We look for greater energy efficiency to help our own circumstances and the wider world.
Gas-powered lawn and garden equipment still has its place, there is no doubt about that.
But increasingly electrically-powered equipment is able to compete with gas machines when it comes to getting jobs done with power and efficiency.
One of the most impressive pieces of modern green lawn equipment is the Black & Decker SPCM1936 19-Inch 36-Volt cordless electric self-propelled lawn mower with removable battery, a mower that has the power to cut grass on property as large as 1/3 of an acre.
Black and Decker SPCM1936 cordless lawn mower review
Key features at a glance
What can the Black and Decker SPCM1936 be used for?
Motor and 36-volt battery
Handling and Operating
Pros and Cons
Other Black and Decker cordless models
Key features at a glance
- Corrosion-resistant, lightweight 19 inch cutting deck
- Self-propelled with variable speed
- Removable battery
- Push button start
- Three-in-one design allows for bagging, mulching or discharge of grass clippings
- Incredibly quiet operation.
What can the Black & Decker SPCM1936 be used for?
If you have a small to medium-sized lawn, the SPCM1936 might be a great choice for you.
A single charge of its 36 volt battery can give you enough power to mow an area up to 1/3 of an acre in size. This translates to an area approximately 1600 square yards (or 1350 square meters) and represents a typical suburban lot.
By contrast, a corded electric lawn mower needs to be kept 100 feet from an electrical outlet, which means that it is unable to cover the area that this cordless machine can mow.
You need to remember, however, that according to the manual, charging the unit’s battery takes 12 hours (some users say less) if it has been fully discharged. With that in mind, you should always begin mowing with a fully charged battery.
One other important point to mention relates to the type of grass you have. On the whole, I’d say this is not a mower for use with thick, heavy, long or tropical type grasses. If you have St Augustine, Bahia, Bermuda or similar warm season grasses you may find this mower doesn’t have the power needed to keep these in trim, especially if they are left at all long.
About the motor and 36-volt battery
This unit is powered by a battery that supplies 36 volts of power to the highly efficient electric motor. Though the battery is quite heavy, it is optimized for use within the SPCM1936 so that usage of the mower does not cause fatigue.
The battery is responsible for powering the rotation of the cutting blade as well as the self-propulsion system, and it can hold enough of a charge to allow the machine to mow 1/3 of an acre before it requires recharging.
The SPCM1936 is able to cut and propel itself across your lawn at the same time by the clever use of separate motors for powering the blade and driving the wheels.
You can reduce the drain on the battery as you work by using the bagging, rather than the mulching, option and by disengaging the self propulsion on down slopes.
Although the battery and motors are powerful, users will not experience the raw power of a gas-powered lawn mower. Because of this, the SPCM1936 is recommended for usage on relatively flat, obstacle-free lawns. It will cope with typical inclines and undulations but will be less effective on steep slopes or where grass is dense.
If you live in an average-sized home in a typical suburban area, the power of the SPCM1936 should be more than enough to get your grass cut.
Handling and operating the Black and Decker SPCM1936
Once you have the SPCM1936 battery charged, you can start the mower with the turn of a key and a simple press of a button.
The first time you start the machine, you will probably notice how incredibly quiet it is. If you are used to using gas-powered lawn mowers, this might take some getting used to, but you will soon grow to love this Black & Decker’s quiet operation.
As you begin mowing, you will want to engage the self-propulsion. Once it is engaged, you will notice how well it works at moving the mower along at exactly the pace that you set. Since cordless mowers tend to be quite heavy because of their batteries, you will be thankful that the self-propulsion works so smoothly.
Although you will not be able to climb steep hills and navigate overly particularly bumpy terrain with the SPCM1936, it should be able to handle a typical yard with relative ease. Turning and navigating obstacles such as trees is easy thanks to the self-propulsion and the unit’s inherent balance.
Many people are skeptical about the ability of an electric mower – especially a cordless one – to cut grass effectively when compared to a gasoline-powered machine. However, new owners of the SPCM1936 tend to be surprised at how effective a mower this model is.
For a typical lawn, the motor generates plenty of torque to spin the blades quickly and powerfully enough to be able to trim grass just as effectively as a gas-powered mower.
You may need to go over thick patches of tall grass a couple times before it is cut down to size, but this is true of most mowers. As indicated, if you have dense warm season grass throughout your property then a gas powered lawn mower may be a better bet for you.
Be aware that when you want to turn or pull the mower backwards you need to release the self propulsion handle and let the mower coast forward for a few inches to allow the self propulsion mechanism to disengage fully. Then reverse or make your turn. As one Amazon reviewer says: “After you learn to quickly connect and disconnect the drive wheels as you mow and turn, it becomes much easier. You just have to learn to work with it, rather than force it to go your way.”
Once you’ve finished mowing the handles fold down to allow you to store the mower easily.
The SPCM1936 is equipped with a powerful blade which is housed inside a tough 19 inch cutting deck.
Since efficiency is key in the world of electric lawn mowers, the blade has been designed to rotate efficiently while using a minimum of power. The deck itself is made from a super strong polymer material that will never rust. This “Lifetime” deck is also very easy to clean and maintain.
This Black & Decker is equipped to discharge, bag or mulch your grass clippings, making it a true three-in-one machine. What is most impressive about the three-in-one capability is the fact that you can switch between the functions with the greatest of ease. This gives you a remarkable amount of versatility.
The unit’s height adjustment is also very easy to work with. The deck can be adjusted within a range from 1.5 inches to 3.5 inches. The adjustment is done with a one-touch lever that adjusts all four wheels at once. This is a real plus compared to some mowers.
