The Best Electric Lawn Mowers of 2023
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If you’re among the thousands of homeowners in the process of switching from a gas engine mower to one powered by a battery, this is the season to make your move. Battery mower technology is evolving and improving even as you read this. Our tests are proving conclusively that more of these mowers cut a larger area than previous machines. And, almost certainly, if you buy a spare battery or two, you'll have more than enough capability to handle your lawn's requirements for the duration of the cutting season.
Many people, especially those with small yards (roughly 5,000 to 8,000 square feet of grass to cut) who can handle the job in 40 minutes to an hour find that not only can they cut their lawn with battery-powered mowers, but that they can also do their trimming and blow the surfaces clean with battery-powered tools. We’re diehard gas engine users here, but even we have to state the obvious: battery mowers are great yard-care tools and a perfect fit for many homeowners.
We’ve been testing this category of product since it came into being and this spring was no exception. As in past years, we took the latest crop of battery-powered mowers and put them through a multi-day, multi-phase test. The measured-area and bagging test required mowing approximately 85,000 square feet of turf. That’s slightly under two acres. Prior to that we had already run the mowers through a preliminary test–we didn’t even bother to measure that test area. In the process we walked somewhere in the range of 9 to 10 miles testing these mowers.
We put in that effort to help you find a mower that’s a good fit for you, in terms of power, bagging ability, cut cleanliness and ease of operation. Our test results are shown below, followed by more specifics on how we test.
The Best Electric Lawn Mower
LM2150SP Cordless Lawn Mower
Several features allowed the Ego to clinch Best Overall, no small achievement in our mower tests. First is its outstanding cut quality. Healthy grass looks like velvet after it has been mowed with the EGO. Even when the mower is used in mulching mode, we did not find clumps of accumulated clippings after the mower was finished (it's important to specify here that these tests were performed on dry grass). We attribute that cut quality to the X-shaped blade (a design developed decades ago on Honda's gas engine mowers) and to the smooth and unobstructed deck surface surrounding the blade.
This mower is also an excellent bagger, gathering pounds more grass per square foot of test area than most mowers. You have to be aware of that when operating this mower. Its bag will fill more quickly than you might think. Although we spend most of our time testing mowers in mulch mode, we recognize that bagging is particularly important to people who have a lot of foot traffic in parts of the yard and want to prevent grass clippings from getting dragged into the house, garage or onto patios. If that's you, the Ego is probably a good fit for you.
Like many battery mowers today, the Ego is equipped with an all-plastic deck that will never rust, and a tilt-forward handle that also telescopically adjusts to suit the user’s height. To make it even easier to use, it has single-lever deck height adjustment with a large T-shaped handle. The combination of the spring-loaded adjustment and one of the better speed-control mechanisms we’ve seen–a simple dial that you rotate forward and back.
Since this model is sold without a battery and charger, it’s up to you how much battery to put in it. The brand recommends a battery with a minimum of 7.5 Ah of capacity, and that’s what we used to arrive at the cut area you see below. You can easily do better than that with a larger battery such as the company's 10-Ah, a whopper of a power pack. Given that the Ego's motor and drive system are both quite efficient, enabling it to accomplish nearly 1500 square feet of mowed surface per amp hour of battery capacity, that would translate to nearly 15,000 square feet of mowed surface with such a large battery. That's a lot of lawn. With a 10-Ah battery, the manufacturer estimates run time as 75 minutes. That strikes us as plausible, particularly on level ground, in mulching mode.
With decades of mower testing behind us, we've seen just about every type of drive control imaginable. It's difficult for us to assess these, since what one person finds comfortable someone else may not. We found the Ego's dial-adjusted speed control (the company calls it Touch Drive) to be simple and intuitive. Move the dial forward with your left or right thumb to increase speed. Move it back to decrease. The slowest speed is a leisurely pace (.9 mph), the top speed requires a comfortably-fast walk.
The Ego is powerful, fun to operate, and cuts so well—it's difficult to find anything to complain about. We suppose its big batteries could use a handle (like the Toro) but at least they are well shaped and have a lot of rubber-coated surface, to promote a good grip.
With the introduction of this machine, EGO has built another superb mower that delivers power, cut quality, bagging ability, and an outlandishly large cut area. And, frankly, we think it will cut even more grass than what our measured cut area test has revealed. We mowed down the tallest and toughest grass in the test with this mower. If we had tested it on some of the more routine parcels in our test area, we think it could go half an acre. It's among the mowers that we tested this spring that is a Yard and Garden Award winner.
