I like my reel mower, but it’s one heck of a lot of work. I don’t much like the smog-belching alternatives. So this week I got an Earthwise electric mower. Ace Hardware has them on sale for $180. These things are powerful and do a fantastic job of mulching. 5-minute setup time out of the box and there’s no gasoline, no oil to change, no spark plug to foul, and no filter to keep clean.
I got the corded version. I’ve used a vacuum cleaner before and, besides, I’d used a corded Black and Decker electric mower some three decades ago. They were awfully weak then. But these new electrics have 12-amps, and that’s enough power to tackle my bermuda grass with ease. I mowed the entire lawn one-handed (they’re light, too). Just whip the cord to one side and mow away from the outlet, and you’re good. They do make a cordless one for $100 more, but I’m against multiplying lithium batteries, if I don’t have to. Same reason I don’t drive a hybrid.
Anyway, I’m happy to report that the thing is quiet enough that I can have a conversation while mowing. My dog doesn’t hide from it – he plays on the lawn while I cut it. And I didn’t breathe any nasty fumes. The ACE version has the bag, but I only care about mulching. Amazon.com stocks various models (click the image), and they ship free.
Onlookers worry about the power and the quality of cut. I personally hate lawns and don’t care that much – mine was here when I bought the house. But the cut and power were just like any other mower I’ve used – except this one actually mulched better. Given that I could have paid $20 less for a gas mower and had to keep gas, oil, and plugs in it (there goes my $20), plus always be cleaning the filter, breathing the fumes, etc – and the build on those is only good (these days) for about 2years max – I think this is an excellent purchase.
Update: 9/25/2010: Well, this is the test. You know those warnings the city glues (with permanent glue) to your door, if you don’t mow your lawn. I’ve got a bitchy, snooty neighbor who drives around with her trunk door open (why? I don’t get it.) inspecting people’s properties, checking the tags on their vehicles, and calling the city. I was in Portland and got the citation the day I got back (the day I intended to mow). Anyway, how well did the electric mower perform. The watching neighbors wanted to know too. It rocked! I mowed the lawn twice, at two different heights – then a touch up mow on some really thick areas. It did the job much faster than an equivalent gas mower would have, and with far less effort. I still love this beast. If I had a reason to take it to New York, I would. I’m going to miss it. Joel? You need to own this baby!