Is Buying an Electric Lawn Mower in 2023 Worth It? Here Are the Pros and Cons
Compared to gas-powered lawn mowers, electric models are cleaner, quieter and greener.- but there are some drawbacks.
Macy Meyer is a N.C. native who graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2021 with a B.A. in English and Journalism. She currently resides in Charlotte, N.C., where she has been working as an Editor I, covering a variety of topics across CNET’s Home and Wellness teams, including home security, fitness and nutrition, Smart home tech and more. Prior to her time at CNET, Macy was featured in The News Observer, The Charlotte Observer, INDY Week, and other state and national publications. In each article, Macy helps readers get the most out of their home and wellness. When Macy isn’t writing, she’s volunteering, exploring the town or watching sports.
- Macy has been working for CNET for coming on 2 years. Prior to CNET, Macy received a North Carolina College Media Association award in sports writing.
For decades, lawn mowers were gas-guzzling and emissions-spouting beasts that were hard to pull-start and loud enough to wake up the neighborhood. But a new generation of electric-powered models is changing the lawn care game.
Though gas-powered models still dominate the aisles of big-box stores, a growing number of affordable electric mowers now provide a compelling alternative, whether your priority is power, convenience or sustainability. If you’re in the market, you have more options than ever.- and the best electric mowers are now good enough to rival their gas-powered competitors. We’ll break down the pros and cons of electric and gas mowers to help guide your buying decision.
Pro: Electric lawn mowers are quieter
Lawn mowers are loud. While standard gas-powered mowers usually operate at 95 decibels.- equivalent to the racket made by a motorcycle revving its engine.- electric mowers max out at around 75 decibels on average, closer to the din of a washing machine. If you live in a neighborhood, an electric mower is the less disruptive option.
Con: Shorter run times
Once you start mowing, you want the job done in one fell swoop.- but that might not be possible with an electric lawn mower, especially if you have a significant plot of land. Electric models top out at between 45 to 60 minutes per charge, which should be enough to handle up to half an acre of grass.
Some electric mowers, like this corded Sun Joe hover model will provide unlimited mowing time, as long as you have a power source or long enough extension cord. Most electric models run on batteries, however, and offer run times ranging from 20 to 45 minutes. If it takes you longer to mow your yard, that’s going to be a problem.- or a delay, at least, while you recharge. You can keep a second battery on hand, but that’ll require an additional purchase.
Pro: Easier to maneuver and less maintenance
A gas-powered mower requires periodic maintenance, including the eventual replacement of a spark plug, oil filter and air filter. Electric mower components, however, require less regular servicing, which should increase your savings over the long term. In this way, an electric model can be more economical than a gas-powered counterpart.
Most electric mowers are also relatively lightweight, making them easier to navigate across your lawn and maneuver around tight corners. Our top electric pick, the EGO Power Plus, weighs 62.6 pounds.- making it considerably lighter than the Craftsman M250, which weighs in at a hefty 90 pounds. Though the self-propelled engine improves maneuverability when you’re cutting the grass, the mower is still heavy to push.
Pro: Better for the environment
Gasoline-powered engines produce a surprising amount of carbon emissions and a slew of pollutants. According to the California Air Resources Board, one hour of mowing generates the same pollution as driving a car for 300 miles. And the Environmental Protection Agency says that gas lawn mowers contribute the majority of non-road-related air pollution generated nationwide.
Electric lawn mowers are a much cleaner, energy-efficient alternative. The Electric Power Research Institute notes that if we replaced half the gas-powered lawn mowers with electric models, it would reduce the same amount of emissions as removing 2 million vehicles from the road. This is certainly an important factor to consider when purchasing a new mower.
Con: Electric lawn mowers aren’t as powerful
Lawn mower power is measured by a torque rating, which quantifies the driving force behind the blade’s rotation. The higher the torque rating, the more powerful the chopping motion.- and the less likely the mower is to get stuck or caught up on a clump of grass or other obstruction.
