Choosing Electric Mower Storage For The Winter


In most parts of the United States and Canada, winter is a time for packing up most of your lawn care tools, including your lawnmower. Different people have various approaches when it comes to lawnmower storage, but what is the best way?

Electric Mower Storage can be safely done either indoors or outdoors depending on the precautions taken. Indoor storage offers protection from temperatures, moisture, theft, and accidents. Outdoor storage can afford the same protections if proper steps are taken.

This is what I aim to discover today, as I focus on how to properly shelter electric mowers for the long winter months. I also take a look at some of the best storage approaches for mowers and lawn tractors with electric or combustion engines. Let’s dive right in.

Can Electric Mowers Be Stored Outside?

Lawnmower storage is a matter of “different strokes for different folks”. 

Outside storage is not optimal for electric mowers. Some people opt for a designated tool shed, while others use their garages or even off-site storage facilities. Exposure to rain and extreme temperatures could cause parts to deteriorate or malfunction if left outside for prolonged periods.

There are ways to keep a mower outside to mitigate some of these issues, but there are a few definite obstacles that must be addressed.

Why Outside Storage For Electric Mowers Is Not The Best Solution

Some lawnmower owners simply keep their lawnmower outside when it’s not in use. This may be out of convenience, lack of storage space, or the sheer laziness we’re all guilty of from time to time.

Generally speaking, it is not advisable to store a lawnmower (electric or otherwise) outside, especially in the long term. There are several reasons why we would strongly advise against keeping your lawnmower outdoors.

The main reason is exposure to the elements. If the mower is subjected to extreme temperature changes day in and day out, for example, you may notice the paint job starting to chip off, which is annoying.

Rain And Electric Mowers Don’t Mix

If your mower is battery-powered, such conditions could accelerate the wear and tear on the power source, and you will have to replace it much earlier than anticipated.

The rain is also bad news for electric mowers. We all know that water and electronic components do not mix, even if they are labeled “water-resistant”. Again, batteries will most likely be affected negatively.

Water can also affect corded lawnmowers by collecting in sockets, which can impede performance or even create an electrocution risk for the operator!

Rain and snow are also the banes of several metallic components (decks, blades, etc.). Leaving your mower outside in wet conditions can lead to corrosion and rusting.

Rain Solution: Mower Covers For Your Electric Mower

There are some inexpensive mower covers that can combat many of the rain and snow issues that most electric mowers may face. Though these won’t control the temperature, it can mitigate the water problem.

There are covers for riding mowers as well as walk behind versions. You can also choose between brand names and simple covers that get the job done.

I would suggest this very affordable option for your push mower found here on Amazon.

For riding mowers, I would highly recommend this mower cover from Amazon.

Extreme Temperatures

Extremely cold weather can also disrupt the functioning of some of the lawnmower’s mechanics and electronics. Freezing and thawing though not immediately detrimental to most mowers can have long term effects on everything from wire casings to batteries.

Very hot temperature ranges can cause some weaker plastic parts to warp or even melt and wire casings to become thin. This is especially a problem if mowers are left in direct sun during the hottest parts of the day.

Both extremes of these temperatures, and especially years of alternating between the two, can shorten the mowers life span considerably.

Extreme Temperature Solution For Electric Mowers

For very cold temperatures, there really is not much that can be done other than shelter. Shelter alone will only help the situation slightly. Climate controlled indoor shelter is needed to completely alleviate the problem.

For heat, there is one solution that can cut the problem effectively in half. Shade of some sort to protect against the radiant heat of the sun can help lengthen the life of your electric mower tremendously.

To help with the second part, see my recommendations for covers above.

Security Concerns Of Outdoor Mower Storage

In addition to the risks posed by the elements, there are also security concerns. Keeping your lawnmower outside may leave it vulnerable to burglars on the prowl for an easy score. Mowers are hardly cheap and, even if yours is, it’s not something you want to be buying all the time. Even if you reside in a low-crime neighborhood, it’s not worth the risk.

Security Solutions For Your Outside Electric Mower Storage

Though a chain and lock may seem like a simple solution, it can sometimes be harder than it first seems. Getting a large enough chain and knowing what to attach it to is crucial.

Don’t simply chain the handle to a tree or fence post. A savvy thief can easily unhook the handle and slip off the chain. There will have to be something substantial to put the chain through to stop this type of crook.

Much like only chaining a bike tire with a good bicycle lock, thieves will just remove the bike from the tire and take off with the rest.

You may have to get creative with your expensive lawn tool and even consider drilling a hole in a portion of the mowing deck. This is one of the reasons that securing and protecting your mower outdoors is not optimal.

Safety Risks

Even more important than security is safety. This is especially important if you have kids, or frequently have friends’ or relatives’ children over. Unsupervised children can easily interpret an accessible lawnmower or tractor as a toy, and the potential consequences are unthinkable.

