Maintaining a lawn can be a chore, but it doesn't have to be a sustainability nightmare. One of the most eco-friendly ways to mow your lawn is with a reel mower, which has been around since the 19th century and is powered by, well… you. Of course, reel mowers are not suitable for everyone, as they can be heavy, difficult to maneuver, and require physical effort to operate.
But electric mowers are a more accessible and environmentally friendly option that has come a long way in recent years. With new designs and technology, they have become more reliable and practical, making them ideal for typical quarter-acre or slightly larger lots. They also have a push-button start, making it easier to get going and finish the job quickly so you can actually enjoy your well-manicured yard. Here are the 5 best eco-friendly lawnmowers we could find to help people with any type of lawn do their part for the environment.
Best on a Budget
People used to complain that electric equipment was more expensive than gas alternatives. No more. The BLACK+DECKER 3-in-1 String Trimmer/Edger/Mower is a phenomenal option if you have a small yard. This all-in-one machine easily converts from a trimmer to an edger to a mower, eliminating the need for separate tools for each chore. The mower has a 12-inch mowing width, making it best for small grass strips, lawns up to 750 square feet, or hillsides where a push mower would be too hard to handle. It comes with two batteries and has a two-year warranty.
Best Premium Model
The Toro Super Recycler 21 in. 60-Volt SmartStow Max Cordless Battery Walk Behind Mower is the best option if you're looking to splurge. This self-propelled mower has an intake to suck in air as you mow and recirculate grass under the mowing deck, resulting in ultra-fine clippings, which are great for leaving in place as a natural fertilizer. The machine adjusts to your walking speed based on how much pressure you apply to the handle, and cutting heights range from 1.25 to 4.25 inches.
It has a cast aluminum deck, which won't rust, and a battery estimated to last up to 50 minutes for lawns up to 0.33 acres. The mower also has a handy washout port to which you can attach a garden hose to rinse the mower deck. It folds down neatly to reduce stowing space by 70 percent and comes with a five-year warranty on the mower and a three-year warranty on the battery.
Best Small Yard Mower
Ideal for small yards, the Greenworks 25022 12-Amp 20-Inch 3-in-1 Electric Corded Lawn Mower is a budget-friendly option. With a cutting width of 20 inches, it can mulch, side discharge, and bag clippings, and the cutting height can be adjusted from 1.5 to 3.75 inches. While the mower has no self-propelled feature, the handles fold down for convenient storage. The mower weighs 56 pounds, so maneuvering may require some physical effort. A heavy-duty outdoor extension cord is needed, and it has a three-year warranty.
If you have weeds or thick grass to tackle, the DEWALT 21.5 in. 20-Volt MAX Lithium-Ion Cordless Battery Walk Behind Self Propelled Mower is a superb option. This powerhouse has a sturdy metal deck and auto-sensing technology that increases torque in overgrown areas of your lawn. It's also front-wheel drive, which makes it highly maneuverable. With the ability to bag, mulch, or side discharge clippings, the cutting height can be adjusted to your liking. The mower has a 60-minute run time and is ideal for lawns up to 0.5 acres. It's made in the United States and has a one-year warranty with free service and a 90-day money-back guarantee.
Best Overall Electric Mower
The RYOBI 40V Brushless 20-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower is the best overall electric mower. It offers the flexibility to mulch or bag clippings and includes a bagger, while a side discharge accessory can be purchased separately. The self-propelled feature makes it easier to maneuver, especially in thick or tall grass or weeds. In addition, the mower has seven cutting height adjustments and LED headlights for mowing in the cooler evening hours.
The mower is powered by one battery with a run time of about 40 minutes, but you can buy a backup battery to store onboard for speedy change-outs. The mower also has a quick-release handle that folds flat for vertical storage. It's a perfect fit for average lawns between 0.25 to 0.5 acres and comes with a five-year warranty.
Overall, the Ryobi 20-inch 40-volt Battery Walk Behind Self-Propelled Push Mower is our top pick due to its full complement of bells and whistles, functionality, and reasonable price point. However, if you have a small plot or need to tackle a hill that's hard to navigate with a typical push mower, we recommend the Black+Decker 3-in-1 Compact Mower. The low price and its ability to replace several pieces of equipment make it a good option for more sustainable lawn care on a budget. Regardless of your situation, at least one of the electric mowers on our list will allow you to transition to a more sustainable standard of lawn care effectively.
Focus on Lawn Health - Maintain a healthy lawn by mowing at the proper height and leaving grass clippings on the lawn for natural fertilization.
Conserve Water - Water your lawn efficiently by watering deeply and less frequently, and consider using a rain barrel to collect rainwater.
Go Native - Choose native plants that are adapted to your local climate to reduce water, fertilizer, and pesticide use and promote a more sustainable outdoor space.