We Tried the Craftsman Electric Lawn Mower, a Riding Mower for Tight Spaces

Updated: Mar. 22, 2024

Ready to take the plunge and go battery-powered? We tested the Craftsman electric lawn mower–here’s what we thought.

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The public has asked for more environmentally friendly products that make it easier to manage tasks around the home. Additionally, some states, like California, have begun to phase out selling gas-powered equipment because of air pollution concerns. Manufacturers have listened and flooded the market with battery-powered lawn care equipment, like cordless string trimmers, hedge trimmers, edgers and blowers. Now, storied brand Craftsman has taken the next step by introducing battery-powered riding mowers that don’t require gasoline, oil or cords.

As someone who is no stranger to Craftsman (my dad and grandfather have always sworn by its, well, craftsmanship), I was particularly excited to get my paws on the 56V Craftsman TurnTight electric riding lawn mower. But would it live up to my high expectations? Find out below.

What is the Craftsman electric lawn mower?

Craftsman Turntight Electric Riding MowerCaroline Lubinsky/Family Handyman

It was love at first sight: The Craftsman electric lawn mower looks majestic with its fire-engine red color scheme and “look at me” electric features. With its 42-inch cutting deck and massive frame, this mower gives you the feeling that you can mow any yard with this tractor.

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Craftsman Electric Lawn Mower Features

Ready to check out all that this Craftsman electric lawn mower has to offer? Take a look below:

Easy-to-Follow Displays

Like its Craftsman gas-powered counterparts, the control panel on the electric riding mower is not fussy and very easy to understand. There aren’t a bunch of unnecessary extra buttons to confuse you when you’re trying to mow. In total, there are five pushable buttons and a display screen on the vehicle control module. There’s also the spot to insert the key and a parking brake lever underneath. That’s it.

The LCD screen and battery level indicator provide instructions, information and warnings about your systems and the tractor’s battery level.

The buttons are for:

  • Starting/stopping the tractor
  • Engaging your blades
  • Turning on the headlights
  • Engaging the cruise control
  • Allowing the blades to operate in reverse

In normal operation, the blade will disengage when you start backing up unless you tell it not to do so. This is a safety measure to prevent injury. The reverse caution mode button allows the tractor to be operated in reverse with the blades engaged.

The Switch to Electric

Charging the machine is straightforward. It comes with a set of 6-foot cords that extend out from a charger that looks something like a waffle iron. One cord plugs into a standard wall outlet while the other extends back to your mower. The 56-volt lithium ion battery is out of sight under the hood.

Since the mower runs on clean, electric power (via battery), the operator’s manual contains multiple pages of warnings that you wouldn’t see with a gas-powered model. For example: Don’t mow in the rain or in wet conditions. Don’t expose the tractor or handle its electrical components with wet hands. And, to reduce the risk of electric shock, avoid body contact with grounded conductors, such as metal pipes or grounded fences.

Here are others that will take some getting used to (because who doesn’t clean their mower this way?): Do not use water to clean the tractor, battery or battery charger. Also, do not use a pressure washer or garden hose to clean your tractor. These may cause damage to electric components or the electric motor.

To follow the recommended cleaning after each use, the manufacturer suggests using a dry cloth to wipe debris on or near the deck, motors and underside. In other areas, try compressed air, a leaf blower or a brush.

Even storing the mower in the off-season requires some extra thought. The owner’s manual suggests that you should not park the tractor near flammable materials, any open flames or other potential sources of ignition. It’s also recommended to give the battery a full charge before storing. Permanent damage can occur to the battery if it is kept in a discharged state.

Charging the Mower

My mower arrived about 50% charged. I’ve charged it once so far because it holds a charge for a long time and my yard is just under an acre. The owner’s manual says it will take about four hours to fully charge the battery.

The materials that come with the mower don’t suggest how long you can expect to be able to run it on a full charge. But the Craftsman website says you can expect up to 1.5 hours of runtime per charge, which could be up to 3.5 acres if you’re cutting on the highest setting at full speed.

But, similar to taking a long trip in an electric car, you don’t want to find yourself in the middle of nowhere and running out of power. It’s not like you can take the gas can out into the back forty and keep running. You’re going to need to be within reach of an outlet because the charging connector attaches right to the mower.

How We Tested It

Craftsman Turntight Electric Riding MowerCaroline Lubinsky/Family Handyman

We put the Craftsman electric lawn mower through its paces on a summer evening, after the scorching heat had subsided and the fescue grass was dry, but ready for a cut.

Backing up and then moving forward for the first time with the mower makes you feel like a student driver all over again. It’s that same feeling you experience when you first learn how to drive a car.

“Should I take my foot off the brake or ‘go for it’ and hit the accelerator?” I wondered. Turns out, with an electric mower, there’s no in-between. You can’t just ease forward as you give it a little gas. This is electric. The pedal means go and—whoosh—you go!

