About 30 years ago, I was determined to forego the gas powered lawn mower and Go Electric !
At the time, the pickings were pretty slim, but I picked up a corded electric model by Black & Decker, I believe. Mind you, corded electric, for a formerly large yard with many trees and mixed grass. So, there I would go, big loop of extension cord looped over my shoulder, mowing a distinct pattern so as to lay down extension cord behind me safely as I carefully proceeded. Invariably, the trees would be a little hard to get around, the cord would fall off my shoulder and get all tangled up, or the bugs would sting where I would need that elusive “third hand” for the swatting !
I loved that little mower, though, and it seemed like it would last forever. But then I was awestruck by a new Sears CORDLESS electric mower; no cords, no gas or oil, just sharpen the blade and charge the battery for pennies of electricity. Well, would you believe that this early Sears cordless mower actually used a full-sized lead-acid car battery ? Talk about heavy metal. Besides leaving ruts in the lawn, I would occasionally “plow” through the gentle high spots of the yard topography, causing bald spots and contour changes with this ungainly machine.
So, I used both the corded and cordless mowers for many years until the next best thing rolled around. My wife, Barbara, and I discovered a company in Vermont that sold a lightweight battery mower called a Neuton. An inexpensive import, it was very nimble and a refreshing changeup. Through her position as sustainability co-ordinator with Galloway, Barbara facilitated special sales for residents, so there may still be quite a few out there still. Well, it turns out that the fairly light battery pack was actually made up many small rechargeable batteries sealed together. They lasted for an amazing amount of time, but when they finally gave out, the price of replacement batteries kept going up. Now, if available at all, these obsolete batteries are half the cost of a new machine!
So, fast forward to the present decade. I am living large with a much smaller lawn and the current latest and greatest little “Corvette” of a mower, by that master company of interchangeable batteries: Ryobi! This baby has lithium quick-charge lightweight battery cartridges that can also power a host of my other cordless tools. It folds up small, stores and transports easily even on its side, mulches, side discharges or bags up for when I need some extra nitrogen in my composters.
I will be glad to see the next generation efforts for cordless mowers; maybe one that I can punch the coordinates into and it will cut the grass for me! But the main thing is that I can confidently say that today’s cordless mowers are powerful, quiet, have sufficient run times and will give you good, reliable, fumes-free service for many years.
I won’t miss the gas, oil, spark plug fouling or even the extension cord caught wrapped around my ankles!