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Which Lawn Mower Type Is Best For You? Petrol Or Electric?

Written by William
Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Decisions Decisions – Electric VS. Gas

You probably know that lawn mowers do not come in one singular type and model, and that there are quite a few different kinds out there. Two of the most common that people tend to have trouble choosing between are electric mowers and gas mowers. So, which one suits you better?

There are many reasons why these two types of lawn mower are so popular, and each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. If you’re having trouble choosing between the two, this article will help you to understand each one a bit better as well as help you to feel better equipped to make the decision.

Odds are, whichever lawn mower you go for will do a decent job, however there are distinct differences between the two that might tip you over the edge when it comes to functionality and other factors.

At the end of the day, everyone is different and the only opinion on the matter that means anything is your own – after all, you’re the one who’s going to have to cut the grass!

With that in mind, let’s dive into exploring each kind of lawn mower as well as the pros and cons that each one will present!

What is a Gas Mower?

As the name tells us, gas mowers utilise gasoline as a fuel to enable them to function. Gas mowers usually have pull-start engines but some more modern ones have start buttons and other easier methods for starting up the engine. Gas mowers come in two main types:

Push Lawn Mower

  • Does what is says on the tin – it’s a mower that you push.
  • Quite a lot of effort from the user goes into moving and manoeuvring a gas push mower.

Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

  • Takes the effort out of pushing the mower as they facilitate the majority of their own movement.
  • Steering and controlling a lawn mower is much easier when it’s self-propelled.

Gas mowers are most commonly owned by people with gardens of all sizes, often on very flat terrain rather than anywhere hilly or sloping. That said, there are certain gas mowers that are suitable for more inclined gardens.

If you’ve found yourself reading this article, you might already know the above information about gas mowers, but just in case you needed a refresher, there we go!

What is an Electric Mower?

Just as the idea of a gas lawn mower running on gasoline is a small leap to make, so is the connection between electric lawn mowers and electricity. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that an electric lawn mower is going to be powered by electricity!

Electric mowers either need to be charged before you start using them (battery-powered), or you need to make sure that there’s a power outlet close enough to your garden that you’ll be able to cut your grass with the mower plugged in (cabled).

Whilst more modern models put a greater emphasis on the battery and less focus on the length of the cable, many models do have very long cables which means mowing while charging is not necessarily a dealbreaker.

Electric mowers also come in push and self-propelled categories, similarly to gas mowers above.

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, we can start analysing the pros and cos of each lawn mower type so that you have all the facts and can weigh them up effectively.

Pros and Cons: Who Comes Out on Top?

Let’s start with the positives and look at the pros for each type of lawn mower.

Gas Mower Pros

  • Generally better suited to mowing larger lawns as they tend to be more powerful than electric lawn mowers – this means they can cover more ground more effectively.
  • More able to cut through particularly long or tough breeds of grass, whereas an electric mower might struggle to get through certain types.
  • More affordable than electric lawn mowers across the price spectrum (high-end gas mowers are cheaper than high end electric mowers etc).
  • Gas mowers tend to be a bit sturdier and more robust than the average electric mower, which means they’ll be able to withstand a bit more stress than their electric counterparts.
  • Not restricted by charging cable, meaning you are free to mow as far away as you need to, without having to worry about being limited by being plugged in.

Electric Mower Pros

  • Better for the environment as they do not contribute to air pollution and do not run on non-renewable energy sources such as gas mowers.
  • The easiest type of lawn mower to manoeuvre – electric mowers are lighter and typically more compact than gas mowers, making them easier to move around.
  • Because they’re smaller than most gas mower models, electric mowers are easier to store and don’t take up as much valuable shed space.
  • Cabled electric lawn mowers essentially have an unlimited mowing time because as long as you have power in your home, you can power your mower.
  • Relatively low maintenance, as they only really require blade sharpening and replacements when needed, as well as general check-ups rather than very specific maintenance regimes.

Looking at these lists of pros for each type of lawn mower, it’s easy to see how each of them is appealing to so many gardeners. If you still don’t feel ready to make a decision on which one is better for you, keep reading to find out about their cons.

Gas Mower Cons

  • Not very eco-friendly or sustainable as they use both gasoline and engine oil in their running, both of which are resources that cause pollution when burned.
  • Gasoline and engine oil are both highly flammable which poses a fire risk that needs to be considered, and gas and oil are also dirty – no one wants either of them spilling anywhere!
  • Tend to be very loud, thanks to their powerful and sizeable engines, which can disturb neighbours and wildlife while you’re mowing as well as cause short-term hearing damage.
  • Much more effort to push around than electric mowers, even if you have a self-propelled model, as they are bulkier and heavier in general.
  • Limited mowing time as gas and engine oil do not last forever which means you can only mow for as long as it takes for one to run out or for your engine to overheat.
  • Cost more money to run as fuel and oil are additional expenses whereas electric mowers only use electricity which is generally cheaper.
  • Require a lot of maintenance and regular checks – not only do the blades need to be sharpened and replaced when necessary, but gas, oil, filters, sparkplugs etc also need maintenance and replacing.

Electric Mower Cons

  • If you have a corded version rather than a battery version, you’ll be limited by the length of the cable whereas a gas mower is free to go anywhere.
  • Greater potential for electric shocks if the mower gets wet or if you happen to mow over wet grass (electricity and water do not mix!).
  • Due to their smaller stature, they often have a narrower mowing field which means you’ll have to make more passes up and down your lawn than you would with a gas mower.
  • If you have a battery-operated electric mower, you need to remember to charge it properly and enough, as well as ensure that you don’t use it until the battery is completely drained.
  • Can be more expensive than a standard gas mower, especially if you opt for something top-of-the-range with lots of additional features.
  • Not as powerful as gas mowers and may become overworked more easily when dealing with thicker or more unruly grass.

These lists certainly do not include every possible pro and con for each type of lawn mower, but they should give you enough information to work with in order to make an informed decision.

A Summary of Key Things to Consider

Before you rush out and buy either an electric or a gas mower, this summarised list will equip you with the main points to think about when you walk into lawn mower section of your favourite retailer:

  • Size and weight – storability and manoeuvrability
  • Noise level
  • Eco-friendliness/sustainability
  • Power and precision
  • Mowing time and distance
  • Running costs

If you still feel overwhelmed by all the available options, taking these points to a sales consultant or other professional will help them to narrow down the search for you.

To Close This Chapter…

The most important thing to bear in mind is that whatever lawn mower you get needs to work for you. Take into account not only the points above and the individual pros and cons for each lawn mower type, but also your own capabilities and know-how and the needs of your garden.

When you sit down and think about the choice after finishing this article, you’ll probably find that an obvious winner springs forward in your mind. And if not, there’s no need to worry as lawn mowers are generally of a very high standard across the board nowadays, so you’re likely to end up with a decent one no matter what route you take!

About the author
Written by William
I have always had a passion for gardening and that with a background in selling lawn mowers for the past 10 years, I have become very knowledgeable in all types of gardening tools. The site was created as a hub where I can review and write about all of the tips around gardening.
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