Best Battery Riding Lawn Mowers From Consumer Reports' Tests

The technology’s improved. Several rated models can mow an acre on a single charge.

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low angle of freshly cut lawn with blurred riding lawn mower in background Photo: Getty Images

Batteries keep improving in the lawn-mower world. They’re lasting longer and powering bigger machines. That means you can now find a decent selection of battery—a.k.a. cordless electric—riding lawn mowers with the power to cut more than an acre of grass on a single charge.

In fact, one battery riding lawn mower in Consumer Reports’ lawn mower and tractor ratings can mow almost  two acres, thanks to a battery that lasts an impressive two hours.

The Case for a Battery Riding Mower

Battery riding lawn mowers are more expensive than their gas counterparts. In Consumer Reports’ ratings, the top-rated battery riding mower, a zero-turn model from Ego, costs $5,500 compared with the top-rated gas lawn tractor from John Deere, at $4,400. 

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So why buy one? Well, they have some advantages. You’ll typically get a quieter ride than with a gas model. You’ll also save on gasoline, and help the environment in the process.

“They require less maintenance,” adds Misha Kollontai, the engineer who leads lawn mower testing for Consumer Reports. As with a gas-powered model, you’ll have to keep the blades sharp and your eye on the tire pressure. But you won’t need to change the spark plugs or motor oil.

“Generally, maintenance involves ensuring that the battery doesn’t go too long with very little charge,” Kollontai notes. "It will deteriorate in the off-season if it stays in a discharged state or is exposed to extreme temperatures.” Kollontai recommends checking the manual or maker’s website for specific care instructions.

What's Available in Battery Riding Lawn Mowers

As with gas riding mowers, battery riding mowers come in three types:

Traditional lawn tractors. These have car-style steering wheels and cutting decks from 42 to 54 inches.
Zero-turn mowers. Their cutting decks range from 42 to 52 inches. They use lever-based forward and rearward steering for nimble handling and tight turns. 
Rear-engine riders. These lower-cost, compact units typically have 30-inch-wide cutting decks.

Feature-wise, battery riding mowers are generally on a par with gas riding mowers. All six models in our ratings can cut in reverse. They all include gauges you can view from your seat to see how much battery juice remains. Other available features include cruise control, washout ports, and suspension seats for greater comfort.

With one exception, the cutting decks of the battery riding mowers in our ratings are 42 inches wide—on the narrow end of what’s available. Most models have warranties of three years. Battery-powered riding mowers haven’t been on the market long enough to receive Consumer Reports’ scores for owner satisfaction or reliability. 

CR members can read on about four recommended battery riding mower models from our expert tests. Or, check out Consumer Reports’ Lawn Mower and Tractor Buying Guide and Ratings, featuring dozens more battery and gas-powered options of various types and styles.

Top Battery Riding Lawn Mowers

How CR Tests Lawn Mowers

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Tobie Stanger

I cover the money side of home-related purchases and improvements: avoiding scams, making sense of warranties and insurance, finding the best financing, and getting the most value for your dollar. For CR, I've also written about digital payments, credit and debit, taxes, supermarkets, financial planners, airlines, retirement and estate planning, shopping for electronics and hearing aids—even how to throw a knockout wedding on a shoestring. I am never bored. Find me on Twitter: @TobieStanger