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Best Electric Mowers

By: Carl Laron on May 04, 2017

Cordless electric lawn mowers a "green" alternative that work as well as gas

Cordless lawn mowers don't produce emissions and are quieter than gas mowers. While they need significantly less maintenance than gas machines, cordless mowers still require sharpening of the blades and replacing the battery every few years, which can be pricey -- in some cases almost as expensive as the mower itself. Still, these mowers tend to be extremely easy to use and take up very little space in a garage or shed. Some can even fold up and hang on a wall. Electric mowers used to run primarily on lead-acid batteries, such as those found in automobiles, but this technology has largely been discontinued in favor of Lithium-on (Li-ion) technology. Li-ion batteries are lighter than other types, and deliver full power to the mower until the battery is fully depleted.

It's no contest in this category, the Ego LM2102SP (Est. $600) is the standout choice of both experts and owners. It's the top rated electric self-propelled mower at ConsumerReports.org. Like lots of mowers, it does better at mulching and side discharging than it does at bagging up clips, and falls short of the best rated gas powered self-propelled models, such as the Honda HRX217VKA (Est. $600), covered in our discussion of the best lawn mowers. However, it handily beats most gas mowers when it comes to handling and ease of use.

ConsumerReports.org also names the Ego a Best Buy, which might seem strange for a $600 lawn mower, but others say it isn't. At ProToolReviews.com, for example, Clint DeBoer says "Yes, you can buy a cheaper gas-powered mower, but the new 56V EGO self-propelled lawn mower brings so many great features—and takes away so many gas mower frustrations—that it's absolutely worth every penny." It's also the top rated electric mower at TopTenReviews.com. Grant Morgan says "It is one of the best electric lawn mowers we reviewed, and it earns the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award because it offers comparable power to gas lawn mowers and cuts through tough grass with ease and efficiency."

Owners complete the satisfaction picture. Around 1,230 have weighed in at HomeDepot.com, where it earns a rating of 4.7 stars and recommendations from 96 percent of owners.

The Ego LM2102SP runs on a 7.5 Ah 56-volt Li-ion battery. It takes about 60 minutes to charge fully, and then runs for about 60 minutes. The manufacturer says that's enough for up to half an acre, and owners back that up, saying it's plenty for their normal-sized lawns. A few with larger spreads note that they are perfectly happy to mow their front and back yards in two sessions -- the battery charges quickly enough, they say, that they can recharge while they eat lunch. Spare batteries, or replacements for when the one that comes with the mower peters out (it carries a three year warranty), are available as the Ego BA4200 56-volt 7.5 Ah Battery ($390). As a plus, that battery is compatible with other Ego power+ tools, such as the Ego SNT2102 (Est. $600), the top-rated cordless electric snow thrower in our snow blowers report. If you already have a compatible Ego battery and charger, the mower is available as a bare tool as the Ego LM2100SP (Est. $430).

It's hard to name only one area in which the Ego LM2102SP shines. Of course, it's much better for the environment than a gas mower, but it's also incredibly convenient, say owners. The Ego LM2102SP has variable forward speeds so it can be set to match the pace of the user -- up to 3.6 mph if you like a bit of a jog with your mowing. A single lever raises and lowers the deck height to six different levels, and the handlebars have a three-position height adjustment -- a much-loved feature for families who share mowing duties. Changing between side discharge, rear discharge and mulching is done with a flip of a switch.

Needless to say, the Ego LM2102SP is very quiet. We saw a number of "is this thing even on?" comments, as well as users saying they were able to mow while carrying on a conversation with someone nearby without any issue. It also takes up little space as the handles fold down for storage.

