How to choose a battery powered lawn mower?

Today there is a growing global awareness to reduce the carbon footprint, drive more efficient cars and improve the energy efficiency of homes. But there is another way to reduce emissions, and it is a machine that is probably waiting for us right now in our garage. The lawn mowers battery ( electric wireless ) enjoy a surge of popularity and sale increases as manufacturers improve the technology and features of each new model.

In Of Machines and Tools we already pointed out the many advantages of battery-powered lawn mowers . In a world of smartphones and wireless access everywhere, we have become used to moving without cables. So why should we mow differently? With a cordless mower , we simply connect the battery and we can start the task; It is then about knowing whether or not it is suitable for the work we are going to do, or if we would need another team with other features to do it.

Like all machines, however, they also have some drawbacks. But despite this, there are still countless parks and gardens where a cordless mower is an excellent option, if not a great alternative.

In this article we are going to provide some tips that will help us decide to buy a battery or cordless lawn mower . However, first we must ask ourselves a couple of questions to find out what concerns to raise with the seller.

To this end, let’s go by parts.

Is a cordless lawn mower a good option for me?

In fact, each user will choose the type of machine that their pocket can handle and that best suits their requirements. But there are at least three fundamental reasons that amply justify the choice of a cordless cutter.

  • Size of the area to be mowed: since there is a decrease in performance when the battery loses its charge, cordless lawn mowers are best used on small to medium-sized fields, that is, no larger than 2000 square meters.
  • Terrain Type: A mower with a rechargeable battery packs a lot of power, but cannot go up and down ripples as easily as a blast mower . For this reason, wireless works best on flat ground.
  • Lawn Height: The blade of a battery- powered mower does not have the same level of torque as a gasoline-powered one. This means that it cannot handle dense, high-rise grass, as well as weeds, as effectively as a blast mower.

Therefore, if we have a relatively small, flat park or garden and a well-kept lawn, the best machine to maintain it is a battery- powered lawn mower , with which we can enjoy many seasons of simple and quiet mowing.

What variables do cordless lawn mowers have?

There are a number of details that we must prioritize when choosing a lawnmower for our land. According to these details, the offer of the wireless cutters varies according to:

  • Battery size – As we already mentioned , depending on the make and / or model of the machine, the batteries can be 12, 24 or 36 V. Some leading brands already use 40 V batteries and even more. Although the power each battery size can deliver depends on other variables, such as grass conditions and mower design, generally a higher voltage battery will provide more power and longer run time. Other things being equal, the operating times are approximately as follows:
    • 12V battery: 30 to 45 minutes
    • 24V battery: 45 to 75 minutes
    • 36V battery: up to about 90 minutes
  • Propulsion type – The two basic types are hand push and self-propelled machines. In the latter, the battery drives the wheels and the blade. Therefore, we must know that these models subtract some power from the cutting operation, especially if you have large areas to work.
  • Grass Clippings Discharge Options – There are basically three: mulching , bagging, and side / rear discharge . Some models combine two of these options on the same machine; other more expensive models combine all three options.
  • Cut dimensions – Both width and height of cut are important factors in deciding our choice. While the cutting height we will use depends on the type of grass we have and the time of year we mow, the cutting width will influence the maneuverability of the machine.

We will discuss all these variables in detail below.

What features should I watch out for with cordless lawn mowers?

Now that we know the variables they present and also considering other no less important parameters, let’s see what we should pay attention to mainly to choose our ideal wireless cutter.

1) Batteries

The heart of the cordless mower is the battery , so that’s where we should look for power and quality, considering that a good battery should offer at least 500 recharges.

Most models are supplied with batteries of lead acid batteries have other nickel-cadmium, and others have lithium ions. Nickel-cadmium ones are the least recommended as they do not hold charge like the others and stop working efficiently as the charge dissipates.

As for the choice between batteries of lead-acid and lithium ion, it is a bit more complicated. One of the main advantages of lithium ion batteries is that they can deliver more power in a lighter pack. Another advantage is that they can be charged much faster: just 60 minutes against at least 12 hours that lead-acid batteries take. This can be important if our field is large enough to require a reload in the middle of the mowing task. Otherwise, the 12 hours it takes to charge a lead-acid battery shouldn’t be a problem.

Previously we mentioned other technological advantages that universal batteries present , so we bring them up again this time. This means that if we have, or plan to purchase, other cordless tools that can use the same battery as our lawn mower , then it will be very convenient to decide on a lithium-ion battery mower.

On the other hand, some models have fixed batteries and others have batteries that can be removed for recharging. The choice is at our discretion, although many users prefer to have a spare battery always charged to use it at the right time. If so, we should opt for models with a removable battery.

2) Drive, type of drive and size of wheels

An important option to consider is whether we want a self-driving cordless mower (self-propelled models) or one that relies on ourselves to get around (push models).

Push machines are cheaper and, if our terrain is flat and small, they are probably the right option. However, self-propelled mowers may be a good investment in terms of time and energy savings.

On a self-propelled model, the battery powers the wheels to steer the machine forward or backward. As operators, all we do is control the speed and direction the mower travels . The traction in these self-propelled machines can be rear or front. If we work on a terrain with slopes or undulations, it would be advisable to purchase a mowerwith rear-wheel drive, as they handle slopes better and do not lose grip on uneven terrain or when making turns (for example, if we raise the wheels when turning). In most cases, therefore, rear-wheel drive models are preferable. Some models have fixed drive speed, others feature variable speed. Some even automatically adjust the speed to match our walking pace.

