Pros & Cons Of Electric Farm Tools & Machines

Traditionally, farm and yard tools have been powered by gasoline engines, but battery improvements have led to the development of capable electric tools.

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by J. Keeler JohnsonOctober 19, 2021
PHOTO: Daniel Johnson

Traditionally, farm and yard tools like mowers, string trimmers, leaf blowers, chain saws and more have been powered by gasoline engines. But technology rarely stands still. And improvements in batteries have led to the development of capable electric tools suitable for many farming needs.

Whether corded or battery-powered, electric tools and machines offer many advantages compared to gasoline models. But there are also disadvantages to keep in mind—at least until electric models develop to the point where they can stand on equal footing with gasoline models from a pure power perspective.

Are you interested in investing in electric farm and yard tools? Let’s explore some of the primary pros and cons offered by ever-improving gasoline alternatives:

Pros

No emissions

Gasoline engines put out exhaust containing pollutants like carbon monoxide. But electric tools don’t release emissions while operating.

The air around you stays cleaner while working. And you don’t need to worry about breathing fumes.

Reduced noise

Electric tools tend to be quieter than their gasoline counterparts. An electric chainsaw, for example, doesn’t make any noise at all when it’s not actively cutting. Your ears (and your neighbors) will appreciate the diminished volume.

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Read more: On the fence about an electric chainsaw? Here are 6 reasons to pick one up.


Less maintenance

A huge advantage of electric tools is the reduced maintenance requirements compared to gasoline models. An electric motor doesn’t need oil changes, spark plugs or various filters. As much simpler machines, they save time for busy farmers.

Easy starting

The pull-cord starters often found on small gasoline engines can be difficult and frustrating to use. Fortunately, electric tools don’t need them!

Picture the ease of flipping a light switch. That’s the beauty of electricity, available at the push of a button.

Cons

Less power

Electric tools continually show improvement, that’s true. But as a general rule, they still lack the strength and power of gasoline models. These models may struggle under challenging circumstances (such as mowing an overgrown field or cutting a huge hardwood log into sections).

When using electric power, you may have to allot more time (and battery charges) to complete power-intensive projects.

Greater cost

While there are certainly exceptions, it’s generally accepted that quality electric tools will be more expensive than comparable gasoline counterparts. However, you may be able to offset this added upfront cost through reduced maintenance expenses in the long run.

May require extra batteries

When a gasoline engine runs out of fuel, you fill up the tank and it’s ready to go again. When a battery runs dry, it needs to be recharged. And that takes time.

To avoid running out of power in the middle of a project, you’ll need to keep multiple batteries on hand. You’ll also need to pay attention to keep them charged.


Read more: Here’s everything you need to know to get started with a log splitter.


Potentially reduced portability

Some electric tools are corded and draw their power from an electrical outlet. And that limits their portability.

Depending on the specific tool and project, this might not be an issue. But it’s hard to take a log splitter out to your woodlot if it’s a corded model designed for use near an electrical outlet.

The next time you’re ready to invest in new farm tools, consider whether electric options might suit your needs. If the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, why not give it a go?

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