It wouldn’t be remotely “fair,” by any definition of that adjective, to indict the Sun Joe iON16LM cordless electric mower for its limited range of effective use. I simply don’t have it in me to condemn any one model for not doing a job for which it was never intended. Make no mistake, that is what happens when critics or customers occasionally censure various individual ultralight mowers in particular for lacking the battery capacity or horsepower to manage larger lawns. The fact is, this mower is a virtually perfect candidate to efficiently manage extremely small yards without overspending on more power and a broader deck than what the job actually calls for. Sun Joe has no illusions about building a mower that can keep up with heavy landscaping duty. They sought to design a functionally perfect mower for residential users seeking an upgrade to the time-saving power of a motorized product but without breaking the bank on a gigantic mower that maneuvers heavily and clumsily within narrow quarters. By and large, they succeeded with flying colors.
- Weighs only 33 pounds
- 600W brushless motor powered by 40V lithium-ion battery
- 16-inch composite deck
- Push-button starter
- Easily adjustable range of six deck positions
This is one astoundingly tough, capable machine. Generally speaking, modern brushless motors have come a long way in terms of sheer power and efficiency. The virtually silent-running 600W unit in the Sun Joe iON16LM is no exception, delivering a substantial peak current that guarantees it won’t clump up and stall when it hits a thick patch of grass or stutter awkwardly with a heaping load of clippings in the bag.
The 40V rechargeable lithium-ion battery energizing it may offer only 40 minutes of mowing time, but with moxie like that, you have all the time you need to clean up any fairly flat lawn under one-third of an acre and no more than eight inches of growth. Weighing in at a spritely 33 pounds with a lean and deceptively tough 16-inch composite deck, this model maneuvers smoothly as glass with a remarkably tight turning radius in even the most narrow quarters. The Sun Joe iON16LM is one of the extremely rare mowers I wouldn’t worry about trusting a child under 10 years old to handle capably.
Ease Of Use
There may not exist an easier cordless electric mower to use in the world than the Sun Joe iON16LM. Nicely detailed instructions will talk you through the brief and simple assembly steps of attaching the handle and preparing for your first mow in 10 minutes, tops. The included battery even arrives fully charged. As with any electric mower, ongoing maintenance is an afterthought, with the exception of keeping the blades sharp and the underside of the deck clean. A super-responsive push-button starter fires this model up on the first try practically every time.
All in all, we’re talking minutes to set up and seconds to get started before a user of any experience level is off and cutting. To top that off, with absolutely no toxic emissions and barely a murmur of air pollution, you couldn’t find a less environmentally impactful mower without venturing into classic motorless models. Lawn care could hardly feel any more effortless.
Cut Quality & Options
You couldn’t ask for more tidy cutting from an electric mower. The Sun Joe iON16LM’s surprising power for its overall size evenly grooms even unkempt stubborn grasses to a finish an Augusta greenskeeper would admire. With six height settings between an inch and 3.15 inches – all of them swiftly adjustable using a single lever that raises and lowers all four wheels – you can tailor your mowing both to any preferable appearance and an ideal pace that works through any degree of growth in a timely fashion. Incidentally, however, this section is also where it bears noting quite possibly this little dynamo’s only notable flaws.
Unfortunately, anyone who prefers to side-discharge or mulch leftover grass is out of luck. The Sun Joe iON16LM offers only one means of dispensing clippings: a bag. No mulching. No side-discharge. Though capable, its bagging leaves something to be desired – namely, something larger than the included one-bushel receptacle so I wouldn’t have to empty shards of grass so often and one that fits without a small gap grass can shoot upwards through until the bag collects around one-fourth its capacity. At least it clips onto and off of the handle easily.
Of course, being electrically powered, you will want to steer your mower clear of wet conditions as much as possible. Otherwise, I have yet to handle a Sun Joe mower that I would expect to need significant paid maintenance as soon as two years into its lifespan, and the iON16LM doesn’t come close to bucking that winning streak. That being said, if yours should malfunction drastically, it would be far more succinct to list the plausible breakdowns not covered by the included 24-month warranty. For anything short of a biblical apocalypse, expect Sun Joe to confidently back their typically evident first-class craftsmanship by making haste to rectify any disappointing experience immediately.
The Sun Joe iON16LM’s bailout lever will indeed stop its motor instantly after being released, but the most valuable safety measures are almost always the ones that also prevent accidental starts – especially when young, intrepid and curious explorers “discover” a new toy in the garage when there is nary an adult in sight to slow them down from checking it out. Starting this mower requires inserting its safety key into the designated slot to complete its electrical circuit. Even then, it still won’t fire up if the pre-start button hasn’t been pressed.
I refuse to lie: your mileage may vary. Priced around $400, I could certainly understand writing off the Sun Joe iON16LM as an absurdly overpriced mower relative to its size and narrowly focused design. That being said, I can’t say I categorically agree with that verdict. Considering just how powerful a motor drives its performance, 40 minutes is ample battery life in which one can groom the modestly sized lawns for which it was envisioned. Equally importantly, although I would ordinarily write off a two-year warranty as disappointingly brief, few repair and replacement plans with such a limited window are as comprehensive as Sun Joe’s guarantee. The iON16LM’s performance easily outstrips the quality and endurance of numerous larger mowers with vastly more initially impressive specs.
- Unexpectedly well-built
- Superb cutting
- Perfect for extra-small yards
- 2-Year Warranty
- Clipping disposal limited to bagging
- Bag is a bit on the small side