From increased battery durability to smarter design, electric lawn mowers are improving every year. But how do they compare to their gas-powered counterparts? Here’s what you need to know, and what you should think about, before you decide to buy one:
Pro 1: Less noise
The first thing you’ll notice about electric mowers is how much quieter they are. No judgment from us if you like to get out there at 7AM before it gets hot. Now your neighbors will judge you less too, since you’re unlikely to wake them up.
Pro 2: Less maintenance
With gas-powered mowers, you’ve got to swap out the oil, add gas, check levels, and replace air filters. Electric mowers do need a battery or to be plugged into a power source, so they’re not zero maintenance, but it is a lot less to think about. Plug it in and go.
Pro 3: Less environmental impact
Gas-powered mowers have surprisingly high emissions. In fact, running the mower for 1 hour produces the same pollutants as driving for 300 miles, according to the California Air Resources Board.
Of course an electric mower still needs to be powered, but the environmental footprint is much less intense and you won’t be producing additional carbon monoxide or unburned hydrocarbons into the air. If you care about the impact, this is a big win.
Don’t get super amped up yet —there are a couple things you should think about before you make a purchase.
Potential con: Not optimal for large yards
Some electric mowers use a cord to stay attached to your house, while others run on battery. You’ll probably run into the same issue though either way if you’ve got a large yard, where you’ll be limited in how far you can get. Battery-powered mowers typically run between twenty minutes to an hour max right now, which is enough to cover maybe half an acre if you’re fast. You can buy backup batteries or if you use multiple electric appliances from the same brand, they are often interchangeable.
Mowers with a cord can of course run indefinitely, but you’re literally attached to your home which limits maneuverability.
Potential con: Can be beaten by tough terrain
If your lawn is on a high angle or you’re dealing with rough terrain, a gas-powered mower is generally going to be more powerful. It’s not always the case though because there are some electric models that are built to compensate for that.
If you’re worried about how an electric mower will handle your lawn, it might be worth buying from a company with a good return policy before you commit. And if you want to see one in action check out the Ego 21+ in-depth review we ran.