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URL https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-16/part-1205 Citation 16 CFR Part 1205 Agency Consumer Product Safety Commission
Secs. 2, 3, 7, 9, 14, 19, Pub. L. 92–573, 86 Stat. 1207, 1208, 1212–1217, 1220, 1224; 15 U.S.C. 2051, 2052, 2056, 2058, 2063, 2068; sec. 1212, Pub. L. 97–35, 95 Stat. 357.
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PART 1205—SAFETY STANDARD FOR WALK-BEHIND POWER LAWN MOWERS
Secs. 2, 3, 7, 9, 14, 19, Pub. L. 92–573, 86 Stat. 1207, 1208, 1212–1217, 1220, 1224; 15 U.S.C. 2051, 2052, 2056, 2058, 2063, 2068; sec. 1212, Pub. L. 97–35, 95 Stat. 357.
44 FR 10024, Feb. 15, 1979, unless otherwise noted.
Subpart A—The Standard
§ 1205.1 Scope of the standard.
( a ) General. This subpart A of part 1205 is a consumer product safety standard which prescribes safety requirements for certain walk-behind power lawn mowers, including labeling and performance requirements. The performance requirements of the standard apply to rotary mowers. The labeling requirements apply to both rotary and reel-type mowers. The standard is intended to reduce the risk of injury to consumers caused by contact, primarily of the foot and hand, with the rotating blade of the mower. A detailed discussion of the risk of injury and of the anticipated costs, benefits, and other factors associated with the standard is contained in § 1205.8 Findings.
( 1 ) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, all walk-behind rotary and reel-type power lawn mowers manufactured or imported on or after the effective date of the standard are subject to the requirements of this standard if they are “consumer products”. “Walk behind power lawn mower” is defined as a grass cutting machine with a minimum cutting width of 12 in (305 mm) that employs an engine or motor as a power source. Section 3(a)(1) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (“CPSA”), 15 U.S.C. 2052(a)(1), defines the term consumer product as an “article, or component part thereof, produced or distributed
( i ) for sale to a consumer for use in or around a permanent or temporary household or residence, a school, in recreation, or otherwise, or
( ii ) for the personal use, consumption or enjoyment of a consumer in or around a permanent or temporary household or residence, a school, in recreation, or otherwise.” The term does not include products that are not customarily produced or distributed for sale to, or for the use or consumption by, or enjoyment of, a consumer.
( 2 ) It is unlawful to manufacture for sale, offer for sale, distribute in commerce, or import into the United States any product subject to this standard that is not in conformity with the standard. The Commission is not applying the standard to rental transactions or to the ultimate sale of used rental mowers by rental firms.
( 1 ) General. Mowers that have all three of the following characteristics are not covered by the standard:
( i ) A cutting width of 30 in (762 mm) or greater,
( ii ) A weight of 200 lb (90.7 kg) or more, and
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( iii ) For engine-powered mowers, an engine of 8 horsepower (6 kw) or more.
( 2 ) Reel-type mowers. Reel-type power lawn mowers need not meet the performance requirements of the standard but they must be labeled as required by § 1205.6.
§ 1205.2 Effective date.
This standard applies to all rotary walk behind power lawn mowers manufactured after June 30, 1982, except § 1205.6 Warning labels, applies to rotary and reel-type walk-behind power lawn mowers manufactured after December 31, 1979.
[44 FR 10024, Feb. 15, 1979, as amended 45 FR 86417, Dec. 31, 1980]
§ 1205.3 Definitions.
( a ) As used in this part 1205:
( 1 ) Blade means any rigid or semi-rigid device or means that is intended to cut grass during mowing operations and includes all blades of a multi-bladed mower.
( 2 ) Blade tip circle means the path described by the outermost point of the blade as it moves about its axis.
( 3 ) Crack means a visible external fissure in a solid body caused by tensile, compressive, or shear forces.
( 4 ) Cutting width means the blade tip circle diameter or, for a multi-bladed mower, the width, measured perpendicular to the forward direction, of a composite of all blade tip circles.
( 5 ) Deform means any visible alteration of shape or dimension of a body caused by stresses induced by external forces.
( 6 ) Engine means a power producing device which converts thermal energy from a fuel into mechanical energy.
( 7 ) Manual starting means starting the mower engine with power obtained from the physical efforts of the operator.
( 8 ) Maximum operating speed means the maximum revolutions per minute (rpm) obtainable by the engine or motor under the conditions of the particular test where the term is used. For an electrically powered mower, it is the speed attained when the mower is energized from a 60 Hz alternating current source that delivers a voltage no greater than 120 V and no less than 115 V at the power input to the mower, with the mower running. For a battery-powered mower, it is the speed attained after the battery has been fully charged in accordance with the mower manufacturer’s instructions.
( 9 ) Motor means a power producing device that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.
( 10 ) Normal starting means is the primary mechanism intended to be actuated by the operator to start a mower’s engine or motor (e.g., the cord mechanism of a manual start engine, the switch of an electric motor, or a power start mechanism).
( 11 ) Operating control zone means the space enclosed by a cylinder with a radius of 15 in (381 mm) having a horizontal axis that is (1) perpendicular to the fore-aft centerline of the mower and (2) tangent to the rearmost part of the mower handle, extending 4 in (102 mm) beyond the outermost portion of each side of the handle (See Fig. 1).
( 12 ) Power source means an engine or motor.
( 13 ) Reel-type mower means a lawn mower which cuts grass by rotating one or more helically formed blades about a horizontal axis to provide a shearing action with a stationary cutter bar or bed knife.
( 14 ) Rotary mower means a power lawn mower in which one or more cutting blades rotate in essentially a horizontal plane about at least one vertical axis.
( 15 ) Separate means to cause to have any apparent relative displacement induced by external forces.
( 16 ) Shield means a part or an assembly which restricts access to a hazardous area. For the purposes of this part 1205, the blade housing is considered a shield.
( 17 ) Stress means a force acting across a unit area in a solid material in resisting separation, compacting, or sliding that tends to be induced by external forces.
( 18 ) Top of the mower’s handles means the uppermost portion(s) of the handle that would be gripped by an operator in the normal operating position.
( 19 ) Walk-behind power lawn mower means a grass cutting machine either pushed or self-propelled, with a minimum cutting width of 12 in (305 mm) that employs an engine or a motor as a power source and is normally controlled by an operator walking behind the mower.
( b ) Where applicable, the definitions in section 3 of the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2052) apply to this part 1205.
[44 FR 10024, Feb. 15, 1979, as amended at 46 FR 54934, Nov. 5, 1981]
§ 1205.4 Walk-behind rotary power mower protective shields.
( a ) General requirements. Walk-behind rotary power mowers shall meet the following requirements:
( 1 ) When the foot probe of Fig. 2 is inserted under any point within the areas to be probed during the foot probe test of paragraph (b)(1) of this section, the shields shall prevent the foot probe from entering the path of the blade or causing any part of the mower to enter the path of the blade.
( 2 ) Any shield located totally or partly within the areas to be probed, as defined in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section, shall not permanently separate, crack, or deform when the shield is subjected to a 50 lb (222 N) static tensile force, uniformly distributed over not less than half the length of the shield. The force shall be applied for at least 10 seconds in the direction which produces the maximum stress on the shield. While being tested, a shield shall be attached to the mower in the manner in which it is intended to be used. (This requirement does not apply to the housing.)
( 3 ) During the obstruction test of paragraph (b)(2) of this section, shields shall not:
( i ) Stop the mower as a result of contact with the raised obstacle,
( ii ) Enter the path of the blade, or
( iii ) Cause more than one wheel at a time to be lifted from the fixture surface.
( i ) The following test conditions shall be observed:
( A ) The test shall be performed on a smooth level surface.
( B ) Pneumatic tires, when present, shall be inflated to the cold pressures recommended by the mower manufacturer.
( C ) The mower housing shall be adjusted to its highest setting relative to the ground.
( D ) The blade shall be adjusted to its lowest position relative to the blade housing.
( E ) The mower shall be secured so that the mower may not move horizontally but is free to move vertically.
( 1 ) The minimum area to be probed shall include an area both 60 degrees to the right and 60 degrees to the left of the rear of the fore-aft centerline of the cutting width. For single-blade mowers, these angles shall be measured from a point on this fore-aft centerline which is at the center of the blade tip circle (see Fig. 3). For multi-blade mowers, these angles shall be measured from a point on the fore-aft centerline of the cutting width which is one half of the cutting width forward of the rearmost point of the composite of all the blade tip circles (See Fig. 4).
( 2 ) For a mower with a swing-over handle, the areas to be probed shall be determined as in paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A)(1) of this section from both possible rear positions. (See Fig. 5.)
( B ) Where a 360 degree foot protective shield is required by § 1205.5(a)(1)(iv)(B) or § 1205.5(c), the entire periphery of the mower shall be probed (including any discharge chute comprising part of the periphery).
( iii ) Procedure. Within the areas specified in paragraph (b)(1)(ii), the foot probe of Fig. 2 shall be inserted under the bottom edge of the blade housing and shields. During each insertion, the “sole” of the probe shall be kept in contact with the supporting surface. Insertion shall stop when the mower housing lifts or the horizontal force used to insert the probe reaches 4 lb (17.8 N), whichever occurs first. As the foot probe is withdrawn after each insertion, the “toe” shall be pivoted upward around the “heel” as much as possible without lifing the mower.
( i ) The following test conditions shall be observed:
( A ) Pneumatic tires, when present, shall be inflated to the cold pressure recommended by the mower manufacturer.
( B ) The mower housing shall be at its highest setting relative to the ground.
( ii ) The test shall be performed on the fixture of Fig. 6, which consists of a level surface having
( A ) a 0.99 in (25 mm) deep depression with a 5.90 in (150 mm) radius of curvature and
( B ) a raised obstacle 0.60 in (15 mm) square, each extending the full width of the fixture. The depression shall be lined with a material having a surface equivalent to a 16- to 36-grit abrasive. The depression and the obstacle shall be located a sufficient distance apart so that the mower contacts only one at a time.
( iii ) The test fixture may be relieved, only to the extent necessary, to prevent interference with any blade retaining device.
( iv ) The mower shall be pushed forward and pulled rearward perpendicular to and across the depression and the raised obstacle on the fixture. The mower shall be pulled and pushed, without lifting, with a horizontal force sufficient to transit the obstruction fixture at a speed not to exceed 2.2 ft/sec (0.7 m/sec).
( 1 ) General. Movable shields must meet the general shield requirements of paragraph (a) of this section. In addition, movable shields which are in any of the areas to be probed defined in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section and which are intended to be movable for the purpose of attaching auxiliary equipment, when deflected to their extreme open position in the manner intended by the manufacturer and released, shall either:
( i ) Return automatically to a position that meets the requirements of subpart A of this part 1205 when the attached equipment is not present, or
( ii ) Prevent operation of the blade(s) unless the attached equipment is present or the movable shield is returned to a position that meets the requirements of subpart A of this part 1205.
( i ) Automatic return of a movable shield shall be determined by manually deflecting the shield to its extreme open position, then releasing the shield and visually observing that it immediately returns to the closed position.
( ii ) Prevention of operation of the blade(s) shall be determined, first by manually deflecting the shield to its extreme open position, then, following the appropriate manufacturer’s instructions, completing the procedures necessary to operate the blade. Observe, using any safe method, that the blade(s) has been prevented from operating.
[44 FR 10024, Feb. 15, 1979, as amended at 45 FR 86417, 86418, Dec. 31, 1980; 46 FR 54934, Nov. 5, 1981; 48 FR 6328, Feb. 11, 1983]
§ 1205.5 Walk-behind rotary power mower controls.
