If you've decided to switch from your gas mower to an electric mower this year, take advantage of a lawn mower exchange. These programs, which take place in many areas around the country in spring and summer, get you a discounted price on an electric mower. Typically, you show up at the appointed time at the designated location, say your municipal public-works yard, drop off your old gas machine, and head home with a brand-new electric. Your old mower will get recycled.
Some of the deals are pretty sweet: Through the lawn mower exchange in San Diego County, California (PDF), residents who show up to the event with a working gas mower can get a Black & Decker CM1936 36-volt cordless rechargeable for $99.99, including tax. It usually retails for about $400.
Since the number of mowers available through an exchange is often limited—the one in San Diego County has only 650 electric mowers available this year—you'll need to get to the site early or, when possible, sign up in advance. Some exchanges give you a rebate coupon instead of selling new machines on site. The Southwest Pennsylvania Air Quality Partnership—whose program includes mowers leaf blowers, trimmers, and chain saws—is one such exchange. Also, not every exchange is limited to a county or region. This year, Utah is holding its first exchange statewide.
I'm still considering swapping my long-serving, loyal self-propelled gas model for a cordless electric mower. (In stores and online you might see cordless models called electric battery mowers; electric corded models requires an extension cord.)
Why go electric? I'd like a mower that runs quieter, needs little maintenance (repair costs for my 14-year-old mower are adding up), and doesn't produce any emissions. Remember, the air quality where I live doesn't exactly scream Garden State. My lawn is less than a quarter acre and is mostly level, making it friendly for an electric.