Looking for a lawn mower that doesn’t contribute to climate change, and that won’t wake up your neighbor’s sleeping baby? We rate the best emission free, electric, lawn mowers on the market today, plus tips for buying the right electric lawn mower.
Table of Contents
- Gas lawn mowers degrade air quality
- The best electric lawn mowers
- Ego LM2102SP and LM2142SP [Staff Tested]
- Our experience after one year of using the Ego electric lawn mower
- Greenworks PRO 21-Inch 80V Cordless Lawn Mower
- What we Like About the Greenworks Cordless Lawn Mower
- Snapper XD 82V MAX Electric Cordless 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
- Sun Joe MJ401C Pro Cordless Lawn Mower
- Black & Decker MM2000 20-Inch Corded Electric Mower
Gas lawn mowers degrade air quality
Think your choice of lawn mower doesn’t matter?
According to research published by Michigan State, “mowing the average lawn in the U.S. creates as much air pollution as driving the family car on a 200-mile trip,” which has many of us looking for greener options. We rated, and tested, emission free lawn mowers and listed our top picks below
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) places restrictions on emissions from lawnmowers, but there are no emission-free gas lawn mowers. Gas mowers also become less efficient and pump out ever-greater emissions the older they get.
As for electric mowers, these are tankless and instead rely on a cord or battery. Corded mowers have no mowing time restriction as they draw energy from your main electricity hookup. For battery models, battery time means how long you can use an electric mower before having to charge the battery again.
Most battery-powered lawn mowers are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which are just bigger versions of the lithium batteries in our laptops and cellphones. You can store a lot of energy in a lithium battery compared to older types of batteries, which is why electric lawn mowers are now possible and, indeed, comparable in power to a gas-powered lawnmower.
Unfortunately, lithium batteries are expensive and deteriorate over several years, with their capacity decreasing as the cells in the battery die off. It’s a good idea, therefore, to have a spare battery and to replace the battery every few years to ensure good performance.
Beware second-hand electric mowers with older batteries; the mower itself may be sold cheap compared to a new model, but the included battery or batteries may be next to useless and cost more than the mower to replace.
The best electric lawn mowers
Curious about how we rate products? Click here to view our methodology, which at its core, is about voting with our dollars to fight climate change.
Ego LM2102SP and LM2142SP [Staff Tested]
Highlights: 56V, Cordless, huge storage bag, headlights for evening mowing. Both models fold up easily for storage, have weather-resistant construction, and have a 21-inch deck size, with 3-in-1 mulching, bagging, side discharge options. Can buy with or without battery and charger.
- Same torque as a gas powered mower
- Huge collector bag
- Pin drop quiet while mowing
- Easy to store
- Can mow the lawn at night
- Cheaper options are available
The EGO 2102SP is a 21 in. 56-Volt Lithium-ion Cordless Walk Behind Self Propelled Mower that includes a 7.5 Ah battery and charger, and offers 60 minutes of cutting time and a 60 minute charge time.
With more than 6,000 5-star reviews at Home Depot online and a reputation elsewhere for high performance and usability, the Ego is a top pick for an electric lawn mower that can easily handle larger lawns.
You can also buy the 2102SP model without battery or charger for $450 (View Price on Ace Hardware).
This mower delivers the same high torque as gas-powered mowers without the air pollution and noise, and at a lower price! If your lawn area is half an acre or more, this monster of a mower might be your new best friend. It even boasts headlights, so you can do a spot of evening mowing should you wish.
One big plus for the Ego is that huge collector bag, which means you can mow a large area of lawn without having to stop to empty the bag. The downside here, of course, is that the machine becomes quite heavy by the end of your run. Happily, this model doesn’t seem to lose traction at the front when the bag is nearing capacity, unlike some other models.
The LM2142SP (View Price on Amazon) is a 2 x 5 Ah battery model that is very similar to the LM2102SP 7.5 Ah model. The 2142SP offers a bit more flexibility in handle height, however, with 6 handlebar positions available rather than just 3. This makes it the better option if you’re a bit taller or shorter than average.
