The Stihl RMA 510 Shows Its Class in Our Push Mower Shootout
While Stihl plans to release a self-propelled battery-powered lawn mower later this year, for our best electric lawn mower article, we were only happy to test the user-driven version, the Stihl RMA 510. The RMA 510 is fairly lightweight, but it also has the kind of feature set, cutting speed, and quiet operation that earned it a second-place finish in our test of battery-operated walk-behind lawn mowers.
- Folds down for vertical storage
- Feel flexible while mowing
- Reliable uptime (48 minutes for maintenance)
- Maximum power for heavy-duty cutting in push mowers
- Steel platform with single point cut height adjustment and 6 cutting heights ranging from 1-1/2" to 4"
- Extra battery storage rack
Editor's Note: Since this review was first published, we've performed some additional testing on this model and several others. Check out the updated results here!
While the Stihl RMA 510 Battery Powered Lawn Mower does many things right, it doesn't do anything quite as right as its cutting speed and power. In fact, the more load we put on the RMA 510, the better it performed.
From no-load speed, the 20-inch blade moves at 2820 RPM and reaches a tip speed of 167.7 MPH. It's the second-fastest cordless walk lawn mower we've tested at this time.
Heading into the maintenance load test, the Stihl battery-powered lawn mower largely maintained its tip speed, recording a slight increase at 2822 RPM and 167.8 MPH. At this point, it still finished second in the group. When you're talking weekly cuts, that's more than enough speed to get the job done.
However, when we got into the heavy load test, we noticed that the RMA 510 really kicked things up a notch. The tip speed change was 23.8 mph, and the Stihl battery model topped out at 3223 RPM and 191.7 mph. That's fast enough to put our team at the top of our heavy-duty test, showing that when the going gets tough, Steele will only improve its performance.
Since we were so impressed with the Stihl's cutting power and speed, we thought we'd try to beat it by including it in our torture test. We set it at a 2.5" cutting height for 5 weeks of grass growth and pushed it at a constant 2.5 MPH until the blade stopped.
It performs very well and matches the 30.5' Makita push mower model. We did test a couple of other battery-operated models that cut more grass than any of them, though we've seen mowers that also cut far less.
The takeaway from this subjective type test (due to testing inconsistencies and variables we didn't include it in our scoring) is that the Stihl RMA 510 can handle a few days of overgrowth fairly well, despite letting your lawn Leaving it out for more than a few days may mean you need to cut it slowly or cut it in half.
For the RMA 510, Steele chose a 20-inch blade. That's about the middle of the deck mower size range we see on cordless mowers. The Makita LXT 18V X2 mower has a single 18-inch blade, while the Greenworks Commercial model tops the list with twin blades that cover 23-3/4 inches. While these are extremes, most cordless lawn mowers are in the 19"-21" range.
Stihl's mower runs on a 36V AP 300 battery that has been redesigned to provide full power before the battery dies…and takes 48 minutes to complete a typical maintenance cut. That's the third-best time we've seen from a battery-powered walk-behind lawn mower, by the way. It's about 9 minutes behind the Worx 40V model and 3 minutes behind the Makita.
But what does this actually look like? If you maintain a consistent walking pace of 2.5 mph, you can expect to mow 17,600 square feet on a single charge. Breaks down to 2/5 of an acre on a single charge. Remember, this is an ideal scenario, we all lose 5% – 10% when we overlap cut lines.
The AP300 battery will give you enough run time to tackle plots up to 1/3 acre. If you have a larger lawn, the second battery should help you easily cover over 1/2 an acre.
When charging, the AP300 battery goes from empty to full in less than an hour.
One of the selling points of battery-powered OPEs is the noise they make. Cordless is not nearly as loud as gasoline. The Stihl RMA 510 puts out 80 dB(A), which is mid-range for a battery model. Considering that the quietest gas lawn mower we've tested—the Honda Commercial HRC216HXA—puts out a relatively quiet 86 dB(A), your ears will thank you for switching to wireless.
Ultimately, when it comes to walk behind lawn mowers, we prefer self-propelled models. Unfortunately, Stihl's battery-operated mowers are currently only available in one type, the walk-behind mower. Expect that to change soon, as the brand plans to release a self-propelled model.
The Stihl RMA 510 features a steel deck rather than the plastic decks we are seeing more and more. While plastic can reduce overall weight, which is especially good for push mowers, steel decks can withstand more wear and tear from substances like sugar sand. Ultimately, steel decks are more durable.
Height Adjustment and Range
We also appreciate the one-point height adjustment on the RMA 510. Rather than having height adjustments on multiple wheels, adjust your cutting height in any of 6 positions ranging from 1.5" to 4" (Stihl specs state a maximum cutting height of 3-3/4", but we measure an extra quarter inch).
The handle on the Stihl RMA 510 can also be adjusted to any of three positions, making the mowing experience suitable for operators of most heights. When the job is done, the handle folds away for vertical storage of the mower.
- Available discharge options: cover, bag and side discharge
- Additional battery slot for storage
- The battery charges in about an hour
The Stihl RMA 510 is available as a kit or bare metal. Comes with AP 300 battery and charger for $499. As a bare tool, your price is $279. In either case, your Stihl mower is backed by a 3-year warranty and support from your local Stihl dealer network.
Stihl is by no means new to the battery powered game, so there are quite a few tools available for the 36V AP300 battery platform. The lineup includes this mower, as well as chainsaws, string trimmers, blowers, hedge trimmers, chainsaws and the KMA 130 R KombiSystem.
the bottom line
The Stihl RMA 510 didn't top any of the categories, but it performed very well in nearly every area we tested. It's light, it has a full feature set (minus, well, you know, the self-propelled drill…but that's coming), and it's powerful.
In the end, Stihl finished second, losing to the Makita model. However, while the Makita excels in terms of runtime and decibel levels, if you need a mower that really picks up speed when going into rough places, the Stihl is probably the better choice.
Stihl Battery Powered Walk-Behind Lawn Mowers Manufacturer Specifications
- Model: RMA 510
- Weight: 65.8 lbs (with AP 300 battery)
- Mowing Area: Up to 5,100 sq. ft.
- Cutting height: 1-3/8″ — 3-3/4″
- Deck Width: 21″
- Cutting Width: 20″
- Grass Catcher Capacity: 19.8 Gallons
- Watts: 1,100 watts
- Battery: 36V AP series
- Warranty: 3-year limited warranty
- MSRP: $499.95 for kit including one AP 300 battery and charger, $279.95 bare