We all love a clever invention. We also love anything that runs more clean and green than its earlier cousins. As such, battery powered lawn mowers have been a popular novelty all over the country, as people give them a run around their lawns and determine if they prefer tried-and-true, or new-and-better.
Cordless or battery powered lawn mowers are being improved all the time and will definitely give conventional mowers a run for their money if the research and development keeps up at the current rate. But what are the advantages and disadvantages?
Pro: Cleaner and Greener
First we will examine the running methods of each. Over the last six decades or so, gasoline mowers have not changed a great deal. The engine spins the blade and the blade cuts the grass: simple. What battery powered lawn mowers have over their fume-veiled cousins is that they run cleaner and greener. Despite manufacturers best efforts, gasoline will always emit toxic gases into the atmosphere making them very environmentally unfriendly indeed.
Battery powered lawn mowers are also supremely quiet compared to the roaring, revving gasoline-powered ones. With a simple switch to activate and not a pull-cord in sight, the clean, green machines are not just environmentally friendly but also far more user friendly, not to mention neighbor-friendly! Operating at between 65 and 80 decibels, they make conventional mowers that run at 90 decibels seem like deafness-inducers!
Pro: Lower Running Costs
Compare a conventional mower, $30 to $40 per year in gasoline and oil, to the electricity costs of around $5 per year for battery powered lawn mowers and you will see a significant saving. Tune-ups will be a thing of the past; just keep your cordless mower clean and you will only need to replace a battery every five years or so.
Unfortunately, it is not all salad days for battery powered lawn mowers. While it is true that they offer wonderful advantages, there are a few kinks that need to be ironed out.
Con: Better for Smaller Yards
Firstly, they are most well suited to lawns that are flat and smaller in size than 7-8,000 square feet. They prefer particular kinds of grass such as Kentucky bluegrass and finer fescues.
Con: Recharging means out of action
Another issue with battery powered lawn mowers is that, logically enough, the running time of the batteries is determined by the amount of power used. The thicker and longer your grass, the less surface area you will be able to cover before needing to recharge.
Con: Heavy to handle
Battery powered lawn mowers are also fairly heavy to push, particularly up slopes. It is not that their weight is substantially greater than that of a conventional mower, but because they are not self-propelled, they are fairly cumbersome to manoeuvre.
Choosing between battery powered lawn mowers
If you have your heart set on a cordless mower, there are a few considerations to make and each model will have its own pros and cons.
- 1. Plugging the entire mower into a wall socket recharges some models, whereas others come with removable battery packs that can be charged while a second battery pack is in use.
2. Investigate the charging time required compared with the length of mowing time offered.
3. Compare costs of replacement battery packs.
4. Make up a check list of attributes that your yard has. Make notes of surface area to be mowed, steepness of slopes, thickness of grass and so on and check with your retailer about which model would suit your requirements best.
5. Test drive a battery powered lawn mower in real conditions if at all possible. Remember that their weight when switched off and stationary differs from their weight when in motion, particularly up a slope.
Battery powered lawn mowers are not the be-all and end-all to your lawn mowing frustrations but they have distinct advantages that stand them apart from gasoline models. Try one and see for yourself.