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Best Battery-Powered Lawn Mower Comparison Review – Cutting Deeper


In our last lawn mower head-to-head, we used all of the assets we had at our disposal to create a controlled, fair set of testing criteria and determine who makes the best battery-powered lawn mower. One of our biggest hindrances was that we didn’t have access to a large area of consistent grass to match all of our lab data to real-world tests.

We did what we could with a couple of acres of bahiagrass and left the rest to more scientific testing methods. Lab testing presents a particular set of challenges for battery-powered lawn mowers, however.

Many of the mowers have brushless motors with different electronics to control speed and power. Some sense an increasing load and raise their RPMs at specific thresholds. Certain mowers have more of these threshold levels than others. And some mowers…well, we’re not really sure why they were programmed the way they were.

Our goal with this review is to dig deeper into the cut quality of these lawnmowers to see how efficiently they bag and mulch. We also wanted to consider how evenly they cut the grass and whether they tended to leave major clumping or trailing grass. Bahiagrass works for these tests, but other species make these tests easier to quantify.

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Field Trip

We recently had an opportunity to visit Gulf Kist Sod in Vero Beach, Florida. We brought some of our top contenders on a field trip to get them out of the lab and into the field. Our goal was to let them show off what they could do with acres and acres of Floratam (a St. Augustine variety).

Floratam St Augustine grass sod farm

Floratam presents a greater challenge than the bahiagrass we tested in our last head-to-head comparison. It’s a thicker, denser variety that Floridians use as a higher quality species when the look of the lawn really matters. When it comes to exposing how well these mowers perform, it’s a great species.

Before we jump in, let’s take a look at who we invited to the party. With each mower, we’re also listing the batteries and price as tested.

Best Battery-Powered Lawn Mower Starting List

We were going to bring along the Craftsman V60 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower and Greenworks Pro 60V Self-Propelled Lawn Mower, but both models are being discontinued. Greenworks will have a new model that we hope to review when it’s ready later this year/early next year.

* Push mowers

Best Battery-Powered Lawn Mower

EGO 56V Peak Power Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

EGO Peak Power mower testing

EGO’s Peak Power and Greenworks’ 82V mowers went back and forth for most of our testing. EGO takes the win thanks to noticeably higher power and a kit price that’s $470 lower than Greenworks.

In light and medium load testing, the Peak Power performs well. But as the cut gets really tough, EGO has the muscle to keep cutting stronger and longer than the rest of the competition.

There are still some areas that can improve in cut quality and how efficiently the motor uses its batteries, but there’s no more powerful walk-behind mower we’ve seen using a battery for power. It’s clearly creating a new level for battery-powered mower performance.

Best Battery-Powered Lawn Mower for Large Lawns

Greenworks Commercial 82V Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Greenworks GMS250 lawn mower testing

With a pair of 5.0Ah batteries on board, Greenworks simply crushes the competition in runtime. It can cut up to 1.7 acres on a light load and just over an acre on a medium load. Even when the growing gets tough, it’s still able to mow 1/3 of an acre of heavy grass.

Part of its dominance is runtime. Running just under 3 hours in a light load and just under 2 hours in a medium load, it has a big advantage thanks to its efficient use of high watt-hour batteries.

It’s also the cutting width. Two 12″ blades overlap to make a 23-3/4″ cutting swatch that clears more grass on every pass than anyone else.

Most Powerful Battery-Powered Lawn Mower

EGO 56V Peak Power Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

EGO 21-in peak power mower test

On paper, EGO’s Peak Power mower has more torque than anyone else—8.5 ft-lbs. It shows in real-world testing where it even put gas mowers to shame in a torture cut and in Floratam where it cut effectively at a lower deck height than anyone else.

Best Battery-Powered Lawn Mower Cut Quality

Ryobi 21″ Smart Trek Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Ryobi 40V lawnmower testing

Ryobi nudges out Makita for the best cut quality by just a single point. Both mowers use high blade RPMs to keep their lifts high, making their cuts even, bagging efficient, and mulch clippings smaller than the rest of our participants. That same characteristic also helps them keep trailing and clumping grass to a minimum.

Best Battery-Powered Lawn Mower Value

EGO 56V Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

EGO 21-inch self propelled mower test

At $499, EGO’s 2100SP mower is the least expensive of this top-tier mower group and keeps its performance high enough to get a leg up on Kobalt by just 3 points. The two self-propelled mowers are very, very close in scoring without any major flaws. While Kobalt enjoys a slight lead over EGO overall, its $50 higher pricetag gives EGO the edge in value.

