In days gone by, mowing your lawn was a laborious task that required difficult to use equipment and often, a lot of patience. However, modern technology has given us a variety of new tools that are straightforward to use yet extremely effective.
One such tool is the cordless lawn mower and while these machines are still in their infancy, there is no doubt that they are fast becoming one of the most favoured types of lawn mower for gardeners around the globe.
But there are already quite a few cordless lawn mowers to choose from and whether you are looking for an affordable piece of equipment with no frills to simply get the job done or something a little more high-end that is bursting with features, there will be a cordless lawn mower for you.
That being said, it can be difficult to choose the right lawn mower, especially if you have never shopped for this type of equipment before. In this article, I will provide you with a complete guide on cordless mowers enabling you to select a machine that is just right for you and your garden.
What Is A Cordless Lawn Mower & What Should I Look For?
If you have been mowing your lawn with a corded lawn mower, you will know the frustration of the power cable; it gets in the way, and there is always a chance of tripping over it. Furthermore, many homeowners have found themselves inadvertently running over the power cord with the mower rendered the entire thing useless.
That is where somebody came up with the great idea of removing that pesky power cord and replacing it with a battery system.
Simply put, a cordless lawn mower runs on rechargeable batteries and allows the user greater freedom of movement while cutting the grass. Most often, a cordless lawn mower will run on one or more lithium-ion batteries which are seen in many power tools including drills, electric wheelbarrows and much more.
While the advent of the cordless mower is not all that far behind us, the advantages of these nifty machines have certainly become evident.
Advantages Of The Cordless Lawn Mower
I have touched on the fact that the cordless lawn mower reduces problems where a power cable is concerned and for most people, this is the biggest selling point. Unlike electric models that take their power from the mains, cordless mowers, which are sometimes called battery-powered lawn mowers use a powerful battery to keep the motor running. No longer will you have to fight with the cord every time you want to turn the mower to move in another direction and you won’t be limited on where you can go.
With corded mowers, unless you are willing to use a lengthy extension lead, you won’t be able to use the equipment for a larger garden simply because you wouldn’t be able to access the far reaches of the lawn. This is something of a frustration since one of the plus points of the corded mower is its continual power which is great for times when you need to mow for longer.
In addition to this convenience, the cordless lawn mower is superbly low maintenance. Unlike petrol mowers that require regular servicing and a lot of TLC if you want the engine to run for many years, a cordless mower requires very little maintenance. Furthermore, they are inexpensive to run, again, the petrol mower requires owners to purchase oil and fuel as well as spares for when the engine needs work. In contrast, your cordless mower will cost you nothing more than a few pence on your electricity bill for charging the battery.
Petrol mowers are powerful pieces of equipment, but they are not great for the environment. In modern times, we are placing more and more focus on the importance of taking care of the environment and cordless mowers give out zero emissions, so they are super eco-friendly.
What’s more, they are very quiet which means decreased levels of noise pollution, something that is a well-known and annoying problem with petrol-powered lawn mowers, this is true not only for yourself but also for your neighbours.
Many of these cordless tools come with additional batteries, or at the very least, the option to purchase extra. But one of the most notable things is that many manufacturers will make their batteries shareable between other tools in the range. If you currently use several battery-powered tools from one particular range, then you may be able to save money by purchasing your cordless mower as a bare tool – without a battery.
These modern lawn mowers are easy to use and even if you have never picked up a lawn mower in your life, you would quickly get to grips with the function of these handy machines.
Advantages of Cordless Lawn Mowers Summary
- They are Light in Weight
- They Operate Quietly and Safely
- They are Easy to Use
- They Require Little Maintenance
- They are Easy to Manoeuvre as there is no Power Cord
- They are Powerful
- They are Compact for Easy Storage
- They are Cost Effective
Are There Any Drawbacks To Cordless Lawn Mowers?
Although cordless mowers are extremely reliable and efficient garden tools, like anything else, there are a few drawbacks. That being said, these are few and will likely not affect most people looking to invest in one of these machines.
- Owing to a limited battery life, the cordless mower might not be suited to a larger garden (always check the run time as some higher end cordless lawn mowers will most definitely complete with their petrol counterparts).
- Most models tend to be slightly pricier than corded mowers due to the advanced technology.
- Compared to petrol lawn mowers, the cordless models do not harbour quite as much power and so may not be suited for certain types of dense grass and grass that has not been cut on a regular basis (neglected). Again this is not the case for all cordless mowers, as some higher end more powerful model will be more than capable.
What To Consider When Buying A Cordless Lawn Mower
As we have mentioned, there are several cordless lawn mowers on the market and choosing between them will largely depend on your personal preference, your lawn and several other factors.
