Sun Joe Ion Cordless Mower Vs. Makita 36V Cordless Mower: Which One Wins?

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Sun Joe Ion Cordless Mower Vs. Makita 36V Cordless Mower: Which One Wins?

Key Points

  • Sun Joe iON cordless mowers are affordable and suitable for small lawns, while Makita 36V mowers offer better performance and durability for larger lawns and commercial use.
  • Makita mowers have a wider range of cutting height adjustments, allowing for more precise lawn care.
  • Both Sun Joe and Makita cordless mowers have a runtime of up to 40 minutes, but Makita batteries charge faster.
  • Sun Joe mowers are generally lighter and easier to maneuver, while Makita mowers provide better cutting performance.
  • Sun Joe mowers are more budget-friendly, with prices starting at $199.99, while Makita mowers start at $349.

Sun Joe and Makita are two leading manufacturers of cordless mowers. The former caters to homeowners with its reliable and affordable models. Makita’s lineup includes residential and commercial equipment with superb build quality and performance. However, you’ll have to shell out more cash to get your hands on one. If you are unsure which model to pick, check out this head-to-head between the Sun Joe iON cordless mower vs. Makita 36V cordless mower.

Sun Joe iON Cordless Mower Vs. Makita 36V Cordless Mower: Side-by-Side Comparison

iON Cordless MowerMakita 36V Cordless Mower
Best forYards up to ¼ to ½ acresYards up to ½ to ¾ acres
Operation modeSelf-propelledSelf-propelled
Cutting width14” to 20”17” to 21”
Cutting height settings3 to 610 to 13
Cutting heights1” – 3.5”0.8125” – 4”
Waste managementBagging, side dischargeMulching, bagging, rear discharge
Battery24V or 48V (2x24V, 4.0Ah)36V (2x18V, 5.0Ah or 2X18V, 4.0Ah)
RuntimeUp to 40 minutesUp to 40 minutes
Motor typeBrushlessBrushless
Price$199.99 – $599.99$349.00 to $769.06

Sun Joe iON Cordless Mower Vs. Makita 36V Cordless Mower: What’s the Difference?

Founded in 2004, Sun Joe designs, develops, and delivers high-quality yet affordable gardening and outdoor equipment. The company has been developing an interlinked line of tools under Sun Joe and Snow Joe tradenames in recent years. All the tools in the iON line share the same batteries and are suitable for residential use.

The brand’s line of cordless mowers is part of the iON family. While it features several models for light to heavy-duty tasks, none is suitable for commercial applications. If you need a commercial mower, however, you can find it from Makita.

The Japanese company is a heavyweight in the power tools industry. Like Sun Joe, Makita’s mowers use interchangeable batteries compatible with other outdoor and gardening equipment from the brand. These mowers are sturdier and perform better than Sun Joe but are more expensive.

Best Budget
Sun Joe MJ401C 14-Inch 28-Volt Cordless Push Lawn Mower (Green)
  • Best for small to medium-sized lawns
  • Removable grass catcher for easy disposal
  • Adjustable cutting height
  • Rechargeable 28V lithium-ion battery  
  •  10.6-gallon collection bag
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11/30/2023 05:19 am GMT

(Please note that as of July 19th, 2023, the Sun Joe MJ401C 14-Inch 28-Volt Cordless Push Lawn Mower is currently unavailable on Amazon. Please check back later.)

Cutting Performance

Sun Joe’s residential cordless mowers can handle most grass types, but the cutting performance isn’t as exceptional as Makita’s. However, you can get a Sun Joe mower for your small yard.

The iON line includes various push and self-propelled mowers. Most push models have a small cutting deck width (14 or 16 inches) that fits seamlessly in tight spots. Cutting height adjustments vary from three to six, depending on the model. However, their minimum and maximum cutting height intervals are not something to write home about.

On the most basic, 14-inch model, the interval goes from 1.18 to 2.52 inches. That’s ideal for most grass types but not for Bermudagrass or Zoysia, which require cutting heights of one inch or less.

