Stihl has their fair share of fanboys in the OPE world, and for good reason. Their products tend to have a well-engineered and lightweight build, and they perform really well. While you’ll read the results further down the article, we’re optimistic about the Stihl RMA 460 Battery Powered Push Mower. Stihl developed this residential-model mower to work on the brand’s Lightning Battery System, making it the first mowing option on this particular battery platform.
What Stihl Has To Say About It
“This mower is ideal for homeowners with small- to medium-sized residential yards. Users don’t have to worry about gas or fuel mixing. Pair that with zero exhaust emissions and the RMA 460 provides a more environmentally friendly lawn care solution compared to traditional gasoline-powered mowers.”Brian Manke, product manager at Stihl Inc.
Stihl RMA 460 Key Features
The Stihl RMA 460 has a brushless motor and works with the Stihl AK 20 and AK 30 batteries. It has a 19″ cutting deck, which breaks down to an actual 18.1″ cutting swath. Stihl claims it can run for 29 minutes on their AK 20 battery. That breaks down to about 2,475 square feet. On the Ak 30 battery, claims are the Stihl RMA 460 can tackle 44 minutes of runtime per charge, which works out to about 3,440 square feet. Our actual testing runtimes differ greatly, but not all negatively (see below).
Additionally, when the RMA 460 senses resistance, it automatically adjusts to peak power. When mowing through lighter grass, the mower automatically reduces power consumption for better battery life.
Stihl bills the RMA 460 as a maneuverable and efficient mower geared toward the homeowner. It features 10″ rear wheels and 8″ front wheels for easy movement over rough terrain. Users can adjust the cutting height to one of seven positions, ranging from 1-3/8″ to 3 -3/4″. The Stihl RMA 460 comes with a 15.85-gallon grass catching bag, and the mower can bag, mulch, or discharge from the side.
Using the Stihl Push Mower
Our testing grounds is a 3-acre field full of Florida Bahia grass. Bahia is known for its outstanding drought and heat tolerance, so it grows in the Florida heat. Between the sandy environment and the tough grass blades, the Bahia provides an excellent environment for our testing.
To help ensure our testing is on level ground, we first cut the Bahia grass field with our Exmark Radius X-Series zero-turn. Our zero-turn cut the grass at 5-inches, with the intention to set the Stihl RMA 460 to a 3-inch deck-height.
Battery and Runtime
For our testing, we’re using the Stihl AK30 which is a 4.8Ah battery with 187Wh output. The AK series batteries include an easy to read 4-bar charge status. Stihl claims a 44-minute runtime in their testing with this battery. During our tests, the AK30 battery in the Stihl RMA 460 lasted a total of 16-minutes and 17-seconds (16:17).
We did have the mulching plug installed, so the mower was recycling all the clippings. We’re pretty confident runtime could be extended using the side-discharge, but most homeowners are going to use the mulching option.
Mowing for the 16m17s accomplished a little less 1/10th of an acre, 3,800 sq-ft to be exact. This is 360 sq-ft more than Stihl’s numbers. Wait! Our runtime is much less than Stihl’s claims; however, our area mowed is much more, in the shorter time. I guess we’re faster walkers!
Running the Stihl cordless mower in ECO mode extends runtime and conserves energy. Under the hood is a simple rocker switch turn ECO mode “On” or “Off”. When turned “On” it can sense a heavy or light load, so the brushless motor receives more or less power, as needed. In the light grass, it throttles down, conserving the battery.
In the testing we did, we really didn’t notice it throttling down, but our grass was consistent, thick, and high.
Two Battery Slots – Double Runtime?
Lifting the small acrylic hood on the Stihl RMA 460 push mower provides access to the battery compartments. We were initially excited to see two battery slots. Wow, this is great, if the user chooses, they could buy two batteries and double runtime. Not so fast. Yes, there are two slots, but one is just a phony. It’s only a placeholder for an additional battery. If the first battery dies, the user has to actually swap the two batteries to keep going.
We would love see two live battery slots with some sort of automatic switchover.
Pushing and Handling
Pushing the Stihl RMA 460 is very easy, so it maneuvers very well around any obstacles you may encounter. The large 10-inch rear wheels and 8-inch front wheels have a lot to do with this. Setting the deck height is done with a single lever, and it’s easy to adjust. Folding the handle down for storage can be achieved by pulling the two spring-loaded pins.
We did notice a small issue between the deck-height-adjustment handle and the folding handle pins. If the deck height is in one of the middle positions, the pins collide with the deck-height-adjustment handle. Additionally, with the handle in the #2 slot, it presses against the wire-harness. Not only will this wear the wiring, but it also keeps the handle from fully engaging in that #2 slot.
We started out this article by saying that our expectations were optimistic. In the end, this still rings true. The Stihl RMA 460 push mower is an impressive little battery-powered push mower. It’s very easy to maneuver, and the power is sufficient for typical yard growth. The Stihl suffers in the same area as most of the battery-powered mowers, in the runtime department. A full AK30 battery will only cut about 1/10 of an acre, 1/8 acre if you really stretch it.
This runtime concern is getting some negative press, and quite frankly, it’s just an easy target. HOWEVER, the more we think and talk about this issue, the less of an issue it is. Stihl is not touting this RMA 460 as a commercial mower. They’re not even saying it is meant to cut 1/2-acre. This is meant for the homeowner, and in the right homeowner’s hands, this is a great mower. This is perfect for someone living in a downtown area, with a small yard and probably without a shed or garage. The Stihl allows them to store the mower standing on its back, with no concerns of fluids leaking out.
If you’re a commercial lawn care guy wanting to purchase the latest Stihl product for professional use…this is not that tool. Are you a hipster or millennial living in Austin, San Fran, or Hyde Park (Tampa) with a small yard? You, my friend, should go visit your local Stihl dealership because the RMA 460 is in your wheelhouse. Not only is runtime not a problem for you, but you can also discuss with your friends how you’re saving the world with greener energy.
Stihl RMA 460 Specs
- Weight Without Battery: 57 lbs.
- Weight With AK 30: 60.2 lbs
- Area Mowed w/ AK 20: Approximately 2,475 sq. ft.
- Area Mowed w/ AK 30: Approximately 3,440 sq. ft.
- Cutting Height: 1-3/8″ – 3-3/4″
- Grass Catcher Capacity: 15.85 gal.
- Cutting Width: 18.1″
- Runtime w/ AK 20: 29 minutes
- Runtime w/ AK 30: 44 minutes
- Dimensions: 54.7″ x 20.5″ x 33.5″
- MSRP: $299.95
- w/ AK 20 Battery and Charger: $429.95
- w/ AK 30 Battery and Charger: $449.95
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