So, you’ve got yourself a riding lawn mower and it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread – it just makes cutting the grass so easy! But you still have questions: How long until it runs out of battery? How fast can it go? Read on to find out!
Lawn mowers have been around for a long time now and you’ll be hard pressed to find a household with a garden that doesn’t have one. Riding lawn mowers are a bit newer to the gardening scene and as you may well know, come with a whole range of benefits over their standard pushed counterparts.
The most obvious of these benefits is that their motorised design allows for more grass to be mown more quickly and with reduced effort from us. It’s much easier to hop on this strange little grass-cutting vehicle and let it do its thing than it is to manually push a normal mower up and down our gardens.
Like any battery-powered appliance, riding lawn mowers are not immune to flat batteries and they will require charging between uses. How long does the average battery last though? How often do they need to be charged? How fast can a riding lawn mower go?
These are all good questions, and ones you’ll get the answers to after a quick history lesson:
The first discernible lawn mower invented was a creation of British inventor, Edward Budding, in 1830. The aim of this invention was to maintain the grass at sporting grounds and large estates more efficiently and easily.
Lawn mower popularity soon grew and has done so ever since, with more and more models being produced all the time with different sizes, shapes, and features. It wasn’t until 1956 though, that the very first riding lawn mower was conceived.
We have American businessman Cecil Elwood Pond to thank for this invention, and his riding mower revolutionised lawn maintenance, boosting the speed and ease of grass cutting substantially.
Since the late 1950s, riding lawn mowers have only continued to improve in design and efficiency. Batteries have greater capacities than they did in the beginning and the riding mowers of today are able to get a lot more mowing done before needing a battery replacement.
Understandably, people contemplating getting a riding lawn mower are often concerned about battery lifespan as replacing a mower battery can be a costly exercise. This will vary from model to model, of course, but due to the size of riding mowers, the batteries they require are substantial – both in size and expense.
In short, the longer the battery lasts, the less frequently you’ll have to replace it, and therefore the less money you’ll need to spend on your riding mower.
Generally speaking, most riding mower batteries can last between 3 and 5 years. If you don’t use your mower too often, you might be able to squeeze as many as 6 or 7 years’ worth of battery life out of it but most people find themselves somewhere in the former range.
Depending on the battery type and model, 3-5 years’ worth of battery life equates roughly to around 500 full charges.
There are two main categories of battery when it comes to riding mowers: lithium ion, and lead acid. Each has its pros and cons and there will likely be one kind that best fits with your machine. Below you’ll find a brief outline of each of the two types.
Which type your mower has will depend on various factors such as its age and model but don’t let either type deter you; as long as you do what you can to look after whatever battery you have, your riding mower should have a long and productive life.
How long your riding lawn mower battery lasts during each mowing session will depend on a number of factors such as the size of your garden, the type of grass you have, your own weight and others.
A larger garden will require longer sweeps with your mower which will obviously drain more battery than mowing a smaller garden, and a if heavier person is riding the mower then the battery will drain more quickly than if a really light person is riding it. Likewise, if your grass is very long and unruly, it might take more energy to cut than shorter, tamer grass.
It’s really difficult to pin down a specific answer to this so the best thing to do is get mowing! By using your riding mower a few times, you’ll get to know exactly how much mowing you can do before the battery drains and you’ll be able to plan your mowing better for the next time, ensuring your mower is sufficiently charged.
While there’s no way to make your battery last forever (all good things must come to an end, right?), there are strategies you can employ to make sure it lasts for as long as it possibly can.
You can start by ensuring the battery you start with is of a decent quality. Trying to preserve a poor-quality battery will be a bit of an exercise in futility as there will be little you can do to keep it alive for any remarkable amount of time. Higher quality batteries might cost a bit more, but they last longer as standard and will be easier to support to further preserve their lifespan.
Similarly, ensuring you use the manufacture recommended charger will also help the battery to charge fully and properly, and last longer. Using off-brand chargers can reduce the battery’s capacity to hold charge in the long term so don’t be tempted by budget prices!
Store your mower in a dry and cool area such as a garage or shed to ensure excess moisture doesn’t cause rust or electrical shorts, and that the battery doesn’t overheat when not in use. Excessive heat can drastically minimise the battery’s ability to hold charge, and diminishes its lifespan as a whole.
Excessive cold works in a similar way so it’s equally important to ensure your mower is not stored anywhere too cold either. Not too hot and not too cold – riding mower batteries are basically Goldilocks!
If your mower has a lead acid battery, be careful not to use it until it’s completely drained, as mentioned above, this will decrease the battery’s ability to charge fully in the future. Lithium ion batteries have a bit more leeway here but it’s still probably best to leave some charge on them rather than draining them completely.
And finally, the question you’ve probably been waiting for: how fast can a riding lawn mower go? How quickly will you be able to zoom around your garden and get that grass cut? Will this boring gardening chore become a fun joyride?
Probably not, unfortunately. While a riding lawn mower can move significantly more quickly than the average person pushes a conventional mower, there won’t be any call to hold onto your hat!
Riding mowers come with a variety of speed capabilities but typically fall somewhere in the 5-7mph range. If you’re disappointed by this news, just think, it’s still faster and more pleasant than pushing a heavy gas mower along at a snail’s pace in the sweltering heat!
The fastest riding mower is the Honda Mean Mower V2 which smashes all previous records with a staggering top speed of 150.99mph! Yes, you read that correctly – a lawn mower…going 150mph! Unfortunately though, this little stunt by Honda is not commercially available so you can put any dreams of having mower races with your neighbours safely to rest.
How long your riding mower battery lasts will depend on the type of battery, model of mower, frequency of use, and how well you look after it. You can improve its overall prognosis by making sure you charge and store it properly as well as ensuring you don’t frequently drain it fully, but at the end of the day, riding mower batteries aren’t designed to last forever.
And while your personal riding mower isn’t going to break any Guinness World Records, it is still faster than the average pushed lawn mower by a couple of miles per hour so either way you slice it, you’re in a good position.