We attribute its performance to its thorough engineering and its cut area to its engineering and the simple fact that it's powered by a humongous 12-Ah battery that helps it go the distance. The mower adapts electronically to your walking pace, and it’s the first walk-behind mower we know of with an LED dashboard. Overkill? Normally we’re skeptical of this stuff, but the EGO is a blast to operate, and it cuts well. Using the push buttons below the dash, you can turn the headlight on or off, set the blade speed to Turbo, Normal or Eco. We operated the mower on Turbo for the initial test run. After recharging, we switched to Normal for the bagging test and the measured-area cut. We operated the mower with the rear drive in operation, but you can also turn it off to conserve battery life. With the drive system activated, the mower adapts to your pace. Slow as you near the end of each row and coast to nearly a stop before turning to make the next pass. The mower reads this and adapts accordingly. We tried the mower uphill and down, and on level surfaces. The system appears consistent and reliable. This sophisticated drive is a bit like lawn mowing meets outer space–at least if there were grass to cut out there.
EGO's mower is equipped with a hefty front handle. This is a great idea given that this heavy-duty mower is also pretty heavy: about 70 pounds with bag and battery.
How Battery Mowers Work
Several features have enabled the improved capability of battery mowers. First is the lithium-ion battery, which has grown in size and sophistication, with the ability to better manage the heat and electrical strain that it experiences. And that equals better durability and run time. Next, brushless motors have fewer parts and increased reliability, compared to motors equipped with brushes that slowly wear away. This is especially important given that a mower operates in harsh conditions and high temperatures.
Another factor that has enabled the success of these motors is their electronically controlled output. When the mower encounters tall grass, the motor speed increases automatically, also ramping up the blade speed. The reverse occurs when the load on the mower eases, such as when it enters low or thin grass. Other battery mowers are equipped with a manual switch that conserves battery charge by running the motor at lower RPM (often called an Eco mode setting, or something similar). Use this low-power setting at the height of summer when the grass is dry and brittle; it may need only a light trim.
Battery mowers are also quieter than their gas-engine counterparts, and since they don’t burn fuel, they don’t have hot surfaces like an engine or muffler that can burn you.
How We Test
People have diverse mowing needs, from tidy little patches of grass to rough-and-tumble rural properties. We anticipate these varying needs by testing accordingly.
Our specimen grasses vary from soft and thick bluegrass and fine fescues, to perennial ryes that are bit more wiry. We mow flats, washboard surfaces, uphill, downhill, and sidehill. We mow tall grass and weeds. We cut areas that are immaculate and we mow the rim of a retention basin, and a humongous rough area that is under the flight path to a small airport. Every feature and accessory on every machine gets a thorough workout. We mulch, bag, and side discharge. We raise and lower decks, check the controls for their comfort and whether they are intuitive. Anybody should be able to get behind any mower and mow safely without a lot of instruction.
We also check for a neatly mowed surface. We cut a section and lie on the grass and sight along the top of the surface of the grass to get a better sense of the finished product.
These tests are long, hot, tiring, and repetitive. We’re confident our research will lead you to the right mower, regardless whether your lawn is like a putting green or more like our retention basin. Below are the mowers we recommend, followed by buying advice to help you select the right one for your needs.
For more lawn mower reviews, check out our guides to the best riding lawn mowers, our favorite zero-turn mowers, and the self-propelled mowers we recommend.
If you want a mower that that delivers you an ice latte while you cut, stop reading this review. The Echo mower reviewed here is a rugged self-propelled workhorse built to cut grass, take it or leave it. If that’s what you want, keep reading. Echo, headquartered in the Midwest, is well known for building such equipment. It’s been doing this for decades and we’ve got decades of experience testing this brand so we’re speaking from experience. This 56-volt mower delivers an exceptional cut, some of the best bagging in this test, and simple operation. We mulched, side discharged and bagged with the Echo, and it passed each test handily, also climbing hills and slogging through tall grass and weeds. It comes with a 5-Ah battery and a second bay for another battery, if you want to extend its run time (also a great incentive to buy one of its other superb battery-powered machines). Simply put, the Echo is very nearly a gas engine mower, and the company tells us that it has no intention of building a latte-mixing machine anytime soon. That suits us, as does this mower.
