Choosing between an electric or gas-powered lawn mower can be difficult. You might have heard that electric lawnmowers are bad, but is that true? Here are some facts you need to know before purchasing to make the best decision.
Electric lawn mowers are good for the environment since they emit no pollutants into the atmosphere; compared to gas lawn mowers. They have some clear advantages, like a low operating cost. Electric lawn mowers also have some drawbacks that are worth considering before purchase.
Electric lawn mowers have many benefits to recommend them. Electric lawn mowers are a great choice, from their environmentally friendly lack of emissions to easy use when mowing. Keep reading to learn the factors influencing choosing an electric or gas lawn mower and the drawbacks you should consider thoughtfully.
Operating Expenses of Gas vs. Electric Lawn Mowers
Breaking down the cost of each type of mower will help you understand what to expect in operating expenses. Considering the initial cost of each mower and the costs you will incur regularly are essential factors.
Here is the cost breakdown of an electric mower as estimated by HowToGeek (source):
- The initial cost of the electric mower is around $200 to $300.
- Mowing a quarter acre of grass with a 6 amp hour, 40V battery costs approximately $.03 per charge.
- A battery lasts 4-5 years and costs around $350 (we found significantly different prices so continue reading).
Here is the cost breakdown of a gas-powered lawn mower:
- The initial cost of a gas mower is around $200 to $300.
- Mowing a quarter acre of grass with a gas push mower with gas at $5.00 per gallon (3.78 liters) costs approximately $.33.
- An annual tune-up costs between $50 to $75.
So let’s consider that for a moment. Assuming the initial cost to purchase is about the same, the real difference in cost comes down to the costs of mowing. Sure, there’s a high cost of purchasing a new battery every few years but you are forgoing the annual maintenance costs of the gas mower.
Battery costs vary significantly by brand. For example, we have a Green Machine self-propelled mower that cost us around $450 but buying additional batteries (link to Home Depot) was less than half the $350 estimate mentioned above. So make sure you consider this when choosing a mower brand.
Also important to consider with electric models is that you aren’t changing oil, cleaning the carburetor, and all of the other nuances that come with owning a gas mower. See our article Gas vs Electric: 6 Reasons To Use Battery-Powered Yard Tools.
And you can actually reduce the cost of mowing further if you have a small solar panel system to recharge the battery. So from this perspective, the electric model offers a lot of benefits.
Environmental Impact of Electric vs. Gas Mowers
Electric mowers operate with power from a charged battery, so they don’t have any emissions into the atmosphere. Gas-powered lawn mowers use gas as fuel, which emits toxins and pollutants into the air. Here is the environmental effect of each mower.
Electric mowers have no carbon emissions, so cutting the lawn with this mower will not harm the environment. When reducing the use of fossil fuels is vital, the electric mower ensures cleaner air with no pollutants or toxins that disperse while you are mowing.
Gas mowers will produce carbon emissions that filter into the atmosphere as you cut the grass. Because they run on gas, you will need to keep a full gas can in the garage to refill the tank when it runs low.
Maintenance of Electric vs. Gas Mowers
Each mower type requires maintenance, but the electric mower needs very few repairs and replacements to operate normally. Three primary areas need attention:
- Regularly wipe away grass residue from the ventilation system.
- Clean the mower undercarriage after every mowing session.
- Inspect the charger, battery, and battery compartment before each mower use.
The gas lawn mower needs more maintenance than the electric mower. You can perform the maintenance yourself or take it to a lawn mower repair shop at the end of the mowing season to ensure it is in good shape when you need to mow again.
Here are the areas that need maintenance on a gas lawn mower.
- Change the mower oil according to the manual instructions.
- Check and replace the spark plug when needed.
- Replace or clean the air filter.
- Sharpen the mower blades and balance them once you reattach them.
- Clean the lawn mower undercarriage of debris and grass clippings after each mowing session.
Beyond that is the common and not-so-common breakdowns that happen with combustion engines. You can reduce these issues with regular maintenance and by avoiding fuels that contain ethanol.
Horse Power of Electric vs. Gas Mowers
There are specific features you need in a lawn mower that affect the usefulness and ease of mowing. Electric and gas-powered mowers have benefits and drawbacks that you should consider when purchasing a lawn mower.
All lawn mowers have motors that propel the blades that cut the grass, but the main factor is how much horsepower a lawn mower has. If you have a large yard, you want enough horsepower, so the lawn mower handles the job well without too much work.
Gas mowers have engines that operate by internal combustion, generating energy to propel the machine. The average residential gas lawn mower has between two and seven horsepower, while commercial lawn mowers have up to thirty horsepower (source).
Basically, the more horsepower, the more powerful the lawn mower.
Electric lawn mowers measure in voltage instead of horsepower. A higher voltage does not necessarily equate to more energy output from the battery. The power of an electric mower relates to wattage.
Here is an example:
- A seven amp electric lawn mower with a fifty-volt battery provides three hundred fifty watts.
- A five amp electric lawn mower with a sixty-volt battery produces three hundred watts.
Some Drawbacks To Consider When Buying an Electric Lawn Mower
There are some limitations to think about before you buy an electric mower. While they use clean energy and require minimal maintenance, the drawbacks might change your mind.
- Unless you have a backup battery for the electric lawn mower, the battery only runs for around an hour, less if your mower has a self-propel option.
- When the battery dies, it can take several hours to recharge, depending on the brand.
- The replacement batteries are expensive and frequently cost as much as a new electric mower. Consider the battery cost when choosing an electric mower.
- The electric mower has less power than a gas mower and bogs down in thick or tall grass.
Many people love an electric lawn mower for multiple reasons. You plug in the mower for subsequent use and don’t have to worry about refilling the gas or the finicky starting. They are very quiet, too.
On the other hand, electric mowers are not as powerful as gas lawn mowers, nor do they cut the grass as efficiently when it is thick.
Ultimately, an electric lawn mower is neither good nor bad. It just depends on the size of your yard and how much power you need to get the job done well.