The 36 volt battery for the SPCM1936 should be charged between uses so that it is fully charged when you are ready to mow the grass.
To make charging easier, the battery is removable so that you can place it in the most convenient spot when you are ready to charge it. This way, you can store the mower in its place while getting the battery ready for your next mowing session.
If you do not like engaging in too much assembly after you purchase a product, you will be pleased by the ease with which this machine is assembled.
Once you remove the cardboard box, all you need to do is flip the handle into position and tighten it. You will also need to charge the battery, but it should come from the factory with a significant charge.
If you want to get started bagging your grass, the bagger will need to be put together, as well, but it only takes a few minutes to do so.
Following is a list of some of the SPCM1936’s important dimensions:
- Weight – 90 pounds
- Cutting width – 19 inches
- Length – 36.6 inches
- Width – 22.9 inches
- Height – 20.5 inches
- Front wheel size – 7 inches
- Rear wheel size – 9 inches
One of the best things about electric mowers versus gas-powered machines is the fact that electric machines require very little maintenance.
Gas-powered machines need oil changes and constant refueling, but electrically-powered lawn mowers only need the most basic care. You will need to make sure the blade is kept sharp, and you should clean the underside of the deck regularly.
Beyond that, you should also inspect the mower occasionally to ensure that no parts are broken or in need of replacement.
The SPCM1936 comes with a 36V Battery, a charger, a safety key and the rear bag with frame. The mulch plate is an integral part of the mower so there is nothing extra to buy to be able to use that function.
Some people buy a spare Black & Decker RB-3610 36-Volt Battery , as that will allow you always to be sure you have a fully charged battery on hand. You can also buy the relevant Black and Decker 90547460 36 volt battery charger separately if you ever lose or damage the one you receive with the mower.
Pros and cons
There are some real pluses to this mower:
- Enough power to handle most small to average-sized lawns
- Quiet operation
- three-in-one versatility
- Easy to start
- Stores easily
- Battery is removable for easy charging
- One-touch cutting height adjustment
- High-impact, lightweight polymer deck
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The downsides can probably be summarized as follows:
- Not as powerful as some gas-powered mowers
- Can only cut up to around 1/3 acre in area
- Battery is somewhat heavy
- charging port is in an akward area to use
- may lack sufficient power for thick, heavy, dense or tropical grasses
The Black & Decker SPCM1936 has received 130 customer reviews on Amazon.com for an average rating of 4.1 out of five stars. 72 reviewers rewarded it the full 5 stars, 32 gave it 4 stars and only 17 users gave it the minimum rating of one star. Given the overall number of reviews, I think it’s fair to say that the rating it has earned from consumers is very positive.
Over at Home Depot there are only 8 reviews, with an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5.
There are many positive reviews of this product, and most of them point out how surprisingly powerful the SPCM1936 is. Other users have given high praise to the height adjustment controls. For the most part, positive reviews have stated that this machine is very easy to operate, overall.
On the negative side, most dissatisfied consumers have complained about the SPCM1936’s lack of power. This is interesting since so many of the positive reviews have stated that the machine has more than enough power. I suspect that this may have something to do with the type of grass that the respective reviewers are trying to cut.
Other complaints have stated that the charging plug is cumbersome to deal with.
Here are what a couple of Amazon reviewers have to say:
“What’s not to love about this lawn mower? There is virtually no vibration from the mower. It makes about half as much noise as a gasoline engine mower. It starts up with the push of a button and pull of a lever. It moves itself around my yard with the flip of another lever. It mulches, bags, or rear discharges with the twist of a knob. It will never rust. It recharges in about an hour. It costs pennies to run. It costs nothing per year in maintenance. I never have to carry around a gas can ever again. So far, the only thing I can find wrong with this mower, it takes a few seconds to get moving and you have to kind of anticipate stopping or backing up – the drive wheels lock if you pull back too quickly. Yes this is a very heavy lawn mower at ninety pounds, most of that weight is the battery, (around twenty pounds); except Read more…
Like many others, i had reservations about cordless mowers, worrying about mowing range and power and the sheer weight of the things. The B&D SPCM1936 allays all those fears. It’s true the battery won’t last an entire mowing of a yard that warrants a riding mower. But for small to average size yards with normal grass and weeds, it does great. The self propel feature is THE reason you want this mower. You just walk casually behind and steer. Controls and settings are straightforward and intuitive. Construction is solid and sturdy, even though these mowers tend to look like toys. Yeah, it’s heavy as dead weight, but when mowing it’s a delight. You can even run the self propel without the blades turning to let the mower “walk” itself right back to storage. Read more…
High quality electric cordless lawn mowers like this one used to be prohibitively expensive. Now they are actually priced quite reasonably.
You’ll need to check the latest online price via the links below.
You’ll probably find that you will also get free delivery at Amazon.
Other Black and Decker cordless models
Black and Decker CM1936
If you want to save some money, you can purchase the similar CM1936 model, also from Black & Decker.
It is very like the SPCM1936 in most respects, but crucially it does not have the self-propelled capability.
One advantage is that the lack of the self-propulsion motor means that the CM1936 is considerably lighter at 64 pounds (compared to the 92 pound SPCM1936), so there is not so much weight to push around.
Black and Decker CM1836
A further alternative is the Black & Decker CM1836 18-Inch 36-Volt Cordless Electric Lawn Mower.
The CM1836 is similar to the CMi936, as it is a push mower. It is also smaller with an 18 inch cutting width and its height adjustment system is not as advanced as that found on the 1936 models.
Corded electric models
If you think that a cordless model might not be right for you, then take a look at our corded electric lawn mower pages.
What do you think?
Let us know what you think of it in the comments below.