I’ve really wanted to ditch my gas mower for several years. I was supposed to receive a sample of Dewalt’s 2x20V mower this spring, but after waiting and waiting several months, I grew frustrated and purchased the mower I’ve been eyeing for some time: the EGO 21″ push mower (LM2101).
Clayton reviewed a cordless Ego lawn mower here several years ago, but that was the LM2001, a 20″ mower with a 4 Ah battery. I purchased the LM2101, which is an updated model with a 21″ cutting width. It also comes standard with a 5 Ah battery.
Let’s start off with a list of specs:
- Runtime: 55 minutes
- Deck: 21″
- Weather resistance: IPx4
- Cutting height: 1-1/2″ to 4″
- Grass bag capacity: 2 Bushels
- Single-lever, 6-position deck-height adjustment
- Output: mulching, bagging, side discharge
- 3 position handle
- Folds for compact storage
- LED headlights
- 5 Year Warranty
Ego claims that their mower has the torque of a gas mower and can cut two miles or 45 minutes on a single charge of the included 5.0 Ah battery. They walk their runtimes back in the manual where they say that the 45 minute runtime is under a light load. If you run a medium or heavy load the runtime drops to 30 or 20 minutes respectively.
The quick charger can charge the battery in 40 minutes, so if you do run out of juice in the middle of your lawn, that gives you enough time to run out and get lunch.
Ego has a variety of 56V electric outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) like blowers, chainsaws, and string trimmers, and the included 56 V ARC-Lithium battery is compatible with all of them.
Home Depot claims the mower has a 21″ cut capacity, but I dispute that claim. The Ego website is careful to say that the mower has a 21″ deck. The blade is actually slightly longer than 20″ and the underside of the deck is 21″ wide. I would actually classify this as a mower with a 20″ cutting capacity.
For $400 you get everything you need to mow your lawn: the mower, battery, and charger. Plus you get the bag and mulching plug. Some sources say that you have to request the side discharge chute, but it came packaged with my mower.
Buy Now (via Home Depot)
Starting the Mower
The first thing you want to do when you get the mower home is open up the box, pull out the battery and charger, and charge the battery.
While you’re waiting for the battery to charge, you can finish pulling the mower out of the box, assemble the grass bag, and set up the mower. You’ll probably have to wait a while because none of that other stuff takes much time.
The metal frame slides into the fabric bag and there are clips that attach to the frame all around the opening.
Once the battery is charged, drop the battery into the battery box on the mower — making sure the battery is on the rails, and then press it down hard enough to hear the click of the locking mechanism.
The mower has several different handle positions. To change the position you squeeze the green handle on the left side of the mower. The five positions are the storage position, a forward position to make it easier to remove a full grass bag, and three different heights to adjust for the size or preference of the person mowing.
Adjusting the cutting height of the mower is really easy, there’s handle on the left side of the mower that adjusts the deck height — you just have to move one lever to set the height of all the wheels. The lever has 6 positions to adjust the height from 1-1/2″ to 4″.
Starting the mower takes a few times to get used to. Normally for lawn mowers, you pull back the safety bail toward the handle and then start the mower. With the Ego, you extend the handle, push the start button, and then pull back the bail.
The handle extends when you unclip the sides. For the mower to start and the clips to snap closed again, you have to fully extend the handle. You can hear the click of an electrical switch inside the handle when you fully extend it, it is the switch that keeps the mower from starting when the handle isn’t fully extended, not the clips being unsnapped like Ego claims.
The mower lets you know when you are running out of juice. The battery and the mower start shining red. When this happens you have about 15% of the charge left. If you overheat the battery or the mower, the lights will shine orange — something I never had happen.
There are two blade options for the mower, the stock blade and the optional ($22) high-lift blade. The high-lift blade is designed for increasing the efficiency of bagging. It is also rumored to increase the cut quality. The downside is that it weighs more, will drain your battery faster, and is noticeably louder.
Above you can see that there is a 4dB difference between the stock and high-lift blades. this may not sound like much, but it is a huge difference. With the stock blade I can comfortably wear loose headphones on a moderate volume or have a conversation comfortably. With the high-lift blade, I have to increase the volume to an uncomfortable level.
