The electric Stihl RMA 510 V is one of the models GSDFW reporter Andrea Ridout test drove. Photo courtesy of Stihl.

June 10, 2020

About 25 years ago, my then-hubby and I were at a big box store and bought a Black & Decker battery-powered lawn mower on sale at the end of the summer season. We had a very small yard at the time and that little mower was just perfect. Though it used older-style NiCad batteries that took all night to recharge, it worked like a champ and would cut our entire postage-stamp sized lawn on a single charge. The best part is that we could put away the gas can and never deal with smelly, gassy hands or spills on our driveway. 

Fast-forward to my current house which has a much-larger yard. For about 5 years, I’ve used a Stihl RMA-370 Lithium battery-powered mower and have really loved it. With its more powerful Lithium batteries that refresh in about an hour, I can cut the whole lawn and still have time for a mint julep when I am done. 

While it’s true that battery-powered lawn mowers, trimmers and other outdoor tools can cost more initially than gas models, the payoff is in zero-emissions, no oily/gas mess and smell, less noise, lighter weight, push-button rather than pull-cord start, and the versatility of using the batteries in multiple outdoor tools. For instance, my mower battery can also be used to power my trimmer. 

My one piece of advice - if you are a newbie to battery powered tools, choose your brand and stick with it. Since you can often switch batteries from one item to another within a brand, you will save space and potentially quite a bit of money by investing in extra batteries that fit all of your various tools rather than having to buy different batteries for each different brand.

My one piece of advice - if you are a newbie to battery powered tools, choose your brand and stick with it. Since you can often switch batteries from one item to another within a brand, you will save space and potentially quite a bit of money by investing in extra batteries that fit all of your various tools rather than having to buy different batteries for each different brand.

Doug Wallace, who owns Casey’s Lawn Equipment - a Stihl dealer and lawn engine repair shop in east Dallas, noted that in addition to the environmental benefits of battery-powered tools, they generally need less maintenance than their gas-powered counterparts.

“By using Stihl’s battery powered equipment, it provides no harmful emissions, which means it doesn’t negatively impact the space around you, nor the air that you’re breathing in,” said Wallace. “This means that if you struggle with harmful fumes due to gasoline, it eliminates that issue entirely as well as cuts down on maintenance costs, which means less time spent waiting for your equipment to be repaired, less money spent on the overall cost of repair, and more time doing the things that you enjoy.”

Even professional lawn care companies are turning more and more to battery-powered. 

Mona Hall, who with her husband, Ron Hall, owns Ron’s Organics, a DFW eco-friendly landscaping company, says that they use both Toro and Stihl in their business. She likes the battery-powered tools for another reason.

“They are generally lighter-weight,” said Hall. “I use a battery powered lawn mower, blower and edger. It’s very light weight and easy for me [a female] to operate.”

Note that although there are still some older-technology NiCad batteries out in the marketplace, lithium is much better. Not only can lithium batteries be recharged hundreds of times but they don’t have a charge “memory” that degrades the batteries prematurely. Lithium batteries are lighter weight and also recharge much faster. Just be sure to recycle them properly at the end of their lives. Most hardware stores and big boxes will take any brands of both NiCad and lithiums for recycling.

Over the last year, I had a chance to test or review several brands of electric mowers and here’s my opinion:

Stihl RMA 510 V battery powered mowerThe electric Stihl RMA 510 V starts with the push of a button. Photo courtesy of Stihl.


The nice folks at Stihl were kind enough to send me their newest mower to give it a good test run to compare it to my older model. The updated RMA 510 V has a full 20-inch metal cutting deck, about 40 percent larger than my old RMA-370. I found the self-propelled feature to be a real plus on longer stretches of lawn - with variable speeds and an adjustable handle to accommodate even shorter folks like me. The mower can still be used without the self-propel turned on and I found that it was actually easier in the smaller areas of my yard.

My only negative about the SP feature is that it is real-wheel drive. If you are running the SP and you need to stop, your natural inclination is to tip the mower back onto its rear wheels - but since those are the drive wheels, it just keeps going. It takes a bit of getting used to as you must tip the mower forward or reach over to shift off the SP quickly.

