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As much as you love your lawn, odds are you probably don't love cutting it. Sure, the smell of freshly cut grass is one of life's greatest treats, but actually mowing the lawn … not so much. If you're looking to get your lawn mowed quickly and efficiently, we're here to help.
Our Test team has spent decades testing lawn mowers, both battery powered and gas, on every type of grass, lawn condition, yard size, footprint, and composition. We test every feature and every control for ease of use, comfort, power, and quality. Roy, our lawn and tools expert, even lays in the grass to evaluate tactile sensation and visual landscape – because isn’t that the point of a good mower?
How to Choose a Lawn Mower
Some basics to keep in mind: Whether or not you should buy a walk-behind or riding lawn mower depends on the size of your yard. For any lawn above a quarter of an acre (that’s 10,890 square feet), you’ll want a riding mower. Both Lowe’s and Home Depot’s buying guides recommend walking mowers for lawns up to a half-acre, but unless you have a lot of time to kill, we think you’d be much better off with a ride-on mower considering the amount of time and energy you’ll save.
When it comes to riding lawn mowers, you have three distinct types to choose from: rear-engine riding mowers, front-engine lawn tractors, and zero-turn mowers.
Rear-engine machines are the most inexpensive of the three because of their smaller cutting decks, making them ideal for suburban use at yards up to one acre in size.
Front-engine tractors are probably what you think of when someone says “riding mower.” They’re reasonably priced midrange models that are suitable for yards between 1 and 3 acres in size, thanks to their larger deck sizes, which range between 36 and 54 inches. Plus, you can also use them to tow light yard trailers.
If you need to cover even more ground and want to cut the grass in as little time as possible, a zero-turn mower is the way to go — but they’re the most expensive option. We think Berendsohn put it best: “The more you spend on a mower, the more durable, versatile, intuitive, and probably, the quicker you’ll get the job done.”
So whether you're looking for a simple push-mower, a quiet and clean electric mower, a powerful yet still affordable riding lawn mower, or a more sophisticated zero-turn mower, we have you covered after having researched and compared 25 different lawn mowers. We've even listed a robotic pick, so you can spend more time by the pool sipping on a chilled glass of lemonade rather than behind or atop a loud mower.
RYOBI 40V HP 21-Inch Brushless Self-Propelled Lawnmower
This top-of-the-line battery-powered mower from RYOBI comes with two 6Ah batteries that’ll provide up to 70 minutes of runtime, making it a great mower for folks who have up to three-quarters of an acre of land. It’s a rear-wheel-drive model and is self-propelled which helps make it easier to maneuver.
The Ryobi uses a twin-blade cutting system to leave you with a smooth, well-manicured lawn. Its 21-inch deck will ensure you get the job done quickly, too. Even better, the deck is resistant to corrosion and is covered by a lifetime warranty. Like most walk-behind mowers, this one mulches, bags, and it offers a side-discharge function.
If you’re looking for an American-made mower that delivers stellar battery life, is self-propelled, and folds up for easy storage, you won’t be disappointed.
Greenworks 21-Inch Brushless Self-Propelled Mower
Greenworks mowers have been turning consistent performances, and although we haven’t tested this mower, we suspect that it has a lot of potential. It has attractive design attributes: a mid-voltage brushless motor powered by a pair of 5-Ah batteries. The availability of 10 Ah of cutting capability should provide a cut area of 5,000 to 8,000 square feet, depending on grass height and other specifics, like the need to do a lot of close-quarter maneuvering.
EGO Power+ 21-Inch Select Cut Lawn Mower
This electric mower is one of the first mowers to feature a multi-blade cutting system. The EGO comes with three interchangeable lower blades, including a mulching blade, a high-lift bagging blade, and an extended runtime blade. When the latter is installed and the Eco mode is engaged, you can expect just below an hour of run time from the included battery.
The EGO comes with a rapid charger to recharge its battery in just a half-hour and it won’t require maintenance like a gas model would. It’s quieter, folds up for easy storage, and you don't have to worry about gas, oil, air filters, or harsh fumes. Other convenient features include being able to adjust the mower’s height with a single lever, dual LED headlights, and a water-resistant design.
We think that if you have a lawn smaller than a quarter of an acre in size, this mower provides excellent handling, easy operation, and enough power to do the job.
BLACK+DECKER 10 Amp 15" Electric Mower
Some homeowners who maintain a small patch of grass in urban and suburban areas still prefer corded to cordless mowers. That homeowner is the intended customer of this tiny mower; a product that delivers a small cutting width (15 inches) but one that has a very high ratio of motor to blade size, since it’s powered by a 10-amp motor (that is, it should deliver sufficient power for all but the worst cutting conditions, providing you use a matching heavy-duty extension cord that can handle at least 10 amps).
Honda 21-inch Gas Lawn Mower
If you have a yard that's less than half an acre in size, this lawn mower from Honda is the one to buy. It's a self-propelling rear-wheel drive model that features a powerful 200-cc engine. It has no issues cutting through tall grass — wet or dry — and it leaves an incredibly clean cut, thanks to its twin blades and rust-free NeXite deck.
