Going green – The Best 2020 Electric Riding Mowers, Lawn Tractors and ZTRs

This article discusses the best electric riding lawn mowers and electric zero-turn mowers for 2020.

Electric vehicles are starting to replace gas/diesel cars, trucks and ATV’s. If you are one of the ever-growing numbers of EV owners who commute to work in your efficient electric car all week, only to hop on your gas-guzzling lawnmower to mow your lawn it may make sense to consider going electric for mowing your lawn.

A number of new all-electric ride on mowers entered the market in the last year and I’ll help you find the best one for you.

In addition to being better for the environment, electric riding mowers, electric lawn tractors, and electric zero-turn mowers have a number of other benefits.

  • Less yearly maintenance costs.  You can forget about changing the oil, oil filter, spark plugs, belts, and air filters. Just change/sharpen the mower blades and check the tire pressure as needed. Savings – about $250 a year.
  • Less expensive to operate. My 42 inch, 24 HP Zero-turn uses about 2 gallons of fuel or $5.50 to mow my lawn. An electric riding mower will use about 75 cents in electricity. (My local fuel prices and electric rates) Plus, I don’t have to buy a gas can, go to the gas station in my vehicle, and have gas sitting around my garage.
  • Less expensive to own. An electric riding mower powered by Lithium-Ion batteries and brushless motors will pay for itself and actually save you money over the life of the mower compared to a gas-powered one. A lead-acid powered electric rider will pretty much break even because you have to replace the batteries every few years. But you still get all the benefits of a quieter mower and reduced yearly maintenance.
  • Quieter to operate: You can mow without the deafening roar of a lawn tractor engine.

Noise: All-electric 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.

One more thing you need to know before we discuss the actual electric riding mowers.

Lithium-Ion or Lead Acid Deep Cycle AGM/SLA?

Lawn Mower Manufacturers are currently using two types of batteries in electric riding mowers. Lithium-Ion and Lead-Acid AGM/FLA. Lithium-Ion is the way to go because they last longer, are lighter and are better on the environment but they do cost more upfront. Because of that some manufacturers still offer lead-acid batteries in a few of the residential models for cost-conscious buyers.

Lithium-Ion Batteries are Best

Lithium-ion batteries are the same battery as in your phone – just bigger. Lithium-Ion Batteries last longer, maintain the same power throughout their discharge cycle, and can be discharged down to 20% repeatedly without damage. Because of this, a 48 Volt, 60 AH Lithium-Ion battery will mow about the same area as a set of 48V, 100 AH Lead Acid batteries.  Lithium-Ion batteries can be stored in freezing temps. They do not need to be charged periodically during storage.

Using the supplied factory charger a 48 Volt, 60 AH battery will charge in 6 hours. In addition, you can partially charge the battery and not damage it.

When used in a residential riding mower a Lithium-Ion battery should last 1000-1200 cycles or 8-10 years.

Lead Acid Batteries Are Cheapest Up Front.

Lead Acid Deep Cycle batteries are similar to the starting battery in your car.  Lead Acid batteries cost less upfront, have a much shorter life span than Lithium-Ion, loose power/voltage during discharge and can only be discharged down to 50% repeatedly without damage. Because of that, you need a 100 AH lead-acid battery to mow the same amount of lawn as a 60 AH Lithium-Ion battery. Lead Acid batteries need to be stored in temperatures between freezing and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and periodically charged. They need to be charged periodically when stored for more than a month. They are much larger and heavier than Lithium-Ion batteries.

Using the supplied factory charger a 48 Volt, 100 AH lead-acid battery set will charge in 12-14 hours. You should always leave the battery on the charger the full time to equalize the charge in all the batteries (usually four).

When used in a residential riding mower a Lead-Acid battery set should last 150-200 cycles or 3-4 years. (If you never run your battery below 50%, charge it correctly, and store it correctly you may get 400-500 cycles)

Finally! the Mowers!

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. 

I am going to cover Lithium-Ion and Lead-Acid powered mowers separately.

Lithium-Ion Battery Mowers

Cub Cadet CC30e

This is a proven rear engine riding mower and the gas version (CC30H) has been around for many years. “No more gas, no spark plugs, no belts, no nothing. I only wish it was heavier on the drive wheels because I have some slight inclines to climb. Owner Review.”

Cub-Cadet-CC30e_2

  • Class: Riding Mower, Great for small lawns.
  • Model: CC30e
  • Deck: 30 inch. Comes with mulching plug. 2 bin bagger available.
  • Type: Rear engine rider
  • Battery: 48 volt, 30 AH, 1500 Watt-hour Lithium-Ion Will mow up to 1 acre and charge fully in 6 hours.
  • Cub Cadet open high-back seat with elevated back support and armrests attached
  • 3-year unlimited hours/4-year battery warranty

Read all the details, buy online or order through a select Cub Cadet Dealer here:   Buy Cub Cadet CC30e

Read more and buy through the Home Depot here: Buy Cub Cadet CC30e

Cub Cadet LT42e Electric Lawn Tractor

This is a proven lawn tractor with a great cutting deck converted to electric. Same workmanship and cut quality as the highly-rated Cub Cadet LT42 lawn tractor. “This mower matches its gas-powered stablemates in the quality of cut. Owner Review.”
Cub-Cadet-XT1-LT42e_electric

  •  Class: Lawn Tractor, Great for typical suburban lawns up to 2 acres.
  • Model: LT42e
  • Deck: 42-inch QuickAttach™ (no tools required)
  • Type: Rear engine rider
  • Battery: 48 volt, 60 AH, 3000 Watt-hour Lithium-Ion Will mow up to 2 acres and charge fully in 6 hours.
  • Cub Cadet open high-back seat with elevated back support and armrests attached
  • 3-year unlimited hours/4-year battery warranty

Read all the details, buy online or order through a select Cub Cadet Dealer here:  Buy Cub Cadet LT42e

Read more and buy through the Home Depot here: Buy Cub Cadet LT42e

Wiebang E-Rider

weibang-rear-engine-riding-mower When I was growing up my grandmother had a Cub Cadet 60 Rider. I loved that little mower. It was quick and a lot more maneuverable than the John Deere 110 my father had. It was fun! The Wiebang E-Rider reminds me a lot of the Cub Cadet 60.