The brushless electric Stihl motor starts with the push of a button and is so quiet that I can even mow in the early morning or late in the evening without disturbing my neighbors. It was powerful enough to plow through my 12-inch tall grass with ease and can be switched from bagging to mulching in just a few seconds. I cut my front lawn (about one-quarter acre) on one battery charge but my grass was unusually tall and thick on test day. The mower does have an extra slot to store a second battery if you want extended run-time on the go. 

The Stihl batteries also fit a variety of their brand outdoor tools such as weed wackers, hedge trimmers, tree nippers and more. The charger refreshes the battery in less than an hour. According to the company, STIHL batteries are based on 36-volt lithium-ion technology, hitting the “sweet spot” of power and run time. The AP 300 is touted as keeping more than 80 percent of its battery capacity after 500 charges. 

One other note about the AP 300 battery - it is water resistant and so can be used even in damp weather.

Another small negative about the Stihl mower centers around its storage and transportability. The durable metal deck makes the mower’s weight quite a bit heavier than my former model so I had to have help putting it into my car. Also the handle is a bit harder to fold than some other brands, with turnbolts that must be screwed in and out rather than a quick-folding feature. The height of the handle, even when folded, was a bit challenging to slide into the back of my Prius. Other than that, the mower was a hit and I would definitely recommend it, especially if someone has a larger yard like mine. I can also see why the Stihl would be the choice of professional lawn services as it impressed me with its heavy-duty features.

Price of the Stihl RMA 510 V is $699, with a single battery and charger. The same model (RMA 510) without the self-propelled option is about $200 less. If you already have the battery and charger, the RMA-510 can be purchased for $279. As your local dealer about summer specials on tool bundles.

Visit for more info.

Ryobi RY401110-Y battery powered mower


Ryobi mowers are known for easy folding and storage. Pictured above, the RY401110-Y model. Below, The P1121 Battery and Corded Hybrid. Photos courtesy of Ryobi.

If you own Ryobi power tools, you know that they offer solid quality at a lower price point. Their lawn mowers also fall into that category. My eldest son, Sully, has a RY401110-Y and has really enjoyed it - but he also has a small lawn and doesn’t need a ton of capacity or power. His take on the Ryobi is that it is lightweight enough to easily transport when he needs to mow an empty lot that he owns nearby, but is still plenty of power for cutting tall grass, even when it’s slightly damp after a rain. Though it does not have a self-propelled feature, Sully has not found that he needed it for his smaller lawn.

The Ryobi mowers are known for easy folding and storage which is great if space is a premium. Sully’s mower sports bright LED lights that he often uses when he is mowing in the evening. The grass bag is easy to remove, converting the mower to mulching in a snap.

Ryobi P1121 Battery and Corded HybridThe only negative that Sully reports is that while the larger 40 volt battery for the mower fits all other Ryobi 40V tools, it does not fit his smaller 18 Volt Ryobi power tools, which he found a bit disappointing.

At $279 including 6Ah battery and charger, the Ryobi is a great deal, especially for smaller yards. Home Depot also runs occasional discounts on this mower and other Ryobi models so keep your eyes peeled for deals. 

Another interesting mower from Ryobi is the P1121 Battery and Corded Hybrid. This is the first mower that we have seen that allows you to switch from battery-powered to corded so that you never run out of power. It uses the standard Ryobi batteries that fit dozens of other Ryobi tools, which seems like it would be a real plus. Though we did not test this model, they are getting good reviews online and it seems like an interesting concept, especially for small yards.


A friend of mine owns an EGO mower and he let me borrow it for a test drive a few weeks ago. I was impressed that it cut through 18-inch tall grass with minimal bog-down and I was pushing it to its limits. Later, I used it on some 12-inch tall Bermuda mixed with weeds and it ran through without any issues. The mower’s self-propelled feature, Touch Drive Technology, puts complete control of the SP system in the palm of your hands by using pressure to engage it. I found it much easier to turn on and off than some of the other mowers that we tested. The battery life was about 45 minutes but my friend had purchased an extra battery and I was able to recharge one indoors while using the other. The mower also comes with LED headlights that are convenient for using at dusk or in shade.

Ego LM2135SPThe EGO LM2135SP. Courtesy of EGO.