One other major difference between these two Ego mowers is that the 7.5 Ah model has a polymer composite cutting deck, while the 5 Ah model has a steel cutting deck. Both seem to perform extremely well across all kinds of grass, but the steel is, arguably, the more sustainable material.
The rear wheels on the 2 x 5 Ah model are also an inch bigger in diameter (10 inches vs. 9 inches), which may help with maneuverability in some situations and be better for sloping lawns. The 7.5 Ah model also weighs a dash more at 78.8 lbs compared to 75 lbs or the 2 x 5 Ah model.
The major difference between the two, though, is simply the run time. The 7.5 Ah gives you around 60 minutes of run time before you’ll need to charge the battery. And, of course, while you’re charging the battery, you don’t have a spare to use as a backup. With the dual battery model, you can use one 5 Ah battery for 45 minutes while charging the other battery, then switch them out to carry on mowing without having to take a break. This way, you could pretty much mow all day and, thanks to the LED headlights, all night if you wanted!
Both of these Egos have one easy-to-use shifter style handle that adjusts the height of all four wheels at the same time, which is much more convenient than having to adjust each one individually. Both models fold up easily for storage, and both have weather-resistant construction and a 21-inch deck size, with 3-in-1 mulching, bagging, side discharge options.
The Egos also offer independent self-propulsion, meaning you can turn off the mowing function but still use self-propulsion to move the mower easily from one spot to another, such as over surfaces that could damage the blades if they were moving.
Finally, both the Egos have a 5-year limited warranty and, if you buy from Home Depot, a 90-day return window in case you’re not happy with your new mower.
Oh, and the Ego Power 56 Volt battery/batteries are shipped separately and are compatible with all Ego Power+ products. This means you can save on the cost of the mower by buying the tool only, if you already have an Ego battery and charger. Or, consider this an investment in the future of your tool collection if you’ll also be replacing any snow blowers, leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, chainsaws or so forth in the next little while.
One other reason Ego make my list of eco-friendly lawn mowers is their adoption of green power sources for their research and development facilities and industrial park. In 2004, the company installed a 7,500 square foot Green Roof system on their R&D facility, with savings of around 1.5 gallons of gas per square foot each year. The roof of their Green Power Industrial Park also features a 2-megawatt photovoltaic power station.
This ‘Blue Roof’ generates, year-on-year, the equivalent power from burning 755 tons of coal. This cuts sulfur dioxide emissions by 50 tons and carbon dioxide emissions by 1677 tons annually.
In addition, the Ego Green Power Industrial Park utilizes ground-source heating, air-conditioning and water-storage technologies. They estimate that their ground source heating system alone saves 1 million kWh of electricity annually, the equivalent of 378 tons of coal. It also cuts sulfur dioxide emissions by around 25 tons and carbon dioxide emissions by 839 tons each year.
Ego hasn’t been in business quite as long as Black & Decker, but they’re an innovative company with global reach. Established in 1993, they have long been invested in cordless electric technology and are now one of the world’s largest manufacturers of tools.
Our experience after one year of using the Ego electric lawn mower
After a year of hands-on use, here’s what a member of our team, Taylor, has to say about his experience with the Ego mower:
I’m not the type of person who really enjoys and looks forward to mowing their yard, unlike many of my neighbors; it’s a chore that needs to get done just like any of the others that are part of owning a home. With that being said, the Ego mower is hands-down my favorite mower that I’ve used to date.
It’s quiet enough that I have no problems listening to a podcast or audiobook while mowing, which definitely couldn’t be said about my older gas mowers. The battery life is commendable, and assuming it hasn’t been too long between mowings, one large battery easily gets me through both my front and back yards without issue.
One of my favorite features is its ability to neatly fold up with a few quick releases of a lever or two. If you’re short on storage space for yard tools like I am (the growing arsenal of Ego products isn’t helping) this space-saving feature is super welcomed.
