Gas Vs Battery-Powered Lawn Mower Debate
The Case For Buying a Gas-Powered Lawn Mower
Despite the rise of battery-powered lawn mowers, gas lawn mowers still enjoy a big advantage in power overall. Where battery-powered models prefer cooler temperatures, shorter grass, and dry grass, gas mowers get the job done no matter what time of day you need to cut and can handle less-than-ideal conditions. You can raise your glass to your neighbor who’s using his battery-powered mower at noon while you’re settling in for kickoff in the AC.
Compared to most battery-powered lawn mowers, gas mowers tend to run longer, especially in tough cutting conditions. If you run out of gas, you just have to walk back to the garage or trailer for a refill instead of waiting 45 minutes to more than 3 hours for a battery to charge. In the worst case, you make a 10-minute drive to the gas station.
Another advantage is long-term durability. Cordless mowers need battery replacements every 3 to 5 years, and many won’t live longer than 5 years thanks to their more complex electronics. A cheap gas mower can last 5 years with little maintenance and good ones can keep working 10 years or more with some basic care.
Price is a big consideration. You can get a gas-powered lawn mower for less than $200 and a really good residential model with a Honda engine starting around $400. To get a battery mower with comparable power, features, and runtime, you can spend hundreds more.
Let’s not discount service. In most areas, a small engine mechanic is a relatively short drive away if you need maintenance or repair. There aren’t nearly as many service centers for battery-powered lawn care equipment, and you might need to wait weeks or months to get your mower back.
The Case for Buying a Battery-Powered Lawn Mower
There are three main reasons to buy a battery-powered lawn mower vs a gas lawn mower: noise, emissions, and convenience.
There’s no question battery-powered lawn mowers run quieter than their gas counterparts. Gas mowers we’ve tested hit as high as 94 decibels (86 decibels is the lowest we tested), while battery-powered mowers range from 74 – 88. Those figures are measured from our operator’s ear. In terms of sound pressure levels , that’s a huge difference!
One topic that’s not as big in the noise conversation is safety. While it’s arguably a bigger concern for professional crews, even homeowners can benefit from noise levels low enough to still be able to hear around you. Whether it’s a car or cyclist on the street as you mow the front, or your toddler running out into the backyard, the increase in your situational awareness is a good thing.
Emissions are another slam-dunk for battery power. As far as direct emissions go, there are none. Indirectly there are likely some that come from wherever you get your power to recharge the batteries. Compared to even the most emission-friendly gas mower, it’s pretty doggone small, though.
There’s also no denying the convenience of a battery-powered lawn mower. Just grab your charged battery(ies), pop them in, and go mow. There’s no oil to mix with the gas, no fuel stabilizer to worry about, no choking, no carburetor issues, no pull starting, and no winterizing. It’s simply easier to use on both the first and last day of your mowing season.
Updates in technology make battery-powered mowers an even better choice today. High-end self-propelled models can exceed the torque of a gas engine and there are stacked blade systems that offer better cutting. There are even legitimate zero turn mowers that handle tougher cutting with longer runtimes than we thought possible a few years ago.
Another thing to keep in mind is the increasing number of communities, municipalities, businesses, campuses, cities, and the state of California that are banning the use of gas outdoor equipment. As those regulations continue to roll out, gas isn’t an option at all.
The Bottom Line
We’ve laid out the gas vs battery-powered lawn mower arguments, but everyone’s situation is different and the final call is up to you. Even in our office, some of the guys use battery mowers and others use gas.
Have any thoughts to add to the conversation? Feel free to leave those in the comments!