2009 Solaris Self-Propelled Cordless Electric Lawn Mower Review – 6

Editor’s Note: Curious how this lawn mower is performing in 2011, 3 years later? You can! After reading the rest of this article simply select this link to read Solaris Cordless Electric Lawn Mower Review Three Years Later.

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The 5 articles earlier this week were devoted to reviewing the new 2009 Solaris lawn mower (here is the direct link to Part 1 in this series in case you missed them).

However, it is one thing to perform a product review in isolation. It is quite another to perform a product review in comparison to the prior year’s model.

Today we provide a comparison for those interested between the 2008 (on the left) and 2009 (on the right) models.

2008 epic mower 2009 Solaris Self Propelled Cordless Electric Lawn Mower Review   6 solaris brushless moter lawn mower 2009 Solaris Self Propelled Cordless Electric Lawn Mower Review   6

As with most comparisons between any types of items some of the criteria can be subjective. As well, everyone has their own priorities. Therefore I’ll simply indicate which year’s model was in my non-professional opinion was superior for each of the criteria. I’ll leave it up to the reader to determine the degree of importance.

So here are our comparison criteria between the 2008 and 2009 electric self-propelled lawn mowers from Linamar Consumer Products which we used:

Availability / Distribution Channels – N/A

  • Yes, the Solaris, Epic and Utopia lawn mowers are now widely available in throughout the U.S. as well as on Amazon.com; however, this does not impact the evaluation of the mower itself.

Battery Life – Tie

  • I cannot tell any difference yet in battery life during the mowing of our lawn.

Battery Life Indicator – 2009

  • Last year’s models did not have any indication of remaining battery life.

Battery Recharging – 2009

  • Ability to leave batteries on the mower for either optional solar recharging or electrical outlet recharging a plus.

Blade – 2009

  • No need to purchase a separate mulching blade.

Environmentally Friendly – Tie

  • IMO, optional solar charging, electric battery powered (vs gas), just can’t be beat by any other powered lawn mower that we know.

Grass Cut – Tie

  • My earlier observation of a smoother lawn cut in 2009 may be subjective.

Handle Adjustment – 2008

  • Gone in 2009 is the ergonomic handle which I used a lot when storing the 2008 model in the shed out back.

Height Adjustment – Tie

  • Individual wheel adjustment in 2009 offset by its available increased height.

Maneuverability – 2009

  • Front wheel drive Solaris model easier to turn corners than 2008 rear-wheel drive model.

Mower Maintenance – Tie

  • Same brushless electric motor needing no maintenance.

Owner’s Manual – 2009

  • Much more detailed that that with the 2008 model

Starting Ease – 2008

  • In 2008, one simply pushes and quickly released the starter switch; in my 2009 Solaris model, I have to hold down for a few seconds the green starter button until the speed of the blade reaches the cutting speed.

Starting Reliability – Tie

  • Both versions started the first time every time for us.

Self-Propelled – Tie

  • Variable and faster propulsion in 2009 front-wheel drive model offset by initial spinning of the front wheels.

Starter Assembly – 2008

  • The cable was protected by the black plastic cover in 2008 while in 2009 it came loose once from the starter handle.

Styling – 2008

  • A slight edge to the 2008 model which I think looks more ‘cool’; however, subjective

Variety of Options – N/A

  • While front-wheel or rear-wheel or no self-propelled versions exist in 2009 which gives the consumer more options, we are comparing only against just the model we tested.

Overall, based on the above, the 2009 is the clear winner to us.

I hope you have found useful this series of articles on the 2009 Solaris self-propelled cordless electric lawn mower with the optional solar charging station.  As always, please feel free to add your comments on your own experiences.

Soon, I’ll write again about the use of the solar charging station we used last year to charge the batteries in our new 2009 Solaris. We may even take advantage of being able to leave the batteries in the mower and install the solar panel, etc. in a different location from last year.

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Comments

  1. Dominic Timbro says:

    Hi, I was at Home Depot yesterday afternoon and saw the Solaris version (they had the self-propelled and the manual one) and your article was dead on.

    Thanks, I will head back and purchase one myself due to your detailed review !

    Dominic

  2. Dan says:

    Hi Dominic,

    Thanks for this and for visiting our site. I’m glad you found our articles useful for you.

    Please do remember that I am not in a position to compare the mower to any other as I’m just a simply home owner and not a product testing company with resources to buy all the products I want to compare and contrast.

