Battery lawn mower purchasing advice: how to choose the right product

  • The most important facts in a nutshell
  • With a cordless lawnmower you can mow your lawn comfortably without a power cable or petrol, quietly and in an environmentally friendly way.
  • The power of modern models is quite sufficient for small to medium-sized gardens.
  • When buying your cordless mower, you should pay particular attention to the cutting width, the cutting height and the power and capacity of the battery.
  • Cordless mowers for use on larger lawns of 500 square metres or more are usually equipped with two batteries.
  • For larger and uneven lawns, a model with wheel drive is recommended so that you do not have to push it with your own strength.

The right care for a healthy lawn

In spring at the latest, one’s attention is once again drawn to the green space in front of or behind one’s house. If you were able to leave the garden more or less to its own devices during the icy season, the question arises every year whether and how to manage the situation. A wildly overgrown lawn may well have its charm, but garden furniture or a barbecue stand very shakily on it. Nor is it suitable for football matches, and it is not really pleasant under bare feet – sometimes it is even dangerous, for example for children who get stuck on bulky undergrowth while romping about. A neatly trimmed lawn is much safer and, above all, more pleasant. While mowing the lawn, you can relax to the whirring of the razor-sharp blades and breathe in the pleasant scent of freshly mown grass. Afterwards, you can lean back in your garden chair and enjoy the view in the satisfying certainty that you have cared for your retreat with your own hands. To make mowing the lawn as easy as possible and not unnecessarily strenuous, you need a good lawn mower.

Petrol-powered models are considered particularly powerful, but they are loud, heavy and not very environmentally friendly. An environmentally friendly and at the same time flexible alternative, for which you do not need a power source in the immediate vicinity, are battery-powered lawnmowers. However, they still have the reputation among many consumers of not having enough power and having to be returned to the charging station after a short mowing time. Tests by Stiftung Warentest, among others, show that this is no longer the case with modern models. In the following, we highlight the advantages and disadvantages of cordless lawnmowers compared to other models and explain which criteria you should pay attention to when making your purchase decision. In addition, we present different types of cordless lawnmowers, give tips on maintenance and care in our guide and summarise further tests from other portals.

Advantages and disadvantages of cordless lawnmowers

Lawn mowers can generally be divided into three categories:

  • Petrol lawn mowers
  • Corded electric lawn mowers
  • Battery-powered lawn mowers

Battery-powered models have some advantages over both petrol and corded electric lawnmowers.

In the race with petrol and corded models, battery mowers come out on top in some aspects.

Battery lawnmower versus petrol lawnmower

Petrol lawn mowers are considered the most powerful of lawn mowers due to their combustion engine and also mow large areas without any problems. In addition, they are particularly robustly built and do not require a power source during operation, which allows flexible mowing without cables.

However, the powerful petrol engines also have some disadvantages. For example, they are usually very noisy and produce exhaust fumes that are harmful to the environment. In addition, the combustion engine and petrol tank take up a lot of space and make the devices heavy and unwieldy. In comparison, battery-powered lawnmowers are much lighter and more manoeuvrable. The compact design also makes it easier for consumers to store the lawnmower. Maintenance and care are also easier, as electric lawnmowers have fewer sensitive components (e.g. oil filters and spark plugs) than petrol-powered models and the drive mechanism is generally simpler. While a petrol lawnmower usually requires a professional to maintain it, you can usually maintain your cordless lawnmower yourself. In addition, with a cordless model you mow very quietly and without producing environmentally harmful exhaust fumes. Like petrol lawnmowers, battery-powered electric models do not require a constant connection to a power source. Last but not least, battery-powered lawnmowers are often cheaper to buy than petrol lawnmowers.

In terms of performance, battery-powered lawnmowers have caught up quite a bit in recent years. Although they cannot quite keep up with petrol lawnmowers and are not necessarily the first choice for large areas, small to medium-sized areas (about the size of a basketball court) can be mown with them without any problems. The following overview summarises all the important advantages and disadvantages of cordless lawnmowers compared to petrol mowers.

The terms “cold pressed” or “cold extract” are signs of quality for high-value extra virgin olive oil. A differentiation is made between cold press and cold extract. With both methods, olive oil is extracted from olive pulp at a maximum temperature of 27°C. During cold pressing, olive pulp is compressed in a hydraulic press. This differs from cold extraction, where a centrifuge is used to separate the oil from the fruit pulp through a fast-spinning drum. Cold pressed and cold extract olive oil both have many plus points, as well as a few drawbacks. These are all shown in the following table.

