While mowing the lawn may never be considered a recreational activity, this rear bag mower from Black & Decker makes the chore as close to fun as it will ever get. With its 24-volt battery, which delivers 5-horsepower gas equivalent at peak torque, this cordless electric mower represents the top of Black & Decker's line of lawn mowing products. During our field tests, this orange powerhouse stood out above other mowers for ease of use and performance. Its versatile operation allowed us to mulch, bag, or expel the debris from its 19-inch cutting path. Switching between the three methods was as easy as removing the catch bag and the mulch plug--easily performed tasks when the mower is not running.
The most obvious difference between the new generation of electric mowers and the heavier gas-powered mowers of yore is the start-up. The ease with which this mower starts is almost stupefying. Simply pull and hold the thin handle lever, then pull the ignition lever, and presto!--the engine is running. To minimize safety risks to young children, a removable safety key must be inserted prior to starting the mower.
Once started, this mower runs like a dream and is much quieter than older gas-powered models. In addition to the lack of noise, vibrations were also dampened by the cushioned handgrips, a feature that makes mowing a much more comfortable experience. Another innovation is the method by which the mower is raised and lowered. Where once it was necessary to adjust each wheel individually, the height of the mowing platform is now controlled by a single squeeze of a single lever, which allows for seven positions from 1-1/2 to 3-1/2 inches. While this mower is much lighter than a gas mower, we did find that this Black & Decker cordless model, weighing in at 76 pounds, is heavier than its corded relatives.
The only disadvantage this machine seems to have is in the power department. While there were no serious problems during our field test, it was necessary to slow down or go back over thicker sections of grass in order to make a completely clean cut. This cordless model also requires a substantial charging time when first out of the box: the manufacturer suggests at least a 16-hour period initially in order to get peak performance and maximum run time. According to Black & Decker, the battery will be 70% energized with four hours of charging. When fully juiced, this mower can be expected to cut between 1/2 and 1/3 of an acre per charge. Though the charge is one aspect that needs to be considered when deciding whether to purchase a corded or a rechargeable mower, we found the added maneuverability of the cordless over the corded model far outweighs the inconvenience of charge times.
When you've finished mowing, the handles fold back, making it easier to store this mower in a tight garage or shed. It comes with a 30-day no-risk satisfaction guarantee and a manufacturer's full two-year warranty.