Milwaukee M18 FUEL 21 Inch Self Propelled Lawn Mower Rating 2823-22HD
Milwaukee delivers outstanding performance in the first generation M18 fuel-powered self-propelled lawnmower
Since we started writing about them in 2008, two tools remain the most requested products by Milwaukee Tool fanatics: the M18 Fuel Chainsaw and the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Lawn Mower. One of those tools has finally come to fruition – and woodworkers: you’ll have to keep waiting. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Self-Propelled Lawnmower is everything you’d expect from the people whose parent company released a product that made the cut for our best lawnmower product. The question that remains is… who is this mower for?
- Solid, durable construction
- Excellent performance
- Outstanding cutting quality
- Variable speed speed controller and thumb bar
- 180° LED lights
- High visibility LED battery level indicator
- High-lift mode for bagging a collection of leaves
- Recessed presence bar
- The drive rod can cause thumb fatigue
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Self-Propelled Lawnmower Cutting power
As we build our case for the Milwaukee target user, we need to start with the power reduction. Fortunately, we can quantify that. We’ve seen high-end electric lawn mowers achieve over 8 ft-lbs of torque. That’s an impressive number, beating some petrol mowers.
Milwaukee uses two M18 batteries to deliver 36V power and rates its self-propelled mower at 10.0 ft-lbs of torque – more than you’ll get from a 200cc petrol engine. she must have two batteries to operate the mower. While you can use any two packs to run, you’ll get the best performance and runtime from two high-capacity 12.0Ah batteries.
We went out and tested in St. Augustine and Bahia, which dominate our central Florida landscape. We hadn’t mowed our test lawn for about a month in anticipation of this test. With the grass still 8 inches high in some areas, we lowered the deck to its lowest height (1 inch) to see how far it can go before clogging and stopping. It never stopped. The blade continued to spin at high speeds and ejected the weed with no problem.
It’s obvious to our team that this mower packs a lot of power and is easily the most powerful cordless lawn mower we’ve tested.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Quality of cut
Before we get into cut quality, there are two modes you can work with that affect performance. The standard mode runs exactly as we are used to from cordless mowers: The brushless motor throttles under light loads and starts automatically when the grass thickens (2800 – 3300 rpm). It has an impressive response time to changing conditions and shifts faster than most mowers we’ve tested.
The second mode is specifically a high-speed mode to increase blade lift (3300 rpm constant). Packing up your clippings or vacuuming leaves is a more effective way to run, even with a light load.
The M18 Fuel mower has all the standard mowing options: mulch, bag and chute. With the mulch plug, the mower does an excellent job of keeping the grass in the deck and cutting it several times before letting the small pieces fall back onto the grass. It’s interesting that Milwaukee didn’t go for a stacked blade system, but it doesn’t look like it’s much more beneficial when it comes to mulching.
As mentioned above, bagging is most effective in high-lift mode and creates a lot of airflow into the bag. We didn’t have any other mowers on hand to test side-by-side, but it’s evident that the Milwaukee design is among the leaders in bagging efficiency.
Side ejection is something every design team has to decide about. On the one hand, it’s best to eject clippings to the side of the deck to spread them out. On the other hand, without it, you get better deck airflow for bagging and mulching.
The Milwaukee team opted for a rear discharge. In our testing, it threw the grass about 8 feet. Because it’s a back-angled throw, it makes the spread closer to 5 feet to the side. That’s not as effective as a traditional high-end side discharge. It’s better than most rear discharge mowers we’ve used, however, and the design doesn’t add width to the mower.
As far as the finished look goes, we had a few scattered blades that popped up, but overall the cut was very consistent.
Running time of the Milwaukee M18 Fuel self-propelled lawn mower
With the issues of performance and cut quality settled, we turned our attention to runtime. Milwaukee offers some helpful estimates. Expect up to an hour of run time in standard cutting mode with a pair of high-capacity 12.0Ah batteries. That assumes you’re mulching, removing an inch of grass, and driving the drive at 3.0 MPH. In terms of professional lawn crew use, that’s enough to cover three homes sitting on 1/4 acre lots.
If you run in high-lift mode, that estimate drops to 40 minutes.
