Gas Vs. Electric Lawn Mowers: Features, Pros And Cons
Holly Shuffett5-minute read
July 28, 2022
Whether you’re venturing into the world of lawn care for the first time or a seasoned homeowner in the market for an upgrade, having the right yard equipment is essential. A lawn mower is an investment that can last you years, so it’s important to do your research before choosing.
There are generally two directions you can go when choosing which lawn mower will meet your needs: gas and electric. Both come with different features to consider and their own set of pros and cons. Keep reading to see how gas vs electric lawn mowers stack up and find which one works best for you.
Electric Vs. Gas Lawn Mowers: What’s The Difference?
Eco-friendliness is typically what first comes to mind when comparing electric vs gas lawn mowers. While your carbon footprint is a key difference between the two, there are other notable differences to weigh.
From the way gas and electric lawn mowers work to the maintenance required of each, it’s best to understand your options to make an informed choice that works for you.
What Are Electric Lawn Mowers?
Old-school lawn mowers use gasoline to fuel their blades and give your lawn a fresh cut. Electric lawn mowers, on the other hand, run on electricity and are available in both battery-operated or corded models. They also tend to be lighter, though you can still choose from a variety of self-propelled models.
Since burning gasoline emits hydrocarbon gasses, electric lawn mowers are also usually seen as a greener choice for the environmentally conscious homeowner. But electric lawn mowers don’t always suit every yard. Since batteries die and cords offer limited range, electric lawn mowers may be best for small to medium sized lawns.
What Are Gas Lawn Mowers?
Gas-powered lawn mowers are all cordless since they run on, well, gasoline. But with a tank to hold fuel and an all-around weightier engine, they tend to be heavy, making a self-propelled model almost essential. But heavier materials do have an upside: durability.
Gas lawn mowers generally have a longer lifespan than electric models and are better suited for tackling larger yards or thicker grass. A little gas also goes a long way and you can refill your tank as needed to get the job done.
Lawn Mower Considerations
Before choosing which lawn mower is best for you and your yard, there are some things to think about. Remember, a lawn mower is likely to be your most-used piece of yard equipment, so it’s a good idea to know your needs and pick accordingly.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help choose the best lawn mower for your yard:
- Is clean lawn care important to you?
- How much motor power will your lawn require?
- What’s your ideal run time? How large is your yard?
- Do you want other kinds of lawn care built-in? (e.g. mulching, tillers, seeders)?
- Is noise control important to you?
- What kinds of operating costs do you expect?
- What kinds of maintenance costs do you expect?
How Much Does A Lawn Mower Cost?
The cost of a lawn mower varies by type and the features that are included. Generally speaking, gas-powered lawn mowers will cost more than electric models.
Here’s a rough breakdown of what costs you can expect:
Lawn Mower Type
$57 - $402
Electric push mower
$80 - $2,036
Gas push mower
$140 - $567
Gas self-propelled mower
$169 - $2,080
Electric self-propelled mower
$328 - $831
The Pros And Cons Of Lawn Mowers: Electric Vs. Gas
Let’s go over what each lawn mower type has to offer and which may best suit your lawn care goals.
Electric Lawn Mower Pros And Cons
- Zero carbon emissions. A study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that residential lawn mowers make up the majority of harmful nonroad emissions each year. Electric lawn mowers are a better option for homeowners interested in reducing their carbon footprint.
- Weight and maneuverability. Gas lawn mowers can weigh over ninety pounds, while their electric counterpart usually clocks in around sixty. This can make electric mowers easier to maneuver around tight corners, garden beds or other obstructions.
- Electric mowers are on the quieter side, clocking in at just 65 to 75 decibels compared to a gas mower’s noisier 95 decibels.
- Savings over time. Just how much you save on gasoline will vary based on the price of gas and electricity in your area, but generally speaking, gasoline will cost more over time. An electric model will also eliminate additional costs required of a gas-powered mower, like spark plugs, filters and oil.
- Limited battery life. If you opt for a cordless electric mower, you’ll need to make sure your batteries are charged and ready. Even at a full charge, there’s only so much ground you can cover before you’ll have to plug back in, which is why electric mowers are recommended for smaller yards.
- Potentially bothersome cords. Corded electric mowers eliminate the battery problem, but will limit how far you can mow. Connecting to extension cords can extend your reach, but you will have to be wary of getting tangled or running over the cord.
- Expensive replacement batteries. Most electric lawn mowers run on 12-Volt lithium-ion batteries, which have a life expectancy of 2 – 3 years and cost around $185 to replace.
- Less torque. Torque is a way of gauging how much force is behind your lawn mower’s blades. Electric mowers have less torque and therefore, less power, than gas-powered mowers.
Gas Lawn Mower Pros And Cons
- More torque. If you have thicker grass or your yard consists of various sloped terrains, a gas-powered lawn mower may be a better fit.
- No batteries or cords. Unlike electric mowers, you can fill up your tank and mow whenever you’d like - without having to wait for a battery to charge or wrestling with extension cords.
- Less expensive replacement parts. Unlike expensive batteries, most replacement parts for gas-powered mowers are extremely affordable. Both spark plugs and air filters usually cost less than $10 each.
- Not only will you have to buy gasoline, but you’ll also have to fill your tank and store the excess. Remember, gasoline is extremely flammable, so any spills should be cleaned up immediately. You should also find an isolated area with good air circulation to store your gas. Avoid areas with electrical, open flames or excess heat.
- While newer models have tried to tackle this issue, most gas-powered mowers are bound to be louder than an electric model.
- More maintenance. Both electric– and gas–powered mowers should have their blades sharpened regularly, but gas mowers require a bit more upkeep. Be prepared to change air filters, spark plugs, and check on oil levels to keep things running smoothly. You should also empty your lawn mower of gas before periods of nonuse to avoid corrosion.
The Bottom Line
Whether an electric or a gas-powered mower works best for you depends on your unique home and lawn care needs. Electric mowers tend to work best for small yards while gas-powered mowers can better handle thicker grass and more square footage. Shop around for different mowers to get one which suits your needs – don’t pay more for features you’re not likely to use.
Interested in more eco-friendly landscaping or home maintenance tips? Check out our Homeowner Guide.
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