Once upon a time, it was large scythes that chopped away large swaths of grass. These macabre implements were replaced by the first push mower, which eventually gave way to a combustion machine that could cut even more efficiently. So it was like this for many years. When electric mowers first came on the scene they had multiple issues – lack of power, mobility, and pesky extension cords. Today, these electric models have been refined to be tougher, stronger, and more versatile than their predecessors. In this guide, we will go over the different types of mowers to look out for and what model works best for you, but before we get on that we first need to know why it’s smart to choose electric over traditional gas-powered mowers.
Why Buy Electric
There’s a reason electric models are starting to become really popular as they have many advantages over their older gas-powered cousins. For one, electric mowers don’t have to deal with any of the pesky liquids like gasoline and oil. Not only does this make for a smoother and cleaner machine, but also one that lasts longer. Gasoline can go bad and that oil eventually needs to be changed – using ancient gas or not topping off that oil can damage or wear down motors prematurely. You don’t have to worry about any parts like a spark plug or fuel filters going bad as electric mowers have no need of them. Aside from these construction difference, electric models are much lighter than associated gas ones. This comes from having fewer parts, along with typically being made of some sort of plastic housing. This can be a benefit for those that lack the strength to easily move traditional mowers. While they aren’t completely zero emission, these electrically powered machines do produce considerably less in terms of carbon, making them more environmentally friendly.
Types of Electric Mowers
There are many different brands on the market today offering plenty when it comes to electric mowers. Despite the nearly endless variety available, all of them can be roughly divided into four different types. Furthermore, these types are organized by price – the cheapest being first and the most expensive being last.
- Corded: This is the original electric lawn mower. As the name suggests it uses a cord to stay powered. The disadvantage of this is immediately obvious – these types of mower require you to maneuver around a cord as you mow, possibly running it over and cutting the power. Despite this, this type of mower does have the advantage of never running out of power, unlike battery operated models. The corded mower is also notable for being the cheapest electric model out on the market today.
- Battery: A step up from the corded mower acts more like a traditional gasoline model in that it can move freely around without any issues. The battery is typically made of lithium, which lasts longer and doesn’t get a memory like older rechargeable batteries. That being said battery models can die in the middle of mowing – which can be a bit of an inconvenience. These models are also typically more expensive than corded mowers.
- Hover: Were most mowers can be described as rotary, the hover mower is a completely different beast entirely. The hover mower works exactly as the name implies – rather than using wheels to move around it actually hover about an inch from the ground. This is possible by the vacuum on top sucking the air into the housing. The air is then spun around by the fan and blade, pushing the mower up with a pocket of air. This unique mower is lightweight and simple enough to use. That being said, it does suffer from having less power and shouldn’t be used on overgrown lawns.
- Robot: Probably the most futuristic of the electric mowers out today. These lawn mowers are autonomous units that go out and mow your grass for you. They are typically coordinated with a phone app and go out multiple times a week to maintain your lawn. These models are the most convenient but they do sport a hefty price tag – with some models going in the thousands of dollars easily. Depending on what you get, they may also be limited by their battery life and range of movement.
Which Model is Best for You?
Despite them all being propelled by electricity, each model offers something unique to the table. Both rotary corded and battery operated models come in deck sizes anywhere from 14″ to 20″ wide. These models are typically on the cheaper side, so they may work best with someone on a budget. If you have less than a ⅓ of an acre but have a lot of stuff in the way, than a battery operated model has much more maneuverability.
Corded mowers do have an advantage on larger lawns – you’ll just need to get the associated length of extension cord. While all electric mowers are much lighter than associated gas powered one, the hover mower is even lighter – being able to be picked up by most able-bodied adults with little problem.
Hover models also work great for irregularly shaped lawns – because they have no wheels, they have almost a full 360 degrees of movement. If you are the type of person who likes to have stripes going down the lawn than a hover model won’t be able to do that for you. That being said, hover mowers do excel on lawns with slopes as there is little in the way of resistance. If none of the above seems ideal to you and you have some extra money to spend, then the robotic lawn mower is probably what you want. These models work best on smaller lawns, but some brands can do even large ones with ease.
Robotic lawn mowers have the obvious advantage of unlimited stamina – not having to push around a noisy machine in the hot summer sun pretty much speaks for itself. Technology has also advanced quite a bit, and while a robotic lawn mower won’t be doing flips and spins it can get around most lawns with its multiple sensors.
Electric mowers are great machines that can do everything a gas-powered model can do but better. With no gasoline and much less in moving parts you can be sure they are much easier to maintain. There are roughly four types of these machines – corded, battery, hover, and robotic. Each model has its own set of pros and cons along with a variety of different brands and prices to choose from. When picking the mower that is best for you consider not only the size of your lawn but how it is shaped and slopped, so you can get the model that will work for you.