Compared to gas models, relatively few electric riding lawn mowers are available to choose from, but with a little research you can still find a riding mower that will get your lawn in shape without the mess and fumes of gas.
The best electric riding mowers handle smoothly, cut evenly, and can mow an acre or more on one battery charge, but each has strengths and weaknesses you’ll want to know about before you choose.
An industry leader in electric riding lawn mowers, Ryobi produces a range of models, but the RY48111 stands out as a consistent favorite among homeowners. This mower’s 100Ah lead acid battery powers its three brushless motors for up to 2.5 hours, enough to mow 2.5 acres.
Even towing accessories takes little out of the battery. The 38-inch two-blade deck can be manually adjusted in 12 positions, from 1.5 to 4.5 inches, for precise cutting.
It’s highly maneuverable even at slow speeds, and with its exceptionally small turning radius of 16 inches, it has no trouble with tight corners. If you’re a lawn perfectionist, this is the riding mower for you.
Although designed for flat terrain, it handles well on small inclines. The mower’s impressive weight of 695 pounds adds stability, but can make maintenance challenging. It mows in reverse at up to 3 mph, but speed and turning control are less precise.
As an electric model, it’s quieter than any gas mower, but when the blade is engaged, it’s loud enough that you’ll want ear protection. This machine’s biggest downside is its lead acid battery, but proper maintenance helps maximize the battery’s lifespan. If the battery fails to charge, leaving it unplugged from the charger for several hours, then plugging it back in can help.
If Ryobi’s reputation appeals to you, but you’re looking for something compact and easy on the wallet, consider model #RY48130. This model’s 30-inch cutting deck manually adjusts in seven positions between 1.5 to 4.5 inches, offering plenty of flexibility for the average lawn.
Its 48V/50Ah battery lets you work for an hour and cover around an acre. As with the 38-inch model, this smaller model is equipped with three brushless motors for serious cutting power, and its 16-inch turning radius makes it easily maneuverable. The Ryobi #RY48130 is a practical option if you’re cutting thick grass or weeds in a tight space with multiple obstacles.
Troy-Bilt TB30 E
From one of the most trusted gardening equipment manufacturers around comes the highly rated Troy-Bilt 30-inch TB30 E. A full charge of the 56V lithium-ion battery lets you mow for around an hour and cover an acre. Better yet, the battery recharges in just four hours. The accurate battery level indicator ensures you won’t run dry in the middle of your work.
This machine easily handles rough ground and slight slopes and can cut in reverse. The mower operates with a simple foot pedal control that lets you easily switch between forward and reverse. Working around trees and landscaping features is effortless with this model’s responsive steering and 18-inch turning radius.
The body is mostly plastic, making the mower particularly lightweight and easy to push away for storage. The front-end suspension gives you a smoother ride. Because the mower lacks anti-scalping wheels, however, the combination of light weight and front-end suspension increase the risk of scalping.
Oddly, although this mower is equipped with a headlight, the control panel isn’t backlit, which makes mowing at dusk a little harder.
This compact little riding mower is ideal for small lawns of less than an acre. The lithium-ion 56V battery gives you around an hour of runtime, enough for an acre. Even on low battery it performs well and can power ahead at a brisk 5 mph.
The 30-inch single-blade steel deck has five adjustable cutting heights between 1.5 and 3.75 inches. With a foot pedal for speed control and an 18-inch turn radius, it handles as easily as a golf cart.
It’s an exceptionally quiet machine, letting you mow in the early morning without irritating your neighbors. Although it struggles with tall grass and thick grass species such as Bermuda and zoysia, it can get through them if you take it slow. Trying to force the mower through will stop the cutting deck.
It’s designed for flat terrain, but can handle driving straight on slight inclines. The mower’s light weight means it tends to bounce on uneven ground and can get stuck in small pits, but also makes it easy to push into the garage for storage.
As a safety feature to prevent children from using the mower, the motor won’t start without sufficient weight on the seat. The cutting deck turns off in reverse, but you can disengage this feature with the push of a button. The telescoping Soft Touch steering wheel and the adjustable mid-back seat keep you comfortable. A mulching kit is available separately.
