Worx 56V Cordless Electric Mower Review
Yesterday, I had a great opportunity to test the WORX 56V MaxLithium 19-inch Electric Lawn Mower.
It was a sunny weekend, the temperature was quite comfortable and my grass needed to be cut.
I admit I had preconceived ideas about how the experience would go based on a different electric mower I reviewed about four years ago.
Back then, I was not impressed with cordless lawn mowers.
Times have changed!
Ask the Builder Rating:
The engineers who designed the box the mower came in did a great job. The packing was minimal but did a superb job of protecting the mower and all the accessories. All I did was cut the two corners at one end of the box with a razor knife, lower that flap to the garage floor and the mower rolled out of the box. Don't be a fool and try to lift the mower out of the box.
The handle of the mower is folded over and all you have to do is press a simple button on one side of the handle and it lifts to the upright position. In seconds I was ready to cut - or thought so hoping the batteries might come from the factory with a teaser charge.
They didn't. The batteries needed a full charge.
The specs by WORX say the mower comes with two 56-volt lithium-ion batteries that are connected in parallel to achieve a longer run time at 56 volts.
Each battery, per the owner's manual, requires two hours of charging time. The charger only can accommodate one battery at a time, so you'll be investing four, five, eight or ???? hours to get your mower ready to cut. If you set a timer on your smart phone to alert you to when the two hours is up on the first charge, you can minimize your charge time.
If you don't do this, then when you finally remember the first battery is charged and you put in the second one, you're two hours away from cutting your grass.
The batteries come with a power-level indicator on each one. Pressing the red button on the battery tells you how much invisible juice is left inside the pack. Flip open the storage bay door on the top of the mower to access the beefy batteries.
I was pleasantly surprised at how light the mower was. I have a hilly lot and thought it would be very hard to push the mower up my drive to cut the grass on my septic tank leach field. It didn't require a great amount of effort to push the mower up 25 feet of 20-degree grade.
If you have a level lot, you'll think you're pushing around a play mower a toddler might use to cut grass. Yes, it's that light and/or the wheels have superb bearings or both!
Maneuvering the mower around and making turns was a breeze. The caster wheels up front make a huge difference compared to the fixed-axle wheels on most mowers.
It's easy to adjust the height of cut on each wheel. I set mine at 4 inches and it was perfect for the cut I prefer on my lawn.
Cutting Time and Area
The amount of time and area you can cut depends on how thick, wet and high your grass is and how fast you can walk or run. My grass was about 7 inches tall, so 3 inches needed to be cut off. Realize that my grass here in New Hampshire is as fine as baby hair and it's very sparse. It's not a great lawn by any means. Get the image out of your head now that I was plowing through thick dense grass that would bog down a mower. That's not the kind of lawn I have.
It was dry as a bone so that helped cutting as well. I walked moderately fast but didn't run at all. I'd say I was moving about as fast as the normal person might cut their grass without being unsafe and without being a 5K runner.
The mower comes with two settings: Turbo and Eco. I had it on the Turbo setting which no doubt sucks more power from the batteries.
When you switch between the two settings, you can hear pitch of the spinning blade change, but I wouldn't say it's a huge difference in RPMs.
The WORX webpage says you can cut up to 9,400 square feet of lawn with one full charge of both batteries. My guess is they did that calculation with the Eco setting and with an Olympic runner behind the machine.
There's a blue LED indicator up high on the handle that tells you the amount of power left in the batteries. After cutting only 2,000 square feet of lawn my indicator light went from solid 25% to flashing blue. This told me that at any moment the mower might stop.
Based on this observation either the 9,400 square feet estimate is pie-in-the-sky, my indicator meter is not working right and/or my batteries are not working properly. Next time I cut the grass I'll do it on the Eco setting and cut the exact same area and see where the battery level is at. Watch for that update.
My mower was still operating at full speed acting like it had plenty of power, but lithium-ion batteries are like that. They operate pretty much at full power and when close to being completely discharged, they fall off the cliff.
If you graph the power curve it looks like an Olympic high diver going off a 50-foot platform.
I may have only had minutes of cutting time left when I parked the mower in the garage. I'll never know as it was time to go in and shower for dinner.
1. Provide a dual charger so both batteries can charge at the same time.
2. Produce a great EASY Quick-Start guide. Make sure in the guide you tell people that it takes the mower a full second before the motor starts up after you do steps one and two. Many will think the mower is BROKEN because it doesn't respond IMMEDIATELY to the safety bail handle being pulled back.
3. Have a sticker on the mower under the battery storage door AND on the charger for BEST PRACTICES with respect to care of the batteries. In other words, it is best to store the mower with fully charged batteries? What about over the winter? Should the batteries be stored for six months in a low-charge state? This may be buried deep in the Owner's Manual, but realize most people hate to read those books.
4. The LED battery indicator on the handle was impossible to read because of my height. Maybe a taller person can see it, but the horizontal handle my hands were on blocked my vision. Maybe this should be on the top of the mower? You're always looking down at the mower as you cut, so the indicator could be put at a 30-degree angle facing right back at the operator.
5. Consider having different colored LEDS. Blue for 100% charge, green for 75%, yellow for 50%, red for 25%, blinking red for "Get me back to the charger NOW!"
This was a fun mower to operate. It was easy to use. You don't have to be strong to operate it. It's not noisy, but you do hear the spinning blade.
Don't be fooled by the zero emissions claim if you're really interested in all the fuzzy eco-friendly buzz that's going on in this day and age. Believe me I love the outdoors and hike and do outdoor radio all the time.
Realize that smoke, fumes, or gas of some sort was emitted into the atmosphere and heat was probably dissipated in nearby water at the power plant where the electricity was created you used to charge your batteries. Think of it as a not-in-my-backyard pre-emission. You'll only emit perspiration when you operate this mower and quite possibly a smile.
Because the LED meter told me I had a small amount of power left after only completing about 21 percent of what the WORX marketing department says I could cut, that's why I'm only giving it three hammers out of five.
As I said, I could have bum batteries, the meter could be defective or I'm horrible at doing square-footage calculations. I think it's safe to say I know how to do accurate multiplication after a successful estimating and building career of twenty-plus years.
Do the math at your house, see how much grass you need to cut and if you're in the 3,000 to 5,000 square-foot range, this may be the mower for you.
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