Cordless electric lawn mowers have come a long way in the past few years. Improvements in battery power, battery life, battery weight, and battery cost—drafting off of similar innovations for electric cars—mean that cordless mowers are as powerful as gas mowers and now provide some decided advantages. Prices range from $150-$700.
Cordless Lawn Mower Batteries Have Gotten Better
In the early days of electric mowers—and electric vehicles overall—the battery of choice was the lead-acid battery. This technology is now more than 150 years old and has some major drawbacks.
The “lead-acid” in the name for instance—both of these could potentially leach out of the battery, a major health and damage risk. Also, lead-acid batteries were extremely heavy compared to the power they provided. That’s why the only electric vehicles were flimsy things like golf carts.
The lithium-ion battery was first proposed in the 1970s, first produced commercially in 1991 (in some of the earliest mobile phones), and is now used in most high-performance electrical products—even airplanes.
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These batteries can generate the same amount of power as lead-acid batteries, but can be engineered to be much smaller and lighter. They make devices like iPhones—and powerful electric mowers—possible.
The most powerful electric mower battery on the market today is Ego’s Power+ 7.5 Amp Hour Battery. This battery works interchangeably with their mowers and lawn tools.
Battery life has improved over the past few years, but it’s still a concern for buyers of cordless mowers. Your battery’s power holding capacity will slowly diminish during the time you own your mower. The battery won’t be able to store as much energy, and your mowing time per charge will eventually get lower and lower.
Happily, most mowers now carry a warranty of up to 3 years on their batteries, so you can expect at least that much life. Once your battery is out of juice, you simply buy a new one.
Yeah, that’s a hassle, but it’s nothing compared to the mess and hassle of constantly checking and filling the oil and gas on your gas mower. Once simple transaction and you’re back to mowing.
Cordless Mowers Are Now Much Lighter
The biggest benefit of the transition from lead-acid to lithium-ion batteries has been the drastic decline in the weight of the mower.
For example, the Greenworks 19″ mower with a lead-acid battery weighs 73.8 lbs. A Greenworks 19″ mower with a lithium-ion battery weighs just 53.1 lbs.
Some of the smaller cordless mowers, like the Sun Joe 16″ mower, weigh less than 35 lbs.
These new featherweight mowers open up an entirely new market to mower sellers—folks with mobility issues who otherwise would have to pay for lawn service, or buy a riding mower.
Pushing a 70-80 lb. electric or gas mower simply isn’t an option for someone with physical limitations, whether brought on by age or disease. But a 33 lb. mower like the Sun Joe is well within many people’s pushing capacity, even up slight inclines.
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The cutting time of an electric mower has—like everything else—gotten better thanks to lithium-ion batteries. Batteries now last longer, and recharge faster, than they used to.
Of course, gas-powered mowers still have them beat in terms of long-running time. A gas mower can theoretically run for hours if you need it too, though you might have to stop briefly to add gas or oil.
Running Times Of Cordless Mowers Are Improving
An electric mower’s hours of operation depend on its battery and your overall battery situation. If you have enough backup batteries, you could run your electric mower for hours too, just swapping out batteries as you go. But with batteries running around $200 each, for most people this would just be too expensive.
The best-performing cordless mower on the market, the Ego Power 20″, is touted to run 45 minutes on a single charge, and multiple Amazon reviews confirm this.
Many people point out that this is about as much time as they want to spend mowing anyway, so even if their battery hadn’t run out, they’d be ready for a break.
The Ego battery also recharges in just 30 minutes, so if you did want to get everything done in one day, you could take a break and get back to mowing relatively quickly. Before you buy an electric mower, you should consider how long a typical mowing run takes for you and plan your mower and battery choice accordingly.
Time will also depend on the condition of your lawn. If the mower has to work harder, like over longer grass, or wet grass, the battery will drain faster.
The other factor that will come into play as you plan your typical mowing run is the width of the cutting path of your mower. Cutting paths for electric cordless mowers range from 14-21 inches.
Doesn’t seem like a huge range, but consider that a 21″ mower will cut 50% more space, per pass, as a 14″ mower will. That adds up if you’re mowing a larger lawn. If for example your lawn is 40 feet wide, it would take you 34 passes with a 14″ mower and only 23 with a 21″ mower.
Cost will surely factor in your decision as well. Within manufacturing lines, the wider mowers cost the most money.
Cutting heights and adjustment options on cordless mowers are similar to gas mowers. In some cases they are a little bit better, since electric mowers tend to be a more innovative. The EGO mower height adjustment is as easy as shifting from park to drive in an automatic care.
Disposal options vary by mower. Most of the higher-end options have 3-1 capability, so you can capture the clippings in a bag, opt for side discharge, or choose the mower’s mulcher option.
Mulching will leave small pieces of grass on the ground, which are absorbed back into the ground and serve as fertilizer for your lawn. The less expensive cordless mowers typically just have a bagging option.