Battery-Powered Lawn Mower: Today there is a growing global awareness to reduce the carbon footprint, drive more efficient cars, and improve the energy efficiency of homes. But there is another way to reduce emissions, and it is a machine that is probably waiting for us right now in our garage. The cordless electric lawnmowers enjoy a surge of popularity, and as its sale increases, manufacturers improve the technology and features of each new model.
How to Choose a Battery-Powered Lawn Mower
In Machinery and Tools, we already pointed out the many advantages of battery-powered lawn mowers. In a world of smartphones and wireless access present everywhere, we have become accustomed to moving without wires. So, why should we cut the grass differently? With a cordless mower, we simply connect the battery, and we can start the task; it is then a matter of knowing if it is or not, adequate for the work we are going to do, or if we would need another team with other benefits to do it.
Like all machines, however, they also present some drawbacks. But despite this, there are still an infinity of parks and gardens in which a wireless lawn mower is an excellent option, if not a great alternative.
In this article, we are going to give you some tips that will help us decide to buy the best cordless electric lawn mower. However, first, we must ask a couple of questions to know what concerns to pose to the seller.
To That End, let’s go in parts.
Is a wireless lawn mower a good option in my case? In fact, each user will choose the type of machine that their pocket can afford and that best suits their requirements. But there are at least three fundamental reasons that amply justify the choice of a wireless cutter.
Size of the surface to be mowed
since there is a decrease in performance when the battery is losing its charge, cordless lawn mowers are better used on small to medium-sized land, that is, no larger than 2000 square meters.
Type of terrain
A cutter with a rechargeable battery has a lot of power, but can not raise and lower undulations with the same ease as an explosive cutter. For this reason, the wireless ones work better in flat terrain.
The blade of a battery- powered cutter does not have the same torque level as a gasoline-powered blade. This means that it can not handle a dense lawn of considerable height, as well as weeds, with the same efficiency as an exploded lawnmower.
Therefore, if we have a relatively small park or garden, flat and a well-tended lawn, the best machine to maintain it is a cordless electric lawn mower, with which we can enjoy many seasons of simple and silent cutting.
What variables do the wireless lawnmowers have?
There are a number of details that we must prioritize in the choice of a lawn mower for our terrain. According to these details, the offer of the wireless cutters varies according to:
As already mentioned, depending on the brand and model of the machine, the batteries can be 12, 24 or 36 V. Some leading brands already use 40 V batteries and even more. Although the power that each battery size can deliver depends on other variables, such as the conditions of the grass and the mower design, generally a battery with a higher voltage will provide more power and longer operating time. Other things being equal, the operating times are approximately the following:
- 12 V battery: 30 to 45 minutes
- 24 V battery: 45 to 75 minutes
- 36 V battery: up to approximately 90 minutes
Type of propulsion
The two basic types are the machines by the manual push and self-propelled. In the latter, the battery drives the wheels and the blade. Therefore, we must know that these models subtract some power from the cutting operation, especially if you have large areas to work with.
Grass clippings unloading options
There are essentially three: shredding, bagging, and side/rear unloading. Some models combine two of these options on the same machine; other more expensive models combine the three options.
Both the width and the cutting height are important factors in deciding our choice. While the cutting height we will use depends on the type of grass we have and the time of year when we mow, the cutting width will influence the maneuverability of the machine.
Next, we will deal in detail with all these variables.
What characteristics should I take into account with the wireless lawn mowers?
Now that we know the variables they present and also consider other parameters that are no less important let’s see what we should mainly focus on to choose our ideal wireless cutter.
The heart of the cordless lawnmower is the battery, so that’s where we should look for power and quality, keeping in mind that a good battery should offer at least 500 recharges.
Most models are supplied with batteries of lead-acid batteries have other nickel-cadmium, and others have lithium ions. Nickel-cadmium is the least recommended since they do not conserve the load like the others and stop working efficiently as the load dissipates.
As for the choice between lead-acid batteries and lithium-ion batteries, it is a bit more complicated. One of the main advantages of lithium-ion batteries is that they can deliver more power in a lighter pack. Another advantage is that they can be charged much faster: just 60 minutes against at least 12 hours of lead-acid batteries. This can be important if our terrain is large enough to require a reload in the middle of the cutting task. Otherwise, the 12 hours required for charging a lead-acid battery should not be a problem.
Earlier, we mentioned other technological advantages that universal batteries present, so we bring them back to this time. That is, if we have, or plan to acquire, other wireless tools that can use the same battery as our lawnmower, then it will be very convenient to decide on a lithium-ion battery cutter.
On the other hand, some models have fixed batteries, and others have batteries that can be removed for recharging. The choice is up to us, although many users prefer to have a spare battery always charged to use at the right time. If so, we should opt for models with a removable battery.
2) Propulsion, type of traction and size of the wheels
An important option that we must consider is whether we want a wireless lawnmower that is driven alone (self-propelled models) or one that depends on ourselves to move (push models).
The push machines are cheaper and, if our terrain is flat and small, they are probably the right choice. However, it is possible that the self-propelled cutters are a good investment in terms of saving time and energy.
In a self-propelled model, the battery drives the wheels to drive the machine forward or backward. As operators, all we do is control the speed and direction in which the mower moves . The traction in these self-propelled machines can be rear or front. If we work in terrain with slopes or undulations, it would be advisable to acquire a cutter with rear-wheel drive, since they handle the slopes better and do not lose grip on irregular terrain or when making turns (for example, if we lift the wheels when turning). In most cases, therefore, rear-wheel drive models are preferable. Some models have fixed drive speed, and others have variable speed. Some even automatically adjust the speed to match our pace of walking.
