How to buy the best cordless electric lawn mower


In many ways a cordless electric lawn mower gives you the best of both worlds when you are looking to select the best lawn mower.

With a cordless lawn mower you get the flexibility and freedom of movement associated with gas powered lawn mower models, but the quietness and environmental soundness found in the the electric lawn mower category.

How does a cordless electric lawn mower work?

The essence of the cordless lawn mower is that it is operated by a rechargeable battery. So you’ll often see one of these models referred to as a battery powered lawn mower, a battery operated lawn mower or a rechargeable mower.

The battery provides the power to spin the cutting blade and, in self-propelled models, to drive the front or rear wheels.

Size and power of cordless electric lawn mowers

Cordless electric lawn mowers come with 20 to 80 volt battery packs. Some of the leading brands are introducing higher powered batteries all the time and/or including multiple separately rechargeable batteries in the pack.

Although the amount of power each battery size can actually deliver depends on a number of variables, such as grass conditions and the design of the mower, generally a battery with higher voltage will get you more power and a longer run time.

Manufacturers will reference run times for their batteries of up to 60 mins, but this is usually based on optimum conditions, e.g. short dry grass on a flat lawn. Realistic run times are between 25 and 45 minutes. So if you have a large lawn (more than 150 square metres) look out for longer run times or get a spare battery back.

The other important size consideration with cordless electric mowers is the cutting width. Obviously, the bigger the cutting width, the more grass you cut with each pass of the mower. So, if you have a bigger lawn area to cut, look out for mowers with greater cutting width.

Overall the largest cordless mowers are generally smaller than the largest gas powered mowers. Cordless mowers typically have cutting widths between 18 inches (45.5cm) and 21 inches (53cm).

Greenworks 18 inch, 24 volt cordless electric mower

Types of cordless electric lawn mowers

Cordless electric mowers vary according to:

  • Battery size
  • Whether they are self-propelled or not
  • Grass discharge options
  • Cutting widths.

In self-propelled models the battery drives the wheels as well as the blade. So, these models take the effort out of mowing. This is good if you are not especially powerful yourself or if you have large mowing areas to contend with.

Grass discharge may be by way of mulching, bagging or side/rear discharge of clippings. We look at the pros and cons of these different capabilities here. But in short:

  • mulching means the clippings are chopped up small and distributed back on the lawn
  • bagging means the clippings are directed in to a collection bag, which needs emptying from time to time, and
  • side or rear discharge means the clippings are fire out of the side or rear of the mower to be left where they fall or swept up later.

How do cordless electric lawn mowers compare to other types of lawn mowers?

Cordless mowers have all the advantages that corded electric lawn mowers have over gas mowers – and then some.

They are good for the environment, good for your relations with your neighbors (they’re quiet) and very easy to use and operate.

You need to make sure they are properly charged, but other than that they’ll work on demand with little in the way of upkeep to be done.

Of course they are not as powerful as gas powered mowers and are not suitable for cutting long and/or very lush grass, or very large lawns (unless you have multiple batteries that you can interchange).

They have the obvious major advantage over corded models that you can use them anywhere without the need for an electric power source.

On the downside, though, even the best models won’t run for more than a hour or so at most and re-charging fully can take up to 12 hours, although some models have quick charging options that will restore charge in 45 minutes to an hour.


Cordless mowers are also more expensive than corded models (similar in price to gas powered mowers) and can also be heavier heavier because of the weight of battery, although these days manufacturers are finding ways to make cordless lawn mowers much lighter than they were.

For example, the Black and Decker 20 inch 40V Max cordless mower weighs 47 pounds where as an earlier Black and Decker model the the CM1936 19 inch 36 volt cordless electric mower weighed 72 pounds.

Features to look out for in cordless electric lawn mowers

Batteries

The heart of the cordless electric mower is the battery, so look for power and quality there.

Most models these days have Lithium-Ion batteries. Avoid older models with Nicad (Nickle-Cadmium) batteries as they don’t hold a charge as well as the others and fade as the charge dissipates.

Some models have fixed batteries, but increasingly manufactures are making models with batteries that can be removed for re-charging. Often, the batteries are interchangeable with other power tools that that manufactures sells, so technically you only need have one battery because it can be used with all compatible tools. Greenworks, for example, advertises “one battery – 60 tools”.

However, it is usually a good idea to have more than one battery, so that you can keep one on charge while the other is being used, or, if you are using multiple compatible tools, you can use more than one at the same time.

Bear in mind that no battery will last indefinitely, though you should be able to get 500 recharges out of a good one.

Drive

Given the added weight of cordless electric mowers, the self-propelled capability is likely to be preferable, especially if you have any inclines to mow.

Some models have a fixed drive speed, others a variable speed. Some even adjust speed automatically to match your walking pace.

Power Indicator

It’s useful to have a power indicator light to alert you to the battery’s level of charge.

Grass Discharge

This is discussed above, but be alive to the fact that some discharge options may require added extras, e.g. mulching inserts or side discharge chutes, that have to be purchased separately.

It’s worth noting that mulching takes more power from the battery than bagging, so you’ll cover less ground in one charge when mulching than you will using the other options.

Adjustability

Is there such a word?

If not, there should be. In this context I’m referring to the capacity to adjust cutting height easily and to set handle heights and angles that are suitable for the operator. The more adjustability the better!

Storage

The handles on many models can be folded down for ease of storage. But remember, these things can be pretty weighty, so they’re not as easy to swing around your garage as other types of mower.