The average electric lawn mower has between 2 and 2.5 pound-feet of torque. The average of a gas-powered mower is between 4.5 and 8.75 pound-feet, which is about three times more power. This means a gas-powered mower will make it easier to tackle challenging terrain like hills and dips and slants in your yard. And homeowners with larger lawns or yards with hills or slopes may require heavier duty equipment like a riding lawn mower. While most riding lawn mowers are gas-powered, there are electric ones on the market, like this Ryobi model.
Pro: They can be less expensive
If you’re in the market for a new mower, a basic electric mower is less expensive than a basic gas mower.
Electric models can start as low as about 100, the price for the Sun Joe hover model tested by CNET experts, but that’s a particularly low-priced outlier. Most push-from-behind electric models can cost anywhere from 250 to 550.
for gas-powered mowers can start at around 200-250. But the most popular lawn mower brands have basic gas-powered models that fall into the 400 to 1,00 price range. Certain gas riding lawn mowers can even reach up to 2,500.
Overall, the lawn mower market continues to expand, with an array of diverse offerings. For homeowners with larger yards, gas-powered mowers may still be the best fit, since they have the durability and power to tackle bigger lawns with ease. That’s if you’re comfortable with the environmental impact gas mowers have.
If you want to maintain a midsize yard, reduce your carbon footprint (and even save some money) in the process, then an electric lawn mower is probably the best for your needs. Either route you take can help you gain a healthy-looking lawn that boosts the curb appeal and value of your home.
Electric Lawn Mower Maintenance
Maintaining an electric lawn mower isn’t really difficult because they don’t use oil. However, it is an exercise that should not be overlooked. This is because regular maintenance extends the lawn mower’s overall lifespan and enhances optimal performance.
Gas-powered lawn mowers require more servicing than electric mowers. Nevertheless, your electric mower still requires a few essential maintenance for smooth operation. You can start by reading the machine’s owner’s manual since different electric mowers have different needs.
This article talks about essential electric lawn mower maintenance tips that will make your mower serve you longer. These tips work well for both corded and cordless electric lawn mowers.
Effective Electric Lawn Mower Maintenance Tips
Clean out the electric mower’s undercarriage
The undercarriage refers to the compartment that houses the electric mower blade. It is usually caked with grass clipping and will require a thorough cleaning out more than a few times throughout the grass-cutting season.
Check the undercarriage from time to time and scrape off every dried grass clipping when you can. Don’t use a pressure washer or hose when cleaning your electric lawnmower. If water gets inside the mower’s engine, it may cause corrosion.
Check the Lawn Mower Blade
You should consider getting custom tools primarily designed for sharpening lawn mower blades.
After sharpening the blade, apply a thin film of lubricant in order to prevent the formation of rust.
Make Use of a Suitable Lubricant
Even though it is an electric mower, it still needs a lubricant for smooth operation. Lubricate all the wheels for smooth movement across your lawn.
Ensure you only use the proper lubricant recommended in the owner’s manual. Don’t overdo it; just squirt the lubricant on the wheels gently, and you will be good to go.
Using the wrong or an unsuitable lubricant for this task can mess things up big time. It is in your very best interest to avoid this as much as possible by sticking to the manufacturer’s recommended lubricant.
Blow the Vents, Battery Components, and Motor
Use a lightweight air compressor or blower to blow out debris or dust from every nook and cranny of your electric mower. Blast grass-cutting clippings out as much as possible from tight spots so that they don’t impede the operation of the mower later on.
Check All Fasteners and Bolts
When cutting grass with your electric mower, the machine will vibrate many times throughout the operation. These vibrations tend to loosen screws, fasteners, and bolts.
Ensure you tighten every bolt, fastener, and screw before using the electric mower.
Don’t Forget the Ventilation System
The ventilation system of an electric lawn mower supplies air that cools the different components within the mower, especially when they become unbearably hot while in operation.
Make sure all ventilation slots are clean for the smooth running of the garden machine. Clean airways help regulate airflow and prevent the lawnmower from overheating when in use.
Use a soft cloth/brush to clean out blocked ventilation slots. Try cleaning out the ventilation system of your electric mower after each use or even during the mowing operation.