( 1 ) Requirements for blade control. A walk-behind rotary power mower shall have a blade control system that will perform the following functions:
( i ) Prevent the blade from operating unless the operator actuates the control.
( ii ) Require continuous contact with the control in order for the blade to continue to be driven.
( iii ) Cause the blade motion in the normal direction of travel to come to a complete stop within 3.0 seconds after release of the control.
( iv ) For a mower with an engine and with only manual starting controls, this blade control shall stop the blade without stopping the engine, unless:
( A ) The engine starting controls for the lawn mower are located within 24 inches from the top of the mower’s handles, or
( B ) The mower has a protective foot shield which extends 360 degrees around the mower housing (see § 1205.4 (b)(1)(ii)(B)). 
( 2 ) All walk-behind rotary power mowers shall have, in addition to any blade control required by paragraph (a)(1) of this section, another means which must be manually actuated before a stopped blade can be restarted. This additional means may be either a control which is separate from the control required by paragraph (a)(1) of this section, or may be incorporated into the control required by paragraph (a)(1) of this section as a double-action device requiring two distinct actions to restart the blade.
( 1 ) General. Any test method that will determine the time between the release of the blade control and the complete stop of the blade motion in the normal direction of travel may be used.
( i ) The mower shall be operated at maximum operating speed for at least 6 minutes immediately prior to the test.
( ii ) The blade must be at maximum operating speed when the blade control is released.
( c ) Starting controls location. Walk-behind mowers with blades that begin operation when the power source starts shall have their normal starting means located within the operating control zone unless the requirements of paragraphs (a)(1)(iv) (A) or (B) of this section apply to the mowers.
[44 FR 10024, Feb. 15, 1979, as amended at 46 FR 54934, Nov. 5, 1978]
 Paragraphs (A) and (B) of § 1205.5(a)(1)(iv), permitting mowers that stop the blade by stopping the engine but that do not have power restart, were added to the standard as directed by Sec. 1212 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, Pub. L. 97–35, 95 Stat. 357.
§ 1205.6 Warning label for reel-type and rotary power mowers.
( a ) General. Walk-behind power lawn mowers shall be labeled on the blade housing or, in the absence of a blade housing, on other blade shielding or on an adjacent supporting structure or assembly, with the warning label shown in Fig. 7. The label shall be at least 3.25 in (82.5 mm) high and 4 in (102 mm) wide, and the lettering and symbol shall retain the same size relation to each other and to the label as shown in Fig. 7.
( b ) Rotary mowers. Walk-behind rotary mowers shall have one label as shown in Fig. 7, on the blade housing. The label shall be located as close as possible to any discharge opening, or, if there is no discharge opening, in a position that is conspicuous to an operator in the normal operating position.
( c ) Reel-type mowers. Walk-behind power reel-type mowers shall have one label as shown in Fig. 7, located as close to the center of the cutting width of the blade as possible. However, in the absence of a suitable mounting surface near the center of the cutting width, the label shall be placed on the nearest suitable mounting surface to the center of the cutting width.
[44 FR 10024, Feb. 15, 1979, as amended at 45 FR 86417, Dec. 31, 1980]
§ 1205.7 Prohibited stockpiling.
( a ) Stockpiling. Stockpiling means manufacturing or importing a product which is the subject of a consumer product safety rule between the date of issuance of the rule and its effective date at a rate that is significantly greater than the rate at which such product was produced or imported during a base period prescribed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
( b ) Prohibited acts. Stockpiling of power lawn mowers that do not comply with this subpart A of part 1205 at a rate that exceeds by 20% the rate at which the product was produced or imported during the base period described in paragraph (c) of this section is prohibited.
( c ) Base period. The base period for power lawn mowers is, at the option of each manufacturer or importer, any period of 365 consecutive days beginning on or after September 1, 1971, and ending on or before August 31, 1978.
§ 1205.8 Findings.
( a ) General. In order to issue a rule such as part 1205, the Consumer Product Safety Act requires the Commission to consider and make appropriate findings with respect to a number of topics. These findings are discussed below.
( b ) The degree and nature of the risk of injury part 1205 is designed to eliminate or reduce.
( 1 ) The Commission estimates that there are approximately 77,000 injuries to consumers each year caused by contact with the blades of power lawn mowers. From 1977 data, the Commission estimates that each year there are approximately 7,300 finger amputations, 2,600 toe amputations, 2,400 avulsions (the tearing of flesh or a body part), 11,450 fractures, 51,400 lacerations, and 2,300 contusions. Among the lacerations and avulsions, 35,800 were to hands and fingers and 18,000 were to toes and feet. The estimated costs caused by these injuries are 253 million, not counting any monetary damages for pain and suffering. These injuries are caused when consumers accidentally contact the blade, either inadvertently while in the vicinity of the mower, or while intentionally performing some task which they erroneously believe will not bring their hand or foot into the path of the blade.
( 2 ) Part 1205 is expected to eliminate or reduce the severity of about 60,000 blade contact injuries per year, or 77% of all such injuries. The Commission estimates that if all mowers had been in compliance with the standard in 1977, about 6,800 finger amputations, 1,500 toe amputations, 11,000 fractures, 1,800 avulsions, 38,400 lacerations, and several hundred contusions would not have occurred. Of the lacerations and avulsions, 28,300 were finger injuries and 9,400 were toe injuries.
( c ) Consumer products subject to the rule. The products subject to this standard are walk-behind power mowers. Power mowers with rigid or semi-rigid rotary blades are subject to all the provisions of the standard while reel-type and rotary mowers are subject to the labeling requirements. Mowers that in combination have engines of 8 HP or greater, weigh 200 lb or more, and have a cutting width of 30 in or more are excluded from the standard. The Commission estimates that at least 98% of the total annual market (by unit volume) for walk-behind mowers will be affected by the standard, and the Commission estimates that in 1978 this market was 5.4 million units.
( d ) Need of the public for the products subject to the rule. The Commission finds that the public need for walk-behind power mowers, which provide a relatively quick and effective way to cut grass, is substantial. Riding mowers, lawn and garden tractors, hand reel mowers, trimmers and edgers, and sickle-bar mowers also provide grass-cutting services, but walk-behind power rotary mowers are by far the most commonly used devices for maintaining household lawns. There are no devices that can completely substitute for walk-behind power mowers as a group, since they have applications for which other products are not as suitable. Each type of walk-behind power mower has individual properties which meet public needs, although one type of walk-behind is often an acceptable substitute for another. The newly developed monofilament line mower is not included within the scope of the standard and could be a substitute for mowers using rigid or semi-rigid blades under some conditions.
( e ) Probable effect of the rule upon the utility of the product.
( 1 ) The Commission finds that the probable overall effect of the standard on the utility of mowers should be to increase their utility. In the first place, consumers are likely to experience an increased sense of security from having a safer mower. A study of brake-clutch mowers conducted by the Federal Supply Service (GSA) shows that almost all users appreciated the safety features on brake-clutch mowers. In addition, by releasing the blade control and stopping the blade, the operator can then travel over gravel or other surfaces without fear of thrown objects or of the blade striking objects that might damage the mower. Brake-clutch type mowers would also give an increase in utility by virtue of enabling the operator to use the clutch to prevent stalling when the mower bogs down in heavy grass. On the other hand, there may be some minor adverse effects on utility caused by some aspects of complying mowers. For example, in very heavy mowing conditions, there may be some difficulty in engaging the blade in a blade-clutch mower. (However, mowers that are currently on the market that are not equipped with a blade clutch may have difficulty in starting the engine in heavy grass.) Complying mowers may require slightly more time and a few additional actions to operate. Since complying mowers may have more electrical and mechanical parts than current mowers, they may weigh more and require more maintenance than current mowers. No significant increase in mowing time is expected if a brake-clutch device is used to comply with the standard since each engagement of the blade would require only a few seconds. The amount of additional time and expense required for maintenance, if any, will be dependent on the design solution used. Such disutilities are expected to be slight and to be more than balanced by the increased sense of security consumers are likely to experience from having a safer mower.
( 2 ) During the development of the rule, questions were raised about whether changes in the shields necessitated by the foot probe requirements would adversely affect utility by causing mowers to be hard to push in grass or to be unable to mow close to walls. At the time of issuance of this rule, mowers are available that will pass a 360° foot probe and others are available that will pass rear and side foot probing without any significant loss of utility caused by shielding. Therefore, the Commission concludes that this requirement will not adversely affect the utility of mowers. Mowers with swing-over handles, however, may be more difficult to design in this regard, since 120° at each end of the mower are subject to the foot probe requirement. However, since mowers meeting this requirement have already been built without apparent loss of utility, the Commission concludes that shielding can be designed so that there should be no loss of utility even for mowers with swing-over handles.
( 3 ) As required by section 9(b) of the CPSA, the Commission, in considering the issues involved in issuing a power lawn mower safety standard, has considered and taken into account the special needs of elderly and handicapped persons to determine the extent to which such persons may be adversely affected by the rule. The Commission has determined that there will be no significant adverse effect on such persons as a result of this part 1205. In the first place, the rule can affect only those persons who are physically capable of using a power lawn mower. None of the rule’s provisions will make it more difficult to operate a mower that complies with the standard. On the contrary, complying mowers should be easier to use because the need for manually restarting the mower will be less and because, if the mower uses a brake-clutch to comply with the blade control requirement, use of the brake-clutch can reduce the tendency of the engine to stall in heavy grass. Although a person’s ability to hold a device such as a blade control for a long period of time will decline with age, the force required to hold the blade control can be made low enough that it will not be a problem during the length of time that it takes for consumers to mow a lawn.
( 4 ) After considering the possible adverse effects on mowers that could be caused by the standard and balancing them against the increase in utility that is expected, the Commission concludes that, for a typical consumer, the increases in utility should more than offset any decreases.
( f ) Probable effect of the rule upon the cost of the product. The Commission estimates that the retail price impact of the standard will be about 35 for the average walk-behind mower. Based on an average useful mower-life of about 8 years, the additional annual cost to the purchaser is expected to average about 4.40. The probable effect of the standard will differ on the various types of mowers within its scope. Percentage increases in price will vary from about a 7 percent increase for power-restart self-propelled mowers to about a 30 percent increase for gasoline-powered manual start push mowers. The costs attributable to individual requirements of the standard are discussed in paragraph (i) of this section.
( g ) Probable effect of the rule upon the availability of the product.
( 1 ) The Commission finds that the standard is not expected to have a significant impact on the availability of walk-behind rotary mowers, since domestic production capacity appears to be sufficient to handle any increased demand for safety-related components or materials. Although adapting some types of power mowers to the standard may be more costly than others, the effects of the standard on the price or utility of a particular category of power mowers are not expected to cause radical shifts in demand among types of mowers. The Commission finds that all types of power mowers subject to the standard will be available, although some, such as house-current-powered mowers, may increase their market shares becauses they can be brought into compliance with the standard at a lesser cost.
( 2 ) Because some manufacturers may not revise their entire product line before the effective date of the standard, individual mower manufacturers may initially have less varied lines than at present, but there should be no decrease in the overall types and features of mowers available to consumers.
( 1 ) The Commission has considered other means of achieving the objective of the standard. For example, alternatives were considered such as hand probes, “blade harmless” tests, and blade control by engine kill but allowing manual restart. These alternatives have been rejected by the Commission as being either unfeasible or not as effective as the rule which is being issued.
