From small manual mowers to giant lawn tractors, there are countless lawn mowers to choose from, and with so many shapes and sizes available, choosing the right one can sometimes feel like a chore in itself. However, with the surging gas prices, more and more people are starting to wonder if they should go electric, but how long will an electric mower last?
If bought new and maintained, most lawn mowers will last between 8 and 10 years. However, homeowners should be prepared to replace the battery in an electric mower after about five years.
Continue reading to learn more about electric mowers, including the pros and cons of owning one and things you should know before you buy one.
Electric Mowers — What Are They?
Electric lawnmowers are mowers that run on electricity. There are two types of electric mowers—corded and cordless. The difference between the two is fairly obvious: one has a cord, and the other does not. Corded mowers draw power from the power source that they are plugged into, while cordless mowers have batteries that must be charged in order to run.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both types. While a corded mower is not limited by a battery charge, having to deal with a lengthy cord can be a pain. On the other hand, while you do not have to mess with a cord with a cordless machine, its running time is limited to how long the battery will hold a charge.
Pros and Cons of an Electric Mower
Although there has been a noticeable shift away from gas-powered machines in recent years, you might be surprised to know that electric mowers have been around since the 1930s. So why aren’t these handy little machines more popular? Perhaps the answer to that question lies within the pros and cons listed below.
Advantages of an Electric Mower
- Less Maintenance
Electric mowers are much quieter than gas-powered mowers because they do not have a noisy engine. While this is obviously more peaceful, it might be better for your health as well. Electric mowers emit sounds at around 75 decibels, while most gas mowers run at 95 decibels. Sounds below 75 decibels are not harmful to your ears, while anything above 75 decibels may damage your hearing after prolonged exposure.
Cheaper Maintenance Costs
Although some maintenance tasks are universal across all models, electric mowers typically require less maintenance than gas mowers. For example, gas mowers require a lot of engine maintenance that electric mowers do not need, such as oil changes and spark plug replacements.
Most electric mowers are lighter than their gas-powered counterparts and because of this, they are easier to handle, move, and maneuver around your lawn.
Cheaper Price Tag
While both options can be found in a variety of price ranges, electric mowers tend to be less expensive than gas-powered mowers. For example, the average price of an electric mower is between $250 and $580, while gas-powered mowers cost around $1,000 mark.
Cheaper to Run
With gas prices soaring, it seems obvious that gas-powered mowers are more expensive to run, but with electricity costs rising around the country as well, are you saving that much?
Well, last season I bought my father a new electric Husqvarna mower, I’d tune up his old gas mower at the start of each season so she’d run with one pull and while it was reliable, it was just too much work for him.
The electric is a gift, he’s not buying gas, fuel stabilizer, oil, spark plugs, air filters, and associated labor to fit, and not paying the associated labor with fitting, cleaning, and tuning. Electric mowers are a ton cheaper to maintain.
Consider a gas mower that needs a service every season, that costs about $90 depending on the size and model. We’ll need a fuel stabilizer for the season, and oil for top-ups, let’s call that $20.
Now let’s estimate the cost of gas per cut. Mower engines, gas tank sizes, gas and electricity prices will all affect our figures. Bear in mind these are ballpark figures. Better to be roughly right than exactly wrong if you know what I mean)
let’s consider you have a 1/4 acre lawn, and you have an average size gas-powered walk-behind mower.
Most mowers will cut a half-acre to a tank of gas. And a tank of gas is somewhere around a half-gallon (usually a little more, but let’s keep this simple.) And so, let’s say our mower will cut our 1/4 acre on a half tank of gas. With gas prices at $4 plus currently that’s somewhere around a dollar a cut.
Not bad, you might say, now lest consider what an electric mower might cost to cut the same lawn.
Most walk-behind electric mowers will run a 40v 5ah battery which is capable of cutting a 1/4 acre on one charge. To recharge said battery requires about 2 Kwh, and with electricity currently charged at $.14 c per Kwh, that’s $.28c.
Now let’s take a look at the running cost of both gas and electric mowers side by side:
|Costs||Gas Powered||Electric Powered|
|Energy Cost (Approx. 25 cuts in season)||$25 (gas)||$7 (electricity)|
|Servicing (one service per season)||$90||$0|
|Oil top-ups & fuel stabilizer||$20||$0|
Besides being in many ways the cheaper choice, electric lawnmowers are also more eco-friendly than their gas-powered cousins. In fact, according to the California Air Resource Board, running a gas mower for one hour is equivalent to driving around 300 miles in a car!