Electric Mower Battery Maintenance
A crucial part of electric lawn mower maintenance includes maintaining your batteries. You won’t have a functional electric mower when the grass cutting season comes around if your battery is bad.
Check the mower battery before storing it and never keep it in the garage or outdoors. This is quite important, especially if you live in a climate that drops below freezing. You need to keep them warm as much as possible, so ensure they are always inside.
Make sure the lawnmower batteries are fully charged before you store them. Most batteries these days are equipped with battery power indicators. If you notice that the level has dropped, make sure you charge the battery until the level moves back up before you store it.
Although electric mowers are somewhat easier to maintain than their gas-powered counterparts, you still need to carry out a few maintenance tasks in order to keep them in excellent shape.
Follow these electric mower maintenance tips to avoid getting stranded during the next grass cutting season. Even if you don’t clean the mower after every use, ensure you do so after at least 3 uses.
Regularly check the mower’s parts and batteries from time to time when it is not in use.
Sam has over a decade experience in landscape and yard maintenance. He enjoys testing and reviewing different yard tools.
Electric Lawn Mower Not Starting? It’s One Of 12 Issues
Well, wouldn’t you know it? You’ve got the time finally to attack the lawn you’ve been meaning to get to and what happens? Nothing.
Not because of anything you’ve done. No, you’ve planned to get this done.
Yet, regardless of all your planning, your trusty electric mower just won’t start.
Okay, maybe that’s all a bit dramatic. Perhaps you just figured it was as good a time as any to hit the lawn with a well-deserved trim. Or maybe there’s a storm coming through and you wanted to get the mowing done before the grass became saturated for a few days.
Regardless of the circumstances, the main thing is your mower isn’t cooperating, so there’s not going to be any mowing until you figure out what the issue is. That’s the dramatic part.
Just remember, when it comes to an electric mower not starting, whether it’s a corded or battery-powered mower, it will probably be an issue with the power supply (outlet/breaker or battery charger), power transmission (cord or battery), or the mower itself (breakers, connections, motor control switches, etc).
Before you start tearing anything apart in a desperate attempt to get your mower, well, mowing, below are some things to troubleshoot and things to consider that might fix the problem before you have to get a technician or service center involved.
First, let’s go ahead and get this out of the way. Always remember safety first when it comes to troubleshooting any kind of equipment that can either cut off fingers or electrocute you or both. That’s a bad day that should be avoided at all costs.
Second, have your manufacturer’s manual (or owner’s manual, whichever you prefer) available. If you don’t have a hard copy, you can probably find it online by doing a Google search that looks like, “[Your Brand] [Model Number] Manual PDF.”
Once you have that ready, you’re ready to start troubleshooting.
Troubleshooting Processfor a Corded or Battery-Powered Mower
Before we get to the specific electric mower you have, the troubleshooting process will follow essentially the same path in this general order:
- Inspect the power transmitter (the cord for a corded mower and the battery for the battery mower).
- Insect the power supply (the outlet and circuit breaker for a corded mower and the battery charger for the battery mower).
- Inspect the power receiving end on the mower.
- Consult your warranty information and contact service center if necessary.
A Corded Electric Mower
Before we determine what the power issue with your electric mower may be, first it helps to know the type of electric mower you have. In this case, let’s assume you have a corded mower.
Let’s also assume that, until this moment, you’ve had zero issues with the mower when it comes to starting and stopping it or anything related to sources of power.
Now, let’s troubleshoot.
Inspect the Cord
If it is a corded electric mower then the first thing you’re going to want to do is to inspect your cord. As most corded mowers do not come with a manufacturer’s provided cord, you have to provide your own extension cord. It should be a standard 16-gauge grounded cord and free of any cuts or other visible damage. Also, check the prongs on the male end and the female end for damage. Lastly, check the male end on the mower itself.
Inspect the Outlet and Breaker
If you’re satisfied the cord is good, try plugging it into another item from the same wall outlet. If there’s no power at the outlet, then you’ve probably identified the issue. It could be a loose wire, a bad outlet, or a tripped breaker. Check one after another until you find the problem.
Check the Breaker and Motor Control Switch
If there isn’t a problem at the outlet or breaker and the cord successfully powers something other than the mower, then the issue is probably at the mower itself.
