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Are cordless lawn mowers as good as petrol mowers for larger gardens?

Are large, pricey John Deere and Ego battery mowers as good as petrol models?

Cordless-mower technology has come on a lot in recent years, with high-powered batteries that can run for longer, making some of them a real contender to petrol mowers for mowing larger lawns.

Cordless mowers tend to be a bit more expensive than their corded or petrol model equivalent and we’ve largely tested the mid-range of the cordless market. But with more people prepared to invest a bit more in a quality mower, we’ve expanded our tests to include two of the latest top-end cordless mowers, including the John Deere R40B.

We sent them to our test lab to see how well they cut grass and whether they are good enough to make our list of Best Buy lawn mowers.

John Deere R40B cordless lawn mower, £617

The R40B is the smaller of John Deere’s two cordless lawn mowers. It has a 40cm-wide cutting blade that John Deere claims will make it suitable for cutting lawns up to 280 sq m.

John Deere R40B lawn mower

John Deere sells the R40B emphasising that battery mowers are quieter and cleaner than petrol lawn mowers, with no petrol fumes or the fuss of filling up the petrol tank to contend with.

But if you’re looking for a swathe of useful extra features for a mower of this price, you might be disappointed. It has no roller to put stripes on your lawn and no mulching feature.

We tried the R40B on a variety of different types of grass and lawn surface including long, rough and damp grass. We found that the battery lasted for around 19 minutes on average.

Although this seems a surprisingly short time for an expensive cordless mower, the amount of grass you can cut with one charge will also depend on the power of the motor.

Read our full review of the John Deere R40B to find out if it makes up for a lack of running time with sheer cutting power.

EGO Power+ LM2024E-SP cordless mower, £679

If you’re less bothered about buying a lawn mower with a pedigree brand name and are more interested in fancy features, you might prefer the Ego Power+ LM2024E-SP.

Ego power+ LM2024E-SP lawn mower

This self-propelled lawn mower has a 50cm cutting deck, making it suitable for larger lawns than the John Deere. It can also be used as a mulching mower, chopping the clippings finely before returning them to the lawn to break down and improve the fertility of your lawn, plus saving you the bother of disposing of the clippings.

Although it’s rather large, it has a telescopic handle that folds very compactly into the body of the machine and unusually it can be stored upright.

We found that it could cut a large area of short grass, 540 sq m, on one battery charge. But cutting a large area is not the only criteria that makes a great mower, we also look how good the grass looks after it’s been cut and whether the mower collects the clipping well.

To find out if its performance matches the high price tag visit our Ego Power+ SP2024E-SP review.

Cordless vs petrol lawn mowers

Of course, there are good and bad cordless mowers. So whether they’re as good as petrol mowers for mowing a large lawn depends on which one you buy.

We think that our Best Buy cordless mowers will give a petrol mower a run for its money performance-wise. But whether they will be good enough for your garden may depend on how long it takes to mow your lawn. To date, we’ve found that cordless mowers will run for only 12-40 minutes in our cutting tests.

Cordless mower pros

  • These can be used anywhere as there is no restrictive length of power cable
  • Can be quiet compared with other types of mower
  • Cordless mowers start at the press of a button.

Cordless mower cons

  • Can only mow as long as your battery is charged
  • Usually heavier than corded electric lawn mowers and more expensive
  • Battery running times vary from 12-40 minutes, depending on the lawn mower
  • It can take several hours to recharge some batteries, particularly if you have two batteries and only one charger
  • Some models seem underpowered for cutting long or rough grass.

Petrol mower pros

  • Can be used anywhere as you don’t have a power cord to worry about
  • Often give a good-quality cut and finish to a lawn
  • Make fast work of cutting larger lawns.

Petrol mower cons

  • Often larger, heavier and harder to manoeuvre than cordless and electric mowers
  • Mowing time is limited by the size of the fuel tank
  • Filling and emptying the fuel tank can be messy and difficult
  • You have to buy petrol from the garage
  • Petrol fumes can be unpleasant
  • Can be very noisy
  • You need to learn a bit of basic petrol mower maintenance
  • Pull-cord mowers can be tricky to start.

Visit our guide to petrol mowers for more advice on whether a petrol lawn mower is the right choice for you, or take a look at our list of Best Buy petrol lawn mowers.

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