Walter Shillington is an avid collector of mechanical timepieces. While he focuses mainly on watches, Walter also reviews household items.
Lawn Mower Market Comparison: Friskars, Snow Joe, Worx, Stihl, and Black & Decker
For years, I’ve been cutting my lawn with a Fiskars reel mower. It’s a great unit, but once you turn sixty, the Fiskars' rustic charm is overridden by the hard work required to push it through the grass. I decided to upgrade to a power mower and, since I’m hopeless when it comes to gas engines, I concentrated on procuring a battery-powered unit.
I examined four different mowers. The first was manufactured by Snow Joe. It looked great and was priced well, but this particular model came without batteries or a charger. I laughed and moved on.
My second candidate was Worx. This company does manufacture lawn mowers equipped with lithium power supplies, but at the time I could only find units fitted with lead-acid batteries. These batteries are quite good but very heavy. Charging time is lengthy and the lifetime of a lead-acid battery is shorter than that of its lithium-powered equivalent.
I checked out several cordless models offered by Stihl. Like Fiskar, Stihl stands for quality. I really loved their RMA 510 but, even though it was on sale, this lawnmower was priced well out of my range. The last mower on my list was the CM2043C, manufactured by Black & Decker. The price was right and user reviews were favorable. I decided to purchase this unit.
At $290.00, Amazon offered the best deal. Sadly, my hometown has been recently added to their remote location list. As a result, any item sold and shipped for free from Amazon cannot be delivered to my address. While I understand Amazon’s need to avoid losing money, I am bitter about this.
I purchased the lawnmower locally. The price was slightly higher, but Home Hardware volunteered to assemble the unit and deliver it to my door.
Black & Decker CM2043C Description
This bright orange lawnmower with its color-coordinated grass collector reminds me of a tiny racing car equipped with handlebars. The CM2043C’s plastic body does not appear to be as durable as one composed of metal. This lawnmower, however, weighing in at 47 pounds, is approximately half the weight of a similarly sized, metal-clad gas mower. An end result is a unit that is simple to maneuver and easy to push.
This mower is equipped with two interlocks that are fitted to the handlebar. To operate the CM2043C, its safety key (a plastic plug) must be inserted. Then the operator pushes the start button and defeats the second interlock by raising the bail. Releasing the bail cuts power to the engine.
Provided accessories allow the operator to choose their preferred method of handling cut grass. To mulch, you simply open the rear door cover and install the mulching insert. This unit’s main purpose is to bounce cut grass back into the path of the blade.
Traditionalists will remove the mulching insert and connect the side discharge attachment. Those who prefer to dispose of their cut grass will utilize the grass collection bag. These accessories are easy to install. In less than one minute I was able to switch from mulching to side discharge and then to grass collection.
Blade length is nineteen inches which provide a twenty-inch cutting path. The maximum width of the unit is twenty-one inches. The CM2043C is well suited for close to the edge cutting. A sportily designed stick shift is used to adjust cutting height. One of seven settings, between 1½ and 4 inches, can be selected. Due to the lightweight of this machine, this adjustment can be easily made.
- Brand: Black & Decker
- Model: CM2043C
- Country of Origin: China
- Cutting Height: 1½–4 inches
- Cutting Path: 20 inches
- Power Source: Two 40V (Nominal 36V) lithium batteries rated at two amp-hours
- Charger: LCS436
- Weight: 47 pounds (21.3 kilos)
- Discharge Methods: Mulch, bag, or side discharge
- Warranty: Three-year limited warranty
The CM2043C Power Supply
The CM2043C is powered by an LBX2040 lithium battery. Its nominal voltage is 36V and this device is rated for two amp hours. The LBX2040 will not last as long on a single charge as several competing brands but Black & Decker compensates by providing a spare. Sadly, they include only one battery charger.
The run time for each battery is fifteen minutes. If a battery is attached to the charger immediately after use, the charger’s red led will display a pattern of dots and dashes. This indicates charging will not commence until the battery cools to the proper temperature. About a half-hour later, as the battery begins to charge, the green led will turn on and blink continuously. Approximately four hours later, when charging is complete, the green led will cease to blink.
What Kind of Coverage Does It Have?
Black & Decker states that this lawnmower is ideal for lawns up to one-quarter of an acre. This works out to be 10,890 square feet. I didn’t bother computing the square footage of my lawn. My old gas-powered mower, which had a similar cutting path, could mow my yard within forty-five minutes. I assumed, correctly, that the cordless would consume the same amount of time.
Be aware that, compared to their gas-powered siblings, a cordless lawnmower is considerably underpowered. Not that they are gutless; the first time I cut my lawn I set the height a little low and shaved a quarter inch from a small rotting stump. One of these days I will have to grab a file and repair the slightly damaged blade.
If you cut your lawn every week, the CM2043C will perform well. If you mow every other week, you might consider purchasing the CM1640. This unit is equipped with a sixteen-inch blade and will better handle the tall grass.
The running time for CM2043C is one-half of an hour. Normally I can cut slightly over two-thirds of my lawn within this period. Then I connect one of the batteries to the charger. Five hours later I snap in the fresh battery and finish my task.
Considerations for Large Yards
Larger yards will require both batteries to be recharged. This will consume close to nine hours, delaying completion of the job until the next day. Those with larger lawns should consider the following options:
- Purchase an additional battery or charger. Batteries retail for about $100. A second LCS436 charger, at $35.00, would be a more economical choice. The optional LCS40 charger will set you back $75.00 but can charge the battery at a faster rate.
- If you are in the market for a new weed whacker, you might consider purchasing the Black & Decker LST136W. This comes with a battery and charger that are compatible with the CM2043C lawnmower. The string trimmer goes for around $150.00.
- Battery technology is continuously improving. If your old gas mower still runs well, you might consider holding off for a couple of years before investing in a cordless mower.
The Black & Decker CM2043C provides solid value. For those that cut their lawn every week and can do so within half an hour, this lawnmower is highly recommended. If your lawn can be mowed within forty-five minutes, this unit is still recommended. Those with larger lawns are advised to purchase power-related accessories or consider alternatives to this mower.
Of recent changes in the manufacture of lawnmowers, the most noticeable is the increased use of plastic bodies. Many people hold strong opinions concerning this innovation and I am interested in yours. Please fill in the poll below.
Plastic Bodied Lawn Mowers Are Becoming More Common . . .
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: In the owner's manual for the Black & Decker CM2043, it says "Do not pull mower backward unless absolutely necessary." Why on earth not? I have nooks and crannies between my odd-shaped garden beds and have always pulled my previous mower backward, no problem. It was also a B&D cordless, and lasted about 20 years before the battery stopped holding a charge. Will backing up the lawnmower harm it some way?
Answer: Yeah. I ignored that advice. The little rubber skirt at the back eventually broke off. Best to pull the lawnmower backwards as little as possible.
Question: Metal is recyclable; plastic is not. How is this good for our future?
Answer: I'm sure you are correct when you note that metal is recyclable and plastic is not. Sadly, I did not take this into consideration when I purchased my lawnmower. I was looking for a machine that was easy to use, lightweight, and reliable. My last lawnmower; a reel-type mower, was better for the environment, but a pain to push.
Question: How important is a self-propelled mower for a 1/3 acre and relatively flat lawn?
Answer: It depends on the worker's relative health. I am in my sixties, in decent shape, and using a lightweight cordless mower which is not self-propelled. I could handle 1/3 acres of relatively flat lawns without a problem. On the other hand, I would probably be forced to take a break, midway, if using a heavier gas-powered mower on a hot day. In that case, a self-propelled mower might be welcomed.