Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Reviews 2022
Deciding on the best self-propelled lawn mower isn’t as easy as it used to be. Do you need commercial or residential quality? Do you want to use gas or batteries for power? How much grass do you need to cut? Are you a mulcher or a bagger?
Having tested dozens of the best walk-behind lawn mowers from entry-level residential to the top professional models, we got our Pro team together to choose our top mowers in a range of scenarios.
Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Overall
Honda HRC216 Series Commercial Lawn Mowers
Start with a Honda GXV160 engine, tell the design team to build the best lawn mower they can think of, and you end up with the Honda HRC216 series. The flagship model is the HRC216HXA. Highlights include a hydrostatic transmission, RotoStop system that lets you take your hands off without turning off the engine, MicroCut twin blades, and more. It’s not just a bunch of hype, either. This mower is powerful and built to a level that stands up to legitimate commercial and possibly even battlefield use.
If you want to save a little money and the Blade Stop feature doesn’t feel like a requirement to you, check out the HRC216HDA mower which drops the price to 1,379.
Best Residential Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower
As our top overall pick, Honda’s HRC216 series also ranks highest as the best gas self-propelled lawn mower. While we let it bask in victory, check out our top pick for Prosumer mowers that bridge the gap between residential and Pro.
Honda HRX217 Series
If you don’t need a full commercial build, but you’re still looking for a self-propelled lawn mower built better than entry-level models, we recommend Honda’s HRX217 series. While any of the five mowers in the line are a great pick, the HRX217HYA and HRX217HZA models are on the top of our list.
They use a strong Honda GCV200 engine and combine it with a hydrostatic self-propelled drive that offers cruise control to dial in the speed you want. Stacked twin blades give these mowers excellent cutting results and RotoStop lets you take your hands off the mower without shutting down the engine.
Honda’s VersaMow design lets you shift between bagging, mulching, side discharge, and leaf shredding. The best part is you don’t need to keep track of plugs or other accessories—it’s all built into the mower!
Between the HYA and HZA models, the only difference is the HZA has an electric start. Feel free to go for it, but we find Honda engines reliable enough that they start on the first or second pull years into their service life.
Price: 969 – 1079 (Other HRX217 models start at 769)
If you like the reliability of Honda engines, but you have a lower budget, check out Honda’s HRN216 series.
Best Self-Propelled Electric Lawn Mower
Just a few years ago, if you wanted to find the best battery-powered lawn mower, you could only find residential models. Now, there’s an emerging class of professional-grade options and we have picks for both Pros and homeowners.
Professional Pick: Milwaukee M18 Fuel 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
There aren’t many true commercial self-propelled lawn mowers with lithium-ion power sources. Milwaukee launched their effort in 2022 with a monstrous 10 ft-lbs of torque that tops what you typically see from a 200cc gas engine. It’s more than just muscle, though. Its blade and deck combine to handle mulching and bagging better than most.
As you roll into fall, the mower’s high-lift mode keeps the blades at 3300 RPM to help pull those lightweight leaves and clean up your lawn. Other features include 180° LED lighting, LED battery indicators facing you, variable speed thumb bar (in addition to the speed wheel), a durable build, and much more.
Price: 999.00 with two 12.0Ah batteries and dual-port Rapid charger
Makita 18V X2 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower XML08 (Buy at Acme Tools : 719 bare, 849 with 4 batteries and dual-port Rapid charger)
Heads up: Makita has a new ConnectX system with a 1200Wh battery to run each of its tools, including a new commercial lawn mower. Keep your eyes open for more information once we’re able to test it.
Residential Pick: EGO 56V Select Cut XP 21-inch Self-Propelled Mower
The original EGO Select Cut mower made waves with its stacked-blade system. Choosing between better mulching or better runtime, you can select what your priority is. Then EGO went and made it even better by increasing the power with the Select Cut XP. Instead of choosing between the outstanding cut quality of the Select Cut and the higher torque of the Peak Power model, you get the best of both worlds.
Price: 549 bare, 799 with 10.0Ah battery and charger
Best Large Walk-Behind Lawn Mower
Toro TimeMaster 30-inch Personal Pace Mower
With 10 ft-lbs of torque delivered from its Briggs Stratton 223cc engine, the 30-inch Toro TimeMaster is our pick as the best large walk-behind lawn mower. Not only does it deliver big power to turn its time-saving 30-inch blade, but it also features Toro’s Personal Pace self-propelled drive and Spin-Stop that lets you stop the blade without shutting off the mower.
It all adds up to big time savings on larger lawns. Grab model 21200 if you want an electric start or the 21199 if you don’t mind a recoil start and want to save 100.
Best Budget Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Toro’s 21-inch Recycler (21352) offers an excellent value for budget-minded homeowners. It’s a Made in the USA rear-wheel drive system powered by a Briggs Stratton 140cc engine. It comes ready to mulch, bag, or side discharge and you don’t have to worry about changing the oil. Just check the levels and add more when it’s necessary.
Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Brand
No one in the self-propelled lawn mower market dominates like Honda. Their engines enjoy a reputation for quality and durability every other manufacturer is shooting for, and their mowers are simply outstanding.
They typically run at a premium, though. Both Honda mowers and Honda-powered mowers are more expensive than similar designs from other brands.
That opens the door for Toro. There are a lot of Toro models we recommend for good reason and hit a wide range from budget-friendly homeowner mowers to commercial zero turns. It’s one of the best-selling brands of walk-behind mowers.
Getting hard sales figures is tough to come by, and it’s always possible we missed the mark. However, we see more Honda and Toro walk-behind mowers on commercial trailers and residential lawns than any other brand.
Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower for Bagging
You don’t have to ditch your current self-propelled lawn mower and buy a whole new one to improve your bagging efficiency. In most cases, adding a high-lift blade to your current mower will make a significant difference. With the exception of electric mowers, you don’t need to worry too much about matching the brand making the blade, but you do need to match the arbor style and the length. The package should tell you which brands it is compatible with.
If you’re still in the market for a new mower, higher RPMs make for better airflow and bagging. Check mowers with a 160cc or higher engine and compare the top blade speeds. You can always swap blades, but you can’t change the speed.
Pro Tip: If you have a 2-point or 4-point deck height adjustment, set the front wheels of your mower one notch higher than the rear to improve bagging.
Best Self-Propelled Mulching Lawn Mower
Similar to a high-lift blade for bagging, you can improve your mulching efficiency with a mulching-specific blade. These usually have additional cutting edges that cut the clippings more times before they drop back into the grass. Keeping the blade sharp ensures you get the best mulching results every time you mow.
If you’re in the market for a new mower, look for a 160cc or higher engine to give you the torque you need to keep your blade speed high in thicker grass. Remember, you can always add a mulching blade, but you can’t make up for an underpowered engine.
Pro Tip: You get the best mulching results if you’re only taking an inch or two off the top of your grass, so make sure you stay on top of lawn maintenance during the peak cutting season.
Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower | Priorities
Best Commercial Walk-Behind Mower: YBravo Gen II 25-inch Commercial Mower
Honda still gets our vote for the best commercial walk-behind mower. If you’re interested in something other than Honda, we have another great choice.
After running into issues with other commercial walk-behind mowers, we turned to YBravo 25-inch commercial mower to take care of a 3-acre soggy field that our ZTs only bogged down in. Its Kawasaki 180cc engine kept the blade turning where others simply stalled.
When it’s time to move out of the radio station swamp and you’re going for a more professional look, its cut quality is excellent as well. Available in a 21-inch and the 25-inch model we tested, Ybravo is worth your serious consideration.
If you have a Bad Boy dealer closer to you, check out the same model sold under the Bad Boy brand name.
Price: 1299 (25-inch model). Find a dealer online.
Best Rear-Wheel Drive Self-Propelled Lawn Mower for Hills: Honda HRN216 Series 21-inch Self-Propelled Mower
We already mentioned the Honda HRN216 series and we’re bringing it up again. Representing our choice as the best rear-wheel-drive self-propelled lawnmower, the HRN216VYA takes care of business better than most with the rear-wheel advantages of better traction and straighter lines.