    However, I really do like the mower, especially the optional solar charding, which I will be installing this weekend and writing about in dur course. Since one no longer has to remove the batteries from the mower in order to recharge them I’ll be changing where and how I establish the solar panel, etc. from what I did last year.

    Dan

  3. John M says:

    Hello again Dan.

    I just thought it would be useful to mention to all the readers here that they should keep the bottom of their mowers (2008 and 2009) crear of any grass debris or build up as suggested in the user manual.

    The reason for this became quite clear to me after taking apart the broken motor on my 2008 mower. As it turns out, all 12 primary power transistors in the motor are heat sinked to the metal base plate of the motor housing; which is the area you see when you tip the mower on its side. The area extends out from the centre shaft in a 4.5 inch radius. This is the area to which all 12 power transistors transfer a huge amount of heat as the motor operates. Needless to say it is critical to keep this area clean so that maximum heat transfer can occur during operation, thus allowing the power transistors to stay within a reasonable operating temperature. Failure to do this can cause the transistors to overheat, become weakened or exen explode; as is my case.

    Of course; abusing the mower by cutting excessively thick or wet grass can also severely tax to motor causing it to slow down as it attempts to handle the excessive load placed upon it, thus causing the motor to draw too high a current from the batteries and putting a strain on the power transistors causing them to overheat.

    In any case; its a good idea to keep the bottom of the motor clean and use the mower within reasonable limits in order to prevent any premature damage and failure.

    Best regards: John M in Etobicoke.

  4. Bill Ward says:

    Hi.
    Has anyone tried this mower on a buffalo grass lawn?
    Thank you.
    Bill W.

  5. Dan says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for the input; much appreciated.

    Dan

  6. Dan says:

    Hi John,

    I’ll show my ignorance and ask what is buffalo grass? How is it different? Just by the name is sounds tougher than Kentucky Blue Grass.

    Dan

  7. Hi Dan:

    Thanks for the reviews (2008 and 2009). We purchased a 2009 Solaris about a month ago and LOVE it! It takes about 75 minutes to mow our entire lawn and the estimate of batts. lasting about an hour are correct. We just change to a second set of batteries to finish the job.

    We heat and power our entire house using “green electricity” (see http://www.bullfrogpower.com ), so we decided to forego the solar charging option for the mower and charge up using “green” house current instead. Based on the manufacturer’s stats. and the cost of our “green power,” we estimate that fully charging a pair of batteries costs us about 15 cents (which means it only costs about 25 cents to cut our lawn).

    Great product (the Solaris) and a great website (dailyhomerenotips.com)

    Cheers,
    Margaret

  8. Dan says:

    Hi Margaret,

    It is always good to receive confirmation (or contradition as well) of our experiences so everone can benefit.

    Thanks for visiting our site and for your comments.

    Dan

  9. Tony says:

    I had read a few reviews that said this mower was extremely heavy (nearly 100lbs) and hard to maneuver as a result. Your thoughts ?

  10. Tony says:

    Sorry, I also wanted to ask…You think this mower will do well with St. Augustine grass?

    Thanks,
    Tony

  11. Dan says:

    Hi Tony,

    Thank you for visiting our site and for your comments.

    The mower is heavier IMO than a gass or electric corded lawn mower because of the weight of the batteries.

    However, it’s self-propelled feature for us more than compensates for this. As far as I can tell it is the only cordless electric lawn mower that can be purchased with the self-propelled feature.

    As far as St. Augistine grass, I personally have never been to your lovely city. Perhaps someone who has can answer the question. However, I don’t see any issue with the grass in Orlando (which I have visited many times). I say this because the grass where I live is the type which when moist can become ‘clumpy’ when cut, whereas the type of grass in the Orlando area that I am thinking of is more straw like which would not become clumpy when cut.

    I hope this helps,
    Dan

  12. Larry says:

    Your series of articles have inspired me to try this mower, but I will wait for your article on the solar charger.

  13. Dan says:

    Hi Larry,

    Thank you for visiting our site. If we have inspired you to purchase a non-gas powered mower that is super.

    We do like the 2009 Solaris; however, with anything, do check other resources before making any purchase as our experience may differ from others.

    As far as the solar panel, some have left comments on our site which echo those I have seen on other sites that it costs only between 10 cents and 25 cents to charge batteries for a cordless electric mower. I have no idea. What I do know is that I do feel good using the solar charging station (from an environmental perspective) and that it does cost me nothing to operating the mower from a financial perspective.

