OPINION

OKIE IN EXILE — Battery-powered mowing: One year after starting

Bobby Neal Winters
Bobby Winters

Last year, as the attentive reader may recall, I made the switch from ICE (internal combustion engine) mowing to battery-powered mowing. I gave periodic reports on that last year and it all went great, as experiments like that always do.

When you make a switch to something, it is because you want it to work. You think that it is cool, and everything you do is colored by the glow of your desires. This is why the scientific method was developed: We know that we lie to ourselves, so we set up a structure to try to keep us honest.

I didn’t do any of that when I got my new battery-powered Ryobi mower. It was 2020 and I had absolutely no desire to take the glow off of anything. I needed all the glow I had, as I am sure you did too.

Now we’ve had winter; I’ve been fully vaccinated; the mask mandate has been lifted. There ain’t nothin’ but blue skies ahead now, Bro.

How is the battery-powered mower holding up now?

I believe I can be objective now because the shine has literally been worn-off of it. It is plastic so that means instead of scratching the paint you scratch the plastic. And it has scratches.

But nothing has broken so far.

It is lighter than a metal mower and I do believe that has reduced the fatigue factor involved in mowing.

I absolutely do not miss the gasoline aspect. It was awkward to go get gas for my gas mower. In my dad’s day, that was easy. You filled up your car tank and then filled your mower using a siphoning hose. Get ready to mow and gargle with gas at the same time; the chicks really dug it.

But I found having to put a gas can in your car, schlepping it to Casey’s, filling it up, and then schlepping it back home to be inconvenient.

Now I have two batteries and I keep one of them charging all the time.

I have been asked whether I have to have the two batteries. This is to say, can I finish daily mowing without changing the battery?

Let’s put this in context. Back in the day when I was young, and my heart was an open book, I used to mow my whole lawn, front and back, in one go. In those days, I would stop after the front was mowed and refill the mower with gas; this is the moral equivalent of a battery change. But this ever-changing world in which we’re living made me older, so I now mow the front yard one day and the backyard the next.

When I did that, I didn’t have to stop to refill anymore. Now I can mow the front yard with one battery and it is not even close. The backyard is more uncertain. When I do the first mowing of the year, the grass is very thick, so in the two season inaugural mows, I’ve had to change the battery both times.

Last year, the first mowing was the only mowing I had to use two batteries. This year the rain has mixed things up. The first mowing, as I said, required both of my batteries, but then I went a few mowings with just one battery. Yesterday, the rain had forced me to go nine days instead of seven or eight. And the grass was wet. I had to use the second battery for just a few minutes.

Are battery-powered mowers a panacea? No, no they aren’t. You do have to modify the way you do things. But they are quiet; they are convenient; there is less upkeep.

Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com. He invites you to “like'' the National Association of Lawn Mowers on Facebook. Search for him by name on YouTube.