( 2 ) Similarly, the Commission has found no alternative means of achieving the objective of the standard that it believes would have fewer adverse effects on competition or that would cause less disruption or dislocation of manufacturing and other commercial practices, consistent with the public health and safety.
( i ) Unreasonable risk of injury.
( 1 ) The determination of whether a consumer product safety rule is reasonably necessary to reduce an unreasonable risk of injury involves a balancing of the degree and nature of risk of injury addressed by the rule against the probable effect of the rule on the utility, cost, or availability of the product. The factors of utility and availability of the products, adverse effects on competition, and disruption or dislocation of manufacturing and other commercial practices have been discussed above. The following discussion concerns the relationship of anticipated injury reduction and costs for various requirements of the standard. (See the report, Economic Impact of Blade Contact Requirements for Power Mowers, January 1979, for a detailed analysis of the possible effects of discounting and inflation on the computation of the quantifiable benefits associated with this regulation.)
( 2 ) The foot probe and related requirements are expected to reduce the number of blade contact injuries to the foot by 13,000 each year. It is not possible to apportion this injury reduction among the respective requirements. The cost of these requirements is estimated to be about 4.00 per mower, mostly for redesign of the shields. The shield strength requirement is similar to a requirement in the existing voluntary standard that is almost universally complied with, and should comprise only a small portion of the 4.00 retail cost increase compared to pre-standard mowers that is attributable to this related group of requirements. Also, shields complying with the movable shield requirement are featured in some currently produced mowers.
( 3 ) The foot probe and related requirements should result in a cost increase of about 22,000,000 and undiscounted injury savings of about 46,000,000, exclusive of any allowance for pain and suffering.
( 4 ) The starting location control requirement would apply only to mowers with a power restart capability using engine kill to stop the blade. The cost for relocating the power restart switch, if necessary, should be very minor, and more than offset by the elimination of a clutch, as discussed below.
( 5 ) The requirement that the blade stop within 3 seconds of the release of the blade control is supported by
( i ) the requirement that those mowers that stop the blade by stopping the engine must have a power restart (to remove the motivation to disable the blade control because of the inconven- ience of manually starting the mower each time the control is released) and by
( ii ) the requirement for an additional control that must be actuated before the blade can resume operation (to prevent accidental starting of the blade). Together, these requirements are expected to reduce the number of blade contact injuries by 46,500 per year for an undiscounted savings in injury costs of about 165,000,000 per year, exclusive of pain and suffering.
( 6 ) Virtually all mowers will be subjected to a cost increase of about 3 for the blade control actuating means and 1 for the second control required to restart the blade. (The 1 cost could be eliminated for power restart-engine kill mowers that do not start when the blade control is actuated.)
( 7 ) Also, most mowers would require a brake for the blade in order to achieve a 3 second stop time. This would add another 6.50–8.50, depending on the type of mower. Mowers with power restart capability could stop the blade by killing the engine and thus would not need to provide a clutch to disconnect the engine from the blade. Mowers using manual restart would have to provide a clutch or other blade disengagement devices, which would probably be combined with the brake in a unitary brake-clutch mechanism.
( 8 ) The following are the Commission’s estimates of the probable retail price increases associated with certain types of currently produced mowers that will be caused by the blade control requirements.
( 9 ) The weighted average retail price increase of the blade stop requirements is expected to be about 31 per mower for a total retail cost increase of 167,000,000.
( 10 ) The foot probe and blade stop requirements of the standard will obviously not completely protect the users of mowers under all circumstances. It is still essential for consumers to be aware of the hazard of blade contact and take the proper precautions to protect themselves. It is especially important that users not become complacent with the knowledge that the mower incorporates blade contact safety requirements. Accordingly, the Commission has determined that it is desirable that mowers complying with the standard bear a label warning of the danger of blade contact. Such a requirement would result in practically no effect on the retail price of mowers since labels are very inexpensive and practically all currently produced mowers bear some type of warning label. In view of the hazard that will be associated with power mowers even after the effective date of the standard, and the low cost of the label, the Commission concludes there is an unreasonable risk of injury that can be addressed by the label requirements in this part 1205.
( j ) Conclusion. Therefore, after considering the anticipated costs and benefits of part 1205 and the other factors discussed above, and having taken into account the special needs of elderly and handicapped persons to determine the extent to which such persons may be adversely affected by the rule, the Commission finds that part 1205 (including the effective dates) is reasonably necessary to eliminate or reduce the unreasonable risk of injury associated with walk-behind power lawn mowers and that promulgation of the rule is in the public interest.
[44 FR 10024, Feb. 15, 1979, as amended at 45 FR 86417, Dec. 31, 1980]
44 FR 70386, Dec. 6, 1979, unless otherwise noted.
§ 1205.30 Purpose, scope, and application.
( a ) Purpose. Section 14(a) of the Consumer Product Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. 2063(a), requires every manufacturer (including importer) and private labeler of a product which is subject to a consumer product safety standard to issue a certificate that the product conforms to the applicable standard, and to base that certificate either on a test of each product or on a “reasonable testing program.” The purpose of this subpart B of part 1205 is to establish requirements that manufacturers and importers of walk-behind rotary power lawn mowers subject to the Safety Standard for Walk-Behind Power Lawn Mowers (16 CFR part 1205, subpart A), shall issue certificates of compliance in the form of specified labeling and shall keep records of the testing program on which the certificates are based.
( 1 ) The provisions of this rule apply to all rotary walk-behind power lawn mowers which are subject to the requirements of the Safety Standard for Walk-Behind Power Lawn Mowers. This rule does not apply to reel-type mowers, which are subject only to the labeling requirements of the standard.
( 2 ) As authorized by section 14(a)(2) of the act, the Commission exempts manufacturers who manufacture or import only component parts, and private labelers, from the requirement to issue certificates. (Private labelers who are also importers must still certify.)
§ 1205.31 Effective date.
Any walk-behind rotary power mower manufactured after December 31, 1981, must meet the standard and must be certified as complying with the standard in accordance with this rule.
§ 1205.32 Definitions.
In addition to the definitions set forth in section 3 of the act (15 U.S.C. 2052) and in § 1205.3 of the standard, the following definitions shall apply to this subpart B of part 1205:
( a ) Manufacturer means any person or firm that manufactures or imports power lawn mowers subject to this standard, and includes those that assemble power lawn mowers from parts manufactured by other firms.
( b ) Manufactured means the earliest point at which the mower is in the form in which it will be sold or offered for sale to the consumer or is in the form in which it will be shipped to a distributor or retailer. In these forms, a “manufactured” mower may still require partial assembly by the consumer or the lawn mower dealer.
( c ) Private labeler means an owner of a brand or trademark which is used on a power lawn mower subject to the standard and which is not the brand or trademark of the manufacturer of the mower, provided the owner of the brand or trademark has caused or authorized the mower to be so labeled and the brand or trademark of the manufacturer of such mower does not appear on the label.
( d ) Production lot means a quantity of mowers from which certain mowers are selected for testing prior to certifying the lot. All mowers in a lot must be essentially identical in those design, construction, and material features which relate to the ability of a mower to comply with the standard.
( e ) Reasonable testing program means any test or series of tests which are identical or equivalent to, or more stringent than, the tests defined in the standard and which are performed on one or more mowers of the production lot for the purpose of determining whether there is reasonable assurance that the mowers in that lot comply with the requirements of the standard.
§ 1205.33 Certification testing.
( a ) General. Manufacturers and importers shall either test each individual rotary walk-behind power lawn mower (or have it tested) or shall rely upon a reasonable testing program to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the standard.
( b ) Reasonable testing program.
( 1 ) A reasonable testing program for rotary walk-behind power mowers is one that provides reasonable assurance that the mowers comply with the standard. Manufacturers and importers may define their own reasonable testing programs. Such reasonable testing programs may, at the option of manufacturers and importers, be conducted by an independent third party qualified to perform such testing programs.
( 2 ) To conduct a reasonable testing program, the mowers shall be divided into production lots. Sample mowers from each production lot shall be tested in accordance with the reasonable testing program so that there is a reasonable assurance that if the mowers selected for testing meet the standard, all mowers in the lot will meet the standard. Where there is a change in parts, suppliers of parts, or production methods that could affect the ability of the mower to comply with the requirements of the standard, the manufacturer should establish a new production lot for testing.
( 3 ) The Commission will test for compliance with the standard by using the test procedures contained in the standard. However, a manufacturer’s reasonable testing program may include either tests prescribed in the standard or any other reasonable test procedures. (For example, in the shield strength test (§ 1205.4), the manufacturer might choose to use a force higher than the 50 lb force specified in the standard.)
( 4 ) If the reasonable testing program shows that a mower does not comply with one or more requirements of the standard, no mower in the production lot can be certified as complying until the noncomplying mowers in the lot have been identified and destroyed or altered by repair, redesign, or use of a different material or components to the extent necessary to make them conform to the standard. The sale or offering for sale of mowers that do not comply with the standard is a prohibited act and a violation of section 19(a)(1) of the CPSA, regardless of whether the mower has been validly certified.
§ 1205.34 Recordkeeping requirements.
( a ) General. Every person issuing certificates of compliance for walk-behind rotary power lawn mowers subject to the standard shall maintain written records which show that the certificates are based on a test of each mower or on a reasonable testing program. The records shall be maintained for a period of at least 3 years from the date of certification of each mower or each production lot. These records shall be available to any designated officer or employee of the Commission upon request in accordance with section 16(b) of the act (15 U.S.C. 2065(b)).
( b ) Content of records. Records shall identify the mower tested and the production lot and describe the tests the mowers have been subjected to and the results of the tests.
( c ) Format for records. The records required to be maintained by this section may be in any appropriate form or format that clearly provides the required information.
§ 1205.35 Product certification and labeling by manufacturers.
( a ) Form of permanent label of certification. Manufacturers (including importers) shall issue certificates of compliance for walk-behind rotary power lawn mowers manufactured after the effective date of the mower standard in the form of a label which can reasonably be expected to remain on the mower during the period the mower is capable of being used. Such labeling shall be deemed to be a “certificate” of compliance as that term is used in section 14 of the act. (15 U.S.C. 2063.)
( b ) Contents of certification label. The certification labels required by this section shall clearly and legibly contain the following information:
( 1 ) The statement “Meets CPSC blade safety requirements.”
( 2 ) An identification of the production lot.
( 3 ) The name of the person or firm issuing the certificate.
( 4 ) The location where the product was principally assembled.
( 5 ) The month and year the product was manufactured.
( c ) Coding. Except for the requirements of paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(3) of this section, all of the information required by § 1205.35 may be in code, provided the person or firm issuing the certificate maintains a written record of the meaning of each symbol used in the code that will be made available to the distributor, retailer, consumer, and the Commission upon request. If a mower is manufactured for sale by a private labeler, and if the name of the private labeler is also on the certification label, the name of the manufacturer or importer issuing the certificate may also be in such a code.
( d ) Placement of label. The label required by this section must be visible and legible to the ultimate purchaser of the lawn mower. For mowers manufactured before January 1, 1984, where the label is not visible to the consumer at the time of sale because of packaging or marketing practices, an additional label or notice, which may be temporary, stating “Meets CPSC blade safety requirements” shall also appear on the container, or, if the container is not so visible, the promotional material, used in connection with the sale of the mowers.
[44 FR 70386, Dec. 6, 1979, as amended at 49 FR 28241, July 11, 1984]
§ 1205.36 Product certification and labeling by importers.
