Buying guide for best sun joe lawn mowers
Sun Joe offers a remarkably comprehensive range of lawn mowers. The traditionalist can choose from one of the widest ranges of push mowers currently available. Those with small and midsize yards can pick one of many light, easy-to-use, and affordable corded mowers. Finally, there are cordless Sun Joe lawn mowers that provide the freedom of a gas-powered mower without the noise, maintenance demands, or environmental concerns.
Each of these efficient tools is backed by a wealth of experience and a terrific reputation for reliability, and it delivers a host of user-friendly and innovative features. There’s a Sun Joe mower for every lawn. The only challenge is deciding which one is right for you.
Here at BestReviews, we’ve been examining the whole range so we can help you find the best combination of performance and value. Our recommendations offer a quick overview and highlight a number of top models. For those who would like a more detailed look at the features available, we have the following buying guide.
for cordless Sun Joe lawn mowers can appear very attractive, and they certainly compare favorably with most rivals, but it’s important to check whether the battery and charger are included.
Manual: Unlike many other lawn mower makers, Sun Joe still offers a half dozen different manual mowers, and while they’re easy to overlook because of the effort involved, some people wouldn’t use anything else. Their main advantage is simplicity, with no motor, comparatively few moving parts, and no need for gas, electricity, or battery recharging. You’ll enjoy the quiet, too. The five-blade reel is surprisingly efficient, and many argue it’s kinder to your grass. Several models have grass catchers, so cleanup is easy, too.
Of course, the downside is that you do have to push it! If you like to stay fit, that’s just great exercise, and with a choice of widths from 14 to 20 inches, these mowers can tackle lawns of all sizes.
If that’s a bit too strenuous for you, you’ll want to look at Sun Joe’s electric lawn mowers.
Corded electric: These lawn mowers are usually very affordable and a good choice for those who have the kind of modest urban yard that is increasingly common. They start at the push of a button and are light and maneuverable. These mowers come with a variety of cutting and grass-collecting options.
The only drawback to these mowers is the length of cord you can use. The effective maximum is 100 feet. Any longer than that causes two problems. First, heat can build up enough to be a safety risk. Second, even if you use a heavy-duty cable that might overcome the heat problem, the resistance increases in the cable the longer it is. So daisy-chaining two cords together doesn’t work because enough voltage won’t get to the mower. It will either run slowly or not at all.
In terms of actual power, you’ll get anything from 6.5 amps on the smallest to 13.5 amps on the largest. The technical maximum is 15 amps, because that’s what a standard power outlet supplies, but manufacturers always allow for a margin so a surge doesn’t trip your circuit. While a large motor is clearly much more powerful, it also uses more electricity. If you’ve got a limited area to mow, a smaller motor is more economical. However, you need to be aware that it will struggle with long or dense grass.
Cordless: These lawn mowers are the obvious solution to the cable problem, and Sun Joe offers three with various power levels. With run times of up to 90 minutes, there’s little they can’t tackle. Why doesn’t everyone go cordless? Cost is an obvious consideration (a cordless lawn mower is typically around twice the price of a corded model), and while battery life on the most powerful can be impressive, cheaper models might run for less than half an hour.
It’s important to consider the size of your lawn when you’re making comparisons. The voltage gives you absolute power, and with Sun Joe you can choose from 28 volts for small lawns, 40 volts for medium, and 100 volts for pretty much anywhere. Batteries come with an ampere-hour rating, which is a bit like fuel level. For example, a 5-amp battery runs twice as long as a 2.5-amp version. The difference between those two on Sun Joe’s 100-volt cordless is as much as 45 minutes of extra run time. So while you’ll pay extra, for many people the investment is worth it for the freedom to mow anywhere.
Hybrid: A recent innovation, unique to Sun Joe at the time of writing, is the hybrid lawn mower. You can use it as a corded model while you’re within 100 feet of a power outlet, then if you need to go farther, simply unplug it and the 40-volt cordless takes over. To us, it looks like an excellent solution for those who need to go beyond the 100-foot limit but don’t have acres of yard to mow. We would expect to see more of these in the future.
The smallest Sun Joe lawn mowers are an 11-inch hover mower and a 14-inch corded model. These are lightweight, nimble machines for smaller yards. There are also 16-, 17- and 20-inch models in all three power choices for making quicker work of large areas.
Normally a wider cut would equate to some loss of maneuverability, and that’s true of the 20-inch models, but Sun Joe has again innovated with a 16-inch model that has three wheels, giving it the ability to turn 360° in its own length.
You also want to check the adjustability of the height of the cut. Little variation is needed if you have nice, smooth lawns, but if the area is uneven, you might want to raise the deck to stop the blade from digging in. You can go down to about 1 inch on most and up to over 4 inches on the most powerful. Conveniently, it’s all set from a single lever that has several steps so you can make precise adjustments.
Once you’ve cut the grass, you need some way to dispose of the clippings. You can either leave them and rake them up afterward; use a mulching mower, which chops the grass into pieces so small there’s no need to rake (they feed the lawn); or collect the clippings in a bag as you cut, stopping and emptying it onto your compost heap when it’s full.
Sun Joe lawn mowers offer all these options. Depending on the model, you may have a side- or rear-discharge chute. Mulching and bagging are both offered on some machines (giving you the chance to use the method you prefer), but not all. Some just bag or discharge.
While on the subject, it’s worth checking the bag size. If you have a substantial lawn, then bigger is definitely better. You don’t want to be stopping to empty it every few minutes.
If you’re running cable outdoors, it should always be plugged into an outlet with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). If there’s a problem, it will cut the power in a fraction of a second, saving you from a dangerous electric shock.
Sun Joe lawn mower prices
Inexpensive: The cheapest Sun Joe lawn mower is one of the manual models at under 70. The hover mower is around 100, and corded models start at just 120.
Mid-range: Most Sun Joe mowers cost between 130 and 300, which covers all the corded models and the impressive 28- and 40-volt cordless. There’s something in this price bracket for almost every homeowner.
Expensive: Sun Joe’s powerful 100-volt cordless mower is around 460 as a bare tool. However, adding a charger and 2.5-amp-hour battery takes the total to over 700. The 5-amp-hour battery puts another 100 on top of that. It’s a terrific machine, but that’s a lot of money.
Don’t mow a wet lawn. You’ll likely chew up the grass rather than cut it, which can introduce disease to the lawn. Also, clippings can jam the blade, and it will be a nightmare to clean your mower afterward!
Q. Can a Sun Joe cordless mower really compete with a gas mower? A. That’s a tricky question. In terms of outright cutting performance, we would say yes, and of course it’s lighter and easier to maintain. With a 2.5-amp-hour battery, you’ll get 45 minutes run time at most. The 5-amp-hour version will give you close to an hour and a half. But you have to stop occasionally to refill a gas model, too. However, gassing a petrol mower takes minutes, and you’re on your way, whereas recharging a battery takes an hour or more. You could buy a spare to swap over, but they aren’t cheap.
Bottom line? If you can mow your lawn on a single charge, a Sun Joe cordless is without a doubt a viable alternative. If you’re a contractor, a lot depends on how you feel about the environment and how much you’re prepared to invest in batteries.
Q. Is a hover mower a good choice for someone with physical limitations? A. One is certainly worth considering. When operating, the air cushion makes it very easy to control. However, some can be quite heavy when they’re not running, but that’s not the case with the Sun Joe hover mower, which weighs just 10 pounds. For modest yards, it’s an efficient alternative to a wheeled mower as long as it’s used for regular trimming. Hover mowers do struggle with long grass, and there’s no adjustment for cutting height.
Q. What does ETL approval mean? A. It’s an independent safety certificate from Edison Testing Laboratories (ETL). Testing is overseen by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and certification guarantees the product meets all relevant North American safety standards.
The Sun Joe iON16LM is an electric lawn mower that runs on a lightweight lithium-ion battery.
