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Cordless Lawnmowers Buyers Guide

Cordless Lawn Mowers

Cordless lawn mowers (also known as rechargeable lawn mowers) are becoming more popular now that battery technology has allowed for sufficient power and running time to be achieved to complete a cut of a lawn.

With a cordless lawnmower you obviously eliminate the need to have a convenient power outlet, and are also free of trailing cables and extensions leads.

If you have a larger garden you should look for models with multiple batteries so that you can have one on charge whilst the other is in use - meaning that you won't have a frustrated wait for a battery to charge while your lawn is half cut!

Cordless Lawnmower Suitability

It is possible to use a cordless lawnmower in a large garden but the obvious drawback of this type of mower is that it will only run for as long as the batteries are charged. If you lawn is excessively large, even a cordless mower with multiple batteries may not be suitable.

Application Cordless Rotary Mower
Small Gardens Yes Yes
Medium Gardens Yes Yes
Large Gardens No No
Rough Terrain No No
Long Grass No No
Finest Cut No No

Cordless lawnmowers will cut long grass but you might find this saps the battery far faster that normal, thus reducing the opertaing range for that charge.

Cordless Lawnmower Types

At present all the readily available cordless lawnmowers operate with a rotary cutting action. A rotary cutting action is achieved using a blade which rotates at very high speed paralell with the ground. The grass is cut in a hacking / slashing action which if you looked closely at the blades of grass you would see a torn finish.

This type of cut is perfectly acceptable for all but the most discerning of gardners, and is able to cut the grass when it has been left a litte longer, or for the first cut of the year, without too much trouble.

If you want to try and achieve a striped finish with your cordless lawnmower you will need to ensure that it has a rear roller fitted.

Battery Types

Lithium Ion Batteries (li-ion)

Most good quality cordless mowers are powered by Lithium Ion batteries (li-ion). Lithium Ion batteries have the following properties which make them ideal for use in lawnmowers :

  • Good energy to weight ratio
  • No memory effect - you won't ruin the battery by topping up the charge
  • Slow loss of charge - the battery should be as strong as you left it at the end of the last cut
  • Fast charging times
  • Some are able to show accurate amount of charge (on a compatible machine)

Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)

The other most commonly used type of batter is Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH). These would be found in some of the cheaper cordless machines. Whilst still being good at what they do, the advantages of the li-ion batteries means our advice would be to opt for these where possible.

Quoted running times

Look very carefully when comparing the quoted running times per charge of the models of cordless mower. The figures quoted will be in ideal scenarios, when the grass is not too long or wet - a bit like the MPG figures quoted by car manufacturers. Be realistic that you won't cut the lawn as often as you might think, and that you will occasionally have to tackle slightly longer grass. The running time will reduce based on the amount of work the mower motor has to do.

Quoted charging times

Read closely the quoted charging times for the batteries - often there will be mutliple times quoted - as a true comparison though you need to look at the time it takes to charge from a flat battery to 100% charge. A lot of the manufacturers will quote a "fast charge" time which boosts the battery up to 80% for example.

Price

You should expect to pay more for a cordless lawnmower than the equivalent corded electric model. This is because of the cost of the batteries and other components - you could liken it to the difference between corded and cordless drills.

Weight

A cordless lawnmower will always weigh a little more than the equivalent corded model, this is mostly due to the weight of the battery of course.

Maintaining a cordless lawn mower

Because there are really no consumer servicable parts within a cordless mower there not much you need to do to keep the machine in good shape.

Cleaning

The mower should have any grass or debris that is stuck to the blades or underside of the chassis cleaned off after every cut, especially if the grass is damp or wet. Use a brush from a dustpan set for example to remove anything safely and easily.

Winter Storage

Consult the manufacturers instructions, but it may be that you have to disconnect the battery if the mower is stored unused for an extended period of time.