I’m sure you’ll agree that a electric lawn mower must have the right cutting heights, width, and grass bag capacity. That was our top criteria for selecting the best electric lawn mower. If you want to cut to the chase, the GreenWorks Corded Lawn Mower scored high marks in every category and is our top pick. This is the perfect lawn mower to get for small yards that don’t have a lot of hills.
Electric Lawn Mower Buying Guide
What is an Electric Lawn Mower?
Even though electric lawn mowers can be more expensive than gas powered options initially, over the long run they are much more economical and save you a lot of money since they require no gas, no oil and no tune ups.
Electric lawn mowers use less energy than gas powered which mean they are also good for the environment. This is a factor that makes them extremely popular with those who are looking to try and better the planet. They also do not put air pollutants out into the air that traditional gas powered mowers do.
There are many advantages to getting an electric mower. Of course nothing is without some disadvantages as well, but the advantages of having an electric lawn mower outweigh the negatives. Some of those negatives are not negatives at all if your circumstances fit the type of needs that electric lawn mowers cater to. It all depends on what you need from a lawn mower.
Energy Usage and Impact on the Environment – Electric lawn mowers use a lot less energy than their gas powered counterparts and they are much better for the environment as well because there is no pollution from an electric lawn mower.
Exhaust – Gas powered lawn mowers put exhaust into the air due to be regular engines that require gas and oil. Electric mowers don’t use gas, oil and don’t put out any exhaust at all.
Initial Cost of Gas vs. Electric – in some cases, depending on the model, electric mowers can be more expensive than gas powered but over time, the electric lawn mower saves a lot more money, ultimately ending up costing less to keep running.
Noise level – Electric mowers are typically less noisy than the gas powered mowers so using them doesn’t present a noise hazard.
Cutting Radius – Electric mowers do not have as wide a cutting range as gas powered for the most part which makes them ideal for the small, postage stamp size yards that some condos and little houses have. When you don’t have a large yard to cut, electric mowers are perfect.
Self-Propelled–Usually the more expensive models of electric lawn mowers are self propelled as opposed to the gas powered, where some standard mowers are also self propelled.
Inconveniences of Electric Mowers – Having to charge the mower or having it run out of “juice” can be inconvenient when you’re trying to get a job done. If you’re mowing a yard that is too large, this can happen.
Conveniences of Electric Mowers – Some great conveniences to having an electric mower include never having to run to the gas station for gas, they start super easy, and all the power for the mower you get right at home.
Choosing the Right Mower
Once you decide to purchase an electric lawn mower, there are several factors that need to be considered to ensure you get the right one. These include choosing between cordless and corded how much cutting radius they have and whether you want to mulch the grass clippings, bag them or a combination of both.
Corded vs. Cordless
Corded – A corded electric lawn mower is exactly that; a mower that is attached to an extension cord that plugs into an outlet. It’s very much like operating a vacuum cleaner. One of the biggest concerns when using a corded lawn mower is getting the cord tangled underneath the mower. Caution and care is needed when operating to make sure this doesn’t happen.
Another thing to pay attention to is making sure that there is enough cord to mow the entire yard you want to mow. An additional extension cord can be used (make sure it’s an industrial one) or you may have to change outlets. It WILL take some getting used to when it comes to using a corded electric lawn mower. Many users compare it to using a vacuum, so if you look at it that way, the learning curve will be a lot faster.
Corded electric lawn mowers are less expensive than cordless, but that is typically the only major difference. They still work well for small yards and are popular with those who have them.
Cordless – Cordless lawn mowers are powered by a rechargeable battery that can be 18, 24 or 36 volts. If you want a more powerful mower, opt for the higher voltage. You can get some cordless models that are self propelled, making usage even easier. Another benefit to higher voltage is that you get more torque which means more cutting power and a cleaner cut as well. One option that many cordless lawn mower users exercise is to purchase two batteries. This enables the entire lawn to be mowed at one time rather than stopping, waiting for the mower to recharge and then finishing.
The cutting radius of a lawn mower is what determines how long it will take to mow a designated space. The larger the cutting radius the less time it takes to get the job done. There are two deck sizes or cutting radiuses to choose from when purchasing an electric lawn mower: 14” and 20”. The larger radiuses do have a higher price tag, but for those who want the larger cutting ability, the extra price isn’t a problem.
If your yard is truly tiny, getting an inexpensive mower with a 14” radius will be more than sufficient for your needs. Decide what your mowing needs are in terms of size and choose the option that makes the most sense economically as well.
Mulching or Bagged Electric Mowers
A mulching mower, whether electric or gas powered gets rid of the grass clippings after you mow the lawn. Electric lawn mowers usually offer a mulching option, bag option or rear discharge option which means the clippings are simply thrown back out on the grass.
With a mulching electric lawn mower, the grass clippings are cut into tiny bits and then redistributed back onto the lawn. This fertilizes the lawn and eliminates the need to dispose of the grass clippings that are accumulated during the mowing process. Gras clippings that have been mulched can provide up to a 1/4 of the fertilizer your lawn needs to stay healthy and green. Mulching is also better for the environment, as the clippings don’t end up in landfills.
