Mowing the lawn used to be a real challenge. Years ago, there were only two options: a manual reel mower or the early gas-powered model. The reel mowers were hard work, you had to manually push them and if you had a large lawn this was a muscle burning task, especially in the heat of the Salt Lake City summers.
The early gas powdered models were a roulette on whether they would start, and if they did, often choked out black smoke while in use.
Technology has advanced since those early mowers and there’s a wider choice, designed specifically to make mowing your lawn quicker and easier. We’ve created a list of all the pros and cons so you can find the best mower for your lawn.
Gas vs Electric. Which one should you choose? A mower might not be the largest expense for your home, but it’s still a big decision and should be considered carefully. You might be thinking that a mower is just a mower and it doesn’t really matter. They all do the same job right?
Sure, they all cut the grass but there are pros and cons to all. Finding a mower that suits your lawn, and your neighborhood, can turn a time-consuming chore into an easy task.
If you have a large lawn (14,000 square feet) and you want to finish the mow in one go, a gas mower would be the ideal choice, providing you make sure it has enough fuel of course.
Electric cord mowers won’t run out of power, but you might run out of cord. So, a yard under 1500 square feet would be suited to this kind of mower.
Battery powered mowers are becoming more popular as they are environmentally friendly, and you don’t have to fight with the cord whenever you want to mow. The battery charge lasts between 20-45 minutes, depending on the height and thickness of your grass and would be suited to smaller yards up to 14,000 square feet. If you have a bigger lawn it would be a good idea to purchase an extra battery to double your mowing time.
Gas mowers are great for bigger lawns, but they can be heavy, weighing up to 90 pounds. Of course, they can be self-propelled, perfect if you have an uneven or hilly yard, but the powerful mowers can be difficult to hold back once they get going so take care to avoid running over your flowerbeds.
Corded mowers are the lightest in weight ranging between 35-55 pounds. This makes them the easiest to grab out of storage and push around the yard. The downside to these is the cord which can make it a challenge when negotiating trees, flowerbeds, and the cord itself. You don’t want to accidentally chop the cord in half and ruin your new mower, or worse, blow a circuit breaker.
Battery mowers are heavier than corded but lighter than gas. They range between 50-60 pounds and because there’s no cord you don’t have to waste time moving a cord from one side to the other while you mow. You can also get self-propelled battery mowers, but this feature can reduce battery life by about one-third.
Loud and Proud?
Gas mowers are the loudest, cranking out around 95 decibels of noise. That noise level is about the same as a motorcycle and although the newer models are a little quieter, the neighbors might be annoyed if you break out the gas mower at 7am on a Saturday.
Battery and corded mowers emit similar noise levels of between 65-75 decibels. This is similar to the noise of a washing machine. If you live in an area where your neighbors are close by, an electric mower might be the best choice.
Green and Clean
If you’re a keen environmentalist, or you’re just looking for a way to slightly reduce your carbon footprint, a gas mower wouldn’t be your first choice. Gas mowers are powered by fossil fuels which means they pump hydrocarbon gases into the air, and they require you to store flammable gasoline while not in use.
Electric corded and battery mowers create zero emissions while in use but they’re not completely environmentally friendly. The rechargeable batteries for your cord-free mower contain lithium, which when mined has been known to pollute water supplies and the battery needs to be disposed of properly when thrown away.
If being clean and green is your main concern, opt for the corded mower as they are the most environmentally friendly.
All mowers should have their blades sharpened annually so they perform at their best and cut the grass blades cleanly. Sharpening the blades is not something you can avoid with any mower type, but gas mowers do require a little more than just blade checks.
If a gas mower is what you’re looking for to tame your yard, remember to change the air filters and spark plugs to keep the engine running smoothly. They also require oil to lubricate the engine and this will need to be checked and topped up before each use.
At the end of the mowing season you must drain the gasoline from the tank, or the ethanol will separate from the other components, the fuel will degrade and this might stop your mower from starting again next year.
Compare the cost
Gas mowers are undeniably expensive. The prices start around $350 and can reach $850, which can be a huge expense and not one that everyone can afford comfortably. On top the cost of purchasing the mower, you’re going to need gas to make it run. The average price per year is $20-$30 on gasoline, depending on the price per gallon and how often you mow.
Corded mowers are the least expensive and you can purchase one for between $150-$250 dollars, which is ideal for smaller yards and budgets. They use between $15-$22 dollars per year in electricity depending on how often you mow which is a small extra expense in comparison.
Battery operated mowers might be easy to use but they can also be costly, ranging from $275 to $800. This depends on their features; self-propelled models push the cost closer to the $800 mark, so they aren’t the most cost-effective model even if they are easier to use. The battery chargers’ cost between $11-$18 per year, depending how often you charge the batteries of course.
Ultimately choosing a mower depends on how much lawn you have, what kind of area you live in and how much you have available to spend. No matter which type you pick, always remember to stay on top the maintenance and keep the blades sharp so you get the perfect cut for the perfect lawn.