At this point, check the connection at the mower again to make sure it’s tight and holding firm.
From here, go to the breaker on the mower itself. Push RESET and see if the mower has power now. If it does, there was your problem. If it doesn’t then you may have a bad motor control switch. At this point, unless you know how to repair or replace such a switch, you’ll probably need to consult a service center or repair technician.
Warranty and Corded MowerTroubleshooting Review
One thing to check that’s not on the mower but applies to it is how old it is and if you still have a warranty on it, whether it’s a manufacturer’s or from the store it was purchased at. If you still have a warranty, don’t do any more work on the mower and place that warranty-issue call to get it fixed.
That pretty much sums it up for a corded electric motor. If it isn’t starting, check the power supply at the plug and main breaker, the power transmission at the cord, and final the power receiving at the mower itself. Do that in that order. From there, if you can’t identify the problem, time to call for help.
A Battery-Powered Electric Mower
Okay, now if you don’t have a corded electric mower but a battery-operated model, then this section is for you. However, you should still read through the corded mower section because you might pick up on something there that might help someone you know down the road.
Like the corded mower, let’s assume your mower has functioned normally until this moment and, unexpectedly, it’s just not starting.
Well, clearly there’s a power issue of some sort. So, let’s get to troubleshooting.
Inspect the Battery
With inspecting the battery, you should be looking for any kind of visual damages or leaks. Also, check the battery light to ensure it does indicate a charge. It might not be true but check all the same.
While inspecting, also make sure the battery is dry. A damp or wet battery can cause a short, lead to overheating, and cause a breakdown. If you believe this happened, you shouldn’t have a solid charge on the battery at all.
Speaking of charges, if everything looks good, and you have a battery tester, this would be an ideal time to test it. That way, if it’s not showing a charge even though the indicator lights up green, then you know the battery is probably bad and needs replacement.
Inspect the Battery Charger
If your battery is charged and you’ve tested it and you’re confident it is, then your battery charger should be operating properly. However, if you’ve got no charge on the battery after testing it, check the charger to see if there’s an issue there.
One way to test the charger is, of course, to put another battery on it and see if it charges. However, not everyone has extra lawn mower batteries. Really, the only thing you can do here is to inspect the charger for damage, check the outlet, and inspect the breaker as you would do with a corded mower.
Another thing you can do is use a volt meter. A positive result would indicate that a charger is at least supplying energy but the battery probably can’t hold a charge for long. A negative result would indicate that the charger itself is bad.
Store Your Mower in a Dry Place
Another tip that sounds obvious but one that’s very important when it comes to electric mowers. Remember, water can seriously damage an electric mower, especially a battery-operated one.
Store Your Cord and Battery After Use
Don’t leave the cord with the mower where it can get damaged. Store it somewhere it is easy to get to but won’t be affected by things like sharp blades or wheels. You get it.
For batteries, remove them after use and charge them but don’t leave them on the charger all the time. Also, don’t run the battery completely dead all the time. Running a battery to both extremes can diminish its service life quicker than normal.
Visually Inspect the Mower Before Use
Again, it sounds obvious but it’s good advice, especially if you haven’t taken a look at the blades in a while.
When you use equipment that runs on electricity or gas, eventually you’ll have an issue that needs some special troubleshooting attention. The good news is, with electric mowers, it doesn’t take much time to figure out what the issue might be and when you’ll need to call for assistance.
Just remember to always be safe, walk through the steps, and be patient. Electricity is a wonderful thing but it isn’t magic. Be safe and remember to call for help if you need it.
I’ve been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I’ve since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7 years. My mission is to help your fix your appliances and systems. saving you money and lowering your energy bills. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more
Hi there! My name’s Craig, and I started Appliance Analysts back in 2017.
My mission is to help our readers solve appliance-related issues without paying through the nose for contractors or a whole new model. I’m joining up with experts from across the HVAC, Appliance Repair, DIY industries to share free expert advice that will save you time, stress, and money.
How Long Will an Electric Mower Last? Surprisingly durable!
