Lawn mowers are not just about grooming the green grass around your home. Buying one requires some green thinking.
Whether push, electric or gas, determining which one suits you needs all depends on your environmental stand, the size of your property and your energy level.
Non-carbon emitting manual mowers are a cheap buy and a guilt-free choice, that is, if you have the stamina to do the job and a property with a small (under one-quarter acre), flat lawn. But you’ll have to cut it regularly because if you do wait too long between mowing and your lawn turns into a jungle, the job could become an arduous one and bring even more work afterward as the excess clippings will have to be raked by hand too.
Power mowers do the job quicker but require more mechanical maintenance and emit more pollution than push reel mowers. Gas or electric mowers do offer more options for bagging and mulching clippings too.
Depending on the age and model of your existing gas-powered lawn mowers, they can emit the same amount of pollution in one hour, as does a car that’s been driven 30 to 320 kilometres, according to data in the Households and the Environment Survey published in 2006. At the time, two thirds of Canadian households with lawns and gardens owned a gasoline-powered lawn mower. There are likely fewer gas mower owners these days as retailers over the years have urged homeowners to trade in their gas mowers in favour of buying electric ones.
Electric mowers may be the greener alternative and are available, with or without a cord, for both reel and riding mowers. Sure it may have taken power generated from a polluting coal-fired plant to charge up that mower, but it’s far less toxic than the gas-powered variety. And they’re a lot quieter when they’re operating.
Lawns that are more than 15,000 square feet can justify the expense of a riding mower but keep in mind that they do need a larger storage space.
If cutting your grass takes you from 45 minutes to an hour each time, a power mower will last you about eight years before it needs replacing. But, Peter Sawchuck, leader for home improvement at Consumer Reports, warns that you shouldn’t opt for the cheapest model. “One hundred dollars can make a huge difference between an acceptable mower and a great one.”