Electric lawnmowers are becoming more popular each year. Not only are they much more energy-efficient than their gas-powered counterparts, but they also provide quite a bit of power. However, using a new type of lawnmower can be frustrating if you don’t know how to start it. It’s important to know the ins and outs of an electric lawnmower before cutting the grass.
To use an electric lawnmower, charge the battery, place it in the battery compartment, pull down the activation lever, and push the start button. Electric mowers don’t require pull cables or chokes because they don’t use gas for combustion. Set the desired height and attach the grass bag beforehand.
In this article, you’ll learn nine key points to starting and operating an electric lawnmower.
1. How Do You Start an Electric Push Mower?
To start an electric push mower, place the battery in the battery box and close it. Next, push down the bar on the main handle and push the start button. This will activate the lawnmower. Electric lawnmowers are much quieter than gas mowers, so don’t expect your new lawnmower to have a loud motor when it starts.
Some electric push mowers only need a button to start, especially if they’re corded models. The motor housing is on top of the lawnmower, but it’ll be right below the battery housing if yours is a battery-operated mower. Electric lawnmowers never use pull cables because they don’t use gasoline for ignition.
2. Do You Have to Keep an Electric Lawn Mower Plugged In?
You only have to keep an electric lawnmower plugged in if it’s a corded lawnmower. Battery-powered lawnmowers need their batteries charged after every 30 to 60 minutes of use, depending on the make and model. However, a battery-powered lawnmower doesn’t need to be plugged in when you’re cutting the grass.
Leaving a battery charging for too long can cause the battery to lose some of its overall charge capacity. Unplug the battery charger once the battery is fully charged. If the battery depletes because you haven’t used it in several months, recharge the battery before putting it back into the lawnmower.
3. Are Electric Mowers Hard to Push?
There are manual push and self-propelled electric mowers. A manual push mower can be difficult to push if it’s too low, the grass is too high, the wheels are corroded or loose, or there’s a lot of woody debris in the lawn. Clogged blades can also make it challenging to push an electric lawnmower.
If your electric lawnmower seems harder to push, consider these variables:
- There might be grass, mud, clay, and other debris under the deck.
- The wheels might be dull, loose, or jammed.
- Your electric lawnmower might be losing battery power.
- Some electric lawnmowers don’t have automatic acceleration, meaning you have to manually push them without assistance.
- There might not be enough power coming from the electrical outlet (if you have a corded electric lawnmower).
4. How Long Can You Mow With an Electric Mower?
You can mow for up to one hour with an electric mower if it has a battery. Keep in mind that the one-hour run time is based on continuous usage. In other words, you can use a battery-powered mower for five twenty-minute sessions (in most cases). Corded electric lawnmowers can mow indefinitely (or however long they have a power source).
According to Family Handyman, most electric lawnmower batteries can’t last longer than an hour (source). The batteries don’t have enough cells to maintain a longer charge, but that can change down the road.
Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines to know how long your new electric lawnmower will last (if it uses a battery).
5. Is It OK to Leave an Electric Mower Outside?
It’s OK to leave an electric mower outside when the weather is moderate. However, extreme temperatures, excessive moisture, and rain can damage an electric lawnmower. Most lawnmowers are water-resistant, but they’re not waterproof. If you’re thinking about leaving an electric mower outside, consider covering it with a canopy umbrella or a tarp.
Keep these tips in mind when storing an electric lawnmower outdoors:
- Remove the battery to prevent it from getting too cold or wet.
- Close the battery case and the motor housing.
- Always cover the lawnmower if possible, especially if it’s going to rain.
- Never leave the lawnmower plugged into the wall when it’s not being used.
- Do your best to provide any form of protection from the elements, such as a tarp (as mentioned above).
For more information see Is It Safe To Store an Electric Lawn Mower Outside?
6. Is It Safe to Mow Wet Grass With an Electric Mower?
It’s not safe to mow wet grass with an electric mower because the moisture can damage the electrical components. In rare cases, this can cause electrical shock. It’s more dangerous to mow wet grass with a corded lawnmower, but it’s best to avoid mowing wet grass with a battery-powered mower, too.
Mower’s Direct claims mowing wet grass with an electric lawnmower is extremely dangerous (source). Furthermore, it can crush the grass, ruining the cutting pattern. Mowing on mud can clog the deck and overheat the motor brushes, battery, and battery terminals.
Professionals will occasionally mow in the rain to keep on schedule, but they usually opt for gas mowers when they have to do this.
Try to avoid mowing grass with too much morning dew since it can let water into the lawnmower.
7. Do Electric Mowers Run Differently Than Gas Mowers?
Electric mowers run differently than gas mowers because they use different parts, they don’t require gas or oil, and they’re less powerful as the battery depletes. Corded electric mowers don’t need batteries or charges, but the lawnmower is tethered to a nearby outlet. Additionally, electric mowers typically require much less maintenance than gas mowers.
Here’s an in-depth look at each of these factors:
- Different components: One of the best parts of owning an electric lawnmower is that they don’t require pull cords, air filters, spark plugs, etc. The reduced part count makes them much easier to manage and operate. You also don’t have to worry about paying for nearly as many repairs.
