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Electric Mowers Show Steady Improvement

Posted on 7th Sep 2010 @ 2:14 PM

Thinking of saving money by doing your own landscaping? While cordless electric lawn mowers are a good and eco friendly choice for smaller lawns, new electric self-propelled mowers and lawn tractors provided mixed results. But a $700 rear-engine compact lawn mower—and a design change to zero-turn radius lawn mowers­—could prove of interest to homeowners with larger lawns.

Electric mowers are easy-to-use, greener and good-performing electric push mowers like the Toro 20360, $420, and Black & Decker CM1936, $420, and the corded Black & Decker MM875, $270, are a sensible option for small lawns and might also qualify for Earth Day mower-exchange programs. Other models include the Black & Decker CM1836, Black & Decker CMM1200, Black & Decker MM1800, Craftsman 37048, Earthwise 50120, Earthwise 60120, Neuton CE6.4, Ryobi RY14110, Toro 20360, and Worx WG780.

The self-propelled electric mower, the Ryobi RY14110, $400, trailed the electric push models in performance while the Ariens AMP 916002 electric lawn tractor at $3,400, is smaller, greener than gas-powered lawn tractors.

The rear-engine compact lawn tractor is making a comeback, with the 26-inch-wide Weed Easter One 960220009, $700, is worth a look if your lawn measures under an acre. Among walk-behind mowers, gas-powered push models like the Lawn Boy 10640, $240, the Cub Cadet 11A-18MCm, $240 and the Husqvarna 6012P, $200 and the self-propelled Toro Recycler 20332, 20330 and 20333 models that range from $300 to $420 were good performers.

Six good performing lawn tractors (the Craftsman 28828 and 28724, the Cub Cadet LTX1045 and LTX1040, and John Deere LA115 and LA105) that provided excellent performance for under $2,000. Our top zero-turn radius mowers ranged from $2,600 to $3,000, but the Cub Cadet Z Force S 48 17AI5BHB, $4000, adds tractor-like front wheel steering that allows for improved steering control on slopes.

Other lawn tractors for comparison include, in alphabetical order, the Bolens 317737, Craftsman 27690, Craftsman 28033, Craftsman 28934, Craftsman 28947, Craftsman Revolution 28933, Cub Cadet LT1050 13RQ11CP, Husqvarna LS 2346XLS, Husqvarna YTH2348, Husqvarna YTH23V42LS, John Deere LA145, John Deere X300, John Deere X304, Snapper LT125, Snapper LT130, Troy-Bilt Bronco 13AX78KS, and Troy-Bilt Horse 13AX79KT. Zero-turn radius mowers included the Ariens Zoom 42 915141, Craftsman ZTS 6000 28992, Cub Cadet RZT 50 17A12ACP, Husqvarna Z4828, John Deere Z225, Snapper 150Z, Toro Z4200, Toro Z5035 74376, and Troy-Bilt Colt 17AE2ACG.

Beware the bargain-priced models such as the $290 Troy-Bilt TB230 12AVB26M self-propelled lawn mower and Bolens 317737 tractor, $860 which posted low ratings.

Regular maintenance especially mower-deck cleaning and regular blade sharpening can boost performance and longevity of any lawn mower. You can share your own performance tips and ratings of specific models in our mowers categories in www.greengardentools.com.