Lawn mowers have a long and fascinating history – orginally invented by Edwin Budding in 1830, they have since evolved all sorts of features and abilities while still retaining their original form. For the last several decades, gas powered mowers have dominated this market and for good reason – they offer a significant edge in power and cutting speed over much of their competition. Once as an unviable alternative, electric mowers have started to close the gap with recent innovations in how they are engineered.
In the past decade alone there has been an explosion in the number of electric lawn mowers coming on the market. With this expansion comes a multitude of manufacturers trying to outdo each other. If you are unfamiliar with the lingo and features of these newer modeled mowers, it might seem a bit confusing on how to best choose one.
In this guide you’ll get a brief overview on the benefits of electric mowers, the types, and what features you should look out for. An electric mower has numerous advantages over their gas counterparts, and can do amazing work on even the most unruly yard.
Why to go Electric
The electric lawn mower was once considered a bit of a laughing stock in lawn care circles – whatever advantages they could tout to have was overshadowed by their significant lack of power and inflated price tag. While it’s true that electric mowers still have a higher price than gas, this has recently come down, with a noticeable increase in power and maneuverability to boot.
After a couple years this variant practically pays for itself over combustion engines – they have almost zero upkeep outside of some cleaning and replacement of the blades. This money saving quality is further expounded as these machines require much less in terms of power – using an extension cord or battery pack requires less energy than a container of gas.
From here the electric mower is also noticeably quieter than gas powered models. To better quantify this, an electric model has a decibel rating of 75 – equivalent to a typical washing machine – while a gas powered motor has a decibel rating of 95 – or around that of a motorcycle. From here an electric mower has all of the advantages of many traditional variants – you’ll get things like height adjustment, grass collection, self-propulsion, and easy quick starts.
Types of Electric Mowers
The first type of electric mower you’re probably familiar with is the corded one. The corded mower never really runs out of energy as it has a constant pull of power coming from your house. Of course, you are limited by the length of the extension cord – possibly requiring an investment in multiple cords for larger lawns. Naturally you have to take time to avoid running over these cords as the mower blade will rip through them, along with making sure you properly put them up after the fact.
To get around the problems associated with corded mowers, there are the cordless models. The first advantage is that the maintenance of any extension cords and a great deal of improved maneuverability. These electric mowers can come with either a removable or integrated battery.
The latter of these lasts longer and usually has more power, while removable ones allow for investment into multiple batteries that can let you keep moving even when the first one dies. The approximate life span of each is variable across manufacturers and is heavily dependent on what type of grass you are cutting – with the median life span seemingly hovering around one hour.
Finally comes the most advanced and recent type of electric mower – the robotic ones. Like something out of a science fiction story, these mowers operate independently and can be set up for multiple times a week to maintain your yard. Typically outfitted with multiple sensors to detect any obstacles, these machines may host a hefty price tag but make up for with completely eliminating the need for a person to mow.
What Features to look out for
One of the first things you need to look at is the deck size – naturally the larger the deck the fewer sweeps you’ll have to take to cut your lawn. To give a comparison a deck of 20 inches will perform the same amount of cutting in ¾ of the time of a 15 inch model. Keep in mind that these larger decks are also a bit harder to maneuver, especially in smaller areas.
They also have noticeably more weight, making them harder to push if you are a bit on the smaller size. If you are looking into getting a battery powered model, make sure to get a good understanding of what the battery life is – larger lawns might take multiple pass throughs, while thicker grass will make the battery drain even faster.
Other features you need to keep in mind is the deck height, starter, and how the cut grass is distributed. It’s recommended to get something with a decent height adjustment as cutting more than ⅓ of your grass height at any given time is highly frowned upon – more than this and you can risk making your lawn susceptible to heat, drought, and disease.
Distributing your clippings is ultimately up to you, with collected grass being used in compost, while throwing them over the lawn can serve as a natural way to keep your lawn fertilized. All electric mowers have an easy start system that can vary a bit depending on what you want – some are an ignition start with a key, others a button, and even a few rely on a lever mechanism.
Electric mowers may be a bit pricier than gas powered models, but pay for themselves as they are cheaper to run and require almost zero upkeep – no need to change oil, change filters, or any of that other nonsense typically associated with mowers. There are two main models of electric mowers out on the market now – corded and cordless.
The recent invention of robotic ones has a steep price, but has a certain coolness too it that shouldn’t be understated. When looking for a mower that is powered by electricity look for many of the same features and qualities you would look in other mowers – deck size, height adjustment, and grass distribution being key features.
Getting an electric mower doesn’t have to be an intimidating experience. With the right knowledge you can confidently go forth and get one of these great mowers that will serve you for many seasons to come!
This is a guest post from Ann Williams of http://www.indiepict.com/.
With the endless passion for organic living, I - Ann Sanders has come up with the idea of creating A Green Hand. Being the founder and editor of A Green Hand, my goal is to provide everyone with a wide range of tips about healthy lifestyle with multiform categories including gardening, health & beauty, food recipe,...