The trusty lawnmower is considered the ultimate gardening machine and every home that has at least a few blades of grass growing will usually have a mower laying around.
However, one of the biggest debates about mowers recently is whether the gas or electric model is best.
Are electric or gas-powered mowers best? Electric mowers are considered better for the environment while gas-powered models are hailed for the torque.
Depending on your lawn’s size and landscape, as well as budget, accessibility, and ease of use, one or the other is likely to be a better fit.
The electric vs gas lawn mower debate has raged for many years and it’s something worth weighing up if you’re in the market for a new one or you simply want to replace your old one. Lawn mowing can be made a lot easier and faster with the right tool in your hands.
To help you make sense of what each of them offers, we’ve compared them where it counts, giving you the best choice of mower possible.
The Lowdown on Electric Lawn Mowers
Electric lawnmowers are newer on the scene than their gas-powered counterparts and they’ve had huge advancements in recent years that make them more desirable than ever.
An electric mower can be either corded and plugged into an outlet or cordless and running on a rechargeable battery, depending on your preference, and they use electricity to power up the cutting deck and blades.
Eco-friendly: The biggest drawcard of an electric mower is how kind they are to the planet. Because they use electricity rather than gas and oil, they create no emissions when you use them and you don’t have to feel bad about polluting the earth.
Easy to use: Electric mowers are generally lighter and smaller than gas ones which mean they’re easier to push around. As well as their size, you’ll find their push or switch button starts mean no pulling cords and struggling before you even get the mower going.
Minimal maintenance: Without the hefty engine and parts that a gas mower has, these are surprisingly easy to maintain. There will be additional issues in the future though, like replacing the rechargeable battery, but overall, they’re simplistic.
Quiet running: The first time you power up an electric mower may be shocking, as they’re a lot quieter than most people realize. You can mow in the mornings or when everyone’s sleeping and still not be a bother, thanks to the low noise emissions.
Shorter running times: An electric mower can only go as far as an extension lead or battery takes it. there are limitations to how long you can use these compared to a gas mower that will continue running when it’s refueled.
Less power: Without gas powering up the engine, these mowers are considerably less powerful. This means it’ll probably take longer to get the job done and without the oomph that a regular mower provides.
Not great for large yards: The smaller size of these mowers means they’re not suitable for every yard. If you have anything more than ½ acre to mow, you’ll notice the difference compared to a gas mower.
The Guide to Gas Lawn Mowers
A gas lawn mower is the most popular style, taking some form of gas or oil combination as fuel to start its internal combustion engine.
Gas mowers come in either two or four-cylinder models and they’ve been developed to become even more efficient and powerful than before.
Lots of power: Nothing beats the torque of a gas-powered motor and it’s evident as soon as you start pushing it along. Having this much power means it’s a lot easier to get the job done and for lawns with tough terrain, you have this torque behind you.
Good for big yards: If you live on more than half an acre, you’ll find a gas-powered mower is the best fit. Their larger cutting width and overall size mean fewer passes to get the grass mowed and without feeling as though you have to put much effort in on your end.
Reliability: A quality gas-powered mower can last for decades if you take care of it right and there’s less chance it’ll just stop working on you. Although considered the more expensive option initially, they end up paying for themselves through this sheer durability.
Ongoing maintenance: Spark plugs, oil filters, and more are all required to be changed and cleaned when you’re using a gas-powered motor. If you don’t know how to do it yourself, expect to spend a bit of maintenance in the coming years.
Creates emissions: Pushing a gas-powered mower around creates a lot of emissions, both noise and airborne. They’re a lot more damaging to the environment and
Harder to use: The bulkier size of a gas mower and all of the extra stuff they have crammed inside means they’re a lot harder to push around. Although there are models like self-propelled mowers available, the gas type is still considered the tougher option.
How Do They Compare?
To get a true picture of how gas and electric mowers compare, we looked at how they stack up in some of the most important categories.
Check out which one reigns supreme in each of these areas and how their similarities and differences might make either of them a better fit for your yard.
The power and torque of the motor matter when you’re dealing with a large property or working with hilly terrain.
For this reason, the electric mower is better left for yards where there’s not a lot of lawn to mow and it’s nice and flat, otherwise it won’t be able to keep up.
The sheer power of a gas mower, even one of the older mowers, is hard to compete with. If your main goal for a new mower is to find the toughest one out there, gas is the way to go.
For anyone else, the moderate power of an electric mower might be more than enough for you.
