Black + Decker CM1640 16″ Cordless Electric Lawn Mower Review
Black + Decker’s outdoor equipment is fueled by electric power that won’t produce nasty emissions or force operators to breathe in smelly fumes. The company’s CM1640 16-inch cordless electric lawn mower offers mowing efficiency and the option not to have to pour in gas and oil or deal with an inconvenient cord. It works best on small yards that are no more than one-eighth of an acre. At just 38 pounds, this mower could be pushed by almost anybody and can maneuver around yard obstacles better than many heavyweight mowers. It’s also highly compact and easy to carry with handles that fold inward. Great cutting results … minimal effort. That should be the mantra of this mower, which is powered by 40-volt MAX lithium-ion batteries that are removable and can work together to provide 30 minutes of mowing time.
- Two 40-volt MAX lithium-ion batteries are removable for up to 30 minutes of runtime
- Compact 16-inch deck is perfect for smaller yards of up to one-eighth of an acre
- Folding handles allow for simple, convenient storage in small spaces
- Carrying handle allows for easy lifting and carrying
- Grass bag is 9.5 gallons and has soft fabric so mowers can see how full it is
- Single lever allows for easily adjusting the grass-cutting heights from 1.5 inches to 3.5 inches.
- Cutting-height range: 1.5 inches to 3.5 inches
- 21 x 30 x 18 inches
- 38 pounds
- Two-year limited warranty
Just because it looks a little like a toy and is powered by batteries doesn’t mean the CM1640 can’t handle slopes and weeds long term. If you’re a bit on the careless side and let your grass get too long, this machine can handle the situation by plowing ahead–just make sure it’s set at one of the highest grass-cutting settings. I’ve even seen it plow through blackberry bushes, a tough obstacle in the yard if there ever was one.
If you do find yourself getting bogged down while using this machine, which you might notice more often over damp grass, go slow over the troublesome areas and consider setting the cutting height at the tallest height option. Consider also that the bag is a bit on the small side, so even on a tiny yard, you may have to change it often when mowing tall grass.
Overall, this is a tough mower and highly maneuverable. Mowing technology has come so far, as is evident by Black + Decker’s ultra-cool AutoSense™ Technology, which can tell just how thick grass is and adjust the power of the mower accordingly. When mowing on thicker grass, the CM1640 is going to kick in to a higher gear. When grass is shorter or on the brittle side, as it can be in mid-summer, the machine will smartly decrease its power output, saving on battery life and overall runtime. Beyond the bag, the CM1640 does have mulching capability.
Ease of Use
Gotta love the lightweight feel and the way this mower generally doesn’t need more than one pass to take care of any specific area. It’s also easy to start since it doesn’t require a cord to pull and won’t put out our back. All you have to do is push a button to get it going. There’s no gas, oil, or mess to deal with. And most anyone could probably push this mower forward even though it doesn’t have self-propulsion. The batteries are versatile and one can be charged while you’re using the other one to mow, allowing you to keep going no matter what. The battery charger has four LED lights that will illuminate, indicating the percentage of charging.
Battery-powered and electrics are often compact and easy to store, and the CM1640 is no exception. Those with a tight-fitting two-car garage could fold up this mower and tuck it into a corner or place it on a shelf and still get both cars in.
Cut Quality & Options
If you’re a bagger by nature, you should like the CM1640 and how easy it is to attach, detach, and empty the bag, thanks to a large handle and plastic flap that you simply open to take it off. Thanks to two included batteries, the CM1640 can operate on one battery while another one is charging. When grass is lush and thick, you may indeed need both those batteries to finish the job. When grass is dry and more brittle, it’s likely that one battery will be all you need to finish. The same principle applies for the bag, obviously. With lusher grass you’ll need to empty it more often. Some may appreciate the small bag and how easy it is to change, while others may find it a bit TOO small for their liking.
This mower cuts well, but it is small. With a 16-inch cutting deck, it probably will take more passes to complete the job. Though as I always say, mowers like this are designed for smaller yards anyway, so who cares if it may take a few more passes.
I didn’t tell you to do this, but some folks may take the bag off the CM1640 and simply let the clippings discharge from the rear. If you do that, beware of possible clumping within the long chute.
For best cutting results, make sure the blade is balanced and sharpened. Inspect the mower after each use and clean accordingly. Keep guards in place and in working order. Check the soft fabric of the grass bag often to make sure there are no tears. Keep track of the vibration of the mower. If it begins to vibrate abnormally, release the bail handle and remove the safety key. No lubrication is necessary on this mower. Dispose of batteries properly.
The CM1640 comes with a orange plastic key that has to be plugged into the machine in order to get started on the job. This is a good and necessary safety feature, especially if you’ve got little ones running around the yard or garage. Given its toy-like look and light weight, the CM1640 could possibly be a magnet for curious kids. In addition, the safety key has a hole in its center, which allows operators to put it on a nail on the wall, out of reach of children.
My first inclination was to say the CM1640’s best feature was its AutoSense Technology, which can gauge the amount of power the mower must use based on the thickness of the grass. And while that’s indeed very cool, what I think is just as good about this mower is its ability to handle thick grass, off-putting terrain, and difficult obstacles. There’s something to be said for a mower that can snake its way around tough terrain while also cutting precisely every time. At first glance, the 16-inch cutting deck may seem small, but this is a mower that’s designed for small yards anyway. The grass bag is easy to attach and detach, and you can see the grass level within the soft fabric, and, when all is done, you can fold this little mower up and store it compactly wherever you have space.
The CM1640 is a total time saver in the sense that it doesn’t require the many things a gas-powered mower does, things such as gas, oil, spark plugs, and air filters. What’s more there’s no cord to pull and you won’t have to make trips to the gas station or worry about engine maintenance. The deck is sturdy, lightweight, and it wont’ rust. It’s also easy to clean. The mower stores easily and should last a long time with the right care.
The included 40-volt batteries offer up to 33 percent more battery-pack power on one charge, and they’ll work with Black + Decker’s 36-volt lithium-ion system. That means they’re compatible with the company’s string trimmer, sweeper vac, hedge trimmer, and sweeper/blower vac. That’s a nice money-saving option if you like using Black + Decker’s outdoor equipment.
- Simple, reliable starting
- Cordless, lightweight, and quiet
- Two batteries included
- Battery light indicator
- Assembly not difficult
- Foldable handle
- Compact and easy to store
- Assembling handle may be tricky for some
- 16-inch cutting path
- Short life for batteries
- Not for large yards
- Bag somewhat small
- Not self-propelled but lightweight
- Manual unclear in spots
- Plastic parts; possible durability issues