The Sun Joe MJ401C is cute-looking cordless lawn mower, that will suit people with a small patch of lawn. The plastic body might make it look like a toy, but don’t get fouled by the looks. It has a 14” cutting swath and is powered by a 28-volt lithium-ion battery, that will get you around 20 minutes of mowing. The cutting height can be manually adjusted to three different positions
- 28-volt (4.0Ah) lithium-ion battery.
- 14” cutting width.
- Adjustable cutting height.
- Automatic two speed-controller.
- LED battery level indicator.
- 2 year warranty.
Sun Joe MJ401C review
It has been awhile since I reviewed the Sun Joe MJ40E which was an electric corded mower. The MJ401E is a small, lightweight, and affordable lawn mower. Sun Joe has basically made the MJ40E cordless with this MJ401C. I can understand why, since the MJ401E is still one of the most popular lawn mowers. With this cordless version, I am sure Sun Joe will have a new best seller!
My first impression of the MJ401C is the same as I had with the MJ401E, it looks like a toy. It is small, lightweight, and made almost entirely out of plastic. It only weighs 28 pounds, that’s including the battery! Being lightweight has several benefits, but my first thought is; this mower seems rather flimsy. The plastic feels strong and somewhat sturdy. However, it is hard for me to get over the toy look.
The lawn mower comes more or less fully assembled. You will need a Philips screw driver for two screws and the rest can be put together without any tools.
The handle can be folded over the top of the mower for when you want to store it. It is already a quite small mower, but with the handle folded up it only needs a tiny space for storage.
The 28-volt lithium-ion battery (4Ah) is fixed to the mower, which is not ideal in more than one way. Instead of bringing the battery to the power outlet, you need to bring the whole lawn mower to a power outlet. A removable battery would make charging a lot easier.
The battery is often the first thing on cordless power tools that stops working, with a fixed battery you don’t have the option of just buying a replacement battery. If the battery won’t take charge, the whole mower is useless. Not a good idea if you ask me.
Insert the safety key to operate the Sun Joe MJ401C
Another thing, you don’t have the option of buying a spare battery if you need two or more batteries to finish mowing your lawn. Which might be the chase if you have a medium sized lawn.
The battery will last up to 25 minutes in light mowing conditions and even less if the grass is either wet or tall. You can check how much battery is left at any time with the LED battery indicator. Surely a handy feature, however the battery most likely needs to be recharged before you want to cut your lawn in a week’s time.
The battery will take 4 hours to fully recharge again. I will therefore recommend this Sun Joe MJ401C for people with a tiny or small patch of grass they need to mow. Sun Joe claims it can mow up to a quarter of an acre per charge, I have not managed to even get close to that during my testing period.
The MJ401C has a key that needs to be plugged in for the mower to work. A nice safety feature, especially if you have kids around. After all the mower looks like a toy.
It is recommended to store the lawn mower in a cool and dry place. This is where the minimal weight and size is a big benefit. You can easy carry the mower down the stairs to a basement or up on the attic for the winter. Just remember to top up the battery with a maximum of 6 months intervals.
Adjusting cutting height
The cutting height can be adjusted in 3 different positions. The lowest position has a cutting height of 1.18” (30mm), while the tallest is 2.52” (64mm).
The height is manually adjusted by putting the mower on its side and moving the axels of the wheels into one of the three slots. Before you start adjusting the height remember to remove the key so the mower won’t accidentally start will you are fiddling underneath it.
The axels are hold in place by a spring by each wheel which prevents the axels to move inadvertently. Changing the cutting height is not difficult nor time consuming.
With a fully charged battery and the key inserted, I was ready to give the MJ401C a good test. The medium sized lawn in front of me had lush green grass at maybe medium height. It had been mowing the previous week and was ready to be trimmed once again.
I had set the cutting height to the middle position, which would mean the mower had to cut about an inch of grass. The first pass I made was neatly and evenly trimmed, however the second pass did not get the same results. The mower struggled a bit more and the cut was uneven. I checked the bag, and surely it was full.
Removing and emptying the collection bag is very easy and has a comfortable handle to make the job easier. Once the bag was refitted, I went over the second lane again and the results were satisfactory, with the same result as the first pass.
It didn’t take long before the bag was full again. The grass collection bag can hold 1.1 bushels (10.6 gallons/ 40 liters), which is not big but not tiny either. At this point I wish I had the side discharge chute fitted. It would probably be faster to mow the lawn with the chute and then use a rake to remove the clippings.
The side chute does not come with the mower, but can be bought separately. When I looked it up online, the chute came with a price tag of only $20 with shipping. You might find it even cheaper if you shop around. If you are going to buy this Sun Joe MJ401C, I recommend seriously considering getting the chute for the extra $20.
Maneuvering and cutting
The mower has an electrical speed controller, which automatically kicks in when the grass gets thicker and/or taller. This function work well and you can clearly hear when the mower switches between the two running speeds.
After another few passes, I removed the key and adjusted the cutting height to the max. The result was less frequently stops due to a full bag.
I managed to get about 20 minutes of effective run-time out of one charge (not including all the stops due to a full collection bag). The lawn was about half way done, but that didn’t come as a big surprise.
After using the mower a few times, I would say it is very easy to handle and maneuver. The wheels run smoothly over any uneven parts of the lawn. The cut is even and leaves the lawn nicely trimmed. It is not a “work horse”, but could easily handle small lawns as long as the grass is not wet or too tall.
Comparison with other similar mowers
I have compared the Sun Joe MJ401C with similar sized mowers to help you get some more options.
I have already compared the new MJ401C with Sun Joe’s corded version MJ401E (Read the full review here). Despite the Sun Joe MJ401E being a corded mower, I feel it is a good candidate if you are interested in the MJ401C. These two lawn mowers are basically the same mower, but are powered differently. With the corded version you can save a few dollars even if you add a new extension cord as well. I know that many don’t like the hassle associated with an extension cord, but if you only have a small lawn it shouldn’t be a big problem. I feel it is worth to consider the MJ401E before acquiring the newer MJ401C.
The second mower I have compared this Sun Joe mower to is the Worx WG782 (Read my full review of the WG782 here). The WG782 has been around for a while now, but is still a good option. It is powered with a 24-volts lead acid battery that can cut up to 40 minutes in one charge. That’s about twice the cutting time as the MJ401C! The battery can also be detached for charging and storing. The lead acid battery makes it the heaviest of the option, but it is still easy to maneuver. Worth a closer look!
The GreenWorks MO40B410 is probably the most expensive mower of the four, but it is also the most powerful with a 40-volts (4.0Ah) battery. The cutting time is quite good in light conditions, but it is decreased noticeably in tougher conditions. Adjust the cutting height fast and easy with one lever with 5 different positions. This is a big benefit if you adjust the cutting height for different places on your lawn. The GreenWorks model is a good option if you have a bit tougher cutting conditions and some more money to spend.
There are not many cordless mowers that can compete with Sun Joe’s MJ401C price tag. However, for a slightly more you get a few good options. These might be worth considering before pulling the trigger on the MJ401C.POSITIVES
- Battery not removable.
- Short battery life..