In the summer of 2020 I reviewed the Toro 22″ (56cm) 60V MAX* Electric Battery Smartstow Personal Pace High Wheel Mower (20363) over the course of a couple of months. That’s an extremely long name for such a simple piece of machinery, but absolutely necessary when it comes to the testing of a tool that can take considerable wear and tear damage over time. With the “Flex-Force Power System” (plug-and-play rechargeable batteries and charger), 22-inch blade for mowing, and a tenacious yard of summertime grass, I ran this mower through the paces more than a few times.
Lawnmower on Batteries
Before I got this lawn mower in from Toro, they sent over a leaf blower that uses the same battery system. Both devices have the same connection points for the battery system, and both come with the same battery charger. The battery for the mower is quite a bit larger than that of the blower, but both batteries work interchangeably between machines.
I have approximately 0.17 acres of grass to cut every week – sometimes I can stretch it to a week and a half. With this mower’s 60V battery, I can cut this area of land without a recharge – just so long as the battery is fully charged before I begin. Toro suggested that I should be able to mow a full 1/3 acre with a full battery charge – and that seems about accurate, based on my couple of months of tests.
This lawn mower’s wheels can adjust to several different cut levels, as all good personal lawn mowers should. The system with which each wheel is adjusted is rather rudimentary. If this mower were as heavy as your average gas mower, adjusting the wheels might be a bit more of a chore. Since this mower is surprisingly light, adjusting each of the wheels is easy enough for any adult to handle.
While the mower feels light, it’s largely made of steel and tough plastic. The entirety of the deck is steel, each of the wheels is plastic. Every part of this mower feels like Toro hit a sweet spot: not too light as to feel “cheap”, rugged enough to stand the test of time.
Fold up and clean cut
This mower can fold up and sit upright. With Toro’s “SmartStow Technology”, the company’s engineered the mower so the handle folds down and the entire machine can sit upright, like a dog begging for a treat. This mower requires a LOT less space in the garage than any other mower I’ve ever worked with before.
The bagging system with this mower works great – but it’s the bagless mowing setup that makes me feel like this mower is a true winner. Toro’s got a special feature brand for this, too: Toro Recycler Cutting Technology. Whatever it’s doing, it’s doing right.
Recycler in effect
With the back door closed, I’ve mowed my lawn for weeks without needing any substantial mower cleaning. I grew up using a Toro cutter released in the early 1980s, and even when bagging, grass buildup was an occasional issue. Toro seems to have worked out all the kinks in the past several decades – this mower cuts both cleanly and efficiently.
The mower works with a “Personal Pace Self-Propel System”, which means it’s able to travel at several speeds. Pushing the mower feels natural to the point that it almost feels like the machine is weightless.
This, too, is a major improvement over early self-propelled mower madness. Back when I was a kid, a self-propelled mower meant you’d start the mower, pull up the bar, and hold on for dear life. The mower I used as a kid went ONE speed: Too fast. Here in modernity, Toro’s self-propelled mower system adjusts based on how hard you’re pushing the handle, so it all goes according to your own pace.
Perhaps the most important part of this entire situation is the mower’s entertainment value. This is of the utmost importance if you’re considering buying a lawn mower that you’ll be convincing your kids to use. Imagine their surprise when they find themselves enjoying the experience, from pushing the big blue start button to replacing the beastly battery to folding the machine up to sleep in the shed.
Battery Life for Larger Yards
If you have a yard larger than 1/3 acre, you might want to consider buying a second battery. OR, if you’re in the market for any other yard equipment, there’s a bunch of other Toro machines in the same “Flex-Force Power System.” Charge one battery while you’re mowing with the other and you’ll never run out of battery.
If only the battery charged up a bit faster. That’s probably my only major issue with the mower: The speed of the battery charger. It’s not particularly fast. It’s likely my perception of a fast battery charge is largely skewed thanks to smartphone companies pushing speeds for their tiny mobile batteries to the limit – but a faster charge would be nice, nonetheless.
The Flex-Force Power System battery charger included with this mower has light indicators and its own built-in fan to keep the system from overheating. A combination of this charger, plugging in batteries with the mower, and the blower, the entire Flex-Force Power System made me feel like a Ghostbuster.
If you’re considering spending up to and including the price this lawn mower costs in stores today, you’ll get your money’s worth. At the point at which this review was first published, the Toro 22″ (56cm) 60V MAX* Electric Battery SMARTSTOW Personal Pace High Wheel Mower (20363) had a price of MSRP $570 USD. Assuming this mower will last you a half-decade at least, that price is right on the money.
With a brushless motor under the hood and no indication that any of the parts are anything but rugged enough to last for years, this mower is easily one of the best pieces of outdoor power / lawn equipment I’ve ever used.