The Case for Buying a Gas-Powered Lawn Mower
Despite the rise of battery-powered lawn mowers, gas-powered lawn mowers still enjoy a big advantage in overall power. Where battery-powered models prefer cooler temperatures, shorter grass, and hay, no matter what time of day you need to mow, a gas lawn mower will get the job done and can handle less-than-ideal conditions. You can toast your neighbors who are running their battery-operated lawn mowers at noon, while you're about to hit the air conditioner.
Gas lawn mowers tend to run longer than most battery-operated lawn mowers, especially in tough cutting conditions. If you run out of gas, you can simply walk back to the garage or trailer to fill up instead of waiting 45 minutes to over 3 hours for the battery to recharge. In the worst case scenario, you can drive 10 minutes to get to the gas station.
Another advantage is long-term durability. Cordless lawn mowers require battery replacement every 3 to 5 years, and because of their more complex electronics, many don't last more than 5 years. An inexpensive gas mower can last 5 years with very little maintenance, while a good gas mower can last 10 years or more with some basic maintenance.
Price is a big consideration. You can get a gas-powered lawn mower for less than $200, and a very nice residential model with a Honda engine starting at about $400. You can spend hundreds of dollars more to get a battery lawn mower with comparable power, features, and runtime.
We do not discount service. In most areas, if you need maintenance or repairs, it's a relatively short drive to a small engine mechanic. There aren't nearly as many service centers for battery-operated lawn care equipment, and you may have to wait weeks or months to get your lawn mower back.
The Case for Buying a Battery-Powered Lawn Mower
There are three main reasons to buy a battery-powered lawn mower versus a gas-powered lawn mower: noise, emissions, and convenience.
There is no doubt that battery powered lawn mowers are quieter than gasoline lawn mowers. The gas mower we tested was as loud as 94 decibels (86 decibels was the lowest we've ever tested), while the battery-operated ones ranged from 74 to 88. These numbers are measured from the ears of our operators. That's a huge difference in terms of sound pressure level!
A less important topic in the noise topic is safety. While this is arguably more of a concern for professional workers, even homeowners can benefit from noise levels low enough to still be able to hear your surroundings. Whether it's cars or cyclists on the street while you mow ahead, or your toddler running out into the backyard, increasing your situational awareness is a good thing.
Emissions are another key factor in battery power. In terms of direct emissions, no. Indirectly, some could come from anywhere you can charge a battery. Compared to the most emissions-friendly gas lawn mowers, it's just too small, though.
The convenience of a battery-operated lawn mower is also undeniable. Just grab the rechargeable batteries, put them in, and go mow. No oil to gas mixing, no fuel stabilizer to worry about, no choking, no carburetor issues, no pull start, and no antifreeze. Easier to use on the first and last day of the mowing season.
Updates in technology have made battery powered lawn mowers an even better choice today. Higher-end self-propelled models can exceed the torque of gas engines, and stacked blade systems can provide better cutting results. There are even legal zero-turn mowers that can handle tougher cuts with longer runs than we thought possible just a few years ago.
Another thing to keep in mind is that more and more communities, municipalities, businesses, campuses, cities, and the state of California are banning the use of gas-fired outdoor appliances. As these regulations continue to roll out, natural gas is simply not an option.
the bottom line
We've laid out the gas vs battery powered lawn mower debate, but everyone's situation is different and the final decision is yours. Even in our office, some people use battery mowers while others use gasoline.
Any ideas to add to the conversation? Feel free to leave these in the comments!