Product Review: B & D Cordless Lawn Mower
Black & Decker's 24v Mulching Lawn Mower (CMM1200)
We were anxious to give Black & Decker's new cordless power lawn mower a try when it arrived. The mower came fully assembled, just fold the handle back into position and tighten down the thumb-screws.
Our mower arrived fully charged, so we were able to get right to work mowing our lawn. We fastened the grass catcher in place - easy. Next, we set the mower height for our lawn. Done.
This lawn mower offers a nice range of heights, the highest of which facilitates mulching. Adjusting the height can be done with one hand, although it is a bit difficult to grip. We used two hands, one to squeeze the control handle, and the other to lift or press down on the mower. Setting the desired height is very quick and easy to do.
We lined it for the first pass and started it up. But first, an important note, the lawn mower needs a key to operate. This is an important safety feature to avoid accidental operation. However, our first recommendation to you, and to Black & Decker, put this key on a chain and attach it to the mower before you do anything else. Misplacing the key can be really annoying as we discovered during testing.
Because this mower is battery powered, we thought maybe our dreams of being able to mow after midnight would finally be realized. Our neighbors have made it abundantly clear they don't appreciate our nighttime landscape maintenance routine. Well no matter, unlike the electric cars silently gliding down local streets, this mower sounds like a mower. That is, it sounds like a very quiet mower, a lot quieter than a gasoline powered lawn mower.
So as we started pushing the CMM1200 (catchy name - huh?) around we noted the weight (76 lbs), it is a lot heavier than the B&D corded mower we are used to, but it is roughly no heavier than a standard gasoline powered mower. It isn't self-propelled, like many gasoline mowers, because that would exhaust the battery more quickly. We didn't have a problem with the weight, and even the seven-year-old we enlisted was able to push it around too - although he would undoubtedly need more lemonade breaks.
When using the bag to capture clippings, we found that it needed to be emptied once it reached about halfway full. Failure to empty it at half-full resulted in reduced cutting performance and grass clippings being left on the ground. Furthermore, the capacity seemed inadequate because it had to be emptied roughly every 200 square feet (for the record, we were removing about 1.5 inches of grass). However, when mulching, operating the mower without the grass catcher, this obviously would not be a problem.
So to the battery, Black and Decker recommend this mower for those of us with 1/3 acre or less to mow - what can be mowed on one battery charge. To put that into other terms, over 14,000 square feet, or a 40 foot by 100 foot front yard plus a 100 foot by 100 foot backyard. That should probably cover most suburban homes. Practically speaking, to get this performance, you must mow your lawn regularly and cut grass while it is dry. Tall or wet grass increase the load on the motor and drain the battery more quickly. *A Proper lawn care regimen would have you following those guidelines anyway.
The battery is maintenance free and according to Black & Decker, will recharge 60% in 4 hours and receive a full charge in 10 hours.
This mower will generally require less maintenance than a gasoline mower. Keep it clean and dry and periodically resharpen the blade - routine maintenance for any mower. Other than that, keep it plugged in when not in use. Incidentally, this is the only mower on the market, at the time of writing, that is Energy Star rated. That means that the battery charger meets stringent government standards for efficiency.
Because this mower doesn't pollute like a gasoline mower, is quiet and energy-star rated, you couldn't hope for a greener power lawn mower. Coupled with its ease of use, ease to operation (no cord to pull), this mower makes at lot of sense. That folding handle also makes storage easier.
Bottom line, is this a good mower for you? We like the fact that this mower is green to operate, and we are pleased to see an Energy Star rating. It is solidly built and easy to operate. It has plenty of power to get us through our lawn. It is quiet and easier to store than most power mowers. Having to keep it plugged in means you will need an outlet in the vicinity of its storage space. Also, because all batteries have a life span, eventually (typically, after a few years) the battery will have to be replaced (the cost of which may be offset by fuel and maintenance savings). If you have a very large yard or let your lawn get too shaggy between mowings, then a gasoline mower might be a better choice. If you mow regularly and have a third of an acre or less, this lawnmower could serve you well. Coupled with that, the low cost of operation, the zero emissions, quiet operation and overall convenience, we like the Black & Decker CMM1200 and we would recommend it to our friends.