Gardening Articles: Landscaping :: Yard & Garden Planning

Lawn Mower Savvy (page 3 of 5)

by Frank A. Viggiano and National Gardening

Electric Rotary Mowers

The greatest virtue of electric mowers is the noise they make or rather the lack of it. If you live where noise is an issue or if you've simply had enough of it yourself, I recommend you consider a mower powered by an electric motor. Keep in mind, however, that electric mowers rarely have the power of a gasoline engine mower.

The least-expensive electric mowers are powered by a standard electric motor connected by an extension cord to an outlet. These are for small lawns accessible with no more than a 100-foot power cord. (Electrical resistance in cords longer than 100 feet could damage the motor.) The cost of these mowers is in the $100 to $200 range.

Another type of electric mower features rechargeable batteries. For instance, the Ryobi Mulchinator promises to cut 1/2 acre of lawn, or to deliver about one hour of mowing time, per 16-hour charge on its nicke batteries. It is convenient and easy to use, and the 24-volt recharger is built in. The Black & Decker CM500 is similar. It uses 12-volt lead-acid batteries and also allows about an hour of mowing after a 24-hour recharge. These cost $400 to $500.

Solar-Powered

These may be the mowers of the future. Poulan/Weed Eater introduced the first solar-powered robotic mower. It wanders around the yard by itself--you don't have to touch it. Small razor-blade-type cutters clip the grass a little at a time. A wire, placed around the perimeter of the yard or flower beds, keeps the robotic mower within the bounds of the lawn. The unit clips grass all day long. If it hits an obstruction, such as a fence post or sprinkler, it stops, backs up, then goes forward again in another direction. Still, it requires level areas that include a minimum of obstructions.

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