Similarly, tall fescue or perennial ryegrass should be cut at heights between three and four inches. Not all Sun Joe mowers can cut as high. However, these heights aren’t a problem for Makita. The Japanese mowers feature cutting height adjustments from 0.8215 to 4.0 inches, depending on the model. You can also fine-tune the height. These mowers come with either 10 or 13-height adjustments.

Like Sun Joe, Makita 36V cordless mowers come in various sizes, but all are larger. Push models feature cutting swaths from 17 to 20 inches. The self-propelled version comes with a 21-inch cutting swath and is available in residential and commercial variants.

Battery and Runtime

Another vital feature of a cordless mower is the runtime. Sun Joe iON and Makita may use different batteries, but their runtime isn’t much different. Both brands can go for 40 minutes in standard conditions for the higher-end models. This could go down to 20-25 minutes when cutting overgrown grass.

However, a similar runtime doesn’t mean they come with comparable batteries. Battery difference impacts the cutting efficiency. Sun Joe cordless mowers use 24V batteries. The smallest 14-inch push mower uses only one 4.0Ah battery, delivering less power than the dual-battery system in the 16- to 20-inch variants. These mowers are equipped with a dual battery slot for 48 volts. The higher power translates into a higher cutting performance.

All Makita mowers use two 18V batteries for a total of 36 volts. Despite the lower voltage, this mower has high-quality components, which ensures a better cutting performance than Sun Joe’s. Entry-level residential mowers from Makita use 4.0Ah batteries, while the higher-end models use 5.0Ah batteries.

Sun Joe’s 24V batteries recharge in about 80 minutes. Makita batteries charge much faster, in about 25 to 45 minutes (depending on their amp hours). To extend the runtime, some mower bundles from Makita include the tool, four batteries, and a dual charger. Sun Joe also sells additional battery and charger packs.

Waste Management

Most mowers offer options for handling grass clippings. And some essential differences exist between Sun Joe and Makita. The former comes with convenient collection bags that let you dispose of the grass effortlessly. Bag capacities vary from 10.6 to 13.2 gallons, depending on the model. That’s usually enough to avoid emptying the bag multiple times when mowing.

Makita mowers also come with collection bags ranging from 13 to 18.6 gallons (1.4 to 2 bushels). This is unsurprising as Makita 36V mowers have a larger cutting swath. Makita’s mowers also feature mulching plugs that can shred the grass blades to a fine powder for lawn fertilization.

Some Sun Joe mowers feature mulching plugs, too. However, this option is only found on the larger, 20-inch options. The smaller ones don’t have mulching capabilities, which could be limiting. As an alternative to bagging and mulching, both Makita and Sun Joe mowers have discharge systems that throw the clippings back onto the lawn.

Sun Joe features side discharge, which keeps your feet clean. But they could be troublesome when mowing next to fences or flowerbeds but don’t want to cover the lawn in grass clippings. Makita’s mowers feature rear discharge, which leaves clippings behind. Some could end on your feet, but mowing around obstacles is a cleaner experience.


How easily you can handle the mower also matters, especially in a push model. As a rule of thumb, lighter tools are easier to push and turn. However, a heavier mower typically provides cleaner cuts; hence, finding a balance is crucial.

Between the Sun Joe iON and Makita 36V, the former is lighter and easier to maneuver. The latter is heavier and provides better cutting performance. Before deciding on one mower or another, though, you should consider the cutting swath.

Makita’s cutting swath is clearly shown in each mower’s name. For instance, the LXT 18-inch lawnmower has a cutting swath of 18 inches and a deck width of 19 inches. The same is true for all other Makita mowers. The deck width is one inch larger than the cutting swath in the product’s name.

Sun Joe doesn’t refer to the cutting swath in the product name but to the deck width. Thus, the 24V-X2-17LM has a 17-inch cutting deck and a 16-inch cutting swath. Unsurprisingly, Makita’s mowers are larger and heavier. Both brands also use different materials, which explains the weight difference.

If you’re concerned about directing or turning a Makita mower, you should know that the heft difference isn’t that distant from Sun Joe. For instance, the 17-inch model from Sun Joe has a gross weight of 43.5 pounds. Makita’s 17-inch model has a gross weight of 44.1 pounds.

