Going Green – 2019 Electric Riding Mowers

This article discusses the latest electric riding mowers for 2019. Two years ago there were only three available – today there are more than a dozen!

First: The state of the industry

Going “green” by homeowners and large corporations is leading to a rapid growth in cordless electric landscaping tools. Homeowners now have string trimmers, blowers and walk-behind mowers that are as powerful as their gas counterparts. (and they start every time!) Many corporations are demanding that landscapers use equipment with environmentally friendly features. Towns and homeowner associations are banning gas-powered blowers because of the noise. Some corporations are going as far as requiring landscapers to use ONLY electric mowers and handheld equipment. The market is rapidly approaching the point where the large manufacturers will have to accept the responsibility to develop eco-friendly, durable residential models that move the nation to a completely cordless electric riding mower fleet.

Cordless electric walk-behind mowers are getting better every year. Two years ago there were around 20 – this year there will be over 50 different cordless electric walk-behind mowers that will mow well and last. Most of them are using 36, 54 and 72-volt interchangeable lithium batteries to give you enough run time to mow up to 1/2 acre on one battery. They have plenty of power to mulch, bag or side discharge and can easily mow your city yard or trim your suburban yard. The batteries all plugin – just like your cordless drill so when you run out of juice just change it out for a freshly charged one. Riding mowers (except one) are not quite as advanced.

Going Green - 2019 Electric Riding Mowers 1

Husqvarna Leo

We are still waiting for real changes though in the riding mower area. Tool manufacturers and entrepreneurs are jumping into the market but only one of the major mower manufacturers (MTD) currently has electric riding mowers for sale in the U.S. Others, for example, Husqvarna, showed us what it could do five years ago but never made good on that promise. Remember the  Panthera Leo?  The Panthera Leo deck was so revolutionary I still think the Leo could change the way we mow our yards. They even developed the Husqvarna Rider Battery but never brought it here to the U.S.

Unfortunately, the large brands like Husqvarna appear to still be focused on cramming robotic mowers down our throats. The Robotic Mower is just not something the U.S. market, in general, is interested in. They just don’t get that we LIKE to mow our lawns.

A few other big brands (Gravely EVZT) are working on commercial products but these mowers will be way out of most homeowners price range. 

That said, I’ll jump down off my soapbox…..

Noise: All-electric and hybrid riding mowers are much quieter than your gas-powered lawn tractor but they still make noise when the blades are engaged. The noise is still loud enough that you may want to wear hearing protection.

One big advantage that’s not advertised: Performing yard work with an electric rider. My wife loves to work outside on her landscaping. It’s her therapy. She is constantly moving from one landscape bed to another trimming that branch, pinching off that flower or changing a plant that has flowered for another yet to bloom.  A Cub Cadet yard cart stays attached all the time. An electric rider is perfect for her. No noise, no choking the engine and waiting for it to warm up. She just turns the key and goes from bed to bed.  She doesn’t mow the yard so the electric rider’s battery easily lasts a week or more before it needs to be plugged in and charged. 

Please note! **This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. But, please feel free to visit your local authorized dealer and purchase locally. I don’t make a commission when you do that but I don’t mind. 

Ryobi

Ryobi currently has two electric zero-turns and two electric riders on the market. The riders have been on the market for over two years and gets a solid 4.75 star average rating from owners. I expect the new 42-inch ZTR to be even better!

Ryobi 42 Inch Zero-Turn Mower

Ryobi RY48ztr100

Ryobi RY48ztr100

I’ve been waiting for this mower for a long, long time. No emissions, no starting issues, no fuel or other maintenance besides changing the mowing blades once in a while. Combine this ZTR with the Ryobi 40 volt Tool Collection or the Toro Flex-Force System and you no longer need a gas-powered product to maintain your 2-3 acre yard! It’s time to get rid of the gas can!  The RYOBI 48V Zero Turn Electric Riding Mower is powered by 75 Ah or 100 Ah Batteries and 4 High-Powered Brushless Motors. This mower can cut up to 2.25/3.0 acres on a single charge. The durable 42 in. steel deck is equipped with two precision cut steel blades. Combined with aggressive zero turn technology, the 12-Position Manual Deck Adjustment provides a clean cut to your lawn every time. The advanced control panel activates the blades, slow speed function, LED headlights, and displays the battery level and run-time. The rear access charging port makes charging your rider easy when the job is done.