    Last week I was called away on assignment and won’t be able to re-install the solar charging station for our mower until early July. However, if you wish, here is the article we wrote last year on it’s installation:

    http://dailyhomerenotips.com/2008/04/21/solar-charged-lawn-mower-part-4-installing-the-solar-panel-and-charging-station/

    Kind Regards,
    Dan

  14. greg says:

    Sorry if you already stated this, but what’s the size of the lawn you cut? Thanks much.

  15. Dan says:

    Hi Greg,

    Thanks for visiting our site. I don’t have the precise dimensions. However, It takes about 45 to 50 minutes to mow and our lot site is approx. 65 feet wide by 130 feet long.

    I hope that helps,
    Dan

  16. M. Dillenbeck says:

    First, let me say that despite being “just a homeowner”, I am very glad you did such a thorough review of this product. (Something the ‘experts’ haven’t deemed worthy to put online yet…) You more than deserved the free mower, as it seems it is answering many questions about the product and selling it.

    I am finally going electric. I’ve been using my gas mower for several years without doing any routine maintenance, but I want to work on being more sustainable. Like Margaret, I have opted to go 100% renewable energy and pay a premium for it. (My logic is this – “off grid” I am only helping myself, but if the majority of customers go renewable “on grid” then eventually the power companies will make everyone switch over. Its the same reason I use municipal water rather than buy bottled water.)

    A primary factor for me was payback cost. At 25 hours mowing at 1 gallon of gas per hour and $3.00 US per gallon, the mower payback is $75 per year. when I looked at cordless, they were 100+ lbs and $450 US, with batteries costing $150 US. Being a pessimist, I figured I’d be replacing batteries every 5 years, so after deducting $150 for the cost of a gas mower purchase it would take about 12 years to break even with a gas mower.

    Compare this to the corded mower – $300 with cord total cost, so less $150 for the gas mower and it breaks even in only 2 years!

    However, my lawn is very odd shaped. I am at the corner of a through street and a dead-end court, so I really have a front and side yard with a tiny sliver for the back. My wife and I put in a hedge fence, and it turns out the back yard cord placement is in a very inconvenient spot – I need to run my 100′ cord under the fence to get the areas between the sidewalk and street. It is too inconvenient and risky to run over the cord.

    I was about to go back to gas when I saw in an amazon review that a person chose not to buy the self-propelled version of a cordless mower – and a search for reviews on the product brought me here. I read the 2008 and 2009 review, and your reviews convinced me that this was the right mower for me.

    There are certain things I find appealing. For example, since my lawn is very uneven with the sidewalks, being able to independently adjust the wheels to get and even cut that doesn’t choke the motor is critical. One-level adjustment won’t work for me. Since our yards are the same size, I know the battery will last.

    Of course, finding that the batteries are $100 at amazon.com also helps.

    So don’t worry about being an “expert” – for me your experiences were far more useful than any other experts. It also provided more information than the limited product reviews on other pages.

    Now I’m off to read your tankless water series…

  17. Dan says:

    Hi Mr. Dillenbeck,

    Interesting financial payback calculations. Like you, to me it’s a very personal thing .. sufficiency of financial payback on a purchase of an ‘environmental’ type of product.

    Some times I will ‘invest in the future’ and purchase an energy conservation / environmental product where our particular usage and situation the financial payback will be more than 5 years (e.g. our solar air heater) whereas others I will not (e.g. natural gas tankless water heaters or solar water heating).

    Typically if the energy conservation / environmental product is replacing something we really need in our home (e.g. hot water) I will need faster payback whereas if the product is a supplement or addition (e.g. solar air heater) to an existing product is conceptually and actually simple (e.g. solar air heater supplements, does not replace, our forced air natural gas furnace) so I can actually understand it, I may take the plunge even with financial payback greater than 5 years.

    Kind Regards,
    Dan

  18. Ann Masek says:

    How easy is this battery run lawnmower to use for a woman and where do you go for repair if any?

  19. Dan says:

    Hi Ann,

    Thanks for visiting our home site.

    Regarding repair, according to the manufacturer, Linamar Consumer Products, they have a network of repair sites for the 2009 model. You would need to contact them directly to see if there is one in your area.

    As far as ‘easy….to use for a woman’, there are pro’s and con’s as we described in comments to this and other articles in this series.

