Okay, you’ve gotten to the point where you’re ready to ditch the mess, smoke, noise, and maintenance expense of a gasoline lawnmower. This can be very invigorating. Not only are electric lawnmowers much quieter, but they also tend to be easy to maintain, and have an over all lower cost of ownership compared to their gasoline counterparts.
You might be wondering which is better a cordless or corded electric lawnmower. To really find the electric lawnmower that best for you, we will need to take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of each.
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The Pros & Cons Of A Corded Lawnmower
A corded electric lawnmower relies on power supplied directly by a heavy-duty extension cord that’s plugged into a standard outlet in your home or garage. This gives them electric motor a fair amount of torque for harvesting even thick grass.
The Benefits Of A Corded Electric Lawnmower
Right off the bat, you get immediate power and torque to propel the cutting blades. You also don’t have the common concerns that come with a battery-powered electric lawnmower. You don’t have to recharge a battery, you don’t have to worry about over-charging and damaging a battery. Not to mention the fact that all lithium-ion batteries have a limited lifespan, and will eventually need to be replaced in two or three years.
Efficient storage is also a potential benefit of a corded electric lawnmower. Since you don’t have to worry about fluids, you can usually collapse the lawnmower handles down and store it standing up, some are light enough that you can store them on a shelf.
The Drawbacks Of A Corded Electric Lawnmower
The most obvious issue with a corded electric lawnmower is the cord itself. The very nature of extension cords can limit their range. Unless you are going to invest in a heavy-duty, thick-gauge power cord, then you will be limited to an effective range of 50 to 100-feet. Once you go beyond that the extension cord will struggle to deliver maximum charge to the mower’s electric motor.
That’s not to say that you can only cut grass within 100-feet of your home. If you have multiple outdoor outlets on your home, garage, or other outbuildings, you could simply switch from one to the next to gain additional range. Still, it would be hard to mow more than a quarter-acre of lawn.
Another foible that comes with corded electric lawnmowers is cord management. Now if you have a wide-open lawn devoid of trees and landscaping features, then you can enjoy long easy sweeps as the cord casually drags behind you. Unfortunately, there are very few lawns like this. If you have a yard with trees, landscaping features, planting beds, and maybe a playground swing set, then you will need to take measures to prevent tangles while you are mowing.
Making a thoughtful mowing pattern plan in advance will go a long way toward preventing cord tangles while you are cutting the grass. There are also some corded electric lawnmowers that have a cord lock feature that makes it hard to accidentally unplug it. It also helps reduce the chances of you accidentally running over the power cord.
The Pros & Cons Of A Battery Powered Electric Lawnmower
Battery-powered electric lawnmowers have rapidly evolved in recent years both as a response to the frustrations of corded lawnmower’s restrictions, as well as major significant improvements in battery technology.
The Benefits Of Cordless Battery-Powered Lawnmowers
Right off the bat, you need to understand that not all electric lawnmower batteries are the same. Most have nothing in common with the batteries you find in four-stroke riding lawnmower engines. There are a few battery-powered electric lawnmowers that have a lead-acid battery. Though most of the best cordless electric lawnmowers use some type of lithium-ion battery.
Understanding Your Lawnmower Battery Options
Ideally, you want to look for a cordless lawnmower with a lithium-ion battery that has a high amp hour rating of Ah. This is a technical term that indicates the potential charge and run time of the battery.
Though there are some battery-powered cordless lawnmowers that use multiple batteries at the same time or provide you with additional batteries. The advantage here is that you get longer run time. Though it also means that you’ll need to be smart about how you charge them.
The Drawbacks Of A Battery Powered Lawnmower
Charging electric lawnmower batteries can be a little bit of a hassle. Especially if you have a large yard, or you need to charge multiple batteries at one time. A lot of battery-powered lawnmowers come with one charger or a smart charger. If you want to charge multiple batteries at the same time, you will need to buy an extra charger, and you will need to factor that into the total purchase price.
Improper charging of the batteries is one of the biggest problems with a cordless electric lawnmower. Some have internal chargers and you merely plug the battery in when you’re done mowing. The problem here is that your range is limited to what the cordless lawnmower can handle in a single charge.
A lot of cordless lawnmowers have some type of removable battery. Most are lithium-ion batteries that aren’t prone to “Memory Loss” like you see with some lesser batteries. Though with some you do have to be mindful of overcharging.
The Dangers Of Over Charging a Lithium-Ion Lawnmower Battery
Most batteries are designed to take a maximum charge and hold it. Overcharging is more of a concern with lead-acid batteries, though even recent lithium-ion batteries are not immune to over-charging issues. When you leave a lithium-ion battery on a charger for hours on end the constant current of the charger can cause a buildup of heat.
Left unchecked, it could potentially damage the lawnmower battery, thus limiting its potential maximum charge. It also tends to shorten the life of the battery, which will increase the overall cost of ownership.
A few hours won’t be a problem, but you don’t want to over-charge any battery for more than 8 to 10 hours. When you see the indicator light noting that it’s at full charge, simply turn the battery charger off.
A Smart Charger Reduces The Risk Of Over-Charging Lawnmower Batteries
The best way to prevent overcharging problems is to buy a cordless lawn mower that comes with a “Smart Charger.” This is a simple monitoring system that’s built into the charger. When the battery reaches maximum charge, it backs the current flow back off to reduce the heat and risk of overcharging.
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