When it comes to finding the best electric lawn mower, the more power they have, the more likely they are to cut your lawn like a traditional gas-powered mower. The 22" self-propelled Yard Force battery-powered lawn mower has taken this to the extreme.
Where many mowers we've previously covered offer 56V to 82V of power, Yard Force has chosen to go all out.
The YF120VRC utilizes dual 120V lithium-ion batteries. This is practically 40V MORE than the closest competition. This translates to more power, more torque, longer run time, better mulching, and more efficient bagging.
The folks at Yard Force wanted this mower to be the closest thing you could buy to a traditional lawn mower, but without all the headaches and maintenance required with a gasoline engine.
Not only did they give it TONS of power with their 120V brushless motor, but they built the rest of the mower to match. It's unusual to see a steel deck on an electric lawn mower. They're typically constructed of commercial-grade plastics to keep weight down, but this offers a 22" steel deck is both durable, and relatively light.
In addition to the dual 120V batteries and steel deck, it offers a handful of other impressive features.
I've always been partial to lawn mowers with larger rear wheels as this makes maneuvering much easier. The wheels are 8" in the front and 12" in the back. This makes it much easier to maneuver in tight spaces.
The deck offers 7 different cut heights ranging from 1.25" up to 4". You can quickly adjust the height with the handle located just in front of the right rear wheel. Even with the heavier steel deck adjustments are quick and painless.
The mower offers 110 minutes of runtime (based on using both batteries), but I found that I could leave one battery in the charger while mowing with the other. By the time the first battery was dead, the second was ready to rock. Using this method you could mow just about any size yard as each battery charges in about 40 minutes.
Our lawn is slightly more than 1/2 acre, and we had no difficulties getting through the entire thing (in late summer no less) on a single charge.
As with other manufacturers, Yard Force has based their entire line on this same battery platform. So you can get a weed trimmer and blower that utilize the same battery.
The self-propelled feature operates extremely well. You can set the speed in 5 positions from anywhere between 1.75MPH and 3MPH by pushing forward (fasters) or pulling back (slower) on the speed lever on the handle.
While I've tested other self-propelled mowers, this is the first battery powered model that has handled both tasks so well. The 82V Snapper offers a self-propelled model, but it doesn't match the Yard Force's ability to cut.
As with most products that incorporate brushless motors, "sensing technology" adjusts the speed of the cutting blades based on the thickness of the grass. Basically, this means it automatically applies more power when needed.
This feature is nice, but it requires a bit of getting used to. Inevitably the mower senses that it needs more power slightly AFTER you hit thicker spots. To get the best results, you should get used to slowing down as you approach the thicker parts of your lawn to avoid clumping or uncut grass.
While I compared the Greenworks (80V) and Snapper (82V) as being the closest thing to date to traditional mowers, the Yard Force is the first one I've tested that actually DOES perform as well as a gas engine. The additional voltage allows it to power through thicker areas and still mulch (or bag) efficiently.
One of my biggest complaints with most of the cordless mowers we've tested in our reviews has been with their mulching and bagging performance. The blade speed and suction required to properly and consistently mulch or bag grass clippings have been beyond the capabilities of many products in this class.
The Yard Force does NOT suffer from these same issues. The additional power supplied by the 120V motor and battery system performed extremely well in both operations. The test patch of grass I used for mulching showed no signs of clumping or missed spots. Again it's worth noting that slowing down as you approach known thick spots can help immensely.
Bagging was comparable to my old Honda push mower, which I found to be one of my favorites in terms of leaving no grass behind. The 18.5 gallon bag is easy to attach and remove and has a built-in full indicator.
Between the powerful self-propelled engine and the larger back wheels, I found this to be one of the most maneuverable that I've had the chance to review. The bar to engage the self-propulsion is similar to other products I have used. It's easy enough to use while incorporating standard safety features.
When the self-propulsion is dis-engaged the wheels will lock. Giving the mower a little push will unlock the wheels for easier maneuvering in tight spaces. Otherwise, you're trying to control the speed of the mower while turning and this can be a bit tedious.
One of the biggest benefits of electric mowers is their small storage footprints. The Yard Force folds up and can be stored in half the space required of a gas mower. This, coupled with the fact that you don't have store gasoline and oil for the mower, also makes your garage smell significantly better.
This product is comparable to other battery powered models we've tested in term of noise output. It sounds very similar to a box fan running on high speed. This is much easier on your ears when mowing and I would venture that your neighbors won't hear it even if you were right outside their window.
One of my least favorite parts of testing lawn equipment is assembly. The Yard Force basically ships ready to go. Simply pull it from the box and unfold it. Pop the batteries in the charger to top them off. Then throw them in the mower, and you're ready to go. It doesn't get much easier than that.
With its 120V battery system, this is the most powerful cordless mower we've tested to date. Its mowing capabilities match most gas-powered products and far exceed other electric mowers.
The ability to mulch and bag is better than any other electric model we've tested and are on par with powerful gas products as well. When you take into consideration the small storage footprint, low noise levels, and no gas and oil requirements, the Yard Force is tough to beat.
Its retail price is high, but you get what you pay for, and this is a SOLID mower with a great warranty.
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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. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and can contact him via email.