If you don't need the aid of a self-propelled drive system, the Ego LM2101 (Est. $500) is just as well reviewed as its self-propelled sibling. In fact, a lot of people love it exactly because they like to have to work a bit when they get out and mow. Experts and owners are surprised at the cutting prowess of the LM2101, saying that it performs as well as a gas mower in most situations. ConsumerReports.org gives it the same scores for mulching, side discharging, and bagging (Very Good, Very Good, and Good, respectively) as it does the LM2102SP. DeBoer says that if you don't need or want the self-propelled feature, the LM2101 "shaves $100 off the price but keeps the other features (it looks nearly identical)."

There's a bit less feedback on the LM2101 from users, but not any less satisfaction. At HomeDepot.com, we see a 4.7 star rating and recommendations from 96 percent of the roughly 540 owners that have weighed in.

The Ego LM2101 ships with a 5 Ah battery that provides a little shorter run time than the 7.5 Ah battery that comes with the LM2102SP -- about 45 minutes, but it also charges in less time, also 45 minutes. However, the mower is compatible with larger and smaller batteries, including the aforementioned Ego BA4200 7.5 Ah battery, and is available as a bare tool -- the Ego LM2000-S (Est. $330) -- for those already invested in other Ego power products. Batteries, including the Ego BA2800 56-volt 5.0 Ah Battery (Est. $220), are also available separately. Both Ego mowers are covered by a five year warranty.

If you have your heart set on a cordless electric mower, but don’t want to pay upwards of $500, we saw some pretty good feedback for the Ryobi RY40180 (Est. $300). As the price would suggest, the Ryobi is a little less fully-featured than the Ego LM2101, with one less cutting option (there’s no side-discharge). Expect around 45 minutes of run time from the included 5 Ah battery, and, like the Ego, it can swap its batteries with those of other, compatible, Ryobi outdoor cordless power tools.

We found a difference of opinion among experts. It’s the number three mower at TopTenReviews.com, and Grant Morgan says that it’s “one of the best electric lawn mowers for homeowners with small lawns who have limited storage but need efficient cutting power.” ConsumerReports.org has a different take, however, and awards the Ryobi a rather lackluster rating. Owners break the tie and largely side with Morgan, saying that the Ryobi is a great value and that it cuts very well. We did see some who were unhappy with the plastic body, saying it seems flimsy, but that also adds to the light weight, and makes rust less of a worry. We also saw a few more durability complaints than with the Ego. Still, the Ryobi garners a respectable 4.4 star rating among the nearly 745 user reviews posted at HomeDepot.com. Like the Ego mowers, it is covered by a five year warranty.

Corded mowers cost less than cordless mowers

Corded electric mowers are the least expensive type to buy and maintain. You have to sharpen the blades regularly, but 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 specific pattern to always keep the cord on the outside so it doesn't interfere with the mower.

Experts don't give corded mowers much love, the highest rated model at ConsumerReports.org, the Worx WG719 (Est. $200) earns unimpressive scores across the board; Good for bagging, mulching, side discharge and ease of use, Fair for handling. However, users are fairly pleased, saying it's light and easy to use, and is a great choice for a small backyard where you can mow in a logical pattern to keep the cord to your outside. It earns a score of 4.4 stars at HomeDepot.com based on nearly 70 reviews. Around 94 percent of owners offer it their recommendation.

The Worx WG719 has a 19-inch cutting width, three cutting options -- bagging, mulching and side discharge -- and cutting height adjustments from 1.25 to 4 inches. The handle is not adjustable, but it folds for storage and the Worx stands for storage as well, something space-challenged owners appreciate.

While it's not been reviewed by any professionals, the Sun Joe MJ401E (Est. $100) is certainly popular with owners. It earns a score of 4.2 stars at Amazon.com, based on feedback from around 1,575 reviewers. Satisfaction is similar at HomeDepot.com, where it earns a score of 4.3 stars, and recommendations from 91 percent of the owners that comment.

Users say that this Sun Joe mower is lightweight and very easy to use and push; and that it handles very well on turns. Many say for the price they can't believe how well it performs, although they do say it's best for regular maintenance of smaller properties, not for heavy-duty use.

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