Electric cars can famously zip around just as fast—or faster—than their gas-guzzling counterparts. And, trust me, this electric mower does, too. It’s so peppy that it takes some getting used to. When the blade’s not moving, it very much feels like driving a fully charged golf cart.

Let’s Get Mowing!

Craftsman Turntight Electric Riding MowerCaroline Lubinsky/Family Handyman

When you’re ready to start mowing, you choose one of 12 height settings for the cutting deck. You engage the blade through a button on the vehicle control module in front of you.

Once the blade goes down, the Craftsman TurnTight actually emits the familiar sounds of a riding mower and cuts grass brilliantly, just like you’d hope. However, it’s not wildly quiet like I expected. It’s not like you’re using an electric toothbrush, after all. But Craftsman says it operates significantly quieter than its lookalike gas-powered cousin, and I believe it.

You speed through the rows and it takes care of business in record time. As you’re going along, you’re breathing in the smell of fresh cut grass—but what’s missing are the gas fumes. There’s no smell of fuel or oil burning. Yay!

The mower can really move! It’s a dream on a giant, flat patch of grass where you can set the cruise control, glide along at pace and sip a drink that you’ve stored in the cup holder. The maneuverability is great for such a big machine. When you get to the end of a row, the mower turns well and you’re quickly tackling the next lane. For reference, the cutting radius is 5 inches, which is solid for a non-zero-turn mower. The majority of regular lawn tractors have a cutting radius of about 12 inches, so this is definitely an upgrade.

Craftsman Electric Mower Tight Spaces and Slopes Performance

Things can get a little tricky in very tight spaces and on slopes, though. In the hilly area of my yard, I felt like I was on a horse with no saddle. It would be beneficial for the mower to have a seatbelt option or something that makes you feel more attached to your seat. On the slightest of slopes and on a smaller section of yard with obstacles like bushes, stumps, and trees, you’ve got to swerve and plan your next move—and the best move is to slow down and not let the mower’s ability to move fast influence your decision-making.

On the back page of the mower’s instruction book is a slope gauge diagram that you can use to judge your yard’s slope. If the slope exceeds 15 degrees (25%) as displayed on the gauge, you’re not advised to operate the tractor in that area without risking serious injury. And they really mean it! On the super-hilly area of my yard, I’ve resigned myself to having to pull out the push mower to finish the job each time. It’s just too dangerous to mow with the big riding mower.

Where the mower does well is passing over the uneven areas between the grass and pavement. Sometimes when I’m using my push mower, the blade smacks against the pavement when crossing the uneven surface. That isn’t the case with the Craftsman electric lawn mower. It adjusts itself to seamlessly move from grass to pavement, even over a very uneven section. I really like that.

Pros of Craftsman electric lawn mower

  • Ideal for flat yards
  • Cuts like a champ
  • 5-inch turning radius is great
  • Environmentally friendly (doesn’t require gas or oil)
  • Quieter than conventional riding mowers
  • Has cruise control
  • Built-in LED headlights
  • Made in the USA
  • 12 cutting positions
  • Charges quickly
  • Durably constructed
  • Three-year warranty hits industry standard
  • Financing is available through Lowe’s Pay

Cons of  Craftsman electric lawn mower

  • Pricey
  • Leaf bag isn’t included
  • Acceleration can seem abrupt

FAQ

What is the warranty on the Craftsman electric lawn mower?

The product itself has a three-year limited warranty and the battery warranty is for four years.

Are electric mowers actually quieter than gas-powered?

In a lab environment, Craftsman tested its electric model with the 60Ah battery vs. the Craftsman T2200 gas-powered mower, and determined the electric mower to be up to 80% quieter.

Who owns Craftsman?

Stanley Black & Decker purchased the Craftsman brand name from Sears in 2017. Under the staunch Stanley Black & Decker umbrella, the Craftsman mower lineup is now part of a stable of mower models under the brand names BigDog Mower, Black+Decker, Cub Cadet, DeWalt, Hustler, Remington, Rover, Troy-Bilt and Yard Machines.

What are the best accessories to get with the electric riding mower?

If you’re looking for compatible accessories for the Craftsman electric lawn mower, here are some useful options:

Final Verdict

Almost everyone has electricity and a wall outlet. Having the ability to plug in the Craftsman TurnTight mower and never worrying about oil and gas again is life changing. Just like with electric cars, the electric mower costs more to purchase up-front than a similar gas-powered model. However, you will not find it lacking performance-wise, and the convenience of never heading back to the gas station is a fantastic benefit. Throw in the fact that your new mower has lower emissions and is doing right by the environment and it’s a winner! If you have a large, mostly flat yard, this mower is an excellent choice.

Where to Buy the Craftsman Electric Lawn Mower

Craftsman Turntight Electric Riding Mowervia merchant

Ready to see what all the buzz (I’ll show myself out) is about? Shop the Craftsman TurnTight electric riding lawn mower online at Lowe’s for $4,900 to make cutting your grass a breeze.

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