( a ) General. The importer of any rotary walk-behind power lawn mower subject to the standard must issue the certificate of compliance required by section 14(a) of the Act and § 1205.35 of this regulation. If testing of each mower, or a reasonable testing program, meeting the requirements of this subpart B of part 1205 has been performed by or for the foreign manufacturer of the product, the importer may rely in good faith on such tests to support the certificate of compliance provided the importer is a resident of the United States or has a resident agent in the United States and the records of such tests required by § 1205.34 of this part are maintained in the United States.
( b ) Responsibility of importer. If the importer relies on tests by the foreign manufacturer to support the certificate of compliance, the importer bears the responsibility for examining the records supplied by the manufacturer to determine that the records of such tests appear to comply with § 1205.34 of this part.
Review: EGO Cordless 21″ Push Lawn Mower (LM2101)
I’ve really wanted to ditch my gas mower for several years. I was supposed to receive a sample of DeWALT’s 2x20V mower this spring, but after waiting and waiting several months, I grew frustrated and purchased the mower I’ve been eyeing for some time: the EGO 21″ push mower (LM2101).
Clayton reviewed a cordless Ego lawn mower here several years ago, but that was the LM2001, a 20″ mower with a 4 Ah battery. I purchased the LM2101, which is an updated model with a 21″ cutting width. It also comes standard with a 5 Ah battery.
Let’s start off with a list of specs:
- Runtime: 55 minutes
- Deck: 21″
- Weather resistance: IPx4
- Cutting height: 1-1/2″ to 4″
- Grass bag capacity: 2 Bushels
- Single-lever, 6-position deck-height adjustment
- Output: mulching, bagging, side discharge
- 3 position handle
- Folds for compact storage
- LED headlights
- 5 Year Warranty
Ego claims that their mower has the torque of a gas mower and can cut two miles or 45 minutes on a single charge of the included 5.0 Ah battery. They walk their runtimes back in the manual where they say that the 45 minute runtime is under a light load. If you run a medium or heavy load the runtime drops to 30 or 20 minutes respectively.
The quick charger can charge the battery in 40 minutes, so if you do run out of juice in the middle of your lawn, that gives you enough time to run out and get lunch.
Ego has a variety of 56V electric outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) like blowers, chainsaws, and string trimmers, and the included 56 V ARC-Lithium battery is compatible with all of them.
Home Depot claims the mower has a 21″ cut capacity, but I dispute that claim. The Ego website is careful to say that the mower has a 21″ deck. The blade is actually slightly longer than 20″ and the underside of the deck is 21″ wide. I would actually classify this as a mower with a 20″ cutting capacity.
For 400 you get everything you need to mow your lawn: the mower, battery, and charger. Plus you get the bag and mulching plug. Some sources say that you have to request the side discharge chute, but it came packaged with my mower.
Starting the Mower
The first thing you want to do when you get the mower home is open up the box, pull out the battery and charger, and charge the battery.
While you’re waiting for the battery to charge, you can finish pulling the mower out of the box, assemble the grass bag, and set up the mower. You’ll probably have to wait a while because none of that other stuff takes much time.
The metal frame slides into the fabric bag and there are clips that attach to the frame all around the opening.
Once the battery is charged, drop the battery into the battery box on the mower — making sure the battery is on the rails, and then press it down hard enough to hear the click of the locking mechanism.
The mower has several different handle positions. To change the position you squeeze the green handle on the left side of the mower. The five positions are the storage position, a forward position to make it easier to remove a full grass bag, and three different heights to adjust for the size or preference of the person mowing.
Adjusting the cutting height of the mower is really easy, there’s handle on the left side of the mower that adjusts the deck height — you just have to move one lever to set the height of all the wheels. The lever has 6 positions to adjust the height from 1-1/2″ to 4″.
Starting the mower takes a few times to get used to. Normally for lawn mowers, you pull back the safety bail toward the handle and then start the mower. With the Ego, you extend the handle, push the start button, and then pull back the bail.
The handle extends when you unclip the sides. For the mower to start and the clips to snap closed again, you have to fully extend the handle. You can hear the click of an electrical switch inside the handle when you fully extend it, it is the switch that keeps the mower from starting when the handle isn’t fully extended, not the clips being unsnapped like Ego claims.
The mower lets you know when you are running out of juice. The battery and the mower start shining red. When this happens you have about 15% of the charge left. If you overheat the battery or the mower, the lights will shine orange — something I never had happen.
There are two blade options for the mower, the stock blade and the optional (22) high-lift blade. The high-lift blade is designed for increasing the efficiency of bagging. It is also rumored to increase the cut quality. The downside is that it weighs more, will drain your battery faster, and is noticeably louder.
Above you can see that there is a 4dB difference between the stock and high-lift blades. this may not sound like much, but it is a huge difference. With the stock blade I can comfortably wear loose headphones on a moderate volume or have a conversation comfortably. With the high-lift blade, I have to increase the volume to an uncomfortable level.
I purchased the high-lift blade to try and get more suction under the mower. My lawn is a mix of bluegrass and fescue (with plenty of crabgrass too), so most of it is thin and wispy. I like to leave it longer in the middle of summer to help with the heat of the sun.
I honestly didn’t notice any difference in cut quality between the two blades. This isn’t a knock on the Ego mower, even my old my prosumer gas mower left some grass lying down.
I’m actually pretty impressed with the little bagging I’ve done. The bag on my old mower would fill up maybe to 1/3 full and then start filling up the front of the bag, leaving all the space in the back while blocking any more debris from getting into the bag.
The Ego blew the grass clipping all the way to the back until it was mostly full and only then did the front start filling. The bag is also deceptively small. It packed way more grass clippings than I thought it could. I was dumping it in a yard can and the clippings kept coming and coming.
It was way too late to pick up leaves, but I found some in a corner of the yard to try out the leaf bagging. You can see the trail I spread out above. This was with the stock blade and the mower set to height 2.
I was pretty impressed by the bagging with just the stock blade. With both the grass and the leaves, it threw the yard waste all the way to the back of the bag and only filled the front when the bag started to fill.
Mowing in the Dark
Not many push mowers have headlights, but the Ego does. The lights are activated by pressing a button on the back of the “head.”
My town has an 8pm noise curfew, so for most of the mowing season there’s plenty of sunlight light out. But with the Ego’s ultra quiet operation and the headlights, I was out mowing well after sunset. The only problem was the mosquitoes.
The angle of the headlights just includes the edge of the front wheels, so you can follow the previous row.
Do you really need to be mowing after dark? I don’t know, but now it’s an option.
The included side discharge chute seems like an after thought. It’s a little difficult to get into place and much of the grass actually falls onto the rubber blocker below or the ground behind the mower. Some of the grass also gets stuck between the deck and the chute.
To help demonstrate how the side discharge chute is installed and where the grass actually ends up, I put together the video below.
I can cut my entire front yard (4400 sq. ft) and side yard (2200 sq. ft.), on one charge. This takes me 35 to 45 minutes depending on how fast I cut and if I have to move stuff out of the way.
I haven’t pushed the mower any farther than this, because I usually save the back yard (another 3000 sq. ft.) for another day. But I know I’m close to the limit with the front and side yards because when I used the headlights, I was just barely able to finish these yards before the red lights came on saying I had 15% of the battery left.
Storing the Mower
One of the things I like most about this mower is that it folds up easily and stores upright. Above you can see how much space this saves. Sure, the handles on most mowers can fold down, but that usually involves unscrewing four different knobs, and then if you’re lucky the wires and pull cord don’t get in the way. You still don’t get to stand a gas mower up on its side.
My family and neighbors really like this mower. Everybody Комментарии и мнения владельцев on how quiet it is and how easy it is to push. My 14 year old daughter actually used it for a while. It’s so light it’s actually easier for her to maneuver than my old self-propelled mower.
I was mowing one night and I stopped to let a couple pass on the sidewalk. They slowed down and the wife asked if that was a battery powered lawnmower because it was the quietest lawnmower she’d ever heard.
- I really like how quiet the mower is — no hearing protection required. Rather than the drone of the lawnmower engine, you can hear what’s going on around you.
- I like that it takes a fraction of the space to store than my previous gas lawnmower.
- The cut quality was just as good as my old 500 gas lawnmower.
- The mower is powerful enough to fill the bag from back to front, so you don’t have to keep stopping to empty a half full bag.
- No more oil, no more gas, no more finicky pull starts. Drop-in a charged battery and go.
- The mower is light and easy to maneuver
- The handle isn’t as rigid as I would like and there is play between the handle and the mower.
- The side discharge seems like an after thought.
- There aren’t many downsides to the mower besides maybe price.
I wish I would have purchased this mower last year, instead I decided to limp along on a poorly built gas mower that I paid way too much for.
The bottom line: I enjoy mowing with this mower. It is well built and well thought out. I’d recommend it to anybody with a moderately sized yard.
The review sample was purchased at full retail.
Benjamen Johnson grew up watching his dad work as a contractor and woodworker. He became an electrical engineer and took an interest in woodworking. Check out Ben’s projects at Electronsmith’s 3D Prints or Instagram.
46 Комментарии и мнения владельцев
I have an older version, while it cuts fine, the green side clips rattle loose every 5 minutes and it stops the machine. I usually wrap some tape around it to keep it in place. Just wondering if you or anyone else has that problem.
This happened to my 20” Ego too. Give them a call and they’ll send you upgraded clamps free of charge.
I own one of these. Biggest drawback for me is the lack of tire floatation. Taller or wider wheels would work better in my poorly drained yard. But I can’t really fault the manufacturer for that.
My wife and I got the larger (20″?) 40V Ryobi mower this year. We really like it. We don’t bag, so I don’t know how well that works. I was recently out of service for a month (Lyme disease), and the yard got overgrown. We mowed most with a tractor, but several hilly parts with the Ryobi. Grasses were 8-16 inches tall. It chewed them right up. We were very happy. The machine was quiet, and because it is so light, very easy to handle. Like yours, it folds up and stores nicely. We had the chainsaw, weed eater, and blower already. All have worked well, and we have a lot of batteries!
I had an electric mower at one point. Bad experience. You had to keep the thing plugged in all the time when you werent using it and still the battery got to the point where it wouldnt take a charge anymore. I bought a new battery which was expensive and that didnt last more than a year either. There was a little safety insert you had to put in the mower before you engaged the mower in order to start it. God help you if you tried to engage the mower first and forgot to put that little insert in. You had to push some little mechanism out of the way just right with a screwdriver in order to reisnert the plastic insert. It was a stupid unnecessary design. It was a while back and Im sure technology has improved but I just dont feel the need for a higher tech 400 mower to do a job that my 150.00 gas powered refurbished MTD mower does just fine.
You don’t plug modern ones in. You put the batteries in a charger, and the batteries swap to different machines as well. I’ve never had a safety key that didn’t just pop in, so I can’t comment there.
The new DeWALT mower has a safety key…I have no clue why. Maybe it’s an anti-theft feature? It’s not fair comparing a refurbished gas mower to a new battery powered mower. What would your MTD cost retail? I’ve seen clearance EGO’s and other brands at significant discounts out of season and in outlets stores.
You probably had one of the lead acid battery powered mowers. That would explain the plugging in to charge and the poor experiences you mention.
I’ve got the earlier 20” Ego Mower and I’m thrilled with it. It takes me less time to cut my small yard than it did to deal with the extension cord with my old mower! I ended up getting a bunch of their other tools and they all perform well. As far as I’m concerned they have the best battery and charger on the market.
I have a 16″ Ryobi, which is a much better choice for our smaller yard and sloping front lawn. The EGO is 69.5 lbs. The Ryobi is 40 lbs. I’m pretty sure the same manufacturer in China engineers and builds EGO, Ryobi, and several other brands of electric mowers. The headlight is a silly feature, but other than cutting width and likely some torque, the Ryobi has similar features. My only complaints with the Ryobi are the fussy battery release button and the foam handle grip that I had to cover with bicycle handlebar tape.
