The first lawn mower was invented all the way back in 1830. 19-inches wide with a wrought iron frame, the original push-reel design was a far cry from the models available today. Gasoline-powered mowers came around in 1902, and the first electric mower was created in 1930 (although it initially proved unpopular due to a lack of demand). Fast forward to today, where makes & models of all shapes, sizes, and capabilities are conveniently available on the market.
Choosing the right mower for the job is still our primary concern, but another important factor has emerged: environmental impact.
The first electric mower was invented by a farmer named C.C. Stacy. Building on the newer rotary platform, Stacy eventually created a suspension system for his design but sadly never patented his creation. Still, he is credited with creating the first electric mower. Nowadays, there are many different types of electric mowers. They are broken down into two types: corded and cordless.
- Are limited in their cutting distance by the length of their cord
- Never run out of energy or have to be charged
- Generally cost less than their cordless counterparts
- Offer increased mobility to their lack of a cord
- Are limited by their battery capacity
- Usually cost more than their corded counterparts
Ultimately, your choice of a corded vs. cordless model will depend on your budget and the size of your lawn. If you have a smaller lawn then a corded model will do just fine, but if you have a bigger lawn then a cordless model is the way to go. Both designs are relatively low maintenance (especially when compared to a gasoline mower) and offer a near-silent performance that allows you to mow your lawn at any time of day without annoying your neighbors.
As technology advances, so do the options. While you may have been limited to only push or self-propelled electric mowers in the past, nowadays you can purchase electric stand-on, riding, and even zero-turn mowers! This is great because it means electric mowers can be used on commercial properties, not just residential ones. For the ultimate hands-off experience, “rover-style” mowers such as the WORX WR140 Landroid M 20V Power Share Robotic Lawn Mower are also a (pricier) option. Electric mowers are the perfect choice for anyone who is eco-conscious because of their emission-free operations, although the lead pollution from the battery-creation process is still something to keep in mind.
Gas-powered mowers are usually the go-to for homeowners and landscaping companies alike. Although they’re loud and require routine maintenance, a good gas mower will prove much more reliable and practical (depending on the application) in the long run. There are many different types of gas mowers, but here are a few of the common designs.
- Push Mowers – Small, lightweight, and affordable, these basic mowers can be found at nearly any hardware store. They don’t offer large deck sizes but are perfect for the average homeowner with a small-to-medium-sized lawn who doesn’t mind propelling the thing on their own.
- Self-Propelled Mowers – Slightly more expensive than their push-powered counterparts, these mowers are still relatively cheap but have the added bonus of being self-propelled. The downside of these is that their propulsion systems rarely work well on uneven surfaces, making running them a challenge on rough yards.
- Riding Mowers – Also known as “lawn tractors”, these mowers are perfect for mowing a larger yard with minimal effort. Unlike the previous designs, these mowers can usually be started with only a key and have a seat for you to sit on while mowing your lawn. Although they usually won’t mow at high speeds (at least when compared to commercial-grade mowers), they will still be more than adequate for most non-commercial purposes.
- Stand-on Mowers – You don’t get a seat with these mowers, but you do get high-speed mowing with extremely tight turns. This makes them perfect for most commercial applications, although homeowners with large properties may find them useful as well.
- Zero-Turn Mowers – These are the ultimate commercial mowing machines. High-speeds, wide cutting decks, and a variety of upgrades give these mowers a clear advantage over all other types of mowers on the market. However, these machines usually command a high price tag and don’t work well in small spaces, making them a poor investment for homeowners with small properties and narrow gates.
As you can see, gas-powered mowers offer many different options perfect for a variety of applications. They have a clear advantage over their electric alternatives in terms of runtime because they don’t require waiting on a battery to charge—simply refill the fuel tank and keep on mowing! Gas mowers have also been around a lot longer so they’re much easier to find parts for, and are generally offered at a lower price. The downsides are few, but worth mentioning.
- Require routine maintenance
- Emit a lot of noise (usually between 90dB to 106dB)
- Release toxic pollutants into the air
Still, the overall performance advantage of gas models makes them more-than suitable for residential use, and the go-to option when it comes to commercial lawn care and landscaping. Electric models may offer some fierce competition in the future, but until their battery lives increase and overall capabilities improve, gas-powered lawnmowers will continue to dominate the market with their highly-effective, highly-pollutant fuel-driven systems.
Wrapping it up
The fight between gas and electric powered mowers is becoming closer each year. Battery powered mowers are quickly catching up to the level of productivity as their gas counterparts. The many advantages of battery powered instead of gas make it a great option for many homeowners.
The commercial sector is also continuing to improve in the electrification of mowers. It will still probably be a few years until the concept is completely accepted but it is definitely coming.
Overall, it will depend on your specific situation to determine whether you should get a gas or electric mower.
What do you think?
Do you want to get a gas or electric mower? Let us know in the comments below which one you want/have.
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