Plus Points
  • Low operating noise
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Low weight
  • Compact design
  • Low maintenance
  • Often cheaper price
  • Less powerful
  • Less suitable for large areas

Battery lawnmowers versus corded electric lawnmowers

Electric lawn mowers are available as battery-operated and corded models. The latter are not equipped with a battery, but instead permanently draw power from a socket. The lack of a battery makes the corded models even lighter, which makes them particularly comfortable to push over the lawn, but the cable restricts the range of movement. On the one hand, you must always be careful when mowing not to accidentally run over the cable and damage the lawn mower or even trip over the cable due to carelessness. On the other hand, you are always dependent on a socket nearby or a cable drum.

The price differences
Corded electric lawnmowers are comparatively inexpensive, starting at around 60 euros, while higher-priced models cost around 350 euros. On the other hand, you should budget at least 120 euros for a cordless lawnmower, the upper price limit being around 750 euros. Petrol lawnmowers are the most expensive, with prices ranging from 200 to over 2,000 euros.

In contrast to corded electric lawnmowers, you can mow more flexibly and also more safely with a cordless lawnmower. However, the large range of movement comes at a price: battery-powered models are usually somewhat more expensive than corded electric lawnmowers. However, petrol lawnmowers are sometimes even more expensive.

Plus Points
  • High flexibility
  • More convenience
  • No power source needed nearby
  • Greater security
  • Slightly more expensive
  • Higher weight

Important purchase criteria

Like other lawn mowers, different cordless lawn mower models differ, among other things, in terms of their cutting width and cutting height as well as the volume of their catcher box. In addition, the features of the battery naturally play an important role in the purchase decision. These and other criteria that you should consider when making your choice are discussed below.

The cutting width

The so-called cutting width of a lawn mower, also known as the working width, determines how fast you can mow a lawn with the model. The greater the cutting width, the more lawn area the mower covers with its body or cutting blades, and the less time you need. At the same time, lawn mowers with a larger cutting width are heavier, less manoeuvrable and more expensive. However, choosing the battery lawnmower with the largest cutting width would be the wrong approach. For example, mowing a small, winding garden is much more difficult with a very wide model than with a cordless lawnmower with a smaller cutting width. You should therefore choose the cutting width roughly according to the area you want to mow. In addition, bottlenecks on the lawn, for example between tree trunks or stone beds, are crucial for choosing the appropriate cutting area. Apart from potential bottlenecks and based on the sheer size of the lawn area, you can use the following overview as a guide:

Lawn areaMinimum cutting widthMaximum cutting width
Up to 250 m²30 cm40 cm
251 to 500 m²40 cm50 cm
501 to 1.000 m²50 cm55 cm
The recommended cutting widths according to the area to be mowed.

Cutting height and cutting height adjustment

To keep your lawn healthy and looking well cared for, it is important to determine the right cutting height for it. If you mow too much at once, it is too much of a strain on the lawn. It does not continue to grow vigorously, but dries out. As a rule of thumb, the lawn should never be cut by more than a third. The optimal cutting height also depends on the type of lawn.

Which lawn should be how high?

  • Utility lawn (common lawn for home gardens): 3.5 to 5 centimetres
  • Ornamental lawn (English lawn): 1.5 to 2.5 centimetres
  • Shade lawn (often under shrubs): 4.5 to 7 centimetres
  • Sports turf (used for sports facilities): 2 to 4 centimetres

Adjusting the cutting height

Lawn mowers do not have a fixed cutting height, but are equipped with a so-called cutting height adjustment. This allows you to choose between a minimum and a maximum cutting height that suits your lawn. Different cordless lawnmowers differ in whether you can set the cutting height in centimetres or in different steps. In the latter case, you need to look up in the operating instructions which level corresponds to which number of centimetres. With most cordless lawnmowers, you can set the cutting height in three to seven steps, often between three and six centimetres – ideal for the popular utility lawn. Another advantage is a central cutting height adjustment, which allows you to set the cutting height for all four wheels with one lever. On models without central cutting height adjustment, you have to set the cutting height separately for the front and rear axles.

The volume of the grass catcher box

The volume of the grass catcher determines how often you need to empty it. Most cordless lawnmowers are equipped with grass catcher baskets with a capacity of between 30 and 60 litres. For smaller and medium-sized gardens up to 300 square metres, a 30-litre catcher box is usually sufficient. For larger areas, it is advisable to choose a model with a larger grass catcher box.

What should you look for in a battery?

