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Switching to an Electric Lawn Mower Really Can Save You Money

Trade your gas guzzler for an e-mower to save some cash over time. Here's what to know.

A person mowing a lawn
Electric lawn mowers can save you money in the long run.
Ryobi

This story is part of Home Tips, CNET's collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

If you're looking to end-of-summer sales for a new mower, it's a great time to consider an electric lawn mower. Not only are they much better for the environment than gas models, but some areas of the country are planning to ban fossil fuel-powered lawn care tools outright. 

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Today's crop of electric mowers is also the most capable yet, and a few rival the grass-cutting power of traditional gas-burning machines. Electric lawn mowers have dropped in price, too, making them a competitive alternative to old-school solutions. Best of all, operating an electric lawn mower costs less than a gas mower. That'll save you cash down the road. 

So if you've been eyeing these gizmos in the outdoor aisle with curiosity, this guide is for you. Here I'll explain what electric lawn mowers are all about and why you just might be tempted to snap one up. (For more money-saving tips, check out the perfect thermostat temperature to set to save on your utility bill, and one home upgrade that can save you big on AC costs.) 

Read more: Best Electric Lawn Mowers of 2022, Tested by an Expert

Ego's line of 56-volt electric lawn mowers has grass-cutting power approaching that of traditional gas machines. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Mower types and coverage area

Just like gas machines, electric mowers come in three main categories: push, self-propelled and riding. There are basic push models that provide a motor to spin the mower blades only. You have to provide the energy (muscle) to push and maneuver these mowers around a yard yourself. That makes push mowers best suited for small backyards, up to a quarter-acre in size. Push mowers tend to cost the least amount of money.

One step up is a self-propelled model. You still walk behind these mowers and steer them, but they have an additional motor to power the wheels. Some machines even boast variable speeds for more control as you mow. This enables these mowers to tackle yards up to a half-acre in size.

If you need to maintain a large lawn of up to 2 acres, a riding mower is the way to go. Most of these machines are of the zero-turn variety: They can turn on a dime, mow fast and offer lots of cutting power. And the latest model from Ego even lets you add up to six battery packs at once. The company says this enables the mower to handle up to 5 acres without a recharge.

The upfront price of an electric mower

Electric lawn mowers can cost as little as $230 for a bare-bones model. Keep in mind that this is the price for just the mower itself: Batteries and charger are not included. Expect to pay between $400 and $500 for a kit that includes at least one battery pack and charger.

By comparison, self-propelled gas mowers from name brands can cost a little less (under $300). That said, some models can be closer to $900. You can always shell out more for bundles with multiple batteries in the mix. Hardware stores even sell beefed-up packages that typically include several batteries and maybe compatible electric yard care tools, such as string trimmers and leaf blowers.

Save money over time

Not spewing out noxious fumes and creating less noise pollution isn't the only upside to electric lawn mowers: You'll save in the long run because you also eliminate trips to the gas station. For example, the typical self-propelled gas mower has a tank capacity of 0.25 gallons -- usually enough fuel for a half-acre mowing session.

Right now, the average price of gas in the US is $4.21 per gallon. That comes to about $1.05 per mow. You should mow your lawn once a week, and the mowing season is four months long, so expect to spend $16.85 per year on gas. It doesn't sound like much... but over 10 years, that's $169.

Now, let's calculate the cost of fueling an electric mower. The current average price for electricity in the US is 14 cents per kilowatt-hour. Let's also assume that we need to charge a robust 56-volt battery from a capable machine. Rated at 7.5 amps, this battery needs a charge time of an hour. That means prepping this mower for one session costs $0.58. This translates to $9.28 per year and $92.80 over 10 years. 

So by moving over to electric power, we've saved $76.20 after a decade. Not too bad.

Other factors will certainly affect your bottom line. That includes variables like the price of gas and electricity in your area. Even so, you'll likely pocket at least a little extra if you pick electric over gas, which is always nice. I also didn't mention the added cost of other gas mower components such as spark plugs, air filters and oil.

I'll bet switching to an electric mower is beginning to have serious appeal. I don't blame you: It is for me, too. And the neighbors will probably give you a thumbs-up as well.

For more tips, check out how to tech out your patio for cheap, and how to get your old lawn mower ready to use again