Green lawnmowers offer options for green lawn maintenance

Green lawnmowers offer options for green lawn maintenance

Thanks to all the rain we’ve been getting lately, you may end up having lush, green grass around your home that has grown wild. With spring coming up, it’s time to think about getting that lawn back into shape.

And now there’s a greener way to do it.

With more and more automakers making electric cars, it may come as no surprise that the lawnmower, the quintessential piece of outdoor lawn maintenance, is also undergoing a “green” revolution. Lithium-ion batteries and advances in simple plug-in charging technology are making it so that the loud chug-chug-chugging sound of the traditional gas-powered lawnmower could someday be as obsolete as that rickety old push thing your grandfather used to use on the weekend.

So, with better weather on the horizon, and plenty of grass needing to be cut, here’s a look at some of the options available for someone who might be looking for a motorized way of going green in their yard maintenance.

Toro e-Cycler

Few names are more associated with lawn equipment than Toro. Chances are that if you haven’t used a Toro lawnmower, weed trimmer or other product, you know somebody who has. It might even be that neighbor who breaks out the leaf blower way too early on a Sunday morning.

The Toro e-Cycler looks and runs like your classic motorized push lawmower, with one major exception. Instead of gas, its 36-volt motor is powered by three, 12-volt rechargeable batteries. But, you shouldn’t have to worry about the mower running out of juice before you’re done: Toro says a fully charged e-Cycler can cut 10,000 square feet of lawn, which could cover up to a quarter of an acre before the mower needs to be plugged back in. (For comparison, the online site Grounds Maintenance says the average private-home lawn in the United States is about one-fifth of an acre.)

You can recharge the batteries by plugging the mower into a standard outlet; Toro says the e-Cycler will reach a 70 percent charge level after three hours, and a full charge overnight.

Aside from its batteries, the e-Cycler’s specs and features match those of a typical gas-powered mower. It has a 20-inch wide cutting blade, a bag in the rear for catching clippings and a sidedischarge option. The e-Cycler weighs 77 pounds and comes with a $419 price tag.

EGo Power+ Mower

If you are looking for an alternative battery-powered lawnmower, EGo offers three of them in its Power+ series. 

The company has 20-inch and 21-inch manually propelled models as well as a 21-inch self-propelled one. All the Power+ mowers run on 56-volt lithium batteries. EGo says the mowers’ batteries can be fully charged within 45 minutes to 60 minutes, depending on the model. A fully charged Power+ Mower can run from about 45 minutes to an hour before needing to power up again.

Like many traditional mowers, the Power+ come with grass mulching capabilities and a rear bag for grass cuttings. Side-bagging options are also available. EGo offers direct links from its website to purchase its mowers at Home Depot stores, where prices range between $499 and $649.

Husqvarna Automower

From Sweden’s Husqvarna comes some of the more unusual “green” lawnmowers on the market: its Automower series. You’ve heard about the Roomba, the robotic vacuum that tools around your house cleaning your floors? Well, the Automowers are Roomba’s lawn-mowing equivalent.

Husqvarna offers four different models that differ in the size of lawn they’ll cut on a single charge. The Automowers run on two lithium-ion batteries that take about an hour to fully re-charge. Once that’s done, the robot mowers will head out on their own and start cutting grassThey’ll run for as long as you want them to, up until they run out of power.

Each Automower looks something like a radio-controlled car. But under its body, each one has three rotating razor-sharp blades that can be adjusted to trim grass of various heights.

Part of the reason for their distinctive appearance is the mowers lack the standard handle owners use to steer. In order to prevent an Automower from going off the lawn, Husqvarna provides boundary wires that the robotic mower can detect and knows to avoid.

‘”The boundary wire is necessary,” said Steven Uljua, product manager for robotics and fleet services with Husqvarna in Charlotte. N.C. “We say the boundary wire makes the difference of having rose bushes and not having rosebushes.”

The Automowers also have a smartphone app that allows someone to program the robots and remotely adjust settings such at starting and stopping times. When their battery charge gets to around 20 percent of capacity, the robot mowers will turn off their blades and begin looking for their charging station.

“It can follow a boundary wire back to its charging station,” Uljua said. “If it starts cutting and then the weather goes bad, Automower will realize that and go back to its charging station. It will never mow outside the times you’ve given it. What’s most important is it does this by itself.”

Uljua said Husqvarna introduced the first version of Automower back in 1995, but only brought the mower to the U.S. last year once the company mastered the connectivity between the robotic mowers and the app. Uljua said Husqvarna sold between 1,500 and 1,800 Automowers in the U.S. in 2016, while global sales reached 250,000 units.

Anyone interested in an Automower should be aware it isn’t cheap. The models range from $2,000 to $3,500.

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Published at Wed, 01 Mar 2017 15:00:19 +0000