically be up to handling one. If you can’t push the mower, it doesn’t move. Obviously, push mowers are not advisable for the physically infirm.
Self-Propelled Electric Lawn Mower
On the other hand, the reduced physical strain of operating a self-propelled electric lawn mower is perfect for any lawn jockey who wants or needs to care after their own greenery but can’t withstand the grind of shoving a push mower around due to infirmity or chronic pain and injuries. Whether you opt for two-wheel or all-wheel drive, self-propelled mowers as a rule come with wider decks and power perfect for weathering unusually thick grass and steeper slopes.
Then again, even a self-propelled electric lawn mower’s convenience comes at a price – literally. While they deliver advantageous power with lower stress on its operator’s body and the muscle to make short work of slightly larger, wide-open rectangular or square yards, these models almost uniformly weigh the most of all electric models, take up the most storage space, and will cost the most upfront.
Robotic Electric Lawn Mower
While this may not be your typical lawn mower you would expect, the robots are coming! And the robots are electric! Most of these will have long life batteries and programmable to handle a decent size yard, really quiet. They have have built in alarms and security features to prevent them from being stolen and used by someone who thinks they’re being smart by thinking they may try to sell it. While they may require a bit more setup that your typical lawnmower, to have a robotic automaton roam your yard all on its own without you ever having to think of it probably outweighs the higher cost. Plus, you are going to be the coolest futuristic homeowner on the block for sure.
What Are The Top Features Of An Electric Lawn Mower?
No Fuel To Operate
Do a kindness to the environment and your wallet by eliminating the need to load up a gas can at the pump ever again.
Leave your lawn smelling like grass, not gas.
Quiet / Noise Level
The joy of getting outside and beautifying your property shouldn’t deafen you and irritate your neighbors at inconvenient hours in the process.
Easy To Use
Small engines. Batteries that only weigh a few pounds. Ultra-light natural plastic or synthetic polymer bodies. Large wheels for easy turning. Decks of various sizes to match up to what will make working your yard easier.
Thanks to modern advancements such as replaceable Lithium-ion batteries and improved blade designs, there aren’t many things a gas-powered mower could be called on to do for a small to mid-sized lawn that a comparably sized electric rival couldn’t do just as well, if not better.
With your electric lawn mower needing only two yearly blade-sharpenings, a battery replacement every five to 10 years and a good wipedown after each mowing, your upkeep time and expense that comes with keeping a beautiful yard reduces to next to nothing.
Though currently still not up to the kind of massive, heavy mowing jobs that simply outmatch performance-limiting power supplies, designs are improving rapidly enough for electric lawn mowers to one day generate power and durability that stacks up pound-for-pound with the biggest and best gas-powered counterparts
Want to save your business some serious money? Preserve your property’s pristine lawn with an electric lawn mower and cut out fuel and machine-maintenance expenses with a long-lasting cutting machine that leaves virtually no footprint with its operation or operating expenses.
Even electric lawn mowers with bodies fabricated from extra-durable steel won’t need the muscle of an NFL linebacker behind them. Whether made of metal, organic plastics or synthetic polymers, small engines and even lighter batteries that increasingly favor Lithium-ion over lead-acid designs keep these machines manageable to operators of all ages and physical profiles. Large wheels make bigger electric mowers surprisingly easy to turn – especially self-propelled models with two-wheel or all-wheel drive – but wider decks often mean more weight that can be harder to push and guide through smaller yards dotted with landscaping additions such as trees and flowerbeds.
Top Features To Consider
Electric lawn mowers are easily some of the safest to use under any circumstance, since most come equipped with an instant failsafe that kills power to the motor and cordless mowers can always simply be unplugged. In addition, many now have guards designed around the deck to deflect small rocks and debris the blades might spray askew. More often than not, you won’t be able to adjust the deck height while mowing, either. Finally, though not exactly a matter of “safety” so much as courtesy, look for a model with rear rubber flaps that keep dirt from blowing back onto your feet.
Though bigger isn’t always “better,” electric lawn mower decks measure between 15 and 20 inches in width. Yes, a 20-inch deck will finish mowing any yard in 75 percent the time it will take one with a 15-inch body. However, cutting more grass per pass also means more effort demanded to push around a heavier mower trying to go through more growth at a time. That extra work can translate to more drain that reduces battery life. Also, larger mowers are ideal for larger, more open rectangular or square yards maneuver awkwardly in smaller spaces with a lot of trees and other obstacles to evade and mow around.
Corded electric lawn mowers almost universally limit mowing range to 100 feet from the nearest outlet in any direction. Cordless battery-powered mowers, on the other hand, will offer enough juice to get through ¼ to ⅓ of an acre of fairly level lawn on a single battery’s full charge, depending on the voltage. Keep in mind, however, that especially thick roughage and steep inclines will force the mower to work harder and drain the battery faster.
Grass Cutting Ability & Quality
A higher-voltage battery and larger blade will generate torque cleanly and quickly slice even thick grasses with efficiency to rival a gas mower. That being said, remember that cutting any grass below 30 percent of its normal height weakens it and makes it more susceptible to drying out during hot spells and vulnerable to disease.
Mulch Or Not To Mulch
Whether or not you choose to mulch depends on what you decide is best for your yard. Many electric mowers will instantly convert clippings to easily biodegradable tiny particles that spray onto your lawn as convenient nutrient-packed fertilizer, eliminating your need for post-mowing cleanup while nurturing your grass as you groom it. Other three-in-one models allow you to switch between bagging clippings, mulching, or shooting them off to the side for you to gather later at your convenience.
If you don’t want to mulch but aren’t keen on sweeping up clippings later, a number of electric mowers will gather trimmed grass into a mounted bag. Be advised, bagging also means having to stop every so often to dump the clippings before you can continue.
Provided you don’t mind some final cleaning after your mowing, you can always opt for a side-discharge mower instead mulching as you cut. Clippings will shoot horizontally as you proceed, gathering in neat little rows that you can then dispose of how and when you like after you finish.
Please, do not cut your lawn below 30 percent of its overall height. Giving your grass a buzzcut weakens it, reducing its resilience to disease and making it more prone to drying out during the hottest months of the year. Some mowers will have individual levers to adjust the height of each wheel separately, but this approach can make it hard to tell if the mower is level. Instead, I recommend looking for a model that simultaneously allows for raising or lowering all wheels with a single mechanism between a minimum of four height options ranging from 1.5 to 4 inches.
Most electric lawn mower decks span a range between 15 and 20 inches. The wider the deck, the larger the blade and the more grass it can mow in one pass. That’s why wider decks are ideal for fairly large and open square or rectangular yards. The larger decks in this spectrum can also be heavier and more difficult to push continuously for longer periods. They also tend to turn awkwardly in narrower yards with many obstacles to maneuver around.
Innovative hassle-free ignition is an often underappreciated perk of an electric lawn mower. Instead of the physical exertion of horsing around with pull-cord starts, most fire up with a combination of inserting and/or turning a key and either holding down a lever while mowing or just pushing a button once.
Corded electric lawn mowers hold a performance advantage over battery-powered alternatives in the constant density of their power supplies. That factor maintains an even consistency to every cut that stands up to even thick and hardy grasses. Higher-voltage batteries can indeed still generate considerable torque to make strong, smooth cuts with any blade size, but that quality can and will diminish as the battery’s charge runs down. The consistency of your trimming will decrease even faster if especially thick grass or a steep slope increases the engine’s demand on the battery to push it through the task at hand.
