Gasoline Grass Cutter or Electric Lawn Mower?

Are you considering inviting an electric lawn mower into the shed – while giving the old gasoline-powered grass cutting machine the heave-ho? Is the decision somehow more difficult than you thought? The Ohio State University puts it best when it refers to the gardening chore of cutting the grass as being the “partial defoliation of the turfgrass plant.” While this may sound a bit stilted to the average gardening hobbyist, it does help to put the task of lawn mowing into the proper perspective: Discovering how to mow with electric mower power is a newer take on a simple mechanical application that traditionally relied on gasoline. Remember: Staunch traditionalists may hold on to their fume-belching machines because that’s just how ‘it’s been done.’ Of course, when breaking down the task into its individual components – a motor propels a rotating blade that cuts the individual plants in a horizontal fashion – it sounds a bit silly to not at least give the electrical mower a second look.

Getting to know (and love) the electric Mower

As the name implies, electric lawnmowers feature an engine that requires electricity – not a gasoline and additive mix – to power the rotating blade. Functionality of both gasoline and electric mowers is comparable, except when dealing with heavily overgrown areas. Moreover, the proper way to mow the lawn does not change depending on the type of mower used. With all that being said, there is a bit of learning curve associated when using this kind of lawn cutting device:

Electric mowers function either with an extension cord that must remain plugged in at all times during operation or a rechargeable battery. Charge the battery for the latter at least 12 hours in advance of gardening; manufacturers generally suggest keeping the batteries plugged in until needed. Cordless electric mowers are your best bet. Understand the limitations. Most any battery-powered electric mower cuts a quarter of an acre; a bigger property may require the use of two batteries that need to be switched out halfway through the job. Along the same lines, think carefully before opting for the extension cord model if the lawn is sizeable; for smaller backyards with easily accessible exterior outlets, the corded mowers are no problem. Enjoy the start button. Forget everything you may have learned about mixing oil and gasoline, fine-tuning the engine and pulling on starter cords. Just like a sports car, pressing the start button gets the engine going.

Safety Considerations

There is no need to store flammable gasoline, keep the oil and gas mix in a clearly marked container, or add the liquid to a potentially warm engine. Nevertheless, there are safety concerns with an electric mower as well.

Mow away from the area where the machine is plugged in. This prevents an accidental damaging or clipping of the extension cord. (This is why cordless electric mowers are better!) If the grass is slightly wet, a damaged cord poses an electrocution hazard. It goes without saying that only a properly grounded outlet and a three-prong heavy-duty extension cord (rated for outdoor use) should be used.

Working with an electric lawn mower represents a new learning experience. The absence of gasoline fumes, the lack of noise pollution caused by a gasoline-powered engine, and also the ability to opt for battery power versus the cord make this one new gadget that is worth a bit of extra time spent shopping.


Ohio State University: “Lawn Mowing”

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