While the difference is steeper in the self-propelled models, they are easier to maneuver than push mowers. Makita is roughly 18 pounds heavier than Sun Joe (94 lbs vs. 76.5 lbs, respectively).

Build Quality

A mower’s materials can impact its durability and performance. Both brands use plastic for their residential lines, but Sun Joe mowers feel flimsier than Makita. That said, you shouldn’t store either mower under the elements, or the material could become brittle.

You’ll have to settle for Makita if you need a heavy-duty mower that can resist tougher conditions. The Japanese brand has mowers with a steel deck in their residential lineup. Moreover, their commercial mowers are also made of steel. Sun Joe doesn’t offer similar options.

Best Overall
Makita XML08PT1 18V X2 (36V) LXT® Cordless 21″ Self Propelled Lawn Mower
  • Variable speed setting of 1.5 to 3 MPH using a control on the handle
  • 3-in-1 function that can mulch, bag, or discharge grass cuttings
  • Commercial-grade steel deck with 21-inch cutting width
  • Can mow up to 1/2 acre with four18V 5.0Ah batteries (included)
  • Quiet Mode setting can reduce noise with constant speed at 2,300 RPM

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11/30/2023 12:53 pm GMT


Sun Joe iON and Makita 36V also have different price points. Sun Joe is an American brand that makes affordable outdoor and gardening tools. Its cordless mower lineup comprises push and self-propelled models, with some going for as low as $199.99.

Makita‘s cordless mower lineup comprises durable residential and commercial products outperforming Sun Joe. However, you’ll have to pay for all these features, with the cheapest Makita cordless mower selling for $349.

At the opposite end, the self-propelled cordless mower from Sun Joe can set you back $599.99. Makita’s self-propelled cordless mower costs around $769, but this is a commercial-grade model.

Sun Joe iON Cordless Mower Vs. Makita 36V Cordless Mower: 5 Must-Known Facts

  • Sun Joe makes affordable outdoor and gardening equipment. Its cordless mowers are ideal for residential use and feature cutting swaths between 13 and 19 inches.
  • Makita is a top manufacturer of outdoor and gardening tools. The brand’s cordless mower lineup comprises residential and commercial options, cutting swaths between 17 and 21 inches.
  • Both brands use plastic materials for the decks and mower housings, but some of Makita’s options come with steel decks.
  • Sun Joe mowers feature side discharge, bagging, and clipping management systems. Makita offers bagging, rear discharge, and mulching on most mowers.
  • Makita mowers are more durable and deliver better performance but are more expensive than Sun Joe.

Sun Joe iON Cordless Mower Vs. Makita 36V Cordless Mower: Which One Is Better?

Deciding between Sun Joe iON and Makita 36V cordless mowers comes down to your circumstances and preference. Sun Joe is your best bet if you have a small lawn and don’t want to splurge. The iON mowers are not the most durable or robust, but they are affordable and do their job.

Makita is better for larger lawns, stubborn grass types, or frequent mowing. You can pick from a wider range of build qualities and cutting swaths. The good thing is these tools are built to last. While these mowers cost more upfront, they can pay off in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 24V enough for a lawn mower?

Yes, 24V is enough for a cordless mower for small lawns, such as the Sun Joe 14-inch cordless mower. However, it might be insufficient for mid-sized to large lawns.

Can you replace battery in a Sun Joe lawn mower?

Yes. All Sun Joe iON mowers come with removable batteries. These mowers are compatible with all 24-volt iON batteries in the Sun Joe and Snow Joe lines. Batteries and charging stations are available to purchase separately.

How long does Sun Joe mower take to charge?

All iON cordless mowers from Sun Joe use 24V batteries with a charge time of about 80 – 120 minutes.

How long will a Makita 36V lawn mower run?

Makita 36V cordless mowers have a runtime of about 40 minutes. If you need more, you can opt for a mower and battery bundle comprising up to four batteries (the mower uses two 18V batteries at a time) and a dual charger. The charge time is of about 25 to 45 minutes.

Where is Makita lawnmower made?

Makita mowers are designed and manufactured in Japan. Sun Joe is an American brand, but its mowers are manufactured in China.

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