Question

I want to buy either an electric mower corded or cordless, or a gas mower with push button start. What do you recommend?

Asked by April Trenge
Marlton, NJ

lawn mowers

Answer

Richard Heller

Answered by Richard Heller

New Rochelle, NY

Greener by Design

August 26, 2013

According to the EPA gas mowers create 5% of the nation's air pollution and gas spills when filling mowers add up to more gas dumped into the environment than the Exxon Valdez oils spill.

The alternatives are propane mowers and electric mowers.

  • While propane mowers are very clean running, they have more promise in commercial use as they are designed to run cleanly and for long periods.
  • My company has propane mowers and while these same mowers needed to be refilled three times a week, they go a week to two weeks on one tank of propane once converted.
  • For the average homeowner, electric mowers are a simpler more reliable option eliminating the need to go buy propane on a regular basis. They also eliminate all the service and maintenance needs of gas mowers. 

I have used both corded mowers and battery mowers and my experience is that though the corded mowers are less expensive and have power as long as the house does, the battery mowers are much easier to use.

The issue of course is the cord.

  • It is inevitable that it gets run over at some point in the experience especially when you first start using it.
  • The next problem is while best practice is to change the pattern you mow the lawn with weekly to minimize stress to the grass, the cord demands that you always be moving away from the power source so that you don't run it over, or at least keep it out of your way making it much harder to alter your mow pattern (North to South to East to West let's say).

Last of all, the cord itself requires constant handling to keep it from wrapping around your legs, the mower, or your prize roses, your herb garden. In contrast, battery mowers have none of these issues but of course there is the never ending question of how sustainable the production and disposal of the battery is and its replacement over time.

 

For more information:

Check this page at People Powered Machines for background on gas powered mowers.

For more information on battery operated mowers go here. And for reviews and pricing on corded mowers go here.

Do you have a question about greening your home? GreenHomeGuide invites you to Ask A Pro. Let our network of experienced green building professionals – architects, designers, contractors, electricians, energy experts, landscapers, tile & stone specialists, and more – help you find the right solution.