Top Ten Reviews Verdict
The Sun Joe iON16LM is a good choice if you have a small lawn and don’t need a self-propelled mower.
Why you can trust Top Ten Reviews
Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
While best known for its electric snow blowers, Snow Joe has branched out to create a lightweight, cordless electric mower: the Sun Joe iON16LM. It cuts your grass in efficient 16-inch swaths, so it doesn’t take much time to trim your yard.
The mower’s battery can last up to 40 minutes, depending on the length of your grass and how hard the motor has to work to cut it. The best electric lawn mowers have batteries that last up to an hour, but the Sun Joe’s is perfect for lawns that are 1/4 acre or less and regularly maintained.
Sun Joe iON16LM: What you need to know
One of the best things about the removable lithium-ion battery is that it only takes 30 minutes to recharge. In addition to being ultralight, this is an advantage lithium-ion batteries have over traditional lead-acid batteries, which take much longer to charge.
Next to the iON16LM’s battery compartment, there is a safety key. When you pull the key out, the mower can’t be started or used. This is a good deterrent for small, curious children who may be enticed to play with the lawn mower, and it means you can store the mower with the battery installed.
You can adjust this mower to six height positions, from 1.18 inches up to 3.15 inches. Like most electric lawn mowers, the iON16LM may have a hard time cutting grass over 8 inches long. It doesn’t have a mulching option nor does it have a side discharge. It does come with a catch bag that attaches to the rear discharge point to catch grass clippings and keep them from shooting out at you.
Because it has a lightweight battery, this Sun Joe cordless lawn mower only weighs 37 pounds. This light weight makes it easy to maneuver the iON16LM around trees and other obstacles with a full bag of grass clippings, even though it isn’t self-propelled.
While this is a fine pick for an electric lawn mower, it falls far short of our top pick; which was the EGO Power 21-inch LM2102.
SunJoe Cordless Lawn Mower (16LM): Product Review
Cordless lawn mowers have come a long way in the last few years, with increased power, lighter weight and longer run time.
One of the newer models is the SunJoe Cordless Lawn Mower (16LM), with a 16” deck, 40V Li-ion battery and 40 minute run time.
I put it to the test on a ¾ acre lawn with a mix of fine fescue and St. Augustine grasses. Here’s what I found …
The mower arrived neatly packaged, undamaged and completely assembled except for the handles.
The lower handle had to be installed and then set to the desired height (there are three height options) by tightening the multi-position height adjustment quick lock wheels (one on either side of the mower deck).
The upper handle had to be attached to the lower handle using a set of two upper handle knobs and bolts.
The upper handle can be folded over the lower handle by unscrewing the upper handle knob and bolts just enough to let the upper handle pivot over the lower handle. This feature makes it easy to rotate the upper handle forward (toward the mower) for easy transportation and stowing the mower in tight spaces.
The mower arrives neatly packaged with very little assembly required.
Easy To Use
The SunJoe cordless mower has some features that I really liked and that made it easy to use.
There’s a sturdy lifting handle in the center of the mower, making it easy to pick up the entire mower. This is a definite plus when transporting it, putting it into a storage area or for extra maneuverability when mowing.
There’s a nice big lift handle in the middle of the mower and the 6-position height adjustment lever is easy to use.
The cutting height can be easily adjusted by using the 6-position cutting height adjustment lever. It’s well placed on the side of the mower and moves the cutting height from a low of 1.18 inches to a high of 3.15 inches (according to SunJoe).
I found it easier to adjust the height upwards if I also lifted up on the nearest handle as I moved the height adjustment lever. While it’s tempting to grasp and lift up on the mower deck (rather than the handle), don’t do it! Never put your fingers anywhere near the cutting blades.
And the multi-position quick-lock wheels located on the mower deck make it easy to adjust the handle level for pretty much any sized operator.
The multi-position quick-lock wheels make it easy to adjust the handle height.
The mower is easy to start by depressing the safety lock button and pulling the switch bar (bail) until it touches the foam covered handle. The safety lock is hard to miss – it’s the big green button on the side of the right handle.
Upper and lower bars are made from steel and not plastic and the handle is covered in comfortable foam.
The easy to see battery compartment in the center of the mower has a clear plastic cover that’s lifted up 90 degrees to access the 40V 4Ah battery.
The battery compartment is spring-activated, which makes it easy to install and remove the battery. To install, simply push the battery all the way into the compartment until the battery’s push lock clicks, locking the battery in place. To remove the battery, push the battery down into the battery compartment (you’ll feel the spring pressure) and press the push lock on the battery until the battery is pushed back up beyond the locking position.
Two nice safety features are the locking button that keeps the battery cover firmly in place over the battery compartment, and the safety key that needs to be inserted after the battery is installed (the mower won’t operate without it). The safety key can be inserted in either direction.
Two nice safety features are the locking button and safety key.
One feature I would’ve liked to see on the SunJoe mower is the ability to check the battery level without having to open the compartment cover to press the indicator button on the battery.
Battery Charging Run Time
The mower comes with a 40 Volt, 4Ah (Amp hour) lithium-ion battery, as well as a charger. Additional batteries are available on Amazon for 89.99 each (it’s always good to have a spare battery).
It takes 1.5 to 2 hours to charge the battery (using the charger that comes with the mower) after it’s been fully discharged.
See our FAQs About Li-Ion Batteries
It takes 1.5 to 2 hours to charge the battery
Average run time was about 40 minutes, depending on grass height, coarseness, and dryness. That was plenty of time to mow an entire ¾ acre lawn without running out of juice.
Some reports indicate that the battery can overheat when operated in high outside temperatures, causing the mower to stop altogether until the battery temperature falls within its operating temperature range. According to SunJoe’s operating manual, this is a safety feature – when the battery overheats (such as when the outside temperature is above 104F), an integrated protective cutoff will switch off the mower. I used it in 95F temperatures without any issue. I can’t image mowing a lawn in 104F temperatures!
I also noticed some discrepancies in the operating manual regarding battery storage temperatures. In one case, the manual states that the safe temperature range is from.4 degrees F to 113 degrees F. Another section says not to charge the battery in a place where the ambient temperature exceeds 104 degrees F. Either way, you get the message – don’t charge or store the battery in a location that’s going to hit triple digits in summer, such as a garage or storage shed.
About The Motor
The SunJoe Cordless Lawn Mower model 16LM runs on a brushless motor, which offers some advantages over a more typical brushed motor, such as higher efficiency, increased reliability, reduced noise and a longer lifetime.
Brushless motors also tend to have a higher torque to weight ratio, meaning you get great performance in a lighter mower.
Good Mowing Performance
The SunJoe cordless mower makes a nice clean cut on both fine and coarse grass lawns. I tested it at various heights and even on wet grass, all with very good results.
The grass catcher bag has mesh sides and a hard bottom, making it both sturdy and collapsible for easy storage. Using the grass bag left the lawn virtually free of grass clippings.
The grass bag indicator window (a flap located on top of the grass bag) lets you easily see when the bag is full – the flap lies flat when the bag needs to be emptied. However, it’s a little flimsy so I’m not sure how long it’ll stay attached to the mower.
The grass bag indicator window lets you easily see when the bag is full.
No Mulching Capability
The SunJoe cordless mower is NOT a mulching mower. When the grass bag is disconnected from the mower, the ejector flap swings down against the mower’s rear housing but it doesn’t sit flush, leaving a huge gap through which the grass clippings shoot out. The end result is a clearly visible trail of grass clippings left on the lawn as you mow and a large wad of grass left inside the mower.
The SunJoe cordless mower is NOT a mulching mower – there’s a large gap between the ejector flap and mower body so grass clippings shoot out while mowing.
To be fair, SunJoe doesn’t advertise the 16LM as a mulching mower. However, the design makes it look like it will mulch – it has a rear hatch (ejector flap) that closes when you take the grass bag off. Other cordless mowers we’ve tested all have an ejector-type, spring-loaded flap that closes off the rear end of the mower and converts it from a grass catcher to a mulcher. I thought this was the case until I tried it …
When you lift the ejector flap, you’ll have a huge wad of grass clippings trapped inside the mower.
