The electric Black & Decker LM175 is lightweight and durable. It's best for small yards with few obstacles to snag the extension cord. The LM175 is able to side-discharge clippings very well and can bag with an optional grass catcher. Black & Decker includes a two-year warranty on the motor and a lifetime warranty on the polymer deck, but the brand does not have a great track record for reliability.
For basic lawns. With a 6.5-amp motor, the LM175 is best for small yards (less than 10,000 square feet) and can power up small slopes. Owners say cut quality for turf is excellent. When mowing unruly grass or thick weeds, however, performance tends to suffer.
The LM175 can bag clippings or discharge grass out the side, but doesn't have a setting to mulch grass. Reviews say it operates best in side-discharge mode (with no reports of clumping), but bagging doesn't work quite as well.
Overall, most owners are thrilled with the LM175's mowing abilities. It has a 95-percent recommendation rate from almost 300 owners at Walmart.com and fares similarly on Amazon.com.
No muscle needed. With its push-button start and 35-pound body, owners say the LM175 is a good option for users that feel gas mowers are too cumbersome and inconvenient. Most owners compare it to using a vacuum and have few problems adjusting to using a cord. "Having to stop, move the cord and replug it can be annoying, but still beats gas cans and weak or dead batteries," (from a cordless mower) says one user at Amazon.com.
The 18-inch-wide deck is narrower than the gas mowers in our report, but many users say it's a plus to maneuver through tight spaces in their yard. Because this electric mower uses a cord instead of a battery, users don't have to watch the clock to keep an eye on battery run time while mowing. The LM175 can mow up to a quarter of an acre or as far as a 100-foot extension cord can reach. The LM175 uses one lever to adjust the cutting height from 1 to 3.5 inches. The straightforward assembly out of the box takes only a few minutes for most users and doesn't require any tools.
Most owners say the LM175 is durable enough for light-duty mowing, and a few Amazon users find it lasts for several years, but according to J.D. Power and Associates, customer satisfaction for Black & Decker is less than average. The LM175 has a two-year mower warranty and lifetime coverage on the polymer deck.
Quick shut-off. When operating the LM175, users hold down a safety switch on the handle. If the switch is released, a spring snaps it back into place and turns off the motor and the blade. This safety system shuts down the lawn mower in case you fall or let go.
As with any corded mower, users must be mindful of the extension cord. To prevent running over the cord, Black & Decker recommends that users keep the bulk of the cord next to the electrical outlet and use a back-and-forth pattern to avoid doubling back and running over the cord.
Electric quiet. It's "almost whisper quiet," describes an owner at Walmart.com. Most of the reviews at this site and Amazon.com agree the LM175 is much quieter than gas mowers.
According to Black & Decker, the LM175 is louder than some corded lawn mowers, measuring 78 to 85 decibels. Safety experts recommend using hearing protection when using a lawn mower that is 85 decibels or louder.
1. J.D. Power & Associates
The Black & Decker brand of walk-behind lawn mowers improves its customer satisfaction score from 732 in 2011 to 833 in this updated report. However, Black & Decker still comes in last, below the industry average. Editors measure customer satisfaction in six categories: durability, ease of operating, performance, ease of maintenance, competitiveness of price paid and warranty.
Review: 2012 Walk-Behind Lawn Mower Satisfaction Report, Editors of J. D. Power and Associates, Aug. 30, 2012
2. J.D. Power & Associates
J.D. Power and Associates surveys more than 2,000 people that purchased lawn mowers in the previous two years to find out which brands they are happiest with and why. In comparison to 10 other lawn mower brands, Black & Decker customers aren't as satisfied, falling under the industry average by one point.
Review: Although Ease of Use Is of Primary Importance in Satisfaction with Lawn Mowers, Fewer than One in 10 Owners Factor It into Their Purchase Decision, Editors of J. D. Power and Associates, April 27, 2011
Almost 400 owners review the LM175 on Amazon.com with comments going back as far as 2001. About 90 percent of the reviews rate it 4 or more stars. Its light body, effortless use and hassle-free maintenance are pros often mentioned. A few users report problems with durability and Black & Decker's customer service, but these comments are infrequent.
Review: Black & Decker LM175 18-Inch 6-1/2 amp Electric Mower, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2013
At Walmart.com, the LM175 has a 95-percent recommendation rate, one of the highest we've seen for walk-behind lawn mowers. Many users say the pull-cords, extra weight and annual maintenance on gas mowers is too difficult for them and like how uncomplicated and effortless this light electric mower is.
Review: Black & Decker 6.5-amp 18" Electric Mower Model LM175, Contributors to Walmart.com, As of June 2013
The LM175 also receives great ratings at HomeDepot.com, with a score of 4.5 stars out of 5. Numerous reviews say due to health issues they are unable to use heavy gas mowers and like how lightweight and user-friendly the LM175 is.
Review: Black & Decker 18 in. 6.5 Amp Corded Electric Lawn Mower, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of June 2013
Steve Holdgren, a mechanical engineer, includes the Black & Decker LM175 in his list of the 10 best lawn mowers. He calls it the best budget mower, saying the LM175 "runs relatively quiet and clean."
Review: Black & Decker LM175 Review, Steve Holdgren, Not dated
About two-dozen owners review the LM175 at Sears.com, saying they like how easy it is to mow with and appreciate the low maintenance.
Review: Black & Decker 18 In. Electric Lawn Mower, Contributors to Sears.com, As of June 2013