Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Electric lawn mower advice
Old 08-01-2009, 03:28 PM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 2,424
Electric lawn mower advice

DH is thinking of replacing his gas lawn mower with an electric. Reading about the cordless, battery operated ones, it looks like you need to keep the battery charged even in the off season and we read about some that should not be left charging over 24 hours. Sounds like a headache to keep up with it on a regular basis. Then there is the weight of the battery and the limited usage time.

On the other hand a corded model sounds easy and low maintenance.

What are your experiences with either cordless or corded?

We are in N.E. Ohio. Our yard is approx. 110x75, front yard shorter than the back yard. We have an electrical outlet in the attached garage and another one out on the back deck. Back yard has a slight slope.

I've hated the noise for years so when he talked about replacing the mower I suggested considering electric. He has fond memories of the push reel mowers from his childhood but he's not sure he'd want all manual now.

Any brands you'd recommend or advise against?
__________________

__________________
Sue J is online now   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 08-01-2009, 04:25 PM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
RunningBum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 5,184
When I was a kid, one year my dad got a corded electric mower. I hated it. You had to plan your path to not get the cord wrapped around trees, plus it was a pain to keep a long heavy cord out of the way from where you were mowing. I would never, ever, get another corded mower again. Fortunately, it had other problems, and I only had to deal with it for a year or two. Maybe it you have no trees it wouldn't be too bad.

I have doubts about how much power a battery one would have, after seeing how my cordless weed whacker does vs. a gas one, and how long the battery will last. If you have thick grass, like zoysia or a bermuda, you need even more cutting power.

If I were you, I'd go run errands while he's in the yard with the noisy gas mower. I hate the noise too. I use a rake rather than a leaf blower most of the time.

Even if you get a quiet mower, won't you still have to deal with the neighbors' noisy mowers?
__________________

__________________
RunningBum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2009, 05:30 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
TromboneAl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 11,199
I guess it depends on the shape of the lawn. At two different houses with rectangular yards with no obstructions I had electric lawnmowers, and the cord was never a problem.

With one, you could flip the handle over to go the other direction, and that worked well.
__________________
Al
TromboneAl is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2009, 05:40 PM   #4
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
Watch out for the battery ones like Neuton because I think their maximum cutting height is 1.5" on most models. I like to leave mine at 3" or more.

I hate messing with gas, oil, spark plugs and all that. I'd say to give a corded electric a try. Just be careful about the cord -- after a few weeks you kind of get into a pattern of managing the whole deal.

Oh - don't mow if the grass is even a little wet. The blade seems to hack up wet grass pretty noticeably.
__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2009, 05:50 PM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,666
We have a black & decker cordless mower.
It has a max cutting height over 3 inches (this is all from memory, so double check it). Our yard is one acre, but you have to subtract the house's footprint, raingarden and stuff. So the grass is probably about a half acre. My wife uses a reel mower, I use the electric.
The electric coivers about 3/4s of the yard if the grass is not wet or overgrown (higher than 4 inches). We mow once a week and it does fine.
I leave the mower plugged in all the time during the summer (when not in use), unplug it over the winter (leaving the mower in the garage). In it's third season of mowing we have had no issues with it or the battery.

That said, I would recommend a reel mower instead. They are far lighter. The electric mower is HEAVY. Of course, if you find a good mower with a Lithium battery, those may be much lighter as well. And the electric mower will power through things the reel mower can't deal with.
And, without hills, the weight of the electric mower may not be as big an issue (our front yard is higher than the back so we have a hill on each side of the house).
__________________
"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
(Ancient Indian Proverb)"
Zathras is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2009, 05:53 PM   #6
Full time employment: Posting here.
Lakedog's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 654
I have used a reel mower the last few years but only have a small area (30' X 30') in grass. If I had a larger area, would probably go electric -- no experience with one myself but a friend has used one for years.
__________________
Lakedog is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2009, 06:21 PM   #7
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
I use a corded electric on a long narrow lawn. I have to do half and then move to plug in the other half. I like the quiet. I like that it doesn't stink. I do not like the cord at all.
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2009, 06:22 PM   #8
Moderator Emeritus
Rich_by_the_Bay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 8,827
Come to think of it, the 1.5" cutting height max was a reel mower, not a cordless.
__________________
Rich
San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
Rich_by_the_Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Sue J, I've had the Neuton Cordless Lawnmower Since 2004
Old 08-01-2009, 08:50 PM   #9
Recycles dryer sheets
jdmorton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 156
Sue J, I've had the Neuton Cordless Lawnmower Since 2004

