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Cut gas while you cut grass: your guide to electric lawn mowers

An ever-growing numbers of electric cars are helping replace gas burning vehicles on the road. So doesn’t it seem odd to commute to work in your efficient electric car all week, only to hop on your gas guzzling lawnmower on the weekend? As you get ready to drag out the mower this season, you might want to consider going electric on the lawn instead of just the driveway.

In addition to being better for the environment and your health, electric lawnmowers have a number of other benefits. You can forget about changing the oil, spark plugs, belts and air filters, you can mow in peace without the deafening roar of a lawn tractor engine, and they can be more powerful by not wasting energy in belts, pulleys and transmissions. There are a growing number of interesting, all-electric lawn mowers available, and we’ll help you make sense of these unconventional EVs.

Riding electric lawn mowers

Riding lawn mowers are the kings of the garden shed. They make quick work of larger lawns and are a lot easier on the legs than being dragged around by a walk-behind mower. And if we can all be frank for a moment, don’t they bring out the inner go-kart riding kid in all of us?

There are currently three excellent options for riding electric lawn mowers on the market, and we’ll break them down for you here.

Ryobi RM480E & RM480EX

Cutting width: 38″ with 2 blade deck

Batteries: 48V 75 Ah 3.6k Wh (RM480E) or 48V 100 Ah 4.8 kWh (RM480EX)

Run time: 2 hours (RM480E) or 2.5 hours (RM480EX)

Price: $2,499 (RM480E) or $2,699 (RM480EX)

Ryobi’s riding electric mower is a powerful workhorse meant for those that have some serious yard work ahead of them. With three electric motors (one for driving, two for cutting) and 12 manual deck height adjustments, Ryobi describes it as getting “all of the benefits of owning a fully electric riding lawnmower without sacrificing power, performance or features.” The large battery pack is enough for either 2 or 2.5 acres depending on the model, which is much more than the average yard size in the US, but still capable for those with more land.

This riding mower also comes with an array of creature comforts, including cruise control and USB charging for your devices. Like most of these mowers, it recharges through a standard 120V outlet, making charging simple and easy.

Cub Cadet RZT S Zero

Cutting width: 42″ with 2 blade deck

Batteries: 48V 92 Ah 4.4k Wh (4x 12V deep cycle marine batteries)

Run time: 1 hour

Price: $3,999

The Cub Cadet RZT S Zero riding electric lawnmower has four electric motors, two for driving and two for cutting. It is the most maneuverable of the lineup due to its 4-wheel-steering and zero turn radius, has an extra wide 42″ deck, and even includes regenerative braking to recharge the batteries on downhill stretches.

Despite having a number of features not found in any other electric mower, the downside of this mower are the lead acid batteries. Granted, this model has been out for years, but an upgrade to lithium-ion batteries would definitely be appreciated, especially for the price.

For now with the standard lead acid batteries, the Cub Cadet has one hour of run time which should be sufficient for one acre of mowing. Due to the lower charge rate of the lead acid batteries, the Cub Cadet requires a 10-16 hour overnight recharge. So despite having great performance and features, make sure you get your mowing done in one charge so you can finish your lawn in one day.

Troy-Bilt TB30E

Cutting width: 30″ with single blade deck

Batteries: 56V 26 Ah 1.5k Wh Li-ion

Run time: 1 hour

Price: $2,499

Troy-Bilt’s new entry into the electric riding lawnmower market is the smallest of the three options available. With a 30″ cutting width and only 1 hour of cutting time, the TB30E is best suited for those with smaller yards, up to 1 acre. Like the Ryobi, it has a number of creature comforts including an LCD battery screen which displays operating information and warnings, as well as USB chargers and an LED lighting package. The battery capacity is the smallest of the three mowers, but the Li-ion pack does allow for a quicker charge. And the smaller size of this mower makes it easier to fit in a garage or shed.

Walk behind electric lawnmowers

In addition to riding electric lawn mowers, walk behind electric mowers are also a great option for those looking to remove gasoline from their yard work but can’t justify buying an electric vehicle just for mowing the lawn. Walk behind electric mowers obviously require more effort than riding electric lawnmowers and take longer to complete a lawn, but they are much more affordable.

There are two major types of walk behind electric lawnmowers: corded and cordless (battery powered).

Corded mowers are of course the most affordable options. Greenworks has a corded model for just $129 with an impressive 4.3 stars and over 3,000 reviews on Amazon. Such corded mowers can be quite powerful thanks to their direct AC power connection. Don’t forget that you’ll need to invest in a fairly long extension cord, and of course avoid mowing over it!

Fortunately, most corded electric motors mount the cord fairly high on the handle to keep it out of the way. Using a brightly colored outdoor extension cord can help too.

Cordless walk behind electric lawnmowers use swappable Li-ion batteries, allowing you to mow wherever and whenever for as long as necessary. Battery powered electric lawnmowers are especially convenient for yards that have a number of trees or other obstacles that can snag extension cords and force you to backtrack, ruining those beautiful mowing lines.

The battery powered version of Greenwork’s same mower costs $329 and includes a 40V 4Ah battery and a 40V 2Ah battery, which should be enough for around 1 hour of mowing. And if you’re looking to upgrade to even higher power and quality, Snapper’s $440 XD SXDWM82K mower has you covered with a higher voltage 82V system and two 2Ah batteries, each offering 45 minutes of run time.

One of the most highly rated walk behind electric mowers comes from the eGo line. The 20″ 56V eGo is one of the more expensive walk behinds at, but also comes with a solid track record and a legion of satisfied yard owners.

The benefits of electric mowers and lawn tools already make them tempting prospects for homeowners tired of dealing with gas powered machines. As prices of batteries continue to drop over the next few years, electric lawn tools could be taking up much more floor space at your local home improvement store.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we cover more options to go all-electric on your lawn and garden, and let us know what electric tools you prefer in the comments below!

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Avatar for Micah Toll Micah Toll

Micah Toll is a personal electric vehicle enthusiast, battery nerd and author of the Amazon #1 bestselling books DIY Lithium Batteries, DIY Solar Power and the Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide.

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