The EGO LM2135SP is supplied with two blade choices - one for everyday mowing and one for mulching, which we all know is better for our lawns and the environment. Though the mower has a large, 21-inch cutting deck, it was relatively lightweight and easy to transport. I was able to lift it by myself and stow it in the back of my Prius. The handle folds quickly and easily, a real plus if you will be toting it often. Storage is also easier with the unit folding quite flat and standing on end to minimize space. The 5Ah battery fits all other EGO tools and they offer quite a variety.  

My only negative with the EGO is that it is mostly made from plastic which is fine for home users but probably would not hold up for professional use. The mower does include a 5-year warranty with 3-year battery warranty, the longest that we found of any of the battery-powered tools. Ace Hardware has the EGO LM2135SP on sale through the end of June for $629.99 with one battery and charger. Check with your local Ace dealer for in-stock options and other summer specials.


Greenworks MO60L514Above, the Greenworks MO60L514. Courtesy of Greenworks.

I’ve been watching the last few years as the Greenworks mowers have just gotten better and better. The company claims that they are built to last even for pro landscapers - and most homeowners will get years of use out of them. We like the Greenworks MO60L514 60-volt Max brushless self-propelled mower.

With its large 21-inch steel cutting deck and yet lightweight maneuverability, the Greenworks mower is easy to handle and transport. In addition to your choice of bagging, mulching or side discharge, the mower sports a turbo button for leaf pickup and maximum power. The ergonomic handle folds in just seconds for storage or stowing it in the back of your car. One negative is that like some of the other mowers that we tested, the Greenworks self-propelled option is rear-wheel drive which takes a bit of an adjustment when making tight corners. 

This mower comes standard with one battery but you can purchase a second which may be worth it if you have a larger than normal lot or can’t easily recharge. The dual port auto switchover feature gives you up to 120 minutes of continuous runtime with two 5Ah batteries. The charger also helps to cool the batteries before recharging them, extending their life - and the brushless motor can add years of use to the mower. The company’s 4-year tool and battery warranty is one of the best in the industry.

The MO60L514 is on sale at Lowes through Aug. 6, 2020 for $449 which is a savings of $50, including one battery and charger.

Black and Decker CM2043C 40V Max Lawn MowerBLACK & DECKER

Above, the Black and Decker CM2043C . Courtesy of Black and Decker.

Since my first battery-powered mower was a Black and Decker, I wanted to mention that B&D still offers the CM2043C 40V Max Lawn Mower for around $350-$400 at most True Value stores, including two batteries and charger. Though I didn’t have a chance to test this latest model, I did read some online reviews which varied from 1-5 stars, mainly based on the battery life which seems to be from 20-30 minutes. The consensus is that this mower is fine for very small yards but some users will be frustrated by the shorter battery life. However if you purchase it with your eyes open, it is a good starter mower for smaller spaces.


Of course, there are many other brands and models of battery-powered mowers but I haven’t had a chance to try them all. Several are now even completely robotic and will clip the yard while you do whatever you like to do instead of mowing.

Husqvarna, Bosch, McCullogh, Worx and are some of the top-rated robotic mower brands. Stihl also recently came out with a robotic mower but it is still only available in limited areas. Prices for the various brands range from just under $1,000 to up around $5,000. 

Worx WR140 Landroid The Worx WR140 Landroid. Courtesy of Worx.

According to online reviews, the Worx WR140 Landroid is one of the better robotic models available - and its lesser price point of around $1,000 makes it especially appealing. The Landroid will even automatically recharge its batteries when it’s done mowing, plus those same batteries fit many other Worx products. Watch a video about it.


Last but not least, if you want to avoid gas fumes, there’s another option which is making a comeback - good old-fashioned people-powered push mowers. I have used the Fiskars reel mowers, with pricing ranging from $200-260, and have been quite impressed with their quality and surprising ease of use. 

Fiskars Reel MowerThe Fiskars reel mower. Courtesy of Fiskars.

No, they’re not quite as nap-inducing as a robotic mower, but you can skip going to the gym and have quite a satisfying experience at the same time as you clip your grass using your own sweat and muscles. Dr. Trish Ballard, a veterinarian in Lewisville, comments, “This is a good workout for me!” and she has trimmed down her waistline as she mows. She’s not alone as sales of these simple machines have been steadily rising over the last few years.

So what’s your favorite eco-mower experience? We’d love to hear what you think!


'Green' yard crews boast quiet, fume-free lawn service

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