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I searched through all the posts on lawnmowers and didn't find anything on electric mowers.

We have a very small front yard and only a slightly bigger backyard. Our elderly neighbor had mowed our lawn for years with his gas-powered mower, but is unable to anymore. We're now in the market for a lawnmower.

My husband and I are thinking of trying a small electric mower. The following isn't the greatest picture, as it doesn't show the full yard, but it does give an idea of how small it is. Note: the yard isn't much longer than it is wide. As you can see, our lawn is flat and there are no bumps or little hills. There is a maple tree off camera on the left side of the picture, but that's all.

Lawn/Yard

Would you experts recommend an electric mower in general? We have two extension cords that are more than adequate in length to mow both the front and the back. I've been perusing mowers on Amazon, just to get an idea of price and options and basic electric mowers seem to start at around $99 and run up to around $400.

Any thoughts or advice on purchasing an electric mower? What's the importance of volts and amps? Would a simple, inexpensive electric mower be appropriate for a yard like ours?

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2 Answers

I used a battery-powered mower on a lawn much larger than yours for several years. It worked well, but we got tired of having to do the front & back yard on separate days (because the battery would discharge too quickly). In your case, I think it would work great.

One other thing you might consider is a reel mower (e.g. something like this). I've never used one, but if I had a lawn your size I'd definitely consider it. When I lived in the city, my neighbor mowed a lawn maybe 2-3x the size of yours with a reel mower and it seemed to work well for him.

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The amp rating of the motor will determines the maximum power you'll get out of the mower.

Amperage*Voltage=Power

For example, this electric mower has a 12 amp rating. If you're in the US, the standard voltage from you circuit breaker panel is 120V. Therefore, you'll get a maximum 1,440 Watts (1.93 HP) of power without factoring in efficiency.

For comparison, this gas mower is similar in price. With a 158cc engine though, it will be around 5 HP for its maximum power output.

You won't get the same power/$ out of an electric mower. But then again, if you're mowing a small lawn that isn't overgrown, you may not need all the extra oomph of a gas mower.

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Good considerations. Don't forget about operating costs though: an hour of mowing would be 1.4 kWh, or maybe 10¢ on your electric bill. An hour of mowing with the gas mower might consume a pint of gas (1/8 gal), which at $4/gal would cost 50¢. IOW, the operating costs are possibly 5x. –  bstpierre May 1 '12 at 21:16
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