Best Battery-Powered Lawn Mower Real-World Runtime

There are two keys to consider with how long your lawn mower runs. One is how long your mower cuts under various loads. The other takes the length of the blade into consideration to determine how much grass you cut with each pass.

While we consider 35–45 minutes a baseline for relevant cutting time, it’s how much area you can cut during that time that really determines whether or not you can mow your lawn on one charge. With blades ranging from 18″ to 23-3/4″ on our test models, it makes a pretty big difference.

Watt-Hours

Before we look at the runtime and area totals, let’s keep in mind how much battery power each model had at its disposal. EGO’s Peak Power and Greenworks each have two active battery ports, giving them a pretty big watt-hour advantage.

Best Battery-Powered Lawn Mower Watt-Hours

If you have more gas in the tank, you expect to run longer. But the horsepower of the engine also comes into play and some of these mowers are more power-hungry than others.

Light Load Testing

PTR’s Light Load: Regular maintenance cut, 3-1/2″ – 4″ cutting height in Floratam.

Our lab test gave us an idea of light-load runtime. In other words, if you’re the kind of guy or gal that cuts once a week (twice a week for varieties like Fescue), it’s a good benchmark. With a walking speed of 2.5 MPH, here’s the area you can expect to cut on a charge.

Best Battery-Powered Lawn Mower Light Load Area

Medium Load Testing

PTR’s Medium Load: Several days to a week’s worth of overgrowth, 2-1/2″ cutting height in Floratam.

The medium load gives us a pretty realistic idea of what to expect when conditions aren’t ideal. Perhaps the grass grows a few days extra or you’re cutting wet grass in the morning to avoid the heat of the day. These are the conditions most cutting takes place. As the grass gets thicker, your speed slows down. We used 2.25 MPH to calculate medium load area.

Best Battery-Powered Lawn Mower Medium Load Area

Heavy Load Testing

PTR’s Heavy Load: More than a week’s worth of overgrowth, 2″ cutting height in Floratam.

If you let your grass really get out of hand, you’re better off with a gas mower, especially if it’s a regular occurrence. But if you really have to use battery power, you have some options. Slowing down even more, these areas are calculated at 2 MPH walking speed.

Note: Makita, Ryobi, and Stihl were not powerful enough to run consistently at our heavy load cutting height.

Best Battery-Powered Lawn Mower Heavy Load Area

Takeaways

Greenworks dominates our runtime testing out of the gate, and with 732 watt-hours available, it should. By using a pair of lower mass 12″ blades, it’s able to make very efficient use of its batteries. When you use two 5.0Ah packs, nothing else comes close in light and medium cutting.

However, EGO’s Peak Power mower takes over when it comes to heavy cutting. Its more powerful motor is also more efficient than others when you make it work hard. EGO’s overall runtime drops by 48% from light to heavy. EGO’s G2 self-propelled mower shows off impressive efficiency by dropping just 54%. Compare that to Kobalt’s drop of 74% and Greenworks’ 76% drop.

Realistically, most of us will cut at a medium load level blended with light and occasional heavy cutting. With that in mind, here are the lawn sizes we recommend for each mower using the batteries we tested with. You can always cut more if you’re willing to pick up additional batteries.

Best Battery-Powered Lawn Mower Recommended Lawn Size

Runtime Reference Chart

Cutting WidthLight Load RuntimeMedium Load RuntimeHeavy Load Runtime
EGO G2 Self-Propelled20.25″54 min53 min25 min
EGO Peak Power20.25″96 min70 min50 min
Greenworks Commercial23.75″170 min116 min40 min
Kobalt 80V20″91 min42 min24 min
Ryobi 21″ Smart Trek21″51 min16 minN/A
Makita LXT 18V X218″26 min12 minN/A
Stihl RMA 51020″48 min29 minN/A

Best Battery-Powered Lawn Mower Real-World Cutting Power

To see how much power each mower has to push through, we started at the top of the height range and lowered the deck one notch at a time until the mower was no longer able to mow effectively while moving forward at a slow pace.

best battery-powered lawn mower power

With Floratam grass, the lower you cut it, the denser the growth is and the tougher it is to cut. So the lower each mower is able to effectively cut, the stronger it is.

Best Battery-Powered Lawn Mower Lowest Effective Height

Takeaway

With 8.5 ft-lbs of torque available, it’s no surprise to find EGO’s Peak Power mower at the top of the charts here. In our original torture test, it beat every battery and gas mower except Honda’s HRC216.

