Riding lawn mowers can cut lots of grass without you breaking a sweat. But they're also usually far from green. Not so with the $2,499 Troy-Bilt TB30 E Lithium Battery Rider. This backyard cruiser is the first riding mower powered by a lithium-ion battery, like the one in your phone.
The upsides to the all-electric machine should be plenty. According to Troy-Bilt, compared to noisy gas guzzling mowers, the TB30 E runs whisper quiet. It's also less harmful to the atmosphere since it emits zero greenhouse gases or other airborne pollutants.
Troy-Bilt says it should take 4 to 6 hours to charge the mower's big 1,500-watt battery pack. That beats the 10 to 12 hours (basically overnight) charge time required for older electric lawn mowers. Essentially golf carts with spinning blades, those riders run on outdated lead acid batteries.
That doesn't mean riding mowers using lead acid power systems are less impressive. The robust $2,499 Ryobi Electric Riding Mower, for example, operates for a good 2 hours (enough for two acres) on a full charge. It has a tight 16-inch turning radius too, plus it cuts turf in wide 38-inch swaths. Oh yes, and it does that with a pair of blades.
The Troy-Bilt TB30 E wields only one blade that chops grass in sections 30 inches wide. At full power it can run for a shorter 1 hour before needing a recharge, good enough to cover an acre. The mower is more compact than the Ryobi model, although with a slightly larger 18-inch turn radius. Both riding mowers come with extras like LED headlights, USB ports to charge phones and other gadgets, plus that most indispensable of lawn-care amenity -- cupholders.