Many of the electric lawn mowers that are on the market offer 3-in-1 options where you can choose mulching, bagging or rear discharge. Having these choices can make it much easier to decide what you’re going to do with the clippings on any given mowing day. One day you might need them for the compost pile, and another day, it may be you want to fertilize your yard instead.
Adjustable Cutting Height
Most electric lawn mowers offer users the ability to choose between several heights when they are mowing. It can range anywhere from 1/8” to 3.5” or more. Some models have manual adjustments and others have different styles. They all have the same function and that is to determine how short the grass will be cut. Don’t change the adjustment while the mower is running.
Operating any mower requires safety precautions, but there are some things you shouldn’t do at all with an electric mower that requires you to be more diligent when it comes to safety practices. Below are some safety tips to follow that can help keep your lawn mowing experiences staying safe.
- Check the area to be mowed – before you start mowing, check the yard for rocks, sticks, brush, toys and any other debris that can be thrown out from under the mower as it goes over it. Also be certain to have pets and children out of the way while you are mowing, preferably inside or at a big distance from where you are operating the mower.
- Start Mowing Closest to the Outlet – if you are using a corded electric mower, organize yourself so you start mowing closest to the outlet and work away from it. This helps by reducing the chances of you accidentally running over the cord and getting a nasty shock. Always be aware of where the power cord is in relationship to the mower.
- Get the Right Size Extension Cord – Some corded mowers will require the use of an extension cord. Make sure that the cord you use is the right size for your mower and it needs to be designed for using outside as well.
- The Right Kind of Outlet – When mowing with a corded mower be sure to use a GFCI protected outlet or get a portable one if you need to.
- Push don’t Pull – It is always safer and better to push the mower and not pull it to reduce any chance of you slipping on damp grass clippings.
- Don’t Leave Unattended…Ever.-If you have need to step away from the mower for any reason, it is always best to turn it off and unplug it for safety’s sake.
- Electric and Water Don’t Mix – Never use your electric corded mower in the rain or when the grass is wet. Wet clippings can clog the mower and shut down the engine but it is also not safe to use an electric tool in the rain or wet conditions.
- Not for Children to Use– Mowers are not toys for kids, and even letting them do this chore at too young an age can lead to accidents and injuries. Electric mowers are even more dangerous for children to “play” with because of the possibility of running over the electrical cord. Keep the kids in the house when you’re mowing to avoid any injuries or accidents.
- Read those Instructions – Always read the instruction manual FIRST before using the mower. The owner’s manual will help you know how to operate your particular model of electric mower. Don’t leave out this important step.
- Train Other Users– If anyone else will be using the electric lawn mower, be certain to take the time to properly train them on how to use it correctly. Older teens should be able to learn how but this is not recommended for younger kids at all due to the potential for accidents. Make sure they understand and demonstrate how to use it before they go off on their own.
- Dressing Properly– People wear all kinds of clothing when mowing from bikinis to jeans. Wearing bathing suits and/or shorts is never a good idea when mowing. Debris, sticks and rocks can get kicked up and thrown out from under the mower at an astonishingly fast rate of sped and this debris hitting bare skin can cause injury. Jeans, safe closed toe shoes (steel toe is even better) and t shirt is sufficient item to wear. Don’t wear sandals, bare feet, or tennis shoes to mow in.
- Check the Mower – Get into the habit of checking the mower and the power cord for any issues before you mow and then again afterwards in case mowing caused anything to go wrong or get messed up. When you are in the habit of doing once overs, you will be a lot more aware of when things are not quite right.
Maintaining and Cleaning
Taking care of your lawn mower and making sure it is cleaned properly will allow it to last a long time. The steps to taking care of it are simple and just involve being aware of doing these things when it is time.
- Clean off the grass clippings and dirt from the electric mower after every single time of mowing. It’s much easier to do this before the clippings have dried. So as soon as you are done, get a rag and wipe it down.
- Using a damp cloth, wipe the entire outside of the mower down. Don’t get water in the motor or it will mess it up.
- The air filter of your electric lawn mower should be changed after every 25 times of use. If the manufacturer recommends differently, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. If it is a foam filter, soak it in a bucket of soapy water. Be sure to let it dry completely before you put it back.
- Have your lawn mower’s blade sharpened at least once a year. This keeps it cutting precisely and working in good order.
- Checking all the bolts, nuts and other parts to ensure nothing needs tightening or fixing.
- Never keep your electric lawn mower outside. Store it indoors away from the elements.
- When storing it for an extended period of time, be sure to remove the rechargeable battery. If you want to keep the battery charged so it doesn’t gradually lose charge over the winter months, keep it plugged into a charger.
There are many pluses to getting an electric lawn mower if you have a small amount of grass that needs to be mowed. You’ll find them quieter, less bothersome, and easier to start and they will save you a lot of money. With the information you have gotten in this buyer’s guide, you’ll be able to narrow down the choices of electric mowers that are available and choose the one that will work great for your yard. Even though they do take a little bit of getting used to, if environmental issues and saving money are priorities for you, you’ll love having an electric lawn mower.