My 12 rounds with the EGO 21" SP Mower (Review)

  • 5
  • Praise
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • (Edited)

If you are debating between the self-propelled 21” EGO mower or the on fence about purchasing, this review may be very relevant to your decision.  


I’ve been using the EGO 20” mower for about 3 years now and love it.  It’s so light and maneuverable that I often forget I’m pushing a mower.  So you can imagine my reservations about getting a slightly larger, but heavier mower.  The new 21” mower is a natural upgrade.  Bigger cutting width, more power and self-propelled.

SELF-PROPEL

Let’s first talk about the self-propel minimum walking speed.  Almost all Self-Propelled mowers on the market are fixed speed (Cruise control) just like this EGO, so the experience will be about the same.  I haven’t used a SP (Self-Propelled) mower in ages, so this is a unique experience for me. 

Look at the picture below.  I have a very steep lawn, so even when I cut it from side to side, it slopes enough in both directions that I’m always going uphill or downhill.  


The natural walking speed for a person increases slightly while walking down a hill and slows down gradually as you walk up a hill.  The self-propel function on this mower has a static speed, set by the lever.  So just be aware that the speed will be static and you just need to keep up with it. 

Video of walking up a hill at slowest speed.

https://youtu.be/8K7rLk7hR7s

The best advice is to take a little time as you are walking to find a good balance for the speed so that you do not feel like it is too slow going downhill and too fast going uphill.  After I found a balance, I got a lot more comfortable. 

Next up is the braking feature.  At first I was having a bit of trouble backing up.  The whole trick is to release the lever while moving forward just a little and it will unlock the brakes allow you to easily pull the mower backwards. 

Video of going forward, releasing lever and backing up.  You can see how the brakes will lock (for safety) if you don't move forward a little.

https://youtu.be/z6e4ufNoAKc

At first I wasn’t comfortable with the self-propel engage lever.  Sometimes I would disengage the blade at the same time I released the lever (muscle reflex).  After a while it became second nature and not a problem to use.  As with anything, just give yourself a little time to get use to something new.

Aside from the issues I talk about, the self-propel option is a welcome addition to the mower.  I do not feel as fatigued.  When you are dreading those last few strips in the middle of the summer, that assist will be a most welcomed addition.

CUTTING POWER

I could write a review that would bring images of Tanks, Horse Power, Roman Soldiers, but it would drag on.  The cutting power of this mower was nothing short of amazing, spectacular.  Look at this example of something I tried (don’t try at home).  I decided to see if all of the talk about the new power was something of a gimmick, or noteworthy. 

This mower had no problem, no slow down, no blinking lights.  It simply bush-whacked this very thick weeded area that was also loaded with leaves and small bushes.  I could hardly believe what I experience.  Take a look.




When you hear the mower go into “GOD” mode (the mower speeds up to compensate for the heavy cutting load), it really does give you a sense that you can do more with it than you probably should.

Here is my lawn after.  No stray weeds or grass.  The mower did a fine job of giving a good even cut.


MULCHING PERFORMANCE

The mulching performance and ability to pick up debris from the lawn and “chomp” it up was very good.  See this video example below. 

https://youtu.be/zac-usQIW0g

I also used it on the very back of my lawn where there is no grass, but tons of acorns, leaves and weeds.  Guess what.  It left the ground looking clean, with a fine mulch.  Took care of everything I could throw at it.

THE BLADE

OK, I’m a harsh critic of these light metal blades that dull by just looking at them.  That being said, the blade on this 21” was pretty sharp out of the box.  After 2 hours of sticks, leaves, grass, small bushes, the blade was still damn near perfect. The blade was acceptably sharp.

I think that I can now put my gripes about the blade to rest. 

MANEUVERABILITY

Being that the size of the mower is identical to the one without the Self-Propel (SP), it maneuvers much like it.  When using the Self-Propel, your turns are a little wider and if you don’t disengage the Self-Propel and move the mower slightly forward before making your turn, the back wheels will lock and cause some aggravation.  All SP mowers do this, any brand.  Just remember to move it slightly forward without the SP engaged and the wheels will free up to pull backwards. 

CONCLUSION

If you are on the fence about whether you want to go with EGO or anther brand, better think twice.  There is a reason that even Consumer Reports rates this as tops.  It’s a powerful, fairly light cutting machine that is probably built well enough for commercial use. 

Pros:

·         Powerful enough for the most demanding lawn

·         Top notch build quality, nothing cheap about this mower

·         Very good mulching performance

·         Great run time, considering the power of the mower.  Recommend the 7.5ah battery

·         Robust and powerful battery design, all battery sizes fit all EGO products

·         5-year mower / 3-year battery warranty

·         Self-Propelled

·         Easy to store, folds up into a compact form factor.