The Ego headlight is an awesome feature that allows for mowing through dusk and into dark to finish the job. Ego and Ryobi due not come from the same engineers. Honda battery OPE is rebranded EGO. Ego engineers due work on other brands but Ryobi is not one of them.
EGO is owned by Chervon, the new owner of SKIL/SKILSAW, of China. http://www.chervon.com.cn/ And from what I see, Honda’s name is being put on EGO tools in countries where the EGO brand is not distributed. Honda has nothing to do with EGO other than letting them use their name.
We’ve been very happy with our EGO mower. This is our second summer with it. We bought the mower just after buying the house, so I’ve never needed a can of gas in the garage (not that big a deal, but definitely a plus). I do have a spare 2.5A battery (actually 2 now) that I got with the EGO string trimmer. I occasionally have to swap that in after the 5A battery runs low, but normally I get through our yard with the light just turning red near the end. It seems to depend on the air temperature in addition to grass length. The headlights may seem like a “silly feature,” as mentioned in one reply above, but they have actually turned out to be useful. I have only needed them a couple times, but they make it much easier to follow previous lines if I don’t quite finish before dark. The mower is much quieter than gas mowers. I’ve had times when a gas mower several houses away was still louder than the EGO right in front of me. I’m definitely glad we bought this mower. I’m pretty happy with the string trimmer too.
I have the Ryobi 40v brushless 20v (I think its the second version? Not the newest version that just came out). For my tiny yard, its great. If the grass gets out of hand, I just run over it twice. I only bag and it does a great job of cleaning up. I also have the blower, string trimmer, and hedge trimmer. The blower is only OK, it gets the job done but I’ve had better blowers. I hear EGO has some great blowers. The string trimmer and hedge trimmer are amazing. Easily as good as gas with no motor to burn yourself with or having to mix gas. My only gripe with Ryobi is how long the 40v batteries take to charge (3 hours). Luckily, they throw in batteries with every tool so you always have another one charged.
Ego ….OPE is the best ,hands down….much better then Milwaukee, DeWALT, Makita. Ryobi….more power,more runtime… horrible battery guage, gotta be changed to 3-4 bars….
Too bad SBD doesn’t partner with Chervon to rebrand EGO under the Craftsman name for outdoor power equipment. I’ve gotten rid of most my gas stuff and replaced with EGO tools.
Funny enough I had read somewhere that the Ego guys first pitched it to Craftsman and they turned them down. Big mistake.
I’m not sure why they would have turned them down already having a relationship with Chervon. They’ve already had like 3 or 4 different battery powered lawn equipment platforms in a short span of time. I had the 24v max line trimmer. It was pretty much garbage. The plastic part on the bottom of the shaft stripped out on 2 of them. The 24v max line is made by some budget company called lawnmaster. Anyways if what you said is true they missed out big time, EGO is at the top of battery powered lawn equipment game and has been for a while. I think their exclusive deal with HD is hindering them. They don’t have much floor space for products and the warranty repair process through them is terrible.
I bought the string trimmer push mower combo last year. I was initially very excited and impressed. The change in noise level alone is astonishing. that quickly changed I noticed one of the wheels was cracked. I contacted Home Depot and even went to the local store, and no one had a clue on how to get me a replacement. Very disappointing, I don’t want to have to go to the manufacturer for something new out of the box within the first 30 days. It defective but usable. I suspect that as part of weight savings, they have to trade off some of the robustness over weight.However after the end of the first season I was far less impressed. My lawn is pretty small, and the battery was not lasting long enough to do the job. I still use the trimmer, but the mower sits in the shed and the rusty old gas powered mower is back to being used. If I get another battery powered mower it will be a brand that I also already have lithium batteries for, it makes much more sense to use an existing battery platform if you can in my opinion.
HD has a 90 day return policy, so you could have returned the mower for a new one. Ego has a 5year warranty on tools and 3 years and batteries/chargers, so you could get repair/replacement thru them.
I have all the EGO stuff except the mower. They all work great but I’m not ready to go battery for the mower and I don’t think it mulches and that is the only way to go with mowing.
Yes, it does mulch. I agree that is the only way to go with mowing. The mulching performance was acceptable. I didn’t notice any “windrows.” Then again I’m not mowing super long or thick grass.
You forgot a con; 20 inch cut path. For me that would turn a one hour job into a two hour job. How big of a blade was your gas mower? How long did it take you to mow your lawn with your gas mower? 20 inches is really, really small. When you include overlap you’re only mowing about 16 or 18 inches at a time. I love the idea of an electric mower but, I will wait until they make a real one for real size lawns.
I was anxiously awaiting the release of the DeWALT mower, hoping it would give me an excuse to justify moving to an 20v tool platform. The early reviews pretty much all faulted the mower for miserable runtimes. It seems like a great mower otherwise, but it’s hard to justify using it as a way to enter the DeWALT platform with the garbage run time. Ended up with the self propelled ego and love it, for most of the reasons you’ve listed.
Red, I was also anxiously waiting for the DeWALT mower, as I am deep into their platforms. But just like you, I couldn’t find anyone with a good review of either the 20v or the 40v and I doubt that we will see their mower in a 60v platform at this point. I did get the Ego string trimmer with the carbon fiber shaft and the powerload head, and I really love it. My only decision now is between the Ego mower with the two 5.0 AH batteries or the mower that comes with the single 7.5 AH battery.
As a reference point, we live on an intown lot, which is about.3 acres with a modest house and no garage. With the 7.5 ah battery, I can cut both lawns…twice, with a week in between mowings. and that’s without even getting to the point where the lights turn green.
I finally got my DeWALT 2x20V sample a few weeks ago. Yeah the run time of the DeWALT on the included batteries stinks. I can mow less than half my yard on a charge. Besides a few really stupid engineering mistakes it is a good mower, I feel better than the Ego I have in some ways. They really need to sell a bare tool, or sell it with some 9.0Ah or 12.0Ah batteries and a dual charger. As it is with the included batteries it is unusable for anything but a postage stamp sized yard. The worst thing is their own marketing says: “It is perfect for properties up to 1/4 acre.” If they would market it correctly it wouldn’t be so bad.
Benjamine, could you or Stuart get some no load rpm, torque and power numbers on these mowers to help with a comparison? Also, run time aside, how would you compare the cutting power between the EGO and the DeWALT 2x20v? On the same grass, did one mower noticeably bog down more or stall quicker if you push at a faster pace? I understand this is more of a subjective question but the answer can be helpful.
A no load rpm number for the Ego (and probably most electric mowers) wouldn’t mean much because the mower adjusts power output based on the cutting load. It takes a second to react so when you suddenly begin a heavy cut it’ll bog down and then spin back up to deal with the load. And vice versa when you exit the lawn onto pavement it’ll “over-rev” then calm down. It didn’t take me long to get used to it but it may irk some people.
Unless you are pretty heavily into the DeWALT platform and can buy a bare tool, it’s hard to see how they can be competitive on both cost and runtime. The self propelled ego costs 499 with batteries that will run an hour. The non-propelled DeWALT costs 399 with batteries that last 20 minutes. You’d need to buy 200 in batteries to make the DeWALT competitive. At that point you are giving up self propel and 100 to the ego. The DeWALT only seems to make sense as a 250 bare tool to someone with a bench full of flexvolt batteries, or as a bundle with flexvolt batteries that comes in at around 500. For someone using it as a gateway to the brand, it makes no sense as offered.
I purchased the ego 21 inch mower with 56v battery at the beginning of the mowing season this year. I have a shoulder injury and could not face another year of yanking the rope on my gas mower. It never started easily even when it was new. This is HANDS DOWN the best mower I ever owned. It starts with the push of a button and with the self-propelled feature I can almost mow one handed. It’s quiet, there is no pouring gas and getting it all over the mower and the battery charges in about an hour. I actually look forward to mowing now because it’s so easy and fast. I would recommend this mower to anyone who wants to ditch their dirty, noisy old gas mower. This is the future people, only thing that would make it better would be a solar charger on the mower and then it would run even longer!
I foolishly bought this year’s Kobalt 40v mower when the wife suggested that it was so simple “she could mow the lawn with it”. While that assumption is true (it’s simpler to start than the Ego, and leagues easier than any gas mower) it’s a fairly disappointing mower overall. The deck design has no suction, so forget bagging leaves with it in the fall. It can’t even lift grass that is bent down by the front wheels, so to get the whole lawn the same height you have to mow a 4″ overlap. It’s quiet and lightweight but is made of creaky plastic so the durability is really questionable. Brushless allows for speed control which is nice in theory, but in practice it will ALWAYS slow down to the low power setting at the end of every row when you turn around and take 3-4 seconds of poor cutting to speed back up again. I’m strongly considering switching back to gas next season, almost entirely due to the lack of suction for bagging. Too bad, it is quiet, lightweight, and easy to use.
I’d like to see more comparison of the EGO cordless stuff against the Echo cordless stuff they are similar in price. I would add when available the DeWALT as well. I have the Echo trimmer and would be happy to test the EGO trimmer against it if there was a desire for that. At any rate – I do think the EGO stuff is decent quality and I’ve been curious as to how the mowers stacked up. When my Husquvarna walk behind dies it will get replaced with an electric – but I don’t mow that much with it now. I have a riding mower for the rest of my yard which is just over an acre.
Me as well. There is really no comparison between the smaller battery DeWALT and Ego/Echo. I would have loved Ego vs. Echo reviews when researching which lawn mower to buy this past spring. My first cordless lawn tool was the Ego string trimmer. Absolutely love it, especially after using the Ryobi 40v trimmer (which is incredibly loud). Ego has incredible battery and charger tech. I believe they beat Festool to market with fan cooled charging. Interestingly enough I chose to purchase the Echo lawn mower this year over the Ego. Yes, even though nice having batteries that work with all of your tools. I read more than one review saying they purchased the Ego and returned to buy the Echo based on actual mowing performance. That pushed me to the Echo. I do like it and it works very well. Very quiet, mulching works well, and it will now my entire yard on one battery. I will say it isn’t as refined as Ego’s products. I picked up the Echo on HD’s special buy of the day for 299 making it 200 less than the Ego.
I went to Echo on the trimmer because it’s the more commercial minded product and uses the same parts and attachments as their other bits. So I have the edger attachment and I have the hedge clipper which is a touch ungainly but I need the length to get over the hedge row in the back – otherwise I’d have gotten the standalone model. I know people get used to using trimmers as edgers but once you use a proper blade edger you won’t go back. I even used it at a neighbors house to cut the lawn for installing a wire pet fence system.
I have two small lawns, one in the front yard, the other in the back. Maybe 800 SF total, so pretty small. I had been using a corded Black and Decker mower for years, but I decided to take a chance on a Greenworks 25302 cordless 40V. This was one of the best purchases I have ever made. It’s so easy to use, it doesn’t seem like a chore at all. Just plug the battery in, walk it a bit and I’m done. The package I bought through Amazon came with both a 4 and 2 AH battery, and when I use just the 4 on the mower I have enough battery life to do both lawns, and jump off and use it for week wacking in the rest of the yard for another 10 or 15 minutes; I have never run it down completley. It has plenty of power to tackle the first tall, wet grass of the season. Since I had the two batteries, I also ordered the 21352 string trimmer. It’s light. and easy on line; after a season and a half I am still using the spool that came with it, and I use it on both lawns each time I mow to put the tapered edge I prefer around them, and I also use it for some general weed wacking for the corners where the mower won’t go. I paid just over 50 dollars for this tool, and it is a winner too. This year, Amazon had a sale for the cordless blower in this line, and I picked that up for a bit over 60 bucks. It is not as powerful as my Worx, especially when picking up leaves, but the portability is great and it will clean up dry debris without any trouble at all. All in all, my property is a hair over 1/4 acre, and the cordless systems have worked out very well for me.
