Pros: Starts Instantly. No gas, no oil, no sparkplug. Cuts and mulches well.
Cons: That cord! Requires more passes than a larger mower or some women.Replacement blade cost.
There are two acres spanning lovely, woodsy Spud Acres on a winding country road somewhere in Marylands Chesapeake Bay country. To maintain the lawndrified sections of the mostly wooded property I have two lawn mowers, a Craftsman gas model reviewed previously and an electric Black and Decker MM850. I dont refer to the MM850 as electric because it rivets ones attention with its stunning, sexy curves, but rather because it plugs into an electrical outlet like a blender or a shredder except with a longer cord. Therein lie its charming appeal and its one major negative - that long, sometimes unmanageable umbilical cord.
Why would someone with this much property even consider purchasing an electric lawnmower? I didnt. If I would consider one, it would be a cordless model. The previous owner left this particular mower behind for me. Its clean appearance and lack of wear make it look like a mower that hasnt been used very often.
I like this mower and am not sure if this is because it cost me nothing, performs well, or is just a novelty destined to jade with time.
Features and Description in Stream of Unconsciousness
The lawnmower comes completely assembled, even for the original owner. Only the grass bag needs assembly.
For compact storage the handle folds down over the body after loosening two knobs.
This mulching lawn mower features the Black and Decker one touch wheel height adjustment system. While grasping and squeezing the adjuster, one can raise or lower the mower to the desired height. Releasing the finger grip mechanism locks in the height adjustment. I really like this feature; much better than adjusting each wheel individually.
The curved, padded handle is very comfortable, one of the most comfortable handles Ive ever experienced. The mower is turned on by pulling a lever out and towards the handle. This lever must be held against the handle to keep it running. Because of the ergonomic design, holding the lever in place is very easy and becomes second nature. Pulling the lever turns on the mower instantly; releasing it turns the mower off. Its great not having to pull on a cord to start the engine.
A safety shield/mulch insert must be in place when the bag is not being used. This unit is inserted in an opening in the back of the mower. A hinged door in turn folds down over this insert. The shield, along with the rear, door minimizes the possibility of accidental foot contact with the blade. It also minimizes the throwing of stones or other objects by the mower blade backward from under the mower deck. This system works wonderfully.
The shield must be removed when using the grass catcher bag. I found it required a bit of effort to pull out. Putting it back it wasnt as difficult a process.
The mower is easy to push and to turn. It is a joy to use. Surprisingly it is a bit louder than I had expected. Its quieter than my gas mower, but only by about 25%(very unscientific guess) or so. The quality of the cut was also a little disappointing, but changing the 19" blade remedied that significantly. This was the easiest blade change Ive ever made on a mower. Blades for this model run about 20 dollars apiece if you can find one. A search on the internet serendipitously led me to a business that had some for four dollars each. I bought four of them. Sporting the new blade my Black & Decker MM850 does a more than acceptable cutting/mulching job ,leaving behind no messy clumps to be raked up later. In really challenging situations it lacks the power of the gas model, but its more than adequate on grass.
The grass catcher was easy to attach and holds a fair amount of mulchings. While mowing I wasnt covered with blowing dust and didnt have to wear a respirator and goggles. Removing the bag was a little troublesome but not terrible. Some type of handle would make removing the bag much easier.
With this mower theres no spark plug to change, no oil to add or change, no dirty oil of which to dispose, no gas to buy or add. However, there is the one little detail of that long extension cord. We have multiple outlets in the back of the house but none in the front. Thus Ill only be using this mower in the back near the house or on the sides. I havent run over the electrical cord yet, but there have been a couple close calls. One of my first mowers was also a Black & Decker electric and several extensions gave their lives for the cause. For my purposes this is a great mower to have for a change of pace or when I run out of gas. Its cleaner and quieter than the Craftsman. Some of the grassy areas of Spud Acres are just too far from the house for this electric mower to be my primary lawn machine. Id only recommend this for someone who dislikes the chore of maintaining a gas mower and has a more manageably sized yard.
Something else to keep in mind is that with an electric motor, the brushes will eventually have to be replaced. On my first electric mower I had that done twice but fortunately had a service center nearby. With this current electric Im not sure where I would take it to get the brushes replaced. No Black and Decker service centers are anywhere near our present home.