The Rechargeable Lawn Mower: Not A One-Size-Fits-All Solution

by mbryce2012 on October 16, 2012

Does the soft electric hum of a rechargeable lawn mower sound like music to your ears?  Hold on maestro, there are a few things to consider before hopping on to the rechargeable mower bandwagon.

As an eco-minded individual, you certainly want to eliminate one of the largest personal pollutants in your life:  the gas powered lawn mower.

According to EPA statistics, one new gas mower produces as much air pollution (organic volatile compounds and nitrogen oxide) as eleven new cars running for an equal amount of time.  These emissions, along with high amounts of gas and oil spillage, have a huge impact on air, soil, and water quality.

But when you’re looking to trade out your gas mower for something with a lighter carbon footprint, don’t just limit yourself to a rechargeable electric mower.  While it can be great under certain circumstances, it’s not a one-size-fits-all piece of landscaping equipment.

Here are a few lawn types and their mower-matches.  You might not fit exactly into one of these categories.  If not, assess your needs and consider the options.

Small Lawn:  With Accessible Electrical Outlet

This lawn type is a prime candidate for a corded electrical mower.  If you’re simply trimming the path between houses and the small strip in front of your porch, you don’t need to worry about cord length.  You will be able to reach most places with the original cord or with the addition of an outdoor extension cord (one of the heavy orange ones).

The only thing you’ll have to worry about is not running over the cord!

Small Lawn:  Well-Maintained and Weed-Free

If you are the type of person that’s out every Saturday morning (or Wednesday afternoon, no matter)  grooming your grass, then a modern-day version of the old fashioned reel push mower might be a better option.  While it doesn’t work well on thick, unkept lawns with lots of weeds or bumps, it works really well for regular trimming on small to medium sized well-maintained yards.  The extra bonus is that this type of mower is inexpensive and runs only on sweat and grit.

Medium to Large Lawn

I larger lawn becomes a challenge for a corded mower, especially if you  have to navigate obstacles like shrubs, decks, or other landscaping.  That’s when a cordless rechargeable mower comes in handy.

Think about how long it takes you to mow with your gas mower.  A 24 volt rechargeable lawn mower will hold a charge for about an hour.  If you need more than that, you’ll want to consider a more powerful 36 volt mower.

If you have a lawn that takes more than an hour and a half or so to cut, you might need to separate your landscaping into two days.  This is due to charge-time, as the batteries take from eight to sixteen hours to regain full strength.

If your large lawn is generally weed-free and trim, you could manage it with the less expensive and lower-maintenance reel mower.

Estate-Sized Lawns

Maintenance on an extra sized lawn might require the help of a rechargeable riding mower.   Of the few options on the market, most claim to mow one to two acres on a single charge.  However, the reviews are mixed.  Most users say that when their electric riding mowers work, they are wonderful.  But this is new technology, which always comes with a few kinks.

Complaints range from overly sensitive speed control to blades that simply stop mid-cut.  If you want to be on the cutting-edge of technology, give the riding mower a try.  If you can wait one more season, the second models might be more fine-tuned.

Whether your yard is large or small, the earth will thank you for switching to any one of these eco-friendly mowing options.


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