Best Cordless Lawn Mowers: Guide & Recommendations
What are the best cordless lawn mowers currently available? In this guide, we walk you through what to look for so that you can make the best decision based on your budget, the size of your yard, and other needs - keep scrolling down for all the details. And if you just want to know our recommendations for the best battery-powered mowers, you'll find that directly below!
Recommended Cordless Lawn Mowers
There are some excellent battery-powered lawn mowers available through hardware stores, big box home improvement stores, distributors, and online (both directly from the manufacturer and through Amazon).
To help you choose the best mower for your needs, we pulled together a summary of the best ones we've seen in two categories - smaller mowers (up to 16") for yards up to 1/8 acre, and larger mowers (19" - 22") that will handle a large lawn (up to, and sometimes over, 1/2 acre).
Best Mowers For Larger Yards - Up To 1/2 Acre
Why the Yard Force YF120vRX is our Top Pick in Cordless Mowers for Large Yards
If your budget allows and you want a battery-powered lawn mower that easily matches the capabilities of a gas-powered model, the Yard Force YF120vRX is our top pick. It's a beast of a mower that runs for almost 2 hours and powers through even the toughest patches of weeds and long grass. It's built to last with a high torque brushless motor that senses when additional power is needed and backs off when it's not, conserving battery power for longer run time. The wheels are propelled separately from the blades so you can drive it back to the shed when you're done mowing. And, believe it or not, it'll keep powering forward even with a 180 lb person standing on the cutting deck!
Best Mowers For Small Yards
Here's what you'll find in this review. Just click on a topic to be taken directly to that section of the article.
About Battery-Powered Mowers
Battery power is a quickly-growing trend in outdoor power equipment. Not only is it more convenient, it’s also more environmentally friendly. As battery technology continues to evolve, cordless tools are becoming more powerful and running longer on a single charge. In the case of battery-powered lawnmowers, some of the newer models are a viable replacement for a gas-powered mower even if you have a large lawn.
Types of Cordless Lawn Mowers
Even the type of mowers powered by batteries has expanded. We’re now seeing not only push mowers but also some self-propelled models with enough battery power to keep the wheels turning for at least 60 minutes. There are even robotic mowers that operate autonomously to keep your lawn at a specified height, returning to their “dock” to recharge (the WORX Landroid and the Stihl iMow Robotic Mower are nice options). Ryobi has recently come out with a battery-powered lawn tractor that can mow up to 2 acres without recharging and Troy-Bilt has a Li-ion powered zero turn mower that can run for 2 hours.
Benefits of Cordless Lawn Mowers
Cordless, battery-powered mowers have multiple benefits.
- There are no gas fumes to breathe in and no sloppy gas and oil to funnel in before use.
- There’s no cord to trip over, confine you to a limited distance from a power outlet, or restrict your movement around the yard.
- Most cordless lawn mowers use a push start instead of a pull cord, so it’s much easier to start, especially if you suffer from arthritis, shoulder problems or if you’re letting kids mow the lawn (with supervision!).
- Without a combustion engine, cordless lawn mowers are much quieter than their gas counterparts.
- They're typically manufactured to be as lightweight as possible, making them more nimble and much less tiring to use.
- Some of the cordless mowers can be collapsed for easy storage or even stored on end.
The Downside of Cordless Lawn Mowers
On the flip side, no cordless lawn mower is perfect. The technology is still advancing for Lithium-Ion batteries (not familiar with Li-Ion batteries? Read our FAQ here). Run times are getting longer, but most batteries last around 35-60 minutes, depending on the voltage. If you have more than one battery you can easily swap them out, but they do take between 30 minutes to 2 hours to recharge. With smaller lawns, this shouldn’t be an issue, but it’s something to keep in mind.
As cordless technology is still fairly new, cordless lawn mowers tend to cost more than gas lawnmowers. This is slowly changing as they become more ubiquitous in the marketplace, but for now be prepared to pay a little bit more for the convenience of using newer technology.
While lithium-ion batteries don’t have a “memory,” they do slowly drain over time, especially if they’re left on the mower (even if it’s off). We recommend removing the battery from the mower when not in use and, if you can, storing the battery indoors. If it’s been a few weeks since you last used it, you’ll probably need to recharge it.
Lithium-ion batteries do have a finite lifespan – most will last about 3 to 5 years before they need to be replaced.
For more information, see our FAQs About Lithium-Ion Batteries
What to look for in a cordless lawn mower
Battery Run Time
Most cordless lawnmowers run about 35 to 60 minutes. If you have a smaller lawn, you should be able to mow the entire lawn without having to recharge the battery, but if you have a larger lawn you might want to invest in extra batteries.
How long the mower runs depends on the Ah (amp-hour) of the battery. The higher the battery’s Ah, the longer it should last before you need to recharge it. If runtime is important to you, look for mowers powered by higher Ah batteries.
High-voltage batteries will give you more power. The more power the battery has, the tougher the jobs the mower can tackle. Cordless lawn mower batteries range from 20V all the way up to 120V, but more isn’t always better. The higher the voltage, the larger the battery, the more it weighs, and the higher the cost. And at some point the extra power is just overkill – how much power do you really need to cut grass? Mowers using batteries in the 40V to 56V range have plenty of power for normal use.
