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California will ban gas-powered leaf blowers. Are electric models quieter?
 
 

It's time to upgrade your outdoor gardening equipment to battery power. That's great news for the environment, but what about your ears?

Over the weekend California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a plan to ban the sale of gas-powered lawn and garden equipment throughout the state. It'll go into effect for small off-road engine equipment like leaf blowers and lawn mowers by 2024.

To help persuade people to go electric when it comes to lawn and garden supplies the state will offer some sort of rebate. But the environmental benefits should be encouragement enough. According to state legislators, equipment like leaf blowers emitted more daily pollutants than passenger cars throughout 2020.

Purchasing guide Consumer Reports performs annual tests with different types of leaf blowers and lawn mowers. Its most recent guide to blowers, which was last updated on October 5th, found that handheld battery-powered options only lasted for up to 15 minutes between charges. But the noise reduction is worth it.

"Our tests show gas mowers are much noisier than their battery-powered counterparts. Nearly all the gas-powered machines we tested emitted more than 85 decibels at the user's ear, and only a few were somewhat quieter," as explained in the buying guide.

Though be warned: you might still benefit from a pair of earplugs since, as the guide says, "blowers that are relatively quiet at a distance can prove to be deafening up close." In other words, using your battery-powered blower will spare your neighbors some decibels, but not necessarily yourself.

Honda has a robotic electric lawn mower, Miimo, that has a lithium-ion rechargeable battery. The Honda website notes that the electric power is quiet and cost-efficient. It even comes with a quiet mode option for even quieter nighttime or early morning mowing.

Back at Consumer Reports they've thought a lot about noisy yard tools. They've even compiled a list of the quietest ones, and ” surprise, surprise ” the least noisy are the electric options, either handheld or corded. This holds true for all types of equipment beyond leaf blowers like weed whackers and lawn mowers.

A happy lawn is a quiet lawn.

 
 
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