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What's Happening with Cordless Mowers?


Rewinder's Avatar
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05-04-09, 12:01 PM   #1  
What's Happening with Cordless Mowers?

Cordless mowers have received incredibly bad
reviews from the folks who were unfortunate
enough to buy one. My favorite review was
entitled, "I'd Rather Shoot Myself in the Face!"

For some reason, there has been a sudden increase
in the production of these mowers. I recently looked
at a Remington model with a 60vdc battery pack.
Several have powered front wheels like gas mowers.

I've always believed that a solidly built cordless mower
with lightweight and powerful lithium-ion batteries
would be a big seller, even if the price was high. I'd
pay $1200.00 for one right now if it was available.

The question is, are any of the latest crop of cordless
mowers worth considering? I've got mostly weeds, not
grass in my backyard. I use a 6.75hp mower with 14"
rear wheels and powered front wheels. The mainentance
on this thing drives me crazy, but what other choice
do I have?

 
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Gunguy45's Avatar
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05-04-09, 12:13 PM   #2  
They make 'em...this one has quite a bit of good reviews that I've seen... Neuton Battery Lawn Mowers -

Not Li, but not $1200 either.

Personally, if the yard is small enough for an electric mower, I'd get a corded one...no battery maintenance and more power.


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bontai Joe's Avatar
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05-04-09, 12:20 PM   #3  
I'm sure I wouldn't pay $1200 for a cordless mower, but my application is probably very different from yours as well. I have in the past used a corded mower and have noticed that most battery mowers on display at the local box stores are very similar in design to corded mower in that they have light weight housings, light duty handles, small cutting width of 17" or so, but the battery adds a lot of weight. I haven't seen any with the new Lithium technology yet. Might be interesting. I did use a cordless string trimmer around 30 years ago from Toro with NiCad batteries. Took 48 hours to recharge for 45 minutes of run time. Cost back then was something like $50 and it lasted over 5 years before the battery wouldn't recharge. I got my money's worth out it, but have no real interest in getting another one, I use a corded string trimmer now.

 
Rewinder's Avatar
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05-04-09, 05:10 PM   #4  
Electronics was my hobby when I was kid. That interest and knowledge
has informed almost every aspect of my adult life.

If hybrid and all electric cars are ever going to be widely accepted,
the lithium-ion battery must continue to be improved. Eventually,
the cost of these batteries will come down.

About fourteen years ago I bought two Toro cordless string trimmers.
They use a sealed gel lead acid battery, about the size of a brick.
Because of my electronics background, I have a long list of obscure
parts suppliers, often located in midwestern states with low population
densities.

The trimmers cost fifty bucks each. Most folks would junk them when
the battery died. I pay about $16.00 for a battery. Toro or a similar
supplier might charge more than the fifty bucks I paid for each trimmer!

Except for keeping them clean and lubricated, I haven't had to waste
hours of my life repairing and maintaining these amazing trimmers. How
many times have you seen someone struggling with a big, clumsy gas
trimmer that won't start?

I took a ride in a high end sports car that is powered entirely with thousands
of small lithium batteries. It cost almost $100,000.

So yes, I would spend $1200.00 for a lithium powered mower. The question
you have to ask yourself is how much is each hour of your life worth? You
always have the option of hiring a "reliable" lawn service. I put reliable in
quotes because its hard to find guys who actually do a good job mowing
your lawn, at least in my neighborhood.

 
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05-04-09, 05:57 PM   #5  
Well,you have more money than most of us if you would pay 1200 for a push mower...not critisizing..just realistic.


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barryds's Avatar
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05-05-09, 05:36 AM   #6  
I actually took a serious look at the Neuton mower last spring. One thing I took issue with was the lack of a shear component between the blade and motor. My yard is far from smooth and the occasional encounter with something other than grass is a fact of life for me. Now I could be wrong, but I got my info from the company. I had contacted them and specifically asked if there was anything protecting the motor in the event of a rock strike. I was told a rock strike could cause irreparable damage and they recommended against hitting rocks. Needless to say, I didn't buy the mower.

 
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05-05-09, 07:10 AM   #7  
You might want to take a look at a "WORX" mower.

