With your gas-powered mower, you can expect to spend $35-$50 every year or two on maintenance items like an oil change, air filter and spark plug—if you do the work yourself—or up to $100 for a professional tune-up. With an electric mower, your only annual maintenance is sharpening and/or replacing the mower blade which, of course, you would also have to do with a gas mower.
One study suggests, you can save as much as $300 in a five-year span using a cordless mower instead of a gasoline-powered one. The study shows that in five years, a typical gasoline mower costs about $400 to use and maintain compared to about $100 for an electric one. Most of the cost for the cordless mower is setting back $25 annually so the battery can be replaced in 5 to 7 years.
Although cordless mowers are a smart move for many homeowners, they’re not for everyone. Here are some guidelines to help you decide if a cordless mower is right for you.
Don’t buy one if…
- You have a warm-season lawn: Warm-season grasses are coarser and more difficult to cut.
- Your lawn takes more than 40 minutes to mow: Cordless mowers have come a long way, but it’s rare to get more than 30-45 minutes of true cutting power from a cordless mower.
- You let your grass grow tall and then cut it really short: Instead, with a cordless mower, expect to mow more often since you cut less off per mowing.
Buy one if…
- You have a small-to-medium sized lawn with a cool-season grass.
- You're tired of the hassle of gas engine upkeep: Cordless mowers are nearly maintenance free.
- You have a small lot: If your lot is 1/3 of an acre or less, these mowers are ideal since mowing time is usually less than 30 minutes.
- You have limited storage: These mowers can be suspended from a wall hook or placed on their side since there’s no fluid in the mower.
What to look for
- Battery: The more volts, the more power or torque.
- Cutting width: Even though you can get cutting widths as narrow as 14 inches (which can mean more power) a typical 19-21-inch works fine.
- Weight: Cordless mowers with lead-acid batteries can weigh 100 pounds while ones with Lithium Ion batteries can weigh as little as 30 pounds. By comparison, a standard gas-push mower weighs about 60-75 pounds.
Lastly, don't expect a lot of power. If you’re accustomed to a 6.75 hp self-propelled lawn mower and think a cordless should perform the same, you’ll be disappointed. Even a 36-volt machine has significantly less power than a gas engine.
This is a guest post by Charlie from Eaton, OH.