From small manual mowers to giant lawn tractors, there are countless lawn mowers to choose from, and with so many shapes and sizes available, choosing the right one can sometimes feel like a chore in itself. However, with the surging gas prices, more and more people are starting to wonder if they should go electric, but how long will an electric mower last?
If bought new and maintained, most lawn mowers will last between 8 and 10 years. However, homeowners should be prepared to replace the battery in an electric mower after about five years.
Continue reading to learn more about electric mowers, including the pros and cons of owning one and things you should know before you buy one.
Electric Mowers — What Are They?
Electric lawnmowers are mowers that run on electricity. There are two types of electric mowers—corded and cordless. The difference between the two is fairly obvious: one has a cord, and the other does not. Corded mowers draw power from the power source that they are plugged into, while cordless mowers have batteries that must be charged in order to run.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both types. While a corded mower is not limited by a battery charge, having to deal with a lengthy cord can be a pain. On the other hand, while you do not have to mess with a cord with a cordless machine, its running time is limited to how long the battery will hold a charge.
Pros and Cons of an Electric Mower
Although there has been a noticeable shift away from gas-powered machines in recent years, you might be surprised to know that electric mowers have been around since the 1930s. So why aren’t these handy little machines more popular? Perhaps the answer to that question lies within the pros and cons listed below.
Advantages of an Electric Mower
- Less Maintenance
Electric mowers are much quieter than gas-powered mowers because they do not have a noisy engine. While this is obviously more peaceful, it might be better for your health as well. Electric mowers emit sounds at around 75 decibels, while most gas mowers run at 95 decibels. Sounds below 75 decibels are not harmful to your ears, while anything above 75 decibels may damage your hearing after prolonged exposure.
Cheaper Maintenance Costs
Although some maintenance tasks are universal across all models, electric mowers typically require less maintenance than gas mowers. For example, gas mowers require a lot of engine maintenance that electric mowers do not need, such as oil changes and spark plug replacements.
Most electric mowers are lighter than their gas-powered counterparts and because of this, they are easier to handle, move, and maneuver around your lawn.
Cheaper Price Tag
While both options can be found in a variety of price ranges, electric mowers tend to be less expensive than gas-powered mowers. For example, the average price of an electric mower is between 250 and 580, while gas-powered mowers cost around 1,000 mark.
Ryobi lawn mowers are garbage
Cheaper to Run
With gas soaring, it seems obvious that gas-powered mowers are more expensive to run, but with electricity costs rising around the country as well, are you saving that much?
Well, last season I bought my father a new electric Husqvarna mower, I’d tune up his old gas mower at the start of each season so she’d run with one pull and while it was reliable, it was just too much work for him.
How I clean my Electric Lawn Mower EGO 21″ LM2100 ~ Cleaning Electric Lawnmower Step by Step Guide
The electric is a gift, he’s not buying gas, fuel stabilizer, oil, spark plugs, air filters, and associated labor to fit, and not paying the associated labor with fitting, cleaning, and tuning. Electric mowers are a ton cheaper to maintain.
Consider a gas mower that needs a service every season, that costs about 90 depending on the size and model. We’ll need a fuel stabilizer for the season, and oil for top-ups, let’s call that 20.
Now let’s estimate the cost of gas per cut. Mower engines, gas tank sizes, gas and electricity will all affect our figures. Bear in mind these are ballpark figures. Better to be roughly right than exactly wrong if you know what I mean)
let’s consider you have a 1/4 acre lawn, and you have an average size gas-powered walk-behind mower.
Most mowers will cut a half-acre to a tank of gas. And a tank of gas is somewhere around a half-gallon (usually a little more, but let’s keep this simple.) And so, let’s say our mower will cut our 1/4 acre on a half tank of gas. With gas at 4 plus currently that’s somewhere around a dollar a cut.
Not bad, you might say, now lest consider what an electric mower might cost to cut the same lawn.
Most walk-behind electric mowers will run a 40v 5ah battery which is capable of cutting a 1/4 acre on one charge. To recharge said battery requires about 2 Kwh, and with electricity currently charged at 14 c per Kwh, that’s 28c.
