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Best Battery Powered & Corded Electric Lawn Mower Reviews

battery powered electric lawn mower on small lawn

** This post was updated on: July 1, 2018 ***

Are you looking for a quieter more eco friendly way to mow your lawn?  Or perhaps you're tired of dealing with the maintenance, fuel, and oil required by a gas-powered mower?

Whatever your particular situation, there are electric options out there that offer less noise, less maintenance, lower cost of ownership, and are MORE user friendly.

In this post I'm taking a look at the best electric lawn mowers on the market.  I'll review them based on their cutting power, features, charge duration, and overall ease of use.

I'll also discuss some of the disadvantages of electric mowers.  It's not all roses when it comes to electric and battery powered lawn equipment.  I'll separate the hype from the real world performance to help you determine if an electric model is your best option.

By the time you're done reading you'll know (a) if an electric is a good solution for your yard and (b) which model is the best suited for your needs.

Best Electric Lawn Mower Reviews 2018

top rated electric lawn mowers

There are two primary types of electric mowers: battery-powered and corded.  The results have been separated based on these two categories.

We'll cover power output, weight, durability, deck size, cutting height, and a few other important factors that helped us determine which is the best electric mower for the money.

As they are MUCH more convenient, I'll highlight the best battery powered electric mowers first.  All of the cordless mowers covered use lithium-ion batteries and brushless electric motors as they offer huge advantages in:

  • power output
  • time to charge
  • usage time
  • battery usage efficiency

#1. GreenWorks G-MAX PRO 80V 21-Inch Battery-Powered Lawn Mower

Up until recently the number one spot in this comparison was held by the EGO Power+ (now #3). But after getting the chance to use the GreenWorks G-Max PRO 80V a change was in order.

Along with our second place choice, the Snapper XD, the GreenWorks G-Max offers VERY impressive performance.  In fact it's the closest thing to a gas-powered mower that I've used to date.

The basis of all this power is an 80V lithium-ion battery system.  This same system is compatible with all the products across the GreenWorks PRO line. 

The G-MAX PRO comes with two 2.0Ah batteries and easily handled our 1/2+ acre yard with plenty of charge remaining.

Like most mowers in this price category, the G-MAX PRO uses a brushless electric motor for excellent torque, reliability and, of course, battery efficiency.

The G-MAX offers bagging, mulching, and side-discharge options.  With all this functionality, you'll never miss the oil changes, noise, and gas fumes of your old gas-powered mower.  

The Pros

I was very impressed with both the mulching and bagging functions.  The G-MAX PRO had no problems with the vast majority of our lawn. 

There are a few places that grow pretty thick and these required a second pass when bagging, but even my old gas mower sometimes struggled in these areas.

While the GreenWorks offers slightly less power than the 82V Snapper, I was blown away by it's performance.  it comes in at 28lbs lighter and offers similar run-time.  It's as close to a gas mower as anything I've tested.

While just about every electric mower out there tells you to avoid wet grass this unit did quite well.  The speed from the 80V brushless motor was more than enough to ensure an even cut.

One of the big benefits of an electric mower is the capability to store them vertically.  The G-MAX PRO folds up easily and stores quickly.  At nearly 62lbs you most likely won't be tossing it up on a shelf, but once folded up it took up less than half the space of my old gas model.

Generally speaking you have to sacrifice durability to save weight, but the G-MAX PRO uses a steel deck that can handle the rough and tumble of just about any lawn.  

The Cons

Like many mowers that utilize brushless electric engines the G-MAX can sense power needs and allocates more juice when needed.  While this sounds like a great feature, in reality the engine has no way of knowing it's about to encounter thicker grass. 

As a result it spools up the extra power a step or two AFTER it's needed and you end up with some grass that doesn't get cut cleanly.

To be fair the brushless motor power sensing feature was consistent across all the models we tested.  Simply slowing down before you hit thicker grass will help alleviate the problem.

Those with thicker lawns of Bermuda or St. Augustine should expect shorter run-times due to the density of these particular grasses.

The only other thing I would like to see is a self-propelled model.  As of right now there's not one available though GreenWorks says it's in the works.

