To most gardeners, lawn mowers are noisy but necessary. But now there's an alternative: EcoBug, a new lawn mower from Ariens, while not as quiet as an electric, is much quieter than a typical gasoline-powered mower.
This mower is ideal for small to medium-sized lawns in suburban areas, or wherever noise restrictions apply. It's quieter than most mowers because the entire engine is covered with a dense, polymer-composite plastic, which muffles engine noise. The cover also means the engine is less prone to trapping dust and dirt, and so is less dirty to work with.
EcoBug is available as a self-propelled, walk-behind model (LM18S; $400) with a 4-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine. Cutting width is 18 inches, and a single-lever height adjustment allows mowing between 1-1/4 and 3-1/2 inches high. Use the EcoBug either as a mulching mower (return clippings to the lawn), or as a conventional model (collect clippings in the 2-cubic-foot, center-rear bagger).
The mower's light weight and convenient, foldable handles make it easy to use and store, but the reduced noise is its major benefit. EcoBug is available from Ariens dealers: (800) 678-5443, www.ariens.com.
Michael MacCaskey is a former editorial director at the National Gardening Association.