Lawn Mowers: Electric vs. Petrol

electric lawn mower

Electric or petrol, manual or computerized, this is a debate that lives across hobbies and industries, and likely will for the majority of our lifespans. No matter which side you’re on (if you’ve chosen one yet), the debate of whether or not petrol lawn mores are better than electric does have a few important points to keep in mind.

So, what’s on the docket today?

Today’s Topics Include:

This is going to be a short and sweet little article, so buckle in – we’ll be done before you know it.

Answering the Age-Old Question: Electric Vs. Petrol

Now, first things first – if you’re one of those weird “petrol loyalists” that finds it of the utmost importance to defend petrol machinery at every step, you’ll likely not be happy about this article. We’re coming from a perspective of unbiased review, meaning we’re doing the research and reporting back to you. So, now that you’ve been warned – let’s dive right in, shall we?

Are Petrol Lawn Mowers Better Than Electric?

electric lawn mower

This is a question that opened a whole can of worms at Dreamy Home. Some of us felt it was clearcut- yes, petrol is better! Others, though, noted that there are a number of factors that will affect what’s best for you. So, let’s take a look at each, shall we?

Power

You’ve likely seen a number of electric mower commercials and ads over the years. Often they’ll emphasize the maximum power!!! of their engine, when in reality, it won’t reach that power level in everyday use.

Generally, the overall horsepower you’ll get out of a petrol lawn mower is roughly double the amount of what you’ll get out of an electric mower.

Unsurprisingly, you’ll find that electric lawn mower manufacturers generally don’t tout their device’s horsepower, rather opting to highlight the torque (max or otherwise). Torque simply doesn’t affect the power of your machine – only horsepower does.

Run Time

This is a bit hard to get hard-and-fast numbers on. However, there are general runtimes based on the amount of regular unleaded fuel you put in your tank that can be used to guesstimate:

  • One half-gallon (~2.2 litres) of petrol is the general max size of most mowers’ fuel tanks.
  • Those two litres of fuel generally will burn for roughly one hour or half an acre of grass.
  • Electric mowers generally have a battery life of .5-1 hours per full charge. This translates to between .25-.5 acres on one battery charge.

The basic guesstimation math says that the standard petrol mower’s tank will outlast most electric mowers, though this will (obviously) vary based on your particular model’s efficiency and tank size.

Environmental Concerns

Here’s where electric mowers really shine – environmental concerns. It’s no secret that burning petrol is… quite bad for the planet we all share. It’s also no secret that many parts of the world have the majority of their electricity provided by fossil fuels being burnt.

So while overall it’s more likely that you’ll have a smaller impact on the environment while using an electric mower, that will ultimately depend on where your neighbourhood gets its power. It’s also worth noting that electric mowers are inherently much quieter than petrol mowers, which is a nice bonus.

Maintenance

electric lawn mower repair

You will generally need less maintenance on electric mowers than petrol ones, though there is an important caveat to this – the battery. Lithium-ion batteries (the type used in mowers and countless other gadgets) generally last around 5 years or 2-3,000 charging cycles. And when replacement time comes, they generally range between £250-500 (depending on the battery type and availability, clearly).

So if you would rather make one service payment every ~4-5 years for a bigger amount, electric mowers are likely best for you. But if you like getting your hands dirty and performing service on mechanical contraptions, you’ll likely enjoy keeping your petrol mower up and running.

Fun fact: Petrol mowers can last well over ten years when properly maintained, while electric mowers usually last 5-10 years.

Ease of Use

Electric mowers are drastically easier to use and keep running. You need to know how to plug it in and charge it, how to start the thing, and how to empty it – that’s it. Petrol mowers require consistent (1-2 times per year) maintenance, the proper oil and fuel mixtures, and regular part replacements.

Also, electric mowers are easier to get started (usually) than their petrol brethren. So if you want easy lawn mowing, an electric mower is almost certainly your best bet.

The Verdict

If you want ease of use and smaller maintenance bills, opt for an electric mower (especially if you have a small property to mow). If you want power, longevity (with maintenance), and/or have a large property, petrol is likely your better bet.

Do Petrol Lawn Mowers Cut Better Than Electric?

replacing electric lawn mower blades

We kinda answered this above, but it’s worth answering in its own little section.

Generally (though not always) petrol lawn mowers are more powerful than their electric counterparts. They have more horsepower, more torque (less important but still helpful), and are heavier, meaning there’s more force actually pushing the blades.

That’s not to say that they cut better, though. Both mowers use the same type of blade, so the real question is whether or not you properly and regularly sharpen your mower’s blades? Electric or petrol, a dull blade will heavily impede your mower’s success.

Conclusion

All in all, the debate of electric vs. petrol mowers will likely never die. There will always be people on both sides reenacting the famous Simpsons “man yells at cloud” scene. But, at the end of the day, the question of which is right for you will depend on what you need. Electric mowers are more environmentally friendly, lighter, easier to start, and work quite well on small properties. On the other hand, petrol mowers are more powerful and run longer, but generally take more maintenance and work to keep them going.

Now sit back, make yourself a drink, and pray that the mowed grass doesn’t make its way inside – for the sake of all allergy sufferers worldwide (mainly me, though, if you would).