Some Improvements Needed
We had some real problems trying to attach the grass catcher to the mower. The plastic pieces on the mower and grass catcher didn’t align well and it took a lot of sliding, lifting, and repositioning the grass catcher for the ejector flap to lock into place.
The front wheels weren’t aligned perfectly straight. While it looked odd and caused me to question SunJoe’s quality control, it wasn’t a major problem, as the mower was easy to push and it cut straight lines even with the wonky wheels.
I’m not sure if the cable that attaches to the safety lock button and switch bar (bail) will stretch over time (we’ve seen this happen on other mowers). It worked fine for our testing.
The SunJoe mower could definitely use a larger grass bag. The one supplied is rather small (only 9.26 gallon capacity) and had to be emptied more frequently than some other mowers we tested. And because it’s not a mulching mower, you have no option but to use the grass catcher.
Given the battery run time, you could conceivably mow a large (acre) lawn with this mower but you’d spend most of your time emptying the grass bag! This feature alone leads me to only recommend the SunJoe mower if you have a small yard to mow.
The SunJoe mower is relatively quiet (under 100 dB) but I still recommend using hearing protection, as well as the usual protective gear when using powered lawn tools (safety glasses, long pants, sturdy shoes, gloves).
This is an electrical device and should not be used in wet weather or severely wet lawn conditions as you risk getting a nasty electrical shock.
The SunJoe cordless mower has a 2-year warranty against defects in material or workmanship when used for normal residential purposes. If you’re using it for any business, commercial or industrial use, then the warranty is limited to only 90 days from the original date of purchase.
The batteries are covered in full for 90-days from the date of purchase.
As non-mulching movers go, I liked the unit. It was lightweight, easy to handle, had a decent run time, was extremely maneuverable, and made a nice clean cut. I thought the adjustable height handles were a real plus, along with both the grass indicator window and springs within the battery compartment that made for an especially easy removal of the battery. It was compact, fairly easy to fold the upper handle onto the lower handle for easy storage, and was quiet.
The thing that bothered me most was the need to jiggle and force the ejector flap into place on the top of the grass bag. Hanging the grass bag on the back of the mower was finicky as well. Since the grass bag must be installed to use the mower, and it fills up quickly so needs to be frequently emptied and replaced, this quickly became a real annoyance. Some engineering tweaks to the plastic molding and perhaps some additional quality control could easily resolve this issue.
Where to Buy
The Sun Joe 40-Volt 16-Inch Cordless Mower, Model iON16LM is available from the manufacturer for 379.99. It is also sold at a variety of big box stores, including Walmart, Sears, Home Depot, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Kmart, etc.
If you’re looking for free shipping and a three-day delivery, your best bet is Amazon Prime.
SUNJOE Cordless Lawn Mower MJ401C Owner’s Manual
Home » SUNJOE » SUNJOE Cordless Lawn Mower MJ401C Owner’s Manual
CORDLESS LAWN MOWER28-VOLT | 4.0 Ah | 14-INCHOPERATOR’S MANUALA Division of Snow Joe. LLCModel MJ401CForm No. SJ-MJ401C-880E-MR6
IMPORTANT!Safety InstructionsAll Operators Must Read These Instructions Before UseAlways follow these safety guidelines. Failure to do so may result in serious bodily injury or death.General Safety WARNINGS!When using this cordless lawn mower, basic safety precautions should always be followed to reduce the risk of fire, electric shock, and personal injury. These precautions include:WARNING! Do not operate without the entire grass catcher, discharge guard, rear guard, or other safety protective devices in place and in proper working order.WARNING! The use of any other accessory or attachment might increase the risk of injury.WARNING! To reduce the risk of injury, inspect the catcher assembly frequently and replace it with recommended replacement if there are signs of wear or deterioration.Before using the mower, take the time to familiarize yourself with the controls, especially how to stop the mower in an emergency. The only individuals who should use themower are those who have a thorough understanding of the instructions and who know how to operate the machine.Children should never be allowed access to the mower.Retain this manual for future reference and reread it at the start of each mowing season.WARNING! Contact with moving parts may cause entanglement, dismemberment, or another serious bodily injury. Always keep body parts (i.e. hands, feet) a safe distance away from moving parts. Ensure all covers and guards are securely in place before use.Hot surfaces (i.e. the motor) may ignite flammable or combustible items and cause a fire or explosion, which can result in serious bodily injury. Keep the mower a safe distance away from flammable or combustible items until surfaces that are hot have completely cooled. Do not store the mower near flammable or combustible items.A damaged blade or worn blade nut may break off the mower assembly and cause serious injury. Replace the damaged blade or blade nut before using the mower.
- Avoid dangerous conditions – Do not use the mower in the rain or when the grass is damp or wet.
- Keep children, bystanders, and pets away – Always keep children and spectators a safe distance away from the mower during operation and as the machine cools.
- Dress properly – Always wear personal safety gear (i.e. glasses, rubber gloves, protective footwear, and dust masks) and proper clothing when using the mower. Loose clothing, long hair, or jewelry may get caught in the moving parts.
- Use the right appliance – Do not use the lawnmower for any applications other than those for which it was intended.
- Do not force the lawnmower – It will perform better with less likelihood of personal or mechanical injury if it is used at the rate for which it was designed.
- Do not overreach – Keep proper footing and balance at all times.
- Stay alert – Always be alert and watch what you are doing. Use common sense. Do not operate the lawnmower when you are tired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Disconnect the lawnmower – Turn OFF and remove the safety key when the mower is not in use, before servicing it, when changing accessories and when performing any other maintenance task.
- Store idle lawnmower indoors – When not in use, the lawnmower should be stored indoors in a dry, locked place out of the reach of children.
- Maintain the lawnmower with care – Keep cutting edges sharp and clean for best and safest performance.
- Use personal protective equipment. Always wear eye protection – Protective equipment such as safety glasses, a dust mask, non-skid safety shoes, a hard hat, and hearing protection, when used for appropriate conditions, will reduce the possibility of personal injuries.
- Avoid unintentional starting – Ensure the switch is in the OFF position before inserting the safety key, or before picking up or carrying the tool. Carrying power tools with your finger on the switch or charging power tools with the switch ON can lead to accidents.
- Remove any adjusting key or wrench before starting the power tool – A wrench or a key left attached to a rotating part of the power tool may result in personal injury.
- Keep cutting blades sharp and clean –Properly maintained cutting blades with sharp edges are less likely to bind and are easier to control.
- Keep all parts of the body away from the cutting blade– Do not remove cut material or hold material to be cut when blades are moving. Make sure the switch is off when clearing jammed material. A moment of inattention while operating the product may result in serious personal injury.
- If the lawnmower strikes a foreign object, follow these steps:i) Stop the lawnmower by releasing the start/stop switch bar lever.ii) Remove the safety key.iii) Inspect for damage.iv) Repair any damage before restarting and operating the lawnmower.
- Only use identical replacement blades and other genuine parts.
- Keep guards in place and in proper working order.
- If the battery charger cable is damaged, please call the Snow Joe Sun Joe customer service center at1-866-SNOWJOE (1-866-766-9563).
- If charging the power tool in a damp location is unavoidable, use a residual current device (RCD) protected power supply. The use of an RCD reduces the risk of electric shock.
- Avoid body contact with earthed or grounded surfaces such as pipes, radiators, ranges, and refrigerators. There is an increased risk of electric shock if your body is earthed or grounded.
- Do not expose power tools to rain or wet conditions.Water entering a power tool will increase the risk of electric shock.
- Do not abuse the charging cord. Never use the cord for carrying, pulling, or unplugging the charger. Keep cord away from heat, oil, sharp edges, or moving parts. Damaged or entangled cords increase the risk of electric shock.
