Lawn Mowers: Cordless and Electric

These batter-powered cordless and electric lawn mowers are clean, quiet and easy to maintain and will save gas.

| April/May 2005

Now that spring is here, it’s time to drag out the lawn mower for another season. If you’re tired of that noisy and smelly gas-powered mower, then maybe it’s time you discovered cordless, electric, battery-powered  lawn mowers. Clean, quiet and easy to start, they require no gas, oil changes or spark plugs. The battery takes the extension cord out of the lawn mower equation, and starting is gentler on your back than yanking a starter cord.

Cordless, battery-powered lawn mowers vary in sizes and performance. We tested three cordless electric lawn mower brands, each in a different size: Sunlawn’s Brill Accumower ASM380 reel mower, the Neuton mower and Black & Decker’s CMM1000. We were pleased with all three lawn mowers when used on small to medium-sized lawns in normal grass conditions. All three scored high marks for their quietness, nonpolluting operation and easy maintenance.

No Noise Lawn Mowers

Cordless, electric lawn mowers are much easier on your ears compared to their gas counterparts. The average electric mower makes no more noise than a washing machine (about 75 decibels), while a gas-powered lawn mower can make as much noise as a motorcycle (about 95 decibels).

Noise pollution is a real problem with gas mowers, as any late sleeper on a Saturday morning knows. But they can be more than a nuisance for those who use them. Loud noise can contribute to hearing loss when it exceeds 85 decibels, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). A gas-powered mower producing 95 decibels should be used no more than an hour a day, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Switching to an electric mower will ease the stress on your ears and your neighbors.

Bag the Air Pollution

Besides giving your eardrums a break, battery-powered mowers offer a compelling environmental benefit — they pollute much less than gas-powered mowers. Gas lawn mower manufacturers are designing more efficient engines to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new emission standards for lawn-and-garden equipment, but many lawn mowers predate these new standards. Even new gas mowers that meet the EPA standards still spew a higher percentage of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the air than automobiles. According to a 2003 EPA report, lawn-and-garden equipment accounts for 5 percent of all ozone-forming emissions. The same report concludes that one hour of lawn mower usage produces as much air pollution as driving a car 20 miles.

Emissions and spills from gas containers and tanks also contribute to soil and air pollution. According to the California Air Resources Board, portable gas containers account for about 87 tons per day of smog-forming reactive organic gasses in California alone, which are equal to the heat-trapping emissions from about 1 million cars. California already has standards governing the containers that release these emissions, but they remain unregulated at the federal level. Using an electric mower eliminates the use of any fuel container.

9/15/2009 11:59:59 AM

I have a Black and Decker electric and it is the worst mower I've ever owned. I have a small yard yet the mowers plastic pieces around the blade continually break and/or get disengaged. They also wear out quickly. There is only one replacement store in my area (actually across town) and they aren't open on the weekends. Don't by a Black and Decker mower, I know I never will again.

Joe Smith_6
8/28/2009 7:50:40 AM

I recently purchased the WORX electric lawn mower: it's a great mower and worth checking out.

Reuben Gathright
6/18/2009 2:04:28 PM

We should all do our part to save the environment and encourage the growth of the solar and wind power industries. Cordless electric lawn mowers go a long ways towards these goals. I recently purchased the Black & Decker Cordless Electric Lawnmower the CMM1200. In the review I describe how to upgrade the mower to mow over 9,000 SQFT! I hope my review will help you make a decision about our future.

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