  • Battery Operated: fully electric and 0 emissions
  • Up to 3 acres of mowing per charge (2.25 acres with 75 AH batteries)
  • 4 high powered brushless motors
  • 42 in. heavy-duty steel deck
  • 2 precision cut steel blades
  • 12 position manual deck adjustment
  • Side discharge, mulching or bagging capable (bagger accessory available online only)
  • 1.5 in. to 4.5 in. adjustable cutting height
  • Low maintenance: no belts, spark plugs, or filters
  • Battery operated: quiet cutting, no gas, fumes, charge and go
  • Control panel: battery level indicator, unit hour meter, USB charging
  • Easy access rear charging port
  • Charges through a standard 120-Volt outlet
  • Includes towing hitch and tow assembly hardware

Read more and buy at The Home Depot: Ryobi RY48ZTR75 – 42-inch Electric Zero-Turn Mower with 75 AH batteries

Read more and buy at The Home Depot: Ryobi RY48ZTR100 – 42-inch Electric Zero-Turn Mower with 100AH batteries

Ryobi RM480E – RM480ex ELECTRIC RIDING MOWER

The Ryobi RM480E has been on the market for two years and features a proven battery and propulsion system that will give you years of use. No gas, no oil changes, no real maintenance besides blades and cleaning for years. This mower uses standard deep discharge batteries for long mowing time and long battery life.

Ryobi RM480e

Ryobi RM480E

  • Battery Operated: fully electric and 0 emissions
  • 3 Brushless motors for superior power and performance
  • Up to 2 hours of runtime or 2 acres of mowing
  • Environmentally friendly.
  • Virtually maintenance free.
  • Super quiet. Intuitive operation.

With the RM480E, you get all the benefits of owning a fully electric riding lawn mower without sacrificing power, performance or features.

Read more at The Home Depot 75 AH Batteries: Ryobi RM480e 38 in. Battery Electric Riding Lawn Mower

100 AH Batteries: Ryobi RM480ex 38 in. Battery Electric Riding Lawn Mower Up to 2.5 hours run-time!

While you are there buy the Ryobi Gas-Like Power 40-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless String Trimmer/Hedge Trimmer and Jet Fan Blower Combo Kit and throw the old gas can away!

Going Green - 2019 Electric Riding Mowers 2 To give you a little perspective on the electric mowers available elsewhere. Husqvarna sells in the rest of the world the Husqvarna Rider Battery. It uses a 36 volt 125 AH hour battery, 1500 Watt drive motor and two 800 Watt decks motors. The deck is 33 inches (85 cm). It has a maximum runtime of 90 minutes.  Cost in U.S. dollars – $3999. 

MTD

Cub Cadet XT1 LT42 E

Cub Cadet XT1-LT42e

Cub Cadet XT1-LT42e

An All-Electric Lawn Tractor! The big push has been zero-turn mowers but many of you still prefer a lawn tractor. Lawn tractors mow well and they can pull stuff. Lawn tractors are what most of us are used to. Cub Cadet’s LT42e is a 42-inch tractor that uses a 56-volt lithium-ion (60-amp-hour) battery and three brushless direct-drive motors. No gas, no belts, no oil changes, About the only maintenance required for the life of the mower is change/sharpen the blades and clean it off once in a while.

A big advantage of this lawn tractor over the other electric riders currently on the market is it uses Lithium-ion batteries! Lithium-ion batteries have a few major advantages over lead-acid batteries:

  • With Lithium-ion batteries, you don’t have the power fade you get with lead-acid electric riding mowers. You get the same cutting performance no matter if the battery is fully charged or almost depleted.
  • With Lithium-ion batteries, you can charge them a lot faster than the lead-acid batteries found in other mowers. Cub Cadet is stating you can fully charge the battery in as little as four hours or partially charge the battery to finish a large lawn.
  • the Lithium =-ion batteries in this mower are expected to last the life of the mower! No need to worry about replacing batteries after 4 or 5 years.

I expect the quality and speed of cut to be the same as the highly rated LT42 model. Available soon.

  • 3,000 watt-hours, 56V lithium-ion
  • Up to 1.5-hours or 2-acre cut time
  • 42″ twin blades
  • Cost to own. LT42 e 3.47 KW per charge; 3.47 * $0.13 =$0.46 per charge. Current average electricity rate: $0.1319. Mow 25 times a year.  $.36X25= $11.15. Replace mower blades once a year. $42. Total cost for a year $53.15!

This mower will be sold at exclusive Cub Cadet Dealers: To see more and find a dealer go here: https://www.cubcadetelectric.com/

Cub Cadet CC 30 E ELECTRIC RIDER

Cub Cadet CC 30 e

Cub Cadet CC 30 e

This mower will be great for someone with a 1/4 to 1-acre lawn. It’s quiet, very easy to use and there is no maintenance required besides changing/sharpening the blade and cleaning it off once in a while. NO oil changes, air filters, belts, transmissions issues or going to the gas station to buy fuel!

