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Over the years many homeowners have asked me “What lawn mower is better, a gas mower OR a cordless battery mower?” If you have asked me this question 2 years ago, I would have definitely responded gas, however as of today, with the advancement of battery technology it is not that straight forward to answer.
As gas and cordless mowers are now so comparable, how do you go about choosing which one is right for you and your yard? Well, that really depends on your circumstances and your requirements. In order to help you choose the right lawn mower for your yard, I have written this short article explaining which type is best suited to which situation together with their pros and cons.
Gas vs Electric Cordless Lawn Mower – How Do I Choose?
In summary, when considering the features and functions of your mower, whatever is available on your gas mower is also largely available with cordless mowers, and vice versa. You may be surprised that features such as self-propulsion and variable speeds, that are normally associated with gas mowers only, are actually available on high end cordless models too. The only minor feature not found on a cordless mower is the hose wash port, as this naturally would cause damage to the electric components of the mower.
So, if the majority of features are available on both types of mower, how do you set about choosing which is best for you and your yard? To help you out, below I have included the differences between both types of mower, their suitability for varying size and types of lawn.
Size of Lawn / Size of Deck
Generally, with gas powered mowers you do not need to worry about the size of your lawn, only the size of the deck and power of the mower needs to be considered. This is not the case with electric cordless mowers, as they can have limited run-times depending on the amp hours (Ah) and the number of spare batteries you have.
There comes a point at which your lawn becomes too large for you to use a cordless lawn mower to mow the entire lawn, without changing or changing the battery. Once you start approaching around 10,000 square feet you should start considering gas over a cordless mower.
Remember, that a good quality electric cordless lawn mower will provide a maximum of around 40 minutes run-time on a single charge. On cordless budget models, the run-time would be reduced to as little as 15 minutes. So, for small to medium sized lawns, a cordless lawn mower can be considered a viable alternative to gas.
Gas lawn mowers are, without a doubt, more powerful than their cordless counterparts. The question to ask yourself is – do I need that extra power? Well, if have no regular lawn maintenance schedule and only cut the grass when it is knee high, then a gas mower is the way to go. Gas mowers are also better suited for commercial purposes due to the steel decks, build quality and superior power.
There are other advantages to having a lawn mower with more power. The first is its ability to mulch the grass cuttings more effectively; this is of course if you have a gas mower that has a mulching ability. Mulching cuts the grass clippings into tiny pieces that are deposited back into the lawn providing a natural fertilizer, that is essential for keeping your lawn healthy, green and disease free. There is no doubt from my tests that a gas mower does indeed cut the grass clippings into smaller pieces due to its superior power compared to that of a cordless electric mulching mower.
Another advantage of having more power is the mower’s ability to collect more of the grass cuttings when using the cut & collect method. Tests have shown that a gas mower will do a better job at not only collecting the cut grass, but also cut & collect any leaves that have fallen on your lawn, particularly when damp.
Cordless lawn mowers by no means have a problem collecting grass clippings, it is just that gas mowers do a better and more efficient job when the going gets a little tough.
Cordless lawn mowers are going to cost a little more compared to an equivalent gas mower. This is somewhat offset longer term by the on-going maintenance and servicing cost of your gas lawn mower.
Charging your electric cordless mower’s battery is cost effective and compares favorably to purchasing gasoline for your gas mower. Having said that, bear in mind that lawn mower batteries have a limited life span and will need to be replaced between 3 and 5 years, depending on usage.
Looking over a 5 year period some studies suggest that you will save approximately 40% of the total cost when owning an electric cordless mower over a gas mower. This is mainly due to the cost of gasoline, maintenance and servicing associated with a gas powered mower. If you would like to learn more about these comparisons, just follow the link below.
Many homeowners are now starting to consider their environmental footprint, so what better way to reduce your carbon emissions than by having an environmentally friendly mower. A cordless lawn mower is, without a doubt, more environmentally friendly when compared to the fumes, pollution and noise created by a gas mower.
It is obvious that both types of mower have the freedom to maneuver around the lawn without being restricted by the power cord.
I have already mentioned run-times, but what about charge-times and readiness of your mower? A gas mower is always ready to go as long as you have the fuel available, whereby a cordless mower could take anything up to 2 hours to charge, depending on your battery supply and its amp hours. If you already have a charged battery then this is not a problem and you are ready to go.
A practical advantage of an electric cordless mower is the ability to share the batteries across multiple tools from the same brand. So if you do already have batteries with other cordless tools, then you have the option to purchase a mower as a bare tool only (no battery or charger supplied).
When it comes to starting your mower, an electric cordless mower wins hands down. Yes, I know there are electric start gas mowers available, making the starting process easier, but they are still prone to starting problems if the engine is not regularly maintained.
Storage of your mower is another practicality you may want to consider. In general, both types of mower fold flat, if you have a mesh grass catcher bag then the storage will be reduced again. However, I should mention that many electric cordless mowers have the ability to be stored vertically, compared to only a few gas mowers with this feature available on the US market.
A cordless electric lawn mower needs little, or no, maintenance when compared to its gas cousin. Some gas lawn mowers will need to be serviced by an authorized dealer in order to preserve the warranty. However, maintaining a gas lawn mower can be done by anybody with some basic tools found around the yard. It is advisable that you do this on a regular basis to ensure that your gas mower starts each time and operates effectively.
The only maintenance required on a cordless lawn mower is ensuring that the blade is sharp, the deck is cleaned on a regular basis and the battery is stored safely during the Winter months.
Still Unsure – Gas or Electric Cordless Mower?
If you are still undecided what type of mower is best suited to you and your yard, I have highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of each mower below. Hopefully this will help in your decision making process.
Gas vs Electric Cordless Lawn Mower – Pros & Cons
Advantages of Gas Lawn Mower
- Steel decks and build quality means they can last for many years
- More power to cut longer and challenging grass, better mulching, improved air circulation for grass clippings collection
- Feature rich mowers including hose wash ports (not available on cordless)
- Many self-propelled models available
- Lower initial investment
- Longer run-times, designed for medium and larger lawns
- Electric start available in addition to recoil
- Wide range of engines, power and deck sizes to suit your lawn requirements
Disadvantages of Gas Lawn Mower
- Not environmentally friendly (fumes, noise and smell)
- Regular maintenance required for reliable and efficient operation
- Prone to wrong gasoline mix being added – can damage the engine
- Recoil starting can be tricky
- Larger and heavier machines (more physical strength needed)
Advantages of Cordless Lawn Mower
- Environmentally friendly (less pollution)
- Batteries can be shared across the same range of power tools
- Clean and safe to use with less vibration and noise
- Little or no maintenance required
- No gasoline, oil and spare parts to store and replace
- Easy and reliable start with push of a button
- Easy and compact vertical storage available
Disadvantages of Cordless Lawn Mower
- Higher initial investment (but savings made over longer term)
- Battery life limited to 3 to 5 years, can be expensive to replace
- Shorter run-times, multiple batteries may be required
- Batteries need charging before you can mow
- Limited self-propelled models available on the US market
I hope that this article has been useful and provided enough information for you to decide whether to purchase a gas or electric cordless mower.
There is no doubt in my mind that the advancements in lithium-ion battery technology, in the last couple of years, have made electric cordless mowers a genuine and real alternative to a gas powered mower. So now it is over to you. Please let me know your comments, views and thoughts in the comment’s section below.
Do You Still Need Extra Help With Choosing Your Perfect Mower?
To help you with your decision I have created a very handy lawn mower selection tool that allows you to tick all of the features you require on your new mower and the best mower/s will be shortlisted for you in seconds. Why not head over to this selection tool now using the image link below.