Electric Lawn Equipment: Take Charge of Your Yard

Whether your lawn care project calls for a chipper, mower or chainsaw, electric lawn equipment is quieter, less expensive to run, easier to maintain and less polluting than its gas-powered counterparts.

| February/March 2015

  • RZT-S Zero
    Cub Cadet’s RZT-S ZERO electric zero-turn riding mower gets the job done without gasoline or engine noise.
    Photo by Cub Cadet
  • Cordless Oregon Chainsaw
    This cordless Oregon chainsaw is powered by lithium-ion batteries.
    Photo by Ted Dillard
  • Ramsplitter Log Splitter
    This Ramsplitter log splitter can electrify your tasks while out in the woodlot.
    Photo by Ramsplitter
  • Snow Joe Ion 40 Volt
    The Snow Joe iON 40-volt snowblower lets you work without the hassle of a cord.
    Photo courtesy Snow Joe
  • Toro E-Cycler
    Toro's e-Cycler is a cordless electric push-behind mower.
    Photo courtesy Toro
  • Self-Propelled Electric Mower
    Black & Decker's self-propelled electric mower is quiet enough for Sunday morning mowing.
    Photo courtesy Black & Decker
  • Allis Chalmers G Tractor
    Niekamp Tool Co. offers kits to convert a classic Allis Chalmers G tractor to electric power.
    Photo courtesy Niekamp Tool Co.
  • Sun Horse 4812
    Free Power Systems' Sun Horse 4812 is powered by its roof-mounted solar panels.
    Photo courtesy Free Power Systems
  • Electric Chipper
    Patriot Products' CSV-2515 is a 14-amp, 120-VAC electric chipper and leaf shredder.
    Photo courtesy Patriot Products
  • PV Panels Shed
    These PV panels, installed on a backyard shed by Nova Alternative Energy Systems, provide 2.3 kw of electricity.
    Photo courtesy Nova Alternative Energy Systems

  • RZT-S Zero
  • Cordless Oregon Chainsaw
  • Ramsplitter Log Splitter
  • Snow Joe Ion 40 Volt
  • Toro E-Cycler
  • Self-Propelled Electric Mower
  • Allis Chalmers G Tractor
  • Sun Horse 4812
  • Electric Chipper
  • PV Panels Shed

As anyone who has ever used gas-powered equipment knows, gas engines sometimes refuse to start just when you need them most. Maybe your mower needs a new spark plug or fuel filter. Or, maybe the carburetor needs cleaning. Electric equipment promises easier maintenance — but that’s not the only reason to choose electric models over gas-powered options.

With electric equipment, not only do you get reliable starting, avoid hauling gasoline and oil around, and skip breathing exhaust fumes, but you also consume less energy and save money. Electric motors are more efficient than internal-combustion engines, in part because electric motors waste less energy in the form of heat than gas engines do.

All the battery-powered mowers listed here will cost you just a fraction of what gas-powered equivalents would cost to operate. Stihl, a U.S. power-equipment manufacturer, estimates that the cost to operate its line of tools powered by lithium-ion batteries is only about 8 percent of the cost to run equivalent non-electric options.

If you’re in the market for a new mower, chainsaw, snowblower, log splitter, chipper, or even a tractor, your greenest option is probably an electric machine. Recent improvements in battery life and weight are making electric power equipment even more appealing. Lighter lithium-ion batteries are now mainstream, and, with them, a new generation of far more powerful and practical cordless lawn and garden tools has emerged. Get your motor started with this roundup of features and options currently on the market.



Before You Buy

Noise. An electric tool is usually significantly quieter than its gasoline-engine counterpart. But don’t expect tools that have high-speed spinning parts, such as blowers and mowers, to be whisper-quiet. A chainsaw, though, will be remarkably stealthy — what we like to call “Sunday-morning quiet” in our neighborhood. An electric snowblower or utility vehicle can be run at any hour without fear of disturbing your neighbors.

Power ratings. Manufacturers rate their electric products either by volts and amps or by watts. For example, most corded tools run on household voltage — 120-volt alternating current (VAC) — and have a particular amp rating. When comparing similar products, remember that a higher amp rating indicates that more power can be delivered to the task. Also pay attention to the amount of pressure that products, such as log splitters, can deliver. For example, electric log splitters’ force ratings, which range from 4 to 20 tons, indicate how effective the splitters are. These force ratings will help you compare electric and gas-powered options.






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