There was an "Other" thread back in 2006 on the Neuton cordless lawnmower. I copied my contribution to that thread below. Three years later of using the Neuton, I still have the same opinion - it's not for everyone, even though they came out with a wider mower a couple of years ago (a 19 inch cut, compared to my 14 inch). From what you say about charging batteries, I'm guessing this is not the way to go for you. However, I understand the company might now have a 1 year return policy, instead of the previous 6 month. I think the prices are now also higher for batteries.

PS: Rich_in_Tampa, I think you are thinking of a reel mower. I think the shortest setting for the Neuton is either 1-1/4 or 1-1/2 inches. I normally set the Neuton at about a 3 inch cut.

Here is my contribution to that 2006 thread:

"Professor,

My two cents: I’ve owned the Neuton electric lawn mower since April 2004, which means I am now in my 3rd grass cutting season with it. I have the Model 4.1, and I understand that there is a new and “improved” version out (Model 5.1). Here is my evaluation of this mower. I did send an evaluation to the company where I purchased it after my first year of use, which included a number of these items. The company I bought it from is Country Home Products (located in Vergennes, VT), and their web page is DR® Power Equipment - Equipment for Country Properties - Brush Mowers, Wood Chippers, Backhoes, Rototillers, Lawn Vacuums and more.

1. Very quiet. Two of my friends have corded electric mowers, and one of them says my battery-operated Neuton is quieter. I have ringing in my ears, probably from the gas-powered mowers I used as a teenager working at a golf course in the mid-1970s – before there were OSHA noise requirements (we never wore hearing protection, or cared how loud the mower was). With this mower, you can talk in a normal voice while it is operating, and you can hear others talking in a normal voice as well. Added bonus: it’s a “new mom” magnet . The first year I had it, so many moms wheeling their babies around the neighborhood in strollers stopped to ask me about my quiet lawn mower that my DW was wondering what was going on ! The babies seemed to be fascinated with the humming noise, and not a one would cry.

2. Lightweight. The mower weighs 35 pounds without the detachable battery, and 50 pounds with the battery. My old Sears gas-powered mower weighed 75 pounds – not counting the oil and gas. The light weight makes it very easy to push, and should be easy for my wife and teenage daughters to push – if only they would take a turn at cutting the grass !

3. Cut is not as “good” as a gas powered mower. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not bad, but I think this could be a potential issue with all electric lawn mowers. I don’t think the blade turns as fast with an electric motor as it does with a gas-powered motor; thus, the grass is not “lifted” up as much for a uniform cut across the blade. If you are a perfectionist that demands every blade of grass be cut exactly the same height every time, then I don’t recommend electric mowers for you. My two buddies with corded electric lawn mowers say the same thing about their cut. Most people don’t notice, even when I point it out to them. According to the company’s web page, the newer model has a redesigned blade and housing that improves the “lifting” ability for a better cut.

4. Battery is meant to be taken out of the mower for charging. This was one of the selling features for me. I do not have a spare electrical outlet in my garage, so I did not want a battery-operated mower that has a built-in battery. The Neuton battery is a 6 inch cube with a built-in carrying handle. It’s very easy to remove to take in the house to recharge. In addition, if you don’t cut the grass year-round (like me – I live near Pittsburgh, PA), the manufacturer recommends charging the battery once or twice when storing it over the winter. This is another reason I like the detachable battery. The battery is supposed to last up to 5 years, with proper care. The current replacement cost is around $80.

5. Battery charge time is 12 hours. It takes a minimum of 12 hours to fully charge the battery. I usually charge it for 24 hours or more. The manufacturer does say that as the battery gets older, you might have to charge it for up to 24 hours. The battery charge is supposed to last for 45 to 60 minutes – I’ve run the mower consistently for an hour without fully discharging the battery. Also, the manufacturer recommends charging the battery after each use. Some will find this annoying. I have a bunch of rechargeable batteries for my digital camera, so recharging the battery is not a big deal for me.

