The Stihl RMA 510 Shines in Our Push Mower Shootout
Stihl is set to release a self-propelled battery-powered lawn mower later this year. However, for our best electric lawn mower review, we had the pleasure of testing the user-driven version – the Stihl RMA 510. This lightweight mower impressed us with its impressive features, cutting speed, and quiet operation, securing a well-deserved second-place finish in our test of battery-operated walk-behind mowers.
Advantages of the Stihl RMA 510
- Vertical storage capability
- Agile maneuverability during mowing
- Reliable uptime for maintenance (up to 48 minutes)
- Exceptional power for heavy-duty cutting
- Durable steel platform with single-point cut height adjustment and 6 cutting heights ranging from 1-1/2″ to 4″
- Additional battery storage rack
A Single Shortcoming
- The price tag may be a bit steep
Editor’s Note: We have performed additional testing on this model and several others since this review was first published. Check out the updated results here.
Cutting Performance of the Stihl RMA 510
Impressive Cutting Power
The Stihl RMA 510 excels in cutting speed and power, outperforming in these areas compared to other mowers. With a blade speed of 2820 RPM and a tip speed of 167.7 MPH, it is the second-fastest cordless walk lawn mower we have tested so far. Even when put to the test under heavy loads, the RMA 510’s performance only improves. It reached a tip speed of 3223 RPM and 191.7 MPH, surpassing all other mowers in our heavy-duty test.
To challenge the Stihl RMA 510 further, we included it in our torture test. After five weeks of grass growth, we set it to a 2.5″ cutting height and pushed it at a constant speed of 2.5 MPH until the blade eventually stopped. The Stihl mower performed remarkably well, matching the 30.5′ Makita push mower model. While there were other battery-operated mowers that cut more grass, we have also seen mowers that cut far less. From this test, we observed that the Stihl RMA 510 can effectively handle a few days of overgrowth. However, leaving your lawn unattended for extended periods may require slower or more frequent mowing sessions.
Cutting Area to Cover
The Stihl RMA 510 features a 20-inch blade, which falls within the standard range of deck mower sizes for cordless mowers. While other models may have larger or smaller blades, most cordless lawn mowers typically fall within the 19″-21″ range. With this 20-inch blade, the Stihl mower provides ample coverage while still maintaining maneuverability.
The Stihl RMA 510 runs on a 36V AP 300 battery, specifically designed to deliver full power until depletion. It takes approximately 48 minutes to complete a typical maintenance cut, which is the third-best time we have seen from a battery-powered walk-behind lawn mower. At a consistent walking pace of 2.5 mph, the Stihl RMA 510 can mow up to 17,600 square feet on a single charge, equivalent to about 2/5 of an acre. Please note that this is an ideal scenario, as overlapping cut lines can result in a 5% to 10% reduction in coverage. For larger lawns, the addition of a second battery would easily allow you to cover over 1/2 an acre. Recharging the AP 300 battery takes less than an hour.
Noise Level Considerations
One of the advantages of battery-powered lawn mowers is their relatively low noise levels compared to gasoline models. The Stihl RMA 510 emits 80 dB(A), which is considered mid-range for a battery-powered mower. By comparison, the quietest gas lawn mower we have tested, the Honda Commercial HRC216HXA, produces a comparatively quiet 86 dB(A). Switching to the Stihl RMA 510 will be a relief for your ears.
Impressive Feature Set
While we generally prefer self-propelled models when it comes to walk-behind lawn mowers, Stihl’s battery-operated mowers are currently only available as walk-behind options. However, they have not compromised on the feature set:
Robust Steel Deck
Unlike many mowers that utilize plastic decks, the Stihl RMA 510 boasts a sturdy steel deck. While plastic reduces weight, making it beneficial for push mowers, steel decks are more resilient against wear and tear caused by rough conditions, such as sandy areas. In the long run, steel decks offer superior durability.
Convenient Height Adjustment and Range
The Stihl RMA 510’s one-point height adjustment system simplifies the process of adjusting cutting height. With 6 positions ranging from 1.5″ to 4″ (Stihl specifies a maximum cutting height of 3-3/4″, though measurements show an additional quarter inch), achieving the desired grass length is effortless.
Customizable Handle Positions
The comfortable handle on the Stihl RMA 510 can be adjusted to three different positions, accommodating users of varying heights. After completing your mowing tasks, the handle conveniently folds away, allowing vertical storage of the mower, saving valuable space.
- Discharge options: cover, bag, and side discharge
- Extra battery slot for storage
- Rapid battery charging in less than an hour
Great Value for Your Money
The Stihl RMA 510 is available as a kit or sold without the battery and charger. The kit, which includes one AP 300 battery and charger, is priced at $499, while the standalone tool costs $279. Both options come with a 3-year warranty and access to support from local Stihl dealers. Stihl has a proven track record in the battery-powered category, offering a wide range of tools compatible with the 36V AP300 battery platform. Alongside the RMA 510, Stihl provides chainsaws, string trimmers, blowers, hedge trimmers, chainsaws, and the KMA 130 R KombiSystem.
The Bottom Line: A Worthy Contender
Although the Stihl RMA 510 did not top any specific category, it consistently performed exceedingly well in almost every aspect of our testing. It is lightweight, packed with features (with the exception of self-propulsion, which will be introduced in a future model), and delivers impressive power. While the Makita model emerged as the overall winner due to its runtime and noise levels, the Stihl RMA 510 is the ideal choice if you require a mower that excels in rough terrain with increased cutting speed.
Stihl Battery-Powered Walk-Behind Lawn Mower 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 (kit including one AP 300 battery and charger), $279.95 (bare tool)