Electric and battery lawn mower buying guide

Corded or cordless? Mulching or catching? Budget or high-end? We'll help you narrow down all the options and choose a mower that makes taking care of your lawn less of a chore.

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Senior man mowing his lawn with an electric mower

Quick facts about electric mowers

  • Electric and cordless mowers are quieter and easier to maintain than their petrol-powered counterparts.
  • Before buying a cordless or electric mower, you'll need to consider the size of your yard and how much money you're willing to spend.
  • Prices typically range from $100 up to around $800.

Compare electric and battery lawn mowers

Updated October 21st, 2019
Name Product Wattage Cutting Width Cutting Height Product More info
Ozito 18V Brushless Electric Lawn Mower
N/A
300mm
30mm - 70mm
Ryobi 36V 4.0AH Electric Lawn Mower
N/A
400mm
20mm - 70mm
Ozito 1000W Ecomow Electric Lawn Mower
1,000W
305mm
30mm - 70mm
GARDENA Sileno City 250 Robotic Lawnmower
N/A
N/A
N/A
Ryobi 1600W Electric Lawn Mower
1,600W
360mm
20mm - 70mm

Compare up to 4 providers

What are my main options?

What's the difference between an electric mower and a battery-powered model? Let's take a closer look.

Electric

Sometimes referred to as corded electric mowers, these operate simply by plugging into your mains power supply. Though much less widely available than cordless models, electric lawn mowers are worth considering for those with smaller lawns.

As long as there's a power source nearby, they'll keep running all day long. Of course, there isn't always a power point within easy reach and dragging around an extension cord without tripping over yourself can get quite annoying.

Battery or cordless

If you'd prefer to do away with the power cord altogether, cordless mowers draw their power from rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. This is a whole lot more convenient than dragging around a cord and modern battery-powered motors are significantly more powerful than they used to be. Run time has also improved, with many manufacturers offering between 30 and 60 minutes of mowing on a single charge (and more in some cases).

Some models come in kits that include the mower, a battery charger and one or more batteries. Other models, known as skins, are sold on their own with no battery or charger.

How to compare electric and battery lawn mowers

If you've decided that a cordless or corded mower is right for you, now it's time to find out exactly what you need in a mower. There are a few important questions you'll need to answer:

  1. How big is my yard?
  2. How long does it take me to mow?
  3. How much money am I willing to spend?

This will help you work out the key features you want, then you can compare a range of suitable mowers based on the following factors:

Cutting width

Cutting widths of 350–400mm should be sufficient if you only have a small patch of lawn to mow, but if you've got a larger yard you'll probably want a deck width of 450mm or greater to get through the job as quickly as possible.

Ease of use

Check if the handle is comfortable to grip, if all controls are within easy reach and whether you'll be able to manoeuvre the mower around your yard without any problems. If choosing a cordless model, check if the battery is easy to insert and remove.

Price

Corded electric mowers are generally priced from $100 to $250, while cordless models range from $250 up to $800.

Weight

The size and material of the cutting deck also affect how much your mower weighs, so check the cutting width and whether the deck is made of steel or plastic.

Smaller corded mowers tend to weigh around 8–12kg, while cordless models generally fit in the 10–30kg range. It's worth giving a mower a "test drive" in store before you buy to make sure you'll be able to easily manoeuvre it around your yard.

Battery

Most manufacturers claim a battery run time of between 30 and 60 minutes from a single charge, but this varies depending on the length of the grass you're cutting. If you'll need more than one charge to finish mowing your lawn, the length of time it takes to recharge your battery is important. Some models come with rapid chargers that can get the job done in 30 minutes, but others take a couple of hours. Also, check if a spare battery is included.

Mulching or catching

Check that the catcher is sturdily constructed and has handles for easy lifting and emptying. The larger the catcher, the less often you'll have to empty it but it heavier will be when full of grass clippings.

Some mowers also feature a mulching mode that mulches your grass clippings and redistributes them into your lawn as you go. This not only promotes future grass growth but also keeps your lawn looking tidy.

Cutting height

Check the specs sheet to find out the minimum and maximum cutting heights a mower offers. How many different cutting levels are available? Is the height adjustment lever easy to access and use?

Self-propelled

While most electric and battery lawn mowers need to be pushed, there are some self-propelled models available that use power from their engines to drive their rear wheels. They're worth considering if you want to give your back a break or if your yard is hilly, but tend to cost a little more.

Warranty

Check the finer details of the manufacturer's warranty to find out what's covered and for how long. These commonly range from three to six years, but the mower itself may be covered for a different period of time to the battery and charger.

Electric and cordless vs petrol lawn mowers

Why choose a cordless or electric mower instead of a petrol-powered one? There are a few important reasons:

  • They're easy to use. Petrol lawn mowers can seem a little complicated but with electric models, all you have to do is insert the rechargeable battery or plug in the power cord, then push a button to turn it on.
  • They're quiet. Electric and battery mowers can cut your grass much more quietly than petrol models and keep your neighbours happy. They also produce less vibration than petrol mowers and generally weigh less.
  • There's less maintenance required. You don't have to spend money on petrol, change oil, replace spark plugs or worry about any of the other mechanical maintenance tasks that come with a petrol mower.
  • They're more environmentally friendly. Electric mowers are a more environmentally-friendly choice for the eco-conscious gardener.

However, despite their advantages, battery and electric mowers have several unique drawbacks:

Electric
  • You'll need to be within easy distance of a power point
  • Lugging around an extension cord means limited mobility and there's also a risk of cutting the cord
  • Not as much power as petrol mowers
  • Tend to have narrow cutting widths so aren't suitable for larger lawns
Cordless
  • Not as powerful as petrol mowers
  • More expensive than corded models
  • Limited run time
  • Batteries will eventually need to be replaced

With these disadvantages in mind, there are some circumstances where you might decide that petrol power is the way to go. If you've got a decent-sized lawn to mow or you just want maximum cutting power, a new four-stroke mower might be your preferred choice.

Other garden power tools worth considering

If you're planning on buying a cordless mower, it may be worth considering whether there are any other battery-powered garden tools you need in your shed. This is because the battery that runs your mower will also usually be able to run other tools from the same manufacturer, including:

  • Whipper snippers
  • Hedge trimmers
  • Leaf blowers and blower vacs
  • Chainsaws
  • Pressure washers
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