    The self propelled feature is very nice and IMO more than compensates for the mower being heavier than a corded electric model (due to the batteries). If you can keep the mower in the garage and plug it directly into an electrical outlet, then you have no need to remove the batteries from the mower to recharge them (except if you live in a northern climate you would remove the batteries and bring them inside during the winter).

    The green ‘clip’ might be tricky for your to use. This clip must be put in place in order to run the mower. It’s hard to describe. My suggestion is to look at the mower at your local Home Depot store and get someone ther to show you how to put and remove the ‘green starter clip’ so you can see for yourself.

    I hope this helps, Ann.

    Dan

  20. Scott says:

    Thanks for such a terrific review! I’m wondering if you or any of the visitors to your site know about the differences between the Solaris mower and it’s Epic brand sibling? On Amazon the Epic EP21H gets a better review than the Solaris, but the only main difference I can see is that the Epic has rear-wheel drive. However, I have not seen as thorough a review of the Epic to know if there are other important differences.

    Scott

  21. Dan says:

    Hey Scott,

    Thanks for visiting our home site.

    I personally have not used the 2009 Epic. Yes, the Solaris (at least the one I use) is front wheel drive which can make cornering (sounds like a car, doesn’t it? :) ) easier around gardens, etc. on the lawn whereas the rear wheel drive I would think could give better traction up hill but be more challenging when cornering.

    Other than that I can’t say.

    Dan

  22. trina says:

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for this excellent review and thread!

    I am a “veteran” of cordless electric mowing, having owned and used a Toro “Carefree” mower since 1999. I love it, and it is with much regret that I am now having to look for its replacement as this mower is no longer available. It is a 24-volt with a 17″ blade. The main cons are the plastic housing is now weakening (due to some rough handling by my teenage son) and the blade housing liner is rusting through. But after 10 years — NOT BAD! I got about 5 years off the batteries. I hate to part with it — was looking at the Remington cord/cordless but despite the great concept apparently it has some serious quality issues; not sure abot the Neutons yet — I will definitely check out the Solaris — thanks again

  23. Dan says:

    Hi Trina,

    Thanks for visiting our site. What I like best about the Solaris / Epic / Utopia brands is the self propelled feature…..and of course not being tied down to the cord.

    Kind Regards,
    Dan

  24. Sarah W. says:

    Thanks so much for the thorough review. The Solaris, B&D and Neutons appear to be the available cordless and reliable mowers in Canada. We were looking at it today and I think we’ll go back! When will you have the info about the solar charger up? And will it maintain the battery in the winter or do we still need to bring it in? Thanks again!

  25. Dan says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I’m glad you found our own experiences useful for you.

    Regarding the solar charging, I just returned from 5 weeks of weekly work related trips to the west coast that has put me a bit behind things here. However, I provided a link in an earlier comment above to our experiences with the solar charging station last year that you might find useful.

    Do make sure that you do not let the batteries freeze (regardless of mower). So, bring them inside in the fall before it starts to reach freezing at night.

    During the winter I am told by others (as I am not an electrician) that you should charge them about once a month to keep them ‘fresh’.

    Kind Regards,
    Dan

  26. william strong says:

    How does the self propel work when used on an slope?Will it pull itself uo such a slope? I have a 30 foot long slope of approx 4 feet at near 40 degrees- I generally mow it length wise but also do it straight on, up powered- coast back and repeat That weight also is not to my liking on the slope.

  27. Dan says:

    Hi William,

    I find that it really helps going up hill. My personal preference is rear wheel drive self propelled as the front wheels tend to spin a little on the front wheel drive model I have this year.

    Dan

  28. Paul says:

    Hi Dan,
    I have a 2008 Solaris 21″ mower. Are the batteries interchangeable with the 2009? Why the change in the height adjustment lever? I like the single one. Do you know it blades (mulching) are available? The company doesn’t recommend sharpening this year’s blade but is that the case for the old blade as well? It seems that the blade should be sharpened periodically. I read your articles last year before buying my mower. Thanks! I am a bit disappointed that there is so radical a change for this year. Looking forward to hearing from you.

  29. Dan says:

    Hi Paul,

    They are the same ‘core’ batteries but the top covers are different since the area on where you place the batteries has changed. I don’t believe that the 2008 batteries will fit in the casing for a 2009 mower and vice versa.

    I agree with you that I also prefer the single height adjustment. Why did they change? I can’t give you the actual reason since I don’t work for the company as you know. Perhaps customer feedback from others?

