The Milwaukee 21” M18 Fuel self-propelled lawn mower encompasses all that professional landscapers are looking for in a cordless mower. It has the power to outperform many gas-powered alternatives. This is a tough, hardy machine with a bunch of useful features and is incredibly user-friendly.
The Milwaukee M18 battery platform has become somewhat of a legend. Coupled with the POWERSTATE brushless motor and REDLINK intelligent computerized battery management system, the Milwaukee M18 Mower is a force to be reckoned with.
It utilizes a dual battery system to deliver 36V, so you need two batteries. This is what gives the Milwaukee lawn mower the oomph to outperform the competition. Despite the parasitic energy consumption for self-propulsion, the power at the blade is exceptional, comparable to that of a 200cc gas mower.
Having provided a glowing introduction for the Milwaukee M18 FUEL mower, one should be wondering if there are any drawbacks. Of course, the price is a bit beyond what many homeowners would want to pay. Since it is primarily aimed at professional landscapers, the price shouldn’t be a real issue. Professional-grade lawn mowers aren’t cheap, and Milwaukee is one of the pricier brands. Though, in my opinion, a brand worth paying for.
While I’m really impressed with the Milwaukee 21” battery-powered lawn mower, there are a few areas that could do with some improvement. At least, that’s my take on things. When you’re looking at one of the best mowers in the high price bracket, you tend to be more critical of even the smallest issues. Things I might be more forgiving about on a cheaper machine, are more glaring when I’m reviewing a high-end product.
I’ll be examining every detail of this remarkable cordless mower in my Milwaukee 21” lawn mower review.
Milwaukee 2823-22HD 21-Inch Lawn Mower Review
Specs & Features:
- 21-inch cutting capacity
- 2,800/3,300 RPM
- Steel deck.
- Variable speed self-propulsion 0 – 4 MPH.
- High lift mode.
- 7-position single point height adjustment (1” – 4” with ½” increments).
- Mulch, bag, side discharge.
- 3 handle height positions.
- LED lights front and side.
- Vertical storage.
- 10 FT-LBS torque.
- Weight – 85 LBS.
- Warranty: 3 years for mower and batteries.
Tough as nails. That’s what I expect from Milwaukee and wasn’t disappointed by their 21” cordless lawn mower. It has a steel deck, wonderfully chunky wheels with fantastic tires, and a remarkably sturdy, height-adjustable handle.
There is always a pay-off when building one of the world’s most durable lawn mowers. It’s frightfully heavy. At 85 pounds, including 2 X 12AH FUEL batteries, it’s more than just a little hefty. You’ll definitely appreciate the self-propulsion, especially for lawns with a gradient.
I guess any cordless mower review should start out by discussing how much power you have at your disposal. This is where battery power usually falls short of our expectations and many, especially industrious landscapers, tend to shy away from cordless equipment for this reason.
To work efficiently when cutting thick grass, or any lawn for that matter, torque is everything. Not enough of it, and your blade will bog down when the going gets tough.
Ordinarily, I’d consider around 8 FT-LBS torque to be about as good as it gets for a cordless lawn mower. This is close to what the average gas-powered mower will deliver. Discovering that the Milwaukee M18 cordless mower delivers a whopping 10 FT-LBS torque had my jaw dropping to the floor. I had to double-check the specs to make sure this wasn’t simply boisterous advertising. Lo and behold, it’s true. This beast has a torque spec that can rival 200cc gas lawn mowers.
The second important aspect has to be the battery capacity as this affects how long you can use the tool before it runs out of juice and how the power is delivered, which becomes of particular importance as the battery reaches maximum discharge.
In the case of the Milwaukee M18 self-propelled mower, we’re talking about batteries; not battery. As this is a 36V cordless lawn mower, two 18V batteries are required. While any M18 battery will suffice, provided you use two of them, M18 HD12.0 (high output 12 AH) batteries would be my recommendation. They provide a long working time and can sustain the prolonged high-amp output that is needed to work continuously without overheating.
The Milwaukee mower has two power modes. As with most other cordless machines, the power is adjusted according to demand. This ensures that you have the torque and RPM that are needed at any given time without exhausting your battery unnecessarily. As you move across the lawn the RPM will vary from 2,800 to 3,000 RPM depending on the length and thickness of the grass. Using this power setting, it’s easy to achieve around 1 hour of working time using 2 X 12 AH batteries.
For improved bagging performance, you can switch to high-lift mode which maintains a constant 3,000 RPM, thereby improving the lift capabilities of the blade. This means that the batteries are delivering maximum charge continuously which will reduce the working time to around 40 minutes.
When using a larger mower, especially one as heavy as this one, self-propulsion is a definite plus factor. The Milwaukee 2823-22HD has a pretty impressive self-propulsion system, though I think this is one area that could do with some improvement.
Don’t get me wrong, the self-propulsion works incredibly well up to 4 MPH with a 5-position dial for adjusting your speed and a thumb pad that allows you to speed up or slow down, depending on the pressure you exert onto the pad with your thumb.
It is the latter that isn’t the best. It’s great to instantly match the mower’s speed to your walking pace. It’s not so great that you have to keep your thumb pressed onto the pad to keep going. This can cause some fatigue.
I prefer the approach taken by EGO Power+, with their new LM2160SP model which senses how hard you push the handle and adjusts the speed accordingly.
In all fairness, the thumb pad is not as bad as some may think. It’s large enough for you to move from one hand to another and regularly change your thumb position to reduce the nagging ache that can develop over a long day of mowing.
The Milwaukee 21” lawn mower is wonderfully designed with a bunch of great features.
LED headlights have become quite a common addition to modern mowers and it’s a real advantage toward the end of the day when the sun is setting. Milwaukee has taken this concept a step further by providing lights with a 180° field of illumination. You don’t only see better in front of you, but to the sides too.
The handle is easily adjusted to three positions, making it easy to attain the most comfortable position. Adjusting the cutting height is also a breeze, with a single lever controlling the height for all four wheels.
You have the usual bag, mulch, and discharge options with incredible effect. When using high-lift mode the Milwaukee bagging system is truly sublime. Hardly a speck of cut grass remains. Mulching works wonderfully too despite the absence of a second mulching blade. I guess this one relies on the brute strength of the blade and its design. Discharge is not to the side but through a chute at the back of the mower that is angled to the left. This too works very well, blasting lawn clippings up to 8 Ft from the chute.
The handle is well-padded using an extremely durable plastic and you have a convenient control panel with all the basic controls at hand. Weather-proof touch pads allow you to turn the lights on or off and select high-lift mode, with the self-propulsion speed dial close to the operator for easy access.
There is a row of red LEDs facing you as use the mower. These indicate battery level and it’s wonderfully convenient. Simply glance down at any time to check your battery status.
The mower can be stored vertically and has handles on the deck for easier lifting.
In my not-always-so-humble opinion, the Milwaukee 21” self-propelled lawn mower is the best professional-grade option around. It’s built to take on the rigors of hardworking landscapers and maintenance crews.
Moreover, there is no other battery-powered mower that can match this one for sheer power. This really is a worthwhile alternative to gas. Something that many manufacturers boast but seldom deliver.
I don’t think I need to say much about the brand. We all know the Milwaukee reputation for outstanding quality and service. To this end, the 3-year warranty, for both the mower and batteries, is something you can depend on.