It also comes with Honda’s RotoStop system that lets you stop the blade without stopping the engine. Now you can open gates, move debris, empty the bag, or traverse non-grass areas without worrying about the blades turning or having to restart the engine.
Best All-Wheel Drive Self-Propelled Lawn Mower: Toro 22-inch Personal Pace All-Wheel Drive Mower 21472
AWD mowers are what you turn to for work on slopes and uneven terrain where it’s possible to have a wheel or two lose traction. For the best all-wheel drive self-propelled lawn mower, we like the Toro 21472 Personal Pace model.
Its 22-inch deck is on the larger size of standard mowers and the Personal Pace system is easy to work with once you get used to it. If you switch between mulching and bagging, the mower’s lever system is super simple.
Packing plenty of power with its 163cc Briggs Stratton engine, it’s not so much that it destroys the competition. It’s that its performance is excellent and the innovations are genuinely helpful while keeping its price in check.
Best Lawn Mower Buying Guide | What We Look For
Gas vs Battery
Gas power still wins the day when you’re highest priorities are keeping your purchase price down and your power level high. With advancements in battery and motor technology, the OPE world is shifting towards battery power, though. It’s cleaner and quieter to run and requires less maintenance.
However, you have to look at premium models to get true gas power, and runtime can be a limiting factor. It’s also less likely you have a service center nearby that can get you back up and running quickly if there’s a problem.
If your lawn is a 1/4-acre or less, there are a lot of battery-powered options available. Once you get beyond that size, you need to consider how many batteries you’ll need and legitimate options really start to thin out once you hit 1/2 an acre. With larger lawns, newer battery-powered zero turn mowers are a legitimate option.
Take a deeper look at the comparison between gas and battery power in this article.
Commercial vs Residential
This might be better titled “professional vs homeowner” considering there are both commercial and residential professional crews. Regardless, commercial mowers are built with better components and commercial engines, creating a machine that is built to last for years of high-hour daily use.
If you’re a homeowner mowing once a week or so, a good residential mower can still last for 5 or 10 years (or more) if you take care of it. It just uses components and engine designs better fit for occasional use.
Engine Size and Cutting Power
If you stay on top of your mowing and cut quality isn’t a high priority, an engine as small as 140cc is likely fine.
Move up to the 160cc–180cc class for better performance when the grass is thicker and taller, or when you want to make sure you get excellent mulching, bagging, and/or clean cuts. The greater power improves lift and is less likely to bog down in thick patches.
When you’re looking at deck sizes beyond 22 inches, you should start looking for engines in the 180cc–200cc range (or higher) to ensure it can keep the RPMs high while it’s cutting such a large swath.
We look for three major components of cut quality: evenness, mulching size, and bagging efficiency.
Evenness is pretty straightforward. When we’re testing, we look for grass blades that weren’t cut and indications that there wasn’t enough lift to clip all of the blades at the same level.
When mulching, smaller clippings are better since they drop down closer to the base of the remaining grass. We also look to see if a mower is prone to leaving trails and clumps.
For bagging, it’s all about how much grass is collected, if the chute tends to clog while we’re cutting, and how much grass is deposited back to the ground.
One of the major benefits of battery-powered mowers is the lower noise levels compared to gas, but that doesn’t mean gas mowers have to be obnoxious. We expect higher levels than battery-powered models and that is typically the case.
When we test noise levels, we measure from our operator’s ear to get an idea of what the person using the mower should expect. Even though some mowers are quieter than others, we still recommend hearing protection when you’re using a gas model.
How efficient gas mowers use fuel has a very direct effect on your wallet, especially when you’re mowing every day as a Pro.
Fuel efficiency testing is more than just a runtime calculation. The cutting swath of a mower comes into play, especially on those 25 and 30-inch models. With larger lawns, it’s possible to get more cutting done per gallon of gas with an engine that uses more gas per hour.
21 or 22 inches is pretty standard for most mowers. Jumping up to a 25-inch or 30-inch mower may seem tempting, but it’s not for everyone.
If your lawn is a 1/4-acre or less, the time you gain with a larger deck might not mean a whole lot of time savings. Where you really gain some time is on lawns that are a 1/2-acre or more.
Keep in mind, larger deck-size mowers are heavier. When you have to mow wet or soggy areas, the weight can work against you.
Steel vs Plastic (Poly) Deck
The vast majority of gas mowers have steel decks while battery-powered models have a much higher percentage of plastic poly decks.
Those poly plastic decks are tougher than they look, but they probably won’t hold up as well as steel in the long run. It’s still highly unlikely that you’ll wear through one before it’s time to replace the mower, though.
However, there’s a whole lot more design flexibility that comes with poly decks, and engineers can do some amazing things to help with airflow that directly affects cut quality along with bagging and mulching efficiency.
Here in Florida, we have a lot of St. Augustine grass that we cut at 3 1/2 inches, so we prefer a mower that has at least a 4-inch maximum deck height.
Depending on what species of grass you have, you might be able to get away with a lower height, but 4 inches is a good all-around benchmark.
On the low end, most of us aren’t cutting golf course greens (you’d use a reel mower for that, anyway), so the minimum deck height usually isn’t an issue.
However, if you use a blade that dethatches or scalps for maintenance or re-seeding, you might want to make sure the deck height gets low enough—typically 1 1/2 inches or less.
Single-point height adjustments are the easiest since you can raise or lower the deck with just one lever. It’s common on battery-powered lawn mowers, but not so much on their heavier gas counterparts.
Part of that is because the single-point mechanisms tend to introduce additional flex into the system and the weight of a gas mower puts more strain on the mechanism. So while we generally prefer single-point, we understand why gas mowers may opt away from them.
Pro Tip: Set the front wheels one notch higher than the rear wheels to improve bagging efficiency on 4-point or 2-point adjustable mowers.
If you’re really OCD, more height adjustments mean more precise cutting. Realistically, most of us are going to find a good height on any mower as long as it hits the maximum and minimum heights we mow at.
Setting the Speed
The type of speed adjustment your self-propelled lawn mower has can make or break your experience. There are pull levers, thumb push levers, full push bars (Toro’s Personal Pace), and iterations on those.
Try it at the dealer before you buy it. If you hate working the mechanism for a couple of minutes, imagine what it’s going to feel like after 30 minutes or an hour.
Front-Wheel Drive, Rear-Wheel Drive, or All-Wheel Drive?
Front-wheel drive lawn mowers are typically the least expensive and work well for even terrain. They also help you turn the easiest since you lift up the drive wheels as you make your turns.
Rear-wheel drive mowers add some cost but create better traction on hills and slopes. They’re particularly good at pushing the mower’s weight uphill where front-wheel drives start to lose traction as they try to pull the weight.
All-wheel drive mowers are the most expensive and generally do the best job on hills, slopes, and uneven terrain. On particularly bumpy areas where it’s likely one or more wheels will lose traction, it’s the best bet.
Larger wheels tend to handle bumps and uneven terrain better than smaller wheels according to manufacturers. However, it’s a claim that Consumer Reports says isn’t really the case.
If you’ve used a gas engine, there’s a good chance you’ve worn out your arm pulling the cord to start it. There’s no doubt that having an electric start on your mower can take away a lot of the frustration.
It won’t make up for poor maintenance, though. A well-maintained mower starts easily on the first or second pull. That begs the question as to whether the electric start is worth an extra hundred dollars.
It’s totally up to you, but if it’s in the budget, we want it.
Mulch, Bag, or Side/Rear Discharge?
Most quality mowers are 3-in-1, meaning you can bag, mulch, or side/rear discharge. Less expensive models often only provide options for bagging and mulching. Which one you choose depends on what type of grass you have, how fast it grows, and your personal preference.
In central Florida where St. Augustine, Zoysia, and Bahia dominate our landscapes, the summer heat and rains make our grass grow incredibly fast. Most of us mulch out of necessity since we almost need a dumpster for the volume of clippings we create.
