The Sun Joe MJ401E is one of the most affordable lawn mowers on the market at the moment and today we are going to have a close up look at it. This is basically your bog standard, no frills, “does what it says on the tin” lawn mower. Nothing amazing in terms of what you get, but gets on with the job. We will start by having a look at the design, then we will talk you through assembly and most importantly how it performs.
Sun Joe MJ401E Review - Specifications
|Deck Size||14 inches|
|Cutting Modes||Rear Bagging System|
|Cutting Heights||0.8- 2.4 inches|
|Number of Cutting Heights||3|
Sun Joe MJ401E Review – Key Features
- Construction – The Sun Joe MJ401E is not one of those real “manly” mowers. The bright green colour and plastic construction give it more of a softer look. Hell, you could even go as far as to say its “cute”. The majority of this machine is constructed from fairly low resistance plastic which does mean you definitely don’t want to be roughing it up with this mower, because if you do then you won’t be using it for long
- Design – It pretty much has a bare-bones design. You get everything you need to cut the lawn, with absolutely nothing extra added on.
- Motor – I have to say I was pretty impressed with a 12 amp motor with a 14 inch deck, this gives you a great power to cutting diameter ratio! But what does this mean? Well it means the mower’s ability to cut is very good and it won’t bog down so much (as long as the challenges you give it are realistic!).
- Push Button Starts – The Sun Joe MJ401E has a standard push button start. All it takes to get going is push this red button (the mechanism is attached to the handlebar) and pull the safety lever towards the handlebar.
- Safety lever – The safety lever is one of those that are located on the far right hand side, which does mean you are restricted to using your right hand you control it. It does pull right up to the actual handlebar though so it’s convenient to hold (and doesn’t feel uncomfortable) whilst you are getting the job done.
- Cutting Deck – The deck is only 14 inches wide which straight away makes it more suitable for the small yard. If you have a bigger yard then with this deck size you will need to make a whole lot more passes to finish your lawn!
- Wheels – The wheels are 6 inches in size (both front and back) and are made of plastic. These wheels aren’t designed to travel well over rough surfaces and will roll best on a flatter, lower cut surface.
- Height Adjustment – With regards to cutting height adjustment you’ve got 3 different settings with the highest setting at 2.4 inches. In order to adjust them you will have to do this manually (there’s no 1 lever system like on other higher end models). The instruction manual fails to tell you how to do this, which is pretty shocking (I mean it is one of the most important processes associated with using this mower). You’ll need to turn the mower over and you will see 3 notches for each wheel. There’s a spring loaded mechanism under there which you will need to push into the notch of your choice. Takes a few minutes longer doing this manually…..but hey, it’s not like you’ll need to change it that often.
- Grass Bag – You also get a grass catcher which is a nice touch for an entry level mower. It’s got a fairly small capacity but is perfectly adequate for the small lawn and is easy to take off and re-attach.
Sun Joe MJ401E Review – Assembly
We are going to start by telling you what you want to hear: the assembly of this mower really isn’t that difficult. Good news, right?!The instruction manual really won’t help you a lot though as its pretty poorly written, but luckily as assembly is simple you shouldn’t really need it (look at the packaging, that will probably be more helpful to be honest).Assembly pretty much just consists of attaching the handle bar with the screws which are provided with the mower.Something else to note, included in the box are two little plastic clips which AREN’T listed in the instructions. These are for keeping the power cord connected to the mower.You should be up and running within 5-10 minutes of unpacking this mower.
Sun Joe MJ401E Review – Performance
- Cutting Ability – If you use the Sun Joe MJ401E for the correct type of lawn, you will not be disappointed with the quality of cut. The steel blade provides a nice clean, even cut. The only thing I would mention is that this mower cuts the grass pretty short. Even on the highest setting (2.4 inches) it gives you quite a short finish. On the other hand, if you are looking for that shorter, putting green finish then you’ll like the fact it cuts pretty short.
- Manoeuvrability – The weight does make the mower so easy to manoeuvre around any garden obstacles and makes turning round a treat. Also if you need to lift the mower up for whatever reason that won’t be a problem either
- Noise Levels – If you are converting from a gas mower to the Sun Joe the difference in noise levels will be bliss! Don’t get me wrong it’s not silent but you won’t need ear protection (either to protect you from the mower’s noise or from the complaints of neighbours).
Sun Joe MJ401E Review – Pros
- Simple assembly – You just need to screw on the handle.
- Very lightweight – makes the Sun Joe easy to push and manoeuvre around the standard yard.
- Great Bang for your buck! This mower is extremely affordable & gets the job done.
- Amazingly easy to use – you won’t be scratching your head with this one.
- Small, compact design allows you to get into harder to reach areas & also makes the Sun Joe very easy to store.
- It doesn’t matter if you’re old, young, male, female, strong, weak – whoever you are you definitely COULD use this mower successfully.
- Quiet – One of the quieter mowers on the market.
- Decent quality of cut – aided by the excellent power to cutting diameter ratio.
- Grass catcher – for this price you are lucky to get one at all!! And to top it off you get an easy to use one. Nice 🙂
- Requires very little maintenance time.
Sun Joe MJ401E Review – Cons
- Small wheels – it’s only got 6” wheels (both front & back), which don’t deal with rough terrain or muddy areas very well.
- Plastic construction – At the end of the day it’s a compromise, yes the plastic isn’t as durable as a steel frame would be so you do have to be more careful, but it’s this characteristic that allows the mower to remain light & manoeuvrable.
- The grass bag is small – It really doesn’t hold too much grass, but as we already mentioned this mower is only really for small yard use. If you do choose to use it on a bigger yard then be prepared to make frequent trips to the dumpster.
- Manual is pretty much useless – Fails to tell you how to adjust the height, which I would consider quite an important thing to emit. And as we already said, the assembly instructions are not great either.
Sun Joe MJ401E Review – Conclusion
If you’re looking for an affordable mower to maintain your yard then this one should definitely be a contender. Perfect for small, flat yards. If you’re used to hiring a lawn service to cut your lawn and have never used a lawn mower then the fact that the Sun Joe is unbelievably easy to use is a bonus too. Cheap, reliable, no frills mowing just about sums this model up.Guaranteed Best Price on Amazon