Electric vs Gas Lawn Mower – Which One Is Suitable For you?

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Electric vs Gas Lawn Mower

Lawn mowers are essential for maintaining a well-manicured lawn, but with so many options on the market, it can be challenging to know which one is right for you. Two of the most popular lawn mowers are electric and gas-powered. Both have their own pros and cons, and the decision ultimately comes down to your personal preferences and needs. This article will compare electric and gas lawn mowers to help you make an informed decision.

Either corded or cordless electric motors power electric lawn mowers. They are known for being quiet, lightweight, and easy to start. They also produce zero emissions, making them a more environmentally friendly option. Additionally, they are typically less expensive to operate and maintain than gas-powered mowers. However, corded electric mowers are limited by the length of the cord, and cordless mowers may require frequent battery recharging or replacement.

On the other hand, gas-powered lawn mowers are powered by gasoline and have a greater range of mobility than corded electric mowers. They are also typically more powerful, making them a better option for more extensive lawns or tougher grass. However, they are typically louder and heavier than electric mowers, producing emissions that can harm the environment. They also require more maintenance, such as regular oil and filter changes, and can be more expensive to operate.

Comparison of Features: Electric vs. Gas Lawn Mower

Some essential features to consider when comparing electric and gas lawn mowers include: 

  • Power source
  • Cutting width
  • Ease of use

Power Source

Electric lawn mowers come in two types: corded and battery-powered mowers. When using a corded lawn mower, you must drag along a long cord connected to a power socket. For a battery-powered mower, be sure to charge the battery before using it. A typical recharge session takes approximately 45 minutes.

Gas lawn mowers use gasoline to power the engine. While modern mowers have cleaner combustion that doesn’t produce excess smoke, it releases toxic gases into the atmosphere. The gases may sometimes have an unpleasant smell. 

Cutting Width

Both electric and gas lawn mowers are available in small and larger sizes. Smaller walk-behind mowers have a cutting width varying from 10 to 30 inches. A mower with a 10-inch deck will come with a smaller battery capacity compared to a 30-inch mower. Similarly, the fuel tank in gas mowers varies with size. 

Electric and gas mowers also come in riding lawn mowers of various sizes. Some may have a cutting width of up to 54 inches. A riding electrical mower has multiple batteries. For instance, one mower may have six 10Ah batteries. A gas mower of the same size could have a fuel tank that can store up to 5 gallons of gasoline. 

Ease of Use

An electric mower is easier to use and maintain than a gas mower. It only requires basic inspections like checking to ensure the wiring is still perfect and cleaning after use. Be sure to replace the brushes on the mortar regularly.

Gas mowers may involve a lot of maintenance, requiring oil changes, new air filters, and checking to ensure spark plugs and the carburetor are clean. Sometimes, you may pull the recoil starter severally before the gas mower jumps to life. It happens, especially when you live in cold areas or have an old mower. 

Remember to have your gas mower regularly serviced by a certified professional. While you may do the maintenance yourself, this approach invalidates your warranty. 

To enhance reliability, you must remove and clean the air filters before every use. Ensure that you have the correct fuel-to-oil ratio. Excess oil produces too much smoke due to excess carbon production, damaging the carburetor and engine. Too little oil will cause overheating and thus damage the engine.

Types of Lawn Mowers

Lawn mowers are available in various types, including: 

Push Mowers

Push mowers are manual, walk-behind mowers that need you to use your effort to move them. They may cause body fatigue and pain, especially when cutting thick grass on uneven terrain. 

Pros

  • They are quieter as they don’t have motorized parts
  • You determine the speed by how fast you push
  • They are inexpensive

Cons

  • They cause fatigue and body pain
  • Not ideal for large lawns

Related: Self-Propelled vs. Push Mower – Which Is Right For You?

Self-Propelled Mowers

Self-propelled mowers have a motorized drive system. While you may walk behind them, your only work is to direct them since they push themselves forward. Once you push the start button, the drive system engages the wheels. 

Pros

  • They are faster than push mowers
  • You can use them on hilly and uneven terrain
  • You don’t get tired moving them around

Cons

  • They are noisier than push mowers

Related: What Is a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower? All You Need to Know

Riding/Tractor Mowers

A riding/tractor mower is a mower on which the operator sits, unlike other mowers which the operator walks behind. They are larger than walk-behind mowers and can mow large lawns. 

Pros

  • They allow the operator to adjust the speed
  • You can adjust the cutting height
  • They are more comfortable and fun
  • You can use them on larger lawns

Cons

  • They are expensive
  • Some may have a hard time making clean turns

Zero-Turn Mowers

A zero-turn mower has zero degrees turning radius. It means that they can spin 360 degrees in one spot. They employ more advanced technology and are easier to operate than riding mowers. 

Pros

  • They are faster than riding mowers, achieving a speed of 5 to 8 mph
  • They provide precise maneuverability

Cons

  • They are more expensive than riding mowers
  • Risky to use on uneven landscapes

What to Consider When Picking Between Electric or Gas Mower

Several factors can help establish whether you need a gas or electric mower. They include: 

  • The Lawn Size

An electric mower is suitable for smaller lawns. You may need to recharge the battery in between uses. That adds to the overall time used to mow the lawn. You must consider the distance between the socket and the lawn for corded mowers. It is also critical to maneuver carefully to avoid cutting through the cord.