Disadvantages of an Electric Mower
- Battery Charge Time
- Yard Limitations
- Less Powerful
- Narrow Deck
Battery Charge Time
Utilizing a battery instead of gasoline is one of the biggest advantages of these machines, but it is also a giant disadvantage as well. Most electric mowers have batteries that will last anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes before needing to be recharged, which can be a pain if it takes longer than that to mow your lawn.
You can avoid recharging by opting for a corded mower but having a cord can significantly reduce your mobility. You must be aware of where the cord is always, and most cords span less than 1 acre.
The type of lawn that you have may or may not be suitable for an electric mower. Hills will drain the battery much quicker than flat terrain and electric mowers do not work well on long or coarse grasses. Additionally, if your lawn is over an acre, you may have to stop and recharge multiple times.
Although many manufacturers will boast that their electric product is comparable to a gas-powered counterpart, this is simply not true. While there are many things to love about electric mowers, gas mowers are still king when it comes to sheer grunt.
This is an unfair disadvantage because all lawnmowers pose a certain level of danger to their riders/pushers. However, electric corded mowers have the added electrical element to worry about. Operators must be aware of their cord to ensure they do not run it over, and wet grass should be avoided all the time. Admittedly, battery-powered mowers don’t pose an electric shock risk.
The average deck size for an electric mower is between 19 and 21 inches. This is much smaller than the average gas-powered deck, which can range anywhere from 30 plus inches. So, not only are you limited by a battery, but you are cutting less grass on each pass as well.
Corded or Cordless — Which Electric Mower Is Better?
|Range||Best for yards under 1,500 square feet (0.35 acres) as most cords run between 50 to 100 feet in length.||Not limited by a cord but limited by the battery charge. Depending on your lawn, the battery may last anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes.|
|Maintenance||Corded mowers require less maintenance because they do not have a battery. However, they will need to be maintained in all other ways.||Aside from the normal maintenance, you will need to remember to take your battery out and charge it after each use. Additionally, the battery will need to be replaced on average every five years.|
|Cost||The average price of a corded mower is between $150 and $200. They are often less expensive because they do not have a battery.||The average price of a cordless mower is between $275 and $800. They are more expensive because of the battery.|
|Use||Users must always be aware of the cord to avoid hitting it or becoming tangled in obstacles. However, it is lighter, and you never have to worry about charging a battery.||Corded mowers are a bit heavier than cordless because of the batteries’ weight. However, they are not limited by a cord. If you forget to charge the battery, you will have to wait.|
How Long Will a Cordless Mowers Battery Last?
For the most part, the life of your electric mower will depend on the life of its battery, and how long the battery will last will depend on several factors, such as:
- what type of battery it is,
- how the battery is cared for and maintained,
- how often you charge the battery,
- your charging habits,
- your lawn size and terrain,
- and how often you run your mower.
However, the average lifespan of a cordless mower’s battery is around 3 to 5 years.
How Long Will a Cordless Mowers Battery Stay Charged?
Again, this depends on several factors, such as the type of battery you are using and how you are using your machine. For example, lawns that have a lot of hilly areas may drain a battery faster than a level lawn would.
That being said, most batteries will last anywhere from forty-five minutes to upwards of two hours (for a top Lithium-ion battery).
Ways To Extend the Life of Your Electric Mower
Now that you have a basic idea of how long an electric mower will last you, let’s talk about ways that you can extend the life of your machine.
1. Charge the battery appropriately and make sure to follow the directions that come with your mower. There is a lot of science behind how and when a battery should be charged, including at what amperage is best to charge it, but what is best for your battery will depend on the type of battery you have. Make sure to research the battery and find out the best way to charge it.
2. Keep it dry. Nothing will kill an electric mower faster than water, especially if it gets into the electrical components of the machine. Do not mow after a rainstorm and watch out for dew and boggy areas. You should also keep the machine covered when it is not being used.
3. Keep it clean. Although water is a fear for electric machines, it is important to keep your mower clean and battery-free from corrosion. You can do this with a damp cloth and a bit of mild soap, just make sure to use the least amount of water possible.
4. Do not push it. It is easy to lose track of time and forget to mow, but if you allow the grass to grow too long, you might strain your electric mower. Additionally, try not to mow on steep inclines as this will drain the battery much quicker.
5. Use a trickle charger. Trickle charges will not charge your battery as quickly, but you can place it on the charger and keep it warm and protect it against sulfation while it is not being used.
6. Make sure you store the battery away from harsh weather and bring it indoors during the colder seasons.
7. Keep up on the maintenance of your machine.
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- About the Author
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer at Lawnmowerfixed.com.
He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and shares his know-how and hands-on experience in our DIY repair guides.
Johns’s fluff-free How-to guides help homeowners fix lawnmowers, tractor mowers, chainsaws, leaf blowers, power washers, generators, snow blowers, and more.