6. It is designed for small yards or trim work. My total lot size is 60 ft. by 100 ft. When you subtract the “foot print” for house, the paved driveway, the sidewalk, the landscaped flower beds, trees, and other yard “obstacles”, there is less than 2500 sq. feet to cut. It does take me at least 45 minutes to cut it, though – with much of the time spent maneuvering around these various obstacles.

7. The effective cutting width is about 12 inches (one foot) . This might be the biggest drawback that most people will have with the mower – its small cutting width. While the blade is 14 inches, when you consider the necessary overlap with each cutting pass, you are down to probably 12 inches of effective cutting width. This is another reason why it takes me 45 minutes or longer to cut such a small yard. However, this small width does make it good for a trim mower. That, and its light weight means teenagers and women can easily handle it, compared to a gas-powered mower.

8. Changing the height of the cut is very easy. You can do it with one hand, as one lever changes all four wheels simultaneously. The light weight also makes it easy to change cutting height.

9. Clean-up is very easy. The mower housing is made of plastic, and I clean underneath it wearing a work glove. It’s a lot like a Teflon-lined pan; grass really does not stick tightly to it.

10. The company offered a 6 month return policy. This was also a selling point for me. I could use the mower for an entire grass cutting season, and return it for a full refund, minus any return shipping charge – although I seem to recall that back then they would even pay for the return shipping. Obviously, I didn’t return mine.

11. The company offered a free grass catcher and mulching kit when I purchased it. I always mulch, so that appealed to me as well. I still haven’t taken the grass catcher out of its box. (OK, I did take it out when I first got it and put it on the mower – but I then put it back in the box without ever using it.)

12. The mower cost me $379 in 2004. This is much more expensive than a comparable gas-powered mower, but I was looking for a more “environmentally” friendly mower. I was actually going to get a manual reel push mower, but my DW said I would look “silly” – as if wearing work boots with white athletic socks, cut-off blue jean shorts, and safety glasses when I cut the grass now doesn’t already give me that look!

13. You can purchase a string trimmer attachment that plugs into the front of the mower. I did not buy this when I first got the mower, but am now thinking of getting it, as we have added several more flower beds and I think it will be much easier to use this trimmer option than my other trimming tools. I keep getting post cards from the company promoting “refurbished” trimmer attachment units for $35 (“new” price is $80). I will probably buy a refurbished unit in the near future."
__________________
Well, Helen; shall we just go home?
jdmorton is offline   Reply With Quote
Hey, I Just found a Battery Operated Riding Lawnmower!
Old 08-01-2009, 09:37 PM   #10
Recycles dryer sheets
jdmorton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 156
Hey, I Just found a Battery Operated Riding Lawnmower!

Just found this on another lawncare site I frequent - it's called the Recharge: Recharge Mower - Lawn, Garden, Electric, Riding Lawn Mower
__________________
Well, Helen; shall we just go home?
jdmorton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2009, 09:43 PM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Coach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Colorado, USA
Posts: 1,127
I use an "Earthwise" 20 inch corded electric mower. I can cover the whole yard with 75 feet of cord from an outlet on my garage. I've been pleased with this mower and manage dealing with the cord without trouble. My yard is more weeds than grass and it seems to work through them pretty well.

They're fairly inexpensive -- I paid $165 at amazon.com -- so it might be something you could experiment with.

Coach
__________________
Coach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2009, 07:42 AM   #12
Moderator
Walt34's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Eastern WV Panhandle
Posts: 16,540
We had a corded electric mower in the mid '60s. Never again. The thing was a royal PITA, broke belts constantly and only lasted about two or three years. We had a couple of trees to deal with.

I still like my 1986 Honda 21". Do the scheduled maintenance and it still starts on the first pull. But I also use the EAR earplugs.

Two months ago I bought a Sears 33" walk-behind. Although self-propelled, at 300+ lbs on the hill it is an upper body workout, which I think is probably not a bad thing. The hill makes a riding mower unsafe.
__________________
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
Walt34 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2009, 09:18 AM   #13
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,666
You had belts in an electric mower?
Was it a self propelled style with belts running the wheels?