A gas mower is ideal for larger lawns. Once you fill the fuel tank, it can mow a 14,000 square feet lawn in one shot.

  • Motor Power

Gas mowers are more powerful than electric mowers. They cut through thicker and tougher grass more comfortably. You’ll see many electric mowers having their “max torque” specs displayed to show they match the power of gas mowers. 

However, “max torque” measures the mower’s power under little to no load. Manufacturers don’t show the horsepower, which is the true measure of the mower’s power when working. 

  • Terrain

Some people’s lawns have uneven terrain, affecting the type of mower used. Electric mowers are lightweight and easier to use on hills and slopes. A gas mower is almost double the weight of a same-size electric mower. 

  • User Preferences

Some people prefer working with a gas mower, while others prefer electric ones. If you want to work silently, an electric mower is ideal. It also helps take care of the environment. 

However, consider a gas mower if you like to hear the mower’s sound as it cuts through the grass.

  • Commercial vs. Residential

A commercial-purpose lawn mower must be able to run for long hours to cover large lawns. It must also be powerful enough to cut through thick and long grass. Gas mowers are suitable for such purposes. 

Residential lawns are usually small and have softer grass. Electric mowers are ideal for such cases because they are less powerful. The cord can limit the distance covered. Batteries also have limited time before needing a recharge, making it hard to operate on large lawns. 

Pros and Cons of Electric vs. Gas Mowers

Below are the pros and cons for electric and gas mowers:

Electric Mowers Pros And Cons

Pros  Cons
  • They are lightweight
  • Not ideal for lawns more than ½ an acre
  • Don’t need an oil change, gas, or fuel filters
  • The engine is less powerful than a gas mower
  • They are quieter
  • It can be difficult to find a repair dealer
  • They have a push-button start
 
  • Corded mowers allow operation without running out of power
  • Allow variable speed and adjustable cutting height 

Gas Mowers Pros And Cons

Pros  Cons
  • Ideal for larger lawns
  • Noisier than electric mowers
  • Provides the most cutting power
  • They are heavier
  • Suitable for both residential and commercial use
  • Releases harmful emissions into the atmosphere
  • No cord to limit working area or battery to limit working time
  • Requires oil changes, air filters, gas, and spark plugs. 
  • Easy to find a repair dealer
  • Pull starts may sometimes be difficult
  • Wider range of price points
 
  • Clears thick or tall grass faster
  • Provides options like adjustable cutting height, variable speed, and compact storage

Real-World Case Studies

Electric lawn mowers are becoming popular in the U.S., and even states are passing laws to ban the purchase of off-road gas engines. Initially, electric mowers served lawns no more than the length of an extension cord. Currently, mowers run on lithium-ion batteries that can last more than 45 minutes without charging. 

Such mowers are ideal for use by homeowners on small lawns.

Professional landscapers are finding it challenging to rely entirely on electric mowers. Their machines run for hours and may need to run for several days. Austin Acocella, co-owner of Acocella Landscaping in Scarsdale, N.Y, feels that electric mowers are perfect for homeowners. He says the batteries don’t last long, especially for what he does. 

He has even checked out some commercial-grade mowers with batteries lasting up to six hours. He says they are too expensive. The Mean Green Rival, a commercial model, costs around $30,000. 

While the manufacturer says the buyer will still make profits due to low maintenance costs, the price is too high compared to similar gas mowers. 

Still, landscapers receive pressure from governments and clients to switch to electric engines. The California Legislature approved a law allowing only the sale of emissions-free off-road engines, starting January 1st, 2024. A New York State Senator also introduced a similar bill, but it did not pass. 

So as it stands, landscapers still prefer using gas mowers over electric mowers. The initial cost of electric mowers is too high.

Which is Better: The Electric or Gas Mower?

While electric mowers are quieter and environmentally friendly, they are only ideal for smaller lawns. Gas mowers are better since they are more powerful, can run for longer hours, and are suitable for commercial and residential purposes. Electric mowers that landscapers can use for commercial purposes are more expensive than same-size gas mowers. Get yourself a gas mower because it is easier to find a nearby repair shop.

Electric vs Gas Lawn Mower FAQs

  • Are Electric Lawn Mowers Powerful Enough?

Electric lawn mowers are powerful enough for most lawns. However, they may struggle in longer and thicker grass. If you have a lawn that has stayed for years without mowing, consider using a gas mower for the first cut, then use an electric mower for subsequent cuts.

  • Is It Worth Getting a Battery-Powered Lawn Mower?

It is worth getting a battery-powered lawn mower, especially if you have a smaller lawn (less than ½ an acre). Most batteries can last up to 45 minutes, enough time to complete mowing a small lawn.

  • Why Are Electric Mowers Cheaper Than Gas?

Electric mowers are cheaper than gas mowers because most of them are lighter and less powerful. However, electric mowers are powerful enough to tackle most lawns. 

  • What Is the Most Powerful Electric Lawn Mower?

The EGO Power+ LM2102SP is one of the most powerful electric lawn mowers. It offers a 21-inch deck size, and the battery provides 60 minutes of cutting time. Recharging also takes 60 minutes. It is a quiet mower, perfect for residential lawns.

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