We went out and mowed our test lawn in mulch mode, taking 4 to 6 inches in most areas with several thicker sections. It’s what we expect from 8-10 days of growth and far tougher than a normal maintenance pruning. When the mower stopped, we ran 43.5 minutes. Given our testing conditions, Milwaukee’s 60-minute estimate of maintenance constraints appears to be correct.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Design and Features
When we unpacked the mower and installed the handle, we were impressed with the quality of workmanship. The steel deck is solid and the frame gives very little.
The tires have a slightly softer feel, giving them excellent grip, and the wheels spin smoothly without the wobble you get from some mowers.
Overall, this is one of the best built battery powered mowers we’ve seen.
The mower is adjustable up to 4.0 MPH with a stepless roller adjustment. During operation, simply roll down from your left hand, roll the wheel to the desired speed. It’s stiff enough to hold its position as you bounce across the turf, but not so stiff that it’s difficult to adjust on the fly.
To activate the drive, press down on a thumb bar in the center. It’s large enough to accommodate multiple hand positions, and the overmold keeps your thumbs from slipping off. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of thumb bars as they introduce a certain amount of fatigue with use, and the same goes for Milwaukee. I prefer a second bar that pulls up to the main hold with a more natural grip.
However, Milwaukee did something unusual for a self-propelled lawn mower. In addition to the roller wheel speed adjustment, the thumb bar is also a variable speed controller. When you come across a section of grass that you need to slow down for, simply let go of the drive rod instead of reaching to the side to adjust the roller.
Some mowers have chronic problems releasing the wheels to pull the mower back. In our initial testing, the wheels stuck to us a couple of times, but most of the time they came off easily.
Milwaukee’s 21-inch steel deck ranges from 1-4 inches with a 7-step, one-point adjustment. It’s a bit unusual for such a well built mower to opt for a single point rather than a 2 or 4 point mower, but we’ll take the more convenient controls. Time will tell if there are any downsides, but we have nothing to worry about at this point.
The fact that there are LED lights on the front of the mower isn’t a big deal. The fact that there is another set on the site is. Rather than just illuminating what’s in front of you, the additional lights on the side give you a much better picture of what you’re mowing.
Unless you’re mowing in low light or no light at all, just leave the lights off. There is an on/off switch right next to the speed setting.
There is another set of LED lights that face you while mowing. Those red bars are battery level indicators and it’s SOOOO nice to just be able to look down and have an idea of how much capacity is left.
- Handle easily folds for vertical storage
- The bag fits between the grip frames, making assembly and disassembly easier
- The drive system also intervenes when the blade is switched off
- Presence bar embedded in the handle
- 3 handle height positions
- Front and rear deck handles make it easy to store and transport
- Weighs 85 pounds with two 12.0 Ah batteries
Price for Milwaukee M18 Fuel self-propelled lawn mower
The last piece of the puzzle is the price. You can purchase the Milwaukee mower for $999 with two 12.0Ah batteries and a dual-port fast charger. There is currently no bare tool option.
Is this expensive? Yes. If you even compare it to high-end mobile home mowers, it’s a striking number. But Milwaukee caters to professional lawn care teams, and that’s a whole different class. These mowers can start north of $800 and go for $1300 or more for a similar 21-inch setup.
Note that Milwaukee has a 3-year warranty on both the mower and the batteries.
Replacement blades are available for $24.99 each. There’s also a more aggressive high-lift blade that costs $29.99.
Look for the mower, which will be available at retailers in Milwaukee on April 1, 2022 – no kidding!
The final result
After taking a thorough look at the Milwaukee 2823 M18 Fuel Self-Propelled Lawn Mower, we believe it is the most capable professional battery-powered option available today. It has legitimate professional gas replacement performance and a construction fit for professional use, although there are still some minor areas where the design can be improved. If performance was your biggest sticking point versus battery-powered lawnmowers, Milwaukee has broken that barrier.
So what do YOU think of this new lawn mower from Milwaukee Tool? Share your thoughts in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!
Specifications of the Milwaukee M18 Fuel self-propelled lawn mower
- Model: Milwaukee 2823-22HD
- Power source: 2 x M18 batteries
- Voltage: 36V
- Deck: 21 inch steel
- Deck Height: 1 – 4 inches
- Grass management: bag, mulch, rear discharge
- Travel Speed: 0-4.0 MPH
- Weight: 85 lbs with two 12.0 Ah batteries
- Guarantee: 3 years
- Price: $999 kit