Switching out their gasoline-powered lawnmower for an electric one is one of the easiest things any garden-loving homeowner can do to lower their carbon footprint.
Despite the growing prevalence of battery-powered machines, corded electric lawnmowers are still among the most popular types of mowers on the market. For many, they are the perfect solution for small and medium-sized suburban yards.
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Why an Electric Lawnmower
Apart from the obvious environmental benefit, electric lawn mowers are quieter than their gasoline-powered counterparts. That’s especially helpful if you have nearby neighbors and prefer to mow at times when they won’t appreciate the noise interruption.
Electric lawnmowers are also less expensive to maintain than their gas-powered counterparts, a fact that generally holds true whether you’re shopping at the budget end or the higher end of the price range.
With toxic emissions to loud mechanical noise and frequent maintenance costs, gas-powered lawn mowers are often an impractical choice for many.
Check Out Other Electric Garden Tools
Cordless vs Corded Electric Lawnmower
Okay, so you’re in the market for an electric lawnmower. Now let’s look at some of the key differences between a cordless and corded electric lawn mower, and some of the things you should consider before deciding which one is best for you.
If price is your primary motivation, a corded electric lawnmower is probably the way to go. That’s because a corded mower typically going to be cheaper than its battery-powered counterpart. One good example is the Greenworks 25142 corded mower, which is priced at almost $150 cheaper than the Greenworks Pro cordless mower.
There are plenty of websites out there that will tell you that corded electric lawnmowers are ideally suited for small-to-medium-sized yards. That’s all well and good but everyone has a different definition of what that means so let’s put some actual numbers on that statement.
8,000 square feet is about where the threshold is. anything larger than that would probably push you more into the cordless mower camp. But that number still doesn’t help much, since lot sizes are typically measured in acres, not square feet.
So let’s take my yard as an example. My house sits on a third of an acre lot. A quick Google search tells me that there are 43,560 square feet in an acre. Divide that by three for one-third of an acre and you get 14,520 square feet. So it would seem that my yard is too large for a corded mower.
Not so fast, though. Remember, it’s the lawn size we’re concerned about here, not the yard size. By the time you take out the footprint of the house, subtract the space taken up by the driveway and the deck, and allow for the fact that both the front and back lawns are surrounded by flower beds and trees, the combined size of the lawns I need to mow is less than half of the lot-size.
As long as I have a long enough extension cord, a corded electric lawnmower is more than enough to meet my needs.
Regardless of their size, some lawns just take longer to mow than others. Intricate beds and walkways have to be navigated, lawn furniture has to be moved out of the way (and then back again after you’ve mowed), and those damn plastic flamingos that you hate, but your spouse likes, have to be carefully corralled.
If your lawn typically takes more than an hour to mow, you’re probably better off going with a corded electric mower. They have no limits in terms of their run time since they are connected to an external power supply.
All but the most expensive cordless electric mowers have a battery that typically needs to be recharged after every 60-90 minutes of usage.
What to Look For in a Corded Electric Lawnmower
Okay, so you’ve decided that an electric lawnmower is better than a gas-powered one. And you’ve also determined that a corded electric lawnmower is the right one for you. Now it’s time to examine some of the specific features you need to look for when buying a corded electric lawnmower.
Size of Cutting Deck
A lawn mower deck is the part of a lawn mower that protects the user as well as the engine of the mower from the blades and the debris shot off from the blades.
The deck of a lawn mower is the shell that encases the blades and shields both the operator and engine from the flying debris produced by the blades. Since its size is a direct reflection of the size of the blades themselves, at least within an inch or two, deck size is often used to describe the width of the mower’s cutting action.
Conventional wisdom tells us that the larger the deck, the better since it means fewer passes of the mower will cut a larger area. That’s all well and good if you’re cutting a large rectangular lawn. But what if you have lots of intricate narrow walkways in your garden? In that case, a smaller cutting deck (which also means a lighter mower) will give you better maneuverability.
Discharge of Clippings
Some gardeners like to collect the grass in an attached bag for composting, while others prefer a side shooting discharge which leaves the clipping for the worms to take care of. Then there is the third option of mulching, which I use in the fall, choosing to mow leaves rather than rake them. Most people prefer to have all three options in one machine.
At certain times of the year, you may want to cut your grass to different heights. Where I live in New England, for instance, I like to keep my grass a little longer during the height of summer so that it can better defend itself against the scorching heat. Most lawnmowers offer somewhere between two and seven different height adjustments.