Before you decide on the model you are going to purchase, it is important that you take some time to look over the features to make sure that it will be fit for purpose.
Size Of Lawn
One of the primary considerations when choosing any type of lawn mower is how big or small your lawn is. The size of the lawn will determine many things but primarily, the type of lawn mower that is most suited to the size.
Very large lawns will benefit from a petrol mower, whereas smaller to medium gardens are ideal for a cordless mower.
So why is the size of your lawn such a deciding factor when considering which cordless lawn mower to purchase? Well, basically you would need to consider the cutting width of the mower as this will make it far easier to mow your lawn effectively and quickly, depending on the complexity and size of the lawn. The second factor is the run time of the battery. You would ideally want to be able to mow your lawn without having to stop to recharge the battery. Yes it is true you can always purchase a spare battery and swap over as and when needed, but batteries normally are the most expensive component of any cordless lawn mower.
So you can see why the size of your lawn is an important consideration before even looking further into the features and functions of the mower.
Cutting Width And Height
The cutting width of your cordless lawn mower tells you how much lawn will be cut in one pass; for example, if the cutting width is 40cm, you will be able to cut a strip of lawn measuring 40cm in one pass.
Looking at the cutting width is an important consideration when choosing your cordless mower, since the size will depend on how well it will work with your garden. In short, the larger the garden, the bigger the cutting width needs to be. If you choose a small cutting width for a huge garden, you will likely find that it takes much longer to complete the job.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the size you would need to choose compared to your lawn.
|Lawn Size||Deck Size|
|Small: Less than 200m²||30 – 34cm|
|Medium: 200m² – 350²||34 – 40cm|
|Large: 350m²||More than 40cm|
But in addition to looking at the cutting width, you will also need to check out the cutting height. This determines how tall or short you will cut the grass and in most cases, lawn mowers will have a choice of options that can be adjusted with a lever.
In the main, there are normally between 3 and 7 choices that can vary by a few centimetres so if you like to trim your grass different lengths at different times of year, as recommended to ensure a healthy lawn, then this is an important feature.
Also bear in mind there is a variation in the way in which the cutting height is adjusted. Some mowers have a single lever that conveniently adjusts all 4 wheels simultaneously, and some will have a lever on each wheel. Whilst a lever on each wheel will give you a greater control, it is more difficult and time consuming when compared to a single level height adjustment.
On this note, you would think that all single lever height adjustments are equal. This is not the case. Some mowers that I have tested with a single lever have been difficult and tricky to adjust and others have worked extremely well. One thing that I have noticed is that if the lever is mounted more centrally to the mower’s deck it tends to adjust more fluidly and easily.
The battery of your cordless mower is all you will have to rely on for power, so it is worth taking the time to check out its credentials and make sure that it isn’t going to let you down. Over the last few years the introduction and advancement of lithium-ion batteries have really made cordless lawn mowers not only more popular, but also real contenders when compared to petrol or electric mowers.
In the main, all recent cordless lawn mowers use lithium-ion batteries, as opposed to NiCd batteries, and these are efficient, reliable and useful power sources. However, since these batteries do not have a memory, like some others, their lifespan tends to be much shorter. That being said, some of the best quality lithium-ion batteries will last for up to five years depending on usage, so do be sure to check this out when looking at the model.
Furthermore, you should be sure to look at how the battery functions. Primarily, you will want to know how long the battery will run for. This can easily be determined by looking at the voltage in conjunction with the Amp Hour (Ah), which gives you an idea of both the power and the run time. Some cordless lawn mower batteries are as low as 18v, whereas the most powerful can be up to 80v. Some batteries will use a combination of two batteries running simultaneously, so for example 2x18v 5.0Ah batteries will provide 36v at 5.0Ah.
If your battery runs out halfway through the mow, this can be extremely frustrating and so you want to make sure that you aren’t going to be waiting around for ages for it to recharge. There are models whose batteries can take a quick charge of just 30 minutes which is superbly convenient, but you will likely pay more for this privilege. Most cordless mower batteries will charge in around 60-120 minutes. Remember that additional batteries can always be purchased separately.
As mentioned above some mowers use two batteries simultaneously, it never ceases to amaze me that some manufacturers will only provide a single battery charger. If your new mower does come with 2 batteries, ensure it is supplied with a dual charger for speed and convenience.
If you choose a cordless mower from a larger range of tools that you already use, then you may have the option to share power between tools and this is great if you are looking to save money, as you have the option to purchase a bare tool only. Let’s take Greenworks, for example, if you already have a good collection of their battery-powered tools, then purchasing one of their cordless lawn mowers to make use of your batteries just makes sense.