Performance

Along with the 82V Snapper XD, the G-Max PRO 80V is the closest thing on the market to a traditional gasoline powered engine.  Starting it up is as simple as pressing a button.  You'll be amazed at how quiet it is.  You could literally talk on the phone while using this mower.

The deck height offers 7 different levels and can quickly be adjusted using a single lever. ​

Maneuvering the G-MAX is VERY easy.  The 8" front wheels and 10" rear wheels combined with it's overall light weight makes maneuvering around objects and getting it into tighter spaces a breeze.  

The only time I noticed the engine bogging down was when cutting taller, thicker grass on a humid day.  At this point it required two slower passes where my old gas powered unit might've require just one.

As expected the side discharge works great, but this isn't much of a test.  I was really impressed with both the bagging and the mulching capability.  Even in taller grass both features performed really well.

Many electric mowers lack the engine speed to create enough suction to consistently bag all of the grass clippings, but this was only a problem in the densist parts of our lawn and I found that by slowing down before hitting those patches it helped immensely. 

The G-MAX PRO is listed as having a 35 minute run-time per 2Ah battery and I was actually able to push it a bit beyond that to finish both my front and back yard.  It comes with two batteries and each only take 30 minutes to charge.  So if you're always charging the second one, you can just about run all day.

If you opt for the 4Ah battery you can expect a longer run-time; around 50-60 minutes.  This battery takes about 60 minutes to fully charge.​

Warranty Information

GreenWorks provides a four-year warranty, with a two-year warranty on the lithium-ion batteries. The brushless motor comes with a 10-year warranty, which is one of the best benefits of this particular unit.

Specifications

Cutting capacity: 21-inch cut
Battery:  2 - 2AH 80V Li-Ion
Auto battery switch-over: Yes
Dual blades: No
Cutting time:  70 minutes using both batteries
Charging time:  30min (2Ah battery) 60 min (4Ah battery)
Weight:  62lbs
Warranty: 4 Years

Why It's My #1 Pick

If you're looking for an electric mower that offers similar performance to your existing gas powered unit, look no further.  The Greenworks amazed me with it's performance, maneuverability, and length run-time. 

The fact that it folds up and can be stored vertically means it takes up VERY little room in your garage.  At 62lbs its a good bit lighter than the 2nd place Snapper.

In terms of maintenance all you have to do is sharpen the blades annually and remove the batteries when it's not in use.  

#2. Snapper XD SXDWM82K 82V 21" Lithium-ion Battery Powered Mower

In second place by just a nose is the Snapper XD.  It's 82V power supply offers cutting performance that VERY closely matches the first place Greenworks and even gas-powered mowers.

The primary reason I've got in second place is that it's 10lbs or so heavier than the Greenworks even though it offers very similar performance.

The Pros

This mower is the first that we've tested that offers performance that is on-par with those using a traditional gasoline engine. 

And it shows in everything it does including:

  • excellent mulching capabilities
  • bags like a traditional gas-powered mower
  • pushes through thicker and even wet grass
  • metal deck more durable that plastic of the competition

I was seriously impressed with the performance of the Snapper.  In terms of power and flexibility it's the next best thing to a gas-powered mower.  Only the heavier weight kept it from taking 1st Place.

The Cons

This extra power and solid construction DOES come with additional weight.  While the EGO Power+ tips the scales at 65lbs the Snapper comes in 50% higher at 90lbs.  

This puts it on par with gas-powered mowers for weight.  If this is an issue you might want to consider their self-propelled model.  

Overview

The Snapper offers an 82V  lithium-ion battery paired with a Briggs & Stratton brushless electric motor.  This allows the Snapper to sense the power needs of the mower "on-the-fly".  

To do this it utilizes a complicated artificial intelligence (AI) built into the motor.  While this sounds complicated, it basically translates to more power when you need it and less when you don't.  It also helps extend the charge life of the battery allowing this unit to handle larger yards than it's competitors.

Performance

The Snapper is another great alternative to a traditional gasoline powered engine.  Just as with the G-Max, the only time it really bogged down was when cutting extremely tall grass on a humid day.  At this point it required two slower passes where a gas engine would require just one.