Most lawn mowers have 3 handle positions you can set. For tall guys like me or average-height guys like Clint, it helps you find a more comfortable grip. Some mowers opt for 2, or sometimes just 1 handle position.
Value is more than just price. We take a broad look at the performance and features compared to the price to determine the value of each mower.
Why You Can Trust Pro Tool Reviews
Ever check out a “review” site and you can’t tell if they actually tested the tools or if they’re just “recommending” the Amazon top sellers?
That’s not us. We only recommend what we’d actually use, even if we don’t earn a commission from it. It’s all about giving you a legitimate recommendation and our honest opinion of each product.
We’ve been in business since 2008 covering tools, writing reviews, and reporting on industry news in the construction, automotive, and lawn care industries. Our Pro reviewers work in the trades and have the skills and experience to know whether tools can perform well in the field.
Each year, we bring in and review more than 250 individual products. Our team will put our hands on hundreds of additional tools at media events and trade shows throughout the year.
We consult with innovators in the technology and design of tools to gain a broader grasp of where these products fit and how they work.
We work with more than two dozen professional contractors around the United States who review products for us on real job sites and consult with us on testing methods, categories, and weighting.
We’ll provide more than 500 pieces of new content this year absolutely free for our readers—including objective evaluations of individual tools and products.
The end result is information you can trust because of the editorial, scientific, and real-world professional experience we collectively utilize each and every time we pick up and test a tool.
Bushranger 53AH6IMSP Self Propelled 21″ Commercial Mower
The new 800 SP series Bushranger /strong> Alloy Deck Honda Powered Mower has arrived. This 800 SP Series 21” (530mm) mower comes with features which will attract any contractor or the larger property owner.
The first noticeable feature is that for a big 21” (530mm) mower it’s very easy to maneuver around your yard and gardens. This has a lot to do with the 3 speed gear box fitted to this mower. The gear box is a shaft drive, oil filled, alloy case with all metal internal gears. This gear box is built to last and withstand the hard treatment dished out by contractors and property owners alike. With a low speed of 3.06kph you will be able to get around garden beds, trees and hedges with ease. When you get out to the open spaces and need to get the job done quickly you can choose 3rd speed and go at 4.6kph. Second speed is a good in-between speed to cut and mulch for those of us who don’t want or need to run after our mower. You will very quickly come to appreciate and love the comfort grip and adjustable top handles, no matter how tall or short you are, the handles will always be at the correct position for you the operator. A few reasons why this mower is so easy to use is that it has large 200 x 50mm wheels plus dual wheel bearings fitted to the front and rear. This mower also features metal rims which are coupled to rubber tyres – not plastic like so many others. A metal chassis protection ring has been added on the outside and inside giving you that extra protection against damaging the chassis when you get a little too close to that wall or fence or hit that unseen dog bone or rock. The features don’t stop there – this machine is also fitted with a seven stage height adjuster, you can cut from a low 25 to 76mm by just moving the lever located on the rear wheel, we also have a large 70 litre Dacron fabric, moulded base catcher bag with top and rear dust cover, ensuring you don’t get covered in dust and dirt on those dry, dusty days. Under the deck of the mower you have a disc holding four high fluted swing back blades which will cut, catch and mulch (when fitted with the mulching plug supplied with the mower) like no other mower you have used in the past. To get a mower to perform as this mower does you need an engine which will not only start first time every time you need an engine which is tried and proven to be trusted and reliable – we have such an engine fitted to this new 800 SP series Bushranger /strong> Mower. Our Bushranger 800 SP series mowers are fitted with a Honda GXV160.
All specifications are subject to change without notice.
- Domestic Warranty 6 Year Domestic Warranty
- Commercial Warranty 6 Month (Chassis and Gear Box)
- Hire/Rental Warranty 3 Month Hire/Rental Warranty
- Power Plant Four Stroke Petrol
- Engine (cc) 163 cc
- Engine Honda GXV160
- Fuel Capacity 1.5 Litre
- Battery N/A
- Dry Weight 52 kg
Search by Product ot Brand
View by Products
- Brands (294)
- Atom (3)
- Bushranger (21)
- Ego (1)
- Hansa Chippers (5)
- Honda (44)
- John Deere (2)
- Masport (10)
- Stiga (1)
- STIHL (207)
- Battery Mowers (19)
- Bushranger Mowers (6)
- Cylinder Mowers (1)
- Honda Mowers (10)
- Masport Mowers (9)
- Battery Powered Products (84)
- Bushranger 36v Battery Range (9)
- EGO Battery Products (1)
- STIHL (AS AI) Lithium-ion Range (5)
- STIHL AK Compact Range (23)
- STIHL AP Range (46)
- Battery/Electric Blowers (19)
- Honda Blowers (1)
- Outdoor Vacs Sweepers (7)
- STIHL Petrol Blowers (11)
- Vacuum Cleaners (4)
- Battery/Electric Line Trimmers (25)
- Honda Brushcutters (6)
- STIHL Brushcutters (19)
- STIHL Line Trimmers (4)
- Battery/Electric Chainsaws (25)
- STIHL Arborist Chainsaws (5)
- STIHL Homeowner Chainsaws (7)
- STIHL Landowner Chainsaws (9)
- STIHL Pole Pruners (7)
- STIHL Professional Chainsaws (9)
- Electric Chippers (6)
- Hansa Chippers (5)
- Masport Chippers (1)
- Honda Versatool (10)
- STIHL KombiSystem (17)
- STIHL Yardboss (8)
- Augers Drills (2)
- Concrete Saws (7)
- Concrete Tools (1)
- Wet Vacs (3)
- Honda Generators (5)
- Battery/Electric Hedge Trimmers (27)
- Honda Hedge Trimmers (2)
- STIHL Petrol Hedge Trimmers (7)
- Atom Edgers (3)
- Electric Pressure Cleaners (6)
- Petrol Pressure Cleaners (4)
- Bushranger Spartan Zero-Turn Mowers (4)
- Ego Battery Ride-On Mowers (1)
- John Deere Ride-On Mowers (2)
- Stiga Ride-On Mowers (1)
- Bushranger Sprayers (2)
- STIHL Sprayers (6)
- Honda Transfer Pumps (6)
287 Mona Vale Rd, Terrey Hills NSW 2084 (02) 9986 1226
Monday to Friday, 8am. 5pm Saturday, 8am. 4pm Sunday, 9am. 3pm
390 Pittwater Rd, North Manly NSW 2100 (02) 9939 6729
Monday to Friday, 8am. 5pm Saturday, 8am. 4pm Sunday, 9am. 3pm
Pittwater Mowers © 2019 All Rights Reserved
The 10 Best Electric Lawn Mowers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Sage McHugh has written for Dotdash Meredith since 2019. With over a decade of experience in consumer-oriented content, Sage has a passion for products and how they enhance our everyday lives.
Barbara Gillette is a Master Gardener, herbalist, beekeeper, and journalist. She has 30 years of experience propagating and growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals.
Rich Scherr is a seasoned technology and financial journalist who spent nearly two decades as the editor of Potomac and Bay Area Tech Wire. The Baltimore native also covered the technology scene for LocalBusiness.com and has been a regular contributor to the sports pages of The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post.
Electric lawn mowers have many advantages over gas-powered models. For example, electric models don’t release exhaust fumes and can be significantly quieter and easier to operate, resulting in a much more pleasant mowing experience all around. “Electric lawn mowers come with many features to help owners stay safe, comfortable, and productive,” says Kris Kiser, president and CEO of Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI).
We researched many different types of electric lawn mowers and tested several in our own backyards across the country. We then evaluated products based on their setup, design, performance, usability, safety, and value and selected our favorites in a range of categories for this list. During our first run with the mower, we timed the assembly process and made careful notes about how clear and simple the included directions were. Following this, we utilized the mowers on three separate occasions, taking note of the grass length cut, the total area of the yard mowed, and the time it took to complete the task.
In our latest round of testing, we put six riding lawn mowers through their paces in our personal yards and selected the best electric ones based on its power, maneuverability, and noise level.
