Do Lawn Mowers Have Alternators?

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Maintaining a lush green lawn requires a lot of work, and a well-functioning lawnmower is crucial to keep the grass neat and tidy.

But have you ever wondered how lawnmowers generate the electricity needed to power their features such as lights, electronic ignition, and even blades?

Many different types of engines use an alternator. This is a device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. Alternators are commonly used in cars but do lawnmowers have them too?

In this article, we’ll explore whether lawnmowers have alternators. We’ll look at which lawnmowers do have alternators and why others don’t. We’ll answer all of your questions about lawnmowers and alternators.

Let’s get started!

Lawnmowers And Alternators 

First, let’s address whether lawnmowers do indeed have alternators. It may surprise you to know that there isn’t a simple answer to this question because it all depends on what type of lawnmower you have.

Basically, riding mowers have alternators but lawnmowers that you push and walk behind do not have alternators.

Riding mowers need alternators because of how they work. They have an electrical system that is connected to their gas-fueled engines and this is why they need an alternator.

In contrast, any push lawnmower that has a source of power relies on either a rechargeable battery or a combustion engine for its power. It doesn’t need an alternator to convert any more electrical energy.

Of course, manual lawnmowers that have no engine or batteries have no need for an alternator either!

What Do Alternators Do On A Lawnmower?

On lawnmowers that have an alternator, the alternator serves to charge the battery. There are many different systems on a riding mower that need an electrical supply such as the ignition, clutch, and headlights.

This puts a great deal of stress on the battery and without an alternator, the battery would not last very long.

The alternator helps the battery do its job by providing the electricity the engine needs. It links into the spark plugs and without the spark plugs working correctly, the gas engine won’t ignite and the lawnmower won’t function as it should.

Where Is An Alternator Located?

If you need to find the alternator on your riding mower, then they are generally in the same place. You’ll find the alternator underneath the engine cover or hood cover of your lawnmower where it is protected and out of the way.

However, you will need to take into account whether your riding mower uses a belt-driven alternator or a stator. The exact position and look of the alternator will be different depending on the type of lawnmower you have.

Let’s take a closer look.

Belt-Drive Alternator

Do Lawn Mowers Have Alternators?

The alternator in a belt-drive lawnmower is easier to find than the alternator in a stator lawnmower. You will find the alternator in the engine compartment where it is connected to the engine itself.

With this type of alternator, a belt from the engine is connected to the pulley fixed on the outside of the housing of the alternator. This belt turns the pulley to generate electricity.

When you open up the engine compartment, take a look at the side of the engine. This is the most typical place for an alternator although in rare cases it can be at the top or the bottom.


Unfortunately, the alternator on a lawnmower with a stator is a little harder to find as it is typically hidden behind several more parts. It’s still in the engine compartment so this is where you should look.

Instead of being neatly and easily attached to the engine, however, the alternator on a stator lawnmower is usually hidden underneath the flywheel. Getting access to the flywheel isn’t always the easiest task as you will normally need to remove several parts first.

Depending on how your lawnmower is arranged, you may have to remove the flywheel fan, air filter, or blower housing.

You won’t be able to get to the alternator without removing the flywheel first. Identifying the alternator, however, may not be as straightforward as knowing where it is.

How To Identify Your Alternator

The look of the alternator will differ slightly between the two types of lawnmowers as well.

Belt-Driven Alternators

The alternator on this style of lawnmower is relatively easy to identify. The easiest way to find it is by looking for the belt that extends from the engine and the pulley it is attached to. The pulley is attached to the alternator.

The alternator should have a round housing made from aluminum. There will be open ridges all around the alternator.


The alternator on this type of lawnmower is very easy to identify if you know what you are looking for. They’re very distinct!

The alternator is a metal ring that is around four to five inches in diameter and around an inch thick. It has lots of copper wire wrapped around points on the outside of the ring and this can make the alternator easy to spot from certain angles. 

You might also be able to spot the wiring that leads from the alternator. There are two wires that are joined together that protrude from the outside of the ring.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we answered the question of whether lawnmowers have alternators. We explained that riding mowers do have alternators as they have many different systems that need electricity and a battery alone will struggle to supply these systems.

The alternator on a lawnmower helps to produce the electricity needed and aids the spark plugs in making the engine work.

Finding an alternator on a lawnmower depends on what type of alternator you have. They can broadly be separated into two types known as belt-driven alternators and stators. Belt-driven alternators are easier to find and identify than stator types.

We hope that this article answered all of your questions about lawnmowers and alternators!

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