How do I Choose the Best Lawn Mower Motor?

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  • Written By: Bobby R. Goldsmith
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2019
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Choosing the best lawn mower motor is a multi-step process. A buyer needs to consider several factors. The most important factor is the size of the lawn that will be cut with the lawn mower. Other factors include the type of grass to be cut — which will indicate if a lawn mower will be used seasonally or year-round, the most likely weather conditions that the lawn mower motor will be operated in, and the level of maintenance that the buyer is able to perform on the lawn mower motor without professional assistance.

There are two basic types of lawn mower motors, those powered by internal combustion engines and those powered by electric motors. Lawn mowers powered by internal combustion engines are generally better suited for mowing large lawns, or properties with multiple lawns. Internal combustion engines are also better for thick, fast-growing grasses such as Bermuda, St. Augustine and both summer and winter rye. This type of motor handles year-round use better than an electric lawn mower motor does.


There are, however, several drawbacks to using a lawn mower powered with an internal combustion engine. Primarily, internal combustion engines produce a considerable amount of air and noise pollution. Though a simple two-stroke, one-cylinder lawn mower motor is not overly powerful compared to other small engines, there is no mechanism to reclaim or dilute the exhaust gases. The unmuffled engines can also be quite loud. Some cities have ordinances restricting the use of internal combustion engine lawn mowers due to pollution concerns.

Electric lawn mowers are best suited for small patches of slow-growing grass that grow seasonally. Electric lawn mower motors are either corded or cordless. Corded lawn mowers are intended for small plots that are in close proximity to an electrical outlet. Cordless lawn mowers are not tethered to an outlet, but, in many cases, the batteries deplete quickly. This depletion happens faster than an internal combustion lawn mower engine consumes its gas.

A lawn mower powered by an internal combustion motor is generally the best fit for most applications. This is due to the simplicity of the technology, which makes repair and maintenance a straightforward process. For users with limited lawn mowing needs, an internal combustion motor is most likely overkill for the job, and an electric lawn mower will suffice.


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