Three Ways to Mow Your Lawn Without Gasoline

Mowers without internal combustion engines, pull cords, or exhaust fumes are environmentally friendly and can make quick work of small lawns.

There are so many reasons to get a lawn mower that’s not powered by gasoline: less noise, less mess, no need to store or pour gasoline, no balky pull-cord start-ups, a reduced carbon footprint, very little maintenance—the list goes on and on. They’re the next best thing to keeping a couple of goats around to do the job. Exactly what kind of non-gas lawn mower to get depends on the size of lawn you’ll be mowing, the length of the grass when you cut it, your physical condition, and, of course, the amount of money you want to spend. Here’s a rundown of your choices.

Corded Lawn Mower

American Lawn Mower Company 14-Inch 11-Amp Corded Electric Lawn Mower
American Lawn Mower’s corded 11-amp mower has enough power to cut all types of grasses and has mulching capability.American Lawn Mower Company

These mowers must be kept plugged in to an electric outlet via a heavy-duty extension cord during operation. Because the power is consistently supplied, they’ll run indefinitely, and generally will do a better job of cutting long, thick grass better than the other two mowers on this list. A downside is that you’ll need to deal with the extension cord as you cut—meaning keeping the cord out of the way of the cutting blades—but that’s easily avoided by cutting the grass in a back-and-forth pattern, starting near the outlet and gradually moving away from it. Corded lawn mowers are well suited for people who have large yards, since they never run out of power.

Cordless Lawn Mower

Greenworks 16-Inch 40V Cordless Lawn Mower
The Greenworks 16-inch cordless mower boasts a 60-minute run time.Greenworks

Cordless mowers run off of a battery that you charge when you’re not cutting. These are the easiest of the three mower types to use, because all you have to do is activate the blades and start walking. There’s no need to deal with an extension cord, but because the battery run time is limited, these are best suited for people with small yards. The size of the battery is directly proportional to the run time, so the larger the battery, the longer you can cut.

Push Reel Lawn Mower

American Lawn Mower Company 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower
The 16-inch, five-blade push reel mower by American Lawn Mower Company has easy-to-push 10-inch wheels and weighs only 32 pounds.American Lawn Mower Company

These non-motorized mowers hearken back to the early 1800s, when the first of its kind was patented in England. While numerous improvements have been made over the years, the basis operation remains the same: the curved blades on the reel push the grass blades against a cutting edge as you roll the mower along. New versions are lighter and more efficient than older models.

You can’t get much greener than a push reel mower, and using one also allows you to get some cheap and easy (and productive) exercise. And they’re virtually maintenance-free, other than the cutting edge needing an occasional sharpening. There are some downsides: they don’t do a good job of cutting long grass, so you need to mow your lawn as soon as it needs it. Sticks will get caught in and jam the reel mechanism, so you’ll need to stop and remove them. And they don’t cut grass blades as cleanly as a motorized mower. But you can use one anywhere, at any time, and there’s no need to deal with gasoline, batteries, or extension cords.

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