Cordless lawn mowers have no emissions and are quieter than gas mowers. While they need significantly less maintenance than gas machines, cordless mowers still require sharpening the blades and changing the battery every few years, which can be pricey. The rechargeable batteries add extra weight but give users the freedom to mow farther than an extension cord can reach.
The Black & Decker SPCM1936 (*Est. $450) is our top pick for cordless models. Reviewers consider this mower a first-class mulcher. The 36-amp battery mows up to half an acre, with an average 45-minute run time. "Battery life is never an issue," compliments one user at BlackAndDecker.com after mowing 22,000 square feet. Owners say the battery lasts about one to two seasons.
Overall cut quality is very good, though the SPCM1936 isn't quite powerful enough to mow overgrown or wet lawns. The SPCM1936 is self-propelled with two set speeds, and users find it is great for slopes. Plus, according to owners, it's easy to switch off the self-propel feature to better navigate tough turns or extend the battery's run time. The mower also allows users to leave the self-propel on but turn the blades off making it easier to drive it back to the garage.
For a less expensive cordless mower, reviews say Toro's e-Cycler 20360 (Est. $370) is lighter and also performs quite well. According to editors at GreenerChoices.org, the 20360 has "great cutting with smooth, even mowing and mulching." Most owners agree, saying it's even strong enough to handle small sticks, which are difficult for some electric mowers.
On the downside, the 20360 isn't self-propelled but easy enough to push and steer for most owners. Some users may struggle with the mower on slopes. The controls are mostly straightforward, with the exception of the deck height adjustment at each wheel. Not only do owners find the 20360 reliable, but J.D. Power and Associates also says Toro has high customer satisfaction.