- The battery charger is for indoor use only. Do not charge lawnmower in rain, or in wet locations.
Battery Safety WarningsThis manual contains important safety and operating instructions for your battery and charger.
- Before using the charger, thoroughly read all instructions and cautionary markings on the charger, the battery, and the unit.WARNING! If the lawnmower housing is cracked or damaged, do not insert the charging adapter into the power tool or plug the AC adapter into the main outlet. There is a danger of electric shock or electrocution.
- This charger is ONLY intended to charge this rechargeable battery. Any other use poses a risk of fire, electric shock, or electrocution.
- Do not place any object on top of the charger or place the charger on a soft surface that may result in excessive internal heat. Keep the charger away from any heat source.
- To reduce the risk of damaging the electric plug and cord, pull the plug, not the cord when disconnecting the charger from the electric outlet.
- Make sure the battery charging cable is located in a safe place so that it will not be stepped on, tripped over, or otherwise subjected to damage or stress.
- An extension cord should not be used unless absolutely necessary. Using an improper extension cord poses a risk of fire, electric shock, or electrocution.
- Do not operate the charger if it has received a sharp blow or has become damaged in any way.Contact the Snow Joe Sun Joe customer service center at 1-866-SNOWJOE (1-866-766-9563) before continuing use.
- Do not disassemble the charger. If the charger requires service or repair, contact an authorized Snow Joe Sun Joe dealer or call the Snow Joe Sun Joe customer service center at 1-866-SNOWJOE (1-866-766-9563). Incorrect reassembly poses a risk of electric shock, electrocution, or fire.
- To reduce the risk of electric shock, unplug the charger from the outlet before cleaning the unit.
- Never attempt to connect two (2) chargers together.
- DO NOT store or use the tool and battery pack in locations where the temperature may reach or exceed 104 ºF (40 ºC). Dangerous storing locations include outdoor sheds or metal buildings in the summer.
- The charger is designed to operate on standard household electrical power (100 – 240V AC). Do not attempt to use it with any other voltage!NOTE: The integrated battery is not fully charged out of the carton. Read the safety instructions and then follow the charging notes and procedures.
- The longest life and best performance can be obtained if the integrated battery is charged when the air temperature is between 64.4ºF – 75.2ºF (18ºC – 24ºC). Do not charge the battery pack when the air temperature falls below 50ºF (10ºC) or above 104ºF (40ºC). Following these safety measures will prevent damage to the battery pack.
- Do not incinerate the integrated battery even if it is seriously damaged or completely worn out. The battery can explode in a fire.
- Read, understand and follow all instructions on the machine and in the manual(s) before starting.
- Do not put hands or feet near or under the machine.Always stay clear of the discharge opening.
- Only responsible adults who are familiar with the instructions should be allowed to operate this machine.
- Clear the mowing area of foreign objects such as rocks, wire, toys, and other miscellaneous articles, which could be picked up and thrown by the blade. Stay behind the handle when the engine (motor) is running.
- Make sure that the mowing area is clear of bystanders before starting the machine. Stop the machine if anyone enters the area.
- Do not operate the machine barefooted or while wearing sandals. Always wear substantial footwear.
- Always look down and behind before and while moving backward with the mower.
- Never direct discharged material toward anyone. Avoid discharging material against a wall or other obstruction.
- Do not operate the machine without the entire grass catcher, discharge guard, rear guard, or other safety protective devices in place and in proper working order.
- Never leave a running machine unattended.
- Stop the engine (motor) and wait until the blade comes to a complete stop before cleaning the machine, removing the grass catcher, or unclogging the discharge guard.
- Operate the machine only in daylight or in good artificial light.
- Do not operate the machine when you are tired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Never operate the mower in wet grass. Always be sure of your footing; walk, never run, with the mower.
- If the machine should start to vibrate abnormally, stop the engine (motor) and immediately check the machine to ascertain the cause. Vibration is generally a signal of trouble.
- Keep blades sharp.
- Keep hands and feet away from the cutting area.
- Always wear eye protection when operating the machine.
- Objects struck by the lawnmower blade can cause severe injuries. The mowing area should always be carefully examined and cleared of all objects prior to each mowing.
Slope OperationSlopes are major factors related to slip and fall accidents, which can result in severe injury. Operation on all slopes requires extra caution. If you feel uneasy on a slope, do not mow it.
- Mow across the face of slopes; never mow slopes following an up and down traverse. Exercise extreme caution when changing direction on a slope.
- Watch for holes, ruts, bumps, rocks, or other hidden objects. These may cause an unexpected slip or fall.
- Do not mow on wet grass or excessively steep slopes.Poor footing could cause a slip and fall accident.
- Do not mow near drop-offs, ditches, or embankments.You could lose your footing or balance.
ChildrenTragic accidents can occur if the operator is not alert to the presence of children. Children are often attracted to the machine and the mowing activity. Never assume that children will remain where you last saw them.
- Keep children out of the mowing area and under the watchful care of a responsible adult other than the operator.
- Stay alert and turn the mower off if a child enters the area.
- Never let children operate the machine.
- Use extra care when approaching blind corners, shrubs, trees, or other objects that may block your view of a child.
- Stop the machine and disconnect the safety key before servicing, cleaning, or removing grass from the lawnmower.
- Keep all nuts and bolts tight.
- Never tamper with safety devices. Regularly check to ensure these devices are in place and in proper working order.
- Keep the mower free from grass, leaves, or other debris
- If you strike a foreign object, stop and inspect the machine. Repair, if necessary, before restarting.
- Never make any adjustments or repairs with the engine (motor) running. Always plug out the safety key before adjusting, cleaning, or repairing.
- Check the grass bag components and the discharge guard frequently and replace them with the manufacturer’s recommended parts when necessary.
- The mower blades are sharp. Wrap the blade or wear gloves, and use extra caution when servicing them.
- Maintain or replace safety and instruction labels, as necessary.
- If your power tool requires service, contact an authorized Snow Joe /strong> Sun Joe dealer or call the Snow Joe Sun Joe customer service center at 1-866-SNOWJOE (1-866-766-9563). Only identical replacement parts should be utilized for repairs. This will ensure that the safety of the power tool is maintained.
- If the battery charger cable is damaged, it must be immediately replaced to avoid a hazard. Contact the Snow Joe Sun Joe customer service center at 1-866-SNOWJOE (1-866-766-9563) for assistance.
Safety SymbolsThe following table depicts and describes safety symbols that may appear on this product. Read, understand and follow all instructions on the machine before attempting to assemble and operate
Know Your Cordless Lawn Mower
Read the owner’s manual and safety instructions carefully before operating the mower. Compare the illustration below to the mower in order to become familiar with the location of the various controls and adjustments. Save this manual for future reference.
Initial no-load voltage, when fully charged, peaks at 29.4 volts; nominal voltage under typical load is 28 volts.
- Cordless lawnmower
- Grass collection bag
- Grass collection bag support rod
- Upper handle
- Upper handle knob and bolt assembly (2)
- Lower handle
- Lower handle screws (2)
- Screws (2)
- Cable clips (2)
- Battery charger
- Manual and registration card
- Carefully remove the lawnmower and check to see that all of the above items are supplied.
- Inspect the product carefully to make sure no breakage or damage occurred during shipping. If you find damaged or missing parts, DO NOT return the unit to the store. Please call the Snow Joe Sun Joe customer service department at 1-866-SNOWJOE (1-866-766-9563).
NOTE: Do not discard the shipping carton and packaging material until you are ready to use your new cordless lawnmower. The packaging is made of recyclable materials. Properly dispose of these materials in accordance with local regulations.
WARNING! Do not insert the safety key until assembly is complete. Failure to comply could result in accidental starting and serious personal injury.WARNING! Before performing any maintenance, make sure the key is removed from the unit. Failure to heed this warning could result in serious personal injury.WARNING! The product must be fully assembled before operation. Do not use a product that is only partially assembled or assembled with damaged parts.NOTE: Before using the mower, follow these instructions to assemble the handle and grass bag.Handle Assembly
- Fit the lower handle into the two holes in the machine body and fasten the handle on both sides with the screws provided (Fig. 1).