There’s no lawnmower available that runs infinitely, as they either need to be recharged or have their fuel tank refilled.
However, in the race between electric versus gas mowers, the gas variety offers a lot more running time.
The only caveat would be if you were using a mower plugged into an electrical socket with adequate reach, and then you could mow for as long as needed.
A standard electric mower has a running time of between 25 and 45 minutes, which could be nowhere near enough for your yard.
A gas mower can run at least 45 minutes on a single tank and that’s when it’s cutting through tall and tough grass. If you’re after efficiency for a single charge or refill, the gas option is our pick.
Most people are passionate about the planet these days and whether it’s organic fertilizer or electric mowers, they’re doing what they can to make a difference.
There’s no disputing that the electric mower is the more eco-friendly of the two, and if you take your environmental friendliness seriously, it’s the only option.
According to predictions, if the world replaced half of its gas-powered mowers with the electric kind, you would effectively remove as many emissions as two million vehicles create on the road.
However, there are downsides to this eco-friendliness, like less power and having to charge or power up the mower more frequently. For some, the benefits of a gas mower will simply outweigh the green ones.
Purchase and Running Costs
If you’re shopping on a budget or want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck, the electric mower is usually more affordable.
The cheapest gas mower can be purchased for less than $100 whereas a base model gas mower is at least double that.
However, the lifespan of these compared to agas-powered mowers means they need to be replaced sooner, so the cheaper cost might not be as impressive as it first sounds.
Where the electric mower wins though is the running costs, because, unlike a gas mower, they only need to be plugged in to get going.
A gas mower requires gas and oil to run which means the costs will be minor but consistent over the life of the machine, and these costs contribute to making the gas the more expensive of the two overall.
Maintenance and Care
Some people don’t mind putting in some work tinkering on their mowers now and then, and others wouldn’t have the first clue what to do to keep them maintained.
Depending on the camp you fall into, you’ll find either a gas or electric to be better suited.
Gas-powered motors have a lot more maintenance required simply because they have more parts.
As well as keeping up with the engine, you’ll need to replace spark plugs, perform oil changes, and tend to whatever else it needs.
The main parts of an electric mower are the battery and cutting deck, which means maintenance is incredibly easy.
Ease of Use
Mowing can be an arduous job and with things like weight, size of the wheels, and the terrain you’re working with wheels to be considered, you want to get it right.
Electric mowers are generally the smaller of the two, with most people finding gas-powered mowers bulky and sometimes hard to use.
The winner here appears to the electric mower because of its size and weight, but it’s not an absolute victory.
If you choose a self-propelled mower or one with features designed to make them more usable, you might find that a gas-powered mower can be just as easy to push around.
The Final Verdict
If you have a small to the medium-sized yard and want something simple and eco-friendly, electric is best. For homes with lots of lawns to mow and a desire for durability, choosing a gas-powered mower is the way to.
There’s no single mower that can do it all or suit every type of gardener, so it’s about looking at the benefits that each of these has to offer that will point you in the right direction.
A lawnmower is a must for every yard, no matter how much or how little you like to garden.
Ensuring that you’ve chosen the right one will make the job a lot easier though, so read on for a few FAQs that can help you find a lawnmower that’s the perfect fit.
What Size Lawn Mower Do I Need?
The best way to determine if a mower is the right size for your yard is by looking at the width of the cutting deck which is how much it will be able to cut with one pass.
Smaller yards would work with a 20-inch or slightly less width but medium to large yards need something around the 22-inch width mark.
Are Battery Lawn Mowers Any Good?
Modern battery-powered lawn mowers are competent machines compared to their earlier iterations and they’re suitable for smaller to medium-sized yards of less than half an acre.
Using a battery-powered motor, these mowers will only be able to run for a specific amount of time and might not be as powerful as gas-powered devices but are still very capable of mowing efficiently.
What Is a Self-Propelled Mower?
A self-propelled mower operates as its name suggests, and uses a motor to propel itself forward as you mow.
This takes a lot of effort from the operator as they don’t need to exert themselves pushing it, so people find them more enjoyable to mow the lawn with.
Rebecca Vargas is an experienced gardener and landscaper and has been rendering professional services for many years. Her services cover both private homes and commercial properties. Leveraging that rich experience, Rebecca Vargas now dedicates a chunk of time to show just about anyone how to maintain their garden and yard, whether at home or workplace. GreenIQ is his way of reaching and teaching millions of homeowners across the globe about proper gardening and lawn care practices.