Battery Powered Drive System
A battery-powered drive system is a double-edged sword for an electric lawn mower. It opens up complete freedom of movement without having to sweat slicing up a cord while manicuring your yard. It also motors a self-propelled mower’s two-wheel or all-wheel drive across challenging inclines and through thick patches of growth with ease, reducing its operator’s physical strain. That also means sacrificing the unfailingly consistent cutting quality that comes with a corded mower’s nonstop supply of dense power. As your battery drains, it gradually loses speed and torque, resulting in less-smooth cuts than what you started out making.
Battery Life Power – time, indicators, performance
Time and workload are elements of triage that can cause your battery’s practical life to fluctuate from one job to the next. Most power supplies will last through anywhere from 40 minutes of steady mowing all the way up to just over an hour. If your electric lawn mower utilizes an integrated battery, they what your full charge provides is what you have to work with, period. Removable batteries not only often mean a lighter mower, but the option to pop in a spare when one runs dry and double the available time to get the job done.
Then again, extra or replacement batteries can sometimes cost as much as the mower itself, though they ordinarily last anywhere from five to 10 years before dying for good.
The higher a battery’s voltage, the more torque and speed it offers to produce the cleanest cuts possible. Just don’t get the idea it makes your mower invincible; the harder you force it to work on tough growth and up and across hills, the less its improved power means as you burn through juice faster than intended. This is easier to mind if your mower has an indicator reminding you at a glance how long you have before you need to either swap in a new battery or call it a day until you recharge.
Lawn Clipping Disposal
By default, any electric lawn mower will offer four ways to deal with your disposing of your clippings.
Let your mower convert grass into instantly dispersed fertilizer spread onto your grass as you cut
Gather clippings into an onboard receptacle you can periodically stop to empty, foregoing nutrients returned to your lawn but saving you from having to clean up errant grass afterward.
Your remnants of grass will fire off to the side into neat rows you can dispose of as you wish when convenience allows.
Electric lawn mowers swiftly pay for themselves through reduced maintenance alone. Not only are your days of buying gas every mowing day over, but regular upkeep amounts to keeping batteries charged (if you indeed purchase a cordless mower), sharpening the blades every fall and spring, wiping down the deck after each use to hold off buildup that can makes its way into the engine, and replacing batteries every five to 10 years or so.
Cost Savings (vs Gas Powered)
Unfortunately, you should accept first that you will likely pay more upfront for an electric lawn mower than a gas-powered competitor. Now, think about how much you spend every year on gasoline, oil and spark plugs just to keep your grass neat. Ballpark it. Now, eliminate it entirely and add it to what you just saved comparing the sticker prices. It takes many electric lawn mowers only a year or two to pay for themselves.
Warranty & Customer Support
Lawn mowers are made to endure some serious hard labor. That doesn’t mean, for all of any manufacturer’s best efforts, something won’t go wrong. If your electric lawn mower should go belly-up when called upon, your grass won’t politely cease growing while you work out the kinks. A two to four-year warranty is not at all unusual, though we would strongly recommend reading terms carefully to understand what the company will and won’t dutifully cover. While you’re at it, do some vetting via Amazon and other marketplaces to determine just how swiftly and accommodatingly past customers say their machines have been serviced. If the brand happens to have a first-party licensed service center near you, all the better.
Generally speaking, and depending on your preference for a push or self-propelled mower and a corded or battery-based power supply, you can expect to pay anywhere from $95 to around $600 for a quality electric lawn mower.
What type of extension cord should I get for an electric lawn mower?
I strongly advise against settling for an ordinary extension cord. Several products tailored especially to withstanding the rigors and potential dangers of being attached to an electric lawn mower. That includes double-tough polymer outer coatings, a single socket instead of several, and extra-thick wires made to shoulder an exceptional workload without tangling.
Correct extension cord gauge and AMP Match
The lower an extension cord’s gauge, the greater its power threshold. Pair its strength accordingly with your mower’s battery. Most electric mowers draw somewhere between 6 and 12 Amps, so match your machine up with a cable that won’t overheat and cause internal damage.
How not to run over the electric cord
A few quick tips for not dicing up your cords:
By starting from the closest grass to your outlet, you keep the cord extending behind you as you move farther away instead of falling in front of it.