Our colleagues at Popular Mechanics said they have mowed with a number of Honda mowers over the years and have found them to be reliable and strong performers with plenty of power. It's self-propelled and will make your life a heck of a lot easier when mowing uphill. No matter the terrain, give your yard a velvet-like finish.
We're also big fans of its Versamow System, which will help you shred up those pesky leaves that are all over your lawn in the fall. It lets you bag, mulch, and discharge everything in an ultra-convenient way. Plus, you can use its Clip Director knob to decide exactly how much of your grass clippings are bagged or mulched without additional tools.
If something goes wrong, Honda offers a 5-year warranty for its mower. Additionally, the deck is covered under a lifetime warranty.
John Deere S120 42 in. V-Twin Gas Hydrostatic Lawn Tractor
You don't need to blow your entire budget to get a capable riding lawn mower. This one from John Deere is three times cheaper than other models, but is still an excellent pick for anyone with a medium sized yard.
It features a 22 horsepower engine that packs a real punch, dual blades for smooth cutting, and quick and easy speed adjustments. The seat and riding station have been redesigned to offer more comfort. Side-by-side controls are easy to reach, and the two-pedal foot operation assists in handling the mower at speeds up to 5.5 mph.
The mower is highly responsive, and it has a unique oil change system that's as simple as changing a lamp's lightbulb. It offers a wide 42-inch deck and lets you tow a cart (hitch pin required)
We think it's a great buy for those with 1- to 2-acre lawns looking for a comfortable, versatile, and powerful lawn mower that will last for years.
Toro 22-Inch Personal Pace Gas Lawn Mower
For those who don't want to fuss with a pull-start system, this Toro mower has an incredibly simple engage handle to fire up the Briggs & Stratton engine.
Other features include Toro's exclusive Personal Pace Self-Propel System, which keeps the wheels spinning just as fast as you can walk. This system makes push mowing feel much less awkward and less tiring. Toro’s exclusive “Vortex” technology uses increased air flow to improve mulching and bagging performance.
If you're in search of a durable, reliable, and affordable mower, this one will make for an excellent pick. It has an excellent build quality and does a fantastic job at cutting grass.
HART 40V Brushless 20-Inch Self-Propelled Cordless Push Mower Kit
We recommend the HART for folks who have just under a half-acre of ground to cover. If your yard is bigger than that, the mower’s battery compartment is equipped with two bays, so you can double its 40-minute runtime. The mower also features a single-lever deck adjustment, a simple push button start, and bright LED lights for mowing at dusk.
The variable speed self-propelled technology is perfect for uneven yards that might have hills. It’s an excellent, affordable mower that’ll come in handy for folks with a small front lawn.
TimeMaster 30 in. Briggs and Stratton Personal Pace Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
If you have a large yard and you’re trying to cover as much ground as possible, this Toro and its wide 30-inch mowing deck will have your back. Its Personal Pace speed control will save it, too! Just push forward on the handle to make the mower go faster and the self-propel system will adjust to your preferred walking pace.
The TimeMaster is powered by a 223-cc Briggs and Stratton engine that’ll deliver above-average performance. The mower is also equipped with a convenient blade brake clutch, which lets you stop the blade without turning off the engine. That way you can safely step away from the machine to clear a broken branch, dog toy, hose, or whatever may be in your path without having to stop and restart your mower.
We found the mower to be a stellar hill climber, but given its large size, it’s not the best choice for cutting grass in tight spots or on side hills. We appreciated the large grass bag that’s included and that it has two convenient storage positions, to take up less space in the garage or shed.
Toro TimeCutter 50-inch Zero-Turn Lawn Mower
Zero-turn mowers provide the utmost maneuverability, and they're the best options for those with large yards. They pivot through 180 degrees without leaving a circle of uncut grass. This model from Toro is fast, powerful, and equipped with three blades.
It sports a large 50-inch deck, which will save you around 30% more time than a 42-inch model. Plus, it handles moderate slopes with ease, has adjustable cutting-height options, and is constructed with an iron forged deck, Kevlar belts, and a 10-Gauge steel deck shell. It's backed by a 3-year warranty.
Husqvarna Automower 315x Robot Lawn Mower
Mowing the grass is a chore, and hiring someone else to do it adds up quickly. Why not have a robot cut your lawn for you? This Batmobile-looking gadget truly does take the work out of yard work, and you can count on it to keep your lawn (up to 0.4 acres) under control. We think it offers the best balance between price, performance, and features.
It's user-friendly, quiet, waterproof, and well-connected. You control it, set mowing schedules, and track its progress with an app. It can avoid obstacles, go up and down hills (at a maximum 22-degree incline), and will automatically return to its base when the job is finished. It even has anti-theft technology, LED headlights, and GPS on board.
Read More: Our Full Round-Up of Robotic Mowers
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