  • 1,500 watt-hours, 56V lithium-ion
  • Up to 1-hour or 1-acre cut time
  • 30″ single blade
  • Cost to own. CC 30 e 2.75KW per charge; 2.75 * $0.13 = $0.36 per charge. Current average electricity rate: $0.1319. Mow 25 times a year.  $.36X25= $9. Replace blade once a year. $23. Total cost for a year $32!

This mower is sold at exclusive Cub Cadet Dealers: To see more go here: https://www.cubcadetelectric.com/

Cub Cadet RZT S Zero – Residential Electric Zero-Turn

Cub Cadet RZT Zero

If you like to tinker around the yard and don’t mow more than an hour or so at a time the Cub Cadet RZT S Zero is a wonderful mower. Cub Cadet has taken their steering wheel zero turn and replaced the belts, pulleys, transmissions and gas engine with electric motors and batteries.

The RZTS Zero has been on the market for over 3 years and is proving to be a very reliable mower.

The Cub Cadet RZT S Zero has four features that make it a great choice.

No Gas: On your way home from your Cub Cadet dealer with your new mower stop by your local Sears or Home Depot and buy a cordless Craftsman, RyobiGoing Green - 2019 Electric Riding Mowers 3, or EGOGoing Green - 2019 Electric Riding Mowers 4 Garden System and when you get home – throw the gas can away.

State of the Art Drive System: Even though this mower uses a deep discharge battery instead of lithium-ion it uses the latest technology to make the best use of battery’s capacity. The 48-volt floating ground system uses 4 of the latest 3-phase brushless DC motors for propulsion and the deck. Two motors for the deck and two motors for the all steel gear transmissions in the rear. Each motor’s speed is precisely controlled. It incorporates a regenerative circuit for downhill braking that actually charges the battery.

A True Zero-Turn that will handle slopes: You know what I think of residential zero-turns. Most of the models on the market work great on flat land but are scary or impossible to drive on slopes. The RZT S Zero is different. It uses steered wheels in front (instead of caster wheels) so that you have full control over the mower all the time. It will handle 15 degrees or less slopes just as well as your lawn tractor. The weight of the batteries is centered over the rear wheels to give you the best traction possible. The steering wheel and foot controlled speed controller make it as easy to drive as your car.

Cub Cadet’s best 42-inch deck: A big advantage with today’s electric mowers is the blade tip speed is precisely controlled. If one or both blades encounter heavy thick grass the speed sensor in the motor automatically keeps the blade at a constant RPM. This feature in combination with the fact that this is Cub Cadet’s best 42-inch deck assures that you will always get the best cut possible. But, it doesn’t stop there. If you are mowing light grass the electronic controllers reduce the current to the motors saving the battery and extending the mowing time. Note: When you first get your new RZT S it may not give you the full hour of run time. The brand new batteries take about 10 charging cycles to reach their full capacity. 

Find out more about the Cub Cadet RZT S Zero here: Cub Cadet RZT S Zero

Electric Riding Mowers are not totally free to use but there are still considerable cost savings over the gas or propane powered equivalent. All electrics like the RZT S Zero that you plug-in and charge are not without cost because you still have to pay for the electricity. Electric car owners are seeing about a 70% savings over a 40 MPG car and I expect these riding mowers to give you about the same cost advantages. Of course, the actual cost savings depends on your local electricity rates and the current price of fuel. In addition to the charging cost, conventional deep discharge batteries like the four in the Cub Cadet Zero have an expected life of around 4 to 6 years or 400-600 cycles and cost around $200 EACH. (industry average) In comparison, the Mean Green lithium batteries below have an expected life of around 1500 cycles or 10-15 years.

Troy-Bilt Riding Mower and Craftsman at Lowes.

Last year Troy-Bilt introduced the TB30 E Lithium-Ion Riding Mower. Unfortunately, all those mowers have been discontinued and it looks like Lowes is going to get Craftsman versions instead. Lowes has the sales pages up but there is no indication of if, when or where they will be available.

CRAFTSMAN E225 42-in Lithium Ion Electric Riding Lawn Mower

CRAFTSMAN E150 30-in Lithium Ion Electric Riding Lawn Mower

Weibang

Weibang Rear Engine Electric Rider

Weibang Rear Engine Electric Rider

 Weibang E-Rider 30 in. W 72-Volt Lithium-Ion Battery Powered Rear Engine Riding Mower. This “little” rider has actually been around for quite a while now and this is the first time it is being offered in the U.S. It’s a great mower for smaller 1/3 to 3/4 acre yards. It mows really well and the Lithium-ion battery will mow up to 2 hrs on a charge. I really like the fact that it is light enough to tip it up on the back so you can store it upright, change blades and clean the deck.

