Electric Walk-Behind Lawn Mowers - How to Pick the Best One
Electric walk-behind lawn mowers are most common type of lawn mowers found is backyard gardens. They are easy to use, safe to operate when used properly, relatively cheap, can last for a long time with minimum maintenance and care, etc. However, when buying one, there are few things to consider.
Main advantages of electric lawn mowers, when compared with gas operated units are: lower noise, easier maintenance, no smelly gases, zero CO2 emission and similar. More than enough reasons to chose electric lawn mower over gas lawn mower for your backyard garden.
Published: August 17, 2019.
Most important things to consider in electric, walk-behind lawn mowers are: power source, blade or blades mowing width, blade height adjustment system, type and size of grass catcher, safety systems, maintenance, storage, etc.
Corded vs Cordless Electric Lawn Mowers
Electric lawn mowers can be corded or cordless. Corded electric lawn movers use mains power as power source and require long electric cord to be towed behind. Cordless electric lawn mowers use the energy stored in the onboard batteries. Their main advantage is that there are no cords to pull around and they don't depend on the availability of electric grid and mains power. However, operating time is limited by the capacity of the battery and it ranges from 20 to 60 minutes or even more, on the single charge.
Most Popular Corded Electric Mowers
Following table list the most popular electric corded, walk-behind, lawn mowers:
|GreenWorks 25022||12 Amp||
|Sun Joe MJ401E||12 Amp||14 inches
|GreenWorks 25142||10 Amp||16 inches
|Black+Decker MM2000||13 Amp||20 inches
|GreenWorks 25112||13 Amp||21 inches
Note: Amazon affiliate links in the table open in the new window, so feel free to check them.
Most Popular Cordless Electric Mowers
Following table list the most popular electric cordless, walk-behind, lawn mowers:
|GreenWorks 25302 G-MAX||40V, 4 Ah, 2 Ah||Two blade system, 20 inches
|EGO Power+ LM2000||56V, 4Ah, 5Ah, 7.5Ah||20 inches
|Sun Joe iON16LM||40V, 4 Ah||15 inches
|Black+Decker CM1640||40V, 2 Ah||16 inches
|GreenWorks 25322 G-MAX||40V, 4Ah||16 inches
|Black+Decker CM2040||40V, 2.5 Ah||20 inches
Note: Amazon affiliate links in the table open in the new window, so feel free to check them.
There are many more models of corded and cordless lawn mowers on the market, but these are the most popular models.
Main advantages and disadvantages of corded electric mowers vs cordless lawn mowers are:
- price: corded electric lawn mowers are cheaper than cordless lawn mowers. Cordless lawn mowers usually operate using expensive, but light and powerful lithium ion batteries. Such batteries require dedicated chargers, have very low discharge rate, 'fade free' power output, can be charged quickly (30 or so minutes, sometimes even faster than that), store huge amount of energy per weight of battery, when treated properly can be charged and discharged 500+ times, etc. But again, they are expensive. Good thing about these batteries is that they are often standardized - each manufacturer has 'standard' types of batteries for power tools, including cordless lawn mowers. So, if you have power tools from one manufacturer, including set of lithium batteries, and you need cordless lawn mower, consider such unit from that manufacturer first. Savings can be quite large - sometimes even hundreds of dollars/euros.
- covered area - cordless lawn mowers can cover limited area, depending on the battery capacity, number of batteries and similar. Corded lawn mowers area depend on the length of extension cord - long extension cord is much cheaper than set of new batteries. However, if you do need lawn mower for your garden and patio only, and cordless unit can cover it, consider cordless units, too.
Having a pack of two high-capacity lithium batteries can be very helpful, since one battery can be used in lawn mower, while second battery is being charged. Depending on the capacity and type of terrain and grass, such batteries can provide zero lawn mower 'downtime'. Nonetheless, if you do operate two batteries that way, it is highly recommended to let the batteries cool down little bit after being fully charged - after all, before using them, read the manual thoroughly.
Batteries are often replaced quickly and easily, within seconds. If they are operated on heavy terrain, be careful, they can be quite warm, even hot. Although lithium batteries come with all sorts of safety features (over-current protection, over-charge or over-discharge protection, high temperature protection and similar), treat them carefully and if required, let them cool down - they will last longer.
To extend the operating time, cordless lawn mowers are often equipped with 'smart' motor controllers - they adjust the strength and hence the power drawn from the batteries, according to the terrain and grass, prolonging the operating time on a single charge, without sacrificing the performances.