I came across the 'Electric Ox' electric riding lawn mower (Multi-Purpose Products). Anyone ever hear of someone that used one?
__________________
"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
(Ancient Indian Proverb)"
Zathras is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2009, 09:44 AM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
grumpy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,321
I had a corded electric mower in the 70's, the kind with the handle that flips over. It worked well as long as I didn't let the grass get too long, was quieter than a gas mower and was fine for the small lot I had. I only ran over and cut the power cord once (probably due to the other kind of grass that was so common in the 70's ).
__________________
grumpy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2009, 12:30 PM   #15
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 160
I have a Black & Decker cordless electric. It's a bit heavy but not unmanageable. Charging hasn't been a problem (going on 8 years now) but it does have a problem with overly long grass. I need to cut weekly during the busiest growing season or the taller grass can sometimes stall the blade. (Which I then have to poke the cut grass out of the way and restart mowing. Not a huge problem.)

When I was a kid and cut lawns for neighbors, I HATED the corded electric mowers. The cord was always a danger to get caught in the mower, or blocking an area I wanted to cut next. I eventually stopped doing those lawns, or charged more and brought my Dad's mower. Ugh. The mowers are light and maneuverable, but the cords are the pits.
__________________
quietman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2009, 01:16 PM   #16
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 385
I've had a cordless electric Black&Decker mower for years. I love it. I know some people say it's heavy but I never thought so. For recharging, I just keep it plugged in in the garage all of the time - I think that's what the users manual recommends. Cuts well, low noise, I'd recommend it anyone, as long as their lawn is not too big.
__________________
JoeDreaming is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2009, 05:46 PM   #17
Recycles dryer sheets
ScooterGuy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 150
I was often told that folks who use an electric lawnmower did it because they could find their way back!
__________________
ScooterGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2009, 07:42 PM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,666
LOL, I will have to remember that one
Actually, the motors in lawn mowers are so inneficient and dirty, you prevent a lot more pollution (including sound) using an electric mower over gas, than you would with an electric car vs gas!
__________________
"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
(Ancient Indian Proverb)"
Zathras is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2009, 08:19 PM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Ed_The_Gypsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: the City of Subdued Excitement
Posts: 5,293
When I was a kid, I mowed lawns for $. The gas mowers had ineffective mufflers and I hated the noise. My hearing is off today because of it, I am sure. Not to mention running out of gas and the messy oil.

When we bought our first house, I got a Sears rotary electric lawn mower which we had for years. Loved it. I did get a heavy-duty orange power cord, though. You develop a rhythm with the cord, whipping around behind you as you go. Never ran over the cord. We did have rectangular lawn.

We have an irregular yard with a slope now and a quiet Honda gas powered self-propelled mower with the plastic catcher on the back so the kids can use it.

I would not buy a battery-powered mower.
__________________
my bumpersticker:
"I am not in a hurry.
I am retired.
And I don't care how big your truck is."
Ed_The_Gypsy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2009, 10:07 PM   #20
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,282
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zathras View Post
Actually, the motors in lawn mowers are so inneficient and dirty, you prevent a lot more pollution (including sound) using an electric mower over gas, than you would with an electric car vs gas!
I've heard that before, and it's probably pretty close. No catalytic or fuel injection on my mower.

I'd love to have an electric mower, but I have an acre and I zip around in the highest gear I can to get the job done. 42" deck, 17HP. I can't imagine an electric keeping up with that though.

I have thought that when we start getting electric cars, couldn't they make a part of that battery pack easily removable? Pull it out, run the mower, put it back when you are done. They could build a whole gamut of devices around a standard pack. Put that capital investment to work!

-ERD50
__________________

__________________
ERD50 is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Best lawn mower and power washer for cheap bank5 Other topics 10 05-12-2009 09:45 PM
Auto maintenance (vs lawn mower) kaneohe Other topics 17 07-16-2008 08:21 PM
artificial lawn? WM Other topics 17 06-28-2007 01:51 PM
Any advice on solar electric? Nords Other topics 30 06-08-2006 07:27 PM
Has anybody bought/used Neuton Power Mower? education Other topics 14 05-30-2006 10:27 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:14 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.