- Join the upper handle to the lower handle using the knob, plastic washer, and bolt provided (Fig. 2). Repeat on the opposite side.
Grass Collection Bag Assembly Fitting
- Fit the support rod into the holes in the plastic cover.The bend of the support rod should face the rear of the machine (Fig. 3).
- Place the protective plastic straps onto the support rod (Fig. 4).
- Lift the ejector flap with one hand. On the other hand, hold the grass collection bag by the handle and hook it in from above (Fig. 5).
- Release the ejector flap to secure the grass collection bag in position (Fig. 6).
Charging ProcedureThe battery charger supplied matches the lithium-ion battery installed in the tool. Do not use other battery chargers.The lithium-ion battery is protected against deep discharging.When the battery is empty, a protective circuit will automatically switch OFF the machine.Charge the battery for up to 4.5 hours then use it until it runs down (i.e. the tools start to operate slowly). Recharge for up to 4.5 hours again before resuming operation.The mower is equipped with a battery capacity indicator system under the battery gauge cover. To check the battery capacity, lift up the battery gauge cover and push the button(Fig. 7). The charge indicator system indicates the battery status of the lawnmower as the table shows below.
Battery ChargingThe battery in this lawnmower has been designed to provide maximum trouble-free life. However, like all batteries, it will eventually wear out. To obtain the longest possible battery life, we suggest the following:
- Store and charge your lawnmower in a cool area.Temperatures above or below normal room temperature will shorten battery life.
- Never store the lawnmower with the battery in a discharged condition. Recharge the unit immediately after it is discharged.
- All batteries gradually lose their charge. The higher the temperature is, the faster they lose their charge. If you store your lawnmower for long periods of time without using it, recharge the battery every 6 months. This will extend battery life.
NOTE: The lawnmower has been shipped in a low-charge condition and should be fully charged before use.
- Plug the charger into an appropriate AC power outlet.Connect the charger plug into the charging socket of the lawnmower to start charging (Fig. 8).
- The charge indicator LED on the charger will illuminate red to indicate that the charging is in progress (Fig. 8).
- The battery will take approximately 4.5 hours to charge.The charge indicator LED will become green when the battery is fully charged, unplug the charger immediately when the green light is on.
CAUTION! This charger does not automatically turn off when the battery is fully charged. Please take care not to leave the lawnmower plugged into the charger. Switch off or unplug the charger at the mains when charging is complete.NOTE: The charge indicator LED light will illuminate red when the charger is plugged in and is charging the lawnmower.The light will turn green when the lawnmower is fully charged.The charging process starts as soon as the charger is plugged into both the proper electrical outlet and the tool.
- During the charging procedure, the housing of the tool will feel slightly warm to the touch. This is normal.
- When no further use is planned for an extended period of time, disconnect the battery charger from the outlet and the unit.
- Do not use the tool during the charging procedure.
This lawnmower is intended for private residential use to cut grass in small lawns and gardens. This lawnmower is not intended to cut grass in public parks, playing fields, farms, or forests. Do not use this lawnmower for any application other than that for which it is intended.Starting StoppingWARNING! Before switching on the mower, make sure that it is not in contact with any foreign objects. Keep your hands and feet a safe distance away from the rotating mower blade and the ejector opening. Failure to comply with these warnings can result in severe personal injury.IMPORTANT: Do not start the mower in tall grass.
- Before starting the unit, insert the safety key in the slot (Fig. 9).
- Before starting the lawnmower, hold the handle assembly with both hands and tilt the handle downward to slightly raise the front of the lawnmower. This will reduce the risk of lawn damage during start-up (Fig. 10).
- To start the cordless lawn mower, press and hold the safety lock button while pulling the switch lever toward you (Fig. 11).
- Once the machine powers on, release the safety lock button and proceed with the operation, gently lowering the mower down into the cutting position (Fig. 12).
- To stop the mower, release the switch lever.
WARNING! The mower blade will continue to rotate for a brief period after the unit has been switched off. Do not tilt or carry the unit while the motor is still running and do not touch the blade while it is still rotating. Failure to comply could result in severe personal injury.
Adjusting the Cutting Height
Follow these instructions to adjust the cutting height of the lawnmower.WARNING! Before making these adjustments, disconnect the power supply to the mower by plugging out the safety key from the slot, and wait until the rotating blade has come to a complete standstill. Wearing gloves is recommended due to the close proximity of the cutting blade.ALWAYS FOLLOW ALL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS LISTED PREVIOUSLY IN THIS MANUAL.
- Power off and move the key out from the slot.
- Remove and empty the grass collection bag.
- Place the lawnmower on its side.
- The wheel axles can be placed into 3 different cutting heights: low (will cut the grass the shortest), medium, and high.3-Position Height Adjustment:1. Low: 1.18 in. (30 mm)2. Medium: 1.93 in. (49 mm)3. High: 2.52 in. (64 mm)The cutting height tolerance is /- 0.2 in. (5 mm).
- Move all four wheels to the desired cutting height by pulling back on the rod axle and setting it to the correct position. Make sure all four wheels are at the same cutting height position.NOTE: Set the mower to the highest cutting height when mowing on uneven ground or in tall weeds.
- Place the lawnmower back onto its wheels and reattach the grass collection bag.
- Insert the safety key into the slot and resume normal use.
Mowing Tips WARNING! Inspect the area prior to mowing and remove all the stones, sticks, wires, and other foreign objects that could be picked up and thrown by the rotating blade.Failure to comply not only will damage the mower blade but can also lead to serious personal injury.
- Be sure to check the mowing blade periodically for signs of wear and sharpen it at least once per year, as described in the maintenance section.NOTE: A sharp blade will greatly enhance the performance of the mower, especially when cutting tall blades of grass.
- When cutting thick grass, reduce your walking speed in order to allow for a more effective cut and a proper discharge of the clippings. For a healthy lawn, always cut off one-third or less from the total length of the grass.The average lawn should be approximately 1.5 in. to 2 in.(3.8 cm to 5 cm) long during cool months, and more than 2 in. (5 cm) long during hot months. If there is growth, the lawn should be cut in the fall.
- The lawn will look better if it is always cut to the same height and in alternate directions.
- When crossing any graveled surfaces, release the switch bar lever to turn off the mower. The stones can be picked up and thrown by the rotating blade.
- Set the mower to the highest cutting height when mowing on uneven ground or in tall weeds. WARNING! If you strike a foreign object, stop the motor and remove the safety key. Thoroughly inspect the mower and repair any damage before resuming work.
- IMPORTANT! Never open the ejector flap when the grass collection bag has been detached (to be emptied) and the motor is still running. A rotating blade can cause serious injuries!
- Always carefully fasten the ejector flap and grass collection bag. Switch off the motor before emptying the grass collection bag. Always ensure that a safe distance (provided by the length of the long handles) is maintained between the user and the mower housing. Be especially careful when mowing and changing direction on slopes and inclines.
- Maintain a solid footing and wear sturdy, non-slip footwear and long trousers. Always mow across an incline (not up and down).
- For safety reasons, the lawnmower may not be used to mow inclines with gradients exceeding 15 degrees.
- Use special caution when backing up and pulling the lawnmower towards you as such maneuvering of the machine poses a tripping hazard.
WARNING! Before cleaning, repairing, or inspecting the mower, disconnect the power supply by plugging out the safety key, and verifying that all moving parts have come to a complete stop.General
- Always keep the mower clean and free of grass, dirt, or other debris.
- Keep the handles dry, clean, and free of oil and grease.