    Mulching blades for the 2008 could be purchased directly from Linamar in the past. I don’t see why that would have changed this year (i.e. to purchase a 2008 mulching blade in 2009).

    As far as sharpening, I was planning on sharpening the blade in our 2008 model, but then I sold it when I obtained the 2009 model. I would check, if I was you, the manual which came with the mower when you bought it, or contact their customer support.

    Cheers,
    Dan

  30. Roger says:

    How does it do on hills? My front yard slopes down to the street as we are up above the street. I normally mow across the yard not up and down. But I still need to go up a hill or two at times. How much is a second battery?

  31. Dan says:

    Hi Roger,

    You would have to contact your retailer or the manufacturer for the price of a second battery as I did not personally purchase a set and therefore cannot tell you.

    The self propelled drive works fine on hills. Then again, our lawns (front and back) slope away from the house but only a little bit more than for typical water run off. If you are not sure, ask your local retailer if you can take one ‘for a test drive’.

    Dan

  32. Mark says:

    Hi Dan: bought my 2008 last year (and read your reviews with interest) – mine is still going strong – wanted to comment to some of the questions: at least the 2008 makes hills/slopes easy – practically pulls you up with it. As to ease of use by a woman, my wife is as enthused about the mower as I am, which means between her, my son and myself I don’t cut the lawn as often as I used to. I took the batteries in last year with the charger and left them hooked up on trickle during the winter – no issues so far. And thanks to John M in Etobicoke for the info about the heat sinks.

    Mark

  33. Dan says:

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for this. I am always curious, and a bit skeptical, about new products. And, I’m always curious if my experiences with new products are unique or repeated by others.

    So, thanks very much for the feedback.

    Dan

  34. Ken says:

    I have just used a S21HB 21inch selfpropelled chordless lawnmower for one season. I found that the front wheel drive has insufficient traction when climbing any appreciable grade. The batter charge, or life, is down to fifty percent after only three months of use.
    The suspension and running gear has much to be desired in that it is quite loose.Furthermore, if I must replace the batteries every year, the economics of this mower is in doubt.

  35. Dan says:

    Hi Ken,

    Curious, where did you get the impression that you had to change the batteries every year? That’s not the case.

    Second, I have the Solaris front wheel drive model and find the front wheel drive self propelled feature does make as previously indicated make the front wheels spin initially. However, I can’t say that it has ‘insufficient traction’ as at least mine (and others who have left comments in this regard) performs very, very nicely on varying uphill grades.

    You should contact the manufacturer (as it has a 1 year warranty) or the retailer from whom you purchased the unit regarding the battery charge. Mine are working just fine.

    Dan

  36. Jack says:

    Home depot has 2008 Solaris for $469 and states model is discontinued. Amazon has 2009 Solaris for $569. I have read your quality review and other reviews. I am leaning toward 2009 model. What do you think with that price difference?

  37. Dan says:

    Greetings, Jack.

    I could be wrong, however, neither price seems like a screaming sale price.

    If you do not have to purchase a mower right now, I would wait for the spring when perhaps yet another newer model appears to get the latest / greatest.

    However, if you had to purchase now, I would take the 2008 model and save yourself $100 bucks….except for the fact that the 2009 model does come with a collection (I do not know how extensive) of independant repair shops.

    However, only you know which features are relatively more important on either year’s model. Hopefully our outline and experience with the features of both models from this year’s (and last year’s) reviews can help you in that regard.

    Dan

  38. Victor says:

    Hi all,

    Congratulations for such an extensive review. I was planning to get a self propelled electric mower and I think the one you have reviewed looks just perfect for us. However I have a question that I have not seen answered anywhere:

    Can you use the machine while is being charged? 40-50 minutes seems quite short time and it would be great if you could use it as a corded model in case you run of of juice before you are done.

    Thanks.

  39. Dan says:

    Hi Victor,

    Thanks for visiting our site.

    To answer your question, no, one cannot use the lawn mower while it is being recharged.

    The mower connected to either the optional solar panel (unattached from the mower) or you remove the batteries and place them into a battery charger which is plugged into a regular electrical outlet or you open the battery cover of the machine and plug it into a regular electrical outlet with the batteries still inside.

    I went to the manufaturer’s web site just last week to see if they have announce any changes for 2010 but it had not been updated since last year.