A surprise feature I found myself thankful for just recently was the LED lights. In Pennsylvania fall, there isn’t much time between the end of the workday and it being too dark to mow. I had half of my front yard left to mow while the sun was quickly setting, but the headlights on the mower made it a total non-issue.
Highlights: Boasts a powerful 80 V motor and a wide steel cutting deck, so you’ll probably be able to mow a half acre lawn in one charge.
|Mower||Greenworks PRO 21-Inch 80V Cordless Lawn Mower|
|Price||$240-$700 (depending on batteries and self-propulsion)|
|Battery type||Lithium ion 4 Ah (or 2 x 2 Ah)|
|Cutting width||21 inches|
|Self-propelling||Self-propelling option available|
|Run time||60 mins|
|Product link||View Price on Amazon|
The Greenworks PRO 21-Inch 80V Cordless Lawn Mower GLM801602 (View Price on Amazon) is a top pick for those looking to be convinced of the merits of electric mowers versus gas mowers. Providing the equivalent of around a 160 cc gas mower, the Greenworks 80 V models mean business and costs just $550 for the PRO 21-Inch 80 V with a 4.0 Ah battery and charger.
Both sets of batteries offer up to 60 minutes of run time with a full charge, and because there are two, you could just adopt a policy of one out one charging, for continual operation. Greenworks also make the Self-Propelled 80 V 21 Inch Cordless Lawn Mower (without batteries or charger) (View Price on Amazon) with all the same great features plus self-propulsion courtesy of the back wheels. This model is compatible with the 2 Ah and 4 Ah batteries and can also be bought as a self-propelled model with a 5 Ah battery and rapid charger (View Price on Amazon), providing 70 minutes of run time and charging fully in just 75 minutes. Compared to the almost four hours needed to charge a single 2.5 Ah Black & Decker battery, this charger and battery combo is much more efficient and user friendly.
The variable speed control on the handle of these self-propelled models can be set between 0.5-1.5 m/s, which is super helpful if you struggle to push a mower around, especially as it gathers grass clippings. The self-propelled Greenworks 80 V lawn mower may also be a good option if you have hillier terrain.
Both the self-propelled and push versions of the Greenworks 80 V 21-inch Cordless Lawn Mower have lovely large rear wheels measuring 10″ (24.4 cm), with smaller 8″ (20.3 cm) front wheels for maneuverability. Greenworks brushless motor provides for a longer run-time, more torque and more power, meaning less wear and tear, extending the life of the mower.
The minimum cutting height on this model is a little higher than on some other mowers, but there are seven possible settings, easily toggled using the large lever on the handle. This means it’s likely you’ll find a setting to suit your grass. The lowest setting is 1 ¼”, the second is 1 ⅔”, the third is 2”, the fourth is 2 ⅓”, the fifth 2 ¾”, the sixth is 3 1/7”, and the seventh setting is 3 ⅝”.
Smart Cut Load sensing technology may help extend battery time, and you can definitely tell when the motor is revving up to deal with tougher spots. If you’re using the push mower, you’ll want to slow down just before hitting denser grass, to give the mower a chance to adjust. With the self-propelled model, consider switching to the slower (snail!) setting if you’re in the faster (hare!) setting.
One small issue with the Greenworks Pro is the relatively low suction compared to the Snapper XD. This can mean that grass clippings don’t always get sucked into the collector on the first pass, necessitating a bit of back and forth. With the Snapper, the greater suction means you rarely need a second pass.
The Greenworks self-propelled cordless mower is arguably one of the best electric mowers for medium to large gardens and is made by a company with a reputation for excellent build quality and cutting efficiency. This mower is also quite attractive, as mowers go, but the foam handle jiggles a bit and could be a tad more robust.
The Greenworks boasts a powerful 80 V motor and a wide steel cutting deck, so you’ll probably be able to mow a half acre lawn in one charge. However, if your grass is long, dense, wet, or all of the above, chances are you’ll need to switch out the battery (and empty the collector) at least once to cover this area of lawn though. On the slowest self-propulsion setting, two 2 Ah batteries can provide for around 60 minutes of continuous operation, with around the same run time for a single 4 or 5 Ah battery.
