Sun Joe MJ401C-XR Cordless Battery Powered Electric Lawn Mower Review
Calling a lawn mower “cute” might seem kind of odd, but, well, the Sun Joe MJ401C-XR cordless battery-powered electric lawn mower does have a cuteness factor about it. Maybe it’s the rounded, space-age look, or the fact that it looks a bit like a toy. None of that really matters, though, as the machine does great on small patches of lawn and cuts a 14-inch swath. It’s powered by a 28-volt lithium-ion battery that is good to go for 20 to 25 minutes. Mowers can manually adjust the cutting height to three different positions that ranges from 1.2 inches to 2.5 inches.
This ETL-approved mower has a detachable 10.6-gallon grass catcher for easy disposal and comes with a two-year warranty. You can also purchase a side discharge option sold separately.
The unique-looking Sun Joe MJ401C-XR Series comes in three different colors and part numbers:
- Built-in push-button LED Battery level indicator
- Removable safety key prevents accidental starts
- Peak performance 28-volt 5 Ah rechargeable lithium-Ion battery works for up to a quarter of an acre of continuous mowing per charge
- Adjustable cutting height
- Automatic two-speed controller
- Two-year warranty
Rolling along on its rugged, all-terrain wheels, Sun Joe has a convenient electrical speed controller that kicks in automatically when grass gets thicker and taller. That’s a good thing, considering Sun Joe may struggle at times with such grass. It’s a neat function, and you can hear it clearly when the machine switches between the two running speeds. For grass that grows quick and is on the thick side, you might want to set your cutting height to the maximum level. That way, you’ll have less stops to make to empty the bag.
Sun Joe is very easy to handle and maneuver given its lightness, and the durable wheels will roll smoothly over uneven terrain. It may not be a durable, workhorse type of machine, but for the most part, Sun Joe typically provides a nicely trimmed lawn as long as it’s not too overly long or wet.
One of the downsides of this mower is that the battery is affixed to the machine. That means you’ll have to bring the entire mower to a power outlet instead of simply taking out the battery and charging only that. Most would probably agree that a removable battery would make charging the Sun Joe simpler.
Another thing to keep in mind is that this mower doesn’t offer the option to buy a spare battery if you’re looking to mow a larger yard. You have one battery only, and it last for 20 to 25 minutes.
Ease of Use
Sun Joe is small, extremely lightweight (only 28 pounds, with the battery!), and almost entirely made of plastic. So basically, just about anybody can push it. This mower comes mostly assembled; all you’ll need is a Philips screwdriver for a few screws. The rest can be put together without using tools. When you’re ready to get mowing, simply insert the key, press the safety switch, squeeze the trigger, and go.
When you’re done with your 20-minute mowing job (or thereabouts), simply fold the handle over the top of the mower and store it. This already-small mower is even tinier with the handle folded over, so you don’t need much space when putting it away. Store it somewhere cool and dry. It’s so small that a basement or attic will work, and you can easily carry it anywhere thanks to its super-light weight.
Cut Quality & Options
Mowin’ with Joe means you get to ditch the cord and gas. This cordless, eco-friendly, battery-powered mower boasts a durable steel blade that cuts a crisp 14-inch path with precision in a single pass, most of the time, and it features convenient three-position manual height control to quickly tailor grass to the height you desire. Collect the clippings with the 10.6- gallon bag, which is detachable for quick and easy disposal. The Sun Joe gets its power from a peak performance rechargeable 28-volt 5-amperage-hour lithium-ion battery, with the potential to mow more than 12,000 square feet on a single charge. And when the work day is done, simply plug in and power up for next time.
There’s an available side chute for a reasonable price that is compatible with Sun Joe, if you don’t want to bag while mowing.
Maintenance for the Sun Joe is basic and requires less care than a gas-powered mower. Service it regularly by keeping all the nuts and bolts tight. Keep the mower free of grass, leaves, and debris buildup. Check the grass bag components and monitor the discharge guard. Replace such items with the manufacturer’s recommended parts when necessary. Use extra caution when handling or servicing the sharp blade. Keep the handles dry, clean, and free of oil and grease. Try to store the mower in a cool and dry place; temperatures above or below normal room temperature will shorten the battery’s life.
At the end of its life, dispose of the battery pack according to federal, state, and local regulations. Contact a recycling agency in your area to find recycling locations.
Given that this mower might look like a kid-enticing toy, it’s a good thing it comes with a key that needs to be plugged in for the mower to operate. Sun Joe also has a safety lock button that operator’s must press in order to start the mower.
This mower, which works best on small lawns, starts easy with the push of a button, and operator’s can monitor the battery power thanks to a handy LED battery-level indicator. A removable key will prevent accidental starts by children who think this space-age-looking mower is a toy, and a 28-volt 5Ah rechargeable lithium-ion battery offers respectable power and performance.
Sun Joe saves on dollars because it’s not gas powered and doesn’t require the numerous parts and maintenance that such mowers need. Drilling down a bit further, however, it’s worth noting that this mower’s corded counterpart, MJ401E, is a bit cheaper. Yes, it has a cord, but for small lawns that’s not a huge deal. It’s worth noting this in case you’re looking to save a little cash and don’t mind using a corded mower.
The battery charging time for Sun Joe is four hours, and it’s worth noting that a few other cordless mowers in its class have batteries that last longer and offer substantially more cutting time.
So while Sun Joe’s price is enticing, keep in mind that other mowers in its class aren’t that much more expensive and arguably offer more solid options.
- For small yards only
- Bag fills fast
- Battery not removable
- Short battery life
- May struggle with thick grass
- Somewhat flimsy; plastic parts
- Good price
- Safety key included
- Compact and stores easily
- Highly maneuverable and lightweight