Electric Lawn Mowers Review
Why Buy an Electric Lawn Mower?
The top performers in our review are the EGO LM2102SP, the Gold Award winner; the Kobalt 80-Volt Cordless Mower, the Silver Award winner; and the Ryobi 40-Volt Cordless Mower, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing an electric lawn mower to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of the top 10 machines.
Traditional gas-powered lawn mowers take up a lot of room in your garage or shed, require yearly maintenance, and consume a lot of gas and oil. They can also be very noisy and produce emissions. Fortunately, recent advances in cordless technology now place electric lawn mowers on par with their gas-powered counterparts when it comes to cutting power.
Battery-powered lawn mowers can create the crisp, clean cuts gas-powered motors provide but without the hassle and mess of buying fuel, not to mention the fumes that gas models emit. Small electric lawn mowers take up less space in your garage, which allows more room for your car or other gadgets. Other benefits of electric mowers include a no-pull cord start, noise levels that are nearly half that of gas mowers, and lower long-term costs such as buying gas, oil and yearly maintenance.
Electric Lawn Mowers: What We Tested, What We Found
While there are many reasons to choose an electric lawn mower, if you are unsure of what to look for, finding the best model can be challenging. Here are some things to keep in mind as you shop:
The most important consideration when buying an electric lawn mower is power because the last thing you want to do is stop and wait for your mower’s battery to recharge after you've already mowed half of your yard. Our in-house team of experts tested each of the electric mowers on our lineup. We measured the average battery run time, taking into account how long the mower lasts on a full charge and how long it takes to recharge the battery or batteries.
Electric lawn mowers don't operate as long as gas lawn mowers – a gas mower can run as long as there is fuel in the tank, but an electric lawn mower’s battery life is limited. In our tests, some batteries lasted 40 minutes while others lasted 70 minutes.
Manufacturers look for creative ways to compensate for battery life. Some models come with two batteries, though you should keep in mind that an extra battery doesn't always mean a longer run time. There is one useful feature that comes with all of the mowers we reviewed: a battery indicator, which lets you know just how much power you have left before the battery needs to be recharged.
Our tests also revealed that higher-voltage batteries create stronger torque and a smoother cut. This means that when cutting thick grass, the lawn mower doesn’t use more power from the engine and battery than it does for thin grass, and it still delivers an even cut.
When evaluating an electric lawn mower, also pay attention to the optimal yard size. This is a specification provided by the manufacturer that lists the size of yard the mower is best suited for. The best electric lawn mowers can mow up to 1/3 of an acre on a full charge; other models, however, aren’t recommended for yards bigger than 1/4 of an acre. Of course other factors, such as hills and tough weeds, can drain the battery faster, so keep your yard conditions in mind as you choose a lawn mower.
Besides power, we tested each machine’s performance on different grass lengths and evaluated the convenience features you are most likely to find on a battery-powered mower. These convenience features include self-propulsion, height adjustment with a single lever and the option to mulch grass clippings. These features eliminate stress and strain on your body and can be better for your lawn. Be sure to check our matrix to compare each model’s convenience features to find a mower with the exact ones you want.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate products in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of the typical consumer. Each of the mowers on our lineup were purchased, and our testers offered unbiased results based on a range of tests. The manufacturers had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.
What Else Is Important in Selecting an Electric Lawn Mower?
In addition to power and performance, here are some other items to consider:
Mower Design: How Easy Is It to Move the Lawn Mower Around?
While all lawn mowers are built to perform the same function, electric lawn mowers are designed different than gas-powered ones. Gas mowers tend to be made primarily of metal to accommodate bulky engines and gas tanks. Because their engines aren’t as large and they typically use batteries that weigh under 3 pounds, cordless electric lawn mowers tend to be made from plastic (natural) or polymer (synthetic) materials. As a result, they usually weigh half as much as a gas mower. Even electric models that are made from steel have the advantage of a lighter engine.
A heavier lawn mower can be difficult for homeowners who may have physical limitations, including older adults. Large wheels make it easier to turn the mower, so consider the wheel size too, especially if you have a big yard.
In addition to the size of your lawn, consider its shape. If you have a small yard with plenty of shrubbery or trees to cut around, you probably want a mower with a narrow cutting path. Large, rectangular or square lawns, on the other hand, benefit from a mower with a wide cutting path. The best electric lawn mowers for large yards have an average cutting path of 20 inches. Remember: the wider the path, the fewer passes needed to finish the job.
Warranty & Support: Can I Get Help If Something Goes Wrong?
High-quality support for an electric lawn mower is important since grass continues to grow whether your mower is functioning or not. The companies we reviewed all provide good support, though some do better than others. Check our matrix to see which of the companies on our lineup offer timely email and phone support, convenient service center locations, and thorough information to help you get the most out of your mower.
Electric Lawn Mowers: Our Verdict & Recommendations
After thoroughly testing each of the lawn mowers in our review, three models emerged as our winners:
The EGO LM2102SP earned the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for its performance. Of the 10 electric lawnmowers we tested, it has the widest cutting path. In addition, the battery has a rapid 40-minute recharge time, the fastest recharge time of all of the batteries we tested.
The Kobalt 40-Volt Cordless Mower, the Silver Award winner, was one of the best performers in terms of power. Its dual-battery design ran for over an hour without adding a lot of weight.
The Bronze Award winner, the Ryobi 40-Volt Brushless Cordless Mower, received high marks for customer service and an exceptional five-year warranty. However, it lacks both self-propulsion and a side discharge for cut grass.
An electric lawn mower is an eco-friendly alternative to a gas-powered mower. They're quieter, require little to no upkeep and cut thick grass as efficiently as a gas lawn mower. Finding the right electric lawn mower for your yard doesn't have to be a chore; review our product matrix and then read our product reviews to help determine which one is right for your lawn-cutting needs.
Contributing Reviewer: Renee Shipley