Sun Joe produces a range of corded and cordless electric lawn mowers for the small to medium size yard owner, and the MJ403E is one of their mid-size models with a 17-inch cutting deck. Their mowers are famed for their aesthetics and look somewhat like oversized toys, but they do also have a track record of delivering where it counts. In this Sun Joe MJ403E review, we're going to outline the main pros, cons and best use cases that we discovered when we set about researching this lawn mower.
Sun Joe MJ403E Review - Specifications
|Cutting Width||17 inches|
|Cutting Options||2 in 1 - Mulching & Rear Bag Collection|
|Cutting Heights||0.98 - 2.87 inches (7 Settings)|
|Dimensions||55.1 x 19.7 x 43.3 inches|
Sun Joe MJ403E Pros: What Consumers Like About This Mower?
- Impressive Cut – We came across very few reports of consumers not being happy with how the MJ403E cuts. It was almost all positive. While the construction and aesthetics of the mower don’t exactly make it look like a badass, the way it cuts certainly seems impressive. A good number of folks mentioned achieving good results even on grass that was overgrown.
- Motor Certainly Seems Powerful – The beating heart of the Sun Joe MJ403E is the 13 amp motor, and it packs a punch. As we just mentioned, this motor provides the mower with the power needed to plow right through even when the going gets a little tough.
- Mulches Well (if you know how) – You get a mulching plug with this model, and it’s not just for show. The Sun Joe MJ403E can deliver impressive results when mulching, if you know the right way to go about it. The trick is to just take an inch or so off at a time. If you charge into tall grass and expect it to do the business, you’re likely to be left disappointed. It’s powerful, but not that powerful.
- Lightweight + Maneuverable – This is one of the big reasons why many people opt for an electric mower despite the limitations of the cord, and this model is no different. It's nice and light at just over 30 lbs, and its large tires make it easy to push over a variety of different terrains. So whether you have slopes or bumpy ground to navigate, this Sun Joe won't let you down.
- Quieter Than Gas – This mower doesn’t operate in silence by any means. The noise it produces is definitely going to be noticeable, but if you’re moving over from a gas mower, you’ll notice a significant improvement in this regard. You’ll no longer need to wear ear protectors for a start.
- Easy to Put Together – Are you a bit of a klutz when it comes to DIY and assembling things (an IKEA hater!)? Well, we found that most users had this mower assembled and ready to go in 10 – 20 minutes after unpacking it. All you need to do is connect the handle assembly to the main body of the unit and you’re good to go.
- Carrying It is Simple – The Sun Joe MJ403E's small and lightweight design, coupled with the integrated carry handle makes it simple to carry to and from the shed or garage. There's no need to worry about this process being physically taxing and tiring yourself out before you even start mowing.
- Changing Cutting Height a Breeze – This was definitely one of the most commented about features that we came across during our research into this model. On other lawn mowers that Sun Joe produces (the MJ401E for example), you have to turn the mower over and adjust the height of each individual wheel. Which is a pain, and also means that if one wheel slips down a notch or two during use, you end up with an uneven cut. On the MJ403E you have a single lever system to move between the 7 available cutting heights (0.98 to 2.87 inches), which takes just a few seconds.
- Super Customer Service – We don’t hold back when we do our research and if we find any major flaws, we’re not afraid to reveal them. After all, we want you to know about these things before you buy. And with the MJ403E we did come across a few cases where the consumer received a defective unit that either didn’t work on arrival, or broke after just a handful of uses. That’s obviously not good – but this did provide us with the opportunity to do some digging into the quality of customer support offered by Sun Joe. And I have to say, it certainly seems they honor their warranty. In most cases, the consumer had a replacement delivered within a week of reporting a problem. Now that's service for you!
Sun Joe MJ403E Cons: What People Complain About
- Back Heavy Design – This mower’s center of gravity is close to the rear wheels, which doesn’t cause an issue when you’re operating it without the bag or when the bag is empty. But when the grass bag starts to fill up, it becomes a problem. Several consumers commented that the Sun Joe MJ403E tends to tip up when the grass bag is carrying a full load, meaning the front part of the mower (and the blade) is raised off the ground. This (rather than the flag indicator Sun Joe installed) is the cue for you to empty the bag.
- Grass Catcher Issues – Apart from causing issues with the mower’s center of gravity, numerous consumers report issues with the grass bag itself. The first one being that it's too small and fills very quickly. I guess that's a case of "it is what it is." The second issue, however, is that the handle on the grass catcher isn't designed particularly well and is prone to pulling off when the bag is carrying a full load. The instruction manual appears to be lacking direction in terms of installing it properly too. You may need to secure it to the main body of the catcher using a screw to keep it in place if all else fails.
- Knobs Loosen Very Easily – The knobs that you tighten to fasten the handles to the main body of the MJ403E have a habit of vibrating loose during use. The fact that they’re grass colored isn’t particularly helpful either, as if they do fall off, it’s not as easy to spot them. You’ll need to keep a close eye on these and tighten periodically to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Sun Joe MJ403E
Is this lawn mower self-propelled?
No. The Sun Joe MJ403E is a push mower, but is lightweight and most people should find it easy to maneuver, even up slopes.
Does this mower come with a warranty?
Yes. You are covered against defects in material or workmanship for 2 years. And based on the evidence we've seen, Sun Joe does honor this warranty.
What gauge extension cord does it require?
The manufacturer recommends that any cable up to 50 ft (15m) should be of 14 gauge. Extension cords between 50 ft and 100 ft (15m – 30m) should be of 12 gauge. It’s also recommended that you don’t use a cord that is longer than 100 ft. Ignoring this advice could result in irreparable damage to the motor or electric shocks to anyone using the mower.
Can it be stored by hanging it on a wall?
No. This mower must be stored on the floor.
The Bottom Line
We've talked about the good, we've talked about the bad, but we're going to skip the ugly and jump right to summing up our final thoughts on the Sun Joe MJ403E and who it's best suited to.
Leave It on the Shelf
Sun Joe MJ403E Review Conclusion:
The Sun Joe MJ403E is a solid electric mower that offers a good cut but does come with a few caveats (nothing too major) and you need to be able to put up with those. If you're moving over from another type of mower, it may also take a while to nail down cord management, but once you do, we think you'll see this mower for what it is - a decent, low cost way to maintain your lawn.
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