CO-Horts Blog

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

It's Electric! (Mower Edition)

Posted by: Linda Langelo, CSU Extension horticulture program associate, Golden Plains Area

(photo courtesy of
The Lawn Hog, Black and Decker MM875
I purchased an electric mower two years ago because they are lighter to operate and I didn't have to handle the gas all the time.  It just didn't make any sense to drive the empty can of gas to the gas station to get gas.  Let’s face it--how conservative is it to use gas to get gas? 

The good news is I am not counted among one of the statistics recorded by Environmental Protection Agency when they announce smog-producing emissions from today’s gas powered mowers.  More importantly, we need to pay attention to alerts about ground ozone caused by gas, paint or solvents evaporating and releasing reactive organic compounds.  Together the heat and the sunlight create a reaction with the emissions of organic compounds.  On days like this, ozone gas contributes to higher risk for people with asthma and other respiratory ailments.

According to the EPA, using your gas powered mower for one hour causes more air pollution than driving 292 miles round-trip from Madison, Wisconsin to Chicago, Illinois.  In comparison, an electric mower draws as much electricity as it takes to operate a toaster. Yes, a toaster!

In today’s market you can purchase an electric mower without a cord.  Besides the cord issue, I have freed myself from keeping gas on-hand and the yearly maintenance of a gas powered mower.  With an electric mower you don’t need to change an air filer and spark plug every year.  But you still have to sharpen the blades and balance them.  Sharp blades give the grass an even cut and make the grass less prone to disease.

Electric mowers are easier on our hearing.  The decibel level of electric mowers can be from 65 to 85, but gas mowers run about 90 decibels. Normal conversation level is about 75 decibels.  A sudden loud noise or prolonged decibel level starting at 85 decibels or higher can cause hearing loss. 

With an electric mower, it can handle lawns with fine or tall fescue and bluegrass.  Electric mowers do not do as well with zoysia or buffalograss.  You need to assess your situation before purchasing an electric mower. 

If you really want to go green and keep healthy, purchase a reel mower.  The only maintenance would be keeping the blades sharp.  The rest is up to you, just push and go.


  1. Good article, Linda. Did you know the first electric mower was patented in 1919 by the Ransomes Mower Company? It was called The Electra. They've come a long way in the last 100 years. Check out what it looked like:

  2. So how about a review of Electric Mowers - what are the best ones or can't we do that because we're supposed to be unbiased - but it would be nice to know links where we can find out what Consumers think are the best models, cost, etc.