Pros: rechargeable battery, self-propelled, runs quiet, safety key, optional solar recharging
Cons: each wheel has individual height adjustment, potential battery availability
I love using a cordless lawn mower. After going through several Black and Decker cordless mowers quicker than I would have liked (one of them was recalled, and another broke), I decided it was time for a change. Now I am using this Linamar Epic Cordless Rear Wheel Drive Self-Propelled Lawn Mower (model # EP21H).
This lawn mower is predominantly black in color and has an odd appearance. My other cordless mowers looked … well, like lawn mowers. This mower has a large black plastic globe-shaped hood atop the 3-in-1 steel deck. While it has a general lawn mower look, that large circular globe lends it a distinctive appearance.
The lawn mower has a 21” cutting deck. It can bag or mulch lawn clippings, and there is a side discharge chute.
I love it that this lawn mower is self-propelled. It has the usual safety features with a “dead man’s switch” to stop the mower should the hands release the bar lever. The mower also has an orange safety key that needs to be pushed into position before the mower can be turned on. There is a push button to start the mower, and an LED battery indicator to show the battery charge (high to low).
There are two removable batteries that can be either charged in the lawn mower, or remove them to charge them elsewhere. The mower comes with the charger.
A consideration is that this mower is heavy at 100 pounds. The manufacturer states that this mower can be hung by the handle for storage. I wheel it into the garage and leave it on the ground.
This lawn mower was easy to put together and use, though at times the instructions are confusing. I cut the end of the large cardboard carton so that I could roll the lawn mower out of the box. A page of setup instructions with diagrams is included. A thicker booklet was also in the box, but the booklet primarily contains diagrams of the mower and its various parts with some instruction as to use and care of the equipment. (There was not much protective packaging in the carton. The mower had one minor scratch on it, but everything else was okay.)
The mower handle comes folded. It’s a matter of raising the handle, being careful not to pinch any of the control cables. Then tighten the knobs, and attach some bolts to hold the handle in place. Make sure there is no loose hardware in the shipping carton. (I found a loose screw rattling around.)
Since the mower comes ready to mulch, I did not attach the bag. Each of the mower wheels can be adjusted for height. There are seven height adjustments (1 1/2" to 3 1/2"). Note that my mower was set in the lowest blade position when I received it, which was too low for my lawn. I suggest starting out at the middle wheel height (or higher) and see if you need to adjust the wheels from there.
Next, place the two battery packs into the machine. A safety key plugs into the top area between the two batteries. The safety key has to be in position before the mower will start. (Give the key a good push to insert it, and it will need a good yank to pull it free.) Close the plastic domed hood, and you are ready to roll. Note that the mower will begin to beep once the safety key is slotted into place. The beeping stops when the mower is turned on.
The battery installation and charging instructions are pretty worthless (a separate sheet of paper that I did not find helpful).
Two batteries come with this lawn mower; each one has a plastic handle on the top. The batteries are heavy. Open the lawn mower hood to insert the batteries. Picture the inside of the compartment as three areas. A battery slides into position on one side, and the second battery is installed opposite the first battery. Between the two batteries is the area where the safety key is inserted.
Removing the two batteries once installed will require a bit of muscle. I find it best to stand in front of the battery. Using both hands, place each hand at the outer edge of the handle where it meets the battery. Jerk the battery toward you to release it. The plastic battery handle feels a bit on the flimsy side to me, so I don’t feel comfortable applying the leverage needed to pull the battery free by grasping the center of the handle (I’m afraid the handle might break).
I always remove the batteries from the lawnmower to recharge them. (To be honest, the instructions are so poorly written that I couldn’t figure how to charge the batteries while in the lawnmower.) To recharge the two batteries at the same time, place the batteries on the ground with the round “connectors” atop the batteries facing each other. There is a rectangular black charger cap that slides over both of the batteries. The “connectors” will slide into the corresponding holes of the charging cap. (There is only one way the batteries can be inserted into the charger.) Plug the adaptor into the charging cap, and plug the other end of the adapter into an electrical outlet. The instructions state that the batteries take 12 hours to charge. I plug the batteries in after I finish mowing the lawn, and unplug them the following day.