  • User-friendly control panel with forward, neutral and reverse
  • 2 blade cutting system
  • LED lights mounted on the front bumper
  • 10 cutting positions 1 in. to 4 in.
  • Comfortable adjustable seat
  • Easy to clean deck

Buy at the Home Depot: Weibang E-Rider 30 in. W 72-Volt Lithium-Ion Battery Powered Rear Engine Riding Mower

American Power Products

There is a new ZTR on the market from a company called American Power Products. I don’t have enough info at this time to discuss it here.

Number One: Mean Green – Commercial Electric Mowers

Mean Green Stand On

Mean Green Mowers has a complete line of lithium-powered commercial riding, stand-on, walk-behind and trimming mowers. They feature interchangeable high-capacity battery packs that can quickly be exchanged to power their mowers all day long. This is the true “Tesla” of riding mowers – state of the art batteries, chargers, and electronics.

Like the Tesla autos, there is no maintenance on these mowers other than occasional inspections for safety and a few grease fittings. No seasonal maintenance like oil, spark plugs, oil filters, air filters, hydraulic fluid, etc to purchase and store. Best of all, there is NO gas to purchase and haul around in your trunk! No storage cans of stale fuel sitting around your garage! Commercial owners are seeing savings of hundreds of dollars per month on parts and fuel alone, not to mention the high labor costs to accomplish the maintenance. The additional cost of the batteries quickly is offset by maintenance and operating savings over gas-powered equipment.

The mowers themselves are true commercial grade mowers and cost about the same as an equivalent commercial gas-powered zero-turn. The battery packs and chargers are additional.

Did I mention how quiet they are?

Find out more about Mean Green Mowers here: Mean Green Mowers

Greenworks

Greenworks is now offering commercial zero-turn and stand-on lithium-ion powered mowers. Check them out here. Greenworks Commerical

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David Kennett
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David Kennett

Hi

I’m in the market for a riding electric lawn mower. The deck size is not as important as reliability and the ease of removing the blade for sharpening. You advice as to a suitable product would be most welcome.

Joe
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Joe

Paul, this may be out of the park for you, but I am looking for something for about $1000 or less that will let me tow a 2500 lb load at about walking speed on flat ground or for ten feet up a 3 degree or less slope for about ten feet. Do any of these riding mowers have that capability? (I’ll even disconnect the cutters if that helps..:) )

Pat Reynolds
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Pat Reynolds

Hello Paul, I just purchased the Ryobi Electric rider.It is great but a bit bumpy. I have a slooping yard that goes up 15 degrees for about 500 feet. The rider has no trouble going up but i have to ride the brake going down. My question is will I destroy the brakes quickly or do you think they are made to handle this abuse? Also would the Cub Cadet have a better braking system for my sloop? I still have a couple of weeks to return the Ryobi to Home Depot. Pat

chris r
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chris r

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the review. I just got the RM480E and may return it for the EX – the E is great but more battery life would be better. As for the Cub Cadet – I figured it would be more delicate but I have no data to back up that opinion – do you think the Cub Cadet can handle rougher ground better than the Ryobi? Money is not the issue here – I just want the longest lasting more for “somewhat rough” bumpy ground. The Ryobi is doing fine.

Doug Akers
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Doug Akers

Excellent article. Great information. Very informative.
Are you aware of Ryobi, or anyone, planning to make a dual lever controlled electric true ZTR mower? It appears this unit is able to go into reverse and keep the blades cutting, but still not the agility of a true ZTR.

Brad
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Brad

What’s your opinion about the ryobi vs Cub cadet zero. I have about 1 – 1.5acre with a gradual slope from end to end and a few obstacles. I don’t particularly have a preference zero turn or not, I just want one that will do the job and like the idea of electric. I would like to be able to toe a basic cart/spreader. I like the ryobi’s price and 100ah battery, but not sure if the 38* deck will make it slow compare to the Cub cadet. My local dealer has the cub cadet zero, they were pushing the… Read more »

STeve
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STeve

Hi Paul! Need your opinion on what is best for a 27% incline – that’s right – 27% incline and it’s about 40 acres worth. What would be the best option here?

Erin D
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Erin D

Hi Paul! I need some help. We moved into a new house with a substantial yard. Last summer we paid a company who mowed every other week for $50 a visit. We ended up spending over $600. This year I would like to get a riding lawn mower nothing crazy both Lowes and Sears have models that are $999. So here are my questions: 1) If my gate opening is 42 inches what deck widths will fit through it? Can a 42 in deck fit? 2) Is it costly or difficult to maintain a riding lawnmower? (i.e. how often do… Read more »

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