However, if you are new to power sharing then it might be worth investing in a cordless mower from a range that you are likely to buy more from in the future.
Ease Of Use
Nobody wants a piece of equipment that is difficult to use and thankfully, most cordless lawn mowers by design are straightforward to understand and easy to operate.
Some of the most common concerns are whether the mower is easy to adjust; for example, can the handle height be adjusted or are the cutting heights easy to switch between.
What’s more, you might also consider how easy the device is to store. The last thing you want is to bring home your shiny new cordless mower to find that it won’t fit in the garden shed, so be sure to look at both the dimensions and whether the handle collapses for easier, or even vertical storage.
Self-Propelled vs Push
Another thing to consider is whether you would like a self-propelled or a hand-propelled mower; in most cases, cordless models are hand-propelled but there are some higher-end models out there with a self-propelled drive, but again, this will set you back a little more. If you do opt for a self-propelled cordless lawn mower, remember that you will have the choice of a single speed or an adjustable speed model. The advantages of an adjustable speed is the ability to match your walking pace and the changes in terrain i.e. slopes. There is nothing worse than a single speed self-propelled mower that you feel is continuously running away from you.
When you are mowing the lawn, you will want a comfortable and enjoyable experience and this can be easily achieved if the mower has the right features. Of course, being able to adjust the handle height is essential as this will prevent you from having to reach or bend while mowing but you should also look at whether the handle is padded for extra comfort and to absorb vibrations (Ergonomic handles). Furthermore, many lawn mowers have easy to reach controls, so you aren’t over-extending yourself during the mow.
Finally, you will need to think about the weight of the machine. For the most part, cordless mowers are very lightweight and easy to move around, but there may be some that are heavier than others. This is particularly true with the self-propelled models. If you have problems with strength, mobility or you have a complex garden with many obstacles, then a more lightweight version will be ideal; so do make sure that you take this into consideration.
Grass Collection Box
Additionally, the size of the grass box can cause problems if it is heavy when full. In general, your cordless mower will come with a grass box between 30 and 70 litres and the size will usually be comparable with the size of the deck. However, if the grass box is too heavy for you to lift when it is full, this could make emptying it problematic. That being said, a larger grass collection box will mean fewer trips to the compost heap or recycling bin so you will need to weigh this up.
The cordless lawn mower is more expensive than a corded model and usually has a similar price tag to that of a petrol mower so you need to consider setting a budget.
If you are happy to go for a basic model, then you will be able to pick a decent mower up for around £200, however, if you wanted something a little more high-end then you would need to be prepared to pay upwards of £450, potentially going close to £1,000 for the top-end self-propelled models.
Furthermore, you should also think about the cost of the battery. In some cases, there will be a battery included with the mower, along with a handy charger. But in some instances, you will find that you must purchase the battery and charger separately. This can become a costly venture so do keep this in mind to ensure you know if you are purchasing a bare tool or a tool with battery and charger supplied.
Please also look out for the type of battery that is being supplied, as many manufacturers will offer a choice. The higher the Ah, the higher the price. A battery with a higher Ah rating will, in general, provide longer run times, so please consider this as it will impact the total cost of the mower.
Some cordless mowers come with just an option to collect the grass clippings in a collection box or bag however, there are others that come with a mulching plug.
Mulching gives you the option to spread the grass clippings back over the lawn as a way of providing additional nutrition (free organic fertiliser).
If you want to have a little more diversity in how you mow the lawn, then looking for a cordless mower that comes with a mulching option is a good idea.
But that is not all, there are two other cutting methods available with some cordless lawn mowers. These are side discharge and rear discharge.
It is incredibly important to make sure that you are safe when using your cordless lawn mower and in the main, most models come with a handle that must be held in place while you are mowing (Operator Presence Control lever). When this is released, it shuts off the blades to prevent accidents. But some people find that these handles are quite stiff and this means that it can become rather tiresome when cutting the grass so look for a model that is easy to use as well as being safe. All cordless mowers have a safety button that needs to be pressed with one hand whilst the other hand engages the OPC lever.
You will also want to check whether there is a safety key that prevents the mower from being started when the key is removed. This is an essential safety feature if you have children who may have access to the mower.
Cordless mowers are quickly becoming a go-to tool for many homeowners and they certainly come with their advantages. They do not limit your movement, are environmentally-friendly and require very little maintenance.
However, it is important that you choose a cordless lawn mower that suits your needs and the best way to do this is by looking over the features before you commit to buying. This will allow you to get a greater understanding of whether the lawn mower is suitable for you.
If you are now convinced that a cordless lawn mower is the best choice, why not see my Latest Cordless Lawn Mower Reviews.