Gas Powered vs. Battery Powered Lawn Mowers: Which Type is Right for You?
Mowing the lawn seems to be one of those love it or hate it chores. Some people find it a relaxing task, while others put it off as long as possible. If you’re the type of person to avoid the mower, perhaps you’re not using the right equipment for your needs. We’re going to look at gas-powered and electric battery-powered mowers, and the pros and cons for each. In this comparison, we’ll discuss the performance, noise levels, how easy they are to use and maintain, price points, and their environmental impact.
When comparing how well these mowers perform, we’re going to look at both the efficiency and the run time for each model. For the first test, we let a lawn get quite overgrown; we’re talking high grass and several weeds. The gas mower had no issues getting through this in a single pass. While the battery mower did better than expected, it wasn’t able to cut down some of the tougher weeds on the first run.
For the second test, we put 1/8 of a tank of fuel in the gas mower, and a battery with 1/8 charge in the other. The gas-powered mower was only able to run for three or four minutes and did a small patch of the yard before dying. The battery mower however was able to finish the front yard, and the entire backyard and still had some juice left.
So, it seems we have split results on performance: gas is more efficient at getting through tough jobs, but the battery power will run long on a single charge compared to a tank of gas. If you don’t let your lawn get overgrown and out of control, a battery mower would get the job done.
Winner: It’s a tie!
There was no comparison in this category; a gas-powered mower is much louder than a battery one, at a rate of 101 dB vs 80 dB.
Prolonged exposure to noise above 85 decibels can cause damage to your hearing. To give you some other common sounds for comparison, items like a vacuum cleaner or window AC unit are about the same dB level as the battery-powered mower. A motorcycle or a jackhammer are both around the 100 dB level like the gas-powered mower.
Ease of use
For this category, we looked at how easy it is to get the mower up and running, and the amount of maintenance each machine requires. Gas mowers are heavier but much more solid, so they can take a bit of abuse. A well-maintained gas mower should start easily, but the pull-start does still take a bit of muscle. Battery powered are much easier to move around, but since it’s lighter it is a bit less sturdy compared to its gas counterpart. However, starting one up is literally just the push of a button! When it comes to adjusting the blade height, battery powered also has the advantage; there’s just one lever. For gas mowers you need to adjust the height at each wheel individually.
When it comes to maintenance, there’s a lot more going on with a gas mower. You’ll have to keep up with cleaning items like the air filters and carburetor, changing sparkplugs and the oil, and sharpening the blades. On top of that, there’s also filling the mower with gas before use. For a battery mower, it’s generally just keeping the blades sharp, and the batteries charged.
A high-quality electric battery mower will typically be more expensive upfront than a similar-spec gas-powered one. Cheaper-priced electric mowers are often small, have a cord instead of batteries, and don’t perform as well. Repairs for electric mowers will typically cost more than repairing a gas mower. However, with the gas mowers, you’ll need to buy additional parts and supplies like the gas itself, motor oil, air filters, and sparkplugs which will get used up and need replacing each year. With a battery mower, extra batteries would be a good thing to have on hand which is another investment. However, once you’ve bought them, they’ll last you for ages. In the long term, you’ll probably come out about the same cost-wise with either model, but the battery-powered mower is more expensive in upfront costs.
Gas-powered mowers create literal tons of emissions every year. According to EAP data, gas-powered lawnmowers make up 5% of the total air pollution in the United States. That number doesn’t include additional gas-powered lawn equipment like string trimmers or hedge trimmers.
Battery powered mowers do not create direct emissions, but charging the batteries obviously requires electricity, however the footprint is much smaller compared to gas mowers. There are zero emissions being released while operating the equipment.
Winner: Battery powered
The battery-powered mower comes out ahead in most of the categories. If price point isn’t a concern, it may be a great option for you and the environment. If you don’t mind saving some money and getting your hands dirty (hey, you’re on the right site!) then a gas-powered mower may fit your needs. In either case, both machines will get the job done provided you keep your mowers maintained and the blades sharp.
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