Adjusting the cutting height is extremely easy and can be set to 7 different levels.  ​

It's capable of mulching, side-discharge, and bagging.  We did notice that when bagging you're not going to get the same amount of suction as with a gas engine so there were more clippings left behind than we would like.  Slowing down in thicker areas greatly improves the bagging.​

Specifications

Cutting capacity: 21-inch cut
Battery:  2.0 Ah, 82V lithium battery (4.0Ah & 5.0Ah available)
Auto battery switch-over: Yes
Dual blades: No
Folding design for easy storage
Cutting time:  45 minutes
Charging time:  30 minutes (2.0Ah battery)
Weight:  90lbs

lithium ion battery pack

If you're looking for an electric mower that offers similar performance to your existing gas powered unit, look no further.  The Snapper amazed us with it's performance, maneuverability, and length run-time. 

The fact that it folds up and can be stored vertically means it takes up VERY little room in your garage.  If the 90lb weight is an issue, check out the GreenWorks G-MAX our 2nd place mower.

And in terms of maintenance all you have to do is sharpen the blades annually and remove the batteries when it's not in use.  For more information you can read our full Snapper XD 82V review.

#3. EGO Power+ 20" 56V Lithium-ion Cordless Lawn Mower Review

The folks at EGO pulled out all the stops with this battery powered lawn mower.  The Power+ 20" is one of the most advanced mowers in the rechargeable lawn mower category. 

Until we had a chance to try out the Snapper, this mower was the closest of all those we tested to a gas powered unit.

The 20-inch deck is comparable to many combustion engine models, but at 63 lbs it is considerably lighter.  One thing you'll notice with electric mowers is most use a plastic deck instead of metal. 

They're certainly not as durable, but they are significantly lighter.

The grass clippings management allows for mulching, bagging or side discharge depending on your preference.

The EGO Power+ is surprisingly quiet.  Their literature states it operates about 30 percent below that of a gas-powered mower of comparable size, but it seems even quieter than that. 

Another nice feature is the fold-able design.  It takes no time at all to fold it up and store it out of the way in the garage. This premium mower even includes LED headlights to allow for early morning or evening work, which is possible with quiet, electric equipment.

Battery Pack Options

The Power+ is available with three different battery pack options.  For larger yards there's the 7.5Ah (Amp hour) battery package (max 90 minute runtime).  There is a 5.0Ah (max 60 min run-time) battery package for slightly smaller yards, and rounding things out there's the 4.0Ah (max 45 min run-time) package.  All three of the batteries can be recharged in about 30 minutes.

You’ll be able to complete a small or medium-size lawn on one charge, as long as you don’t wait too long between mowings. This equipment will handle longer grass but the extra effort WILL drain the battery a bit more quickly. The EGO Power + is not self-propelled but this shouldn't be a problem because it’s incredibly lightweight, considering the performance it delivers.

Performance Notes​

EGO stacks conveniently

OK.  The Power+ is truly a solid lawn mower.  Assembly and startup are a snap.  Literally the push of a button.

Cutting height is adjustable between 1 1/2" and 3 1/2" which is a little on the low side.  Changing the height is easy with the lever located on the left side of the mower.  It adjusts all four wheels at the same time.

We were really surprised both with the amount of power it has and how QUIET it is.  It's powered by a 600W high-torque magnetic motor that spins at 3300RPM. 

The battery performance was solid all the way through mowing a 1/3 acre lot (about 40 minutes).  In some of the thicker sections of our lawn it did slow down just a touch, but we just adjusted our ground speed accordingly and noticed very few missed spots.  

We read a few complaints about how it performs in damp grass so we tried that out too.  Two things.  First the blade slows down pretty significantly when the grass is wet.  We ended up with some swirl marks rather than cut grass.  Secondly, the wet grass tends to stick to the plastic around the blade and in the chute rather than cleanly entering the bag.  But we ONLY noticed this when the grass was pretty damp.

The rechargeable batteries took right at 30 minutes to complete.  With two batteries you could charge one while using the other and never have to stop mowing.

Being able to fold the unit and stand it on end is great for saving space in a crowded garage.

