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    Gas vs. Electric Riding Lawn Mowers: The Key Differences

    A riding lawn mower is a handy, even necessary, tool if you have a large yard, acres of property or multiple landscaping needs. If you’re looking to get a riding mower, you may be wondering if a gas or electric-powered option is a better choice for your needs. Tractor Supply is America’s largest rural lifestyle retailer with more than 85 years of experience, and we offer an extensive lineup of riding lawn mowers to choose from. Here, we discuss the key differences between gas and electric riding lawn mowers for sale at Tractor Supply.

    Riding Lawn Mower Basics

    Riding lawn mowers are an upgrade from basic push mowers, covering more ground in less time and making lawn maintenance easier. Sometimes referred to as tractor-style mowers, riding mowers each feature a seat for the rider to sit in and a steering wheel for them to control the direction. They also have a strong motor (either gas or electric-powered) and a mowing deck with blades below that cut the grass. 

    Riding mowers are user-friendly and have comfort features and mower attachments available for added convenience. Riding mowers can typically tackle properties as large as 10 acres, eliminating the need to hire lawn maintenance professionals. To determine if a riding lawn mower is right for you, consider the size of your yard, the grass type and terrain and your budget.

    Differences in Mower Power Source

    The biggest difference between gas and electric riding mowers is right in their names—it’s the power source. As the names imply, gas mowers run on gasoline and electric mowers run on electricity via a battery or plug. Gas riding lawn mowers are the more common of the two because they operate similarly to a car with a foot pedal and a steering wheel. These mowers tend to:

    • Be more powerful than electric mowers 
    • Be well-suited for large areas with thicker grass
    • Last longer when cutting (around 14,000 sq. ft. on one tank of fuel)
    • Operate at a louder level

    Electric riding lawn mowers are less prominent but still a reliable option for mowing yards and lawns. These eco-friendly electric mowers don’t use fuel and run on batteries, so they release zero emissions and are better for the environment than gas mowers. However, they don’t last as long as gas mowers, usually lasting between 30 to 60 minutes per charge. These mowers are typically:

    • Less powerful than gas-powered mowers since they don’t have as much torque
    • Lightweight for easy maneuverability
    • Quieter (usually about 20 dB quieter than gas mowers)
    • More pleasant to ride since they have no vibration or exhaust

    Maintenance for Gas vs. Electric

    The next main difference between gas and electric riding mowers is the amount of maintenance they require. Gas riding mowers tend to require more upkeep than electric riding mowers since they have more moving parts that need to be maintained. Gas mowers will need their oil changed, gasoline refueled, air filters changed and other parts, like belts or spark plugs, replaced over time. 

    This is different from the maintenance required of electric-powered riding mowers. These electric mowers don’t have the same design with oil, gas and complicated parts. Instead, the main maintenance for electric riding mowers is simply charging or replacing the battery. You may also need to clean it or sharpen the blade if it has been stored for a long time. However, this is simpler and faster than all the maintenance involved with the upkeep of gas-powered riding mowers.  

    Which Costs More?

    The next difference between gas and electric riding mowers is the price. Since gas-powered riding mowers are more common, they tend to cost less upfront compared to electric-powered mowers. However, they will need more maintenance, including fuel and oil, which can add up. This means that although electric riding mowers are more expensive at first, they generally cost less in the long term compared to gas-powered riding mowers. Keep in mind, however, that electric mowers will require replacement batteries over time, which can be pricy. 

    Lifespan Considerations

    Another difference between gas and electric riding mowers is their lifespan. Generally, gas mowers last longer than electric mowers. Gas mowers have a lifespan of around 10 years, while electric mowers are around five. This is because the lithium batteries in electric mowers only last so long, while gas mowers can be maintained for years with regular upkeep and repairs. You can get your electric mower’s battery replaced, but it can be costly.

    Gas Riding Mowers Recap

    Overall, gas-powered riding lawn mowers are best suited for people with yards larger than .5 acres because of their powerful motors and longer runtimes. People with smaller yards can also benefit from gas riding mowers because of their long lifespan and lower up-front price. The downsides of gas-powered riding mowers include more maintenance, which leads to higher costs over time. However, they are more affordable to purchase upfront than electric riding mowers.

    Electric Riding Mowers Recap

    Generally, electric riding mowers are best for people with smaller yards and thinner grass, because their battery-powered motors have less power and lower runtimes. These motors don’t require fuel and make a sustainable option. Electric riding mowers also offer benefits like lightweight maneuverability, quiet operation and less maintenance since they don’t use gas or oil. They do tend to cost more upfront but have less upkeep costs over time.

    Shop Gas and Electric Riding Lawn Mowers at Tractor Supply

    Make living Life Out Here easier by getting a riding lawn mower for your lawn care needs. At Tractor Supply, we have a wide selection of riding mower models available, including gas and electric-powered options and those for flat or uneven terrain. We are proud to carry selections from top brands like:

    For help picking out the ideal riding lawn mower for your needs, visit your local Tractor Supply store to speak to an experienced team member, or browse our online selection today.