Corded mower vs cordless mower – experts pick the very best

This is how to pick between a corded mower vs cordless mower

Corded mower vs cordless mower: A corded lawnmower on a lawn
(Image credit: Getty Images / Evgeniya Sheydt)

If you're in the market for a mower, you may be weighing up two seemingly opposite options. That said, the debate between corded mowers vs cordless mowers seems a little obvious. Corded mowers have that annoying cable and cordless mowers offer total freedom. 

However, before you take the plunge, there are still a few benefits to find in a corded mower. Cordless mowers are great, but they aren't the only game in town. 

I've tested dozens of lawnmowers in my career, so I know exactly what makes for the best lawnmower. I also spoke to a landscaping expert for his advice on the benefits and drawbacks of both types of mowers. 

What are the benefits of corded mowers?

A corded lawnmower in front of a border

(Image credit: Getty Images / Maisna)

The biggest benefit is that corded mowers are cheap. Unlike gas mowers with big engines or cordless mowers that need batteries, a corded mower is incredibly cheap. For example, my go-to corded mower, the Ryobi 13", available at Amazon, is usually only $150, which is hundreds of dollars cheaper than the alternative. 

Because the engine is much smaller, corded mowers tend to be much lighter - and therefore easier to handle - than equivalent gas or cordless mowers. The Ryobi I just mentioned only weighs 22 lbs, whereas a similar gas mower like this Briggs and Stratton Gas Walk Behind Push Mower, available at Home Depot, weighs twice as much. 

Corded mowers are also much easier to maintain than gas mowers, for example. Gas mowers need oil changes, spark plug checks, filter maintenance, and other little bits of DIY. A corded mower plugs into an outlet and is ready to go. 

Though the cord is often the biggest drawback, there is a benefit. According to appliance expert Clint De Boer, corded mowers 'have continuous power, so there’s no need to worry about running out of juice halfway through mowing.' Unlike gas mowers or cordless mowers, a corded mower will run for as long as you have power. 

A headshot of appliance expert Clint DeBoer
Clint DeBoer

Clint is Editor-in-Chief at Pro Tool Reviews, the largest power tool review publication in America. Clint founded Pro Tool Reviews, as well as the landscape and outdoor power equipment-focused OPE Reviews. He also heads up the Pro Tool Innovation Awards, an annual awards program honoring innovative tools and accessories across the trades.

What are the drawbacks of a corded mower?

A closeup of a lawnmower power cord

(Image credit: Getty Images / Thomas Faull)

The big drawback with a corded mower is - unsurprisingly - the cord. Power cords limit the range of your mower and they can also be a safety issue. Appliance expert Clint De Boer told me that 'A corded mower is powered by a 120VAC wall outlet and requires an extension cord of sufficient size and length to reach all areas of your yard. Confined by the length of the hefty extension cord, these mowers have limited reach and require a nearby outlet.' 

In short, if you have a big yard, a corded mower won't cut it. Alternatively, you can use an outdoor extension cord like this from Walmart. However, my first experience of mowing was tackling my parents' yard with a corded mower. Chasing 100ft of extension cord up and down a long, narrow yard is a pretty tedious chore, and I don't recommend it if you can avoid it. 

What's more, you have to be very careful about where you mow. If you stop paying attention for even a second you can run over the cord. This can blow a fuse and knock out your power or even worse, start a fire. 

Corded mowers are also less powerful than their gas and cordless equivalents. In fairness, it's a small difference, but the other types of mowers are more powerful, which means a cleaner cut and less tearing on the grass. 

What are the benefits of a cordless mower?

A man adding a cordless mower battery to a lawn mower

(Image credit: Getty)

As the name suggests, cordless mowers do away with the single biggest issue of corded mowers: that pesky power cord. Cordless mowers run on lithium-ion batteries, which means you can use them all over your yard. There's no range limit and no fears about running over a cord. 

This freedom brings other benefits, too. Clint De Boer told me that cordless mowers are also 'perfect for navigating obstacles, hills, and otherwise uneven lawns. They work well with spaces that are separated by distance and/or flower beds, driveways, or ditches.' 

The technology in lithium batteries is constantly improving, which means cordless mowers are increasingly powerful. A few years ago, cordless mowers were a little feeble. Nowadays, the power has ramped up. 

According to Clint De Boer, 'Perhaps the most astonishing fact is that the flagship cordless mowers now outperform their gas counterparts in terms of raw power. You can also get enough runtime on these mowers to cut lawns up to 3/4 of an acre.' 

While corded mowers tend to be a little lighter than cordless mowers, it's a pretty small difference and not one you'd notice. That cheap Ryobi is 22 lbs; an equivalent Worx cordless mower like this at Amazon is only 7 lbs heavier. 

What are the drawbacks of a cordless mower?

A cordless lawnmower in a garden

(Image credit: Getty Images / welcomia)

A drawback is that cordless mowers are a little more expensive than corded mowers. It can be a difference of hundreds of dollars, so if you're on a tight budget. you're better off with a cordless mower. 

Cordless mowers also have limited runtimes. The worst will only last about half an hour. and if you have a larger lawn, that isn't enough time to cover all your grass. If your garden has lots of small lawns spread between different areas - separated by paths, decks, pools, or planters, you may find that you mow some areas and then have to wait to mow the others while your mower recharges, which is pretty frustrating. 

Cordless mowers also lose runtime over the years. Even when they're not being used, cordless batteries slowly discharge ions and lose the ability to hold charge. A mower that gives you 45 minutes of runtime out of the box may give you 40 or 35 minutes of runtime after a few years. 

Buy a corded mower if...

  • You're on a budget 
  • You have a small lawn

Buy a cordless mower if...

  • You have a small lawn 
  • You want a lightweight mower
  • You want a simple mower
  • You want a mower that won't disturb neighbors

However, these two mowers aren't the only game in town. It's worth considering how much you should spend on a lawnmower and the benefits of the different types before you buy. 

Alex David
Head of eCommerce

As Head of eCommerce, Alex makes sure our readers find the right information to help them make the best purchase. After graduating from Cambridge University, Alex got his start in reviewing at the iconic Good Housekeeping Institute, testing a wide range of household products and appliances. He then moved to BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, assessing gardening tools, machinery, and wildlife products. Helping people find true quality and genuine value is a real passion.