As you may or may not have read in some of our previous blog posts, or discovered previously, current garden maintenance can be quite a nuisance in various ways. From water demanding lawns to noxious chemical fertilizer usage, all the way down to the large carbon footprint associated with gas-powered maintenance machinery, and the fact they are annoyingly loud. In typical OhmConnect fashion, in this post, we want to focus on how we might be able to transition away from fossil fuel-based strategies to more sustainable ways of garden maintenance, mainly electric.
Currently, Americans still burn upwards of 800 million gallons of gas maintaining their gardens every year, which leads to massive air quality and other environmental impacts. Of course, the best way to maintain your garden would be by hand, using classic hand-powered tools that require no fuel or batteries. However, we are realists living in the 21st century, and most folks don't have the time to hand trim all their shrubs and perennials and then go and level their lawn with a scythe.
The next best option in divesting from fossil fuels and heading down a path to cleaner air, environment, and better health is going electric!
We do want to recognize that due to our less than perfect energy grid in the United States, you aren’t truly emission-free using electric equipment unless you charge your batteries using renewable energy of some sort (solar, wind, etc. or live in an area where the grid is primarily power by renewables). That said, in the coming years, we expect to see renewable energy sources expand.
Either way, there are benefits beyond helping the environment when it comes to switching to electric equipment, including less maintenance, less noise, and fewer fumes that you and your neighbor are breathing in.
In the past, the idea of an electric lawn mower, electric leaf blower, or other electric-powered landscape maintenance equipment would have been laughable and easily dismissed. However, battery technology has come a long way in recent years, and so has the development of electric machinery. This means that classic lawn equipment no longer reigns supreme.
You now have multiple options when it comes to going electric. For example, with an edge trimmer, you can choose to go with a plug-in or cordless option. Generally speaking, folks prefer cordless due to their mobility and recent battery-life improvements. However, chorded options for leaf blowers and trimmers have been around for some time. The benefit of chorded options is the battery won't die or need to be swapped mid-project, but the main drawback is you are limited in your distance and will likely need extension chords to reach every part of the yard. Below is a short list of some maintenance must-haves we’ve pulled together:
The lawn mower is responsible for the majority of emissions right before the leaf blower. According to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, “The emissions from one four-stroke lawnmower operating for one hour are equivalent to an average vehicle traveling 500 miles.” It is also the most widely used piece of equipment since so many folks still have lawns, and so we see this substitute as having the largest possible impact. Although they are slightly more pricey up front, the cost evens out over time as there is less maintenance and no fuel consumption.
There are a few things to consider when shopping for electric lawn mowers, such as the size of your lawn, if you want push-assist (self-propelled, great for those who need a little assistance or have a sloped lawn), turning radius, heavy-duty mowing, or whether or not you’d like to collect the excess clippings in a bag. Here are our recommendations for electric lawnmowers:
Best all around:
Best ride on top:
Another benefit of going electric is you could choose to stick to one brand, allowing you to use the same battery and charging systems for the different tools. There are some cost savings to this strategy as you won't have to buy separate batteries and chargers. For this reason, we tried to recommend products within the same suite, where possible.
The leaf blower is a landscape must-have tool, especially if your garden has a lot of leaf litter, whether it be pine needles or broadleaves. From cleaning up pathways and driveways to blowing yard clippings back into the grass as natural mulch, the list of tasks goes on. A couple of things to consider here:
Beyond the emissions, one of the main benefits of going electric here is the reduction in noise without sacrificing usability. Careful- you might even start to enjoy yard maintenance!
Our top pick:
Chorded budget option for small yards:
For those who really take lawn maintenance seriously, the edges cannot be overlooked. It's also great for mowing those hard-to-reach places or for cutting down grass that you’ve let grow up to be waist-high.
Budget-friendly with chord:
A great useful tool for trimming hedges if you have them. Or even for meticulously trimming some lawn spots. Below that is also a tree trimmer we recommend in the form of a pole saw.
For harder to reach trees, we’d recommend something more similar to a pole saw:
The bottom line can be a bit of a hurdle for some folks. So, if you still want to have a positive impact on your environment, health, and overall carbon footprint, we’ve got you covered. Below are some strategies to help lessen the burden until you can invest in electric equipment:
We wouldn't be doing our job if we weren't warning everyone to be careful in using power tools and always use safe practices in maintenance. We also always recommend using organic methods for garden maintenance. For example, if possible, leaving yard clippings on the lawn can be a natural form of compost. The same goes for blowing your leaves; if you have the room to collect them and compost them versus putting them in the landfill, you should!
Next tip, while we have made a list of helpful links, it is always good to do some extra research on the specific criteria you might need to make your property unique.
Like all electric and battery-operated equipment, make sure you use good practice when it comes to safe charging and storage of batteries. This will also prolong the life of your equipment. Lastly, if you own or run a landscape business, there may be government or state incentives to help you switch over to electric like this one in California.
In closing, we hope this will convince people to electrify their landscape maintenance regiment and have a positive impact on the planet and their health.
Editor’s note: If you make a purchase through our affiliate partner links, we may receive a commission. This does not impact the recommendations we make.