EGO Power Select Cut 56-Volt 21-Inch Self-Propelled Cordless Lawn Mower
- Powerful and easy to use
- Lightweight and foldable for vertical storage
- 60-minute runtime and recharging
- Relatively affordable
After testing other electric mowers across the country, the EGO LM2102SP POWER 21-Inch Cordless Self-Propelled Mower is our best overall pick because it is very easy to use, lightweight and compact, and offers additional power when you need it, all at a relatively affordable price. Self-propelled mowers make mowing—especially over hills and rugged terrain—much easier because the mower moves for you at your pace, while you simply guide it around your yard. This option is no exception. While we tested this mower, we almost found it too powerful at first, especially because it was our first time using a self-propelled mower. But once we got the hang of it, we turned it off and on easily, and adjusted the speeds when needed by using the levers on the handle. We found the self-propulsion helpful for going up small hills (the lowest speed was all we needed) and turned it off when navigating around obstacles.
We also appreciated the battery life and fast recharging this mower offers. Although it comes with just one EGO 56V ARC Lithium battery, it has a 60-minute runtime and only takes about the same time to recharge using the included Rapid charger. And while it only took 50 minutes to mow our lawn, we are happy to report that the battery did not run out. If you have other EGO products at home with the same battery, you could always swap in that battery if you have a larger lawn and want to continue mowing without much of a break.
Other user-friendly features we love include the easily-adjustable handle: You have two options for the height and three options for the angle, so you can pick the one that is most comfortable for you. We also found adjusting the cutting height to be a simple task, with six settings to choose from ranging in height from 1.5 to 4 inches. And when you are done, the handle is just as easy to fold, so you can store your mower vertically in your garage or shed. We do want to note that while we think this mower did a great job mowing in dry and damp conditions, once when mowing over a particularly wet area, an orange light came on and the mower stopped. However, once we moved the mower to a more drier area, we were able to start it again easily. The only other minor issue we reported is putting on the grass collection bag. We found it would be much easier with two people since it clips on tightly and it’s a bit hard to get around the support bar (it popped off a few times during this process). But other than those small issues, we think this is an excellent electric mower for navigating different types of terrain with ease.
Price at time of publish: 549
Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 93.61 pounds | Power Source: Battery | Cutting Options: Bag, mulch, side-discharge
Greenworks 12 Amp 20-Inch 3-in-1 Corded Lawn Mower
- Affordable, powerful, and compact
- Unlimited run time
- Seven cutting positions
- Bag, mulch, and side-discharge settings
We’ve tested the Greenworks Electric Corded Lawn Mower several times over the last few years, and it continues to stand out as the best affordable choice for small yards and tight spaces, even those with somewhat challenging terrain. In fact, while testing this mower in our latest round of testing, we had no issues navigating over divots, clumps, bumps, and other parts of our lawn that were uneven—we found that this mower powered right through them. Plus, the 12-amp motor is powerful enough for tough cutting and mulching, including the tall, spindly weeds in our yard. We didn’t report any issues mowing over slightly wet grass either.
The 20-inch cutting deck is narrower than some other options, but we found that it helped us get through the tight areas of our yard easily. Adjusting the cutting height (seven different heights ranging from 1.5 to 3.75 inches) is simple as well, and really is the only setting you need to worry about. However, we did note that the mower didn’t go quite low enough to cut some patches of clover. Although it’s budget-friendly, we love that you have three options for your grass clippings—bag, mulch, or side discharge—and you don’t have to purchase any of these features separately (which would add to the cost). The grass collection bag was easy to clip on, although we did spill some grass clippings the first time we removed it and noted that the bag was not even full. However, we think this won’t be an issue once we get the hang of it.
Although this electric model is corded, we appreciated the unlimited runtime and didn’t find the cord to be cumbersome. We did find ourselves holding on to the cord even though there was a cord restraint system that kept it in place, but we were able to mow the lawn easily with our other hand. It’s important to note that this mower must be used with a 14-gauge 50-foot extension cord or a 12-gauge 100-foot extension cord (not included). Overall, we found this to be a really easy lawn mower to set up (just a few screws are needed for the handle), use, and store (just fold the handle), and it continues to impress us with its performance and price.
Price at time of publish: 227
Cutting Width: 20 inches | Weight: 56 pounds | Power Source: Corded | Cutting Options: Bag, mulch, side-discharge
Ryobi 40V HP Brushless 21-Inch Dual-Blade Self-Propelled Mower
- Powerful performance
- 70-minute runtime
- Fast, 60-minute charging
- Lightweight and folds for storage
Although it is a little more of a splurge compared to other options we tested, The Ryobi 40V HP Brushless 21 Inch Cordless Self-Propelled Mower stands out for its powerful performance (comparable to some gas models), and long, 70-minute runtime. We tested this mower on the first grass of the season and were quickly impressed by its ease of use and quiet performance (we thought it almost sounded like white noise), especially compared to gas models we’ve used in the past. Thanks to the self-propelled technology, it was a breeze to mow over uneven terrain, even over hills, with little effort on our part. It did take a little bit of time to select the right cutting height for our uneven lawn (the blade did get stuck a few times), but once we adjusted the height, we were impressed by the cutting performance. Luckily this mower offers seven adjustable cutting heights (1.5 to 4 inches), so you can easily pick the one you need. We also want to mention that like our best overall mower, the EGO LM2102SP POWER 21-Inch Cordless Self-Propelled Mower, the self-propelled feature does take some time to get used to, and you may feel like the mower will run away on you at first until you figure out which setting you need for each part of your yard.
This model comes with two 40-volt batteries and a Rapid charger. Since only one battery is needed at a time, you will always have one ready to go should you need it. Our lawn took only 45 minutes to an hour each time to mow, and we never had to stop and recharge it to finish the job. However, we did have to stop the first time we mowed to empty the grass collection bag, which we found to be surprisingly small. It filled up after mowing about 25-30 feet of tall grass. The next two times weren’t as much of an issue because the grass wasn’t as overgrown. It was very simple to remove the full bag, but we found that it spilled easily and a few blades even spilled when the mower was in use (whether or not it was filled.) These few issues aside, we appreciated the bag, mulching, and side-discharge options for the grass clippings overall, although it is worth noting that it did not break up older leaves very well.
Like most of the mowers on this list, the Ryobi 40V HP Brushless 21 Inch Cordless Self-Propelled Mower is easy to fold and store vertically to save space. We were equally impressed with all of the safety features. Although it has a simple, push-button start, the mower has a key that you can store separately so no one can accidentally start the mower. When ready to use, the key has to be inserted behind a flap. Plus, the mower only works while you are gripping a lever. The LED headlights provide extra light that might be helpful when mowing around dusk or dawn. Although this mower is a bit more pricey than our best overall (which is also a battery-powered self-propel model), we think it’s worth the extra cost for the power, long runtime, and extra battery.
Price at time of publish: 799
Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 75 pounds | Power Source: Battery | Cutting Options: Bag, mulch, side-discharge
Sun Joe MJ401E-P2 Electric Lawn Mower
- Lightweight and easy to handle
- Relatively quiet
- Folds for compact storage
While testing, we found that the Sun Joe MJ401E-P2 Electric Lawn Mower was as easy to use as a corded vacuum. At under 30 pounds, this mower is very easy to push, even though it’s not a self-propelled model. It is corded, so you will most likely have to use an extension cord. However, you won’t have to worry about the battery running out, stopping to recharge a battery, or fumes from a gas model. We were also impressed by how quiet this mower was, especially compared to gas mowers we’ve used in the past. This mower was simple to set up—we just had to attach the bag and two parts for the handle.