25223 Cordless Lawn Mower
Early spring testing and inconsistent grass height didn’t allow us to come up with a reliable square footage assessment of this mower. But we’re impressed enough with it to say that, although smaller than a full-size option, it’s nicely designed and equipped with features you hardly ever see in this class and price. You get 10-inch rear tires to help it better roll over washboard surfaces, dual batteries, and three-function capability: mulch, side discharge, and bag. Icing on the cake includes its steel deck with seven positions from 1 1⁄8 to 3 inches, all controlled by a single spring-loaded lift mechanism. The deck is continuous from the rear wheels to the front, and a lift up hatch at the back provides access to the bag. Speaking of that bag, if we were to ask for one improvement, it would be for through-the-handle bag access. That’s a small complaint, though, for a fine mid-size battery mower.
RY401150US Self-Propelled Electric Mower
This is Ryobi’s top-of-the-line mower, and its American-made construction is something we wish we saw more of. It delivers a tremendous cut area with its two (6 Ah) batteries providing a total of 12 Ah of capacity, and its X-shaped blade leaves a pristine surface in its wake. Ryobi estimates the design should provide 70 minutes of run time; we didn’t time our cut, but it strikes as plausible. Its rear-wheel drive and reasonably aggressive tread pattern provide good hill climbing and sidehill cutting performance, and its bagging on all surfaces (level, sidehill, and uphill) is also commendable. Other ease-of-use features include an easily installed or removed bag that mounts and dismounts straight up and down through the handle; deck adjustment is quick and easy thanks to a single-lever deck height adjustment. The straight edge deck is polypropylene; it will never rust and needs very little care other than basic cleaning.
21466 Recycler Lithium-Ion Electric Mower
Toro mowers have garnered more recommendations from us than any other brand for two reasons: build quality and cut quality. And those were amply demonstrated in our testing of the 21466 Recycler. It turned in the best ratio of cut area per amp-hour of battery by far in the self-propelled category–a whopping 2,254 square feet of mowed surface per amp hour of battery capacity. To put that in perspective, the Ego came in at 1,469 square feet per amp hour and the Ryobi was 1,274 square feet per amp hour. So not only is the Toro a highly efficient mower, it accomplishes this while turning in incredible cutting, mulching, and bagging performance.
We attribute this outstanding mower performance to three features, all upgrades to the previous version of this machine. First, the air vent at the front of the mower deck seems to improve mulching and bagging performance. Toro calls it Vortex technology, a design to increase air flow in the same way as a hood scoop on a car. The company says it helps the grass stand straighter under the mower and the clippings to be suspended longer for more thorough mulching, but it also helps airflow into the bag. We can’t verify that, but we can say our results indicate the design is successful. Next, the company’s redesigned “Atomic” blade configuration appears to assist the air flow and clipping movement. Finally, the three-phase, 60-volt motor is exceptionally efficient, resulting in a large cut area for a single battery.
Toro has, wisely, not altered some of the previous features that make this mower work: rear wheel drive, a one-piece deck that’s all steel (no plastic nose), rear-wheel drive, 11-inch wheels to help it roll over roots and crevices, and the same fold-forward handle that was an industry breakthrough when it was introduced years ago.
Every mower, to one extent or another, delivers lawn striping as it cuts, but if you want to emphasize the stripe, Toro built this mower for you. The Toro’s does its work at a leisurely pace, leaving stripes that were conspicuous compared to the test zones for other mowers. It accomplishes this with a 3/4-inch-diameter steel roller at the rear of the mower and an X-shaped mulching blade. The two work in tandem to deliver a razor-smooth cut and a velvet-like stripe. Other features: two-lever height adjustment, a massive 7.5-Ah battery complete with a handle (we wish other big batteries had that), and the same fold-forward handle with stand-on-end design that Toro pioneered. Every single Toro mower that we’ve ever tested has been a superb grass cutter, and this one continues that long tradition, we’re both pleased and relieved to say. It’s an unbroken winning streak, or in this case, a stripe.
Toro's mower uses an X-shaped blade and a rear roller bar to produce a crisp cut and a distinctive stripe on every pass.
You may be tired of hearing claims that battery mowers deliver gas engine performance, but Husqvarna’s mower is bringing that all-encompassing claim closer to the truth. That's especially true in the respect that the Husqvarna bagged very effectively. It collected 9.8 pounds of clippings from its test area, more than twice the amount that many other mowers would collect and still more than other top baggers, such as the Ego and the Echo, both of which pulled in 8 pounds.
The Husqvarna is a ruggedly built steel deck mower that weighs 80 pounds with one battery and its bag in place. It cuts and mulches beautifully. It was this spring’s fastest mower in terms of its top ground speed (4 mph); push its ground speed control to full forward and you almost have to trot to keep up with it. The slowest setting is a leisurely walk. Three electronic modes on the touch-control panel help you manage cutting conditions: Sensing automatically adjusts motor speed up and down to suit grass height. The Mulching setting is suitable for average cutting conditions, and Max Power is reserved for tall grass. We couldn’t verify the company’s claimed run time of 75 minutes, but based on our experience that seems plausible when the mower is equipped with two batteries. It has two battery bays and is sold with a single 7.5-Ah power pack.
The Husqvarna's control panel has all the information and control you need at a glance or within thumb reach: on/off, battery life, drive on/off and ground speed, and various settings for cutting mode from variable speed, to mulching to max power, for tall grass.
Makita is known for its outstanding power tools, not necessarily its lawnmowers, but that may change with this 40-volt commercial-duty steel deck mower. It’s powered by a Makita-built high-torque motor and a pair of 8-Ah batteries; when the first battery is drained, the mower switches automatically to the second. Yes, it’s expensive, but it delivers a superb cut surface and a tremendously large cut area, the largest in the test.
Unlike many battery mowers this one is equipped with a full-size (two bushel) bag like you would find on a good quality gas engine machine. Its accessories include a mulch plug and a side discharge port, giving you three-mode performance (mulch, bag, side discharge). It has all the other niceties associated with top notch mowers today: fold-forward handle, adjustable ground speed, and even a quiet setting that reduces motor output and blade speed to keep noise down if you’re cutting late in the day or early in the morning (or if the cutting conditions are not particularly demanding). In all, it’s a superb piece of outdoor power equipment.
Owing to a hefty amount of amp hours stored in a pair of batteries, and a highly efficient motor, the 40-volt Makita cut the largest area in this spring's test, slightly better than 20,000 square feet. It's among the largest cut areas ever produced by any battery mower that we have tested.
CMCMW220 push battery mower
Craftsman’s secret to its humongous cut area is simple: put two gigantic 9-Ah batteries on a light mower with a light blade and omit the drive (remember, this is a push mower, not self propelled). The result is that every bit of its battery capacity goes into cut area and run time (almost exactly 90 minutes!).
This walk mower is light (36.6 pounds with the batteries and bag) and it’s light duty in a pleasing way. Remove the batteries and the bag from it and it weighs slightly more than 30 pounds. It’s small enough and light enough you can put it on a shelf when you’re done or for storage during the off season.
The Craftsman is a middle of the road machine in terms of its bagging capability. It mulches better than it bags, we found, and the quality of its cut surface is quite good although we did notice some clumping when the grass was tall and moist (when the grass dried out later in the day, the Craftsman's mulching performance was as good as any other mower). On the other hand, we were surprised at its spunkiness with the deck set up high and its side discharge chute in place. No, this isn’t a gas engine mower. You won’t use it to knock down weeds in an overgrown yard. On the other hand, compared to a gas engine mower it’s almost vacuum cleaner quiet, and it’s extremely pleasant to use with an all-plastic deck that’s easy to clean.
Finally, it comes as a kit. You get mower, bag, discharge chute, charger, and a pair of batteries that fit any other Craftsman 20-volt tool. It’s a winner for folks that need a small mower.
The Craftsman mower kit comes with a pair of whopping 9-Ah batteries. Combined with a light blade and an efficient motor (not to mention the absense of a drive motor), that battery power enables a tremendously large cut area.
XML11CT1 Battery Lawn Mower
If your taste in outdoor power equipment leans toward plain yet capable, this Makita fits the bill nicely. It’s a two-function machine (mulch and bag) that skips over fancy bells and whistles. Two hefty 18-volt, 5-Ah batteries power its 36-volt (brushed) motor. But the mower comes as a kit with four batteries, extending the cut per charge to a very large area. Its motor and battery bay are mounted on a perfectly formed domed plastic deck without any grass-catching obstructions. When you’re done mowing, you’ll find the deck is easy to clean. The Makita’s drive motor-gear assembly at the rear axle is considerably larger than that in most mowers, reflecting Makita’s experience as a power tool company and motor builder. You control its ground speed with a simple pivoting lever on the operator’s left. The mower’s cut quality and bagging performance were commendable. A removable plug slides into the back of the deck to seal it for mulching. Remove the plug to bag.
