Alternators are a vital component in the charging of lawn mower batteries. Simply put, alternators act as generators of electricity by using mechanical energy to produce electrical energy. Thanks to the alternators in a car, for example, you can use the headlights or listen to the radio.

Do not mistake the work of the alternator with that of the battery; the batteries in a car mainly function to provide electricity when the engine is off. So, do lawnmowers have alternators?

Some types of mowers have alternators while others don’t. In this guide, you will learn the types of mowers that have this component and why other types are not equipped with it.

Do Lawn Mowers Have Alternators? – (Explained!)

Some Lawn Mowers are equipped with an alternator while others are not. For Instance, Reel lawnmowers do not have an alternator. This is because they do not have an engine. On the other hand, although walk-behind mowers have a motor, they lack an alternator. Conversely, a riding lawn mower has an alternator in its engine. Only riding lawnmowers have alternators. This is because they function with an electrical system that directly connects to the mower’s gas engines.

An alternator helps maintain the battery power levels in a lawn mower. Immediately after you turn off the mower’s ignition key, the alternator starts powering the battery. This mechanism is important in keeping your lawn care equipment operational. 

Remember that not all lawnmowers come with an alternator. Firstly, the push and petrol-powered mowers do not have an alternator. This is because these types of mowers require quite less energy and can do without this additional component.

For instance, push mowers solely depend on physical energy to move around. Similarly, gas-powered mowers get the necessary energy from the fuel. As you see, these two types of mowers have a source they depend on for the necessary energy requirement and thus do not need an alternator.

Do Lawn Mowers Have Alternators?

However, riding lawnmowers requires a battery to power their headlights, electric clutches, and starters, among other components. If the alternator maintains the battery power levels, then ride-on mowers need to have alternators. In other words, without the alternator, your lawn mower battery will be dead after a short while.

An alternator can charge a lawn mower battery using the following charging systems:

  • Belt-driven Alternator: It is a charging system that generates its energy from the turning of the belt. As the belt moves, the alternator in turn generates energy to recharge the battery.
  • Stator Alternator: In a riding lawn mower, the stator is usually underneath the flywheel. The alternator uses the power generated by the stator to charge the lawn mower battery.

Alternators by Mowers Types

You already know by now that alternators are found in some mowers while they are absent in others. The type of lawn mower determines whether it has an alternator or not.

  • Reel lawn Mowers

Reel mowers depend on sheer human force to operate. As such, this type of lawn mower does not have an alternator. Reel mowers do not have an engine. All you need to do is to push your mower across the turf. The mower has a spinning cylinder that grabs onto the grass blades and holds them against a cutting blade.

  • Walk Behind Mowers

In the same vein, push mowers do not have an alternator. On one hand, gas-powered mowers rely on an internal combustion engine to produce energy. Besides, these mowers use a mechanism where an air-fuel mixture jets into the combustion chamber for optimal operation of the machine.

On the other hand, electric mowers have rechargeable batteries to aid in the spinning of the blade. Note that push lawnmowers need human force to move forward or backwards. As such, they do not require as much energy as a riding lawn mower.

  • Riding Mowers

Riding lawnmowers are designed for large lawns. Imagine you are a landscaper working on acres of lawn with a push mower – it would take days, not to mention how exhausted you’d be! With a riding lawn mower, you can mow large parcels in no time.

For this reason, riding lawnmowers have alternators to power their powerful engines.

How Do You Check The Alternator On A Lawn Mower?

Does your lawn mower battery keep cutting out or going dead? Then the alternator could be faulty. Other signs to indicate a bad alternator is if the battery keeps losing charge or if your lawn mower suddenly cuts out. Thankfully, if you have your suspicions, there are a couple of ways to check whether your lawn mower alternator is faulty.

1. Test Your Mower’s Headlights

The easiest way to check if your lawn mower’s alternator is in good shape is by testing the mower’s headlights. The first step is to turn on your mower. While the mower is running, ensure you turn on the headlights. While the lawn mower is running, turn off the engine while the lights are still on. If the lights dim, the alternator is okay. Otherwise, the alternator is faulty.

2. Inspect The Alternator Under The Flywheel

Another alternative is to remove the flywheel and inspect the alternator to make sure it is working just fine. Note that you can only use this method if your lawn mower has a stator alternator. Upon removing the flywheel, you should look for burnt-out coils (for fixed alternators) or uneven tear and wear or mounting (for non-fixed alternators).

3. Use a Multimeter To Test Your Engine

Better still, if you are still unsure of the condition of your mower’s alternator, you can test it with a multimeter:

  • The first step is to attach a multi-tester to your mower’s battery
  • Secondly, connect the black wire of the multimeter to the positive terminal of the battery
  • Next, the other end should be connected to the COM port on your device
  • Proceed by connecting the red wire of your multimeter to the AMP port
  • Finally, turn the mower on and let the engine run for a couple of minutes and observe the readings

Compare your findings with those of the manufacturer. A lower reading than that on your manual guide indicates that your alternator has a problem. 

How Do I Know If I Have a Bad Alternator?

When your lawnmower won’t start, the first thing that comes into your mind is that you have a faulty battery. However, that is not always the case as his reaction can also mean that there is a problem with the alternator. Sometimes, you might even need to replace the alternator.

Here are the signs that will help you know that your mower has a bad alternator:

1. The Battery Keeps Going Dead

If your alternator is not working well, your mower battery can’t charge. Besides, if you notice that you have to constantly charge your battery, the alternator could be faulty. Another sign to sniff out a faulty alternator is your lawn mower battery going off shortly after recharging.

2. Trouble Starting Your lawn mower

If you notice that your lawn mower won’t start even after fully charging the battery, then the alternator may be the culprit. Moreover, you have to ensure that your mower has enough fuel before drawing your conclusion. Simply put, if it is not a spark malfunction, it is most likely an alternator problem. 

3. Unexpected Stalling

As your lawn mower’s source of energy, the alternator powers the spark plug that ignites the fuel in your lawn mower engine. If the power supply to the spark plug is cut off at any moment, the combustion suddenly stops, causing your lawn mower to stall out of nowhere.

As such if your mower suddenly dies while working on your lawn, ensure you check on the alternator. Nevertheless, you must first ensure that the fuel in it is enough. If so, let the engine cool off and check whether the alternator is damaged.

Do Zero Turn Mowers Have Alternators?

Yes, a zero-turn mower has an alternator. Unlike other types of mowers, you can locate the engine on a zero-turn lawn mower at the back of the mower.

The alternator is either belt-driven or stator. To identify if your zero-turn mower has a belt-driven alternator, check the side of the engine.

The alternator should be attached there. If not, you’ll need to check the stator. To do so, however, you have to remove the flywheel.

Does A Craftsman Lawn Mower Have An Alternator?

Yes, a craftsman lawn mower has an alternator. The alternator not only functions to provide power to the battery while the mower is on but recharges it as well. 


In a nutshell, only riding lawnmowers have alternators. Push or gas-powered mowers do not have alternators. This is because riding lawnmowers require a more powerful engine than other types.

Riding mowers have a lot of components that need energy to power including headlights and electric clutches. What’s more, they cover more ground while in use and are ideal for large-scale landscapers.

So the answer as to whether your lawn mower has an alternator depends on the type of mower you have. Hopefully, this article has shed some light on lawn mower alternators.

Other Related Guides:

Victoria Peterson

I am a passionate gardener who wants to help you create and maintain your dream yard. I know that it can be daunting to take on a project like this, but I am here to help. I have been gardening for years and have learned a lot along the way. I want to share my knowledge with you and help you create the perfect yard for your home.

Write A Comment