Local lawns are greening up here in northern Georgia, meaning the mowing season can’t be far behind. If your spring plans include replacing or upgrading lawn care equipment, consider making the switch to an all-electric lineup.
Cordless electric lawn mowers, trimmers and leaf blowers now have the same power and performance without the downsides of gas engines.
Thanks to lithium-ion battery technology, electric lawn care equipment has come of age. Cordless electric lawn mowers, trimmers and leaf blowers now have the same power and performance without the downsides of gas engines. They offer consumers faster charging times, longer battery life and quieter, greener products, too.
Dreading another summer of wrestling with your gas mower’s pull-cord and an engine that’s reluctant to turn over? One of the key features of electric mowers is their hassle-free push-button start.
Electric mowers have come a long way from the originals that required a corded connection for power. In this era of cutting the cord, consumers can now choose from among a wide array of powerful battery-operated mowers. Convenience features, such as self-propelled mowers that don’t require pushing, are also becoming more commonplace.
According to ConsumerReports.org, you can now score a top-tier walk-behind mower for as little as $300. The upfront cost is more than a gas model, but the difference can be recovered in less expensive fuel and lower maintenance costs.
Electric mower batteries typically require about one to two hours to fully charge. Most batteries can run for a full hour, which is enough time to mow a lawn up to a half-acre in size. If you have a large yard or an incline, keeping two sets of batteries charged and ready may be necessary to mow the entire space in one session. Many electric models seen at local home improvement stores offer two batteries and a charger with the mower purchase.
Though electric push mowers have been around for a while, electric riding mowers are relatively new in the lawn equipment category. In fact, a number of new all-electric riding mowers, including zero-turn mowers, entered the market in 2020.
Local stores are asking about $2,200 for a basic battery-powered model with a 30-inch cutting deck and $4,500 for a zero-turn model with all the bells and whistles. The price tags for these electric variants run an average 20 to 50 percent more than their gas-powered equivalents. However, like walk-behind mowers, they pay for themselves with lower maintenance and operating costs.
According to todaysmower.com, the average consumer can save about $250 in reduced maintenance costs alone. An electric riding mower doesn’t require oil changes, oil filters, spark plugs, belts or air filters. Sharpening the mower blades and checking tire pressure is all that’s routinely needed to keep your mower in good shape.
The cost of electricity versus the cost of gasoline and other additives required for a gas-powered motor is also significant. The cost to charge batteries will be only a few cents per mowing. A study by todaysmower.com, showed the average cost of electricity was 87 percent less than the cost of gasoline to power a riding mower for a single session of lawn mowing.
We let robots vacuum our floors and clean our pools, so it’s not a stretch that there are also compact machines capable of cutting the grass. In fact, there are several grass-mowing bots available to do the job.
Robot mowers are best suited to small, simple yards, that are relatively smooth and flat. Also, the lawn needs to be cleared of branches and pine cones, which can stop the bot, according to reviewers at Popular Mechanics.
Several manufacturers offer robot mowers, but you’ll find few on display in local stores. Husqvarna dealerships and some specialty lawn and garden stores are the best bet, if you want to kick the (small) tires before buying. Robot mowers start at $1,000.
With all models, a wire must be buried in the lawn to define the perimeter of the area the robot is to mow. Some models will charge in as little as 30 minutes and then mow for 100 minutes. At least one unit, marketed by Worx, uses the same batteries and charger as the manufacturer’s other cordless electric lawn tools.
New versions of electric trimmers are improving and are now considered worthy competitors of gas-powered models.
A quality cordless electric trimmer can be bought for $100 to $200. When comparing models, consider the battery’s life, charge time and power.
Rechargeable batteries for gardening tools, on an average, run between 45 and 60 minutes. So, if you have a lot of space to trim, having a back-up battery is a good idea. Some reviewers also note that many models aren’t powerful enough for tough jobs like hard weeds and brush.
If you’re looking to expand your electric lawn equipment inventory, some manufacturers are marketing “attachment-ready” models that can be converted into a variety of yard tools. On these units, the string trimmer head can be removed from the shaft and replaced with tools like a pole saw, brush cutter or mini cultivator.
Cutting the cord on your leaf blower allows simple cleanup of the sidewalk and driveway after mowing. Cordless electric versions are lightweight and easy to maneuver.
When shopping for a cordless leaf blower, you’ll want to consider the unit’s cubic feet per minute, or CFM, which tells you the volume of air that comes out of a leaf blower's tube, advise equipment reviewers at thespruce.com. A higher CFM value translates to more clearing power.
Costs for a cordless electric blower vary depending on power, battery quality and features, but you can purchase a dependable model for about $150 and up. Plan to pay about $300 for a top-rated model that has a high CFM value.
If you’re looking to electrify your lawn care equipment, be sure to do your homework before purchasing.
Many big power tool companies have jumped into the electric lawn equipment market, so you’ll find plenty of choices offered in the lawn and garden department at local home improvement stores and equipment dealerships.
To narrow down your choices, search online for product specifications and the latest reviews. Check independent reviewers like ConsumerReports.org for test results regarding battery life and power of the tools that interest you.
Beware of “too good to be true” prices, especially on hand-held equipment like trimmers and blowers. A low price can indicate that the necessary battery and charger are sold separately. Keep in mind, however, that the same battery and charger may be used to power multiple tools in a manufacturer’s line. Read product descriptions carefully to know what is — or what isn’t — included in the package.
With a little research, you’ll be well on your way to winning the neighborhood’s Lawn of the Month award – with less maintenance, hassle and noise.