Thanks to the 14-inch cutting deck, we found this to be a great push mower for navigating around tight corners and spaces. However, we do want to point out a few issues we came across while testing. We found that the grass collection bag filled up pretty quickly (after mowing about 20-30 feet). And when we mowed without the bag, we did notice that the grass would get stuck underneath the blades. As a great safety feature, the mower would immediately shut off. The grass was easy to remove though, and we were able to get back to mowing quickly. Also, it’s worth noting that this mower only has three settings for the cutting height, ranging from 1.12 to 2.52 inches. While you won’t get as a precise cut as other models, and you may have to stop to empty a bag or remove grass from underneath the mower when tackling long grass, we think this is a great budget-friendly push mower that is perfect for small lawns.
Price at time of publish: 99
Cutting Width: 14 inches | Weight: 29 pounds | Power Source: Corded electric | Cutting Options: Bag, side-discharge
RYOBI 80V HP Brushless 42 in. Battery Electric Cordless Riding Lawn Tractor
- Powerful Performance
- LCD Screen and app for tracking battery life
- 13 cutting heights
- Many extra features
If you have a larger yard to mow, a riding lawn mower can save you time and energy with its speed and efficiency. While testing the Ryobi 80V HP Brushless 42-inch Battery Riding Lawn Tractor we were impressed with its exceptional cutting performance, long battery runtime, and maneuverability. The electric mower has four steel blades that provide 13 different cutting height positions, ranging from 1.5 to 4.5 inches, for a very precise cut. We found that the mower was able to handle a variety of debris with ease, effectively chopping up sticks, leaves, grass clippings, and even short dandelions that normally would be difficult to cut. The cutting height can be adjusted using a manual lever on the mower’s right side. However, we did find that the lever was surprisingly close to your leg, which can result in unintentionally changing the cutting height, although we did not experience this issue ourselves.
While putting this battery-powered mower to the test after a rainy morning, we found that it had no trouble dealing with wet grass and cutting it evenly. Even when the grass was damp, the lawn mower effectively discharged the grass clippings. While we love that this mower gives you three options for grass clippings—bag, side-discharge, or mulch—note that you will have to purchase the bagger and mulching kit separately. We were also impressed with the riding mower’s quietness despite its size. When the cutting blades were not moving, the riding mower sound resembled that of a battery-powered ride-on car for kids. And, when the blades were spinning, the noise level was super low compared to traditional gas mowers.
The mower has an onboard LCD screen that lets you check the runtime and charging status and control the LED headlights, drive, and blade speeds. The battery percentage also appears on the digital display menu. You can even monitor the charging status while you are taking a break, using the Ryobi Riding Mower app. We found charging the mower to be a simple process. The battery arrived with just 23 percent charge, and it only took us about an hour to fully recharge. For each mowing session we did, only about 10 percent of the battery was utilized. While we would have preferred a physical speed control lever, we found it manageable to switch while driving. The mower has an accelerator pedal that allows for slow and precise maneuvering around obstacles while providing instant speed when necessary. The mower is also equipped with a backup beeping noise, which is intended as a safety feature but we found it annoying over time.
All in all, the Ryobi 80V HP Brushless 42-inch Battery Riding Lawn Tractor is a great riding mower that offers a quiet and efficient mowing experience that eliminates the hassle of gas and oil. While this isn’t the best choice for small yards, if you want to keep your large yard looking great without a lot of effort, this is an excellent choice with lots of extras.
Price at time of publish: 4,999
Cutting Width: 42 inches | Weight: 557 pounds | Power Source: Battery | Cutting Options: Mulch, bag, or side-discharge
Ryobi 80V HP Brushless 42 in. Battery Electric Cordless Zero Turn Riding Mower
- 12 height settings
- Powerful performance
- LCD screen and app to monitor battery life
- Joystick steering
Zero-turn mowers are built to be fast and easily navigate obstacles, and the Ryobi Battery Electric Cordless Zero Turn Riding Mower does just that. We put the riding mower through its paces and found it to be a highly intuitive and easy-to-operate machine. Instead of a steering wheel, this riding mower has a joystick that can be operated with just one hand, for better maneuverability while turning. The joystick gave us complete control over the mower’s direction and speed, from a complete stop to top speed. With its impressive turning abilities, we were effortlessly able to mow around trees in a single pass, a task that would have previously required about four passes with a different mower.
Setting the cutting height was equally simple, thanks to the conveniently located lever that offered twelve height settings ranging from 1.5 to 4.5 inches. The mower even comes with a height-stopping key, that allowed us to adjust the mowing deck to our desired cutting height quickly. Overall, the mower did a phenomenal job of cutting the grass evenly. We did encounter some thicker grass areas in the yard, but we found that slowing down the mower’s speed allowed it to power through without any issues. We were able to mow our half-acre yard much faster with this mower compared to the Troy-Built Pony 17 HP 42-inch Deck Rider we previously used. In fact, it took us 40 percent less time to complete the task. It also is much quieter than the gas riding mower, and you don’t have to deal with flammable gas or oil changes.
The RYOBI 80V HP Brushless Riding Mower is equipped with two 80-volt, 10-amp hour batteries and two 40-volt, 12-amp hour batteries, providing ample power for extended mowing sessions. During our testing, we appreciated the ability to install up to three 80-volt and four 40-volt batteries, allowing us to extend the mower’s runtime even further. Charging the batteries was a breeze. We simply had to plug the charging cord into the rear of the mower to simultaneously charge all the onboard batteries. We were also delighted to find out that the 40-volt batteries can be used with different cordless Ryobi tools like trimmers and blowers, expanding the range of our outdoor power equipment collection.
And while it has many of the same features as the Ryobi 80V HP Brushless 42 in. Battery Riding Lawn Tractor, this option has the power equivalent of a 31-horsepower gas engine and the ability to cut up to three acres on a single charge, according to the manufacturer. It also offers an app to monitor the battery status and has an LCD screen onboard so you can control the LED headlights, blade and drive speed, as well as monitor the battery, runtime, and charging status. This is an expensive mower, but we think it is an excellent zero-turn option that will make your lawn look great quickly and efficiently.
Price at time of publish: 5,999
Cutting Width: 42 inches | Weight: 700 pounds | Power Source: Battery | Cutting Options: Bag, mulch, side-discharge
Toro 22″ 60V MAX Electric Battery SMARTSTOW Personal Pace High Wheel Mower
- Automatically adjusts to walking pace
- Nine cutting positions
- Vortex Technology results in finer grass clippings
- Quick-connect bagging and mulching
With a 22-inch deck and a three-phase brushless motor that optimizes RPM and torque, this cordless, walk-behind mower from Toro delivers a powerful performance. It offers an array of advanced features for hassle-free mowing, which certainly justify its fairly steep price tag. Nine cutting positions, ranging in height from 1 to 4 inches, ensure a precise cut, even in tight spaces. Plus, Toro’s patented Vortex Technology allows more air into the cutting chamber, resulting in finer grass clippings and a healthier lawn.
This mower includes one battery that can run up to 40 minutes, allowing you to cut up to 0.33 of an acre on a single charge. (However, we have read some complaints of it running out of juice in half that time). Its 10-inch rear wheels provide excellent traction on tough terrain without tearing up your lawn. Other impressive features include a self-propelled transmission that automatically adjusts to your walking pace. Thanks to a quick-connect bagging system, you can easily switch from mulching to bagging. Despite its heavy weight, the Toro Recycler Walk Behind Mower is easy to maneuver, and it folds up compactly to minimize its storage footprint.
Price at time of publish: 729
Cutting Width: 22 inches | Weight: 95 pounds | Power Source: Battery | Cutting Options: Mulch, bag, or side-discharge
Best for Small Yards
Worx WG779 Power Share 40-Volt 14-Inch Cordless Walk Behind Mower
- Lightweight and easy to maneuver
- Dual charging port for batteries
- Battery charge indicator
- Batteries compatible with other Worx tools
The Worx Power Share Battery Walk-Behind Mower has a 14-inch cutting deck that can cut up to 0.12 acres per charge, making it an ideal choice for smaller yards. At 29 pounds, it’s light enough for almost any user to handle. This unit is equipped with two batteries and a dual charging port to maximize the recharging time. For added convenience, there’s an on-board battery charge indicator that lets you know when you’re running out of juice. Another great thing about these batteries is that they’re compatible with a variety of other Worx tools.