Lawn that would suit cordless electric lawn mower
my former garden – ideal for a cordless electric lawn mower

Best uses for cordless electric lawn mowers

A cordless electric mower will suit you if:

  • You have a small to medium size yard to mow
  • You have trees, shrubs or other obstacles to mow around
  • You don’t have slopes or hills to mow
  • You are reasonably strong
  • You can get your mowing chores done in about an hour and half (or you have a spare battery)
  • You want an environmentally friendly option
  • You want a quiet option
  • You want a low maintenance option
  • You want to avoid petrol/gas, oil and electric cords
  • You don’t have especially lush grass
  • You don’t leave your grass to grow long between mowings.

Best selling cordless electric mowers

Here are some current best selling options.

Kobalt 80-Volt Max Brushless Lithium Ion Self-propelled 21-in Cordless Electric Lawn Mower (No Battery or Charger, Mower Only)
  • Self-propelled via rear-wheel drive, with variable speed control to help set the perfect pace
  • Collapsible handle allows for convenient vertical storage just about anywhere
  • Auto-sensing technology automatically adjusts motor performance for greater power or runtime based on changing grass conditions from area to area
  • Single-lever height adjustment lets you choose from 7 separate height adjustments; Brushless motor provides more power and torque
  • 3 Cutting options 1 design – rear bag, mulch, or side discharge
Sale
Greenworks Pro 80V 21" Brushless Cordless Lawn Mower, (2) 2.0Ah Batteries and 30 Minute Rapid Charger Included
  • NEVER STOP CUTTING. Up to 60 minutes of run time with 2 fully charged 2.0AH Battery
  • 2.0Ah battery and charger included. Front wheels: 7 Inch
  • Brushless motors are more reliable and delivers gas equivalent performance to a 160cc gas engine
  • Smart Cut Load sensing technology
  • 3-in-1 Mulch, rear bag, and side discharge
Sale
Greenworks Pro 80V 21" Brushless Cordless Lawn Mower, 4.0Ah Battery and 60 Minute Rapid Charger Included
  • Up to 60 minutes run-time with fully charged 4.0Ah battery. Run-time varies based on grass condition and operator technique.
  • Highly efficient brushless motor provides more torque, quiet operation, and longer life.
  • Durable 21" cutting deck gets the job done quicker and more efficiently.
  • 3-In-1 system: mulch, rear bagging, and side discharge.
  • Single lever 7-position height adjustment for the best cut in all grass conditions.
EGO Power+ LM2142SP 21-Inch 56-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Electric Dual-Port Walk Behind Self Propelled Lawn Mower with Two 5.0 Ah Batteries & Charger Included
  • PeakPower technology allows for combined power of any 2 EGO ARC Lithium batteries
  • Up to 80 minutes of run time on single charge with two included 56V 5. 0 Ah ARC Lithium batteries
  • High-efficiency brushless motor
  • Variable Speed Self-Propel: 0.9 MPH – 3. 1 MPH
  • 6-position cutting height adjustments: 1. 5"- 4"
Sale
Greenworks 40V 21" Cordless Brushless Push Mower, 5.0Ah USB Battery and Charger Included
  • Greenworks 40V brushless mower provides up to 60 minutes run-time with fully charged 5Ah battery. Run-time varies based on grass condition and operator technique
  • Durable 21" steel deck allows you to handle large areas of grass quickly and easily. Brushless motor provides more torque, quiet operation, and longer life
  • Dual battery port design enables one battery to be stored while the other fuels the mower, saving you a trip to the garage
  • 3-In-1 design allows you to mulch, rear bag, or side discharge your grass clippings. Use up to 70% less space in your garage with the vertical storage feature
  • 7 position single lever height adjustment for quick and easy adjustments
Greenworks 40V 17" (2-In-1) Push Lawn Mower, 4.0Ah Battery and Charger Included
  • CORDLESS LAWN MOWER – Get more done, faster, with Greenworks electric lawn mowers. This 40V push mower provides up to 45 minutes of run-time on a fully charged 4.0Ah battery (varies based on grass condition and operator technique)
  • DURABLE / LIGHTWEIGHT 17” POLY DECK – The 17” poly deck allows you to handle large areas of grass quickly and easily
  • VERSATILE – Single lever, 5-position height adjustment for the best cut in all environments. The 2-in-1 design allows you to mulch, and rear bag grass clippings
  • MAINTENANCE FREE – This push lawn mower is virtually maintenance free, with no gas, no oil, and no emissions. Push button start, quiet operation, and delivers gas-like performance
Sale
Worx WG779 40V Power Share 4.0Ah 14" Cordless Lawn Mower (Batteries & Charger Included)
  • [6 HEIGHT ADJUSTMENTS] A single lever lets you set the height you want to cut your lawn, depending on the season, or just your preference
  • [INTELLICUT] feature provides torque on demand for tougher conditions
  • [SAME BATTERY, EXPANDABLE POWER] Worx Power Share is compatible with all Worx 20v and 40v tools, outdoor power and lifestyle products
  • [MULCH OR BAG] This 2-in-1 mower lets you bag it up, or mulch your grass back into the ground, it’s up to you
  • [BATTERY METER] The on-board battery charge indicator lets you know exactly how much juice you have left before you need to head back to the garage

Summing up

I like cordless outdoor power equipment more and more.

If I was satisfied that I wouldn’t need a gas mower for the extra power and the extra operating time, I’d be quite happy to buy a cordless electric mower.

Unless I had a really small and easy to cut lawn, I think I’d always be willing to stump up the extra cash for a cordless mower instead of a corded mower.

Not sure if you need a cordless mower? Just beginning your lawn mower research? Start with our definitive guide on how to buy the best lawn mower.


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