- After each cutting session, remove accumulated grass clippings and debris using either a dry cloth or a hand brush. You may also clean the equipment with a damp cloth and some soft, non-abrasive soap. Do not use cleaning agents or harsh solvents as they may damage the equipment’s plastic components. Make sure that no water penetrates the equipment’s interior as intake of water can destroy the switch/plug mechanism and the electric motor.
- Do not clean the lawnmower with running water, particularly with high-pressure water.
- Check all nuts, bolts, and screws for proper tightness before each use.
- Frequently inspect the grass collection bag assembly for signs of wear and replace immediately with a genuine Snow Joe Sun Joe part if the damage is found.
- Replace excessively worn or damaged parts immediately.
- To maximize your mower’s longevity, all screwed parts, including the wheels and axles, should be cleaned and lubricated. There are no parts inside the equipment which require additional maintenance or lubrication.
Blade MaintenanceIMPORTANT: The mower blade is sharp and can cause severe personal injury if handled incorrectly. Wrap the blade or wear protective gloves, and use extra caution when handling.The steel blade is designed to provide a fine cut in long or tough grass. Deterioration in the quality of the cut indicates blade wear or damage. Follow these steps to determine if the blade needs to be resharpened or replaced:
- Disconnect the power supply to the mower by removing the safety key.
- Turn the mower on its side to expose the underside of the blade housing.
- Check the blade.a. If the blade is blunt or has minor wear, then resharpen.Contact an authorized Snow Joe Sun Joe service center.b. If the blade shows signs of major wear or damage (i.e. gouged, bent), replace. Please call Snow Joe Sun Joe customer service for assistance at 1-866-SNOWJOE (1-866-766-9563).
WARNING! An excessively vibrating mower indicates that the blade is not properly balanced or has become deformed from striking an object. In this case, the blade must be repaired or replaced. Please follow the proper maintenance procedures for blade care or call the Snow Joe Sun Joe customer service center for assistance at 1-866-SNOWJOE (1-866-766-9563).Blade ReplacementIMPORTANT: Only use original replacement parts specified for this mower.You can purchase a replacement blade (Model MJ401C-BLD) and other genuine replacement parts by visiting us online at sunjoe.com or calling our toll-free customer service helpline at 1-866-SNOWJOE (1-866-766-9563). The use of parts that do not meet the original equipment specifications may lead to improper performance of the lawnmower, may compromise operator safety, and will void the manufacturer’s warranty.
- Disconnect the safety key to the mower.
- Turn the mower on its side to expose the underside of the blade housing.
- Use a cloth to grip the blade or wear heavy-duty gloves.
- Using the spanner provided, remove the bolt and the washer securing the blade by turning the bolt counterclockwise, then carefully remove the blade (Fig. 14).
- Fit the new blade, the washer, and the bolt back on following the same steps in reverse order (Fig. 15).
- Remove the safety key from the slot.
- Clean the mower with a damp cloth or hand brush.
- Inspect the mower carefully for worn, loose, or damaged parts. Check connections and screws and tighten if necessary. Pay special attention to the mower blade and Maintenance and Care section.
- Store the mower indoors in a dry, clean and cool area out of the reach of children.
- Do not store the unit next to Plastic coverings trap moisture around the mower, which can damage the unit.
- The handle on your lawnmower can be folded for compact storage. Start by loosening the handle knobs on each side of the upper handle and folding down the upper handle (Fig. 16).
Recycling DisposalThe product comes in a package that protects it against damage during shipping. Keep the package until you are sure that all parts have been delivered and the product is functioning properly. Recycle the package afterward or keep it for long-term storage.Battery Caution DisposalAlways dispose of your battery pack according to federal, state, and local regulations. Contact a recycling agency in your area for recycling locations.CAUTION! Even discharged battery packs contain some energy. Before disposing of, use electrical tape to cover the terminals to prevent the battery pack from shorting, which could cause a fire or explosion.WARNING! To reduce the risk of injury or explosion, never burn or incinerate a battery pack even if it is damaged, dead or completely discharged. When burned, toxic fumes and materials are emitted into the surrounding atmosphere.
- Batteries vary according to the device. Consult your manual for specific information.
- Install only new batteries of the same type in your product (where applicable).
- Failure to insert batteries in the correct polarity, as indicated in the battery compartment or manual, may shorten the life of the batteries or cause batteries to leak.
- Do not mix old and new batteries.
- Do not mix Alkaline, Standard (Carbon-Zinc), or Rechargeable (Nickel Cadmium, Nickel Metal Hydride, or Lithium-Ion) batteries.
- Do not dispose of batteries in a fire.
- Batteries should be recycled or disposed of as per state and local guidelines.
Service SupportIf your Sun Joe MJ401C cordless lawn mower requires service or maintenance, please call 1-866-SNOWJOE (1-866-766-9563) for assistance.Model Serial NumbersWhen contacting the company or reordering parts, you will need to provide the model and serial numbers of your product. These are found on the decal affixed to the housing or handle of your mower. Copy these numbers into the space provided below.
iCHRG28-ACFederal Communications Commission(FCC)WARNING! Any changes or modifications to this unit not expressly approved by the party responsible for compliance could void the user’s authority to operate the equipment.Class B device:NOTE: This equipment has been tested and found to comply with the limits for a Class B digital device, pursuant to part 15 of the FCC Rules.These limits are designed to provide reasonable protection against harmful interference in a residential installation.This equipment generates, uses, and can radiate radio frequency energy and, if not installed and used in accordance with the instructions, may cause harmful interference to radio communications.However, there is no guarantee that interference will not occur in a particular installation.If this equipment does cause harmful interference to radio or television reception, which can be determined by turning the equipment off and on, the user is encouraged to try to correct the interference by one or more of the following measures:
- Reorient or relocate the receiving antenna.
- Increase the separation between the equipment and receiver.
- Connect the equipment into an outlet on a circuit different from that to which the receiver is connected.
- Consult the dealer or an experienced radio/TV technician for help.
- Remove the safety key before carrying out maintenance on the machine or when checking that its parts are in proper working order.
- To avoid unnecessary hassles, consult the following table before contacting customer service with any mechanical issues.
Only a company specialist may be able to correct faults that cannot be rectified with the aid of this table. Please call the Snow Joe Sun Joe customer service center at 1-866-SNOWJOE (1-866-766-9563).
NOTE: Accessories are subject to change without any obligation on the part of Snow Joe Sun Joe to provide notice of such changes. Accessories can be ordered online at sunjoe.com or via phone by contacting the Snow Joe Sun Joe customer service center at 1-866-SNOWJOE (1-866-766-9563).
SNOW JOE /strong> SUN JOE /strong> CUSTOMER PROMISE
ABOVE ALL ELSE, Snow Joe, LLC (“Snow Joe”) is dedicated to you, our customer. We strive to make your experience as pleasant as possible. Unfortunately, there are times when a Snow Joe Sun Joe or Aqua Joe product (“Product”) does not work or breaks under normal operating conditions. We think it’s important that you know what you can expect from us. That’s why we have a Limited Warranty (“Warranty”) for our Products.OUR WARRANTY:Snow Joe warrants new, genuine, powered, and non-powered Products to be free from defects in material or workmanship when used for ordinary household use for a period of two years from the date of purchase by the original, end-user purchaser when purchased from Snow Joe or from one of Snow Joe’s authorized sellers with proof of purchase. Because Snow Joe is unable to control the quality of its products sold by unauthorized sellers, unless otherwise prohibited by law, this Warranty does not cover Products purchased from unauthorized sellers. If your product does not work or there’s an issue with a specific part that is covered by the terms of this Warranty, Snow Joe will elect to either (1) send you a free replacement part, (2) replace the Product with a new or comparable product at no charge, or (3) repair the Product. How cool is that!This Warranty gives you specific legal rights, and you may also have other rights which vary from State to State.PRODUCT REGISTRATION:Snow Joe strongly encourages you to register your Product. You can register online at snowjoe.com/register, or by printing and mailing in a registration card available online from our website, or calling our Customer Service Department at 1-866-SNOWJOE (1-866-766-9563), or by emailing us at email@example.com. Failure to register your product will not diminish your warranty rights. However, registering your Product will allow Snow Joe to better serve you with any of your customer service needs.WHO CAN SEEK LIMITED WARRANTY COVERAGE:This Warranty is extended by Snow Joe to the original purchaser and original owner of the Product.WHAT IS NOT COVERED?This Warranty does not apply if the Product has been used commercially or for non-household or rental applications. This warranty also does not apply if the Product was purchased from an unauthorized seller. This warranty also does not cover cosmetic changes that do not affect performance. Wearing parts like belts, augers, chains, and tines are not covered under this Warranty and can be purchased at snowjoe.com or by calling 1-866-SNOWJOE (1-866-766-9563).