- ease of use - corded units tow extension cord behind or aside of lawn mower. One must be aware of the cord position all the time, or high-speed rotating steel blade can catch the cable, make a short-circuit and slice the cable. Trust me, it is not fun when something like that happen - 110V (US) or 220V (EU) can be dangerous, even if you have fast automatic circuit breakers.
When choosing extension cord for your corded lawn mower, be sure that it is not green (yellow, orange and similar bright colors are highly recommended) and that cable is thick enough - if you have 12 Amps lawn mower, go for 16A or thicker extension cord, especially if it is longer than 50-75 feet (15 - 23m).
Note that most of the corded lawn mowers don't come with extension cord and it has to be purchased separately.
When using cordless lawn mower, forget extension cord and enjoy your work :)
- control systems - most corded units just have power handle to turn the lawn mower on and off, while cordless units usually have power handle and indicator lights (or even small speakers) for battery charge status, battery temperature and similar.
- maintenance - maintenance of corded and cordless lawn mowers is very similar. The differences are extension cord (when worn out, buy another cable, cheap) and the batteries (when capacity is lot, buy another battery - can be quite costly). Other maintenance jobs like keeping the blade(s) sharp or lubricating the moving parts are essentially the same - just be sure to check the manual before using your lawn mower.
Electric lawn mower, cordless or corded? Well, I like my corded lawn mower and I hope it will last for years to come. I am used to corded units, so it will take some time before I consider cordless units. However, my kids are growing up and I will rather let them use cordless unit due to absence of the cord. So, at the moment - corded electric lawn mower, but in the long run, cordless one.
Other Electric Lawn Mower's Features
Number and width of the blades - one of the most common specifications is the cutting/mowing width, which is given in the inches (US) or centimeters (EU). Lawn mowers usually have one single blade and it's length define the width of mowing. Common blade size for small gardens is between 14 inches (~36 cm) and 21 inches (~53 cm). Larger blade cuts more grass in one single pass, but it also increase the size, weight and the footprint of the lawn mower, decreasing the maneuverability and requiring stronger motor and more area for storage.
To achieve larger mowing width, some models have two motors and two blades, positioned side-by-side and slightly behind one another. This way, mowing width is increased without increasing the size of the mower, at the expense of having two blades and two motors.
Height adjustment system - in order to mow the grass at desired height, lawn mowers have some sort of 'height adjustment system'. The simplest one is in the form of 3-4 holes for wheels' axles - in order to change the height, one has to unscrew the wheel axle first from current position and then to screw the axle in the required hole to achieve desired mowing height. This is very simple, very durable system - just set the desired height once you buy your mower and forget about it :)
More expensive models of lawn mowers have a special handle for quick and simple mowing height adjustment - such system increase the price and mechanical complexity, but if you have to change mowing height often, it is simply a must have feature.
Grass catcher is plastic or rubber, rigid, semi-rigid or fully flexible bag at the end of the mower's body. As blades spin, they cut the grass and create the air flow which carries the grass into the bag for easy disposal. Such grass is excellent material for mulching or for making homemade compost. Some lawn mowers even come with additional impeller which creates even stronger air flow for better grass removal and for additional slicing of the grass blades - important for keeping the lawn clean and for mulching and composting, but add to mechanical complexity and price.
Unit storage - in order to occupy as less storage space as possible, most lawn mowers can be folded and stored upwards. Such position requires very little space and can come very handy when storage space is limited.
Personally, I don't like storing heavy objects vertically because they can easily fall over - people with little kids and pets know what I am talking about.
Lawn mowers can come with several safety systems, but one of the most important is automatic shut-off system when power handle is released. When power handle is released, motor is turned off and automatic brake quickly slows down and stops the spinning blade.
If your blade continue to spin for more than 1-2 seconds after the handle is released, check the manual and if required, take the lawn mower to the service center.
Other safety systems include, if present: motor and battery temperature check (switch motor off, to prevent overheating), motor speed and Amps check (to detect jammed axles and blades) and similar. All those systems add to the complexity and the price of the unit, so don't expect them in cheaper models.
All-in-one Electric Mower Units
Special type of lawn mowers are all-in-one units. Such units combine the electric lawn mower, lawn edger and trimmer in one unit.
They can be corded or cordless and are easy to use.
On the other hand, they often lack some of the features that 'specialized' units have, for example, grass catcher bag is often missing.
Since price of the 'full size' lawn mowers is quite acceptable, if you have any larger area of grass in your garden, go for lawn mower with grass catcher bag - it will save you time and work.
On the other hand, if you don't have need for bigger unit, these all-in-one units are perhaps just what you need.