February 17, 2023

Is it time to switch to an electric lawn mower?

Image of battery-operated lawn mower as an introduction image for article on whether you should buy a cordless lawn mower.
Image of battery-operated lawn mower as an introduction image for article on whether you should buy a cordless lawn mower.

Are you tired of struggling to get your old push mower started? Maybe it’s time to go green and get a battery-operated lawn mower.

You’ll see tons of electric push and walk-behind mowers available in stores and online this year. Every major manufacturer offers numerous models of cordless lawn mowers with prices ranging from around $200 to over $1000.

Should you make the switch to a battery-operated lawn mower?

Here are some observations about electric mowers that will hope you decide.

Advantages of battery-operated mowers over gas-powered lawn mowers

Electric mowers are easy to use and don’t pollute the environment. Here are some more popular aspects of battery-powered lawn mowers.

No gasoline needed

You don’t need to use and store gasoline when you have a battery-operated lawn mower. Bam! Home safety shoots up 10 points when you switch to an electric mower. Gasoline isn’t just flammable, it emits toxic fumes. You can stay healthier by switching to a battery-powered lawn mower.

You’ll also spend less money on electricity to recharge the electric mower’s battery than you would spend on gasoline for a gas-powered mower.

Goodbye engine tune-up

Mower engine tune-ups are expensive and time-consuming. With an electric lawn mower, all you need to do is dust off the motor and move on. No changing oil, replacing the air filter and installing a new sparkplug every season.

Easy to start

A gas-powered mower can be difficult to start. Problems with the carburetor, spark plug, air filter or ignition coil could prevent a gas mower engine from starting.

With an electric mower, just pull the operator presence bail arm and press the start button and the motor will start right up. No yanking on the starter cord needed.

Less noise

Electric lawn mowers run much quieter than gas mowers. You’ll likely be able to mow earlier in the morning without worrying about disturbing the neighbors.

Light-weight and maneuverable

Electric mowers are much lighter than gasoline-powered mowers. Many cordless mowers have plastic decks and electric motors are much lighter than gasoline engines. Even with the battery installed, cordless mowers typically weigh half as much as gas mowers.

Easy tipping

Unlike a gas-powered mower, you can easily tip a light-weight cordless mower over to clean the deck and change the blade without worrying about flooding an engine cylinder with oil.

If you tip over a gas mower the wrong way, this article/video explains what can happen and how to fix the problem: How to fix a pull cord stuck after tipping.

Drawbacks of cordless lawn mowers

Battery-powered lawn mowers aren’t completely free of drawbacks. The #1 problem with these mowers in previous years was short runtime. Manufacturers have fixed this problem for most models. Powerful lithium ion batteries in 2023 models can power cordless mowers for up to 60 minutes in many models. That’s plenty of time to mow up to 1/2 acre of lawn. Many suburban residential lots are less than a half-acre.

Check the amp-hour (Ah) rating of cordless mowers that you’re considering. Manufacturers also provide run time and the amount of acreage that you can expect to mow. You can then decide whether a cordless mower is right for your size of residential lot.

Here are some limitations of cordless mowers that you should consider when deciding whether to go electric.

Recharging takes time

If your cordless lawn mower runs out of battery charge before you finish mowing, it will take some time to recharge the battery before you can continue. With a gas mower, you can refill the tank and resume mowing immediately after running out of fuel. Score 1 for the gas mower here.

Less power

Motors in many low-end electric mowers are less powerful than gasoline engines. The battery-operated motors Cordless can struggle when cutting tall, thick grass. Cutting thick, wet grass can also be a challenge for battery-operated mowers.

To get a cordless mower with comparable torque and power to a gas engine, you’ll typically need to spend twice as much as a gas mower costs.

Tip: If you buy a cordless lawn mower, be sure to spray the underside of its mower deck with MO-DECK lubricant so grass clippings don't stick to the deck and discharge chute. Here’s a video clip that shows how to use MO-DECK:

Limited blade width

On the least-expensive cordless mowers, you’ll often see blade widths starting at 17-inches. A few battery-operated models even have blade widths as narrow as 13-inches. You'll be walking back and forth across your lawn more often if you choose an inexpensive cordless mower with a 13-inch blade.

For comparison, low-end gas mowers have blade widths of 20 to 21-inches.

If you want a cordless mower with a 21-inch blade and the power to run it long enough to cut your lawn, you’ll typically pay twice as much as you would for a comparable gas-powered mower.

Longevity of the battery

The battery (or batteries) in a cordless mower typically only last 3 to 5 years. Replacement batteries often cost more than $100. Batteries for larger, premium models of cordless mowers can cost more than $200. Don’t get caught off-guard when you need to replace the batteries in your cordless mower after only a few years. In some situations, it may be more economical to replace the entire mower instead of just replacing the batteries.

A gasoline engine will easily last more than 10 years with proper maintenance.

What is better, an electric or gas lawn mower?

Now that you know the facts about electric and gas mowers, you can make an informed decision about which type is right for you.

For small to medium lawns, choosing a cordless mower is often the way to go. You’ll avoid maintenance tasks associated with gas mowers and you won’t need to buy and store gasoline. Using an electric mower also helps the environment by reducing carbon emissions.

If you have a large yard, consider buying an electric riding mower. Our article Should I get an electric riding mower? elaborates on the pros and cons of using a battery-operated riding lawn mower.

In some situations, it may be better to stick with a gas-powered lawn mower for now. Gas mowers still have advantages of dependable power and durability over cordless lawn mowers for homeowners with large lawns.

If you decide to keep using a gas-powered mower, visit our DIY walk-behind mower repair help section for tips and advice on keeping your lawn mower in top shape.

Whether you choose a cordless or gas mower, find the parts and accessories you need to keep the mower working smoothly at Sears PartsDirect. When you're looking for a new blade for your cordless or gas mower, our mower blade page can help with that, too. We’re here to help you with all of your lawn and garden needs.

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Is it time to switch to an electric lawn mower?

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