When it comes to the size of the wheels, we will also find mowers with exactly the same front and rear wheels. These models are easier to maneuver and provide greater stability if we have many curves in our terrain. If this is the case and they offer us models that do not have wheels of the same size, let’s try to avoid those that present a large difference in size. For example, in the situation posed in the figure below, if we need stability we should choose the model on the right.

 3) Unloading the lawn

All mowers include a basket to collect grass as it is cut, as well as various options for unloading the grass. Let’s go one by one.

i) Side discharge : means that the grass is discharged to the side of the machine in operation and is the best way to handle clippings when mowing a lawn of considerable height. In a side discharge it is desirable that the grass be spread evenly without forming mounds. If this happens, it is very likely that the lawn will be damaged because the mound blocks sunlight from its lower layers and therefore photosynthesis cannot take place. If the mower leaves mounds of grass and we do not want it to be damaged, then we must rake it manually. Some models discharge grass clippings from the rear rather than from the side, but we must still ensure that no mounds form for the reasons noted above.

ii) Mulching : This option allows the grass clippings to be very finely crushed inside the machine cover and deposited back onto the grass.

 The benefit of mulching is that as clippings break down, they add nutritional value to freshly cut grass. It’s also a good way to get rid of clippings if bagging is our only other option. With good shredding action, you get very fine clippings (as shown in the photo above) that are evenly dispersed and mulch over the lawn. If excess mounds or clippings remain on the surface, again we run the risk of damaging the lawn for the reasons mentioned above.

iii) Bagging: the bagging option is self-explanatory, that is, the trimmings are deposited into a collection bag while they are being cut. Still, some mower models are more efficient at this than others. If we choose this option, it is convenient to look at a machine that has a moderate size bag to minimize the number of times in which we will have to empty it. In addition, we have to pay attention to the models in which the intake duct of the bag begins to clog before the bag is full, or those that leave clippings residue on the ground when we remove the bag to empty it.

It should be noted that shredding requires more battery power than bagging, so if we are going to shred, we must know in advance that we will cover less ground with a load than we would cover if we only used the other options.

On the other hand, some discharge options on certain brands and / or models of cutters may require parts that are sold separately, for example, crushing accessories or conduits for side discharge, as shown in the following figure.

 Finally, in the models that incorporate two or all three functions in the same machine, we must bear in mind that they do not always carry out all the tasks effectively. In that case, let’s think about the function that we will use the most and choose a machine that performs that task in the most efficient way possible.

4) Height and width of cut

It is very convenient that we look for lawn mowers with several options of cutting height (the more the better) since we will probably vary this height at different times of the year, or we can have a certain preference about the height at which we want to maintain the grass. . For example, if we set the cutting height to approximately 10 cm, it will allow us to leave an extra tall grass.

Let’s also try to find a mower with a height adjustment mechanism that is simple and easily accessible. On some models, the height can be adjusted in a single action, while others require separate front and rear wheel height adjustments. Adjusting all four wheels with one lever is useful, and a standard feature on many lawnmowers , as we see in the photo below.

 When it comes to cutting widths, most home lawn mowers range from 35 to 55 cm. Obviously, the wider the cutting deck, the more grass is cut at one time and the faster the cutting job will be. As an example, a model with a 48 cm cutting width and a 35V battery should mow up to 1,500 square meters on a single charge. However, if we have limited storage space, narrow driveways, or very winding terrain, we may need to choose a mower with a smaller deck.

5) Boot modes

Unlike blast mowers , cordless mowers are easy to start, as in most cases just press the button while keeping your hands on the handle.

However, there are also models in which a key must first be inserted, then a button is pressed or slid and a safety lever actuated so that the blade begins to rotate. Some self-propelled models have an additional safety lever that activates the wheels. When this lever or the handle is released, the motor stops.

The choice between the various modes will depend on the practicality and the extra security conditions we are looking for.

6) Storage considerations

If storage space is an important factor in our case, then we must direct the search towards the smaller size cordless mowers . Some fold down so small that they can even fit on a shelf. They have quick release clamps on their handle hinges for quick and easy folding (see figure below). Others have handles on the top of the mower deck for easy portability.

 Other larger models feature handles that can be folded down for easy storage. However, these models can be quite heavy, so they are not as easy to maneuver in our garage as other types of lawnmower.

7) Incorporation of smart functions

If we are looking for one with more sophisticated functions, we can try those that have a power indicator light that informs us of the state of charge of the battery. Many manufacturers incorporate this indicator in their machines, and others have an analog voltage meter built into the handle, which allows you to monitor the status of the battery while we work.

 On the other hand, some manufacturers offer cutters equipped with a function that allows you to switch between cutting modes. While one of the modes is designed for aggressive cutting of tall grass, the other mode slows the blade speed for the other types of mowing, saving battery power and reducing the noise level. Other models have features that automatically increase power when the mower gets stuck in mud or wet ground.

In addition, as we already expressed above, the possibility of using universal batteries and chargers that can be easily adapted to other cordless tools is a detail to take into account when it comes to taking advantage of smart functions that save us time and money.

In summary

The cutters wireless lawn are tools useful in a very wide range of conditions, and to choose correctly that best fulfill our purpose should follow certain guidelines. In the following figure we summarize the main concepts addressed in this article, which will undoubtedly help in our decision.

Leave a Comment