This mower has six height adjustments, and you can easily add more torque with the turn of a knob. It also has the ability to mulch or bag grass clippings, and you can easily gauge when the bag is full, thanks to its transparent plastic top. Keep in mind that this compact model is best-suited for smaller jobs, so you will need to limit your expectations when it comes to performance. According to some reports that we read, it has difficulty powering through tough grass, and it sometimes stalls on lips and edges.
Price at time of publish: 300
Cutting Width: 14 inches | Weight: 29.1 pounds | Power Source: Battery | Cutting Options: Bag, mulch
Makita 36-Volt Lithium-Ion Push Lawn Mower
- Powerful motor
- Durable construction
- 10 cutting heights
- Optional quiet mode
- Includes extra set of batteries
If you’re looking for a cordless, battery-powered option, this push mower from Makita won’t disappoint. The brushless motor is incredibly powerful, delivering up to 3,300 RPM. This tool is powered by two 18-volt batteries, but four batteries are included, so you can swap them out for extended run time. All together, the batteries deliver up to 43 minutes of runtime. The handlebar has a rubberized grip for user comfort, and the handles fold for compact storage.
The Makita Push Lawn Mower has an 18-inch commercial-grade steel deck for optimal durability. It features a wide range of cutting heights—10 settings ranging from 0.81 to 3 inches. Though it performs well on most turf types, this mower may struggle a bit in overgrown grass. It has the ability to bag, mulch, or rear-discharge clippings. There’s even a quiet mode so you can mow your lawn without disturbing your neighbors.
Price at time of publish: 399
Cutting Width: 18 inches | Weight: 60.46 pounds | Power Source: Battery | Cutting Options: Bag, mulch, rear-discharge
Worx Landroid Robotic Mower
- Fully automated
- Customize mowing schedules via app
- Navigates 20-degree slopes
- Detects rain and avoids obstacles
Tired of mowing the lawn? This fully automated, robotic lawn mower does all of the work for you. It can mow medium-sized lawns up to 1/4 acre in size. To set it up, you’ll need to put down a boundary wire around your yard and connect the mower to the app. You can start or stop the machine, set up a mowing schedule, and check the mowing progress via the app. The Landroid is equipped with an 8-inch cutting width, the height of which can be adjusted between 1.9 and 3.5 inches. Two brushless wheel motors give it enough traction to navigate 20-degree slopes.
If the mower encounters an obstacle, it will simply back away. For more precise detection, an additional collision is available at an additional cost. It can also be programmed to avoid certain areas of your yard. When the Landroid detects rain or the battery runs low, it will return to the docking to either recharge or wait until the lawn is dry. With all of these features, the Landroid Robotic Mower is certainly worthy of its steep price tag. One thing worth noting is that even though this robotic option gets fairly close to the edges of a yard, you’ll likely need a string trimmer for touch-ups every so often.
Price at time of publish: 1,159
Cutting Width: 8 inches | Weight: 48.5 pounds | Power Source: Battery | Cutting Options: None
After testing this mower in our own backyard, the EGO LM2102SP POWER 21-Inch Cordless Self-Propelled Mower earns our top spot. This powerful mower offers up to an hour of uninterrupted runtime and is easy to use, thanks to self-propelled technology. We also love the adjustable and foldable handle for compact storage. If you’re looking for a more affordable option for your small yard, we found the Greenworks Electric Corded Lawn Mower to be compact and lightweight enough to navigate around obstacles with ease, and offers unlimited runtime, as long as you don’t mind a cord.
How We Tested the Electric Lawn Mowers
We tested eight walk-behind lawn mowers including gas, electric corded, and cordless, battery-powered models in our own yards across the country. After putting them to the test on our own lawns—ranging from small to large—we evaluated them on setup, design, performance, usability, safety, and value. For the first use, we timed setting up the lawn mower and noted what assembly, if any, was required, and if the instructions were detailed and easy to follow. We also recorded the battery charging time if it was a cordless model. We then used the mowers on three separate occasions when the weather and growing conditions allowed and recorded the length of grass cut, the surface area of the yard mowed, and the time it took to accomplish the task. We noted how easy (or not) it was to start the mower, adjust the handle, adjust the speed (if self-propelled), and change the cutting heights. We also evaluated the different features including bagging, mulching, and side-discharge options (if included) for the grass clippings. Aside from evaluating each mower’s set up and features, after use, we noted how easy it was to navigate around obstacles, up slopes, and other challenging areas including uneven or tall grass. We then looked at the appearance of the lawn and noted if it looked evenly cut. We also noted all of the safety features as well as any extra features such as LED headlights, foldable handles for storage, cord management systems, and more. After testing, the top electric mowers were added to this list. In our latest round of testing, we tested six riding lawn mowers in our yards and evaluated them on the same criteria explained above. We conducted thorough testing and compared the results with our previous product recommendations in order to provide the best suggestions possible. We made adjustments to the categories based on standout performance, either by swapping out or adding new options.
What to Look for in an Electric Lawn Mower
Electric mowers fall into four main categories: push, self-propelled, riding, and robot mowers. Choosing the right model depends on the size of your lawn, budget, and how much labor you’re willing to put in. Push mowers require that you walk behind them and manually propel them. Since they lack many of the features that you’ll find on more advanced electric lawn mowers, push mowers tend to cost significantly less. Push mowers also require the most amount of labor, making them an ideal choice for small to medium-sized yards with relatively flat terrain. We like the Greenworks Electric Corded Lawn Mower because it is very easy to navigate around your yard and comes at a very budget-friendly price. Self-propelled mowers are equipped with technology that propels the wheels as you mow. These mowers are often significantly pricier than push mowers, but they require a lot less effort on the user’s part. A self-propelled mower like the Ryobi 40V HP Brushless 21 Inch Cordless Self-Propelled Mower is a great choice for medium-sized to large lawns with sloped or uneven terrain. An electric riding mower is the most powerful option—and likewise the most expensive. Users must either sit or stand on the machine in order to operate it. With an ultra-wide cutting swath and the ability to navigate difficult terrain, a riding mower is well-suited for large yards with steeper slopes. We love the Ryobi Battery Electric Cordless Riding Lawn Tractor because it can cut up to two acres on a single charge and offers plenty of great features. Robot lawn mowers are typically programmed through an app, allowing them to operate autonomously with little to no effort. Some initial setup is required, but a robot mower can be programmed to mow your lawn automatically, avoid collisions and inclement weather, and more. Although they’re incredibly convenient, robotic models also have a shorter runtime and a smaller cutting width swath, limiting their use to smaller yards. Our top choice in this category, the Worx WR147 Landroid Robotic Mower, is almost 100 percent autonomous once it’s been set up.
Cordless electric lawn mowers run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. A cordless model gives you more flexibility and portability because it doesn’t restrict your movement. However, you will have to be mindful of the battery life, which typically runs down between 30 and 60 minutes. Some cordless electric mowers come with extra batteries that can be swapped out to extend their runtime. You could also purchase a second battery to increase the operating time. That way, you don’t have to worry about running out of juice mid-task. Our top choice for a cordless model, Makita 18-Volt X2 LXT Lithium-Ion Push Lawn Mower, includes an extra set of batteries so users can mow longer without having to recharge. The biggest advantage to a corded electric lawn mower is that it provides unlimited power. Corded models typically cost less than their battery-operated counterparts. However, your movement is restricted to the cord’s length. A corded mower must be used with a heavy-duty extension cord, which is often sold separately. Most manufacturers recommend a 12-gauge or 14-gauge cord, but you should always refer to the owner’s manual to ensure safe operation.
Deck size refers to the width of the mower, and determines how wide a path it can cut. A wider deck size results in a wider cutting swath, allowing you to cover a larger area in one pass. The standard deck size on both push and self-propelled mowers typically ranges from 13 to 22 inches. Robotic mowers usually have a much smaller cutting deck between 5 and 10 inches. Riding mowers, on the other hand, can have a deck size as wide as 54 inches. A riding mower is best-suited for large lawns that normally take a good deal of time to mow. Our top pick for zero-turn, the Ryobi Battery Electric Cordless Zero Turn Riding Mower has a 42-inch deck and 12 cutting heights to make short work of a big job, navigating around obstacles with ease.
