Dollars & Sense: Grass is 'greener' with lawn mowers these days

  • Article by: JOHN EWOLDT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 27, 2010 - 12:21 AM

If you're in the market for a new push mower and haven't shopped for a decade or so, the landscape has changed.

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essdee09Apr. 27, 10 7:37 AM

What, exactly, is "better" about the way gas-powered mowers cut lawns? Cleaner cut (doubtful)? More efficient (non-oxy gas every 30 days)? More successful at cutting down weeds and volunteer trees in one pass (maybe that's it)? "Better" is a comparative. Unless you say HOW it is better, it's meaningless.

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farley2458Apr. 27, 10 9:29 AM

Gas mowers have more(depending on rating) & consistent power vs. their electric counterparts. If you have a small yard that you can mow in an hour, they're probably great. I've tried a few electric weed whips and have been disappointed every time. They either have a cord you have to drag around or they steadily lose power as the battery drains. I can only assume the same for electric mowers... I personally prefer mowing my lawn once instead of using my mower like a vacuum cleaner going over the little string that refuses to come up.

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agmaloneApr. 27, 1010:39 AM

all the benefits of traditional gas mower with the "green" idea of burning a cleaner fuel. http://www.popsci.com/environment/article/2010-02/tech-reborn-greener-pastures

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hfnorthApr. 27, 1011:46 AM

I know of at least one station on the link provided that no longer carries non-oxygenated gas, and I do use a station that does have pumps for non-oxygenated gas that is not on the list in the link. BTW, all non-oxy gas (meaning zero ethanol content) is sold only as a premium grade of 91 octane or higher, and it will cost you about 30 cents a gallon more than your oxygenated 91 octane gasoline. I talked to the owner of a station in my town that sells non-oxygenated 91 octane, and he told me the price is so much higher due to the fee he must pay to the state in order to sell it. You can usually find stations just by hit and miss, as the pump will display a large label (required by law) that it is non oxygenated gas, and that it is permitted only in vintage cars, boats with outboard motors, and containers for small engines of lawnmowers, and that the container be no larger than 6 gallons. But people who want to put the non-oxy gas in their newer cars will have no problem, as there are no "pump police" when you pull up and pump gas into your car from that "illegal" gas with no ethanol in it. I have used it and find that in addition to being much less corrosive on a car's catalytic converter, but gives a significant improvement in gas mileage as well as performance. Not quite enough to make up for the extra price per gallon, but very close to being break even. I don't like corn alcohol in my car, even if it is just 10% as mandated by Minnesota law. Most other states have no such laws, and non-oxy gas has no price penalty for the state "fee" to help the corn farmers out.

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beaucoupApr. 27, 1012:24 PM

You should include propane equipment. All the power, none of the problems of gasoline.

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beaucoupApr. 27, 1012:25 PM

You should include propane equipment. All the power, none of the problems of gasoline.

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RipAndersonApr. 28, 10 3:29 PM

When I retired I bought a GOOD human-powered silent-reel push mower from Smith & Hawken for$250. It was a pleasure mowing with it. It was no harder to push than my Bolens push gas-powered rotary mower. I was very QUIET; not having to wear ear protectors I could hear the birds and the wind rustling the tree leaves and the waves in the lake lapping on the shore. It was nice breathing fresh air instead of the smoky engine exhaust. It was easy to stop and chat with the passing neighbors walking by.

Not only was that mower good for the body -- with the fresh air and exercise -- it did wonders for my lawn. Unlike rotary mowers which whack the grass leaving ragged ends which lose a lot of water, the reel mower neatly snips each blade of grass, leaving the end sort of sealed against water loss. With the reel mower I never had to water until 2 or 3 weeks after the neighbors had to water.

Once my lawn fertilizer company guy rang the doorbell and asked what I did to keep my lawn looking so great. I opened the garage door and showed him. "Aha", he said. I have one other customer whose lawn looks this great and he also uses a reel mower.

The mower was made by Agri-Fab. I don't think they make it any more.

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RipAndersonApr. 28, 10 3:39 PM

I have been extremely happy with my Black & Decker NST2018 Grass Hog 12-Inch 18-Volt Cordless Electric String Trimmer with 2 Batteries: http://amzn.to/b68m1f

SEE ALSO: Black & Decker CCC3000 18-Volt Cordless Electric Lawncare Center: Home Improvement http://amzn.to/auXlON ... the trimmer works great. The blower isn't powerful enough to be a leaf blower, but is great for blowing off the sidewalks, driveway, garage floor, etc.

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dontletmegetApr. 29, 10 7:28 AM

No loud, smelly experience

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Mister_EApr. 29, 10 9:22 AM

For small to medium yards, corded electrics offer the best bang for the buck. Just remember to add in the cost for a properly-rated extension cord when you do the comparison. Consistent cutting power and low maintenance.

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