UPDATE: Ecorazzi is now giving away a Neuton in celebration of their two year anniversary. One person will be chosen at random.]
Before I start this review, you should know that I have a love/hate relationship with lawns. Living in the Northeast, they’re a necessary evil when one has not yet shifted an entire backyard to something built on permaculture. On the other hand, a recently cut lawn does look beautiful and sharp — something drilled into my head from summers of mowing other lawns to make cash in High School.
When my lawn turns colors from a lack of rain, I do not get out the sprinkler. I consider it a vacation from the weekly chore of mowing. If weeds or other variants of grass make their presence known, I consider them compliments to the scenery. It amuses/depresses me to no end the amount of resources Americans spend on the upkeep of lawns across the US — especially in places where grass has no business growing in the first place.
I know many people who use manual mowers to keep their lawns tidy, but I’ve never been one of them. The grass I encounter (due to my unwillingness to mow more often) is often too high — or I don’t like the lack of mulching offered. I absolutely hate raking grass up (another stupid practice) and have embraced the auto-mulching, non-pickup feature found often on today’s modern gas-powered mowers.
Of course, gas-mowers come with their own issues; the least of which is that they run on gasoline. They also require oil maintenance, are loud, and a bit of a pain in the ass to move around due to their heft. These are some of the many reasons why I’ve been intrigued with all of the electric mowers that have been hitting the market. When Neuton contacted me to give their latest a shot, I’m jumped at the opportunity.
Everything arrived in a tighly packed box worthy of green points right away — mostly due to the inclusion of recycle cardboard protecting the contents. Putting the mower together was a snap and I had everything ready to rock in about 15 minutes. Of course, the battery needed an overnight charge, so my initial grass cutting was delayed by a day. Fine by me.
The extra time gave me an opportunity to check out the Neuton — which definitely embraces a modern styling. In fact, when I later took it out on the grass, I actually had some people walking their dog come over and ask what it was. How often does that happen with a gas mower? This thing will certainly start conversations.
In addition to its looks, I was pleased to see that a large majority of the Neuton is made from plastic; making this an easy product to recycle once the end comes. As expected, that means it’s also fairly light and nimble — coming in at a manageable 48lbs with the battery.
After the 12-hour initial charge, I easily popped the battery in and got to work on my roughly .6 acres of lawn.
Before I even started the blade spinning, I was immediately impressed with the safety features of the unit. First, you need a key to start the mower — which is easily inserted into the body. Next, you must move a panel on the handle and squeeze down to engage the blade. All of this is incredibly easy — and a nice touch to prevent kids from fooling around. Of course, there is absolutely no string to pull to get this thing going — HOORAY! — and you’ll potentially love that feature the most.
Another awesome selling point: This mower is quiet. It’s not Tesla Sportscar quiet — since you’re still having this metal blade underneath the plastic body spinning quite rapidly and displacing air — but I definitely did not need the hearing protection that I use with my other gas mower. In fact, according to a study conducted by the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse, the Neuton is the quietest rotary mower available. It rather sounds like a room window fan on high.
But the real question is: Can it with compete with a regular gas mower? After using the product twice to cut my entire lawn (without an additional charge), I can definitely say yes. Of course, I have a fairly small lawn and don’t expect much from my machines. I just want them to cut the grass so I can get on with life. Your demands or situation might be different. Here’s what I liked/disliked:
1. Cutting power was comparable if not even better than my two-year old gas-powered mower. On some patches of high grass where my gas mower would have issues, the Nueton cut right through.
2. Cleaning after cutting is much easier. I can simply tip the mower over and scrap out any excess grass without worying about oil or gasoline running all over the place.
3. I don’t have to worry about filling the mower up with gasoline, changing the oil, or getting it ready for winter storage with additional fluids. AWESOME. Also, no more “I flooded the engine.” moments.
4. Easy to move around — which is good, because it ties into one of my complaints.
5. No fumes and much quieter than my other mower.
6. Easy to integrate into a closed clean-energy loop with solar or wind charging the battery.
1. Mulching didn’t seem as efficient as my gas mower. That being said, it wasn’t noticeable enough to cause me to pull out a rake.
2. No “self-propel” mode — so it’s all push. Regardless, it was fairly easy to move around without any straining issues or out-of-breath moments. I’d love to see that added as a feature in future models.
3. No charge indicator means you’ll be guessing how long you’ve got left in between mows.
4. Still a lead-acid battery — which takes more time to charge and is heavier than the lithium-ion models.
The need for a charged battery could be seen as cumbersome, but if you’re used to charging your cell phone at night, you can probably get away with remembering to charge your mower as well. I’d recommend picking up an additional battery just have on hand — which at $99 is pricey, but worth it.
At the end of the day, this is still just a lawn mower we’re talking about — but it gets the job done. Of course, it’s up to you to decide if not having to deal with gasoline, emissions, or noise is worth the extra dough you’ll throw at this mower over a conventional one. For the environment, you can’t go wrong — but that’s doesn’t always translate well when it comes to the wallet.
Over time, these mowers will become much more common — and come down in price. I look forward to seeing what Neuton has planned for the future, especially when it comes time to transition to Lithium-Ion. For now, though, if you’re looking for something quiet, powerful, and virtually maintenance-free, I can highly recommend this mower for anyone eager to add even more green to their outside chores.