If desired, you can charge the batteries by using a solar panel that Linamar sells. This would save on electricity and be even more environmentally friendly. The literature says that it takes 3 sunny days (or 4-5 cloudy days) to recharge the batteries using the solar method.
The manufacturer says that an “average” lot of 7,000 to 10,000 square feet can be mowed using one battery charge. My yard is about a 1/2 acre. It has a deep fringe of trees, a hill, and a lot of large garden beds. Moving at a good clip (no rest breaks), I can finish about 3/4 of the lawn before the battery dies. Sometimes I will mow the front and one side yard, recharge the battery overnight, and then mow the other side yard and back lawn. Over the last few months I have timed myself. The battery dies after about 40 minutes of use.
I like that these batteries are removable. Come winter, I can bring the batteries inside and charge them. The batteries should not be stored in temperatures below freezing. Also, these batteries have no “memory,” so they can be recharged whenever you wish. The manufacturer recommends keeping these batteries in the charger when they are not being used.
The self-propelled feature is what sold me on this Epic lawn mower. My yard has more dips, hills, and obstacles than an amusement park ride. If I win one of those fabulous home improvement sweepstakes, I am having the yard re-graded. Having a lawn mower that moved itself, with me doing the steering, sounded great! The self-propelled feature is belt driven to help save on battery power.
The machine’s handle-grip has two metal bar levers (one above the handle-grip, and one below it). The top lever is pulled toward the handle-grip and held in place while the large start button is pushed. To engage the self-propel feature, pull the second metal handle toward the lawn mower grip. The self-propel handle has power adjustment, too. Hold the handle tight to the lawn mower grip for full self-propelled power, or release it a bit to reduce the pull.
It took me several tries before I could instinctively ease up on the self-propel “pulling” to make turns without having the wheels dig into the yard. Even now, sometimes, the lawn mower wheels churn the lawn where the grass is newer or not dense.
As a side note: This is a heavy lawn mower. If it did not have the self-propel feature, it would be a bear to push around the yard. If the lawn mower runs out of juice in the back yard, I get my exercise pushing this heavy mower back to the garage.
While the levers are somewhat comfortable to hold using bare hands, I suggest wearing gloves for optimum comfort (and to avoid pinching fingers between the two metal levers). Also, one of the lawn mower levers tends to stick. The top metal lever is sometimes referred to as the “dead man’s switch”. The way it should work, is that if for some reason you had to let go of the handle, the mower would automatically switch off. The metal bar-handle sticks in place on my lawn mower. About 80-percent of the time, when I release the lever, it stays in position. The mower will stop moving, but the machine does not turn off. If the lever released as it should, the mower would turn off as an added safety feature.
With the self-propel feature at full power, this mower moves at a fast pace with me walking behind it to steer. To adjust the mower speed, pull the metal bar only part way. I have a hill that covers some of the property, and having the mower “walk” up the hill is wonderful. That area of the yard is much easier to mow now. I love the convenience of self-propulsion.
This Epic mower has a wide 21” cutting path. I have the clippings set to mulch back into the lawn. Every once and awhile, some loose clumps of grass land on the lawn. (A kick of the foot usually separates the grass bundle.) I always mow a dry lawn, too. I try to mow it once a week, but sometimes the lawn is cut every other week. This lawn mower has no trouble handling the longer grass.
An LED display panel located near the handle on the left side of mower indicates the battery charge level. The only problem is that this indicator is not facing the person standing behind the lawnmower. In order to see the display, I need to tip to mower slightly backward. A good indication that the battery is running low is when you can feel yourself pushing the mower even though the self-propel feature is engaged. As mentioned earlier, for me the battery lasts about 40 minutes.
I also like that this lawn mower is quiet. It doesn’t have the gutsy engine roar of a gas-powered mower. I am very comfortable mowing the lawn, knowing that the mowing is also environmentally friendly on my neighbor’s ear drums.
