New gas lawn mowers are much less polluting and more energy-efficient than traditional models. In the United States, since 2012, new gas mowers have to meet the EPA gas emissions standards.
But though they are more efficient than previous models, we should not forget that they still are a major source of carbon emissions, responsible for about 5% of the world's pollution; and that there are good alternatives to them: electric lawn mowers (namely hybrid electric-solar mowers) and manual reel mowers, for small and well-kept lawns.
The Electric Lawn Mower Alternative
New electric lawn mowers - and solar hybrid electric-solar mowers - can be of self-propelled or of push type and have significant advantages over gas mowers.
They consume less energy and are much quieter than older models or gas mowers. They are very effective in most lawns.
Gas mowers only become more effective in very large lawns, or in ill-kept lawns, with thick grass and weeds.
See, for details: Electric Mowers Performance
The Manual Lawn Mower Alternative
If you are physically fit and your lawn is small consider a good manual lawn mower. New models are a lot more effective and easy to operate than older reel mowers.
They are more than just handy devices; they can be very effective for small and well-kept lawns - up to, say, 1/3 acres/1,300 m2/15,000 sq. feet…
New manual reel mowers offer significant advantages over older models:
- smaller weight, larger wheels and radial tires, for added maneuverability and an easier pushing.
- very low maintenance requirements: repairs are uncommon and small problems are easy to fix.
- wide cut width (20-inch in the best models) to reduce the number of passes needed to cut the lawn.
- height blade adjusters.
- safety: manual reel mowers have by far the best safety record within the lawn mowers (the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports hundreds of thousands of injuries caused by lawn mowers, every year).
For customer reviews on Amazon: Manual Reel Mowers.
The Propane Lawn Mower Alternative
Propane mowers are an expensive investment and only make sense for professional use.
Propane is cheaper than gasoline, but prices begin at about $4,000 (push propane mowers) and most models have prices above $7,000.
Larger gas-powered mowers can be converted to propane, and some manufacturers (Kawasaki…) are offering propane conversion kits. The prices of these kits amount to above $500.
Our Video on Gas vs. Electric Garden Equipment: