If you’re ready to upgrade to a new lawn mower, consider going with electric over gas-powered. Not only would you be able to bid goodbye to yanking a pull cord, replacing fouled spark plugs, and storing flammable fuel, you’d be doing your part to reduce carbon emissions.
However, electric mowers do have their downsides when it comes to power, price, and even safety. Read on to understand the pros and cons, figure out what features to look for when shopping, and why the picks below are among the best electric mower models.
- BEST OVERALL: Greenworks GLM801601 21-Inch 80V Cordless Push Lawn
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: American Lawn Mower Company 50514 14-Inch 11-Amp
- UPGRADE PICK: Snapper 1687914 21″ SP Walk Mower Kit
- BEST CORDED: Sun Joe MJ401E-PRO 14 Inch 13 Amp Electric Lawn Mower
- BEST SELF-PROPELLED: EGO Power+ LM2020SP 20-Inch 56-Volt Lithium-Ion
- BEST RIDING: Ryobi 38 in. 100 Ah Battery Electric Rear Engine
- BEST ROBOT: Worx WR-150 Robotic Landroid Mower
- BEST FOR LARGE YARDS: Greenworks 40V 21” Brushless (Smart Pace)
Before You Buy an Electric Mower
Electric mowers are eco-friendly and well suited to homes without storage space for the fuel necessary to run gas mowers. Still, an electric model might not be for everyone. The gas vs. electric mower debate rages on, with adherents on both sides making convincing points.
An electric mower reduces the carbon footprint and is relatively quiet. In contrast, a gas-powered mower is loud but can run for hours, as long as a can of gasoline is nearby. It’s also usually more powerful, making it better suited to mowing thick, dense grasses where an electric mower can become clogged.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Electric Mower
Electric mowers offer a variety of options that make them more suitable for certain lawns and users. Keep the following factors in mind when selecting the best electric lawn mower for maintaining your yard.
There are several types of electric mowers, including push, self-propelled, riding, and robot mowers. The most suitable type depends on your yard, budget, and the amount of labor you’re comfortable with.
- Push lawn mowers are basic walk-behind models, requiring manual effort to move the mower forward. They’re significantly less expensive compared to other electric varieties, which contain more advanced features. Since push mowers require labor, they’re ideal for small- to medium-sized yards with even ground.
- Self-propelled lawn mowers, as the name implies, propel the wheels forward while cutting grass. These high-end mowers often cost several hundred dollars more than push mowers. The tradeoff is convenience, and the reduced effort involved makes them preferable for medium- to large-sized lawns and sloped terrain.
- Riding lawn mowers are as heavy-duty as they come, with a high price tag to match. Multiple varieties fall under this mower category, including lawn tractors, zero-turn, and rear-engine mowers. Users operate the mower in a seated or standing position. Featuring the largest cutting width and terrain capabilities, they’re built to tackle large yards, navigate hills, and even steep slopes with ease.
- Robot lawn mowers function autonomously and require the least amount of effort. These high-tech models come with many modern features, like programmable mowing, collision sensors, and app operation. Lawn robots are less powerful compared to other mowers. They also have a shorter runtime and a limited cutting width, so they’re not a top choice for large lawns.
Corded vs. Cordless
Most electric mowers today are cordless and run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Reliable corded options exist for push and self-propelled mowers, but they’re rare in comparison. Each power source has its own benefits and downsides.
Battery-powered mowers can be taken anywhere a lawn needs cutting and offer the most flexibility. However, when the battery runs down, usually within 30 minutes to 2 hours, it requires recharging before mowing can be resumed. Investing in a second battery can double the operating time for cordless mowers, since you can switch out the first one once it runs out.
The advantage of a corded electric mower is that an electrical outlet provides more reliable power. They’re often more affordable and weigh less due to the absence of batteries. A definite drawback is that the user is limited to the extension cord’s length, which is typically 50 to 100 feet long.
For those considering a corded mower, keep in mind it will require a heavy-duty extension cord; a 12-gauge or 14-gauge cord is best, although it’s always important to check the owner’s manual.
Lawn mower voltage, measured in volts (v), coincides with how much energy the motor can handle. The higher the voltage, the more energy is conveyed from the battery or power outlet to the motor. More volts are necessary to mow large lawns, and produce sufficient torque to cut through tall and thick grass. You can expect these voltage and coverage areas for electric lawn mowers:
- Push mowers: 18 volts to 80 volts (1/4 acre to 2 acres)
- Self-propelled and riding mowers: 40 volts to 120 volts (1/4 acre to 3 acres)
- Riding mowers: 50 volts to 120 volts (1/2 acre to 3 acres)
- Robot mowers: 18 volts to 40 volts (1/4 acre to 1 acre)
It may seem logical to choose a mower based on battery voltage, but this figure alone does not reflect motor power. Amperage (amps) also determines how powerful the motor is. Amperage is the rate at which electrical current is delivered to the lawn mower, usually ranging from 6 to 12 amps.
The motor power of an electric lawn mower is determined by wattage (W), which equals volts multiplied by amps—so a larger battery doesn’t always result in a more powerful mower. For example, a 5-amp mower with a 60v battery (300W) is less powerful than a 7-amp mower with a 50v battery (350W).
Brushed vs. Brushless Motor
Brushless motors are more efficient, with minimal energy lost as heat. They produce less friction (which damages the motor) and are easier to maintain, since there are no worn-out brushes to replace. All together, these factors translate into better performance compared to brushed motors.
By contrast, brushed motors produce more heat at the expense of power. Consequently, this type of motor may cause a mower to overheat and stall. While they’re more susceptible to friction and heating issues, with increased maintenance requirements, brushed motors are the most affordable option.
Deck Size and Swath Width
A lawn mower’s deck size is the width of its cutting swath. The wider the swath—the width of grass you can cut in a single pass—the fewer passes you’ll have to make. On the other hand, a wider swath requires more power, which can translate into shorter battery life.
The average swath width of an electrical mower ranges from 13 to 22 inches for push and self-propelled mowers, 5 to 10 inches for robot models, and up to 54 inches for riding mowers. If the lawn is small, even a 15-inch swath width will get the job done without taking too much time. Larger yards will benefit from a broader swath width so it doesn’t take forever to mow them.
Size and Weight
The size and weight of a mower are also important considerations, especially if storage and user strength are limited. Higher voltage mowers are generally heavier, simply because larger batteries weigh more. Additionally, mowers with a larger deck width tend to weigh more than smaller models.
Riding mowers are the largest, heaviest models out there. A small riding mower is comparable to a go-kart, while heavy-duty models resemble a “subcompact” car. They can weigh as little as 400 pounds to upwards of 800 pounds.
Self-propelled mowers usually weigh more than push models, since self-propulsion requires more battery power. These mowers usually range from as little as 30 pounds for a small push mower to upwards of 100 pounds for a large self-propelled mower. Note that self-propelled mowing still involves some manual labor, such as navigating tight spaces and moving the mower backward (they only self propel forward).
If you’re looking for a lightweight tool, go with a corded push or robot mower. Corded electric mowers are lighter than their cordless counterparts, since there are no batteries to weigh them down. Most corded mowers can be easily hung on the wall of a garage or shed to save space.
Robot mowers are the smallest and lightest options, usually weighing between 15 pounds and 30 pounds. Most are only slightly larger than a robotic vacuum. For these reasons, they are incredibly portable and easy to store.
Push and self-propelled mowers built to take on uneven ground and thick grass have larger rear wheels with a diameter of 8 inches or more. Compact models with small wheels, on the other hand, are better at getting in and around flower beds, navigating around trees, and other obstacles in the yard.
Riding lawn mowers contain tires, with different types suitable for certain terrains. Lug tires are thick and designed for traction, so they’re the ideal choice for wet, slippery, or sloped yards. Smooth tires prevent ruts and other damage to manicured lawns. Turf tires establish a middle ground, with reasonable traction and less damaging effects on the yard.
There are some other features and functions to look out for in an electric mower, offering enhanced versatility and safer operation:
- Speed control: Basic electric lawn mowers operate at only one speed, while others include multiple speed settings. Speed may be adjusted using a squeeze handle, dial, drive bar, or a pace-keeping system (usually reserved for high-end models).
- Cutting height adjustability: Like gas models, most electric mowers can be adjusted to suit a variety of cutting heights, ranging from 1 to 4 inches. Before choosing a mower, find out the optimal cutting height for the grass. The general rule of thumb is to cut most grass types between 2 and 3¾ inches high.
- Side or rear discharge: For users who want to collect the grass clippings, either to discard or add to a compost pile, look for a mower with a side or rear discharge and an attachable bag.
- Mulching: Some lawn mowers contain mulching blades. Mulching mowers cut the grass into smaller pieces, which returns some of the nutrients to the lawn.
- Rear roller: Lawn mowers with a real roller allow users to cut closer to the edges of property lines, garden beds, and other borders, eliminating the need for a trimmer.
- Safety: Most electric mowers have a safety bar built into the handle. The bar must be held closed to keep the motor running, minimizing the risk of accidents. Many also contain flaps and guards, which prevent the mower from discharging debris at the user.
Our Top Picks
The following picks highlight some of the best electric lawn mowers. They’re designed with different yards and users in mind, but all among the tops in their class.
This Greenworks electric mower uses two included 80-volt G-MAX lithium-ion batteries (compatible with other G-MAX-powered lawn tools) and will power through nearly an acre of lawn during the 60 minutes of run time provided by a full charge.
The cordless mower turns on easily with a push-start button and boasts a generous 21-inch swath cut. It features the brand’s SmartCut technology, which senses when the grass becomes denser and speeds up the blades.
The mower also provides a 3-in-1 system, allowing the user to choose between mulching, bagging, or discharging the grass clippings. Large 7-inch front wheels and 10-inch rear wheels make it easy to mow and maneuver.
No need to spend a lot on a reliable electric mower. This corded electric mower from American Lawn Mower Company offers a wide range of features, all at an attractive price point. It provides a powerful, yet highly efficient, 11-amp motor while remaining lightweight and easy to maneuver. The mower also boasts a respectable 14-inch swath width. And its cutting height is adjustable to five positions, from 1 inch up to 2.5 inches, making it suitable for low-growing and warm-season grass types.
The handle on this affordable mower has a nonslip grip, features a safety shutoff if the user releases the handle while mowing, and folds down to aid in storage. You can set the mower for clippings to discharge into a 16-gallon grass bag or to fall back on the lawn for use as natural mulch. Users will need a 12- or 14-gauge exterior extension cord (not included) to run the mower.
For those looking for a powerful, high-end electric mower, this cordless model from Snapper doesn’t disappoint. It runs on a super-charged 82-volt lithium-ion battery: two batteries and the charger are included.
This mower cuts an enviable 21-inch swath width, rivaling some of its gas-powered competitors. Weighing in at a hefty 80.9 pounds, this item is heavier than most electric mowers but features self-propulsion so users only need to walk behind and guide the mower.
The mower features a push-button start and seven cutting heights, from 1⅜ inches to 3¾ inches, making it appropriate for most turf types. It offers large 10-inch rear wheels and a grass-catching bag that fits on the back, with clippings discharging to either the side or the back.
This Sun Joe pick is among the best corded electric mower options, with a 14-inch swath and a rear-mount grass bag that catches clippings. It features a powerful 13-amp motor and large molded plastic wheels that make pushing the mower easier. An adjustable cutting height, from just over 1 inch to 2¼ inches, makes it well suited to low-growing, warm-season grasses, such as buffalo.
No need to store gasoline or change spark plugs with this plastic mower that is as eco-friendly as it gets. Collect grass clippings in a 10.6-gallon bag or discard them via a rear discharge chute. The Sun Joe mower boasts a nonslip grip handle that folds down for easy storage. A 12- or 14-gauge exterior extension cord is necessary for operation (not included). Some assembly of both the handle and the wheels is required.
No need to push a mower when this cordless electric mower from EGO Power does all the work. This electric mower runs on a powerful 56-volt lithium-ion battery (both battery and charger sold separately) and cuts an ample 20-inch swath. The user walks behind and guides; no pushing necessary with this self-propelled model.
The 70-pound mower includes LED headlights for those early morning or after dusk mowing jobs, and the fold-down handle adjusts to six different positions to suit a variety of grass heights. On a fully charged battery, this model runs up to 60 minutes without needing a recharge. It features side, back, and mulch discharge options for clippings.
This Ryobi rear-engine riding mower is an excellent choice for lawns up to 2.5 acres. A trio of brushless, 10-amp motors delivers 48 volts—enough to power to mow for about 2.5 hours. Once power runs out, it takes up to 6 hours to reach full charge. This small but mighty mower is built with 16-inch wheels for maneuvering over rough terrain. With a 12-gauge steel deck and sturdy frame, this rugged model offers superior durability.
The dual-bladed, 38-inch cutting deck can be adjusted in 12 different positions between 1.5 inches and 4.5 inches for cutting the grass to the desired length. A control panel allows users to engage the blades, bright LED headlights, enable cruise control, and charge devices with the built-in USB port. Other useful features include a cup holder, built-in hitch, and battery-level indicator.
Users with average-sized yards can save a ton of effort with this top-quality lawn robot. The Worx Landroid robot mower handles yards up to 1/2 acre, thanks to a 20-volt motor and 2 hours of run time. Plus, it only takes 90 minutes to reach full charge. Two brushless wheel motors offer extra traction, allowing this 23-pound mower to cut lawns with a 20-degree slope.
The Landroid’s 9-inch, triple-blade cutting disk mows close to the edges of a yard with adjustable height between 1.9 and 3.5 inches. Obstacles aren’t an issue with this robot mower: if it encounters them, the mower backs away, and you can also program it to exclude certain areas.
Set a custom mowing schedule via an app on your smartphone and control it on the go. An integrated rain sensor stops the Landroid from cutting if rain starts and sends it back to its charging station.
Give away that old gas-guzzling mower, toss out those fuel cans, and throw out that oil-changing pan: You won’t have any need for them when you purchase this cordless electric mower from Greenworks. Boasting a 21-inch swath cut, this mower can operate for up to 70 minutes powered by its two 40-volt lithium-ion batteries (included), allowing users to mow longer without stopping to recharge. When one battery runs down, the power automatically switches to the second battery.
The mower features self-propulsion, large front and rear wheels for easy maneuvering, a push-button start, height adjustment from 1⅜ to 3¾ inches, and a folding handle for easy storage. Rear bagging, side discharge, and mulching options are all available to collect clippings. As a bonus, the battery charger includes a USB port that can charge a cell phone or tablet if necessary.
Tips for Using Electric Mowers
Corded electric lawn mowers have been around for decades, but they didn’t have nearly the power to rival most gas-powered mowers until recently. Today’s models cut most turf with ease, but the following tips will help users achieve the best results.
- Cut the lawn as often as needed to maintain optimal grass height without cutting away more than ⅓ of each grass blade. This might mean having to mow every three or four days during the lawn’s fast-growing season, but by cutting no more than ⅓ of the grass blade, the grass will be healthier and more resistant to diseases.
- Mow away from the cord. Rather than starting at the outside of the yard and mowing back and forth toward the house, start near the electrical outlet and then mow in swaths progressively farther away. This helps keep the cord out of the way and reduces the risk of running over it.
- Don’t use a corded electric mower on wet grass. Electricity and water don’t mix, and mowing wet grass can lead to an electrical short or danger of electrical shock.
FAQs About Your New Electric Mower
More electric mowers are on the market today than ever before, and they’re an eco-friendly way to care for a lawn. For those new to this type of mower, read on to have a few of the most frequently asked questions answered.
Q. Do electric mowers cut well?
In general, electric mowers are not as powerful as gas-powered mowers, but for average lawns where the grass isn’t ultradense, they usually work quite well.
Q. How long does an electric mower last?
Depending on quality, an electric mower should last between 5 and 10 years. A lithium-ion battery (for a cordless electric mower) should be replaced approximately every five years.
Q. How do you maintain an electric mower?
Store an electric mower in a garage or covered shed and clean any stuck-on grass clippings from under the mower deck before use. In comparison to gas mowers, electric mowers require very little maintenance.
Q. How often should I mow my lawn?
Weekly mowing is the general rule, but it varies, depending on the lawn. Slow-growing grass can be cut every 2 weeks, while manicured lawns may require mowing twice per week.