Electric lawn mowers are new to the residential lawn care scene and have a lot of buzz.
But they also cast a lot of doubt. No way they can be as strong as gas mowers? Or do as good of a job?
Well….let’s sort this out once and for all. Here is your definitive guide to purchasing an electric mower.
Why should you trust us? Well, we were quoted in the Washington Post for this exact topic.
Let’s get started:
Why we review lawn tools
The reason we started this website in the first place was because we had so much trouble trying to find reasonable, understandable, honest reviews for lawn equipment. And it’s not cheap! After hours and hours of research, trying products and returning them, and messing up our yards – we started this site.
As people who had to learn the hard way, we want you to know exactly what you are signing up for before you purchase a piece of equipment. That’s why we are committed to providing honest, easy-to-understand reviews that mean something.
What to look for in an electric lawn mower
When looking to purchase an electric lawn mower, you need to make sure you understand what things matter. You will get hit with a lot of technical specifications and marketing tactics. Totally forget them and focus on the things that impact you. Below are my recommendations:
Quality is going to be super important here. Everyone is in the electric mower game these days and there are a ton of junky mowers out there. Avoid anything from a weird brand on Amazon that takes 9 years to ship. It is probably being 3D printed in a Laotian bathroom. Go for brands that have consistent quality and focus on the details, not just flashy colors.
Here are some of my favorite brands:
- Greenworks: Greenworks electric mowers have awesome quality. While they aren’t as popular as some of the other brands, they have some of the absolute highest quality and power of ANY lawn tool company – gas or electric. We compiled a list of the best Greenworks mowers for you.
- Ryobi: Ryobi electric mowers are also great. While they tend to be “lighter duty”, they are often inexpensive and have batteries that can be used with over 1,000 other Ryobi tools – which is a huge win for storage and wall space. We put together the 7 best Ryobi mowers here.
- EGO: Another relatively new entrant to the market, EGO has blown up. They are super popular at Lowe’s and thus super popular in half of your neighbors’ garages. We have a YouTube review of the EGO 56V mower that you can check out here.
Metal where it matters
Most electric mowers are plastic-y. Probably to reduce the weight of the mower so that the battery can get you further, but it can also feel fragile.
We at The Lawn Review always recommend a metal deck when possible. Decks are the area that cover the blades where the engine sits. Having a metal deck allows for protection against flying rocks, sticks, and other things that could rip up your mower if they get caught under there.
While we recommend a metal deck, this may not always be possible for those with smaller mowers. If you have a tiny yard and a small electric mower with a plastic deck, just be sure to clear out your yard before you get started.
A ten dollar word used here, but really just make sure to buy a mower with a battery that is compatible with other electric tools. Ryobi has this, so does Dewalt, and so do some of the Greenworks products. This will save you garage clutter and plug space.
One thing I love about my Ryobi blower is that I can quickly pop off their 40V mower and put it on my trimmer and my edger. This saves me a lot of time and only takes up one plug on the wall.
Worst case scenario: you have 4 different tools with 4 different batteries. Where do you charge them all? Where do you store them all? This requires some sort of stand and then an extension cord and a whole mess. Just simplify your life.
Stick with one brand and one battery type and move across the product line.
Check out our guide to commonly asked battery questions for mowers and other tools.
Self-propelled or not
I used to be a major hater of the self-propelled function. But that was plainly ignorant.
While I still don’t personally love or have a need for a self-propelled mower, there are plenty of people that do. For example, elderly folks, those with arthritis, and those with hilly or slanted yards can majorly benefit from this.
With self-propelled mowers you just have to be aware of a few things.
- You are going to drain battery at a faster rate. Think about it – the mower is doing the walking! Not you! So it is going to burn through some juice in the battery. If you can help it move along, you can add a few minutes on, but overall you will lose a good chunk (30-40%) of battery by having this feature going. Sadly, this may result in having to stop to charge the batteries. Yikes!
- You will pay more for self-propelled mowers. Flat out. This feature adds $100-$150 to the cost of a mower. Self-propelled functionality creates a few more bells and whistles needed on the mower that tack on quite a bit of cost.
Frequently asked questions about electric lawn mowers
Had to include a section here for FAQs. I get a text from at least two people each day with one of these questions, so thought I would start compiling them for your benefit!
Are electric mowers powerful enough?
For the majority of homeowners, absolutely yes.
If you are a commercial mower or you have 2+ acres, I would probably stick with gas – for now. Electric mower technology is accelerating rapidly and some of the big dogs are coming out with some insane new battery-powered zero-turn mowers.
How long will an electric mower last?
Electric mowers should last 5-7 years – just as long as gas-powered mowers but with less maintenance.
What is a brushless electric lawn mower?
A brushless motor on an electric mower uses magnets instead of friction to power the motor. This technology makes for a quieter, cooler, more durable motor.
Are brushless lawn mowers better?
Yes, they are much better technology that greatly extends the life of your motor.
How big of an electric lawn mower do I need?
The size of the electric mower should be fit to your yard. For most yards under 1/4 acre, under 20 inches is fine. For 1/4 – 1 acre – consider a 22 inch or wider mower.
Is it worth getting a battery-powered lawn mower?
This is a loaded question, but I’ll do my best. If you are the type of person who loves getting their hands dirty and doing oil changes, filter changes, spark plug replacements, and all that (and trust me there are plenty of you!), then you may want to stick with a gas push mower.
If you like a nice-looking yard, but would rather move on to the next project, then an electric mower is perfect for you. Quiet, easy to maintain, no hassle, and no emissions. Plus – almost always easier to store.
Do electric lawn mowers need oil?
Are electric mowers powerful?
Yep! Most electric push mowers are equally as powerful as their gas counterparts.
Which is better – gas or electric lawn mower?
My common rule of thumb for the average consumer: electric is better for smaller yards and gas is better for bigger yards.
My reasoning for this is mostly related to charge times related to electric mowers. You may have to stop and charge batteries multiple times with an electric mower, but not for a gas mower.
Are electric mowers lighter than gas mowers?
Yep! Basically no exceptions here.
How long does a battery last on a battery powered mower?
You can expect most batteries to last 45 minutes to an hour. Some features may decrease battery life, like self-propelled functions.