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Sun Joe iON16LM Review

This compact mower will be most appreciated by those with low-demand, low square footage lawns
Sun Joe iON16LM
Credit: Amazon.com
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Price:   $280 List | $184.10 at Amazon
Pros:  Maneuverable, decent runtime, inexpensive
Cons:  Not self-propelled, no mulching option, narrow cutting deck
Manufacturer:   Sun Joe
By Nick Miley and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Oct 1, 2019
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42
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 11
  • Mowing - 35% 3
  • Battery - 25% 4
  • Handling - 25% 6
  • Ease of Use - 15% 4

Our Verdict

The Sun Joe iON 16LM is a pint-sized mower that has power and runtime capabilities that match-up with average-sized lawns. However, it's narrow cutting-deck, and lack of self-propulsion lean toward smaller lawn sizes. The absence of a mulching option is an additional limitation.

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Sun Joe iON16LM
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Price $280 List
$184.10 at Amazon
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Pros Maneuverable, decent runtime, inexpensiveInexpensive, simple, minimal maintenanceMinimal storage footprint, maneuverableManeuverable, broad cutting range, well designed bailAbove average runtime, descent power, quiet
Cons Not self-propelled, no mulching option, narrow cutting deckLimited cutting heights, manual powered, relatively loudLoud, hard to adjust cutting height, no bagging optionShort runtime, limited cutting power, not self-propelledNarrow cutting deck, not self-propelled, relatively hard to push
Bottom Line This compact mower will be most appreciated by those with low-demand, low square footage lawnsThis compact, manually powered mower is simple and easy to use on even turfA low maintenance manual mower suited to small, tidy lawnsAn economy machine that's best suited to low-demand lawnsThis low-cost, manually-propelled lawn mower has an above average runtime
Rating Categories Sun Joe iON16LM Greenworks 25052 American Lawn Mower... BLACK+DECKER CM2043 Greenworks 25322
Mowing (35%)
3.0
4.0
2.0
5.0
4.0
Battery (25%)
4.0
10.0
10.0
4.0
5.0
Handling (25%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
4.0
9.0
9.0
5.0
6.0
Specs Sun Joe iON16LM Greenworks 25052 American Lawn Mower... BLACK+DECKER CM2043 Greenworks 25322
Self-Propelled no no no no no
Estimated Cutting Area 7,627 ft² N/A N/A 6,457 ft² 9,196 ft²
Measured Recharge Time 67 mins N/A N/A 300 mins 60 mins
Cutting Deck Width 13 7/16" 16" 14" 15 5/16" 13 3/4"
Measured Cutting Gap 1 1/2" N/A N/A 1 1/2" 1"
Measured Noise 76.5 dBa 86 dBa 86 dBa 74.5 dBa 72.8 dBa
Power (1 - 10) 6 Manual powered Manual powered 3 5
Folding/Unfolding Ease (1 - 10) 3 10 10 5 7

Our Analysis and Test Results

Two things set the Sun Joe iON 16LM apart from the other mowers in the class. One is its small size, and the other is its low cost. This model has a decent runtime and power. As such it can meet the requirements of small to mid-sized lawns. However, this model is manually propelled by the user, meaning that it's not preferred for more extensive yards or those with varying topography. Additionally, the Sun Joe lacks a mulching function. As a consequence of this deficiency, the user will either have to rake-up the clippings or bag them. Finally, the folding/ unfolding mechanism that collapses the mower for storage requires a prolonged and frustrating process to employ.

The Sun Joe iON16LM is not cutout for large, rough or otherwise...
The Sun Joe iON16LM is not cutout for large, rough or otherwise challenging lawns
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Performance Comparison



Likes


We found the Sun Joe to be a decent little mower when put on appropriate tasks. The mower is powered by a 40-volt, 4 amp-hour battery, which means that it won't leave you waiting for your battery to recharge to finish cutting the lawn. Case in point, we estimate that this machine can cut 7,627 square feet of turf on a single charge.


This machine is quite agile as well. In large part this is a product of the narrow cutting deck which has the benefit of promoting general maneuverable. This maneuverability is bolstered by the short wheelbase that benefits tracking and cornering.

Despite the inset wheels, the Sun Joe has one of the widest cutting...
Despite the inset wheels, the Sun Joe has one of the widest cutting gaps in the class
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Dislikes


As has been mentioned previously, the Sun Joe is best suited to small, low-demand lawns. This limitation is the result of a number of absent features. Namely, this mower lacks self-propulsion, a wide cutting deck, and a broad range of cutting heights. What this means for those who would attempt to run this machine on larger lawns is that they would have to do a lot more work to compensate for this mower's shortcomings.

The narrow cutting deck width of the Sun Joe requires more walking...
The narrow cutting deck width of the Sun Joe requires more walking when compared to competing mowers
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Specifically, the lack of self-propulsion requires the operator to do all the pushing. The narrow cutting deck makes more passes necessary to cover the same amount of ground as other wider mowers. Finally, the limited cutting heights mean that this mower may not cover the trimming height that your grass species prefers.


As an additional critique, this model has a very poorly designed storage configuration. This is unfortunate. One of the things that we like best about electric mowers (as compared to their gas power predecessors) is that they can be stored vertically to reduce the space needed for storage. This improvement is made possible by the lack of fluids that would leak onto the floor when stood on end. While some models in the class have perfected their storage design, Sun Joe doesn't even make an attempt. Not only is the mower not designed to stand on its front end, the handlebar folding mechanism is so poorly designed as to make collapsing it almost not worth the effort.


Value


While the Sun Joe iON 16LM is one of the least expensive cordless mowers on the market, we don't think that consumers are getting anything extra for the money spent. On the other hand, we don't think that this mower is overpriced. Sometimes one receives exactly what they've paid for, as is the case with this mower.

Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


The Sun Joe iON 16LM is a compact machine that is appropriate for small to mid-sized lawns. Based on this machine's modest proportions and lack of ease of use features, be prepared to manually pick up the slack that this machine leaves in the system. That said, if you have a low-maintenance lawn where maneuverability is important, this lawnmower may be the ticket.

Nick Miley and Austin Palmer