Use any included handle clips to keep the cord elevated away from the motor and add more if needed to keep it falling behind you from the height of the handle as far from the motor and deck as possible.
Use your free hand to hold a small pool of cord behind you and let it extend freely as you move forward, keeping the cord untangled before the mower needs it and raising it at all times above the deck.
Complete one entire round of your lawn with the mower, shut down the mower and collect the entire cord before you restart and revisit any improperly mowed patches.
Plan cord management before starting your mow
If you know where exactly you will be headed, you can accordingly predict where and how your cord will trail you.
Don’t mow wet grass
It’s a bad idea with any mower to go after wet grass. Cutting one strip after another through water-logged blades unnecessarily taxes the blade and motor with heavier-than-usual effort. The thick buildup of mud and clippings can easily work its way into the inner workings and destroy their functionality. Marching over slick surfaces while guiding a rapidly whirling blade is also inviting a potentially tragic slip-and-fall accident for anyone standing behind the mower.
Mowing wet grass with either a corded or battery-powered electric lawn mower is, frankly, unthinkably stupid. Water and electricity never, ever mix. Whether it happens by way of your mower’s plugged-in cable or moisture inevitably reaching the battery’s points of connection with the motor, this is gambling with an elevated risk of electrocution or an explosive internal reaction.
Why is a battery better than gas
Raw power aside, there are a number of reasons I would often prefer a battery-operated electric lawn mower of a gas-powered rival. For one thing, purely electrical power spares you and everyone surrounding your home the stench of burning gas and oil every time you mow. On top of that, electrical mowers operate at a whisper-quiet 76 decibels of noise pollution on average, compared to gasoline mowers easily topping 100 decibels.
Most importantly? The bottom line. Yes, in anywhere from five to 10 years, you will most likely pay roughly the cost of a new mower for at least one replacement battery. Say, several hundred dollars. In that same time, how much do you suppose you might spend on gas and spark plugs? A few times the cost of a battery, perhaps?
What Are The Best Electric Lawn Mower Brands?
I’ve loved Kobalt tools for years for their fine, dependable craftsmanship. Their dual-battery design repurposes that same commitment to long-lasting quality in the form of mower that I know won’t run out of steam before the job is done.
Sure, they may not have the name recognition of Ryobi, Black & Decker or even Kobalt…yet. But the fact of the matter is, their best cordless mowers cut quickly with a large deck and the fastest-recharging battery I’ve ever had the pleasure of using.
Another mower with a dual-battery design, but I just love how effectively their best-designed models hit stubborn, thick growth with larger 20-inch decks and big blades without compromising their easy-to-handle light body weights.
BLACK & DECKER
Yes, they remain a stubborn holdout on switching fully to lighter Lithium-ion batteries in lieu of lead-acid relics. True, that means they are still some of the heavier mowers out there, especially the self-propelled models. Also true, those outdated batteries take up to 12 hours to reach their peak 45-60 minutes of runtime on a full charge. Why do I still recommend them? Because there’s still nobody more tough or reliable around.
Since 2004 they have been designing outdoor tools. You’d be hard pressed to not find a quality eco-friendly tool for your outdoors. While they haven’t exploded into the heavy duty electric lawn mower market, they have some of the most affordable products made for the average homeowner sized yard.
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Where To Buy An Electric Lawn Mower?
You can buy an electric lawn mower just about anywhere. Amazon has easily the most extensive collection online, naturally. In fact, a number of superb affiliate websites will provide ample links to reviews, recommendations, and impartial information. There’s also no understating that impressive, easy-to-appreciate convenience of being able to buy from your living room. That being said, keep in mind that it’s always worthwhile to visit a brick-and-mortar store such as Tractor Supply Company, Home Depot, Lowe’s or Walmart to size up your preferred makes and models in person, even if you plan to find a better price for the same product via the vastness of the internet.