King Cordless – Kobalt Throws Lightning At Your Lawn

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80 Volt Cordless. Let that sink on for just a minute. Not EIGHT… EIGHTY.. I know what you are thinking. “HOLY Schnikes! That’s a BIG battery!!” Yes, the folks at Kobalt did not mess around when they came out with a follow up to their popular line of 40 Volt lawn tools. The new 80 volt Max lineup includes a 21” mower, a straight shaft string trimmer, leaf blower and 18” chainsaw. Yes, an 80 volt CHAINSAW! In case you can’t already tell, I’m excited to roll these babies out and give them a whirl! I’ll cover the mower and string trimmer in this column, and the chainsaw and leaf blower in upcoming installments.

Kobalt 80v Mower

Before I start, full disclosure: I am a guy who loves the IDEA of electric lawn tools, but after a parade of pitifully under-performing, complete and utter disappointments in the past, I come to this review with a good deal of skepticism. I know that these tools will most likely perform relatively well out of the box, but what about in the long term? Before unpacking the first tool, I hit the interwebs in search of some back-story.

Of course, there was no long-term data on the new 80V Max lineup, so I went out and dug up some info on the 40 volt models. There are a couple of reviews of the 40V tools on youtube from over a year ago, and luckily Youtube reviewer Pete Deichmann has posted one-month and one-year updates to his initial video. It sounds like he is feeling really good about his Kobalt 40V Max lawnmower. That’s encouraging! Let’s see what the 80V model can do!

I decided to give the 21” mower a straight-up workout right out of the box. We live on a farm, not on a nice suburban lot, and we have had A LOT of rain lately. I took the mower out to have a go at a damp, tall lawn.

Damp grass is no match for the variable speed motor.
Damp grass is no match for the variable speed motor.

The first thing I noticed was the height adjustment. One lever adjusts all four wheels! What a concept! AND, it was smooth and easy to adjust, unlike my gas mowers. I hit it hard, and set it at “2,” with the mulch bag installed. This would choke my gas mowers, for sure, and I wondered if I would kill the Kobalt on it’s first time out. Let’s see!

The 80 Volt "power brick" is easy to change.
The 80 Volt “power brick” is easy to change.

The first thing that freaked me out was the “power” button. It has a soft switch with the electronic “power” symbol on it. It hums to life like a jet turbine revving up. Digging into the tall, damp grass, the Kobalt automatically picked up speed to match the load. Impressive! The batteries lasted about 20 minutes a piece under these brutal conditions. Luckily, the mower comes with two batteries, and recharge time is between 20-30 minutes. I ran through 5 cycles, with no drop off in performance. I have used it several more times under less rugged circumstances, and the batteries can last considerably longer, depending on the conditions. It comes with a detachable bag and side discharge, which gives you all of the mulching and non-mulching options you might want.

This push button start is completely pain-free.
This push button start is completely pain-free.

I have got to say that I LOVE this Kobalt mower. Everything about it appears to be well thought out and well engineered. The fit and finish is top notch, using steel in all of the places you want to see steel, while managing to keep the entire tool relatively light. There is no wrestling involved with this mower. It pushes and pulls lightly and it is extremely well balanced. I was really impressed that it handled our lumpy farmhouse lawn like a champ, and would have no trouble recommending it to folks with lawns of all sizes.

Kobalt 80v Trimmer

But wait, there’s more! Lowe’s house brand, Kobalt, has more to offer in the 80V Max line. The next tool to undergo major abuse around the farm was the straight shaft string trimmer. Like the mower, the string trimmer features the easy push-button electronic start. This time, rather than a variable speed drive like the mower, it features two operating speeds. The low speed is perfectly adequate for trimming and edging the lawn. For tougher weeds and grass, the higher speed proves as effective as any comparable gas trimmer. The lower speed drastically increases battery life, but even on the high setting, the trimmer held charge long enough to get most typical yard jobs done.

The "power brick"  and adjustable handle provide nice balance.
The “power brick” and adjustable handle provide nice balance.

It also has an adjustable cutting path, which allows you to cut a swath either 14” or 16” wide, again, depending on how big the job is, and how long you want the battery to last. It also has a standard universal adapter to accept any of your existing gas trimmer attachments. The recommended string size is .80, and it comes loaded with the green, twisted heavy duty line.

The head allows for an adjustable cutting length.
The head allows for an adjustable cutting length.

Unlike the mower, you are actually carrying the battery with the string trimmer and the weight of the battery became noticeable. Still, it actually feels a little lighter than comparable gas trimmers, and the tool is well balanced, although for me, it took some getting used to. I think for big jobs, I would want to use a harness to carry some of the weight on my shoulders, and it does include a loop for attaching a strap.

My favorite feature of this tool is the noise level… I was able to run the 80v Trimmer while listening to a standard pair of Skull Candy ear buds, rather than my usual noise-canceling headphones. There is simply no comparison when it comes to the sound. There is no need to listen to that screaming gas trimmer any more!

As I said early on, time will tell the story of the durability of the batteries long-term, but I’m thinking that for the average homeowner, these Kobalt 80v Max tools are going to be a real benefit. No hard starting, no engine tune ups, no storing gas in the garage… just a hassle-free mowing and trimming experience!

