The criteria for selecting the best electric lawn mowers are varied. First, most people buy electric mowers because they are more environmentally friendly than gas-powered mowers, so it is important to note whether the electric mower uses a cord or a battery, and which variety of battery. The quality of the cut and the options for height of the blades is also an important factor to sustainable gardeners, because mowing the grass on a tall setting reduces water use for lawns. In addition, the lawn mower's cutting capability is a consideration. Some mowers become clogged with twigs easily and other mowers cannot cut wet grass. Because each garden has different considerations, the best lawn mower for one person may not be the best for another person.
Black and Decker MM875 Corded Electric Push Lawn Mower
This electric mower is an economical choice as of 2010, at half the cost of the Neuton CE 6.3 or the Brill Razorcut Accu. It is a sturdy, long-lasting mower that mows thick grasses well. The maximum cutting height is 3.5 inches, and you can adjust the mowing height with a single lever instead of adjusting each side or each wheel individually.
The major downside to this functional and inexpensive electric mower is that it uses a cord for power, so you are limited to mowing 100 feet from your outlet, and it is inconvenient to pay attention to the position of the power cord while mowing. It's important to plug the cord into a ground fault interrupter (GFI) outlet and never mow wet grass.
The fact that this mower has a cord means that it is less polluting than both gas and cordless electric mowers, which use batteries.
Brill Razorcut Accu Cordless Electric Push Reel Mower
The Brill Razorcut Accu is one of the few mowers that uses a NiCad battery, which is more eco-friendly than the lead-acid batteries so many cordless electric mowers use. It is lightweight at only 29 pounds and is easily maneuverable around curves and tight corners.
The Brill Razorcut is a reel mower, which provides a cleaner cut than rotary mowers, so grass blades are cut at an even height and will not get rough brown tips where the blades have been cut. However, reel mowers are more likely to get twigs clogged in the blades because of their fine cutting action, so this is not a mower for gardens with a lot of debris.
The downside to the Brill Razorcut Accu is that the highest setting on the blade is only 1.8 inches. This is an average height to set a lawn mower's blades, but many people who buy electric lawn mowers do so because they are gardening sustainably, and mowing the lawn on a taller setting is a common suggestion for sustainable lawn care.
Neuton CE 6.3 Cordless Electric Push Mower
According to Garden Design Magazine, the Neuton needs only a dime's worth of electricity to charge the battery fully. This mower doesn't require you to carefully manage a cord while mowing, because its lead-acid battery holds a charge for up to an hour's worth of mowing.
The reviewer at Organic Gardening Magazine states that it cut thick, wet grass easily in tests and left finely-cut clippings that decomposed in only a few days.
The Neuton also allows a relatively tall 3-inch cut. Sustainable gardeners recommend cutting grass on the tallest setting to shade roots and reduce the lawn's water use, and 3 inches is taller than many other mowers allow.
The Neuton is one of the few mowers that allows you to purchase a spare battery for longer mower sessions, so it's suitable for mowing larger gardens.
The downside to the Neuton is that the lead-acid battery creates harmful emissions when it is made, and it must be disposed of carefully to avoid polluting groundwater. Many people buy electric lawnmowers to reduce emissions, so using a lead-based battery is counter to that goal.