Howdy Friends! It’s been a while since we’ve gotten a review out, but we’re back today! Two weeks ago Lowe’s shipped us their new KOBALT 80v Max, 21″ Brushless Lithium Ion Push Mower for test and review. This is our first time using one of these latest generation, high voltage, extended-life mowers that have become very popular over the last two years. While Lowe’s provided this tool for free, they are not compensating us for this review and these thoughts are entirely my own.
Key Features of the KOBALT 80v Max Push Mower
Let’s get started with the key features of this mower:
- 21″ cutting deck – comparable to most small gas mowers on the market
- Three modes for handling clippings (bag, mulch, or throw)
- 7-level adjustable deck height w/ easy adjust lever
- 80v Max Battery w/ up to 80 minutes runtime and smart battery management
- Comes in standard push design as well as a self-propelled version (for an additional $100).
- Eliminates the need for gas and oil as well as oil changes.
Here’s my impressions of the mower, starting with right out of the box!
It’s Easy To Setup!
One thing we loved above the mower right from the start is the super-easy setup. Basically take it out of the box, straighten up the handle, charge the battery, configure it for either bagging, mulching, or throwing, and you’re ready to go. As you are probably aware, bagging grass isn’t great from an environmental perspective nor for lawn health. (We follow the old adage, “cut it high and let it lie”. This, along with other lawn care steps, provides optimal lawn health). My sons rotate through our lawn duty and were super excited to try this mower.
Battery Life is Good Enough for Our 1/4 Acre of Lawn
The single most important question we ask when we’re considering a battery-powered lawnmower is, How long will the battery last? Lowe’s says you get up to 80 minutes of runtime with this lawnmower. We’ve used the mower twice now to cut our lawn (each time removing approximately 3″-5″ of grass height), and it has been able to complete our quarter-acre yard without stopping in about an hour, leaving just 1 bar (out of 4) on the battery remaining. Given that we were down to 1 bar after a 1/4 acre, we suspect you’d need two batteries for anything larger than about one-third of an acre.
Battery Charge Time Is Just Over an Hour
A full charge requires an hour and fifteen minutes, but you can get over half charged in about 30 minutes. Still, this is probably a little too long for most people if you’re trying to use the same battery twice for one job. If you spring for the second battery (a fairly pricey option — see the price section below), you’ll get virtually uninterrupted mowing since the charge time is about the same as the run time.
Here’s a picture of the battery on the included charger.
7-Level Adjustable Deck Height
One really nice feature about the KOBALT is the ease of deck height adjustment. The mower has 7 settings (ranging from 1-3/8″ to 3-3/4″). Instead of needing to adjust height on each of the 4 wheels, you pull one lever (and it’s easy to move) and the entire mower adjusts. You can see the lever over the rear right wheel here.
Solid Mowing Performance
So far, the mower has performed great for us! We’re super pleased to finally be off of gasoline and the associated hassles of engine maintenance, oil, and regularly hauling gas cans to/from the gas station. We usually cut our grass when it’s 3-5″ higher than we like it – so the KOBALT is removing a fair amount of grass height for us.
Very Low Maintenance
It probably goes without saying, but the best part of owning a battery-powered mower is the elimination of gas and oil from the setup. No more trips to the gas station with gas cans is a really nice thing. The only regular maintenance this mower requires is blade sharpening, which you should be doing on your gas mowers anyway, but which is more important on this mower since dull blades can negatively affect battery life. If you’ve never sharpened a mower blade, it’s simple and you can follow that link for tips.
Price & Recommendation
The KOBALT 80v Max Mower comes in two varieties, the standard push mower (shown in this article) which retails for $499, and a self-propelled version of $599. Here’s the links for both.
You can also purchase the mower without a battery or charger (currently $329 for this option which makes sense if you have other KOBALT tools already)
Perhaps the biggest drawback of all these large battery tools is the price of extra batteries. A second 6.0Ah 80v Max battery runs a whopping $229. We know there’s a lot of technology that goes into these batteries and we are hopeful that prices will come down on them. That said, this battery replaces hundreds of gallons of gas you’d otherwise have to buy, so in that sense the pricing isn’t insane.
After just two rounds of mowing with the KOBALT we can definitely say it’s a huge improvement over our gas mower. The major pluses are elimination of the need to keep gas on hand and the instant-on nature of the mower (no gas means no choke/start-up activities). We recommend this mower to anyone looking to cut out the gasoline.
Both my rear wheels have fallen off with very poor response from Kobalt
One of my rear tires has fallen off also. I bought this only this past summer. I can’t find anywhere on how to repair this and it doesn’t fit on with a standard screw and bolt like most lawn mowers. Have you figured out how to repair this thing?
Any advice on how to repair this would be greatly appreciated.
I went to Lowes Home Improvement to purchase the 80v mower only to be informed Kobalt is discontinuing the mower.
Self propel feature went out after two months of owning This model. Was willing to exchange for another one because I liked it so much but found that Lowes has discontinued ordering any more. Was offered The 40 V model with $110 cash refund. Will test it out to see if it comes anywhere close to the performance of the original .
I found it a nuisance to disengage the self propelled mechanism to put it in reverse. I tore up a lot of my grass skidding it backwards. Arg!
It also wouldn’t pick up my leaves well at all. I found myself doing twice the work as I would have done with my gas mower.
My 4 yr old 80 V Kobalt does a great job on high grass and weeds in mulch mode on high cut. I used to like it for my lawn with rear bagger on 2nd height. For some reason it now leaves clumps of mown grass on right side going forward and it pushes harder than it used to. Any clues?
I bought a 21 inch 80V Kobalt mower and believe it performs much better than the Ryobi it replaced. That is until it just quit running. I’ve had it less than 3 years and the manual says it is guaranteed for 5 years so I called the warranty center and was given a reference number and told to take the mower and receipt to any Lowe’s for a replacement. If the store didn’t have the exact model in stock I would get a replacement of equal value. I searched several area stores and couldn’t find any with the same model listed in stock so took it to the closest location. Long story short, even though they had 3 other models in stock, all with prices less than the list price of my mower, they refused to give me a replacement, and offered me a refund instead. Because I purchased at a sale price and Lowe’s has increased prices significantly, the refund doesn’t even come close to the price to replace the 2 (still working) batteries which also power the trimmer and blower but they insist have to be returned as well. So much for hassle free returns.