I purchased the high-lift blade to try and get more suction under the mower. My lawn is a mix of bluegrass and fescue (with plenty of crabgrass too), so most of it is thin and wispy. I like to leave it longer in the middle of summer to help with the heat of the sun.
I honestly didn’t notice any difference in cut quality between the two blades. This isn’t a knock on the Ego mower, even my old my prosumer gas mower left some grass lying down.
I’m actually pretty impressed with the little bagging I’ve done. The bag on my old mower would fill up maybe to 1/3 full and then start filling up the front of the bag, leaving all the space in the back while blocking any more debris from getting into the bag.
The Ego blew the grass clipping all the way to the back until it was mostly full and only then did the front start filling. The bag is also deceptively small. It packed way more grass clippings than I thought it could. I was dumping it in a yard can and the clippings kept coming and coming.
It was way too late to pick up leaves, but I found some in a corner of the yard to try out the leaf bagging. You can see the trail I spread out above. This was with the stock blade and the mower set to height 2.
I was pretty impressed by the bagging with just the stock blade. With both the grass and the leaves, it threw the yard waste all the way to the back of the bag and only filled the front when the bag started to fill.
Mowing in the Dark
Not many push mowers have headlights, but the Ego does. The lights are activated by pressing a button on the back of the “head.”
My town has an 8pm noise curfew, so for most of the mowing season there’s plenty of sunlight light out. But with the Ego’s ultra quiet operation and the headlights, I was out mowing well after sunset. The only problem was the mosquitoes.
The angle of the headlights just includes the edge of the front wheels, so you can follow the previous row.
Do you really need to be mowing after dark? I don’t know, but now it’s an option.
The included side discharge chute seems like an after thought. It’s a little difficult to get into place and much of the grass actually falls onto the rubber blocker below or the ground behind the mower. Some of the grass also gets stuck between the deck and the chute.
To help demonstrate how the side discharge chute is installed and where the grass actually ends up, I put together the video below.
I can cut my entire front yard (4400 sq. ft) and side yard (2200 sq. ft.), on one charge. This takes me 35 to 45 minutes depending on how fast I cut and if I have to move stuff out of the way.
I haven’t pushed the mower any farther than this, because I usually save the back yard (another 3000 sq. ft.) for another day. But I know I’m close to the limit with the front and side yards because when I used the headlights, I was just barely able to finish these yards before the red lights came on saying I had 15% of the battery left.
Storing the Mower
One of the things I like most about this mower is that it folds up easily and stores upright. Above you can see how much space this saves. Sure, the handles on most mowers can fold down, but that usually involves unscrewing four different knobs, and then if you’re lucky the wires and pull cord don’t get in the way. You still don’t get to stand a gas mower up on its side.
My family and neighbors really like this mower. Everybody comments on how quiet it is and how easy it is to push. My 14 year old daughter actually used it for a while. It’s so light it’s actually easier for her to maneuver than my old self-propelled mower.
I was mowing one night and I stopped to let a couple pass on the sidewalk. They slowed down and the wife asked if that was a battery powered lawnmower because it was the quietest lawnmower she’d ever heard.
- I really like how quiet the mower is — no hearing protection required. Rather than the drone of the lawnmower engine, you can hear what’s going on around you.
- I like that it takes a fraction of the space to store than my previous gas lawnmower.
- The cut quality was just as good as my old $500 gas lawnmower.
- The mower is powerful enough to fill the bag from back to front, so you don’t have to keep stopping to empty a half full bag.
- No more oil, no more gas, no more finicky pull starts. Drop-in a charged battery and go.
- The mower is light and easy to maneuver
- The handle isn’t as rigid as I would like and there is play between the handle and the mower.
- The side discharge seems like an after thought.
- There aren’t many downsides to the mower besides maybe price.
I wish I would have purchased this mower last year, instead I decided to limp along on a poorly built gas mower that I paid way too much for.
The bottom line: I enjoy mowing with this mower. It is well built and well thought out. I’d recommend it to anybody with a moderately sized yard.
Buy Now (via Home Depot)
The review sample was purchased at full retail.