I really wish EGO would have put the headlight activation switch up near the start button so it could be activated in stride instead of having to stop and reach the back of the battery compartment.
I have the EGO mower and blower. I rate both of these products very high. We have 3 batteries, to avoid any downtime in doing chores. My blower is three years old, and it has worked flawlessly. We live in the desert, and I have to blow the rocks in our front yard, as well as the trees and turf areas in the backyard. I have recommended these to co-workers, and they have been pleased as well. Now for the bad. If you have any issue that you have to call the customer service line, get ready for a long call. Most of the time they can be helpful, but I would rate their customer service as average or below average. I would purchase their products again.
My customer service experience has been a total NIGHTMARE. Please note that I actually like the product On September 4, the lawnmower would not start. Obviously, I needed to cut my lawn. The 1st customer representative advised me to bring in to Home Depot with the battery and they will ship it to a service center to be fixed. Then, after hearing no news about my lawnmower, I called the customer service line back on 9/27. Apparently, Home Depot never shipped the lawnmower out! The customer service representative explained that it could still be 4-6 weeks…….even though it had already been 3.5 weeks. I explained to them that I STILL NEED TO CUT MY LAWN! They then sent me a “high grass” blade for the mower. After additional calls, they informed me that I would be getting a new mower. But, it would not come with a battery. Next, I call back to find out about the battery, and the customer service representative actually told me….”you shouldn’t have sent that back, you should have gotten a brand new one as it’s less than a year from your purchase.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME? EGO customer service department set this all up. Next, I finally get a mower on 10/9, but can’t use because I don’t have a battery. Finally, I had to call on 10/15 to get the battery tracking number for the battery, which is scheduled to delivery on 10/15. During this entire 6 week period, OBVIOUSLY I STILL NEED TO CUT MY LAWN. During this time, there were ZERO shts given by EGO towards my lawn and the length of the grass. EGO never offered to pay for a rental, never offered a replacement for the time being, never offered to pay for a landscaper to CUT MY LAWN! It is totally ridiculous that I bought a brand new lawnmower, and it broke, and you had NO ANSWER for my question “what about MY LAWN? The grass continues to grow…”
This morning I opened my email to find a message from EGO teasing about their new riding mower, “Coming Early 2021”. I’m excited to see a mass market, battery powered riding mower, even if I’m not in the market for one. Stuart, do you have any inside info or pictures?
Make your yard the envy of your neighbors with one of these top lawn mowers.
By Tony Carrick and Mark Wolfe and Glenda Taylor | Updated May 18, 2023 4:59 AM
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A good lawn mower is crucial for maintaining a lush, well-manicured lawn. With so many options and brands to choose from, selecting a mower that is appropriate for your yard can be challenging. To this task easier for you, we got our hands on some of the most popular options and put them to the test on our own lawns.
Whether you’re replacing an old mower for your current lawn or buying one to maintain a new property, it’s important to choose one that fits the size and terrain of the property. This guide explores the features and factors that are important to consider when shopping for the best lawn mower while reviewing some of the top models on the market.
We tested the following lawn mowers to find out how they would perform in terms of cutting ability, finish quality, and operator comfort. Read on to learn more about the criteria we used to select our picks. Then check out our lawn mower reviews to learn why we consider these models to be some of the best lawn mowers available.
- BEST OVERALL:Honda 21-Inch Walk Behind Mower
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:Craftsman M220 150-cc 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
- BEST3-IN-1:DeWALT 2X20V MAX 21.5-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
- BEST BATTERY-POWERED:Ego Power 21-Inch Mower
- BEST RIDING LAWN MOWER:John Deere S130 42-Inch Lawn Tractor
- BEST CORDED LAWN MOWER:American Lawn Mower 14-Inch 120V Corded Mower
- BEST FOR LARGE YARDS:Toro 50-Inch TimeCutter Zero Turn Mower
- BEST ROBOTIC:Worx Landroid M 20V Robotic Lawn Mower
- BEST ECO-FRIENDLY:Makita 36V XML03 Electric Lawn Mower
How We Chose the Best Lawn Mowers
All of the mowers included in our list exceeded quality standards established in our shopping criteria and proved worthy through testing. We selected each of the above mowers based on our previously mentioned shopping considerations. After sourcing the mowers and assembling the mowers according to the manufacturer’s instructions, we tested them in an average yard in order to gauge capabilities in several key areas. The most critical aspects we observed included general quality and durability, mowing power and cut quality, and operator comfort and convenience.
We also tested each according to its claimed abilities. Riding mowers were used for larger and sometimes rougher areas and were assessed for power, speed, and comfort. Walk-behind and push mowers were mostly restricted to testing on well-established and well-maintained lawn spaces and closely monitored for cut quality and user convenience. We actually pre-mowed the grass ahead of testing the robot mower since it is intended to maintain rather than reduce grass height.
Our Top Picks
We tested mowers that range from corded lawn mowers for small yards to powerful self-propelled gas lawn mowers for medium-size yards to riding mowers that can handle 3 acres or more. Read on to learn more about these mowers, how they performed during our grass tests, and why we think they are some of the best.
Honda 21-Inch Walk Behind Mower
Whether it’s a car, generator, or lawn mower, it’s tough to beat the reliability and durability of Honda engines—and such is the case with this self-propelled gas lawn mower. Its powerful GCV170 engine powers not just one but two blades, giving it a cleaner, more precise cut over most other gas-powered lawn mowers that have just a single blade.
With its rear-wheel drive, this mower is ideal to contend with yards that have slopes and more-rugged terrain. Its engine is formidable, and so are its features. An easy-to-use clip system makes it simple to switch between its three grass-clipping options—mulching, side discharge, and bagging—and the well-designed speed controls add to the quality of this premium self-propelled walk-behind mower.
In our tests, this Honda walk-behind mower’s high-quality components and thoughtful design really stood out. The engine layout and oversize gas gap made fueling up and adding oil easy and can simplify oil and filter changes. After a quick 5-minute assembly of the handle and bagger and adding fuel and oil, the mower started on the first pull. The engine ran smoothly and surprisingly quietly.
The variable-speed controller at first felt awkward until we realized that we could adjust the angle to any of five positions. The mower had plenty of power for mowing and driving the wheels, even in dense, tall grass, and on steep slopes. If the goal is to find a top-quality walk-behind mower that is easy to use and leaves a great-looking finish, this would make an excellent choice.
- Power source: Honda GCV170 gas engine
- Deck size: 21 inches
- Type: Self-propelled walk-behind
- Twin-blade mowing system for finer mulching
- Auto choke for fast, easy starting
- Variable speed, 0 to 4 miles per hour
- Clip system makes changing cutting modes easy
Get the Honda lawn mower at Amazon or Lowe’s.
Craftsman M220 150-cc 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mow
Craftsman is a well-established, well-respected brand in the world of lawn mowers, and this gas-powered model is no exception. It boasts a powerful 140-cc engine and an ample 21-inch mowing deck, making it ideal for yards up to ¾ of an acre.
Large 8-inch rear wheels with heavy tread make it easy to push this mower, while six cutting heights offer versatility. The mower also offers three disposal settings: mulch, side discharge, and bag. And while this mower may lack the power assist of other walk-behind mowers, it is significantly cheaper, making it a good choice for those with level yards who may not need a self-propelled mower.
We liked the Craftsman mower’s affordability and simplicity. It only required about 20 minutes of easy assembly. The completed handle configuration was a bit less refined in appearance, the grip area is unpadded metal, and the blade and drive control cables are retained on the handle by heavy-duty cable ties.
After adding oil and gas, the mower started easily on the first pull. It had good power for cutting average lawn grass and pulling uphill, but it bogged down ever so slightly in tall, overgrown grass. The front-wheel-drive feature made turning easy, but a fully loaded bagger could weigh down the rear and cause it to lose traction (we did not experience this). The fuel tank size is adequate to mow about a half acre per fill-up. This could be an excellent value pick for a budget-minded shopper looking for a durable self-propelled mower.
- Power source: 150 cc Briggs Stratton gas engine
- Deck size: 21 inches
- Type: Walk-behind
- Front-wheel drive assists the user while mowing; prevents strain while in use
- Easy to start, no priming or choke required
- Side-discharge, mulch, or bag for ease of cleanup after mowing
- Self-propelled feature is not adjustable; may not be suitable for some users’ preferences
- Non-padded grip could lead to hand fatigue with extended use
Get the Craftsman lawn mower at Ace Hardware, Lowe’s, or Blain’s Farm Fleet.
DeWALT 2X20V MAX 21.5-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
With mulching, bagging, and side-discharge capabilities, the DeWALT 2X20V MAX self-propelled cordless lawn mower has a better-than-average build quality and thoughtful design. Its heavy-duty 21.5-inch, 15-gauge stamped-steel deck adjusts to six different cutting heights from 1.5 to 4 inches. Running on two batteries and offering up to 60 minutes of runtime per charge, this mower is ideal for small to medium yards up to a half acre.
We set up a test area for the DeWALT mower in our yard, with about 10,000 square feet of lawn that included some short but steep slopes, weedy spots, and dense grass. We mowed the test plot three times, requiring just over two full battery charges each time. The DeWALT covered about 5,000 square feet per charge when adjusted to 2.5 inches high with the grass catcher in place. At 3.5 inches, that extended to about 8,000 square feet and 40 minutes of runtime. The controls were well laid out for easy operation, and the cushioned handle felt comfortable while we mowed. Also, this mower is a space saver. With its fold-flat handle and vertical storage capability, it only needs about 2.5 square feet of storage floor space.
The DeWALT 3-in-1 lawn mower features a security-key-enabled push-button start. Its adjustable font-wheel-drive self-propulsion eliminates half the work of mowing, lets you choose your own pace, and works on all kinds of terrain. The motor is equipped with auto-sensing technology that seamlessly increases torque when encountering tougher mowing conditions. In our tests, it was easier to turn than rear-wheel drive mowers. A removable discharge chute, grass catcher, and integrated mulch plug allow for quick conversion to your preferred method of grass-clipping disposal. Overall, the quality of the DeWALT 3-in-1 mower is better than most and is a solid choice for quarter- to half-acre lots.
- Power source: Two 20-volt, 10-Ah lithium-ion rechargeable batteries
- Deck size: 21.5 inches
- Type: Self-propelled walk-behind
- Heavy-duty steel mower deck with 3-way grass-clipping management
- Front-wheel drive self-propel system supports safe operation and smooth turns
- Powered by 2 rechargeable DeWALT XR 20-volt (V) lithium-ion batteries
- 2-stage brushless motor preserves battery life and automatically increases power for tougher mowing conditions
- Ergonomic cushioned hand grip are comfortable to use and reduce operator fatigue
- Heavy and cumbersome to maneuver manually without the self-propel feature engaged
- Takes a long time to recharge the batteries with the included DCB107 battery chargers
- The mower’s battery compartment has an awkward design
Get the DeWALT cordless lawn mower at Ace Hardware, The Home Depot (with 3 batteries), Tractor Supply Co., or Acme Tools.
