Consumer Reports looks for the best electric mowers

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- If you're in the market for a new mower, you don't necessarily have to consider a gas mower. Today's electric mowers have some extra "vrrooom," thanks to advances in lithium battery technology. In a partnership with Consumer Reports, 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney says some of them even give gas models a run for their money, and they have some suggestions about which are worth checking out.

A simple push of a button and you're ready to go. Easy startup is just one of the reasons to consider an electric mower. "Electrics are relatively maintenance-free, obviously they don't have a gasoline engine so they're much easier to start, and they're much quieter," said Frank Spinelli, Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports tests electric mowers to see how well they mulch, bag, and discharge your grass clippings. They also test how well they handle. "Between a gas and an electric mower, you're gonna notice that electrics are much easier to push," said Spinelli. "They're lighter and they're easier to maneuver," he said.

They even fold up for easy storage. But Consumer Reports says some are less effective at mowing than others.

Although the lightweight of this Kobalt mower makes it easy to push, pull and turn, it has some limitations. Consumer Reports tests found it's subpar at mulching, leaving clumps in its path. Clumps can cause the grass beneath to brown, so you may need to rake them.

The Kobalt does not have a side discharge.

The Black & Decker does a good job side discharging, and in mulching mode, leaving teeny bits behind to replace the nutrients in your lawn.

But it really shines at bagging, collecting up to 25 pounds of clippings in a roomy bag.

The Husqvarna also does a terrific job bagging. Another plus? The 40 volt lithium battery can power other tools in the Husqvarna line - like a leaf blower, string trimmer, and chainsaw.

When it's time to clean up, one thing electric mowers do not have is a washout port for the clippings that get stuck to the underside. They are light enough to flip on their side and clean out manually, but to prevent accidental starting, you should remove the batteries first.

Consumer Reports says these battery-powered mowers are best for small suburban lots, that is, lawns under a third of an acre. The battery typically runs for about a half hour, depending on the height and density of your grass.

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