It’s great that the wheels are adjustable. However, it would be better if the manufacturer could have built one lever to do all the height adjustment at the same time. I’m not a fan of having to press a lever for each of the wheels. If one had to constantly move these levers to adjust for different heights, I can see where these levers might break from frequent use.
I bought this mower from Amazon.com for $499.00. I had some Amazon gift cards that I used toward the purchase, plus shipping was free. There was no problem with delivery. I could not believe that the UPS delivery person picked up this heavy box and carried it from the truck into my garage for me. Very nice of him!
Accessories available are a Rapid Charger Station (510142), Replacement Battery Power Packs (510140), and a Solar Charger Station (510147). In case you are questioning the part number for the batteries, I spoke with customer service, and they said their information sheets had the wrong part number listed; part 510146 should actually be 510140.
According to the manufacturer, the batteries have a rating of lasting at least five years. Their website suggests contacting Linamar Consumer Products (1-866-857-1445) to purchase replacement batteries. However, out of curiosity, I phoned them. When I spoke with their customer service department, I was told to buy the batteries from Amazon.com or Home Depot. I told the representative that Amazon.com is no longer listing the batteries (I had checked before phoning). He responded that Amazon.com must no longer carry them. Then he suggested buying them from Home Depot website. (I checked, and Home Depot sells two of these batteries for $99.00). When I asked if I could order the batteries directly from Linamar, the customer service person verified I was calling from the United States and said that I could order the batteries from them, but “Shipping would kill you. We are located in Canada.” At least he was honest.
I very much like this Linamar Epic Lawn Mower. It runs well, the batteries work great and can be recharged, plus the self-propelled feature is excellent. I haven’t seen another cordless lawn mower with a self-propel feature. After speaking with customer service, though, I’m wondering how easy it will be to purchase replacement batteries when I need them. I hope Home Depot is still carrying them!
UPDATE -- October 18, 2011
This lawn mower is still going strong. My yard is filled with colorful leaves, and this mower is mulching them like a champ. I'm very much enjoying the self-propelled feature, and find this mower easy to use. Once the mowing is done for the season, once again, I will store the batteries in my basement (plugging them in a few times during the cold months to keep them charged). Great mower!
UPDATE -- June 19, 2012
Trouble with the lawn mower (sigh). I babied the batteries through the winter as I always do, bringing them indoors and giving them a charge now and then. This year when I placed the batteries in the mower, they did not work. The mower would function for a few seconds, then shut off. Even though the batteries should have lasted longer than this, I ordered a replacement set of batteries from Home Depot (still $99.00 with free shipping). The new batteries worked great off the charge they already had. I did not run them down, though. Being cautious I stopped the mower with the light on amber and then charged the batteries for 12 1/2 hours. The batteries did not charge!
Which left me with the conclusion that the charger was malfunctioning. I've never had a charger on any piece of equipment go "bad" on me. I emailed Linamar customer service and did not hear back within four days. So I phoned them. The same time I phoned, I received an email from them. (How strange is that!) The email ran me through some trouble-shooting guidelines. The person on the phone was incredibly helpful. I took the cordless phone, and went to the garage where we discussed the lawn mower's problems. The customer service representative agreed that it sounded like a charger problem. Even though the mower is a bit beyond warranty, they are kindly sending a charger to me a no cost, otherwise it would have been about $25.00 plus the shipping cost from Canada to the U.S.A. Thank you Linamar!!
Something else I learned during my phone call is how to charge the batteries while they are in the lawn mower. Place the two batteries in the mower as if they were being positioned in it to work. Make sure the safety key is removed, and you will see a plug hole where the safety key fits. The charger plug fits into that hole. (Place the safety key where it will be easy to find.)
I hope you found this review useful.
Enjoy the day,
Please read my other reviews:
Black & Decker Cordless Mulching Mower -- CMM1200
Black & Decker Cordless Lawn Mower -- CMM1000
Greenland Gardener Raised Garden Kit
Upside-Down Tomato Planter
Deluxe Pyramid Composter
Easy-Reach Hose Reel Cart
Rubbermaid Big Max Storage Shed
Roughneck X-Large Storage Shed
Copyright 2010 Dawn L. Stewart