The 6 Best Walk-Behind Lawn Mowers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Camryn Rabideau is a freelance writer and product reviewer specializing in home, kitchen, and pet products. In her 6 years of experience as a product tester, she’s reviewed hundreds of items firsthand, and her work appears in publications such as PEOPLE, The Spruce, Homes Gardens, and more. Camryn is also the proud owner of a small homestead in Rhode Island, where she spends her spare time gardening, tending her many animals, and working through a never-ending list of home improvement projects.
In This Article
Summer is almost upon us, which means it’s time to start thinking about lawn care. There are a wide variety of lawn mowers that you can use keep your backyard looking pristine, but it’s important to find the right option to fit your yard — and your budget. If you have a small- to midsize yard, a walk-behind lawn mower generally provides the right balance of value and efficiency.
Nicole Durden, senior merchant of outdoor power at The Home Depot, says that both gas and electric mowers can make lawn care an easier chore. “Depending on your yard’s size and terrain, a walk-behind mower is ideal for a yard that’s ¾ of an acre or less,” she adds.
Today, you can find walk-behind lawn mowers that are powered by gas, batteries, or even an extension cord, and to help you select the best product for your yard, we tested nine popular models, putting them through the paces over the course of 10 hours of testing. After many hours of mowing, we evaluated each walk-behind mower on its design, performance, useability, safety, and value.
The following are the best walk-behind lawn mowers that People Tested.
Honda HRN216VKA 21-Inch Gas Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
- The mower is able to cut through dense and wet grass on the first pass.
- It starts quickly and reliably with just one pull.
- Thorough mulching abilities can handle wet leaves and grass.
- Good value for a lawn mower of its size and power.
- Bag latch can become clogged with clippings and may need cleanout prior to reinserting the bag.
- Self-propelled speed doesn’t respond well to slight increases.
In terms of all-around performance, our top-recommended walk-behind mower is this model from Honda. The gas mower has a self-propelled design that’s powered by a 4-stroke 166cc engine, yet we found that it was extremely easy to start up, only ever needing one pull to get the motor going. The tool has a 21-inch cutting deck and weighs around 75 pounds, but despite its substantial weight, the self-propelled design made it easy for us to operate and navigate around obstacles in the yard.
This Honda lawn mower did a phenomenal job while cutting, and it was able to cut through dense patches of grass and weeds on a single pass. We even tested it in slightly damp conditions, and it didn’t get bogged down at all. You can choose between rear discharge, bagging, or mulching grass clippings, and we loved that the mulching setting cut debris up into fine pieces that will help feed nutrients back into the lawn. It was even able to mulch wet leaves and grass without any issues.
While we were impressed with this mower’s overall performance, there are a few small caveats worth noting. The area where the collection bag latches to the mower frequently got clogged with grass pieces, and we had to clean it out before reattaching the bag. Additionally, the self-propulsion doesn’t respond well to gradual increases in speed — it tends to go from slow to fast with no options in between.
Price at time of publish: 549
Power Source: Gas | Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 74.75 pounds | Self-Propelled: Yes | Clipping Options: Rear discharge, bag, mulch
Sun Joe MJ401E-P2 Electric Lawn Mower
- This lawn mower is very lightweight, and it’s similar to operating a vacuum.
- Its small form is easy to maneuver and can fit into tight spaces.
- The mower is much quieter than a gas-powered mower.
- Grass collection bag fills up very quickly and may need to be emptied multiple times while mowing.
- Grass can get clogged underneath the mowing deck, which causes the mower to shut off.
If you have a small yard, chances are you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a push mower. Luckily for you, the Sun Joe Electric Lawn Mower is an inexpensive option that’s unbelievably easy to use and maintain. This lawn mower is half the weight of many other walk-behind models we tested, and its corded design makes it easy to mow a small yard without worrying about running out of power. In testing, we found that it requires very little effort to push — we’d compare it to pushing a vacuum cleaner across a carpet — and were impressed by how quiet it is while mowing.
This electric mower can get into tight spaces easily, thanks to its 14-inch cutting deck, but it can get stuck if you’re cutting thick grass — during testing, the mower shut off on us because the blades were clogged up. However, it was easy to clean out the cutting deck and continue mowing. The only major downside of this compact electric mower is that it solely bags grass clippings, and the collection bag is extremely small. We had to empty it two or three times while mowing a 400-square-foot area, which made the process take a little longer than expected.
Price at time of publish: 108
Power Source: Plug-in | Cutting Width: 14 inches | Weight: 29 pounds | Self-Propelled: No | Clipping Options: Bag
Greenworks 12 Amp 20-Inch 3-in-1 Corded Lawn Mower
- Good value for a larger corded mower.
- The mower performs well on both dry and damp grass, as well as tall weeds.
- It has no problem driving over uneven ground.
- The mower is easy to push with one hand, even though it’s not self-propelled.
- It can be a bit bulky to turn or maneuver around obstacles.
- Clippings often fall out when emptying the collection bag, even if it’s not full.
The Greenworks Corded Lawn Mower is a great value if you don’t mind working around an extension cord as you mow. This electric model has a fairly large 20-inch cutting deck, and it offers side discharge, bagging, and mulching abilities, unlike other corded models we tested. We used it on both dry and damp grass, and it had no problems cutting either one, breezing right through tall weeds. It also did a good job capturing grass clippings in the included collection bag, though some do spill out when you remove the bag for emptying.
We tested this mower on a fairly uneven lawn, and thanks to its large rear wheels, it didn’t have any problem driving over divots that have posed a problem for other mowers. We were able to push the mower around with just one hand, holding the power cord with the other, but it does require two hands to turn the mower around, as it’s a bit bulky (and not self-propelled). Bottom line? With its affordable price and reliable performance, this mower is a good option for anyone with a smaller yard who wants a corded lawn mower with features.
Price at time of publish: 229
Power Source: Plug-in | Cutting Width: 20 inches | Weight: 56 pounds | Self-Propelled: No | Clipping Options: Side discharge, bag, mulch
EGO Power Select Cut 56-Volt 21-Inch Self-Propelled Cordless Lawn Mower
- The battery still had power left after 50 minutes of use.
- The handle can be adjusted to different heights and angles for maximum comfort.
- The self-propelled design is easy to maneuver and takes strain off your body.
- The mower did get bogged down on a wet patch of grass and ferns.
- The process to start the mower is a bit complicated and hard to understand based on the directions.
There are several benefits to battery-powered mowers like the EGO Power Self-Propelled Lawn Mower, including its lack of emissions, quiet operation, and minimal maintenance. This 21-inch lawn mower only comes with one 56-volt battery, but it was able to mow for 50 minutes with power to spare, making it a great option even for larger yards. On first use, we struggled to figure out how to start the mower — it’s not as simple as just pushing a single button — but once we conquered that hurdle, it was smooth sailing.
The self-propelled design was easy to maneuver around the yard, and we loved that it requires minimal effort, so it won’t strain your back. The mower delivered a clean, even cut, even when the grass was damp, and it’s easy and intuitive to adjust settings like the cutting height and mower speed. We did find that the mower would occasionally get bogged down in thicker, wet areas (for instance, it had trouble cutting through a patch of ferns), but this is the case with many mowers, so we don’t think it’s a dealbreaker.
