Which is better for you and your lawn–the traditional gas-powered lawnmower or the human-powered push reel mower?
Pros and Cons of the traditional gas-powered lawnmower
* Consistently cuts everything growing in your lawn, be it grass, weeds, vines, etc…
* Easy to push for long periods of time (ie large lawns)
* Air pollution. According to the EPA the average gas-powered lawn mower emits as much pollution per hour as 11 automobiles do during that same time span. Why? The lawn mower engine is a two-cycle engine which pumps out over 90 times more pollution per gallon of gas than any car or truck.
* Noise pollution.
* Recurring gas costs. In case you were unaware–we’re over $4/gallon!
* Maintenance costs.
Pros and Cons of the human-powered push reel mower
* Only pollution during mowing is the CO2 that you exhale.
* The new models have sharp blades and will outperform and outlast the reel mowers your parents pushed around as kids.
* Better exercise considering you aren’t inhaling engine exhaust while mowing.
* Does not cut all tall grasses and weeds. After using one for 3 years now. I’d say (as I’ve said to my neighbors) it cuts at about a 93% success rate.
* Not reasonable for large lawns.
The (Unexpected) Outcome
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And the winner is…
…The electric lawn mower!!!
If we consider all the variables; pollution, cutting ability, size of lawn, level of ease to own and operate, this non-contestant has to be the winner (sorry John Henry). As much as I love my push reel mower (which is still the most environmentally friendly mower available), I understand that if I had a larger lawn it may not be the best choice–although, it would still be my choice, but I’m a fanatic. The electric lawnmower is quiet, easy to start, easy to maintain, and costs approximately $5/year for electricity. And I haven’t used one, but I’ve read that the mowing skills rival that of the gas-powered mower.
For what it’s worth, the loser is…
…the riding lawn mower.
The bigger brother of the gas-powered mower sells well in a society full of folks who drive a few blocks to and from various stores each day instead of actually walking or biking.
It has a cup holder…
…but I’m thinking of adding one to my push reel mower anyway.
Stay tuned next week for the battle of The Washing Machine vs. a trio of human-powered rivals. You may be surprised when No Impact Man shares his thoughts on this one…
Image credits: Amazon.com
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