Now let’s take a look at the running cost of both gas and electric mowers side by side:
Besides being in many ways the cheaper choice, electric lawnmowers are also more eco-friendly than their gas-powered cousins. In fact, according to the California Air Resource Board, running a gas mower for one hour is equivalent to driving around 300 miles in a car!
Disadvantages of an Electric Mower
Battery Charge Time
Utilizing a battery instead of gasoline is one of the biggest advantages of these machines, but it is also a giant disadvantage as well. Most electric mowers have batteries that will last anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes before needing to be recharged, which can be a pain if it takes longer than that to mow your lawn.
You can avoid recharging by opting for a corded mower but having a cord can significantly reduce your mobility. You must be aware of where the cord is always, and most cords span less than 1 acre.
The type of lawn that you have may or may not be suitable for an electric mower. Hills will drain the battery much quicker than flat terrain and electric mowers do not work well on long or coarse grasses. Additionally, if your lawn is over an acre, you may have to stop and recharge multiple times.
Although many manufacturers will boast that their electric product is comparable to a gas-powered counterpart, this is simply not true. While there are many things to love about electric mowers, gas mowers are still king when it comes to sheer grunt.
This is an unfair disadvantage because all lawnmowers pose a certain level of danger to their riders/pushers. However, electric corded mowers have the added electrical element to worry about. Operators must be aware of their cord to ensure they do not run it over, and wet grass should be avoided all the time. Admittedly, battery-powered mowers don’t pose an electric shock risk.
The average deck size for an electric mower is between 19 and 21 inches. This is much smaller than the average gas-powered deck, which can range anywhere from 30 plus inches. So, not only are you limited by a battery, but you are cutting less grass on each pass as well.
How Long Will a Cordless Mowers Battery Last?
For the most part, the life of your electric mower will depend on the life of its battery, and how long the battery will last will depend on several factors, such as:
- what type of battery it is,
- how the battery is cared for and maintained,
- how often you charge the battery,
- your charging habits,
- your lawn size and terrain,
- and how often you run your mower.
However, the average lifespan of a cordless mower’s battery is around 3 to 5 years.
How Long Will a Cordless Mowers Battery Stay Charged?
Again, this depends on several factors, such as the type of battery you are using and how you are using your machine. For example, lawns that have a lot of hilly areas may drain a battery faster than a level lawn would.
That being said, most batteries will last anywhere from forty-five minutes to upwards of two hours (for a top Lithium-ion battery).
Ways To Extend the Life of Your Electric Mower
Now that you have a basic idea of how long an electric mower will last you, let’s talk about ways that you can extend the life of your machine.
Charge the battery appropriately and make sure to follow the directions that come with your mower. There is a lot of science behind how and when a battery should be charged, including at what amperage is best to charge it, but what is best for your battery will depend on the type of battery you have. Make sure to research the battery and find out the best way to charge it.
Keep it dry. Nothing will kill an electric mower faster than water, especially if it gets into the electrical components of the machine. Do not mow after a rainstorm and watch out for dew and boggy areas. You should also keep the machine covered when it is not being used.
Keep it clean. Although water is a fear for electric machines, it is important to keep your mower clean and battery-free from corrosion. You can do this with a damp cloth and a bit of mild soap, just make sure to use the least amount of water possible.
Do not push it. It is easy to lose track of time and forget to mow, but if you allow the grass to grow too long, you might strain your electric mower. Additionally, try not to mow on steep inclines as this will drain the battery much quicker.
Use a trickle charger. Trickle charges will not charge your battery as quickly, but you can place it on the charger and keep it warm and protect it against sulfation while it is not being used.
Make sure you store the battery away from harsh weather and bring it indoors during the colder seasons.
Keep up on the maintenance of your machine.
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer at Lawnmowerfixed.com.
He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and shares his know-how and hands-on experience in our DIY repair guides.
Johns’s fluff-free How-to guides help homeowners fix lawnmowers, tractor mowers, chainsaws, leaf blowers, power washers, generators, snow blowers, and more.
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Hey, I’m John, and I’m a Red Seal Qualified Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience.
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