Most batteries these days are designed to be used interchangeably with other outdoor power equipment from the same manufacturer and with the same voltage. The batteries for some brands, such as DeWalt, are also interchangeable with a wide range of their other power tools.
Check to see what other devices are available from the manufacturer that would be compatible with the battery in the mower, such as leaf blowers, string trimmers, chainsaws and pole saws. If you already own equipment from a specific brand, you may want to stick with that brand when purchasing a cordless lawn mower so you don’t have to buy a new charger and/or batteries.
Adjustable Cutting Height
Lawnmowers have the option of adjusting the deck height so you can mow grass to different lengths. Different types of grass need to be cut at different heights, so this option is to your benefit. On most gas-powered mowers you’ll have to adjust the height at each wheel separately, which is a bit of a pain. Look for mowers with an easy adjustment system, such as a lever that raises the deck on all four wheels at once. The better ones will raise the deck without you having to lift it up yourself.
In the past, cordless mowers tended to be narrower than gas mowers (around 16-18") but newer models in the 20" to 22" range are now available. The wider the lawn mower deck, the fewer passes you’ll need to make on your lawn. Again, this isn’t such a big issue on smaller lawns (and a narrower mower can help you get into tighter spaces), but if you have a larger lawn the extra inches of width could save you some time.
Lawn Mower Weight
Most cordless lawnmowers are significantly lighter in weight than gas-powered mowers and use durable plastic or composite materials instead of metal in some parts to ensure this. If you're using a mower that's not self-propelled, this reduction is weight is helpful, as it reduces the amount of effort you’ll need to push the mower. Look at the weight of the mower when the battery is installed as that can add several pounds to the total weight.
Push vs Self-Propelled
More self-propelled battery-powered lawnmowers are hitting the market this year and we expect to see more becoming available as battery technology continues to improve. Not all self-propelled mowers are easy to use though, so consider how the propulsion mechanism works and whether it’s easy to adjust the speed while in use. Look for a battery with higher Ah and volts so the mower will have enough “oomph” to power both the blades and the wheels (although some, like the amazing YARD FORCE Lithium-Ion 22” Self-Propelled 3-in-1 Mower with Torque-Sense Control - 2 Batteries &..., run the blades and wheels separately so you can drive the mower without engaging the blades). And be prepared to pay more for this feature.
Depending on your lawn and preference, there are generally three options for what to do with grass clippings: mulching, side or rear discharging, and bagging. Some models offer all three options so you can switch between them, while others offer only one or two options.
If you plan on bagging grass clippings, check how large the bag is and the volume of clippings it can hold. If you have a larger lawn you’ll want a larger bag so that you’re not constantly stopping to empty it.
Some cordless mowers use a “mulch plug” to convert the mower from bagging to mulching mode (the plug prevents clippings from flying out the back of the mower). The plug is effective but can be annoying to use – when in bagging mode you have to remove the plug so it’s easy to misplace or forget it.
Other mowers use a sliding cover or “door” to open or close the entrance to the bag (Honda has a patent on one system for this). This option is far more convenient and easy to use.
If you’ve ever mowed a lawn, you know that your hands can get easily tired from gripping the handle for so long. Look for a handle with padding, ergonomic features, and different hand placement options.
Ease of Use
While a mower may have a ton of features, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to use. Some questions to ask include: How easy is it to adjust the height of the cutting blades? The position of the handle? Is it easy to insert and remove the battery? Is there a battery charge indicator that’s easily seen (e.g., on the handle vs having to lift the battery cover to check the remaining charge)?
Some mowers have handles that fold up for easier storage, while others fold and stand on end to take up even less space.
Consider how much storage space you have. In addition to whether and how it folds up, you may want to look at lawn mower size – a smaller one will obviously take up less space.
Walk mowers have a safety feature that prevents them from running when not engaged. Usually, this is a safety bar on the handle that must be held in place while in use. Check to see how easily you can hold it in place; some require a tight grip that can quickly become tiring.
Also look for a locking mechanism that holds the battery in place while the machine is in use (to prevent it from coming loose due to vibration).
Cordless lawn mowers use lithium-ion batteries and are therefore more environmentally friendly, quieter, easier to start, and generally lighter in weight. The batteries do have a limited run time and need to be charged, so you might want to buy more than one depending on the size of your yard.
Lawns and personal preferences will vary greatly; make sure you buy a cordless lawn mower that works for you and your lifestyle. For example, if you suffer from arthritis, you might look at a self-propelled model with a push start, with easy-change batteries and easily adjustable heights, as well as comfortable handle grips. If you have just a small patch of lawn, you might want a smaller, more maneuverable mower that folds up for easy storage. There are many options, but not all will work best with your landscape.
For lawn care tips, see Grow a Greener Lawn: Lawn Care Tips From The Pros
Cordless Lawn Mower Brands
As battery technology improves and consumer demand for cordless lawn and garden tools increases, more companies are offering cordless lawn mowers, including brands that are best known for their home improvement tools (rather than outdoor power equipment).
Some of the most common/familiar brands include:
- DeWalt (new in 2018)
- Sun Joe
- WORX / Positec
See All Mower Reviews
Last update on 2018-09-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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