The Greenworks may be too large for very small lawns, with its wide cutting deck and large wheels. That said, it can easily be used by smaller people for larger lawns, thanks to an adjustable handle with three different height positions, including one suitable for folks under five feet tall.
What we Like About the Greenworks Cordless Lawn Mower
One thing I really like about Greenworks is that you could buy this mower with a battery or pair of batteries and use those batteries for around 20 other power tools from the company, including their snowblower, chainsaw, hedge trimmer, and polesaw. This not only saves you money and time, it also keeps resource use to a minimum, saving you from having to purchase, store, charge, and recycle numerous batteries for your power tool collection.
The Greenworks PRO charger takes just 30 minutes to fully charge a 2 Ah battery and around 75 minutes to charge a fully discharged 4 Ah battery. It has a useful diagnostic LED fuel indicator so you can see the current charge in the battery. This rapid charger was Energy Star rated (the program has now been discontinued), has a compact design, and can be stored on a shelf or mounted on the wall. It is compatible with battery models GBA80200 and GBA400, but, and this is a big annoyance across the industry, this charger only works with Greenworks PRO 80 V batteries. It won’t work with other brands’ 80 V batteries. The same is true of the Ego Power batteries, though, so this isn’t an annoyance unique to Greenworks.
If you buy a Greenworks PRO lawn mower or other tool without the battery and charger, you can purchase their PRO 80V Lithium Ion Single Port Rapid Battery Charger GCH8040 for less than $100 (View Price on Amazon). This charger has a built-in fan to enable rapid charge time without overheating.
Greenworks was founded in 2007 and quickly became an industry leader for electric power tools. So much so that they are now partly owned by tool giant Stihl. They opened an American headquarters in North Carolina in 2016, but their main office is in Sweden. As for their approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR), I can’t find any information on this side of the business. Instead, the focus seems to be on making high quality electric power tools that are durable and energy efficient. I’ve reached out to the company for comment and will provide updates if/when I hear back from Greenworks.
Highlights: Quiet, powerful, and compact, with vertical storage potential.
|Mower||Snapper XD 82 V MAX Electric Cordless 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower|
|Price||$330-$600 (without or with battery and charger)|
|Battery type||Lithium ion 2 Ah x 2|
|Cutting width||21 inches|
|Run time||45 mins (one 2 Ah battery)|
|Product link||View Price on Amazon|
The Snapper XD 82 V MAX lawn mower is a self-propelled model ideal for larger lawns (View Price on Amazon). If you have half an acre to an acre to mow, this powerful electric mower is just the ticket. It includes two 2 Ah batteries to provide up to 60 minutes of run time, has 7 height settings for the cutting deck, with single lever adjustment for all wheels, and has an easy push button start.
The Snapper also features load sensing technology and the StepSense Automatic Drive System, which matches the mower pace to your own, requiring no speed adjustments from the user. Quiet, powerful, and compact, with vertical storage potential, the Snapper can save you time, space, and money, all while keeping your yard free from fumes and gasoline.
The Snapper has 3-in-1 mulch, bag, side-discharge options, and a 21-inch rust-resistant 14 gauge steel deck. The cutting height can be set from a minimum of 1.4 inches to a maximum of 3.7 inches.
The brushless motor offers high efficiency, and the mower is compatible with Briggs & Stratton 82 V Max 2 Ah and 4 Ah batteries, meaning you might already have the batteries to power this beast.
Other pluses for the Snapper include a comfortable, ergonomic rubber handle and a 1.7 bushel bagger (60 L) collector bag for fewer interruptions while mowing. It’s also nice that Snapper’s lawn equipment and outdoor power products are made in the USA. Specifically, their lawn mowers are made in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Munnsville, New York, and Tupelo, Mississippi. And, as part of the Briggs & Stratton corporation, Snapper headquarters is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The company provides more than 3,000 American jobs, but there’s no mention of CSR or sustainability programs on their website or elsewhere. I’ve reached out to the company for comment and will provide updates if/when I hear back from Snapper.