Self-Propelled vs Push Model
A self-propelled electric lawn mower will take a portion of the energy used to operate it and divert it to turning the wheels, making it easier to operate than a push mower that gets all its forward motion from the operator pushing it. Self-propelled lawnmowers usually get the job done faster, meaning you can do more in less time, and they generally tire you out less, although some particularly fierce ones take some effort to stop.
The Best Corded Electric Lawnmowers
So now you know what to look for, here are our pick for the best corded electric lawnmowers on the market today.
Black + Decker MM2000
Weighing in at under 50 pounds, the Black + Decker MM2000 is lighter than most 20-inch mowers, which makes it highly maneuverable and easy to use.
The mower’s 20-inch cutting deck has specially designed winged blades that are better for grass collection, and its Edgemax design allows it to get closer to fences, walls, and other obstacles. This reduces the need for weed whacking after you’ve mowed.
It offers seven cutting heights from 1 1/2 inches to 4 inches and can either mulch, collect or side discharge the grass clippings. Its large 13-gallon collection bag is made of translucent fabric, so you can easily see when it needs to be emptied. And then, when you’re done with mowing, it folds down into a small and compact package for easy storage.
And speaking of storage, the handle also easily folds down so that the mower itself also takes up way less space it is being stored.
If power is important to you, the 13-amp electric motor gives you plenty of that, all without having to charge batteries or maintain a gas engine. And, of course, since its plugs into the home’s main power supply, it offers unlimited runtime.
Some users have complained that the machine’s light weight is actually a hindrance when cutting particularly thick grass, since the mower tends to ride over those patches rather than sink into them so the blade can do its cutting. The rear flap can also tuck under the deck and get in the way when you’re reversing.
Greenworks 20-inch 3 in 1 25022
Weighing in a whopping 56 pounds, this big brother to the Greenworks 9 amp 20-inch corded lawnmower will strut around your suburban neighborhood like it owns the place.
With a 20-inch steel deck, a larger blade, and a more powerful motor than its kid brother.
This mower also offers seven cutting heights from 1 1/2 inches to 3 3/4 inches, as well as a few extra features that make it more user-friendly and suitable for larger lawns.
The 12-amp motor gives this mower powerful cutting capabilities ideal for tackling overgrown grass and weeds. Its 20-inch blade is designed to cover 8.65 square feet with each pass, while the heat-treated steel ensures that it’s both durable and sharp enough to cope with rocks, tree stumps, and any other solid objects you might inadvertently mow over.
What’s more, the blades are easy and inexpensive to replace, should the need arise.
As a 3-1 mower, it can either collect grass clippings in its 10-gallon removable bag, send it to the side via a removable side chute, or mulch the clippings and disperse them under the mower as you mow.
One downside to the Greenworks 12 amp 20-inch electric corded lawnmower is that the steel deck and larger motor make it a little on the heavy side, and it’s not self-propelled so you’ll need to do some pushing. But it’s still lighter than a typical gas-powered mower, and the large rear wheels help to stabilize the machine and make it more maneuverable.
Sun Joe MJ403E
If you’re looking for an affordable corded electric lawnmower for a small yard, you can’t go wrong with the Sun Joe MJ403E. It’s one of the best-selling budget electric corded mowers on the US market today
If you’re looking for an affordable corded electric lawnmower for a small yard, you can’t go wrong with the Sun Joe MJ403E. It’s one of the best-selling budget electric corded mowers on the US market today.
At just 31 pounds it is by far the lightest of the mowers we reviewed but don’t let its light weight fool you. The 12-amp electric motor gives it plenty of power considering the mower’s compact frame.
The 17” deck makes it suitable for lawns sized between 1/4 and 1/2 acre, and it allows for both the collection and mulching of the grass clippings (separate mulching plug supplied). Seven cutting heights from 1 3/4 inches to 3 3/4 inches can be easily adjusted with a level on the side.
Its light weight and giant wheels make maneuvering the mower very easy, although the fact that the handle is fixed does mean you have to back up to turn around at the end of each pass. As you back up, the rear flap tends to tuck under the mower, which is a common problem with several other mowers I’ve tried.
The Sun Joe MJ403E Mow Joe 17-Inch is an excellent choice for tackling small lawns. It’s a light and affordably priced machine, whose compact design makes for easy storage.
Making the switch to an electric lawn mower is a simple step you can take to help fight climate change, and a corded electric lawn mower is going to be the most affordable way to do it. Each mower offers its own unique set of pros and cons. So take some time to do your research before you make a purchase. Happy mowing!