WORX ECO Electric Lawn Mower by WORX

 
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05-05-09, 12:56 PM   #8  
Seems most of the battery mowers have a list of $449, including the Remington, which seems to have the highest voltage battery and a 1 hour run time and a 10 hour recharge time, but they are all using lead/acid batteries which are heavy. I suppose that with a small solar panel, these could be recharged totally for free. But for most of a $500 dollar bill, I'm gonna be stuck pushing an 80 plus pound mower that's 17" wide around, when the same money buys me a 22" wide cut, self propelled mower that makes the job easier and quicker. I don't see any savings in hours of my life. I will grant you that if owned for several years, and if recharged with a solar panel, the electric will probably cost less. Figuring 26 mowings a year of say 1 hour duration would be about a quart of gas each at $2 per gallon, makes for $13 a year in fuel, add $3 for a quart of oil, another $7 for a new air filter and $3 for a new spark plug each year, and that's $26 a year for the gas mower times 10 years = $260 vs. maybe $100 for a couple of replacement batteries at most. The battery mower makes even better sense if you live in a remote place where getting fuel, parts, etc is a long trip (there actually ARE places in the USA that don't have a Walmart 5 minutes away ) Just doesn't make sense for me and my application. I need more than 1 hour of run time in a given day, and my knees and back need the self propelled feature of a gas powered mower.

 
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05-05-09, 01:08 PM   #9  
I got to thinking that this might be a good project for someone. Get a dead electric (corded) mower for the deck and blade, throw out the old motor and replace it with one of the new LI battery cordless drills. Insert the blade shaft in the drill's chuck, mount the drill on the deck, pull the trigger and cut grass. You will have the quick recharge time of the LI batteries, cheaper battery packs, and the drill can be used for other tasks the rest of the week, and not just sit in the garage.

 
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05-05-09, 08:07 PM   #10  
I don't think the drill has enough cooling capacity for continuous duty. Not sure though.

Has anyone seen the Ariens AMP riding mower? It runs for up to 75 minutes on a full charge. A charge only takes 16 hours (overnight). It boasts to have the same power as a conventional gas powered mower of comparable size and style. They are supposed to be on the market this month for about $3,299. That seems cheap enough for a rechargeable riding mower...if it's any good. I wonder if it's what it's cracked up to be?


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God bless!

 
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05-14-09, 10:08 AM   #11  
I bought the Black and Decker CMM1000 cordless electric mower 3 years ago and have been pretty happy with it. Black and Decker has since replaced it with the newer model CM1200.

For what it's worth, here is the review I had posted 2 years ago at amazon.com for the CMM1000:

(4 out of 5 stars)

Good mower, but not for large lawns

I've had this lawn mower for 1 year now, and am thoroughly happy with it. My wife and like the quiet motor (about as loud as a vacuum cleaner, but much quieter than a gas engine mower). It is a good mower for small lots. We have a 1/4-acre, and one battery charge can do about 3/4 of our yard. I typically mow half the yard, let the battery recharge, then finish the yard later that day or the following day.

Two important points on mower care:

(1) Keep the blade sharp. Performances degrades noticeably with a dull blade. I bought a second spare blade, and change the blade when the one on the mower becomes dull. Then I can sharpen the dull blade at my leisure, and still have a working mower in the meantime.

(2) Keep the battery charged, and stop mowing when the battery charge gets low. Letting the battery run down will shorten it's useful life. I've calculated that it only costs about $3 extra a year to keep the battery on the charger when not in use. If the battery indicator gets low while mowing, stop and recharge it rather than continuing mowing on a low battery. It might sound inconvenient, but I do prefer this to having to run out and buy gasoline for a gas mower. Also, keep the battery charger on during the winter.

Having looked inside this mower, it does look like there is room for a larger capacity battery. Somebody who is mechanically and electrically inclined could probably increase their mowing time by 50% or more by retrofitting a longer-lasting battery. (Anybody who tries this assumes any and all risks involved, of course ...) It uses two 12-Volt sealed-lead-acid batteries to generate 24 Volts.

Things I like about this mower are:

The easy wheel height adjustment, which takes about 2 or 3 seconds to do. The height adjusts in 1/3-inch increments. I like to cut grass a little shorter along sidewalks than in the main part of the yard, and it's easy to do this.

Mowing in "mulch" mode. I don't need to collect and dispose of grass clippings, though one can use the grass-collector that is included with the mower if one wishes.

Using the mower to cut up raked leaves and light brush.

Not buying gasoline.

Starting the motor is very easy.

Two things I don't like are:

Dull blades do not cut worth a darn. It seems that gas mowers can still cut grass fairly well with a dull blade.

Sharpening the blade could be easier if the blade did not have this twisty, bent shape.
-----

Update: still on the original battery, I suspect it will need replacing within a year.

There are higher-capacity batteries (20 Amp-hours, vs. the 17 Amp-hour battery that comes with the mower) that are identical in size to the original battery, and I'm considering getting that when I do replace the battery.

 
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