EGO’s single battery and Kobalt’s 80V models are right behind it, needing just another 1/4″ of height to effectively cut Floratam. Considering how tough Floratam gets at that height, it’s very impressive cutting power from all three of these models.

Best Battery-Powered Lawn Mower Cut Quality

Grass Evenness, Trailing, and Clumping

We can see grass evenness in the cut along with any trailing or clumping grass the mower leaves behind. To test how well our mowers do under load, we set them to a medium-load height of 2-1/2″.

  • EGO Peak Power: Slight unevenness with very light trailing.
  • EGO Single Battery: Very even cut with light trailing.
  • Greenworks: slight miscuts in the middle when the mower hits a bump. Very little trailing and no clumping.
  • Kobalt: Slight unevenness with very light trailing.
  • Makita: Slight unevenness with light trailing.
  • Ryobi: Very even cut with light trailing (Note: high blade lift often resulted in a ring at the end of a cut).
  • Stihl: Very even cut with several clumps and trails.

best battery-powered lawn mower grass rings

Bagging Efficiency

To check the bagging efficiency, we ran each mower for 150 feet and weighed how much grass was in the bag at the end. To compensate for the differences in blade sizes, we broke it down into pounds of grass per inch of blade.

Stihl best bagging test results

Despite our best efforts to keep all the mowers at the same speed, the push mowers moved a little slower in our bagging efficiency test, so they got a little more time to pull grass clippings up and into their bags.

Best Battery-Powered Lawn Mower Bagging Efficiency

Mulching Quality

Mulching quality comes down to the mower’s ability to effectively chop grass into the smallest pieces and drop them into the grass instead of clumping or trailing. Looking at the relative sizes of the clippings we saw three general sizes, though none of these mowers performed poorly in this test.

  • Makita LXT 18V X2: Short
  • EGO Peak Power: Average
  • Greenworks Commercial: Average
  • Kobalt 80V: Average
  • Ryobi Smart-Trek 21″: Average
  • EGO G2 Self-Propelled: Longer
  • Stihl RMA 510: Longer

Makita mulching test

Takeaways

Cut quality improves with blade speeds. The higher the RPMs, the better the lift for bagging, the finer the mulching, and the more even the cut. Some of the less powerful mowers in our test show better cut quality because they’re forced to lift their blade speeds higher than the more powerful mowers at the same load level.

Just because a mower doesn’t have the power to scalp Floratam doesn’t mean it’s all bad.

Best Battery-Powered Lawn Mower Value

Value is much more than a list of prices from lowest to highest. To determine value we take into consideration the performance, features, design, warranty, and more.

As the cream of the crop from our original tests, these battery-powered lawn mowers have pretty solid warranties across the board, ranging from 3 to 5 years.

  • Makita: 3 years
  • Stihl: 3 years
  • Greenworks Commercial: 4 years
  • EGO: 5 years
  • Kobalt: 5 years
  • Ryobi: 5 years

Best Battery-Powered Lawn Mower Value

Features

Cutting Height Range

All of the mowers we tested use a single-point height adjustment lever. Here’s the range each one covers along with how many stops it has in the range:

  • EGO G2 Self-Propelled: 1-1/2″ to 4-1/4″ (7 levels)
  • EGO Peak Power: 1-1/2″ to 4-1/4″ (7 levels)
  • Greenworks Commercial: 1-1/2″ to 4″ (7 levels)
  • Kobalt 80V: 1-1/4″ to 4-3/8″ (7 levels)
  • Ryobi 40V RY40LM01: 1-3/8″ to 4-1/2″ (7 levels)
  • Makita 36V: 1-1/8″ to 3-1/8″ (10 levels)
  • Stihl 36V: 1-1/2″ to 4″ (6 levels)

In this group, the only mower you really need to watch out for is Makita. While 3-1/8″ cuts many grass species beautifully, some species (like classic St. Augustine) are cut 3-1/2″ to 4″ to stay healthy.

Battery Charging

Mowing is tough on batteries and nearly every battery we tested needed time to cool down before the charger would start charging. Greenworks needed a little more than 20 minutes of cooldown time while Ryobi needed more than an hour.