You might also want to check out the Snapper SX 21SPWM 82 V model (View Price on Amazon). This model has a slightly smaller collector bag (1.6 bushels) and doesn’t feature the StepSense system. Run time for this model is 45 minutes, with batteries charging in a half hour.
One downside to both of these models is that you can’t disengage the mower’s blades and use the self-propulsion function to easily move the mower across areas that might damage the blades. As such, the Ego is a better bet if this is something you’ll find useful.
Highlights: A very affordable option that’s great for small lawns that includes a 10.6 gallon collector bag for convenience.
|Mower||Sun Joe MJ401C Pro Cordless Lawn Mower|
|Battery type||Lithium ion 4 Ah|
|Cutting width||14 inches|
|Run time||25 mins|
|Product link||View Price on Amazon|
Runners up include the very inexpensive (just $168!) Sun Joe MJ401C Pro Cordless Lawn Mower, which is a great option for small lawns. This one has a smaller steel cutting deck of just 14 inches, and just three cutting heights. The 28 V 4 Ah battery makes it a decent little model for easier to mow grass, and the Sun Joe includes a 10.6 gallon collector bag for convenience, and the Pro model features a rear discharge chute.
The batteries and charger for the Sun Joe mower can also be used across their outdoor power tool range, including their trimmers, tillers, and snow blowers. This model also has a removable safety key to help prevent accidental starts. My advice would be to buy a spare key… for when this one inevitably gets lost in the shed. One downside to the Sun Joe is that it doesn’t fold flat. The top part of the handle does fold down, but the overall height will still be two and a half feet.
Highlights: The most eco-friendly, high performance, corded electric lawn mower.
|Mower||Black & Decker MM2000 20-Inch Corded Electric Mower|
|Voltage||13 Amps / 120 V|
|Cutting width||19 inches|
|Product link||View Price on Amazon|
And finally, if you’re not averse to dealing with an electric cord, have a small yard, and can do without any of the faff of recharging batteries or refilling a fuel tank, Black & Decker make one of the best corded electric mowers around.
The Black & Decker MM2000 is easily my top pick for a corded mower. I like this company for the reasons I’ve laid out above, and the MM2000 is very well equipped to tackle whatever you throw at it, assuming that something is within reach of an electrical outlet.
The MM2000 handles thick grass, wet grass, long grass, and the occasional foreign object with aplomb, thanks to its durable 20-inch (19-inch blade) steel deck and 13 Amps, which runs off a 120 V outlet. It’s highly maneuverable, thanks to 10-inch rear wheels, and offers mulching, side discharge and bagging functions. The mower is set to mulching mode, so if you’d rather use the collector you’ll need to first remove the mulching ‘plug’ and attach the bag, all of which is very straightforward.
This mower is super easy to push around garden beds and over uneven terrain, weighing just 53 pounds. It also has convenient carry handles! The cord on this mower extends 150 feet, and you can get a Black & Decker extension cord for just $39.99 for another 100 feet of range or $18.99 for 50 feet.
The MM2000 has 3 handle height settings and 7 cutting height settings, ranging from 1.5 inches to 4 inches. You can adjust the height with a single easily reached lever on the top of the housing.
Hardworking, lightweight, compact, and super user-friendly, the MM2000 comes with a 4-year guarantee. Over and over again, the Black & Decker outperforms similarly priced mowers such as those from Ryobi, making it the best corded mower around and, arguably, one of the greenest choices for a lawn mower.
Well, there you have it, our top picks for climate-friendly lawnmowers. If it snows where you live, also be sure to check out our top picks for the best electric snowblowers. If the mowing weather has you preparing for additional yard projects, make sure to also take a look at our favorite electric chainsaws too.