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    Electric vs. Gas Lawn Mowers – The Key Differences

    Authored by Jemma Petts

    From battery-powered (cordless) electric lawn mowers, to corded electric mowers, to gas mowers, homeowners have several equipment options for cutting their grass. But what is the best type of lawn mower? Each mower has distinct advantages and disadvantages, making certain machines better suited to some owners and properties than others. Read on to learn more about electric versus gas mowers, so you can decide which works best for your needs.

    Battery-powered mowers: The pros and cons

    Battery-powered mowers—commonly identified as electric lawn mowers—are a popular choice among homeowners. The pros of these mowers include:

    • Lighter weight and easily maneuverable: Battery-powered mowers weigh less than their gas-powered brethren, making them easier to push around the backyard and navigate tight spaces. Plus, unlike their corded counterparts, there’s no cord to run over.   
    • Quiet operation: If lawn mower noise is an issue, electric mowers are easier on the ears. The general decibel level of an electric mower is about 75 dB, while gas mowers are around 95 dB. It may not sound like much, but it’s comparable to the noise of a running washing machine to the sound of a motorcycle.   
    • Easier maintenance: Compared to keeping up with the carburetor, filters, and plugs of a gas-powered mower, electric lawn mower maintenance is easy: keep the battery charged, the mower clean, and the blade sharp.
    • Sustainability: Battery-powered lawn mowers are thought of as a greener grass-cutting option. Operating a gas-powered mower for an hour produces the same emissions as driving a car for 300 miles. The EPA estimates that gas lawn mower emissions account for as much as 5% of the nation’s total air pollution.

    While they boast many pros, battery-powered mowers have some cons, including:

    • Less runtime: Battery mowers generally run between 30 and 60 minutes per charge. Those with large lawns will need to invest in a second battery or take a break to recharge.  
    • Less power: Electric lawn mowers produce less torque than gas-powered ones and can end up underpowered when tackling thick grass and other challenging terrain. 

    Corded electric lawn mowers: The pros and cons

    Battery-powered models may have supplanted corded in electric mower dominance, but corded mowers still have their place, such as in small urban yards. The pros of corded electric mowers include:

    • Ease of use: Corded electric lawn mowers are light, easy to push, and can maneuver well in tight spaces. 
    • Environmental friendliness: Corded electric mowers provide all the eco-friendly benefits of battery-powered models. Plus, they don’t rely on lithium-ion batteries for energy—the production of which is not great for the environment.  
    • Lower purchase cost: How much does a lawn mower cost? In the case of corded electric mowers, comparably little, thanks to the absence of costly gas engines and batteries.  
    • Overall affordability: The lower maintenance requirements of electric mowers combined with the low price of electricity make them cost-efficient to operate. 

    It’s important to note that corded electric mowers have some cons, including:  

    • Limited range: The cord on a corded electric lawn mower is its worst enemy. It requires an outlet and limits the range to the length of the cord. 
    • Liability in landscaping: Cords can also get tangled in flower beds, fencing, trees, and other landscaping. (Not to mention, the cord is only a moment of inattention away from getting run over.)  

    Gas lawn mowers: The pros and cons

    Despite the growing adoption of electric mowers, gas lawn mowers are still favored by many and remain the go-to choice for yards larger than ⅓ acre. The pros of gas mowers include:

    • More power: Gas mowers are the most powerful lawn mower and pack plenty of punch for tackling super-tall grass, leaf-covered lawns, and damp turf. 
    • Longer runtime: Most gas-powered motors can handle lawns up to 14,000 square feet on a single tank, unlike their electric peers, which may require a battery charge or an extra-long extension cord.
    • Durability: Gas mowers can last more than a decade with proper maintenance, while the lifespan of electric mower batteries is about five years.

    Gas-powered mowers do have some cons, including:

    • More maintenance: When comparing gas-powered lawn mowers vs. electric, gas mowers require more upkeep than electric options. Cleaning carburetors and air filters, changing spark plugs, and adding fuel stabilizers before winter will all be on your maintenance checklist.
    • More mess: Gas mowers require fuel, oil, and lubricants, all of which can spill—staining clothes, splattering on landscaping, and fouling grass.  
    • Tricky starter cords: Most gas-powered mowers use a starter cord to get them going, which takes a lot more effort than the simple switch or button on electric mowers.  
    • Higher cost. Gas mowers are the most expensive option when compared to battery-operated and corded mowers. The price of gas and motor maintenance add to the ongoing costs.

    Bottom line—choosing between a gas or electric mower isn’t hard. As you consider your options, let the size and condition of the lawn you need to maintain and the qualities that are important to you guide the way.