EGO power+ in shipping box

Specifications

Cutting capacity: 20-inch cut
Battery:  4 Ah, 56 V lithium battery
Auto battery switch-over: Yes
Dual blades: Yes
Folding design for easy storage
Cutting time:  45 minutes
Charging time:  30 minutes
Weight:  65lbs
More from EGO

Behind the Snapper and G-MAX but...

While the Snapper took first place in our testing the EGO does weigh 30% less. This can translate to a good bit less effort when mowing ( unless of course you opt for the self-propelled).  If weight is an issue for you, the EGO might be the way to go.

Since it's based on 56V batteries it's not going to offer the same cutting power, but still PLENTY for thinner lawns.

The recharge time of 30 minutes makes this mower very convenient because you’ll have so little downtime. The dual-blade design is a big plus, as is the auto-switchover for batteries.  If you'd like more information check out our full EGO LM2101 lawn mower review.

#4. Sun Joe 40-V 16-Inch Cordless Lawn Mower with Brushless Motor

With the Sun Joe iON16LM cordless lawn mower, you do away with gasoline, oil, exhaust fumes, pull cord, of course. But you also have no extension cords to contend with, because this is a 40 V, 16-inch cordless model.

This rechargeable lawn mower uses the EcoSharp battery system (lithium ion) and gives you quiet performance of 40 minutes (up to 65 minutes) powering a brushless motor for battery efficiency.

The Sun Joe 16-inch is ideal for mid-size lawns and makes short work of smaller lawns, of course.

Instant start with the push button gets you mowing quickly, and the ergonomic handle placement provides maximum comfort. With durable steel blade, all-terrain wheels and six-position height adjustment, this is the perfect cordless product for small lawns and medium-size lawns.

The grass bag is of the 9.25 size to hold plenty of clippings and it detaches conveniently for disposal.

The SunJoe cordless mower is the smallest of the three reviewed, at 16 inches. But for a small lawn, this can be the perfect choice. You’ll get about 40 minutes of uninterrupted mowing, though you may be able to cut for a full hour in thinner, lighter grass.

The SunJoe is very light, at just under 35 pounds, so it’s perfect for seniors and for younger people who struggle to push a gasoline-powered unit.

Specifications

Cutting capacity: 15-inch cut
Battery:  4AH 40-V Lithium-ion
Auto battery switch-over: No
Dual blades: No
Folding design for easy storage
Cutting time:  40 minutes
Charging time:  120 minutes
Weight:  37lbs

In fact, the SunJoe with brushless motor is a remarkable lawn tool for its size and weight. You’ll be able to cover a lot of ground with the all-terrain wheels and six-position height adjustment.

Best Corded Electric Lawn Mower 

#1. Black & Decker MM2000 13-Amp Corded Mower Review

The Black & Decker corded mower is a great option for anyone with a relatively small yard.  It offers plenty of power for cutting thicker grasses, great mobility (for a corded unit), and flexibility in terms of clippings disposal.

The 20" cutting deck is durable and houses a 19" cutting blade.  The 13 amp motor is powerful enough to handle just about any type of grass.  That said, you'll want to take it slow through thicker grasses as the blade will start to slow and you'll notice spots that are unevenly cut.

It offers the convenience of mulching, rear-bagging and side discharge, allowing you to dispose of your grass clipping as you please.

The mowing height is adjustable to seven different positions between 1 1/2" and 4".  All four wheels are adjusted at the same time using the lever located on the top of the motor housing. 

The Black & Decker offers excellent maneuverability with 10” rear wheels and 7” front wheels, making it easier to navigate around flower beds and trees, and to move across uneven terrain.

This hard-working mower is remarkably lightweight at 53 pounds and it comes with a four-year warranty.

Specifications

Cutting capacity: 20-inch cut
Motor:  13 amp
Height Positions:  7
Dual blades: No
Folding design for easy storage
Weight:  53lbs
Wheels: 10 inch rear, 7 inch front
Deck Material: steel

Final Thoughts

The GreenWorks came in first for a couple of major reasons, including the steel cutting deck and the relatively light weight of 53 pounds. It's a durable choice for someone moving to their first corded mower.

​It's 13 amp mower is powerful enough to handle most lawns and it folds up quite small for storage. All in all it's a great unit.

