Many if not most home gardeners buy electric garden tools as opposed to gas-powered tools. Considering that you will hardly, if ever find a landscape professional or garden contractor using an electric lawn mower or strimmer, you might want to ask yourself if you should be following your neighbors or the professionals on this matter.
Obviously, price is the reason behind peoples’ decision, because there is no professional justification for choosing electric power tools over petrol ones. Over the whole range of garden power tools – from lawn mowers, strimmers, and hedge trimmers – quality petrol tools completely out-perform their electric-powered equivalents.
Moreover, they easily out-live electric tools. If a gas-powered lawn mower can serve a gardening contractor for about 4 years, working day in and day out, then it should last a home gardener a lifetime, if maintained properly. How many years on the other hand, do you think you will get out of your electric lawn mower?
It is fears about expensive care and maintenance that deter people from buying a gas-powered tool, but these are largely unfounded. For the average suburban garden, maintenance amounts to sending the tools to a small tools repair shop once a year, for a routine change of oil, spark plugs and filters e.t.c.
So although the initial outlay for petrol garden tools is 2-3 times that of electric ones, in the long run, it makes more economic sense to buy gas-powered tools. Again, why not copy the professionals who are always looking at their bottom line.
There are some circumstances however, where the lower cost of an electric tool may justify its purchase. For example, if you use a hedge trimmer for 5-6 working hours a year, then an expensive petrol tool is probably unnecessary. Likewise, for special tasks like mechanical scarifying, which are carried out once a year or less, an electric tool can be hired from a garden center at low cost.
Which type of power tool is safer for the home gardener? In principle, gas tools by being more powerful can cause more damage. A gas-powered strimmer for instance, is a very dangerous tool in the wrong hands, although one should not overlook the possibility of electrocution with electric tools. In both cases, there is of course no substitute for following safety measures to the letter, and acting with responsibility and common sense.