    I hope that answers your question,
    Dan

  40. Marc says:

    Thank you for such a thorough review. I have been researching electric mowers, with the intention of getting one for this spring season. I had a few questions, I was hoping you could answer. Now that you have used your mower for a season do you find that the batteries hold a charge for a shorter period then when they were new? I would hate to find out that I need to get new batteries every couple of years. Second, it seems like the solaris solar charging option is very expensive. It seems that one could make a charger with a couple of 12v panels, wired in series, and a charge controller for around half the cost. Are the batteries simply two sealed 12v lead acid batteries connected in series? Do you know the current rating of the batteries, how many amps, or amp/hours, and what are the specs of the solaris solar panel, i.e. what is its rated voltage & wattage, or what current does it put out? Finally any further thoughts or word from the company since your check their website last month as to if there will be a 2010 model coming out and if so when. Thanks for all your help. Marc

  41. Dan says:

    Hi Marc,

    A few thoughts.

    First, for technical spec’s you really need to visit the Linamar web site (http://www.solarispowerproducts.com/) as I don’t want to misquote technical spec’s. As well, and as I have said in the past I am not technical, just an average Joe home owner, so some technical ‘stuff’ is over my head. That’s why I go for mass produced products as I don’t think I’m alone in this.

    Next, I noticed a little reduction in battery charge towards the end of the 2008 season with the original mower. However, with the 2009 mower I did not notice any battery charge reduction.

    I have not heard back yet from Linamar on 2010 changes. I will attempt to contact them once again and once I receive some information I will post it through an article on our site.

    I would say that the solar charging station is not cheap. Then again, solar PV panels to me are expensive in the first place. What I like about them is that the batteries recharge in about 2 to 3 days. And, since it costs nothing to recharge them by the sun I am more inclined to more the lawn more frequently.

    Lastly, my understanding is that the batteries are supposed to last 5 years. It is still winter here so I have not had opportunity to mow the lawn yet in 2010 with the 2009 mower and therefore cannot comment on the batteries performance at the start of year 2.

    Cheers,
    Dan

  42. Kathie says:

    Hello Dan,

    After reading your articles I am more reassured that this mower would be a good option for me. (I also like that the mower isn’t made in China as so many things are although the batteries are.) My problem is that although you comment that they would be more readily available in the US they are not. The Solaris is only sold on the Home Depot website (not in stores anywhere) and they are currently “out of stock.” I contacted the company and was told that they should available within a week but sadly if that is not true I will have to resort to a second option as I can only hold out so long borrowing mowers (gas powered – yuck!) Do you have any recommendations on other cordless electrics?

    Have a great day!

    -
    Kathie

  43. Dan says:

    Hi Kathie,

    I have no first hand experience with which to guide you on alternatives.

    Perhaps others on our site can provide some input for Kathie on alternatives?

    The issue I generally would have with cordless electrics is if it is not self propelled then the weight of the batteries, unless they are the smaller lithium type, would make pushing the mower challenging.

    So, if you are going to another cordless electric, I would suggest you speak to that issue with the sales associate.

    I’m sorry I cannot be of more assistance. However, if there is a manufacturer of a direct competitor to the Solaris reading this and wants to send me one of their cordless electric mowers to use and review, please contact me! My email is Dan@DailyHomeRenoTips.com. :)

    Never hurts to ask, right?
    Dan

  44. randy g says:

    Hey Dan, just checked out your site and review of the Solaris and the wife just ordered one today as our old gas model finally bit the dust. Thanks for the great wealth of info on the product. As regards Kathie’s problem of getting one through Home Depot, we contacted our local store which told us it was an internet only item but we had no problem getting one from the main site and with free shipping as well. Curious to see if there is much in the way of changes from the 2009 model but certainly keen on going green. Now if they could only come up with a cordless electric weedeater…

  45. Dan says:

    Hi Randy,

    Linamar Consumer Products made no changes to the 2010 Solaris per my chat with them in the spring.

    So, what you receive should be the same as what we reviewed in this series of articles.

    If you find any difference, please let me know in case they snuck in a change or two with out telling me.

