In Praise of the Electric Lawn Mower

I have had a revelation and it is the electric lawn mower.

Let me back up.

For several years, I’ve planned to buy an electric lawn mower “as soon as my current one dies.” My gas mower is about ten years old at this point. It no longer starts without copious amounts of starter fluid and having its cord pulled juuuuust right, but it’s chugging along.

This morning, I decided to mow the lawn for the first time this season. (I know, #NoMowMay, but it was that or the ordinance people were going to pay me a visit nobody wanted for a conversation none of us wished to have). I got maybe a third of the way through my yard before I ran out of gas.

Once I realized I’d need to buy gas before finishing the lawn, several factors fell into place at once:

  • Hardware store is next door to gas station.
  • Large trash week is this week, so I can have the old one hauled off immediately.
  • I have a surprising amount of arthritis for someone my age, and my hands no longer tolerate the vibration of gas-powered equipment very well.
  • I can reduce the number of gas cans in my garage from two (regular and 2-cycle) to zero.

Add to this the fact that four-cycle gas-powered lawn mowers are terrible emitters of greenhouse gases. With cars, the most carbon-conserving thing to do once you have it is to drive it into the ground.

I assumed the same was true for lawn mowers. It is not.

I found several different estimates online, but mowing a lawn the size of mine just once dumps as much pollution into the atmosphere as driving my car 90 to 300 miles would do. That’s two to six hours of driving. I could be in three other states by then.

The gas-powered string trimmer is even worse, both for the environment and my old lady hands. It’s a two-cycle engine, so its pollution is even worse, and I can barely hold the thing anymore. My hands hate me for days.

Anyway, that’s how I took a break with my yard 1/3 mowed to spend $480 on a new electric mower and string trimmer, which use the same battery. I charged said battery just enough to take the mower for a test drive.

And the electric mower is objectively better by every measure.

Fewer emissions. Much less vibration. Quiet enough I can actually listen to podcasts while I mow. More than enough power even for my absurdly steep backyard hill. Charging the battery costs pennies, and one battery will both mow and trim my entire yard with charge to spare. And I saved about 60 to 100 miles’ worth of emissions today. Multiply that over the twenty or so weeks I have to mow in this climate and I feel like a walking Earth goddess.

My only regret is not doing this sooner.

As always, you can donate to keep this blog going, or put your cash toward your own personal Nirvana in the form of a cordless electric self-propelled lawn mower. (Note: mower does not prevent sweating, allergies, bees, or other hazards of mowing.)