Lawnmowers are very dangerous tools and thousands of competent adults are seriously injured each year. These (and other) power tools must be kept away from children at all times.

The old saying holds true especially for children…

Out of sight, out of mind.

Now that we’ve addressed most of the problems, you must know that keeping your mower outside for a day/night or two probably won’t lead to any problems, provided it’s not raining or extremely cold. However, in the long term, you should go for a more reliable solution.

To read more about lawn mowers, I recommend my other articles…

Indoor Storage Options For Electric Mowers

Let’s look at a few of the most popular options for most homeowners and their mowers.

Storing Lawn Equipment In The Trusty Garden Shed

For most owners, a designated tool shed is the best place to store a lawnmower. Closed sheds are typically the best choice because they offer protection from the elements and would-be thieves. Open-air sheds can at least shelter your machine from the sun and the rain, but they will do very little against the cold or burglars.

Garage Storage For Electric Mowers

Garages are arguably the most popular storage option for most mower owners. Some homeowners do not have sheds, so they have to make do with their garage. Additionally, a lot of suburban residents park their cars out front or on their driveways, which leaves loads of vacant space in the garage. 

The garage has the convenience of being right next to your house as well as being secure and sheltered from the sun, rain, or cold. However, you must ensure that your mower is always tucked away safely, as it can easily become a tripping hazard in the dark.

Electric Mowers In Storage Facilities

Another way of securely storing your lawnmower is to take it to a storage facility. These companies offer highly secure storage units that have all the benefits of a garage or closed shed. The security offered by a storage facility is arguably greater than that of the other storage methods because security is one of the ways these companies maintain their reputations.

Prepare Electric Lawn Mowers For Winter Storage

Regardless of which long-term storage method you use, it is highly recommended that you remove your mower’s battery if it is battery powered of course. The battery must be charged and stored in a cool, dry, and dust-free place to keep it from getting drained.

It’s also a good idea to store the mower a few feet off the ground in case of flooding. You should also cover your mower with a tarp to protect against dust.

How Do You Store An Electric Mower Inside Or Outside For The Winter?

As we’ve established, the outdoors is not the best storage solution for lawnmowers, especially in winter. However, due to a number of circumstances, this is not always avoidable.

A heavy-duty tarp is a must for any mower or tractor. The tarp must cover the entire machine and it must be completely waterproof. You will have to inspect the tarp from time to time to ensure there are no holes.

Or you can see my dedicated mower cover suggestions above.

The mower must also be elevated so it never has to sit in water or snow. You must also clean the machine and remove all dirt, debris, and clippings to protect it from corrosion.

Corded electric mowers should have their cords wound up neatly. Battery-powered machines should be charged and have their batteries removed for indoor storage.

Combustion mowers should be “winterized” to prepare them for the long cold months. This process involves:

  • Draining all fluids including oil and gas
  • Replacing or cleaning air filters
  • Disconnecting sparkplugs
  • Removal of battery (for riding mowers)

And this checklist for gas powered mowers gets to be much more extensive than for electric mowers.

Why Electric Lawn Mowers Are Easier To Store Than Gas Powered

The number one thing that troubles most gas powered mower owners are the petroleum products they require.

You should not leave gas in your lawnmower over the winter. This is especially true for low-octane gas and ethanol blends.

You see, gasoline has a limited shelf-life and it is always undergoing a series of chemical reactions. Water is a common product of these reactions and, over time, this water can have a serious corrosive impact on the machine’s fuel system. This corrosion can even lead to fuel leaks, especially if the mower is quite old.

Leaky fuel is not only a fire hazard, but it also releases fumes. These fumes are particularly harmful in enclosed spaces.

Before you put your mower away for an extended period, you must drain it of all fuel. This can be done easily using a siphoning pump and, afterward, running the mower until it won’t start.

You can also add fuel stabilizer to your tank to cut down on the chemical reactions.

What does all of this spell? A-Pain-In-The-Neck.

Electric mowers don’t have to deal with oil changes, fuel storage requirements, and other problems of a combustion engine.

The Final Touches On Electric Mower Storage For The Winter…

Whether you choose to store your mower inside (the easiest option if you have the space) or outside (the riskier option, but one that can be managed), proper maintenance and preparation is key.

In both scenarios you are trying to limit your machine’s exposure to the elements. This will potentially give your machine many more productive years.

Whichever you choose, if you take care of your mower, it will take better care of your lawn.

To see more articles that you will like, see my others here…

References

https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/11/five-tips-for-storing-your-lawn-mower-this-winter/

Mathew Booe

Mathew has worked in landscaping professionally for over 10 years. He is a grandpa and frequently interviews other experienced landscapers and lawn care experts who are also grandpas for these articles.

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