#2. Sun Joe Mow Joe 20-Inch 12-Amp Corded Electric Lawn Mower

Use the Sun Joe MJ408E for grass cutting with side discharge, for mulching or use the 14.5-gallon rear-collection bag to dispose of grass clippings, and you’ll wonder why it took so long for you to make the switch to this powerful electric motor.

With a 20-inch path and seven-position, manual height adjustment you’ll be able to make your lawn look just as you envisioned.

The Sun Joe comes with a two-year warranty, and is the green solution for lawn grooming you’ve been searching for. No gasoline, oil, fumes or pull cords. And you won’t have to take it to the shop for a new spark plug and tune up.

It’s ideal for small yards and medium-sized yards and will handle tough grass with its 12-amp motor. Of course, with this corded electric model, start-up is immediate – just the push of a button.

You’ll be able to take care of all your lawn-care tasks with little time out for maintenance. You get the power of a gas engine with the convenience of electricity.

Specifications

Cutting capacity: 20-inch cut
Motor:  12 amp
Height Positions:  7
Cord: Heavy duty
Folding design for easy storage
Weight:  52lbs
Wheels: 10 inch rear, 7 inch front
Deck Material: plastic
Detachable Bag: yes
Warranty: 2 Years

When you mow for the first time with the SunJoe MJ408E you’ll wonder why you didn’t choose an electric mower sooner. Of course, you have no pull cord, no gasoline and less noise, but you also get the benefit of a mower that will do the job but only weighs 52 pounds. It comes with a suitable two-year warranty and 12 Amp motor so you can use it with peace of mind. No worrying about replacement or repair any time soon.

The 20-inch cut will allow you to cover lawns up to medium size without spending a whole day doing it. Choose from one of seven cutting-height positions and benefit from the large, grass-catching bag for convenience.

#3. Earthwise 20-Inch Corded Electric Lawn Mower

The name says a lot about the benefits of this 20-inch, corded electric lawn mower. The 50520 gets you away from gasoline, fumes and oil, and starts immediately.

No pull cord to frustrate you and waste valuable grass-cutting time. You also have the convenience of the 3-in-1 system for mulching, rear-bagging for grass clippings or side discharge.

Single-lever height adjustment makes it extremely convenient to choose your grass height and the 20-inch path allows you to cover a lot of yard in a little bit of time.

The 50520’s performance will be more than satisfactory, as you get the grass-cutting ability of gasoline power with the convenience of all-electric operation. The metal frame will hold up for years, giving you long-term service without having to worry about breakdown.

With the 100-foot cord, you’ll be able to reach almost any part of a small yard or a medium-size yard, a great benefit when you’ve had to work hard just to get your gas-powered mower started in the past. With the Earthwise mower you just plug in and go. And, you’ll be doing your part to protect the environment – no exhaust, no fumes. The larger back wheels make the 50520 very maneuverable as well.

Specifications

Cutting capacity: 20-inch cut
Motor:  12 amp
Height Positions:  7 (1 1/2" - 4")
Cord: Heavy duty
Weight:  62lbs
Wheels: 9 inch rear, 7 inch front
Deck Material: Metal
Detachable Bag: Yes
Warranty: 2 Years

Do your part to protect the environment with the Earthwise 20-inch corded mower. It’s a bit heavier than some of the other mowers at 62 pounds but it is built to handle almost any grass conditions in a small- to medium-sized yard. It has a metal frame, which makes it very durable. The cord will get you to the corners of your lawn at 100 feet.

The manufacturer backs it with a solid two-year warranty and you’ll like the fact that you can adjust cutting height to four inches (for those who want to leave their lawn a bit longer and thicker).

Gas vs Electric

With lawn mowers you essentially you have two choices; gas and electric (or you can hire a landscaper of course).  Let's take a quick look at the advantages of both to determine which makes the most sense for your yard.

Advantages of Gasoline Engines

a gasoline powered mower engine

Gas mowers have been around for nearly 100 years.  The design is simple.  An internal combustion engine powers the blade which spins and cuts the grass.

There are a couple varieties including push mowers, self-propelled and riding.

Here are a few of the advantages of a gas-powered models.