    Dan

  46. Kathie says:

    Hello Randy,

    Yes it was an internet only purchase and until about 26 June it was listed as “Out of Stock.” I did order it once it was in stock and was very excited to receive the mower this past Tuesday sadly there were many issues to face…

    The mower was very improperly packaged – the handle was not within the box height so the box was just formed around it causing damage during delivery. The mechanism that held the chassis to the handle appeared to be bent from this and there was also scratching on the handle itself. The grass catching bag was torn in one spot and very worn in others from it’s placement between the two parts of the handle. The starter assembly on the handle was not assembled correctly – missing screws so that was also bending/beginning to break. There were three places that there was clear tape or used to be (residue) for no reason – on the starter assembly, the mower side and the batter compartment. There was a black grease that was on the battery key as well as on the packaging of battery charger. The mower looked completely new and the box did not appear to be retaped. Given all that the most glaring issue was the fact that the box contained only one battery. The second cardboard enclosure, where the battery should sit, was completely empty. I do not know if there were more issues, at some point I was so overwhelmed I stopped looking at it. It was never even removed from the box so I do not know the remaining condition – wheels parts underneath, etc.

    From the Linamar company short response their claim is that at some point the box must have been turned upside down but that does not account for the quality control issues (missing screws and missing battery.) Their advise to rectify this situation is that I “take full advantage of Home Depot.com’s return arrangements without delay.” The mower was returned to the HomeDepot store, the same day it was delivered and prior to receiving their suggestion, and I have not yet decided if I am going to reorder.

    After the weeks of waiting for this mower to be stocked and now these issues with what seems to me very little interest or sympathy from the manufacturer my desire for this particular mower is quite diminished.

    I hope you have better luck.

  47. Barb says:

    Tried to get a Solaris out here in the BC Southern Interior, but had trouble finding a retailer that would accommodate my purchase. So, when Home Depot had a special purchase of a Ryobi 48V, rear-wheel drive, for $399, I jumped at it. Works great – handles very much like my previous John Deere self-propelled gas mower but, of course, no on-going emissions. The 48V mower is definitely more noisy than a 24V Yardworks (bad experience – don’t recommend), and heavier of course; but don’t know yet whether I’m getting the running time out of it that I should – time will tell.

  48. Dan says:

    Hi Kathie,

    I hope Barb’s experience with the Ryobi helps you in considering an alternative to the Solaris.

    Dan

  49. John says:

    Have owned push reel (human power)and two Black and Decker CMM1000 cordless for several years (more than decade.)I believe Black and Decker model better than Toro. Have purchased at least 3-4 replacement batteries( not real easy to install). Have replaced two blades (easy to do). If have more than very small yard and also have wife/kids, two electric mowers the way to go. These have worked excellent for years. One finaly went bad and CMM1000 replacement not as good design. I reviewed several sources including this excellent site. I purchased Solaris based on reviews and solar capability. I use solar charge and just intermittent problem with flimsy wire connection coming loose. I took someone’s tip and bought small Rubbermaid storage kit, then put batteries on inside and solar panel sitting on top. Keeps all electirc parts dry. Pleased overall with solar charging.

    To the mower. It is heavy. My wife tried it, she had used CMM1000 regularly. Mowed once with Solaris even with self propelled. Too heavy for her. Turning big problem for her with or without self-propelled. Self propel drains battery fast. The battery duration is signficantly less than CMM1000. I cut one third of yard (total yard 1/4-1/3 acre) with Solaris and 2/3 with the one CMM1000 I still have. The battery removal from mower is tougher than it should be. I use gloves because you can get bruised taking the battereis out. Putting them in also needs good force. Of cousre I could fix all of this if I charge battery in mower. I have not yet set up shed to handle flimsy wire connection to an outside solar panel. Also shed in the shade of trees. Adjustments needed for all four wheels is a pain. With handle and power controls sometimes the power does go off without obvious reason. I like fold up handle but it is hard to put up, need to pull both sides together while bending yourself over back of mower (unless there is another trick).

    The good part of the mower: It cuts thicker and higher grass than CMM1000. It feels more powerful than CMM1000, though that may just be weight. The design is cooler looking, but the CMM1000 is in my Philadelphia Flyers colors (as are all of my Black and Decker tools). The solar charging is the best environmental approach to the lawn unless you have solar panels for the house. I personally like the work out of the heavier mower since I also use the lawn cutting as exercise.

    Finally I noted new Black and Decker 36 volt mower CM1936 came out after I bought Solaris. Looking back if I had easy solar method to charge Black and Decker 36V mower, I probably would have bought that.

  50. Dan says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for the detailed comments and the comparison to the Black and Decker lawn mower. I too would have put the solar panel on the shed within which I keep the mower, but like your situation the shed is in shade from the trees most of the time, hence using the Rubbermaid storage bench approach for the solar panel (on top) and the batteries (inside).

