CAT 60V 21” Mower
The Cat® Self-Propelled Walk Behind Mower (model DG671) is a good example of the increasing availability of powerful 60-volt cordless power tools. In fact, it might not be too much to say that these days 60 volts is the new 20 volts. With the increased voltage of course comes increased power, such that many 60-volt tools exceed the power output of corded tools.
The DG671 is the version of this mower that is self-propelled. Model DG670.9 is the non-self-propelled version. While we’ve looked at other CAT products in the past (one example here), this mower and its companion products represent CAT’s entry into the OPE market.
Overview and Specs
- High-efficiency brushless motor
- 21-inch deck
- 73 lbs. with the battery installed
- Variable speed rear-wheel drive system
- Top speed of 3.2 MPH
- TorqLogic automatically adjusts the rate of torque as it detects taller or thicker grass — then it dials the power back down when things get easier to conserve battery.
- 5.0Ah battery and 5A charger
- 60-minute charge time (5Ah battery)
- Lever-flip quick-adjust three cutting modes – mulch, bag, and side discharge
- LED headlamp
- 7-position cutting height adjustment: 1.5-inches to 4-inches
- Easy fold-down for compact storage
- Lifting rails
- Console battery-level readout
- No-load speed: 2800 RPM
- 2-bushel bag capacity
- High lift blade
- 3 year tool; 5 year battery warranty
Some mowers feel thin and minimal, some feel substantial and sturdy. The CAT 60V 21” Mower definitely is in the latter category. It’s not heavy, but it does feel substantial. Set-up out of the box was very easy and fast. The fore and aft deck rails make lifting the 70-pound tool much easier than it would be otherwise, and are welcome features.
The handle has three angle adjustments and should fit shorter and taller operators comfortably (at 5’9” the middle position was comfortable for me). Angle positioning and fold down was easy with the two disengagement levers.
In fact, all adjustments on the CAT 60V 21” Mower were easy. The mowing height adjustment is almost effortless, and the bag/mulch-discharge selector was as easy as flipping a switch. Even the battery compartment features an easy-to-use battery engage/disengage lever. Finally, the top speed of 3.2 MPH is what a normal person would be walking at if they kept up a brisk (but not aerobic-level) pace, meaning that you can actually mow at a brisk walking speed.
The console battery-level readout is a great feature. You can monitor the battery charge as you mow, so no more out-of-juice surprises! All-in-all, the CAT 60V 21” Mower seems very well thought out in terms of machine-operator interface (with one potential exception – see below).
Mowing With the Cat® Self-Propelled Walk Behind Mower
Start-up is easy; the power button clicks into the “on” position giving you a positive, tactile indication that it’s engaged. Then just engage the operating bail and it spins up. In fact, it spins up to speed very fast – there’s almost no waiting. Then you can engage the self-propelling bail if you wish.
Of course, you don’t always want to use a mower in self-propelled mode; sometimes you need to do quick back-and-forths, or even full reverses. This is easy with the CAT 60V 21” Mower – it’s agile and easily maneuverable with these kinds of free-form motions. That hasn’t been the case with many mowers that I’ve used.
I didn’t have a dB meter, but I certainly didn’t need ear pro with this electric mower (which is all that really matters). In fact, this is one strong argument for going electric with your OPE; if a noise ordinance isn’t already in effect in your locality, it will be soon. As much as I’m live-and-let-live, I can get on board with that.
In mulch mode the mulchings (is that a word?) were mostly small little bits that will integrate back into the soil well (see photo below). In bag mode the filled bag didn’t upset the mower balance noticeably, and filled fully and compactly. I’m not sure that anyone really uses side-discharge mode anymore, but the CAT 60V 21” Mower discharged widely and evenly.
Many users report about 40 minutes of run-time with the 5Ah battery, but I got more. I suspect that run-time depends on the power draw needed to cut the grass, how many times you re-start the motor and other factors. Storing a charged battery in its (operating) port didn’t result in any discharge.
Cut quality was good with most actual grass (as opposed to tough weeds) and the grass was cut evenly and at the desired height. The mower cut well without stalling on weedy “pasture-quality” lawn, and on a more traditional “lawn-quality” lawn. As advertised, it did jump into high-torque mode when necessary, and then regulate back down when the need evaporated, but it seldom needed to access the extra power.
One Potential Could-Be-Better
From the above you can see that I liked the Cat® Self-Propelled Walk Behind Mower (I should point out that I only evaluated it in the context of residential applications). True, the 5Ah battery is large and heavy, but hey, it’s driven around in a machine that’s self-propelled so who cares?
The one thing I found irritating about this mower was that the operating bail, which operates the motor and of course has to be engaged to mow, was adjusted such that it easily disengaged when you want to only disengage the self-propelling bail. Here’s why. The operating bail, which is in front of the handle, is squeezed towards the handle with your fingers, while the propelling bail, which sits behind the handle, is squeezed with your thumb. Thus you’re making a fist around the handle when both bails are engaged.
When you want to disengage the propelling bail, you have to release the pressure of your fist…but only the thumb pressure. Your natural reflex though is to release the entire pressure of the fist, including the fingers, resulting in the operating bail dis-engaging and shutting the motor off. Then you have to go through the entire power-up sequence again. This only takes a few seconds, but having the motor unwillingly shut off multiple times during operation gets irritating. Of course, you’ll eventually get the hang of it and train yourself to only release pressure from your thumb, but it’s a learning curve. If the operating bail wasn’t set to disengage so close to the handle this wouldn’t be a problem.
And that is my only complaint about the Cat® Self-Propelled Walk Behind Mower. However, this may not be an issue with every unit, so please keep that in mind.
All-in-all I quite liked this mower. It was easy and ergonomic to operate and adjust, it had plenty of power and maneuvered easily. Lifting it was made as easy as possible with the lifting bars and the handle folded down quickly for compact storage. I’d say that this is an auspicious start to CAT’s OPE market entrance. $629 at Amazon (for the kit).