The exception was EGO. All of their batteries started charging immediately, and that makes a big difference in your overall charge time. With that in mind, here are the estimated charge times for the batteries we tested with:

  • Makita 36V: 45 min for 2 batteries (dual-port simultaneous charger)
  • Stihl 36V: 59 min
  • EGO G2 Self-Propelled: 1 hr
  • EGO Peak Power: 40 min each (1 hr, 20 min total)
  • Kobalt 80V: 1 hr, 30 min
  • Greenworks Commercial 82V: 1 hr, 15 min each (2 hrs, 30 min total on a dual-port sequential charger)
  • Ryobi 40V RY40LM01: 3 hrs, 26 min

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Design Notes

EGO G2 Self-Propelled 2100SP

  • Easy-folding handle lets you store the mower vertically
  • Poly deck
  • 3 handle heights
  • LED lights
  • Learn more here

EGO Peak Power

  • Easy-folding handle lets you store the mower vertically
  • Despite some conflicting information out there, the Peak Power mower really does drain both batteries at the same time, running them in parallel. It’s capable of running on one, but you’ll get better performance with two.
  • Poly deck
  • 3 handle heights
  • Brushless motor
  • LED lights
  • Learn more here

Greenworks 82V Commercial

  • Easy-folding handle lets you store the mower vertically
  • Two active battery bays automatically switchover when the first battery depletes
  • Steel deck
  • 3 handle heights
  • Brushless motor
  • Shorter front-to-back size lends to closer scalping or lifting high enough to leave a small mowhawk in the middle when you hit a bump or dip
  • Wheels have the least traction of all models tested
  • Learn more here

Kobalt 80V

  • Easy-folding handle lets you store the mower vertically
  • Steel deck
  • 3 handle heights
  • Brushless motor
  • Drops drive speed to shift additional power to the blade in heavier cutting
  • Drops blade speed near the end of its battery discharge
  • Some wheel slipping in dense pockets
  • Learn more here

Makita LXT 18V X2 XCCU03

  • Require two batteries to run
  • 18V batteries also work on Makita’s deep line of 18V and 18V X2 tools and lawn care equipment
  • Steel deck
  • 3 handle heights
  • Quiet mode runs at 2500 RPM for light cutting conditions
  • Brushless motor
  • Requires you to remove the knobs and bolts to adjust the handle height
  • Requires you to loosen 4 knobs to completely fold down the handle
  • Smaller wheels make it tough to push in thick, dense grass
  • Learn more here.

Ryobi 21″ Smart Trek

  • Easy-folding handle lets you store the mower vertically
  • Additional inactive storage bay lets you swap batteries without going back to the garage.
  • Poly deck
  • 2 handle heights
  • Brushless motor
  • LED lights
  • Smart Trek design is jumpy on uneven terrain
  • Wheels don’t always fully release to freewheel in reverse. Sometimes you need to give it an extra push forward to unlock them.
  • Learn more here

Stihl RMA 510

  • Easy-folding handle lets you store the mower vertically
  • Additional inactive storage bay lets you swap batteries without going back to the garage
  • Steel deck
  • 2 handle heights
  • Learn more here

A Few Thoughts About Mower Testing

It’s interesting to see how the characteristics of these mowers react as you move from one type of grass to another, morning to afternoon, or even as the seasons change over the course of the year. The fact is, you can run the same tests on your lawn and get somewhat different results.

While it’s not likely to change the overall standings, it is important to note that your runtime numbers will be different than ours depending on the grass species, if it’s wet… even the environmental factors like heat and humidity can have an effect.

To choose the best battery-powered lawn mower for your lawn, we suggest starting with runtime and power. Make sure it has enough watt-hours in the kit to cover what you need on one charge or pick up enough extra batteries to make it happen.

Take an honest look at your mowing habits. If you let your cutting slide a few extra days because you’re on the go often, don’t go for one of the models that have lower power.

Cut quality comes next along with the bells and whistles that make each mower more convenient or easier to use. But don’t neglect the depth of the lineup, either. A battery-powered lawn mower is the core tool of a solid lawn care set.

Once you have the mower figured out, adding the additional tools to make your entire cutting experience gas and emission-free is a no-brainer. So make sure the battery platform you’re buying into has all the pieces you need.

Everyone’s priorities are different and we welcome your thoughtful opinions. What stands out to you? Love a model we didn’t include in this test? Let us know in the comments below!

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Tony Bass

You and your team did a nice job with these reviews. However there is a typo in your introduction of the mowers tested. Your report states that the 82v Greenworks mower 25″ width has only one battery at a price point of $1220. Based on my experience, that item should be listed with 2 each 5 amp hour batteries at the price point of $1220. Your report seems to indicate that 2 batteries were included in the test. Can you confirm or update your report? Have I missed something? Thanks again for your product review.