CATS: Mowers on the ‘cutting’ edge

Continuing the Clean Air Technologies Series (or CATS) conversation, today I thought I would discuss electric lawnmowers. Not just electric mowers, but cordless electric mowers.

When electric lawnmower operation went cordless that was electric mowing’s defining moment. It used to be that I’d see someone mowing their yard with an electric mower, but it had a power cord that had to be dragged along and wherever the mower went the cord followed. To me, it was just too cumbersome and if the cord got caught under the mower, as you can well imagine, this wouldn’t be good.

Someone, somewhere obviously saw this as a problem and decided to do something about it.

The breakthrough came with rechargeable batteries. That was the key.

Over the course of my life, I have lived in six different houses. Yards on all, all mowers used were gas-powered affairs, if my memory serves me well. Some were self-propelled while others required pushing. Each did their jobs, but since a gas-powered mower can’t go without gas, one is at the mercy of having to have the gas to run the mower. Where memory doesn’t serve so well has to do with where each of those internal-combustion-engine-powered mowers eventually wound up; all except for one.

As for that mower, I traded it in on a cordless electric model.

And as for reliability, versatility, durability and likability, the cordless electric scores high marks in all categories. It’s versatile in the sense that attachments can be added to perform other chores such as edging, for example.

Before mowing day arrives, depending on how much charge is still in the battery before I need to mow, this determines how much charging time the battery will need to be able to get the job done. I find that if the battery is charged for about 12 hours that usually does the trick.

And what’s really nice is that the mower comes equipped with a circuit breaker, so that if the grass being cut is too high or thick and presents too much of a load for the motor to bear, the circuit breaker will trip. On only one occasion in the three years that I’ve used this mower, has the breaker tripped. When this happened, I reset the breaker and off I went without another such occurrence.

Also nice about the mower, is there is little noise generated and it’s lightweight, relatively speaking. And it doesn’t need gas. Maintenance is a breeze in the sense that all that needs to be maintained is the blade, but of course this would be true of any mower.

– Alan Kandel