The Kobalt 80v Cordless Mower runs about $500 from your local or online Lowes:

Buy Now - via Lowes

The Kobalt 80v Cordless Trimmer (tool only) runs about $169 from your local or online Lowes:

Buy Now - via Lowes

Cordless Trimmer (with battery and charger) about $249 from Lowes:

Buy Now - via Lowes

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About Rich

Rich Dana loves to build things, to tinker on things, and to grow things. After more than a decade as a historic building remodeler in Brooklyn, New York, he and his wife Ericka moved to their back-to-the-land dream home (and fixer-uper nightmare), an 1870s farmhouse on 15 acres in eastern Iowa that they call “Catnip Farm.” For the last 18 years, Rich has specialized in super-efficient historical renovations and solar PV installation. He is working to convert much of the farm into perennial food crops like nut trees and berries, and he helps Ericka out with her heirloom seed project. His latest passion is learning to sew.

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14 thoughts on “King Cordless – Kobalt Throws Lightning At Your Lawn”

  1. REVIEW, Part 2. My mower automatically adjusts blade speed dependent on grass height load. That’s one less thing to diddle with. The self propel speed is manually variable and use is optional. The batteries should be stored in the provided ziplock bags for the winter. I usually run one battery out; Put it in the charger in the house; Finish mowing with the 2nd battery. By the time I’m done mowing and cleaning up, the 1st battery is nearly recharged. The mower lists for $639.00 ( $677.34 with 6% tax ). $318.00 of that is just for the batteries. LIO batteries are not cheap. I still think, it is a good buy for the convenience, little maintenance, light weight and quiet operation.

  2. I have owned an 80V kobalt self propelled electric mower for 2 years. Mine is the KMP 2580-06 Model. It came with 2 batteries, a charger, side chute deflector and a grass bag. It is a good mulching mower. I’m on a corner lot and it takes me about 50 minutes and 1.5 battery charges to mow the yard. I push the mower most of the way because it is light and is a good cardio exercise. I self propel on inclines and when I get too hot. A battery recharges in about 40 minutes. The handle folds twice atop the mower body for storage. It must be stored in a warm, dry location for the winter. The top of the mower exterior should be cleaned with lightly damp paper towels. The mower should NEVER be cleaned with a hose. The underside cleans easily with a putty knife and a dry scrub brush. Finish cleaning the battery enclosure interior with a vac and nearly dry paper towels. I got a new blade half way thru summer two. It took 5 minutes total ( 1 bolt ).That is the extent of maintenance besides cleaning. NO gas, oil changes, air filters, oil filters or spark plugs. So far, I am quite pleased with it and have had zero problems. Assembly was easy. Mount handle and blade, charge battery and plug it in. Set grass height and you’re done.

  3. I called the so called customer service about the two speeds the lawnmower has, to see if there is a way to make 8t stay in high speed. Like always all they can do is ready out of a book about the Lawnmower. So much for there specialist.

    • The speeds are set by the motor controller. There is no reason to lock it on high, plus the battery would discharge very fast. Negating the advantage of using one while the other one charges. Likely would discharge in 15 minutes with no advantage to the cut.

  4. i have the 80volt /trimmer …first use ,,,48 min…2nd 45..third..40 …fourth,,,,32…light grass…low speed setting … says 90 min.which i really did not believe,but would tolerate..60 min as my 67 yr old body is about all it will handle ,,,and my 3/4 acre lot did take about 1 hr with the gas trimmer,,,,,,the cutting is as good as the gas trimmer and i do not have to be tired from just pulling to restart..,,,,,so for what thats worth..hope it helps .

  5. Used the mower for the second time, still impressed with the quality of the cut. Still way too soon to comment on the durability, but I really like the fact that the mower can be turned over to brush the clippings out of the deck. Try to do THAT with a gas mower.

  6. What is the decibel rating? Does this mower have two speeds like its counterpart the greenworks mower (they call it smartcut), basically it speeds up in thicker grass, or is it always one speed? Big reasons for electric are smell, sound, convenience. I often read about how “quiet” these are but rarely do you get a real measure, the db level. Thank you.

    • Yes, the mower has two sensor driven speeds not controllable by operator. While not measured, I would estimate the noise level at less than 65. I can easily hear my wife talking to me from about 20 feet away without stopping the mower. That’s quiet!!!

  7. I have plans on picking up the Kobalt 80v Chainsaw. I’ve tried and been disappointed with Orange box 40v 14″ brushless it comes with a half-sized battery. I have the same brand 40v trimmer that is attachment capable, which I’m quite impressed and pleased with but not so much with the chainsaw.

    I was looking at the new 80v mower as well. I like the twin blade design. I do lawn maintenance for a livelihood. The Li-on allow me to get started earlier in the day without being a nuisance to my clients or their neighbors.

    I like the idea of less green house emission’s, but I have reservations about how sustainable the mining of the resources that go in to the battery/equipment, as well as longevity overall of the equipment.

    Not having to pay a $1.50 premium over E-15 Gas to buy ethanol free gas for my 2-stroke equipment is a plus.

    The 80v brushless blower has decent volume (500-CFM ~125-MPH) close to Gas powered .

    Looking forward to run the chainsaw through its paces.


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