  • The type of battery: preferably a powerful lithium-ion battery (Li-Ion battery for short).
  • The runtime: depends on the voltage and capacity.
  • The area coverage per battery charge: depends on the runtime.
  • The charging time: depends on the capacity and charging current
  • Compatibility: with chargers and other devices

A powerful lithium-ion battery is now standard in modern cordless lawnmowers. In addition to the battery type, the capacity and voltage of the battery are particularly important, as they determine the area you can mow with one battery charge. Ideally, the charging time should be as short as possible so that the lawn mower is quickly ready for use again when needed. For most models it is one to three hours. The compatibility of the battery with chargers and other devices is important if no charger is included or if you want to use the battery for other electronic devices.

Powerful mowers with two batteries
Larger cordless mowers with a wide cutting width and wheel drive are often equipped with two batteries instead of just one so that they run out of steam less quickly.

The following overview shows the approximate voltages and capacities of the batteries that are suitable for lawns of different sizes.

Lawn area to be mowedMinimum capacityMinimum volt hours
300 m²2,0 amp-hours36 volts
400 m²2,5 amp-hours36 volts
500 m²3,0 amp-hours40 volts
600 m²4,0 amp-hours40 volts
Recommended battery characteristics for different areas.

The weight

To ensure that the cordless mower can be pushed easily over the lawn even on slopes, the device should not be too heavy. Due to the battery, cordless mowers generally have a somewhat higher weight than corded electric lawnmowers. Most popular cordless lawnmowers weigh between 10 and 30 kilograms. For lawns with sloping terrain, a maximum weight of 15 kilograms is recommended. If you decide on a heavier model, it is best to choose a cordless lawnmower with wheel drive. With such mowers, the motor drives the wheels in addition to the blade.

Important features

In addition to the purchase criteria mentioned above, there are various features that may be necessary or useful depending on the intended use.

Safety key

Some models are designed in such a way that you must first insert the associated safety key into the engine switch before operating the engine switch in order to start the machine. The safety key prevents unauthorised persons or children from accidentally starting the lawn mower.

Height adjustable handle

A height-adjustable handle makes it possible to adjust the handlebar to the size of the user, so that he or she can push the cordless mower comfortably and back-friendly. Vibration damping in the handle, which can be found in Husqvarna models, among others, provides even more comfort.

Mulching function

Cordless lawnmowers with mulching function cut the grass clippings very small and spread them over the mown lawn instead of collecting them. The shredded grass clippings decompose over time on the turf, restoring moisture and nutrients to the lawn. The grass clippings thus act as a natural, environmentally friendly fertiliser. Depending on the model, you can activate the mulching function with a switch or you will need a special attachment for it.

How much do cordless lawnmowers cost?

In terms of price, battery-powered models play in the middle class, i.e. between the cheaper corded electric lawnmowers and the more expensive petrol models. Compact models with a small cutting width (about 34 centimetres), a smaller grass catcher box (about 40 litres) and no wheel drive are available from 120 euros. On the other hand, you have to pay up to 750 euros for cordless lawnmowers with a high cutting width (up to 51 centimetres), two batteries, a large catcher box (80 litres) and additional features such as a mulching function.

Different types of cordless lawnmowers

Battery-powered lawnmowers can be divided into different types in terms of their construction and mode of operation. We present the most common ones below.

Battery push mower

The term battery push mower refers to the classic battery lawn mower without wheel drive. You push the device solely with your body power without the support of the lawn mower motor. Since the motor only drives the cutting blade and not the wheels, push mowers work more energy-efficiently than wheel-driven models. Accordingly, they require a less powerful battery or have a longer battery life. Battery-powered push mowers are recommended for smaller and medium-sized gardens of up to about 450 square metres without steep slopes.

Battery-powered lawnmowers with drive

Like corded electric and petrol lawnmowers, cordless mowers are also available with a wheel drive. In such models, the motor drives not only the blade but also the wheels of the lawn mower and assists the user in pushing.

You therefore need significantly less power to mow the lawn than with a model without wheel drive. A wheel drive is particularly recommended for large, heavy models and for mowing lawns with sloping terrain and can make mowing much easier. As a rule, models with wheel drive are equipped with a more powerful battery than models without drive, as the wheel drive also requires energy.

Robotic mower

You can mow your lawn particularly comfortably with a robotic mower. Similar to the already widespread vacuuming and mopping robots, robotic mowers do their work particularly quietly and largely independently. Before using the lawn mower for the first time, you need to mark out the lawn area to be mowed by the electronic garden helper using the boundary wire supplied.

So apart from the preparation, you can save a lot of time and energy with a robotic mower. Modern models with powerful batteries can also mow larger areas of up to 800 square metres without any problems. The small garden helpers only have their problems with rough terrain and steep inclines. In addition, they are comparatively expensive, costing from 500 euros upwards.

