Lawn Mowers

Electric vs Gas Lawn Mowers: Which is Best?

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Have you ever owned an electric lawnmower? When they first came onto the market, everyone wanted to trade in their gas-powered lawnmower for an electric model.

However, for those unfortunate gardeners that did purchase an electric mower, they quickly discovered it was the wrong move. Back in the day, electric mowers were full of faults. The underpowered motors couldn’t compete with the grass-cutting efficiency of a gas-powered mower.

Fortunately, two or three decades later, manufacturers ironed out these issues, and now electrical lawnmowers are a viable option for cutting your grass. Still not convinced? We put together this article to compare gas-powered lawnmowers against their electrical rivals.

Perhaps, by the end of this read, you might have a different opinion about your lawnmower of choice.

Electric vs Gas Lawn Mowers

When comparing lawnmowers, we need to take into account three models, gas-powered, electric, and battery-operated.

  • Gas-powered mowers – These models require gasoline for operation.
  • Electric mowers – These models have an electrical cable that supplies power to the mower.
  • Battery-powered mowers – These models run off an electric battery that you charge after use.

Each of these models has its benefits and drawbacks. Understanding how they operate gives you further insight on which model is right for your gardening style and your yard.

Lawnmower Considerations

When deciding between gas-powered and electrical lawnmowers, you need to think about your requirements. There is no right or wrong choice when purchasing a lawnmower, but one model may suit your yard more than the others.

Let’s look at the factors we need to consider about lawnmowers before we make a purchase decision.

Types of Lawn Mowers

Motor Power

Your lawnmowers power output should be the first thing you look at when comparing models. If you live on a large property, and you’re dealing with stones, bumps, and tough sprigs of grass, then a gas-powered motor is your best option. Gas-powered lawnmowers have the highest power output, and they eat through the grass without any issues.

On the other hand, and electrical mower might not be able to handle this type of lawn. The stones may damage the blades of the electrical components, or put too much strain on the electric motor during operation. As a result, your lawnmowers motor might burn out after a few months of service.

Battery-powered options have a similar problem. While they work well on manicured lawns, taking them onto rougher ground presents a problem.

Gas-powered lawnmowers measure motor output in horsepower and cubic centimeters. However, the most critical rating of your lawnmower’s engine is the torque. Gas-powered motors have an average power output of between 4.50 and 8.75 ft-lbs.

Battery-powered and electric mowers don’t have a torque rating. Therefore, we need to do a calculation to understand the output of the motor. If your engine has a power rating of 1,000-watts, and an RPM of 2,800, we can assume that the mower has a torque rating of approximately 2.5 lb-ft. This figure is only a third or less of what a gas-powered mower has onboard.

Operation

When comparing the operation of the three lawnmower models, we need to consider two primary factors – the weight of the machine, as well as ease of use and maneuverability.

Consider how you’ll use the mower, and ask yourself if an electrical cord will get in the way of the mower. Running over your electrical cord means that you’ll have to replace the cable.

Lawnmower Runtime

IF you want a lawnmower with the longest possible runtime, then an electrical model is your best option. As long as you have power, you can cut your lawn. However, if you have a blackout in your neighborhood, you won’t be able to cut the grass today.

A battery-powered electrical model may save you in this situation. With the battery charged to capacity, you should get enough runtime to cut your lawn, as long as you have an average-sized yard. However, what if you forget to charge the mower after your last use? What if you didn’t connect the charger properly and it’s dead?

A gas-powered mower relied on the capacity of its fuel tank in determining runtime. Most lawn mowers come with a 1-gallon gas tank that’s sufficient to mow a sizeable family-sized lawn in a single-family home.

If you run out of gas, you can always refill the tank. However, you’ll also need to add oil to the fuel. The 2-stroke motor relies on the oil for efficient operation and smooth moving of the engine parts.

Economy and Eco-Friendly Features

When it comes to economy and eco-friendly characteristics, you can’t beat an electrical lawnmower. Whether you’re using a battery-powered or cord-based model, electric models are the most inexpensive to run, reducing your carbon footprint.

Gas-powered models spit out exhaust fumes into the air. Not only can they make you feel nauseous, but they’re terrible for the environment as well. Gas costs money, and with prices at the pump starting to rise, the cost of mowing your lawn will continue to increase.
Pricing

If you’re looking for the most affordable lawnmower model, then you’ll have to go with the corded electrical type. Battery-powered mowers are slightly more expensive, due to the inclusion of a lithium-ion battery pack that increases the cost of the unit.

You can pick up a battery-powered lawnmower for around the same costs as a mid-level gas-powered model.

Operating Costs

When it comes to operating costs, the electrical models are far cheaper to run. Gas-powered mowers require gas which is more expensive than electricity. The maintenance costs on the motor are also a concern for anyone looking to save money on their gardening budget.

Unpacking the Types of Lawnmowers

Let’s take a deeper dive into each of the three models in this review. We’ll list the pros and cons of each model to give you further insight on each type.

Electric Lawnmower Pros

  • Easy Maintenance – The best part about electric models is that they require very little maintenance. All you need to do is keep the blades sharp and the undercarriage of the mower free of debris.
  • Infinite Run Time – As long as you have power coming into your home, your electric lawnmower is ready to go. There’s no fuel required, and no battery pack to charge, and an electric lawnmower is a plug-and-play option.
  • Lightweight and Easy to Move – Electric lawnmowers using a cable power supply are very light. You can move them around without any hassle.

