Crank cords power lawn mowers by turning the flywheel that spins the crankshaft, which moves the piston to ignite the spark plug. Electric starters replace the cord (while still utilizing the internal combustion engine); instead of relying on a pull cord, it uses an electric motor to turn the flywheel and get the engine going.
But you’re probably wondering if electric starters on lawnmowers are worth the investment.
Electric starters on lawn mowers are worth it for those looking for an easy-start mower, like those with arm or shoulder injuries or limited mobility. They reduce the need for physical effort since many have self-propelled drive assemblies. However, they’re more complex and require more maintenance.
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This article walks you through the pros and cons of electric starters on lawnmowers to help you determine whether they’re worth the investment. Read on to learn more.
Pros of Electric Starters
- Electric starters allow the lawn mower to power on with ease. Starting the lawn mower is much easier than having to continuously pull a traditional crank cord, which could lead to injuries in the process.
- The setup makes room for self-propelled driving assemblies. Because of the miniature electric motors and overall design of the crankshaft and flywheel system, many of these mowers are equipped with driving assemblies that don’t require operators to physically push the mower across the lawn.
- They eliminate the need for crank cord replacement. One of the most frustrating parts of a crank lawn mower is having to repair or replace the cord. Installing a new cord only to pull it and find it completely unwound with zero tension can leave you feeling exasperated.
- They’re excellent for people with large yards, limited mobility, or injuries that limit the use of their arms. For those with large yards, limited mobility, arm or shoulder injuries, or individuals who need to take it easy for other reasons, electric starters on lawn mowers can greatly reduce the need for physical exertion. This is because of the push start function and self-propelled driving assembly.
Cons of Electric Starters
- The extra parts make lawn mowers with electric starters more complicated. If you ever run into a mechanical problem with your lawn mower, discovering the root of the issue can be much more challenging with electric starters (source). With more parts, these devices are harder to diagnose and repair.
- Electric starters require more maintenance. Since many lawnmowers equipped with electric starters come with self-propelled drive assemblies, they have more internal moving parts and, therefore, more maintenance. Most people aren’t familiar with the potential problems associated with these systems, especially if they’re used to crank cord mowers. Therefore, they may find electric start mowers too complicated.
- Batteries aren’t as reliable in certain conditions. Although electric starters come equipped with a battery that self-charges as the lawn mower engine runs, cold conditions or long periods between use can cause the battery to die. In these cases, the operator must charge the battery prior to use, or else it cannot start the mower.
- Malfunctioning self-propelled systems can render a lawn mower useless. Unless you’re able to repair a self-propelled system immediately, you cannot use the lawn mower until the drive assembly is repaired or replaced (source). Not only is this very difficult to do at home on certain makes and models, but it can also be quite costly.
For an example of an electric start self-propelled lawn mower, check out this YouTube video:
Should You Get a Lawn Mower with an Electric Starter?
Whether or not you’d benefit from a lawn mower with an electric starter depends on several factors, which we’ll examine more in-depth below.
You Want a Lawn Mower That’s Easier To Start
Lawn mowers with crank cords require physical strength to start. Therefore, if you’ve suffered an arm, neck, back, or shoulder injury, you may find that starting a traditional crank lawn mower is quite painful, if not impossible. To avoid further damage, you may want to consider investing in an electric start lawn mower instead.
Not only can lawnmowers with electric starters reduce the amount of work you have to put in to start the device, but it could potentially save you from future injuries. These lawn mowers are much easier to start with the simple flip of a switch or push of a button. This makes them ideal for older populations or those without enough strength to pull the traditional crank cord to get a mower started.
You Need a More Convenient Lawn Mower
Self-propelled drive assemblies make mowing the lawn much easier and more convenient, reducing the need for physical effort. You can simply walk behind the mower as it moves about the lawn, guiding it and turning it as needed. This can easily take pressure off of your body, which is ideal if you regularly suffer from body aches and pains.
This is yet another reason why electric start mowers are great for the older population or those without the physical strength to push a heavy lawn mower for long periods of time. Not only that, but they’re extremely effective on lawns that are uneven or covered in hilly terrain.
You’re Done Fixing Crank Cords
Crank cords may seem like a relatively simple system, but they are a major inconvenience when they malfunction. They stick, fail to catch, refuse to properly wind, lose tension, and cause various other issues. Needless to say, these annoying cords can cause many headaches.
With push start mowers, you’ll never again have to worry about crank cords. With the push of a button, your lawn mower is on and ready to go.
Why You May Not Want a Lawn Mower with an Electric Starter
While lawn mowers with electric starters have numerous advantages, they’re not the best choice for everyone. Some may find the disadvantages too much to make it worth it. Therefore, if you relate with the following, you might consider opting for a regular crank cord start mower instead.
You Want To Be Able to Complete Your Own Repairs
Lawn mowers with electric starters feature more complex parts, including gears for the drive assemblies. As such, they’re more complicated to repair at home. Therefore, if you’re searching for a lawn mower that you can fix on your own with little assistance, this probably isn’t the best choice for you.
However, if you’re willing to dedicate time to research the parts and how to fix common issues, you may be able to self-teach repair techniques and other maintenance methods. If you’re not willing to put in the effort, then you should probably just stick to what you know.
You Want Minimum Maintenance
As mentioned in the pros and cons section, lawn mowers with electric starters typically require much more maintenance than conventional crank cord mowers. This is due to the extra components and gears involved in the self-propelled driving assembly. As such, the lawn mower requires regular inspection to ensure it’s in good working condition.
If you’re looking for a lawn mower where you can be a little more lax on maintenance, then you may want to opt for the traditional crank cord starters.
You Don’t Want To Wait for Battery Charge Times
Electric starter lawn mowers come with self-charging batteries (much like vehicles), but certain conditions can affect the battery’s function. In some cases, the battery may not have enough “juice” to get the lawn mower’s engine running, requiring you to charge the battery to start the lawn mower.
That means that you’ll need to invest in a battery charger, just in case.
Waiting for a battery to charge can be a major inconvenience, especially for individuals on a very rigid schedule.
Electric starters on lawn mowers have many pros and cons. For the most part, they benefit those who have trouble starting traditional crank lawn mowers or people who want to exert as little physical energy as possible when mowing the lawn.
Because of their ease of use, these devices are excellent for those with limited mobility, past injuries, or those who need a little extra help when performing regular lawn duties.
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