My love affair with my battery-powered electric mower
by Craig Maltby for Club LT
It’s been a year since I bought my first cordless electric mower: A Ryobi with a 40-volt battery and a 20-inch blade.
Doesn’t it make you tingle?
The reason I’m writing about it is this: I ventured into new territory going “gasless” last year. When I first used it I was so blown away, I couldn’t wait to mow again. I think I mowed 2 days later, and I probably didn’t need to. My wife thought I was crazier than she had already thought I was.
Still, I wanted to give it a good year before forming my overall opinions. I think I’ve done that now, and would like to share them.
First the battery. It’s a 40-volt lithium ion unit, weighs about 6 or 7 pounds, and easily slides into the top-mounted battery holder on the mower. My yard isn’t that big. I mow the entire yard in about 45 or 50 minutes. This battery easily lasts that duration. If the grass is really long, it might deplete the battery charge a little faster.
The mower is really light. It’s almost like pushing a toy mower. And quiet. The only thing you hear is the whir of the blade and the grass being mulched. No engine sound at all. It took me a while to get used to it, as I was thinking, “This isn’t real. It’s too easy. This can’t be working.” But it did and it does. It’s kind of like going from a playing 12-inch softball to wiffle ball. Except you can still whack that wiffle ball over the fence.
The older I get, the more I appreciate not having to push the heavy iron.
It comes with a mulching unit you just snap on the back if you want fine grass mulch left on the lawn when you mow. Or you can attach a collection bag. I do that in the fall to get rid of leaves. The bag holds a surprising amount of leaves.
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And of course, I’m never out of gas! But you’ve got to make sure you remove the battery after mowing and put it in the charging unit. It takes about 4 to 5 hours for a full charge. And after one mowing, it does need recharged. Don’t leave it in the mower and forget about it. You’ll be sorry.
A cordless mower may not be for everyone. While mine is not the biggest and doesn’t have the biggest battery (I’ve seen them as big as 80 volts), it works for my yard. Other yards will be bigger and require more power capacity. Some yards have heavier vegetation, weeds, etc. and the electric mower is not meant for that. The blade is strong but not extra hefty. Still, it does great with grass.
For a higher price tag, you can get a cordless mower equipped with an autodrive package. I opted not to get autodrive, as my yard is pretty small and flat. But if you have a large, hilly yard, you might go with the autodrive.
One big plus: I kept the battery indoors at room temp all winter. Its last charge was in October. I popped it into the mower in April, and it started up strong and true. Don’t keep the battery charging all winter. That could damage it. After the indicator lights show a full charge, take the battery out of the charger and unplug it.
So I guess my electric dreams have come true. And like I told my friends, its design and color kind of make it look like a Lamborghini. What do you think?
About Craig Maltby
Craig Maltby is the Club LT community manager. He lives and works in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa. When not writing or editing, Craig goes to movies, plays golf (or at least hits balls at the range), and plays keyboard in a classic rock music duo.