How Loud Is A Battery Powered Lawn Mower?

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2018-04-26 11:10:54

It’s hard to find information on just how loud a lithium-battery powered mower is compared to a gas-powered lawnmower.   There’s no standard for reporting the decibel levels generated by power equipment.  Manufacturers will often report their product sound levels from tests done in ideal conditions.  We here at WeedEaterGuides want to provide you with real-world results so you can make an educated buying decision.

How Loud Is It Walking Behind A Lithium Battery Lawn Mower?

While we have used many different mowers over the years, it wasn’t until recently that we began shooting videos of our reviews.  It’s amazing how technology has moved forward over the years – what used to take thousands of dollars of equipment can now be shot on a small GoPro Hero for under $300.  We are excited to be able to provide you with video proof of how loud a mower will be to you, a user, as you walk behind mowing your lawn.

Decibel Level Of a Black+Decker 20″ 40V MAX Lithium Grass Mower

In this particular non-scientific test, we measure the sound energy a mower operator would experience pushing the battery-powered lawn mower.  On this day, we measured 83 db near the handles. We didn’t try to measure it near the ear because that will be different for each person depending on how tall you are, how long your arms are, etc.  This means it’s actually quieter than 83db to the end user. I’m not going to try to explain exactly what that means.  This site does a much better job than I could ever do.

The important take away is 80 db is perceived by your brain as  two times as loud as 70db, which is two-times as loud as 60db, etc.  But the actual sound intensity is ten times as strong.  That’s right, a 90 db lawnmower is punishing your ears with 10 times as much sound “power” as an 80db battery mower.

Note:
Hearing damage is based on the sound intensity, not the perceived loudness.

While 83db isn’t quiet – it’s about as loud as standing by a highway with cars whizzing by – it’s generally considered to be safe for your hearing. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends workplace noise be kept under 85db for an 8-hour workday to minimize hearing damage.   Therefore, 83db probably doesn’t require hearing protection.  Of course, ear plugs wouldn’t hurt you, but you aren’t putting your hearing at risk using this mower without hearing protection.

Decibel Levels For A Gas Powered Mower

As I mentioned earlier, there is no real standard testing protocol for noise tests marketed by mower manufacturers.  A general rule of thumb is a gas powered mower requires hearing protection to operated safely.   Various tests I have done over the years place most mowers in the 90-105db range.  The good news is this has been dropping over the years – most gas-powered mowers today are in the low to mid 90db bucket.

There are also “quiet” gas mowers.  Craftsman in particular has a mower that is comparable to the Black+Decker model we tested.  This is an option if you care about your hearing but absolutely need a gas-powered motor.

You should be aware that this noise reduction in the gas powered lawnmowers came through engineering that reduces the cutting power of the mower.  The blade is also redesigned to make less noise – this also leads to a tradeoff in cutting ability.  Chances are these design changes won’t cause you any real problems unless your lawn is your life, but I’d hate for this to be disappointed in your mower because it’s not as powerful as your last gas-powered unit.

Summary

Most battery-powered mowers are quiet enough to use without hearing protection.   In our particular test, one could operate the mower without earplugs for over 6 hours before hearing damage would set in.

That’s not true of gas-powered mowers.  Repeated use of those devices without earplugs or other protection will damage your hearing over time.   This information should be an important part of your buying decision.  Remember, lawns are seasonal – your hearing is forever!

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