Motor Power and Type
Cordless electric mowers that run on batteries produce anywhere from 18 to 20 volts of power. The higher the voltage, the longer the motor will run on a single charge. Likewise, a mower with a higher voltage will allow you to cover more ground in one pass. Higher voltage is usually necessary to mow large lawns and generate enough torque to cut through tall, dense grass. The amp rating is also important in determining how powerful an electric lawn mower is. For example, a 12-amp electric mower can power through tough grass, while a 6-amp model would struggle. A corded electric lawn mower typically draws between 6 and 13 amps from a standard outlet. The battery on most cordless models delivers about 18 amps per hour.
Brushless vs. Brushed Motor
Brushless motors are more efficient, because they don’t lose much energy through friction and heat, both of which could potentially damage the motor. Plus, you don’t have to worry about replacing brushes when they wear out. All of these factors contribute to a more reliable performance and less maintenance. Brushed motors, on the other hand, generate more heat, which explains their tendency to stall and overheat. Although brushed motors are more affordable upfront, you may pay more for maintenance in the long run. You’ll also need to replace worn-out brushes as needed, which is an additional expense.
Grass Bag Catcher
A grass bag catcher attaches to the side or rear of a lawn mower and collects grass clippings. While the grass is being cut, clippings are automatically transferred into the bag. This is a convenient feature because it saves you from having to bag or clean up the clippings yourself. With a grass-catching bag, your lawn will look neat and well-maintained after mowing.
An electric lawn mower with mulching capabilities will chop grass up finely and drop the clippings back onto the lawn. As the clippings decompose, they release nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, into the soil. Since mulching naturally improves the health of your lawn, it may need fewer fertilizer treatments.
Adjustable Cutting Height
Most electric lawn mowers have an adjustable cutting height, ranging from 1 to 4 inches, which allows users to cut a variety of grasses and tackle tall, overgrown lawns. As a general rule of thumb, the ideal height for cool-season grass is about 2 1/2 inches. When mowing, you should only remove about the top third of the grass blades.
“The lifespan of an electric lawn mower varies, based on make, model, and consumer care practices,” says Kris Kiser, president and CEO of Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). “Just like other outdoor equipment, with proper maintenance, charging, and battery storage practices, then the electric lawn mower can easily meet the user’s expectations.”
- Regularly inspect the cords for nicks and frays, as well as the batteries for any damage or deformities.
- Confirm that all of the vents are free from debris.
- Be sure to only use batteries and chargers in conjunction with manufacturer recommendations.
In the case of electric lawn mowers, convenience comes with a cost. Push mowers are on the lower end of the price scale, but they also require the most amount of manual labor. Self-propelled mowers typically cost several hundred dollars more than push mowers, but they reduce the amount of manual labor that’s needed. advanced models, such as robotic and riding mowers, can be quite expensive, but they essentially do all the work for you. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to put in the labor or pay more to make your life easier.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Sage McHugh, a home and lifestyle writer who has been contributing to The Spruce since 2019. To select the best electric lawn mowers for this roundup, she considered dozens of products, carefully evaluating their motor type, power source, cutting width, special features, and overall performance. McHugh consulted hundreds of customer reviews, as well as write-ups from third-party websites. For additional insight, she interviewed Kris Kiser, president and CEO of Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI).
Jenica Currie, Commerce Editor for The Spruce updated this list with insights gathered from testing various electric lawn mowers in our own backyards across the country. She also added additional picks and reporting.
What Is The Spruce Approved?
Here at The Spruce, we want to ensure that we fully stand behind every product we recommend and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all of these products ourselves, though occasionally, we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut.
The Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers in 2023 for Making Your Yard Work Easier
These lawn mowers drive themselves, taking the load off you in the process.
By Roy Berendsohn Published: Mar 21, 2023
One of the perks of the warm-weather season is getting to spend time outside. If you own your own home and have a yard, it’s very likely that in order to enjoy your outdoor space, you need to mow the lawn. The larger the yard, the more work it will be to maintain. If you have a lot of grass to cut, you’d be wise to consider a self-propelled lawn mower especially now that there are a ton of sales just in time for Memorial Day.
The primary difference between a standard push mower and a self-propelled mower is that the former moves when you push it, and the latter essentially moves itself with only your guidance. Once the engine is running, all you have to do is squeeze a handle or push a lever and the mower will start moving forward with you as you walk.
Turning the mower around is your job, but once you have your heading, just keep the drive handle squeezed and escort the mower down the path, no pushing necessary.
From Popular Mechanics
Self-propelled law mowers take power off the engine and route it via a belt to a pulley on the transmission and axle. When you move the drive control lever on the mower handle, you tension the belt, causing the pulley to turn, and this drives the transmission, moving the mower forward.
Move the drive control lever back and the tension is released, the pulley stops turning, and the mower stops moving forward. The belt-driven transmission is a time-tested design to power the mower and take the load off you in the process.
What to Consider
A mower is like many consumer products in that the more features a manufacturer adds, the more expensive it becomes. But a longer or more eye-catching list of features isn’t necessarily better. Sometimes less is more. Here are the most important to keep in mind.
Front-wheel drive mowers tend to be less expensive than rear-wheel drive units. They can be easier to turn because you don’t have to disengage the drive wheels to do so. Simply push down on the handlebar to raise the front wheels off the ground. However, their traction isn’t as strong on hills or when the bag is full, as there isn’t as much weight over the drive wheels.
Rear-wheel drive mowers do cost more and aren’t as easy to turn, as you do need to disengage the drive—but this isn’t too much of a hassle. Rear-wheel drive mowers shine on hills and inclines, and when the grass bag is full. In either scenario, weight is shifted rearward and over the drive wheels, which enables superior traction, thus making the self-propel more effective.
An engine as small as 125 cc can power a mower, but most are somewhere in the 140 cc to 190 cc range. A large engine helps when powering through tall, lush grass or in extreme conditions, such as with a side discharge chute in place and mowing tall weeds in a border area. Also, the extra torque provided by a larger engine can improve bagging when the going gets tough (tall, leaf-covered grass in the fall). But if you mow sensibly and pay attention to deck height—and especially if you don’t let your lawn get out of control—an engine between 140 and 160 cc has more than enough power to get the job done.
A mower can have all four wheels the same diameter (7 to 8 inches), or it may have rear wheels that range from 9.5 inches to 12 inches in diameter. Larger rear wheels help the mower roll more easily over bumpy ground.
With some mowers you can start the engine with the twist of a key or the press of a button. It’s a great option, but a luxury. Keep the mower engine tuned and use fresh fuel with stabilizer added to it, and you’ll never have trouble starting.
Any number of mechanisms can control a mower’s ground speed—a squeeze handle, a drive bar that you press forward, even a dial. There’s no single right answer here. Look at the design and think about how you like to work. For example, if more than one person will be using the mower (and not all of them are right-handed), a drive control like that on a Toro Personal Pace mower might be the answer. Just push down on the bar to make it go faster. Let up on the bar to slow down.
A mower that can bag, mulch, and side discharge is known as a three-function mower, the most versatile kind. Two-function mowers bag and mulch or mulch and side discharge.
Mowers will typically have one, two, or four levers to control the deck height. Single-lever adjustment is the easiest to use, but it requires more linkage, which adds weight and complexity. If, for some reason, you find yourself varying deck height frequently, it’s a good option. Otherwise, two or four levers work just fine.
Only Honda makes a gas-engine mower with a high-impact plastic deck (there are battery mowers that have plastic decks). Otherwise, mowers generally have a steel deck, and a few manufacturers—Toro, for one—offer a corrosion-resistant aluminum deck. An aluminum deck won’t rot the way a steel deck will, but you still need to keep it clean.