·         Best customer service in the industry.  Very active with the online community

 Cons:

·         Heavier than a mower without self-propel

·         Self-Propel speeds can be a bit tricky to work with

* Please excuse any spelling or grammar mistakes.  
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SCDC, Champion

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  • Content

Posted 4 years ago

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Steve Valdes

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Great review. I agree with everything you point out except that I find the mulching performance for this mower unacceptable. The 20" does a great job, but unfortunately the 21" SP fails in mulching dry thick turf successfully.
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SCDC, Champion

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Steve,

What type of grass do you have?
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Steve Valdes

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It's primarily Perennial Rye and Kentucky Blue. That's typical for the Northwest climate.
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SCDC, Champion

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Aren't the blades of that strand really thin?  I'm just trying to get an idea of the aerodynamics here.  Thin blades would be more difficult to pick up with a medium/low lift blade.  

I'm guessing that the 21" runs at about 200 RPM's slower, so it might not be picking up as much?   
(Edited)
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Steve Valdes

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Maybe you are right. Do you know if anyone has tried a different mulching blade for the 21".
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SCDC, Champion

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As a note about those stumps.  Those are from the 20 Leland Cypresses I took down with my 14" chainsaw.  It was a job and I didn't have the right tool for the job.  I could see the 16" chainsaw being the baby for this one.  But, I got it done!

Next, pay to have the stumps ground down  :(
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Excellent review! Well thought out and well written!

I haven't used the 21"'mower so I can't really comment, other than to say it sure looks good. I did play with one on display at HD and it seems like a very well built machine.

Tip: For future reference, using that pic of your house and sloped yard, instead of telling people your yard has a steep slope, re-take the picture without the car in the driveway and simply tell people you have a huge yard and an enormous house! The perspective in the picture is interesting.
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SCDC, Champion

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Good idea! since the car is closer to the lens, it appears much bigger. My house is only about 1800sqft though.

FYI the slope is worse than it looks, and my grass isn't even in full growing season. It'll fill out in June. This is as bad as it gets for me.
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Sharon Beasley

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Your review is very well done.  I am sticking to my push version though.
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SCDC, Champion

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And that is a good choice.  The weight and balance of the push mower is fantastic.
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Jacob

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Look at that little slope... mine must be a mountain. Lol. Ugh i better go mow.
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SCDC, Champion

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Time to add another bit to the review.

BATTERY PERFORMANCE

Before getting this EGO 21" SP mower, I have used the 20" model with a 4ah battery.  With the 20" mower, I would get about 80% of my lawn finished before having to grab anther battery.

Battery life with the new 21" SP model is a tough thing to gauge.  I believe I could finish my lawn with the 7.5ah battery, but that would be about it.  It seems the power mode of the mower, when it does kick in, is a real power hog.  When I cut through the thick brush and the mower was in power mode, it took a good chunk of my run time with it.  Let me say that I ran the mower in this mode for a good 15 minutes.  That 15 minutes was probably about 30 minutes of normal run time.  

I think the 7.5ah battery is a perfect match for this mower.  If you have a smaller lawn, you can EASILY get by with a 5ah battery or even less.  
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Blue Angel, Champion

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So do you think Ego's 60 min estimate is pretty close for run time for average cutting then?
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Rob

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From my use....thick grass....45 minutes give or take. Grass that has been cut recently, I don't see the mower having a problem with getting right up close and cozy with that 60 minutes.
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SCDC, Champion

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I would have to say "Spot on".  I was out there a long time messing with it, abusing it, before it ran out.  I got about 45'ish run time minutes, with a good amount of time in "Power mode" because of cutting the brush.  I finished my lawn with a 4.0 battery I had and got a good 20 minutes on it with power to spare.  

I will update the battery usage after my next cut which should go quite a bit more smooth. 

NOTE:  My grass is thin and out of season.  The best test for this would be July/August.
(Edited)
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Steve Valdes

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We have found the battery life to be impressive...I would say closer to 75 minutes for normal cutting. Having said that I wouldn't mind if the rpms were higher and give up some run time to get better mulching results. We have plenty of batteries being recharged on the go via solar so we will not run short of battery power.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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Steve, you should start a thread of your own and show off your setup! I for one would love to see a commercial solar powered Ego lawn care setup!!!
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Rob

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I would venture that 75 minutes of run time is on thinner grass. On my first couple cuts with the mower in very early Spring, I could not even make the light go red in the 7.5ah battery. Not so much the case here in May with my tall fescue.
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JAS

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If you need to test it properly SCDC then send it to my farmstead, I have more angled hills, brush, ivy like stuff, grass of few types, thistles and more. I'm trying to do it with the 15" Trimmer.
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SCDC, Champion

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If there aren't many sticks, you could probably do it all with this mower.
(Edited)