I am often asked “What lawn mower is better – a petrol mower OR a cordless battery mower?” The short answer is, it depends on your circumstances. So, in order for you to choose the right lawn mower, I have written this short article explaining which type is best suited to which situation and their pros and cons.
It is obvious that both have the freedom to manoeuvre around the lawn without being bound by the cable, but with that aside which one should you choose?
Petrol vs Cordless Lawn Mower – How To Choose?
When it comes to the features and functions of your mower, whatever you can have on your petrol mower, you can also have on your cordless mower and vice versa. It may surprise you to learn that you can also purchase self-propelled cordless lawn mowers that can compete with their petrol counterparts. The only minor feature that you will not find on a cordless mower is the hose wash port, as this naturally would cause damage to the electric components of the mower.
So, if all the features are available on both types of mower, how do you go about choosing which is best for you and your lawn? Well, below I have outlined the differences between them and their suitability for varying size and types of lawn.
Size of Lawn
Basically, the larger your lawn the longer run-time you will need. There comes a point at which your lawn becomes too large for you to use a cordless lawn mower to mow the entire lawn, without changing the battery. This is not the case with a full tank in your petrol lawn mower.
Also, it is worth noting that the larger the lawn, the larger the deck size will need to be, to cut more grass in a single pass.
Once you start approaching 800m² + you should start thinking more favourably towards a petrol lawn mower. Just remember that a good quality cordless lawn mower will provide a maximum of around 40 minutes of run-time on a single charge. On cordless budget models, the run-time would be reduced to as little as 15 minutes. So, for the average size lawn in the UK a cordless mower would be more than adequate.
It goes without saying that a petrol lawn mower will be more powerful than its cordless counterpart. The question is – do you need that extra power? If you are the kind of person who only cuts the lawn when it is knee high and doesn’t follow a regular lawn maintenance schedule, then a petrol mower will undoubtedly be your best choice.
If you are going to use your lawn mower for anything other than cutting your own lawn, i.e. for commercial purposes, then again a petrol lawn mower should be your first choice.
There are other advantages to having a lawn mower with more power. The first is its ability to mulch the grass cuttings more effectively. As you may know mulching cuts the clippings into tiny pieces which are then deposited back to the lawn, providing a natural fertiliser. There is no doubt from my tests that a petrol mower does indeed cut the grass clippings into smaller pieces due to its superior power.
The second advantage of having more power is the mower’s ability to collect more of the grass cuttings when using the cut and collect method. A petrol mower will simply do a better job at not only collecting the cut grass, but also if you are cutting leaves that have fallen on your lawn. This is particularly so when the grass/leaves are damp.
That is not to say that a cordless mower is particularly bad as collecting the grass clippings, it is just that the petrol mower does a better job when the going gets a little tough.
In general, cordless lawn mowers will cost a little more compared to an equivalent petrol mower. This is somewhat offset longer term by the on-going maintenance and servicing cost of your petrol lawn mower.
Charging your cordless mower’s battery is cost effective and compares favourably to purchasing fuel for your petrol mower. Having said that, bear in mind that lawn mower batteries do not last forever and will need to be replaced between 3 and 5 years, depending on usage.
This point goes without saying, your cordless lawn mower is without a doubt more environmentally friendly when compared to the fumes and noise produced by a petrol mower.
I have already mentioned run-times, but what about charge-times and readiness of your mower? A petrol mower is always ready to go as long as you have the fuel available, where a cordless mower could take anything up to 2 hours to charge, depending on your battery Ah.
It may be a good idea to purchase a spare battery, however the great thing about battery power is that the battery can be used across multiple tools from the same manufacturer.
There is no doubt, that a cordless mower is going to be easier to start, even though you can also purchase an electric start petrol mower making the starting process easier.
If you are short of storage, another point you may want to consider is the size of your mower when folded flat. Although there are some petrol mowers that can be stored vertically, they are very few and far between when compared to cordless mowers.
Cordless mowers are also far easier and cleaner to transport, particularly if you are regularly cutting a lawn at your allotment, for example.
A cordless lawn mower needs little, or no, maintenance when compared to its petrol counterpart. Some petrol lawn mowers will need to be serviced by an authorised dealer in order to preserve the warranty. Maintaining a petrol lawn mower is not difficult, but it is something that will need to be done on a regular basis to ensure that your mower starts and operates effectively.
The only maintenance required on a cordless lawn mower is ensuring that the blade is sharp, the deck is cleaned on a regular basis and that the battery is stored safely during the Winter months.
Still Unsure – Petrol or Cordless Mower?
If you are still unsure which type of mower is best suited to your needs, I have created a pros and cons section below that will hopefully swing it one way or the other.
Petrol vs Cordless Lawn Mower – Pros & Cons
Advantages of Petrol Lawn Mower
- More power to cut longer and challenging grass, better mulching, improved air circulation for grass clippings collection
- Many self-propelled models available
- Longer run-times and designed for medium and large lawns
- Feature rich mowers including hose wash ports (not available on cordless)
- Longer lasting stripes as petrol mowers are heavier
- Lower initial investment
- Wide range of engines and decks to suit your lawn size
- Electric start available in addition to recoil
- Steel decks and build quality means that they can last for many years
Disadvantages of Petrol Lawn Mower
- Regular maintenance required
- More noisy
- Fumes and smell
- Heavier machines
- Recoil starting can be tricky
Advantages of Cordless Lawn Mower
- Ability to share batteries across the same range of power tools
- Environmentally friendly (less pollution)
- Less noise and vibration
- Clean and safe to use
- Feature rich with additional safety features
- No fuel, oil and spare parts to store and replace
- Little or no maintenance required
- Easier storage and transportation (vertical storage)
- Easy to start
Disadvantages of Cordless Lawn Mower
- Limited battery life (3 to 5 years), expensive to replace
- Shorter run-times
- Limited self-propelled models available
- Batteries need charging before you can mow
- Depending on the model, not suitable for large lawns
- Higher initial investment
So, there you have it. I hope this article has provided you with enough information to make that important decision whether to purchase a petrol or cordless mower.
There is no doubt in my mind that the advancements in battery technology, in the last couple of years, have made cordless lawn mowers a real alternative to petrol mowers.
Need Extra Help With Choosing Your Perfect Mower?
To help you in your decision I have created a very handy lawn mower selection tool that allows you to tick all of the features you require on your new mower and the best mower/s will be shortlisted for you in seconds. Why not head over to this selection tool now using the image link below.
As a seasoned expert in the field of garden power tools, I have dedicated over a decade to working with and reviewing a wide variety of lawn mowers. My extensive experience has allowed me to gain a deep understanding of the benefits and limitations of different types of mowers and garden tools.
Over the years, I have honed my skills in writing informative articles and creating helpful videos for various blogs and publications. This has given me the ability to not only recognise what makes a good lawn mower, but also to help you choose the perfect garden tool for your specific needs and requirements.
With my wealth of knowledge and expertise, I am confident that I can provide you with valuable insights and recommendations when it comes to selecting the right lawn mower for your lawn. So, whether you're looking for a battery cordless, electric, petrol, or robotic mower, you can trust in my expertise to guide you towards the best option for your garden.