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 Toro e-Cycler 20360 (Est. $370) is our top pick for cordless electric mowers. Compared to other top models, the e-Cycler is lighter, less expensive 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.
Like most electric mowers, the 20360 isn't self-propelled but reviewers say it's easy enough to push and steer. 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.
For a feature-rich model, the Black & Decker SPCM 1936 (Est. $400) also does well in reviews. Reviewers consider this mower a first-class mulcher. The 36-amp battery mows up to a third of 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 SPCM 1936 isn't quite powerful enough to mow overgrown or wet lawns. The SPCM 1936 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 -- although at 90 pounds, this mower requires a lot of effort to do so. 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.
Experts say corded electric mowers are the least expensive type to buy and maintain. Maintenance -- apart from sharpening the blades regularly -- is minimal; there is no gas to buy, no oil to change and no batteries to replace.
Power comes from an extension cord plugged into the nearest outlet. Though some find it a hassle to be mindful of the extension cord, many owners just follow a simple pattern to always keep the cord on the outside so it doesn't interfere with the mower.
With high ratings from hundreds of owners at Walmart.com and Amazon.com, reviewers say the Black & Decker LM175 (Est. $150) is the best electric mower. Because it's lightweight, starts at the push of a button and cleanly cuts a small lawn, many users prefer this corded mower to larger, more powerful options.
The LM175's durable 6.5-amp motor is best for smaller lawns. The mower isn't tough enough to clean up unkempt yards full of overgrown grass and weeds, but it does leave an excellent finish on a healthy lawn. This two-in-one mower is best at discharging grass out the side, but it can also bag clippings with the optional grass catcher; the LM175 doesn't have a mulching feature.
For a corded electric mower that can mulch, reviews say, the Black & Decker MM875 (Est. $260) is a great option. Its 12-amp motor is outstanding at mulching and bagging, according to expert tests and hundreds of owner reviews. Plus, it's easy to push and steer. Though reviewers say it leaves a reasonably even lawn, it can't match the finish of a gas mower.
Both the LM175 and the MM875 include a two-year warranty on the mower and a lifetime warranty on the polymer deck. Though Black & Decker earns top ratings for its corded lawn mowers, as a brand it has below-average customer satisfaction according to J.D. Power and Associates. Numerous owners mention Black & Decker's customer service and warranty repair shops can be unfriendly and difficult to work with.
Elsewhere in this report:
Best Lawn Mowers: What's the best lawn mower? Self-propelled are the most popular among users. Editors choose the best models based on expert comparisons and owner reviews.
Push Mowers: What's the best push lawn mower? Editors evaluate owner reviews and professional tests of popular models from brands like Husqvarna, Toro and Honda.
Reel Mowers: Looking for the best reel lawn mower? Editors say reel mowers from Fiskars and NaturCut are the best according to professional tests and user feedback.
Buying Guide: Where should you start when buying a new lawn mower? Editors offer tips from experts and owners to help you select the right mower for your needs.
Our Sources: Links to the expert and user reviews we used to select the top lawn mowers, along with our assessment of each reviewer's expertise, credibility and helpfulness.