    Dan

  51. Ryan says:

    Hi Dan.

    Great articles. I use the 2008 Lawn mowers commercially for the last 3 years and encourage others to do so as well. I am in need of an extra for parts. If anyone is interested, my E-mail is rexstiff@hotmail.com. I hope Linimar comes out with something new soon so I can read more reviews.

  52. Dan says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Thanks.

    I am actually a little surprised to hear that you use the mowers (2008 or 2009) commercially, not from an endurance perspective but from a battery charge perspective.

    You must have a large supply of batteries that are always being charged.

    Dan

  53. Ken says:

    I have had the 2009 model solaris self propelled cordless lawn mower for a year now. Aside from the poor traction afforded by the front wheel drive when climbing any grade,it has performed well.
    I have durability issues with the rear wheels which are plastic and have no bushings. An oversight on my part as I would not have purchased the machine knowing that.

  54. Ray says:

    A very good read. I bought the 2009 Solaris self propelled after I sold my 1998 Cordless Toro Carefree because I wanted the self propelled option. The base is 21″ wide and with a stronger motor it cuts the yard fast while being easy to operate. I am in agreement with Ken’s issue, above mine, about the rear wheels as mine are beginning to wobble. It’s this mowers second season of cutting and it seems, to me, the independent wheel adjustments maybe eliminating extra support needed to create stable and wobble free wheels. My Toro’s wheels were sturdy and wobbled very little after eleven seasons, I am hoping this does not become an issue for future seasons of mowing. Thank you very much.

  55. Glen Lasafin says:

    Thank you very much for the review. I am currently having an issue with my 2009 Solaris and I just would like to know if anybody’s having the same problem. My mower stops/stalls frequently even though the grass is not that high and there are not a lot of build-up of grass underneath.

  56. Aaron says:

    Just noticed the comments are not carried over from parts 1 – 5 of the review, so here’s my comment from part 1:

    I’ve got one of the newer 2009 models, as you review in this article. I’ve had it for probably a little over a year now, and the battery life this spring is abysmal, mostly due to the fact that I may have lost power to the charger I had plugged into the mower over the winter. I corrected the problem when I noticed it, but I’ve also charged the batteries in the mower numerous times since the power loss, and they still appear to hold only 30% of their prior charge. I am looking at getting another set of batteries, but I thought what some other users have been thinking – there must be a Li-ion or Lithium Polymer battery available for this mower by this time.

    Has either Linamar or an aftermarket battery manufacturer come up with something viable to replace the heavy lead-acid batteries yet? If not, I might have to task my buddy, who has spent years tinkering with new power storage designs, to help me fit Li-ion cells and a controller into the same form factor as the current 2x12V lead acid setup. Does anyone know if the factory charger will successfully charge a Li-ion battery?

    I’ve recently bought a set of Makita 18V Li-ion tools, and the light weight of the batteries, the long life, power (torque), and quick recharging are great benefits. I wish I could just drop the 18V batteries onto an adapter in the mower’s battery bay & use them, but a true drop-in solution would be better. Earlier reports warned of positive terminal heat build up under heavy battery/motor load if a Li-ion battery were to be used in the mower, but my Makita tools can be run until the battery is dead if need be, and there is no fire or arcing. Has battery technology finally caught up?

    Thanks, Dan, for a great resource – I read your reviews & comments before purchasing mine, as well.

  57. Dan says:

    Hi Aaron,
    Thanks for your experience.

    When I contacted Linamar Consumer Products late this winter they indicated there were no changes at all to the 2009 model; as well, their web site is the same as the past two years.

    This would tell me that they are not offering Li-ion or Lithium type batteries.

    The batteries were supposed to have a 5 year life from what I understand (I hope I am using the term correctly).

    If you are only receiving ~ 30% charge, I would suggest you contact their customer support about the situation (here is the phone number from their web site – 1-866-857-1445).

    I don’t kmnow if it would help or not, but feel free to mention this site, etc. One never knows about the ‘power of the press’; even if it is simply a small one like this where we simply share our own home repair & maintenance & energy saving experiences.

    Do let us know how you make out please. If you are having this experience I am sure others are.

    I haven’t had a chance to use my mower yet this year (still just a tad chilly up here) but it will be soon and when I do I will let everyone know how it works at the start of year 3.

    Dan

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