Ego Power 21-Inch Mower
The Ego Power comes ready to mow, including a battery and Rapid charger. The advancements Ego has made with its battery-powered mower sets it atop the cordless models. It boasts 45 minutes of runtime, thanks to its brushless motor and large 56-volt, 5-Ah battery. With its 21-inch deck, the Ego is suitable for yards up to half an acre. The Ego Power also includes other features that make it an attractive buy, including speed controls that the user operates with an intuitive dial and bagging, mulching, or side-discharge capability.
Overall, the Ego Power cordless mower was easy and comfortable to operate in our tests. The preset self-propelled pace felt comfortably moderate but not leisurely. The mower had no difficulty cutting normal grass and did not bog down noticeably in thick, tall grass. Finish quality was good to excellent.
We did notice that mowing in “push” mode (without the self-propelled motor running) extended battery life by about 20 minutes to as much as 65 minutes per charge. Buying a second battery for extended runtime, or as backup for tougher mowing, may be a wise investment. This mower would be a good choice for small and midsize lawns up to about a half acre and for owners who want to reduce noise, exhaust, and fuel handling.
- Power source: 56-volt, 5-Ah lithium-ion rechargeable battery
- Deck size: 21 inches
- Type: Self-propelled walk-behind
- 45 minutes of runtime per charge; suitable for small- to large-sized yards
- Battery charges in less than an hour; suitable for multiple uses or yards
- Battery works with many other Ego Power tools
- Emits power similar to a gasoline mower
- Higher cost than gas mower with similar power
- Poor traction on slopes; may not be ideal for hilly yards
- Noisy drive system; may not be ideal for nighttime mowing
Get the Ego lawn mower at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or Lowe’s.
John Deere S130 42-Inch Lawn Tractor
Larger yards from ½ to 2 acres call for a bigger machine for mowing. The John Deere S130, with its 22-horsepower V-twin engine and 42-inch deck, offers excellent mowing ability plus performance and comfort features that extend its range of use. The 20 by 10-8 rear tires and wide stance provide excellent stability and help to cushion the ride. It features hydrostatic operation, single-lever throttle with spring-return choke, ergonomic deck-height adjustment lever, dash-mounted digital fuel gauge, LED headlights, and John Deere’s Easy Change 30-second oil change system. The included drop-pin towing hitch and PTO make it compatible with a wide range of John Deere branded and non-branded yard implements such as utility carts, spreaders, sweepers, snow blowers, and more.
In our extensive test, the S130 lawn tractor proved to be a comfortable, capable riding mower with good maneuverability in a wide range of conditions. It easily handled grassy slopes up to 13 degrees (4.5 vertical feet per 20 linear feet), which is the limit recommended by the manufacturer. Measured against leading competitors, it offered a tighter real-life turning radius thanks to superior weight balance, and a seat base that is 3 inches higher to provide a better operator vantage point.
The high, open-back seat was well cushioned and supportive while allowing excellent ventilation. The deck height, blade engagement, and throttle controls were well positioned for convenience and safe operation. Even with the slightly elevated price tag, this mower offers tons of value, making it an excellent choice for most larger yards.
- Power source: 22-horsepower V-twin gas engine
- Deck size: 42 inches
- Type: Lawn tractor
- High vantage point for optimal viewing of the yard and machine while mowing
- Tight turning radius allows for clean and even cutting paths
- Comfortable seat and controls make it easy for the user to mow the lawn
- Should not require much maintenance to keep running for years
Get the John Deere riding lawn mower at Lowe’s or a local John Deere dealer.
American Lawn Mower 14-Inch 120V Corded Mower
Corded lawn mowers make an easy, affordable choice for smaller yards where a gas-powered mower would be a hassle. This mower from American Lawn Mower Company can keep the yard looking great at a low price point, without worrying about the mess or expense of gasoline or batteries.
Its 14-inch deck suits smaller yards and smaller storage areas. At about 20 pounds, this mower is easy to maneuver for those who might struggle with a heavier model. It also has a surprising range of options, allowing one to bag or mulch clippings (though it oddly has no side-discharge option). It also offers a convenient single lever for height control, eliminating the need to make height adjustments for each wheel individually.
In our tests, this model delivered a rock-solid performance. Assembly, which entailed installation of the handle and cord retainers, took about 10 minutes to complete. It mowed well, even in dense, weedy grass, and the bagger worked well. The small size and lightweight build limit this mower’s practicality more than its corded motor does.
By starting close to the electrical outlet and mowing progressively farther away, we easily minimized the risk of cord damage or entanglement. As an affordable mower for small yards, with arguably the least environmental impact, this quiet, capable corded electric model could be the best choice.
- Durable, maintenance-free electric motor; eco-friendly compared to similar options
- Lightweight and easy to use; offers excellent maneuverability
- Offers bagging and mulching options for easy clean-up after mowing
- Not ideal for large-sized yards; suitable for only the smallest yards
- No side-discharge option; may not be ideal for some users’ needs
Get the American Lawn Mower electric lawn mower at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Walmart.
Toro 50-Inch TimeCutter Zero Turn Mower
If spending an entire afternoon mowing the lawn isn’t a problem, those with yards that could house a couple of football fields require a mowing deck that can level large swaths of green in a single pass. With its massive 50-inch deck, the aptly named TimeCutter from Toro is ready for a big job. This large mower, which boasts a 24.5-horsepower engine, can reach speeds of up to 7 miles per hour, making it capable of handling yards of 3 acres or more.
Toro also makes sure the operator will be comfortable while covering all that ground with its adjustable MyRIDE suspension system that absorbs bumps in the lawn as well as vibrations from the engine. Plush seating provides support and comfort for longer mowing sessions. Toro also includes other useful features, including a foot-lever-assisted deck-height adjustment, toolless oil-change system, and a cupholder.
When we tested the 50-inch Toro TimeCutter, we timed its performance on a 1-acre area of an old field converted to lawn. The MyRIDE suspension system smoothed out the ruts and bumps for a comfortable ride at near top speed. It mowed the acre in 20 minutes, a blistering 3-acres-per-hour pace. The finish quality was excellent, and it used less than 3 quarts of gasoline. As a point of comparison, a 22-HP, 46-inch lawn tractor that has been used to mow the same area takes nearly an hour and uses more than 1.25 gallons of gas.
Even before factoring in the amazingly comfortable ride, we appreciated the prospect of mowing in one-third the time and reducing fuel and maintenance expenses by half on this large lot. For large grassy areas, it’s hard to beat the efficiency of a zero turn mower, and the TimeCutter makes an excellent pick.
- Huge mowing deck makes this model ideal for medium- to large-sized yards
- Shock-absorbing suspension system integrated; can tackle tough jobs without causing strain to the user
- Large engine is capable of cutting thicker grass varieties
Get the Toro TimeCutter lawn mower at The Home Depot or a local Toro dealer.
Worx Landroid M 20V Robotic Lawn Mower
Pushing the edge of lawn mower technology further is this robotic lawn mower from Worx. It functions similarly to a robot vacuum cleaner by mowing a preset area of up to a quarter acre on its own. The operator sets up wire barriers that the lawn mower won’t cross, ensuring it only mows in a set area. It has a laser eye that guides it around any obstacles that might be in the yard. A single front caster and two large rear-drive wheels carry it through the yard while allowing it to turn on a dime.
The Worx Landroid M can also connect to a Smart device, through which the user can program daily schedules or direct the mower to stop or start. It runs off the same 20-volt Worx battery that powers the company’s other yard tools and will automatically return to its charging station when the battery gets low.
Testing the Landroid M required a detailed setup process, but then the operation was almost completely hands-off. After installing the Landroid mobile app, the base station, boundary wire, and establishing the mower’s Wi-Fi connection, we programmed the robot for a daily mowing schedule. Setup and programming were straightforward with easy-to-follow instructions and tutorial videos on the Landroid app. The whole process took about 2.5 hours, including time taken to watch videos. The covered area included a sloped section, a narrow corridor, a broad contiguous area, and an off-limits landscape bed.
Landroid mowed on time every time and stayed inbounds without a problem. On an evening when rain moved in during the mowing cycle, Landroid’s rain sensor picked it up and sent the unit back to its base station to wait it out. The only challenge we encountered was that the mower initially did not dock properly after mowing because the base station was not sitting level. After fixing that issue, it simply worked.
A week after we installed the Landroid, the grass it cut still looked freshly mowed with the exception of the edges, while the adjacent lawn outside Landroid’s coverage needed to be cut. Those looking to infuse the time-, fuel-, and labor-saving benefits of robotics into their lawn care routine would do well to consider Landroid.
- Mows up to ¼ of an acre with ease
- Can be controlled via an app through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth
- Brushless motor extends battery life; suitable for small to large yards
- Onboard rain sensor protects the mower from potential damage
Get the Worx robotic lawn mower at Amazon.
Makita 36V XML03 Electric Lawn Mower
The Makita XML03, an 18-inch, battery-powered lawn mower, comes with four included batteries, and the claim that it will mow up to 1/3 acre on a single charge, so we tested that claim. We marked out a 1/3-acre area on our lawn and mowed with the Makita XML03 six times over three weeks.
During testing, the Makita mower completed all but one mowing session without battery depletion—with a small battery charge remaining. However, when we tested the mower on damp grass, we depleted all four batteries before we could finish the session. Keep in mind that the Makita mower is not self-propelled, so ultimately, the mowing area will depend on user speed and grass thickness.
Operating at 3,300 rpm, its single blade matches the speed of gas-powered mowers, but dense grass resistance can hinder spinning speed. The trick to overcoming this issue is to mow more frequently—while the grass height is low enough, you’re not removing any more than 1/3 of the grass leaf.
The height adjustment (a single lever on the back right wheel) is convenient; the mower’s deck height range of 13/16 inch to 3 inches could have been improved. This limitation may impact those with specific grass types or desired cutting heights. Although a typical range of 2-1/2 to 3 inches covers many grass varieties, species such as tall fescue are often mowed at 3-1/2 inches high.
The Makita’s detachable grass-catching bag holds 1.7 bushels (16 gallons), which is on the small side, and we had to empty the clippings frequently. But overall, the Makita XML03 meets its mowing claims with reliable battery performance. It starts at the press of a button and is much quieter than gas-powered mowers, so you won’t upset the neighbors if you mow early on a Saturday morning.
- Power source: Two 18-volt, 4-Ah lithium-ion rechargeable batteries
- Deck size: 18 inches
- Type: Walk-behind
- Environmentally friendly battery power eliminates the necessity for carbon-emitting gas and oil
- Produces less noise than gas-powered mowers, ensuring peaceful early morning mowing without disturbing neighbors
- Comes with 4 batteries upon purchase, allowing for convenient swapping of charged sets when 1 set runs out
- Simple push-button start eliminates the need for tugging cords or priming pumps
- The relatively narrow 18-inch swath width may result in time-consuming mowing for larger yards
- The Makita XML03 lacks self-propulsion, making it challenging to push on inclines
- The grass-clipping bag has a small capacity, so frequent emptying may be necessary
Get the Makita Lawn Mower at Amazon, Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, or Acme Tools.
What to Consider When Choosing a Lawn Mower
In addition to mower type, it’s vital to consider other factors like deck size and fuel requirements when shopping for a lawn mower. Ahead, learn more about these and other important characteristics of lawn mowers.
Types of Lawn Mowers
The first step to selecting the right mower is to decide which type of mower best suits the yard.
Walk-behind mowers consist of two different kinds of mower: push and self-propelled. Self-propelled mowers have power wheels that pull the mower forward. Some self-propelled mowers have an adjustment feature to increase or decrease the travel speed for improved operator comfort and convenience. Manual mowers have no power-assisted wheels and must be pushed manually by the user.