Price at time of publish: 549 (orig. 576.45)
Power Source: Battery | Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 54.5 pounds | Self-Propelled: Yes | Clipping Options: Side discharge, bag, mulch
Honda 21-Inch Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower
- The mower is easy to start without priming or worrying about flooding the motor.
- Self-propelled function locks into your desired speed, saving you from having to hold down a lever.
- There’s a setting that allows you to half bag and half mulch the grass clippings.
If you have a lot of ground to cover, we recommend this Honda HRX Lawn Mower. It’s powered by a 201cc engine that easily cuts through thick and dense grass, yet it’s incredibly easy to start up — we were able to get the mower going with a single pull, no priming needed. The Honda mower also has 4-in-1 functionality, meaning you can side discharge, bag, mulch, or shred grass clippings, and we like that there’s even an option to bag half and mulch half. This setting would definitely come in handy if you’re cutting longer grass.
This mower also stood out thanks to its convenient self-propelled design. The control bar has a knob that lets you select the speed you want, essentially locking the mower at that pace so you don’t have to worry about holding the lever down at the right pressure. It can also go quite fast — we found that a medium speed was comfortable for walking, but you could dial it up for faster mowing, if desired.
Overall, we had very few complaints about this self-propelled mower. It did take a little trial and error to find the right deck height and speed setting, but once that was done, the mower delivered a nice even cut every time.
Price at time of publish: 799 (orig. 989.99)
Power Source: Gas | Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 91 pounds | Self-Propelled: Yes | Clipping Options: Side discharge, bag, mulch, leaf shred
Ryobi 40V HP Brushless 21-Inch Dual-Blade Self-Propelled Mower
- Unbelievably quiet during operation — it almost sounds like a white noise machine.
- The battery-powered mower offers comparable power to a gas mower.
- The batteries lasted for more than three mowings (42 minutes total) without needing to be recharged.
- Self-propelled design makes it effortless to mow hilly areas.
- The grass collection bag is fairly small and needs to be emptied frequently.
- The mulching setting doesn’t do a great job on leaves.
The Ryobi Dual-Blade Self-Propelled Lawn Mower is our top pick for anyone with a hilly yard, as its self-propulsion abilities outperformed the competition in our testing. This electric mower has a standard 21-inch deck, and we found that it performs just as well as gas mowers thanks to its two powerful 40-volt batteries. It offers variable speed self-propulsion that lets you match the mower to your pace, and it had no problems tackling hills during testing. In fact, the feature can be too fast on straightaways if you turn it to max speed — we had to jog to keep up with it!
Because this mower is battery-powered, it’s much quieter than a gas mower, almost sounding like a white noise machine. It also impressed us with its runtime — we were able to mow a 2,000-square-foot yard three times without needing to recharge the batteries. While we loved the convenience and easy operation of this mower, it wasn’t totally perfect. The main negatives we discovered were that the grass collection bag is quite small and needed to be emptied frequently while mowing, and the mulching setting left behind quite a few dry leaves on the lawn.
Price at time of publish: 919
Power Source: Battery | Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 75 pounds | Self-Propelled: Yes | Clipping Options: Side discharge, bag, mulch
Things to Consider Before Buying a Walk-Behind Lawn Mower
There are three main styles of walk-behind lawn mowers: gas, battery, and electric, also called corded. Gas mowers are usually the most powerful option, boasting large motors that can power through thick grass and weeds, but they’re also loud and require frequent maintenance, including oil and spark plug changes.
For these reasons, battery-powered models are becoming more popular: “Homeowners have been gravitating to battery power for a few years, and we’ll be seeing even more of that in 2023 with various laws and regulations and even HOA restrictions aiming to limit the use of gas,” explains Durden. “Advancements in technology are making it possible and practical for everyone to make the switch — we have several battery mowers that offer the same (or better) power than gas mowers today.” Battery-powered mowers are also quieter and don’t give off any harmful emissions, but they do have a limited runtime. Our top pick for a battery-powered mower is the EGO Power Lawn Mower.
Finally, there are corded walk-behind mowers, which tend to be the most affordable. These use an extension cord to plug into an electrical outlet, giving them an unlimited runtime, but you have to navigate around the cord as you mow, which is why they’re recommended for small yards.
The size of your yard will dictate which type of walk-behind mower is best for your needs. If you have a small yard that’s less than ¼ acre, a corded push mower will generally meet your needs. These are usually lightweight and have smaller decks, and they’re easy to operate and store.
For larger yards, you may want to upgrade to a self-propelled mower, such as the Ryobi Dual-Blade Mower, which moves forwards on its own using power from the motor. This means you don’t have to physically push the mower to move it around your yard, making the process less strenuous.
In terms of a gas vs. battery powered model, battery mowers do have a limited runtime — typically less than an hour, but it will vary by product — which may not be enough for yards that are an acre or more. However, keep in mind that you can always buy backup batteries, if needed.
The terrain of your yard is another factor to consider as you shop for a lawn mower. “If your yard is flat, a push mower will be the most affordable choice,” recommends Durden. “If your yard has hills, you may want to invest in a self-propelled mower that takes less manual effort.”
Walk-behind mowers with larger rear wheels — like the Greenworks 12 Amp 20-Inch 3-in-1 Corded Lawn Mower — tend to handle better on uneven ground, so you may want to look for this feature if your yard has a lot of divots or ruts.
There are three main options for handling grass clippings while you’re mowing: discharging them out the side or back, bagging them up, or mulching them into fine pieces that will decay back into your lawn. Some lawn mowers, such as the Sun Joe Electric Lawn Mower only offer one option, while other models like the Honda Hrx 21-in Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower offer all three.
If you want a bagging mower, pay careful attention to the size of the collection bag in comparison to your yard. If the bag is too small, you may find yourself stopping to empty it frequently — a problem we ran into when testing the Ryobi Dual-Blade Self-Propelled Mower.
How We Tested
We researched today’s most popular walk-behind lawn mowers, and we selected nine top-rated models for testing, including three battery-operated, two corded, and four gas options. We sent each model to the homes of our testers, who are located in seven different cities across three states, and they tested each lawn mower over the period of several days.
We used each lawn mower three times, evaluating them on their ease of use, performance, power, safety features, and more. Each product was then scored on its setup, design, performance, usability, safety, and value, and the highest-scoring products were selected for this round-up.
If you have a larger yard or a lot of hilly terrain, a self-propelled lawn mower will take a lot of the manual effort out of mowing your grass. “Self-propelled mowers are designed to automatically move forward from 1 to 3.5 miles per hour,” explains Durden. “They‘re recommended for yards of more than half an acre, especially those that are hilly or sloped. Some mowers offer variable speeds that come in handy when working near trees and garden beds.”
In general, you can expect to pay between 400 and 1,000 for a self-propelled lawn mower, and the more you’re willing to spend, the more power and features your mower will have. However, some of our top-rated models are only around 500, so don’t feel like you have to splurge to get a great tool.
If your lawn is only a few hundred square feet, you can probably get by with a reel-style lawn mower, but if it’s over ¼ of an acre, a walk-behind mower will make weekly maintenance much easier. The great thing about walk-behind lawn mowers is that there’s an option for every lawn size and budget. If you have a small yard, an inexpensive option like the Sun Joe Electric Lawn Mower will make quick work of your grass without breaking the bank.
Why Trust PEOPLE?
Camryn Rabideau has been a professional product tester for six years, and she’s previously tested ride-on lawn mowers from popular brands like Ryobi and Husqvarna. While writing this article, she relied on firsthand insights from the People Tested team, who used these lawn mowers for a total of 10 hours. She also spoke with Nicole Durden, senior merchant of outdoor power at The Home Depot, for tips on selecting the right lawn mower for your home based on factors like your yard size, terrain, and budget.
What Is People Tested?
We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.
But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.
In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.