GreenWorks Electric Lawn Mower, Rated one of the Best

Electric Lawnmower Cons

  • The Cable – The electrical cable is a hassle. You’ll have to continually move it during operation to ensure your lawnmower doesn’t cut the cord.
  • Not Suitable for Wet Lawns – Don’t bother trying to mow your lawn when it’s wet. The motor is too weak to deal with damp grass, and you’ll end up overloading the mower, resulting in a breakdown.

Battery-Powered Electric Lawnmowers Pros

  • No Gasoline Required – With this model, there’s no need for cables or gasoline.
  • Easy Maintenance – There are no spark plugs to change, no carburetor to clean, and no cables are lying around your yard.
  • Smooth Operation – While they might not be as light as electric mowers that use a cable, they are stiller easier to maneuver than gas-powered models.

Greenworks Cordless Mower, Again rated one of the Best

Battery-Powered Electric Lawnmowers Pros

  • Replacing the Batteries – Eventually, your battery will reach the end of its service life and require replacement. In most cases, your battery will die after two to three years of use. Battery-powered electric lawnmowers use lithium-ion battery cells that cost a fortune. When you replace the battery, the price tag might give you a shock.
  • Less Runtime – Battery-powered lawnmowers offer less runtime than electric mowers with cables or gas-powered lawnmowers. With most models, you’ll get a maximum of 30 to 60-minutes of runtime, which is not ideal if you have a large yard.
  • Extended Charging Times – Lithium-ion batteries take forever to charge. In most cases, it may take 12-hours or longer for the battery to reach full charge. If you forget to fit the charger after you store away your mower, then it could derail your gardening plans the following week.
  • Not Suitable for Wet Lawns – Similar to electric models with a cable, the motor in these lawnmowers has a low power rating. Therefore, you’ll strain the motor when cutting wet grass, and the moisture may also affect the electrical components as well.
  • No Battery Standardization – The biggest issue with battery-powered mowers is that there’s no battery standardization. As a result, most brands make a specialized battery pack that’s not interchangeable between makes or models.

Gas-Powered Lawnmowers Pros

  • Plenty of Power – A gas-powered lawnmower will cut any type of grass, in any working conditions. When you start up the mower and get moving, it effortlessly slices through the toughest grasses. Even cheaper models typically have robust motors that are capable of handling any lawn.
  • Good Run Time – Gas-powered lawn mowers come in a range of models. For the larger units, you’ll get gas tanks that can hold up to 2-gallons of fuel. However, most models have a 1-gallon fuel capacity. That gives you enough fuel to mow a decent-sized lawn.
  • Durable and Robust – Gas-powered lawnmowers are far more durable than electric models. The powerful motor makes short work of long grass, and it can run for hours without breaking a sweat. Compared to electric models, you get more grass-cutting for your dollar, and you won’t have to go over any areas twice.
  • Suitable for Use on a Wet Lawn – Wet lawns stand no chance against a gas-powered lawnmower. The high-torque motor slices through grass effortlessly, for hours on end.

Craftsman, One of the best gas powered mowers

Gas-Powered Lawnmowers Cons

  • Runtime – Gas eventually runs out, and you’ll need to have some extra at home in case you don’t manage to finish the lawn on a single tank. Gas-powered lawnmowers also require you to mix oil in with the fuel to lubricate the working parts in the motor and prevent damage during operation.
  • Maintenance-Heavy – Gas-powered motors require regular servicing to ensure they are in running order. Service centers may also charge you for any replacement parts as well. Some of the working parts in your lawnmower that need regular servicing are;
    The barrel, rings, and pistons, The fuel filter, The fuel line, The carburetor, Blades and drive shafts.
  • Increased Danger Risk – A gas-powered model spins the blades at higher speeds than electrical models. Therefore, you’ll need to wear protective eyeglasses to avoid stone chips and grass getting in your eyes. The fuel also presents a fire hazard as well.
  • Heavy – Most gas-powered lawnmowers come with cast-iron motors. As a result of the weight of the material used in the design of the engine, these models are heavy and hard to turn.
  • Challenging to Start – Most gas-powered lawnmowers require starting with a ripcord. If the sparkplugs are wet or old, then it may take you more than a few pulls to start it up.

In Closing – Don’t Listen to Sales Reps

When selecting the ideal lawnmower for your yard, it’s vital that you look at how you’ll be using the mower. If you have a small backyard with manicured grass, then an electrical model will be more than sufficient to cut your grass.

However, if you live on a large property or estate, then a gas-powered model is your best bet. If you need advice on which model is the right choice for your yard, visit a garden center. Ask the consultants what they would recommend for your garden.

Avoid going to a lawnmower dealership if you have no idea about how lawnmowers work or what you need out of the machine. Lawnmower dealerships may entice you into buying a model that has more power than you need. Sales reps are always looking to upsell you to a more expensive model, so don’t fall for this unethical sales practice.

Spend some time looking through suitable models online. This strategy will give you an unbiased viewpoint of which type of lawnmower is best for your application. After researching what’s available, narrow your choice down to two or three models, and then visit the lawnmower dealership.

When the sales rep sees that you know what you are looking at, there is less chance of them trying to take you for a ride.

Robin Watson

Robin owns his own Landscape Gardening company based in the UK and has over 10 years professional experience working outdoors, creating beautiful landscapes for his clients in the UK. He is also a keen garden-grower and maintains his own fruit and vegetable gardens. He also has a level 3 Certificate in Practical Horticulture from The Royal Horticultural Society and is currently working on his first book about gardening. Contact him at Robin@gardenbeast.com

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