  • Run-time:  when it comes to run-time gas powered units beat everything except corded electric models.
  • Cutting Power:  gas powered engines offer superior power.  They can cut any type of grass including thicker grasses in wet/humid climates.
  • No Cord:  many electric models have cords.  Obviously a gas mower doesn't.
  • No recharge:  while you might have to refuel during a mow depending on the size of your yard, it only takes a couple minutes.  Charging an electric model takes at least 30 minutes.
  • Ride Instead of Push:  gas engines deliver lots of power.  Riding and zero turn mowers do ALL the work for you. There ARE riding electric models but they are prohibitively expensive.

To sum it up gas-powered models excel at cutting larger yards (1/2 acre and up), thick grass, or yards in wet or humid climates.  They require a decent amount of strength to operate, though self-propelled models certainly help in this regard.

Advantages of Battery Powered & Corded Electric Lawn Mowers

ego's lithium ion battery charger

Electric mowers have a long history too.  They've been around nearly as long as gas-powered models, but have always required a cord. 

In the last few years Lithium-ion batteries have developed to the point of offering enough power and life to be used in lawn mowing applications.  Most consumer models are push only.  There are some riding electric models but they are considerably more expensive.

Here are some of the advantages of electric models.

  • Quiet operation:  gas engines are generally twice as loud as electric.  This means you can mow any time of day without disturbing the neighbors.
  • Lightweight:  electric motors are significantly lighter than internal combustion engines.  Many electric models weigh less than 60lbs.  This is especially important for older folks.
  • Eco-Friendly:  not burning gas means you're not releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  There's also no used oil to dispose of, though eventually the battery will wear out and need to be replaced.
  • Little to no maintenance:  gas engines require regular oil changes, draining the fuel at the end of the season, and replacing spark plugs.  An electric model requires none of this.
  • Ease of use: gas engines generally require a pull start.  Electric models use a button.  Much easier.
  • Reduced Storage:  while many electric models are smaller in size, not having a gas can and extra oil in the garage can clear up some space.

Electric models are ideal for folks looking for a quieter unit that can handle a small yard.  Most battery operated models can cut between 1/3 and 1/2 acre before needing to be recharged.  Obviously a corded model can handle more, but you're somewhat limited by the length of the cord or your patience for dealing with extension cords.

Though they will work on thicker grasses, electric models are best suited for thinner types of lawns.  If you're lawn is thicker, you'll need to mow more frequently.  You'll also want to be sure that the lawn is relatively dry.  This helps improve the quality of the cut.

Are You Leaning Towards Electric?

What makes so many people choose electric lawn mowers?  Often the response is rather simple. The lack of noise and the fact they don’t have to buy gasoline and oil.  Maintenance is much easier, and it is much lighter and easier to push.

That said, electric mowers aren't perfect.  Let's take a look at some of pros and dispel a couple myths while we're at it.

Lower Cost of Ownership

lower cost of ownership

Depending on the model you're looking at, many electric units are priced comparably to their gas powered brethren.  They run on electricity which is cheaper than gas and oil, so there is some cost savings in terms of operation.

The downside? 

Lithium ion batteries eventually wear out and need to be replaced.  They can also just flat out die on you.  In addition, should anything go wrong with your electric mower, you're going to have a harder time finding someone to service it for you.

Lower Noise Levels

You’ll experience a significant difference in noise level with electric models. Measurements made during comparison tests show mowers running on gasoline produce noise at a level of 95 to 105 decibels. This is above the level considered safe for avoiding hearing loss.

Electric motors are much quieter, sometimes producing sound up to 70 decibels for those with the loudest operation. Studies indicate 85 decibels is the beginning of the scale that may produce hearing problems.

An electric model may also allow you to mow earlier in the morning or later in the day, so you’ll cause less disturbance for your neighbors.

Less Pollution

Electric motors create less pollution.  One study indicates a gas-powered mower emits just as much harmful exhaust as several cars.  If the environment is a concern of yours, electric motors are much cleaner.

Lightweight & Easy to Use

push button power on off

You may also find the electric mower to be much easier to use, simply because you can start the motor with the touch of a button.

Gas-powered push mowers require you to pull the starter cord, which is fine if your mower is fairly new and is kept in perfect running condition. However, older mowers can be quite difficult to start. A well-maintained electric model generally has one item of upkeep – sharpening the blade.