Owners love how small it is and it’s perfect for that lawn that’s just a little too big to mow with a walk-behind. It will mow one acre but really shines on 1/4 to 1/2 acre flat lawns.

  • Class: Riding Mower, Good for small, smooth lawns
  • Model: Weinag E-Rider
  • Deck: 30 inch
  • Type: Rear engine rider
  • Battery: 72 volt, 20 AH, 1500 Watt-Hour.
  • Very Compact and does not take up a lot of room in your garage.
  • Warranty: 3 Year Residential

Read more and buy through the Home Depot here: Buy Weibang E-Rider

Craftsman

(Owned by Stanley, Black & Decker – Sold through Lowes and other retailers)

Craftsman E225  Although the Craftsman branded electric riding mowers are most likely the same mower as the Cub Cadet’s above (made by MTD) I am not going to recommend them at this time. Why? 1. Service and parts availability is very poor. Parts are not available online. Any service requires you ship your mower off to some unknown location. Owners with problems are very frustrated with both Lowes and Craftsman. 2. All reviews on Lowes are “[This review was collected as part of a promotion.]” meaning Lowes or Craftsman paid the reviewer for the review and the results may be skewed because of that.

Craftsman electric rider E150 Plain and simple – You want a mower that works when you want to use it – if it breaks you want to get parts immediately or get it repaired quickly. When/if this improves I will update this article to reflect the changes.

Class: Riding Mower

Class: Lawn Tractor

GreenWorks Commercial Lithium Z RZ48R

The Greenworks Lithium Z is a high-end residential ZTR and will be available through GreenWorks Commercial dealers this spring. This mower features a commercial fabricated deck, heavy-duty frame, and smooth controls. It is the best built residential electric ZTR so far. I saw it at GIE-EXPO last October and I was impressed. The cost will be around $7000.

 Greenworks Commercial also offers a full line of commercial electric ZTR, Stand-ons, and walk-behinds.

If you are not familiar with Greenworks it is a global company headquartered in Changzhou, China and has offices in South Carolina, and Sweden. The brands they offer are Greenworks (residential) PowerWorks (residential) and Greenworks Commercial.

 

  • Class: Zero-Turn Mower (ZTR) up to 2 acres.
  • Model: Lithium Z RZ48R
  • Deck: 48″ Residential Zero Turn Mower
  • Type: Zero-Turn
  • Battery: 82 volt, Run Time Up to 1 Hours?, Cut Area Up to 2.25 Acres, Charge Time 7 hours
  • Very Compact and does not take up a lot of room in your garage.
  • Warranty: 2 Year Residential, 3-year battery

Gravely EVZT

Gravely EVZT The EVZT zero-turn, is the first commercially capable battery-powered ZTR developed by a tried and true outdoor power equipment manufacturer. I don’t have a lot of details except it will have swappable batteries and will be built for commercial use.

Class: Commercial Zero-Turn Mower.

You can read more here: Gravely EVZT

Mean Green

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

Lead Acid Deep Cycle AGM Battery Powered Mowers

Cub Cadet RZT S Zero

Class: Steering Wheel Zero-Turn Mower (ZTR)

Cub-Cadet-RZTSZERO-1 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 4 years and is proving to be a very reliable mower.

Cub Cadet recently reduced the price to $2999! Making this the best buy mower of all the current electrics!

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 Home Depot and buy a cordless Toro Ryobi, or EGO Garden System (trimmer, leaf blower, chainsaw, hedge trimmer) 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. 

Read more and Request a Demo: Cub Cadet RZT S Zero

Ryobi Electric Riding Lawn Mower

The Ryobi Electric Rider and Electric Zero-turn are the most popular residential electric mowers available because they can be easily purchased through The Home Depot and they are gaining a great reputation for cut quality, ease of use and dependability. 

Ryobi 42 Inch Zero-Turn Mower RY48ZTR75 and RY48ZTR100

 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 Lead-Acid 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. 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.

  • Class: Zero-Turn Mower (ZTR) up to 2 acres
  • Lead-Acid 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. 12-14 hour charge time
  • Includes towing hitch and tow assembly hardware
  • Warranty: 3-Year Limited
  • Battery Warranty:1-Year Limited

Read more and buy at The Home Depot: Ryobi RY48ZTR75 and RY48ZTR100 – 42-inch Electric Zero-Turn Mower

Ryobi RM480E – RM480ex ELECTRIC RIDING MOWER

Class: Riding Mower

ryobi-rear-engine 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. If you have a smaller property to mow, and would like to be rid of noise, fumes and maintenance headaches of a gas-fueled riding mower, the cordless electric Ryobi RM480ex deserves serious consideration. It can run up to 2.5 hours on a single charge, and is a great performer, too.

  • Class: Riding Mower, Great for small lawns
  • 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.
  • Warranty: 3-Year Limited
  • Battery Warranty:1-Year Limited

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: Ryobi RM480e 38 in. Battery Electric Riding Lawn Mower

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