With regard to the size of the wheels, we will also find mowers with exactly the same front and rear wheels. These models are easier to maneuver and provide greater stability if we have many curves in our terrain. If this is the case and we offer models that do not have wheels of the same size, try to avoid those that present a large difference in size. For example, in the situation posed by the figure below, if we need stability, we should choose the model on the right.
3) Lawn discharge
All mowers include a basket to collect the lawn as it is cut, as well as various options for downloading it. Let’s see one by one.
- i) Lateral discharge: means that the grass is discharged to the side of the machine in operation and is the best way to handle the cuts when we mow a lawn of considerable height. In a side discharge, it is desirable that the turf is spread evenly without forming mounds. If this happens, it is very likely that the grass will be damaged because the mound prevents the passage of sunlight to its lower layers and, therefore, photosynthesis cannot be performed. If the mower leaves mounds of grass and we do not want the grass to be damaged, then we must manually rake it. Some models unload grass clippings from the back instead of from the side, but we must also ensure that no mounds are formed for the reasons mentioned above.
- ii) Mulching: this option allows the grass clippings to be crushed very finely inside the machine’s cover and to be deposited again on the lawn. The benefit of “mulching” is that as the clippings decompose, they provide nutritional value to the freshly cut grass. It is also a good way to get rid of the cuts if bagging is our only other option. With good crushing action, very fine cuts are obtained (as shown in the photo above) that are uniformly dispersed and cover the lawn as a mulch. If excess mounds or cuttings remain on the surface, we again run the risk of damaging the turf for the reasons mentioned above.
- iii) Bagging: the bagging option is self-explanatory, that is, the cuts are deposited in a collection bag while they are cut. Even so, some mower models are more efficient in this than others. If we choose this option, it is convenient to look at a machine that has a bag of moderate size to minimize the number of times we should empty it. In addition, we have to pay attention to the models in which the intake pipe of the bag begins to clog before the bag is full, or those that leave waste scraps on the floor when we extract the bag to empty it.
It should be noted that shredding requires more battery power than bagging, so if we are going to shred, we must know in advance that we will cover less ground with a load than we would cover if we only used the other options.
On the other hand, some unloading options on certain brands and models of cutters may require parts that are sold separately, for example, shredding accessories or conduits for side discharge, as shown in the following figure.
Finally, in models that incorporate two or all three functions in the same machine, we must bear in mind that they do not always perform all tasks effectively. In that case, let’s think about the function that we will most use and choose a machine that performs that task in the most efficient way possible.
4) Height and width of cut
It is very convenient that we look for lawn mowers with several cutting height options (the more, the better) as we will probably vary that height at different times of the year, or we may have a certain preference about the height at which we want to maintain the lawn. For example, if we fix the height of cut in approximately 10 cm, it will allow us to leave an extra high lawn.
Also, try to find a lawnmower with a height adjustment mechanism that is simple and easily accessible. On some models, the height can be adjusted in a single action, while others require separate adjustments of the height of the front and rear wheels. The adjustment of the four wheels with a lever is useful, and a standard feature in many mowers, as we see in the photo below.
With regard to cutting widths, most home lawnmowers vary between 35 and 55 cm. Obviously, the wider the cutting platform, the more grass is cut at one time, and the cutting work will be faster. As an example, a model with a cutting width of 48 cm and a 35 V battery should reap up to about 1500 square meters with a single load. However, if we have limited storage space, narrow access roads, or very winding terrain, we may need to choose a lawnmower with a smaller cover.
5) Start modes
Unlike the blast mowers, the wireless ones are easy to start, since in most cases just press the button while keeping your hands on the handle.
However, there are also models in which you must first insert a key, then press or slide a button and operate a safety lever so that the blade begins to turn. Some self-propelled models have an additional safety lever that activates the wheels. When this lever or handle is released, the motor stops.
The choice between the various modes will depend on the practicality and the extra security conditions that we seek.
6) Storage considerations
If the storage space is a factor of importance in our case, then we must direct the search towards the smaller wireless mowers. Some fold to a size so small that they can even fit on a shelf. They have quick release clamps on the hinges of their handles to fold quickly and easily (see figure below). Others have handles on the top of the cutting platform for easy transport.
Other larger models have handles that can be folded to favor storage. However, these models can be quite heavy, so they are not as easy to maneuver in our garage as other types of lawnmowers.
7) Incorporation of intelligent functions
If we look for one with more sophisticated functions, we can try those with a power indicator light that informs us of the state of charge of the battery. Many manufacturers incorporate this indicator in their machines, and others have an analog voltage meter integrated into the handle, which allows monitoring the state of the battery while we work.
On the other hand, some manufacturers offer cutters equipped with a function that allows switching between cutting modes. While one of the modes is designed for aggressive cutting of tall grass, the other mode slows the speed of the blade for other types of cutting, allowing a saving of cordless electric and a reduction in the noise level. Other models have functions that automatically increase the power when the mower gets stuck in the mud or wet terrain.
In addition, as already stated above, the possibility of using universal batteries and chargers that can easily adapt to other wireless tools is a detail to take into account in terms of the use of intelligent functions that save us time and money.
The cutters wireless lawn are tools extremely useful in a wide range of conditions, and to choose correctly that best fulfill our purpose should follow certain guidelines. In the following figure, we summarize the main concepts addressed in this article, which will undoubtedly help in our decision.