DG671 steel deck self-propelled battery mower
Cordless mowers are fun to test, and we had a blast with the big CAT, a 60-volt, 73-lb mower with a good old fashioned steel deck and a traditional side-discharge chute. And it mows some hunk of grass on one charge.
But those were about the only old-fashioned features on it. The CAT is self propelled and a nicely behaved modern machine that purrs along powerfully, leaving a beautifully cut surface. Its ground speed is continuously adjustable between a crawl and a brisk pace. A rear lever controls a sliding hatch that limits the degree to which you mulch or bag–you can fully do one or the other or some combination of the two. Another pair of levers on the handle operate the spring-assisted mechanism that permits the handle to fold forward so that the mower can be stored on end. The CAT comes with a single 5-Ah battery, but its motor housing has a spare bay for a second battery to increased its run time.
The CAT is equipped with a nicely-designed spring-loaded lever that controls a damper (for lack of a better word) that opens the back of the mower for bagging or closes it for mulching. You can also select a setting between the two.
Selecting The Right Mower
Electric mowers range from 36 to 120 volts, with deck diameters between 18 and 22 inches and occasionally larger. Setting aside what manufacturers claim as their run time or their cut surface per charge, we find that on average they will cut grass for half an hour to an hour, allowing you to mow an area roughly from 5,000 to 10,000 square feet before they need to be recharged. Battery mowers equipped with larger-voltage motors (58 to 82 volts) do better in tall grass or if the mower is self-propelled, since that requires more power. Of course, this makes the mower heavier and more expensive, too. Smaller-voltage mowers (36 to 40 volts) are lighter and easier to maneuver for small yards with 2,000 square feet of grass or less.
Also note in the above reviews that whenever possible, we record the square footage that each mower cut on a single battery charge, in other cases we estimate the square footage due to inconsistencies in our test areas. Almost all mowers will cut more area when the grass is at mid height and dry (mid summer). Nothing taxes a battery like tall, thick, damp, or wet grass—conditions that dominate at the start of the mowing season. When the mowing conditions are really tough, you can expect to see your mowed area per battery charge reduced from our above measurements by at least a third. Unless your mowed area is very small, say 1,000 square feet or less, you almost always need a second battery or pair (for dual-battery mowers). Backups help see you through the wide variety of cutting conditions that occur in a growing season, and they also help spread out the wear and tear on the batteries, instead of quickly working them to death.
If you’re undecided between a gas-engine mower and a battery mower, it comes down to this. Go with a gas-engine mower if mowing speed and power are essential to you, if you have a tendency to let your grass get tall, if you occasionally or even weekly walk your mower into tall, non-turf grasses to keep border areas from overtaking your yard, or if you do regular shifts of volunteer work (it’s your turn to mow the playing field or to cut an elderly neighbor’s yard).
Go with a battery mower if your cut surface area falls somewhere in the 2,000 to 8,000 square-foot range with cutting conditions that are not particularly taxing. That is, you have a nice neat yard. If your property is very small and flat, a battery mower is far superior to a gas-engine machine in helping you get the job done quickly and quietly.
Mower Health = Lawn Health
Here’s how to make the switch from a gas engine to a cordless mower and cut more grass per charge. Nearly everything we tell you here helps you to not only work more efficiently with your mower, but also contributes to a healthier lawn.
Raise the mower deck to reduce the amount of grass you remove with each cut, and strive to remove no more than one third of the grass leaf with each mow. Besides, most cool-season turf grasses are healthier and do a better job of blocking weeds when they are cut tall, in the 2.5- to 4-inch range.
Buy a spare blade; keep it honed and swap blades often. A sharp blade has less charge-robbing drag than a dull one and produces a healthier cut.
Mow more often to keep grass height within a range that the mower can comfortably handle.
Keep the deck clean. This permits optimum airflow under the mower, which reduces blade drag by helping the grass stand up more vertically for a clean cut.
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