Cub Cadet CC 30 e Electric Rider
The Electric Rider was designed with the goal of creating an electric riding mower that’s as effective as a gas model. Its 56V/30 Ah lithium-ion battery gives you an hour of runtime for an acre of mowing. Charge it for 4 hours, and you’re up and running again. The 30-inch single blade deck can be adjusted in five positions between 1.5 to 4 inches.
The pedals provide good speed control at up to 5 mph or 4 mph in reverse, while the responsive steering and 18-inch turning radius makes maneuvering around obstacles easy. It handles tall grass well even in damp conditions.
On level ground, the mower produces an exceptionally even cut, but because it lacks guide wheels, results on uneven ground vary. It’s also prone to getting stuck on roots, mole hills, and divots, which can cause the wheels to spin or the blade to stop.
Unlike many smaller riding mowers, this model is engineered to handle hills of up to 20 percent, and it does the job well, although turning on a hill can be difficult.
A bagger, mulching kit, and hauler are available separately for this side-discharge mower. The high-back, spring cushioned seat with arm rests is built for comfort, and there’s even a USB charging port. It’s one of the pricier models around, but a wise choice if you need a mower that performs reliably on hilly lawns.
Weibang Lithium-ion E-Rider (Model #WB76E)
The E-Rider, powered by a 72V/18AH lithium-ion battery, is built for light work on small lawns. The 30-inch two-blade cutting deck can be adjusted in 10 positions from 1 to 4 inches, giving you precise control over your lawn’s height, while the 18-inch turning radius helps with handling.
The two pedal driving system – right for gas and left for brake – might take some getting used to if you’re new to it. The speed can be hard to finesse when going slow, although this model isn’t particularly fast, running at 3.7 mph or 3.1 mph in reverse. It can mow in reverse and cuts wet grass and weeds with little difficultly.
Slopes are a challenge, however, and the lack of suspension makes for a bumpy ride on uneven lawns. The motor shuts off without enough weight on the seat, which is a helpful safety feature, but considering the rough ride, it can kill the engine unexpectedly when you hit a bump.
It’s an effective mulcher, but no bagger is available. Despite its compact size, it’s comfortable for taller drivers. Even with the blade running, it’s hardly louder than a vacuum cleaner. The main downside is the long battery charging time of 8 hours.
Turf One (Weibang) E-Rider VOLT (Model #30-EB)
Produced by Weibang and sold under the Turf One brand name, this mower is identical to the lithium-ion E-Rider in almost all aspects, including the cutting deck, control panel, speed, and maneuverability.
The difference is that while the E-Rider runs on a lithium-ion battery, the E-Rider VOLT is powered by a traditional lead acid battery. Just like the E-Rider’s battery, the E-Rider VOLT’s battery should give you 120 minutes of runtime on a single charge, enough for a little over an acre. Because it’s lead acid, however, you’ll need to replace it sooner than you would a lithium-ion battery.
To make up for this fact, the E-Rider VOLT sells for a lower price than the E-Rider. That’s a valuable benefit if you need a budget-friendly riding mower this season, but when you’re shopping, pay close attention to the model number to ensure you get the model you want.
Mean Green Nemesis NXR-48/52
Mean Green specializes in professional-grade electric riding lawn mowers and the Nemesis NXR-48/52 is one of its more compact models, designed for large residential lawns and small commercial properties. This powerful zero-turn mower can run for 1.5 hours hours, enough to mow three acres, on the small LEM4880 Green Lithium Battery. If you need more runtime, pick up the large LEM48140 Green Lithium Battery and mow for 2.5 hours.
The cutting deck is made from heavy gauge welded aluminum and equipped with high/low blade speed control. Cutting decks are available in 48- and 52-inch widths to make quick work of large lawns. The anti-scalp wheel mounts help you achieve an even, healthy cut. The rear tires and seat are both designed for comfort, and the mower’s low center of gravity makes driving even smoother.
At almost 650 pounds, it’s a hefty machine, but light for a zero turn model. It’s also surprisingly quiet for its size, running at just 76 dB, quieter than most gas mowers.
All that extra power, runtime, and durability doesn’t come cheap, though. At a price of over $12,000, it’s only worth the investment if you routinely mow spaces of 2 acres or more.
Even with the limited selection of electric riding lawn mowers on the market, there’s a reliable model for every type of lawn. When you’re shopping around, pay attention not just to battery life and cutting deck size, but also to maneuverability, comfort, and how well the mower performs on your type of terrain.