Electric ride-on mower

Even the big names among lawn mowers, the ride-on mowers, are now available with battery operation, although they are still relatively rare. Instead of pushing, you sit comfortably on the lawn tractor while mowing and ride along. In addition, the models are able to mow a large area in a short time; depending on the cutting area, about 2,000 square metres are possible in 75 minutes.

Basically, ride-on mowers are suitable for larger gardens of about 500 square metres or more, which have few narrow spots and no winding corners. Otherwise, going around and manoeuvring around obstacles is somewhat awkward. With powerful batteries, cordless lawn tractors are a quiet and environmentally friendly alternative to petrol-powered models.

Maintenance and care

Compared to petrol lawnmowers, cordless lawnmowers require very little maintenance, just like corded electric models. In addition to regular cleaning of the device, proper storage is important.

How do I clean the cordless mower properly?

  • It is best to clean after each use
  • First remove the battery and clean it with a damp cloth.
  • Remove the grass catcher and clean it under running water with a brush.
  • Wipe the rest of the housing with a damp cloth.
  • Remove stubborn dirt with a brush.
  • Remove grass residues on the blades with a sturdy brush.
  • Do not put the battery and lawn mower back into operation until all parts are completely dry.

Where and how can I best store the cordless lawnmower?

A protected, dry location such as a tool shed, cellar or garden shed is highly recommended for storage. You should remove the battery when the lawnmower is not in use and store it indoors at room temperature. Temperatures that are too high or too low can damage it. Most manufacturers recommend 10 to a maximum of 20 degrees. Especially during longer storage periods, such as during the winter, you should not leave the battery in the device. The battery should ideally be charged to 40 to 60 per cent before a longer storage period.

Battery life
With good care, you can usually use lithium-ion batteries for up to three years or longer without the battery’s performance declining. As a general rule, it is advisable to keep a second or spare battery in stock.

Further test reports

Attention: This is a comparison. We have not tested the cordless lawnmowers ourselves.

Stiftung Warentest last put battery-powered lawnmowers under the microscope in March 2019. A total of eleven models were tested, including four lawn mowers with wheel drive. For the evaluation, the testers used the following criteria, which were included in the overall rating with varying weighting:

  • Mowing (50 per cent)
  • Handling (25 per cent)
  • Durability (10 per cent)
  • Health and environment (10 percent)
  • Safety (5 percent)

The results are mixed. Only two of the battery-powered mowers tested achieved an overall rating of “Good”, five a “Satisfactory”, one a “Sufficient” and two a “Poor”. The widest lawn mower in the test, the Husqvarna LC347VLi, was not given a test score because the results could not be transferred into practice; the testers were not able to test the durability of the battery in such a way that the results would have been usable in their test system.
The best overall result was achieved by the GE-CM 43 Li M model from Einhell with a score of 2.3. The battery is sufficient for just under 250 square metres. The Einhell GE-CM 43 Li M was particularly convincing in the test criteria “safety” and “durability”. The Sabo 40-Accu also achieved a good result with an overall score of 2.4. In the “Mowing” category, however, it could not quite keep up with the first-place winner, especially in terms of cutting quality. The cordless mowers Gardena PowerMax Li-40/37 and Hellweg/Wingard AR 3646 RA LI each received the grade “Poor” because they did not stand up to the endurance test and parts broke.

The test magazine Haus & Garten Test also published a battery lawnmower test in May 2018. Nine different models were put through their paces on the test lawn, including four with a cutting width of less than 40 centimetres, three with wheel drive and two with a cutting width of over 40 centimetres. The function, handling, workmanship and energy consumption of the cordless lawnmowers were tested and evaluated. The following models were chosen as the test winner in their category:

  • Cordless mower with a cutting width of less than 40 centimetres: Gardena PowerMax Li-40/32
  • Cordless mower with wheel drive: Stiga Combi 55 S AE
  • Cordless mower with a cutting width over 40 centimetres: Wolf Garten 72 Li-ION Power 40

Another test report on cordless lawnmowers is available from ETM-Testmagazin (May 2016). The testers scrutinised and rated seven cordless mowers in terms of their equipment, handling, performance and safety. With the test mark “very good” and 94.26 percent, the Stiga Combi 40 AE model proved to be the best cordless lawnmower in the test. It was particularly convincing in the “equipment” and “performance” categories. Second place went to the Bosch Rotak 37 Li with an overall score of 94.08 percent. In comparison with the first-placed cordless mower, it performed slightly worse than the test winner in the criteria “equipment” and “performance”, but the Bosch Rotak 37 Li collected more points in the categories “handling” and “safety”.