Pushing an electric mower is easier as well, because they are generally much lighter in weight than a gas-powered mower of the same dimensions. You’ll enjoy the quiet operation of electricity, compared to the exhaust noise and engine noise of gasoline equipment. In general terms, an electric mower will be a simpler, less-stressful tool for keeping the grass cut.

Struggle With Thick or Wet Grass

electric motors struggle with thick grass

Because they aren't as strong electric mowers don't cut through thicker grass as well as gas powered engines. They will also struggle with wet grass.

While there are budget electric models out there, to get anywhere close to the performance of a gas mower you'll have to spend a bit more.  This is especially true of the lithium-ion cordless models.

If you feel like you're ready to make the jump to electric it would be worth giving some thought to the conditions in which you currently mow.  Is your lawn usually damp or wet?  Is your lawn especially thick?  If so you'll need a mower at the more powerful (and expensive) end of the spectrum.  If you need help figuring out what type of grass you have, check out this tool.

Should You Go Electric?

Use of an electric mower should be matched with your specific lawn-care needs.  In general, if you have a small yard and the grass is relatively thin and easy to mow, you can give electric mowers some serious thought. But, how small should the lawn be to make it suitable for moving away from gasoline?

A general rule of thumb is electric mowers will work fine for lawns up to 1/3 acre and in some cases up to 1/2 acre.  Anything more than that and you're either going to need to buy extra batteries, or use extension cord lengths that are just too difficult to manage.

If you have a 1/2 acre yard with good access to external power, few trees or other obstacles, and grass that isn't terribly thick then either a corded or battery operated lawn mower should get the job done.

If your yard has lots of obstacles you will DEFINITELY want to go the cordless route.  And if you're past the 1/3 acre in size you'll want to look for cordless units that allow quick swapping of the batteries.

Battery Operated or Cord?

extension cord required for corded models

Electric mowers have some limitations you don’t experience with gasoline power. For example, with a corded mower you are limited to the area the cord allows you to reach. To maintain larger lawns, you must have access to a power source, and may have to use extension cords to reach the outer limits of the property.

This makes corded mowers better suited to smaller yards with good access to outdoor power.​

Choosing to go with a cordless mower eliminates this restriction but you are then subject to the amount of time the battery power gives you. Improvements in battery technology have greatly extended this time, but you’ll still have to be aware of the power available in a rechargeable, cordless lawn mower.

Corded Mowers​

Pros

  • no battery to replace
  • won't die before finishing the lawn
  • more cutting power
  • lower price

Cons

  • power cords difficult to manage
  • may need extension cords to reach entire yard
  • storage of extra cords

Since mowers with cords tend to be more powerful, they are better suited for thicker lawns or climates that are relatively humid.  This will keep the blade from ripping the grass out by it's roots instead of cutting it.

​On the flip side they require a cord long enough to reach every corner of your yard.  This also means you'll need to spend time managing the cord so it doesn't get run over.  This can be frustrating at first, but once you've figured out a mowing pattern it gets much less so.

Battery Operated Lawn Mowers

Pros

  • extra mobility, no cord
  • no extension cords
  • battery can be swapped for charging

Cons

  • battery life
  • replacement batteries are expensive
  • less power than corded models

Mowers with batteries offer complete freedom of movement.  Today's lithium ion batteries supply a great deal of power and can hold a charge beyond any battery that's come before. 

As with any battery they will eventually run out of juice.  Having a second charged battery is a great way to keep this from slowing you down.  Some lithium ions can charge in as little as 30 minutes.  This means you can charge one while the other is in use.

Generally speaking battery powered mowers won't have as much power as a corded model.  They won't do as well on thick grass, and they really don't like wet grass.  So if you live in high humidity climate you might have to either mow more frequently or go with a different option. 

For Landscaping Businesses

Just about the only reason for a landscaping business to use an electric model is when noise is a concern.  Most companies don't have time to wait on batteries to recharge as they're moving quickly from one job to the next.  Until charge times can be reduced it won't become a realistic option.  If you run a landscaping business you can learn more here.