Riding mowers include zero-turn mowers, lawn tractors, and rear-engine riding mowers. Zero-turn mowers, the most expensive lawn mowers on the market, have a motor that sits behind the operator and are controlled using two levers. The mowers get their name from their ability to pivot 360 degrees in place. Zero-turn mowers also have very broad mowing decks. Their size and maneuverability make them ideal for cutting large lawns with obstacles the user must drive around.
A lawn tractor looks similar to a farm tractor with its motor in the front of the mower. The user operates the tractor from a driver’s seat using a steering wheel. Lawn tractors have broad mowing decks but do not have the small turning radius of a zero-turn tractor. Because of their balance and traction, lawn tractors are well suited for mowing hilly terrain and may be used for other property management tasks like towing a utility cart or plowing snow.
Rear-engine lawn mowers are similar to lawn tractors but have their engines in the rear. Rear-engine lawn tractors typically have smaller decks, though they allow for greater visibility and nimbler handling for the operator.
The newest type of lawn mower, robotic mowers look similar to robotic vacuum cleaners, only they are larger and have bigger wheels that enable them to move through grass. Robotic lawn mowers can mow a yard automatically while being controlled via a Smart device.
These lawn mowers are powered by a rechargeable battery and can be programmed to mow the lawn at programmed times and intervals. Robotic mowers require the user to set up wires in the yard that create boundaries for the mower so it doesn’t wander away. They also use laser-eye technology that spots obstacles in the yard so the mower can evade them.
Self-propelled mowers come in different drive wheel options including front-wheel, rear-wheel, and all-wheel drive.
- Front-wheel drive mowers are easier to turn by allowing the operator to raise the front wheels and use the back wheels to pivot.
- Rear-wheel drive mowers place the bulk of the mower’s weight over the drive wheels, creating better traction for climbing inclines and slopes.
- All-wheel drive mowers are well suited for yards with more extreme slopes and rougher terrain.
Cutting Width and Yard Size
A mower’s deck size determines the width of the swath of grass it can cut with each pass and hence how quickly it can mow the lawn. A wider deck also makes a mower less nimble, which can make it awkward to mow small lawns with flower beds, trees, and gardens to navigate.
A walk-behind mower with a deck up to 22 inches is usually a good size for a smaller yard of up to about half an acre. Riding mowers with decks that range between 30 and 46 inches are a good choice for lawns up to 1 acre. Zero turn mowers and lawn tractors with 48- to 60-inch decks can be efficient choices for larger properties.
Lawn mowers can use three types of fuel sources: corded electricity, gas, and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
Electric mowers supply a constant source of power; however, they are limited by a cord that connects to a standard wall outlet. This makes corded lawn mowers somewhat awkward to use. However, they are extremely durable, have no batteries to recharge or replace, and are almost entirely maintenance free.
Gas-powered lawn mowers provide the greatest amount of power, run a long time on a single tank, and have no recharge time to worry about. However, gas mowers are loud, require more maintenance to keep in top condition than electric mowers, and produce exhaust fumes.
Battery-powered mowers run on lithium-ion batteries. They are easier to start than gas-powered lawn mowers and create no exhaust fumes; however, they are less powerful and are limited to about 45 minutes of runtime per charge. Battery-powered mowers are also significantly more expensive to purchase than gas mowers, and the batteries typically need to be replaced every 5 years.
Mowers come in two blade types: the more common rotary and the cylinder blade. Rotary blades are the type of blade found on most residential lawn mowers. They consist of a blade or blades that spin on a horizontal plane, cross-cutting the tops of grass blades to trim them to the desired height.
Cylinder blades, which can cut grass to a very low height without damaging it, have historically been confined to use on sports fields and golf courses. They consist of a rotating cylinder that is equipped with blades that wrap around the cylinder in a spiral pattern. The blades cut the grass using a shearing action that creates a cleaner cut than rotary blades, which can tear grass and leave a ragged edge.
While cylinder mowers (also known as reel mowers) make more precise cuts, they are not capable of cutting through taller grass. In fact, their cutting ability ranges from a height of about 1/16 of an inch to 1 inch. This limits this type of mower to varieties of grass that can survive being cut to a low height, such as Bermuda grass.
Mowers offer different grass-disposal options including side discharge, mulching, and bagging. Side discharge ejects the grass clippings out of the side of the mower onto the lawn. Mulching keeps the grass clippings under the deck, allowing the blade to cut them multiple times to produce a fine mulch that quickly incorporates into the soil. Mowers that support baggers collect the clippings in a bag at the rear of the mower.
Mowers come with additional features that make them easier to operate and maintain. Deck height adjustment allows the user to increase or decrease the mowing height for optimal lawn health. These useful add-ons include mowing decks with built-in wash-out ports that make them easier to clean, switches that make it easy to change between cutting options, and easy-to-operate variable-speed controls for self-propelled mowers.
Many riding mowers have LED headlights for nighttime mowing, drink holders, adjustable plush ergonomic seating, and many other convenient features.
For those who have concerns about maintaining a lawn mower or are wondering how big an engine the mower needs, read on for answers to these and other common questions.
Q. How long should a lawn mower last?
Most mowers can last about 10 years, depending on how often it is used and how well it is maintained.
Q. How powerful of a lawn mower do I need?
Engine sizes for walk-behind mowers range from 140 cc to 190 cc. For tough terrain with thick grass, a larger engine is usually a better choice.
Q. Can I replace the pull cord on a lawn mower?
Yes. In fact, replacing the pull cord on a mower is a fairly simple repair, requiring just a screwdriver and wrench.
Q. How long does a lawn mower’s battery last?
As a general rule of thumb, a riding lawn mower’s battery can last about 4 years. The rechargeable battery on an electric mower can last about 5 years.
Q. How do I clean my lawn mower?
To clean a mower, tip the mower over to access the deck. Remove any grass clippings or debris that may be wrapped around the blade or stuck to the bottom of the deck. Wet the deck with a garden hose, then spray the underside with an all-purpose cleaner. Scrub the deck with a brush, then rinse thoroughly. Turn the mower back upright and use a damp rag or paper towel to wipe down the housing.
Q. How often do I need to change spark plugs in my lawn mower?
Change the spark plugs in the spring at the beginning of the mowing season or after 100 hours of use.
Why Trust Bob Vila
Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.
Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.
Meet the Tester
Mark Wolfe is a writer and product tester with a background in the nursery and landscaping industry. For more than 20 years he mowed, edged, planted, pruned, cultivated, irrigated, and renovated beautiful landscapes. Now he tests and writes reviews about the latest outdoor power equipment, hand tools, lawn-care products, and other outdoor-living goods.
Additional research provided by Tony Carrick and Glenda Taylor.
What Size of Yard Makes a Ride-on Lawnmower Worth It?
A riding lawn mower will take a lot of work to keep your lawn tidy. However, do you really need one? There are many sizes of riding lawnmowers, and some are gas-powered, while you power others with rechargeable batteries.
Professionals recommend having three-quarters of an acre before considering a ride-on lawnmower. Even then, if you have a heavily landscaped and bordered yard, the smallest riding mower may not be the best tool for the job. But, on the other hand, don’t let a small yard deter you from considering one of the smaller ride-on mowers available.
Is My Yard Too Small for a Riding Lawnmower?
A riding lawn mower requires enough space to turn around. Unless the riding mower is a zero-turn, a ride-on mower may damage your yard, and even real tight spaces may be too small for either style of a ride-on lawnmower. Your yard and the width of its pathways are one thing you must consider when thinking about purchasing a new mower.
Although much better than ever, old-style riders still need room to run, or you are wasting money on a tool that you don’t need. In addition, there are better alternatives, such as self-propelled and robotic mowers that can do the job as efficiently for less than the cost of a ride-on mower.
You can purchase a good-quality self-propelled mower for about 400, which is about a third of the cost of any riding mower. However, that cost is up to you, and some of the smaller rider mowers can help you knock that one chore out in a hurry.
I mowed an acre with a self-propelled mower that made a 22-inch cut. It took about two hours to do the job. I now cut about two acres, with a 42-inch wide Toro-Timecutter42 zero-turn; it takes me about two and a half hours if I don’t dilly-dally. If I had a zero-turn with a 60-inch cut, I could cut the time down even further. So, the time savings of a ride-on lawnmower is obvious.
What Types of Riding Lawnmowers are There?
Riding lawnmowers range in size from 30 inches in width to 60 inches (five feet), so as you can see, the width alone is a determining factor as to where you can use a riding mower. Professionals recommend a riding mower for a yard that is more than three-quarters of an acre. However, how that half-acre is laid out may make a small riding mower feasible.
Three Types of Ride-on Lawnmowers
Ride-on lawnmowers are available in three types.
Sit-on Lawn Tractors
This type of ride-on mower looks like a small tractor, thus the name. The engine is mounted in the front, and the mower deck is mounted under the belly.
Larger lawn tractors may be fitted with mounts for attachments, and most of them can pull a wagon, roto-tiller, scrape-blade, or mowing deck. These features make them suitable for mowing, lawn maintenance, and gardening.
The of all mowers depend on the width of their cut and the size of their engine. The bigger the engine or cut width, the higher the cost of the mower, just like a car. So, sizing a mower to your yard is essential because you want enough mowers, but not so much that its cost is a burden.
If you are using a gas power mower, the bigger it is, the more fuel it will use. This type of ride-on lawnmower ranges from 1000 to 4000 or more.
Rear-engine Ride-on Mowers
Mowers with their motor mounted behind the seat often have a narrow footprint and can navigate in small places. Snapper makes such a mower, and they have been for years, and their current models are available with a very narrow 28-inch width and a 33-inch width.
Although it is a ride-on lawnmower, its smaller size makes it suitable for smaller lawns. The price range of a rear-engine rider mower is between 1200 and 3000. The price depends on the size of the machine and options such as baggers and such.
ZTR – (Zero-Turn Riding Mowers)
Designed to get in close and cut down on the amount of trimming necessary, ZTRs come in sizes from 32-inches wide up to an impressive 12 feet for commercial models or homeowners with a lot of acreages to maintain. The smallest zero-turns are fine for smaller yards. However, as I said, if mine were larger, I could cut my mowing time in half.
Zero turns are fun, too. They’re not a toy, but they’re the closest thing I’ve ridden to a tilt-a-wheel outside of a carnival. With a zero-turn riding mower, you can trim a yard with a high level of precision, even a small yard, if you have a suitable machine. The engine is behind the seat, which gives you a clear view of where the front wheels are.
Snapper makes a zero-turn mower priced under 3000, which is about as low as you will find one. There are also battery-powered zero turns in that price range, which gives you another option. From the starting point of 3000, they continue up, and like the other mowers, they are based on the mowing width, the size of the engine, and the brand.
Is the Cost of a Riding Lawn Mower Worth it for Smaller Yards?
A riding lawnmower can be too big for a yard, but it can also be too small. However, suppose you have a yard of less than an acre, with large areas of grass that need to be mowed.
In that case, a riding lawnmower will save you time that you can spend on more pleasurable pursuits than mowing. Only you know the layout of your yard. Not the professionals, nor the person selling you’re the mower, so you will need to decide what will work for you.
You Can Use a Ride-on Lawnmower on a Yard of Half an Acre, or Larger
Whether you buy a push mower, self-propelled mower, or ride-on lawnmower depends on the size yard, your needs, and the depth of your Any riding mower will cost a minimum of a thousand dollars and more to operate than a push mower.
The main thing when considering the purchase of a new mower is whether will it fits in your yard without tearing it up, do you have a place to store it, and whether will it make your job easier.