Electric lawn tools are having a moment. They’re often easier to use, lighter, and better for the environment than gas tools. But are they right for your yard?
The answer may very well be yes. While electric lawn and garden tools aren’t robust enough to tackle the largest lawns or for use by professionals, today’s electric lawn tools are powerful enough for the needs of the average homeowner. If you have a fairly small yard and a desire to ditch dirty, noisy, polluting gas power tools, electric lawn tools might be right for you.
What Can Electric Lawn Tools Tackle?
When it comes to electric lawn tools, you can either choose a cord-powered tool or a battery-powered tool. Many electric tools, like string trimmers, chainsaws, hedge trimmers, and leaf blowers, only come in battery-powered options. It’s generally the larger tools that require more power, like lawn mowers and garden tillers, that still use extension cords these days. That said, you can use an electric lawn mower, snow blower, or garden tiller over a fairly large space if you buy a 100-foot, 12-amp extension cord.
Today’s electric lawn tools are powerful enough to tackle any job that a homeowner with less than about two acres of lawn will encounter. Improvements in lithium battery technology, combined with improvements in electric motor efficiency, have made it easier than ever to use electric lawn tools for jobs like string trimming, hedge trimming, and leaf blowing – not to mention tougher jobs like mowing the lawn or removing snow from the driveway. Modern battery technology has now made powerful, cordless electric lawn mowers and snow blowers an option for homeowners.
Electric Lawn Tools Are Easier to Maintain
One of the biggest drawbacks of gas-powered lawn tools is the maintenance. You have to mix gas and oil together for two-cycle engines. You have to change oil and spark plugs and filters. Some gas lawn mowers have to be primed before you can start them. You’ll probably spill some oil or gas while you’re maintaining or using gas-powered tools.
Electric lawn tools require none of this maintenance. You have to store the batteries properly and charge them up before you can use the tool, but you won’t need to do any maintenance on the tool itself, other than keeping blades sharp or changing the string in a string trimmer. You won’t have to worry about storing gas, either. Electric lawn tools from the same manufacturer typically have interchangeable batteries – so if you buy an electric lawn tool from Ego, for example, you can use the battery in any other electric lawn tool from Ego.
Electric Lawn Tools Are Lighter and Easier to Use
When you’re working on a large lawn, you can end up hoisting and swinging a lawn tool around for hours. Under those conditions, even a small weight difference can help you avoid sore muscles and overuse injuries. Electric lawn tools don’t have bulky gas engines or gas tanks to add weight. They’re usually at least a couple of pounds lighter than gas tools. That can really save your back and arms when it comes to swinging a string trimmer or lifting a hedge trimmer.
Electric tools also tend to be easier to use. You can switch them on by pushing a button or a switch. There’s no cord to pull, no overheating, no stalling, and no failing to start for mysterious reasons. They start every time and they’re straightforward to use. Because they don’t have noisy gas engines, they’re quieter too – you can use them early in the morning without fear of waking your neighbors, or your own family.
Electric Tools Are Better for the Environment
If you’re concerned about sustainability, you need to make the switch to electric lawn tools. Gas-powered engines on lawn tools aren’t built to reduce pollution like car engines are. A small gas engine can produce as much air pollution as driving a Toyota Camry 1,100 miles. Gas and oil spills associated with using small gas engines are also a big deal for the environment. While it might not seem that bad to spill a small amount of gas or oil while working with a small gas engine, you have to remember that everyone is spilling just a little bit, and it adds up. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that Americans spill 17 million gallons of gas each year while using gas lawn tools.
Electric tools do still require their batteries to be charged up, so they can still use fossil fuels if your power plant uses fossil fuels. But they won’t produce nearly as much pollution as gas lawn tools. Not only will they be cleaner for the environment, they’ll be cleaner for your yard.
If you’re looking for an alternative to noisy, smelly, dirty gas-powered lawn tools, you should consider electric tools. They’re more powerful than ever, and totally capable of tackling even your toughest lawn jobs.