Conclusion

There are several features and benefits you should put on your priority list when shopping for an electric mower. The first is to get as close to gas-powered performance as you can without a gasoline engine. Of course, when you make the switch, whether it’s cordless or with cord, you’ll notice the lighter weight of most electric mowers, which leads to easier pushing and turning.

One of the key elements you should look for is deck size. You don’t want to get a mower that is so small you have to spend a lot more time covering the yard. Yet, you have to avoid getting a model that is so big the motor will add weight you were trying to get away from. This is going to be very important if you have a large yard, or even a mid-size yard. If your lawn requires you to mow up and down a number of hills, you should pay particular attention to weight.

You should also look closely at the type of grass you will be mowing, along with the size and layout of the lawn. This could lead you to choose a self-propelled mower rather than one you have to push with “people power.” It’s also important to read carefully when buying a new mower of any type, because some models come with bagging and mulching capability, and the bag is provided. Others do not, so make sure you get what you want and need in the price you pay.

Batteries and Other Features

If you are seriously considering an cordless electric model to replace your traditional gas-powered unit, you’ll have to make the decision mentioned earlier – cord or cordless. It’s generally true that corded models in will give you a bit more cutting power, and of course, you won’t have to stop for battery recharge. But you will be managing the cord as you move about your lawn.

This can be less of a problem than you think, because, as you get used to a corded mower you’ll be able to move around and deal with the cord as a common part of the mowing job. When you decide to go with a cordless mower, you will probably spend a bit more than you would for mowers of comparable size and cutting width. The reason – quality batteries.

This gives the cordless mower a bit more weight, which will be an important factor to keep in mind. Speaking of batteries, you’ll probably want to spend a bit more and get a mower that comes with two, lithium-ion batteries. The general rule is this will give you more reliable performance and longer service.

Lithium vs. Other Technology

When you buy a cordless mower, pay particular attention to the type of battery, the voltage, and the expected lifetime of that battery. Lithium will probably be the way to go, as this technology is slowly moving into the field once dominated by alkaline and other battery technologies. First, look at voltage delivered. Most of the units we've compared offer similar voltage.

Lithium-ion batteries tend to last quite a bit longer than other technologies, with some tests showing they provide service three or four times as long as a traditional battery construction. You should also give serious consideration to the cost of a cordless electric mower. The price will generally be higher than a corded or  gasoline-powered mower.

In general terms, lithium-ion batteries have what technicians call higher energy-density than most other rechargeable batteries. They store more energy for their size and weight, which is a major consideration for electric lawn mowers. Lithium-ion batteries also operate at a higher voltage and, in testing, have a lower self-discharge rate than other batteries.

They hold the charge longer in the case of high-quality batteries they may hold their charge for months in average weather conditions. This battery type can be smaller, lighter, produce higher voltage and hold the charge longer. Keep this in mind as you search for the right electric unit for your yard.

Final Thoughts

Each mower you’ll shop for will have some indication of cutting height. Most new models now have height adjustment, usually ranging from about an inch to in the three-inch range. You should also pay close attention to whether this adjustment is made by moving each wheel up and down individually or if you can make height adjustment with the movement of a single lever.

If you pay good money for an electric mower, you get one-button/push-button starting. This is one of the key benefits you get from moving away from a gas-powered mower. After all, convenience and ease of use are the two primary factors you should consider when making the investment in an electric mower.

Last, and certainly not least, you will probably get the best service and performance from a high-quality lithium-ion battery. Be sure to take some extra time to understand the difference between lithium-ion batteries and other types of batteries. When you shop for an electric mower, and you’re tending toward cordless, pay attention to the battery use and design. The extra knowledge will pay off in the long run.

Resources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_motor​

More Lawn Care Tips from The Tool Report

SEO for Landscapers

https://www.thetoolreport.com/winterizing-your-ztr-lawn-mower/

The Benefits of Zero Turn Lawn Mowers

https://www.thetoolreport.com/how-to-price-landscaping-services/

About the Author Jason

Jason is a work from home dad who has a passion for DIY projects, yard work, and SEC Football. His background is IT, but he's always fancied himself as a part-time ship welder, landscaper, and short order cook. During the week he can be found on his laptop 10 hours-a-day, but on the weekends he escapes to the local DIY Cave to play with REAL toys.