- A lack of gas and oil: Gas-powered lawnmowers need a lot of gasoline for fuel and oil for lubrication. That being said, electric lawnmowers don’t need anything for fuel other than batteries or cables. They also don’t need oil for lubrication. Your operational expenses for fuel will be drastically reduced, making these mowers a better ROI.
- Reduced power output: Most battery-powered lawnmowers lose their power as the battery loses its power. The good news is that some companies are adding improved batteries that prevent the power output from diminishing. Keep in mind that you don’t have to deal with this if you have a corded electric lawnmower.
- Batteries and cords: Perhaps the biggest difference between using an electric mower and a gas mower is that electric mowers have cords and batteries. You don’t need either of those if you have a gas mower. Regardless of which type of electric mower you choose, you’ll need access to an electrical outlet at some point.
- Reduced operational maintenance: Gas mowers have a lot of parts (as mentioned above). If you want to be as hands-off as possible, electric lawnmowers are the way to go. Not having to worry about gasoline, oil, filters, spark plugs, roaring motors, and other maintenance saves plenty of time, money, and energy.
While electric mowers run much differently than gas mowers, they get the same job done and generally require much less maintenance. Still, there are a few key aspects to keeping an electric mower in tip-top shape. Let’s go through those:
Electric Lawn Mower Maintenance Tips
Maintaining your electric lawnmower will ensure it lasts as long as possible while preventing it from being too difficult to operate. Failure to provide proper storage and routine maintenance can shave years off your mower’s longevity. Furthermore, if you don’t maintain an electric mower, the blades will make the grass look jagged instead of uniform.
Follow these electric lawnmower maintenance tips:
- Store your lawnmower away from extreme temperatures and humidity. Consider using tarps, garages, and sheds. Electric lawnmowers are much more susceptible to rust and permanent damage from moisture than gas-powered lawnmowers. If any of the electrical components get wet, they could short out the mower.
- Never leave the mower’s battery case open. Battery-powered lawnmowers have plastic lids that protect the battery from moisture and direct impact. However, these cases are ineffective if they’re cracked, loose, or open. Always close and seal the battery case, even if the battery isn’t in the lawnmower.
- Keep the battery charged when it depletes. Lawnmower batteries slowly lose their charge, whether or not they’re being used. Make sure you don’t leave the battery empty for too long. These batteries are prone to permanent energy loss if they’re empty for several weeks in a row.
- Scrub the blades and remove debris from under the deck. Excessive amounts of debris under the lawnmower’s deck and around the blades will overheat an electric mower. The harder the motor has to work, the quicker the battery depletes. It’s best to remove as much debris as possible after each use.
- Monitor and replace the motor brushes when necessary. If the motor brushes don’t provide a reliable connection to the motor, the lawnmower will spark and fail to work. These brushes naturally wear down from regular use. They sit below the motor cover (which is another reason the battery lid needs to be sealed around the clock).
Additional maintenance tips include untangling the cord (corded electric mowers), replacing the battery charger if it can’t complete a full charge (battery electric mowers), and ensuring you don’t mow too close to rocks, wood, and other debris.
How to Know When You Need to Replace an Electric Lawn Mower
To know when you need to replace an electric lawnmower, look for these signs:
- Electric lawnmowers shouldn’t show rust, corrosion, or calcification. These lawnmowers are more prone to these signs of degradation because moisture wreaks havoc on their electrical components. If there’s rust on the battery, terminals, or brushes, the lawnmower won’t perform optimally.
- If the mower doesn’t work with a brand-new battery, it might be time for a replacement. Make sure you check the motor brushes and battery terminals before getting a new lawnmower. The terminals need to make constant contact with the battery for the mower to stay on.
- Get a new electric lawnmower when it’s older than ten years. Most electric lawnmowers aren’t designed to last longer than five to ten years. Check your manufacturer’s warranty before getting a new model. Once your electric lawnmower reaches its predicted lifespan, you’ll notice most of the parts stop working.
- Replace your electric lawnmower if the battery terminals are broken. Corroded or damaged battery terminals won’t let the battery power the motor, which means your electric lawnmower is practically useless. Since the terminals usually can’t be replaced, the whole electric lawnmower needs to be replaced.
- If the power cord is severed, it’s time for a new electric lawnmower. Replacing the cord is nearly impossible. Check with the company to see if they can replace the cord at a nearby store. Unfortunately, a severed power cord is one of the only ways a new mower can be ruined immediately. If you mow over the cord, it’s finished.
It’s essential to replace various parts throughout your electric lawnmower’s lifespan, but that doesn’t mean they last forever. If your electric mower doesn’t start after getting a new battery and fixing the terminals, it could be due for a replacement.
Electric lawnmowers might not be as common as gas-powered mowers (yet), but they can be a great option considering how quiet they are and how long they last.
Remember to keep your electric mower under a tarp, in a shed, or in a garage when it rains to keep it in good condition.