This is a hose fitting mounted on top of the mower’s deck. When you’re done mowing, hook up a hose and run the mower to power wash the underside of the deck. We’ve had mixed results with these, but they’re better than just letting a mass of dried grass clippings accumulate.
expensive mowers come with a more durable bag with more dust-blocking capability. If you bag a lot, especially leaves or other lawn debris in the fall, then you need a mower with a higher quality dust-blocking bag. Having said that, if you rarely bag, the standard one that comes with a mower will last you the life of the mower.
Also called wide-area mowers, machines in this subgroup help homeowners better reconcile their need for more power and speed with the fact that they may not have enough storage for a tractor or zero-turn mower. A typical residential walk mower has a single-blade deck that cuts a swath from 20 to 22 inches wide. Wide-cut mowers (built for homeowner use) have either a single blade or, more typically, a pair of blades, cutting from 26 to 30 inches with each pass. Some of these are rated for light commercial use and have larger decks, in the 32-inch range, and engines that start at 223 cc and go up to about 337 cc.
Wide-cut mowers typically employ gear or hydrostatic drive transmissions, and they have top speeds of about 4 to 6 miles per hour. At their fastest, they move so quickly you have to trot to keep up with them. Needless to say, they’re overkill for small yards; only opt for one of these if you’ve got a significant plot of land that you need to keep tidy, but not one so large that you’d be better off going with a full-on riding mower.
How We Tested and Selected
We compiled this list based on Popular Mechanics mower testing and our knowledge of the lawn mower market at large. For our testing, we put mowers through the paces using our standard Popular Mechanics methodology: We cut turf grasses such as fescues and blue grass and rougher non-turf grasses like Timothy, clover, orchard grass, and wild oats, all in both normal and shin-deep heights. We mow uphill, downhill, and across the faces of hills. The maximum slope we cut is about 30 degrees.
That may not sound like much, but it’s about all you can do to stand on it, let alone push a mower up it or across it. We mow damp and wet grass to test general cutting performance and whether clippings accumulate on the tires. And we cut dry and dusty surfaces to see how well the bag filters under less-than-optimal conditions.
Honda HRN 216VKA
Honda HRN 216VKA
Honda mowers enjoy a sterling reputation. Having tested their walk and self-propelled mowers for the last 30 years, we feel confident that Honda’s entry level mower is a great choice for homeowners looking for power and durability. The HRN features a GCV 170 gas engine that’s built to withstand long hours of operation.
If you do your own maintenance (and most owners who buy this class of product do), you’ll appreciate the easily accessible spark plug and the fuel shutoff valve that enables better winter storage. Close the fuel shutoff and run the mower until it sputters to a halt. This will clear the carburetor of any gasoline, which will prevent the ethanol in it from disintegrating and causing running issues later on. Open the shutoff valve in the spring, add some fresh gasoline, and the mower should start easily.
All this maintenance stuff is great, but we can also tell you that our past test findings on other Hondas prove that their cut quality is outstanding for cleanliness. Sharp blades deliver a velvet-like finish. And their bagging ability is also quite good, in the same league with other well-bagging mowers from Toro.
In all, if you take mowing seriously, you should enjoy this Honda. If you have a little wiggle room in your budget, consider the Honda HRX, which features a mower powerful engine and a composite deck that won’t rust and is renowned for its durability.
One note is that Honda has announced that it will cease selling lawn mowers in the United States after this year—so if you’re considering buying one, best do it sooner rather than later.
Toro Recycler 60-Volt Max Lithium-Ion
Toro mowers have garnered more recommendations from us than any other brand for two reasons: build quality and cut quality. These were amply demonstrated in our testing as the Recycler turned in the best ratio of cut area per amp-hour of battery in the self-propelled category, while at the same time not skimping on cutting, mulching, or bagging quality.
We attribute this outstanding mower performance to three features, all upgrades to the previous version of this machine. First, the air vent at the front of the mower deck seems to improve mulching and bagging performance. Toro calls it Vortex technology, a design that increases air flow under the deck. This helps to stand the grass for a cleaner cut, which improves mulching performance, and also allows better airflow into the bag when collecting the clippings.
Next, the company’s redesigned “Atomic” blade configuration appears to assist the air flow and clipping movement. Finally, the three-phase, 60-volt motor is exceptionally efficient, resulting in a large cut area for a single battery.
Toro has maintained features that make this mower work: rear wheel drive, a one-piece deck that’s all steel (no plastic nose), 11-inch wheels to help it roll over roots and crevices, and the same fold-forward handle that was an industry breakthrough when it was introduced some years ago.
Ryobi 40-Volt Brushless Self-Propelled Mower
This is one of Ryobi’s top-of-the-line mowers, and it’s American-made construction is something we wish we saw more of. It delivers a tremendous cut area with its two 6-Ah batteries providing a total of 12-Ah of capacity, and its X-shaped blade leaves a pristine surface in its wake.
Ryobi estimates the design should provide 70 minutes of run time; we didn’t time our cut, but it strikes as plausible. Its rear-wheel drive and reasonably aggressive tire tread pattern provide good hill climbing and sidehill cutting performance, and its bagging on all surfaces (level, sidehill, and uphill) is also commendable.
Other ease-of-use features include an easily installed or removed bag that mounts and dismounts straight up and down through the handle; deck adjustment is quick and easy thanks to a single-level deck height adjustment. The straight edge deck is polypropylene; it will never rust and needs very little care other than basic cleaning.
Toro TimeMaster 30 in. Briggs Stratton Personal Pace
Toro TimeMaster 30 in. Briggs Stratton Personal Pace
The Toro Timemaster 30-in. mower has been around for several years and has earned a reputation as a sturdy workhorse for homeowners who want to cut down on their mowing time. It’s also used by some professionals as well. A few years ago the Timemaster got a slightly more powerful Briggs and Stratton gas engine, so it should have no issues powering through most demanding mowing jobs.
The Timemaster is rear-wheel drive and features Toro’s Personal Pace drive system that’s used on many of its self-propelled mowers. This allows the mower to move at your speed by simply pushing down or releasing the handle, which is spring-tensioned.
With a 30-in. deck, Toro claims the Timemaster will help you reduce your mowing time by about 40% compared to using a standard-sized mower. You can mulch, back, or side discharge with the Timemaster, and the handlebar can be locked in a fully vertical position to reduce space consumption in storage.
If you have half an acre to a full acre of lawn to mow and prefer the experience of a walk-behind mower versus a tractor or zero-turn, the Timemaster is worth a look.
Craftsman mowers have been doing very well in our tests, so we can recommend this one because it’s so much like the many other of the brand’s models that we’ve tested. If you’re looking for a good blend of maneuverability and power, you’ll get it with this mower. Its front drive helps move it along and makes it easy to turn.
It’s important to note that front-drive mowers do lose some traction when running uphill, particularly with a full grass bag. But if your slope is less than 20 degrees, and you’re not bagging uphill, you’ll be fine. The side discharge will also help you handle tall grass. Adjust the two deck levers to bring the mower up to full height and have at the rough stuff.
The fact that this mower bags, mulches, and side discharges is a plus, enabling you to handle a wide range of mowing conditions, from early spring and late into the fall. Three-function mowers like this are our preference for that versatility.
Toro Super Recycler Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
This is a beauty of a mower, with a cast-aluminum deck and a smooth-running Briggs Stratton 163-cc engine. We tested the Honda engine-equipped version, and it was effective at both bagging and mulching, even in moist grass.
Equipped with rear-wheel drive and the Personal Pace system (the farther you push the drive bar, the faster the mower goes), it’s an effective hill climber and moderately effective on sidehill cutting. It has relatively small 7.5-inch tires on all four corners, which causes this Toro to bump up and down a bit on washboard surfaces. But the good news is that it’s equipped with a far higher quality tire than we’re used to seeing these days. We didn’t notice them pick up any grass on moist surfaces.
Other features we like include its forward-fold handle that has a built-in shock absorber that Toro calls a Flex Handle Suspension, and a high-quality grass bag that loads through the handle, from the top.
Are there special maintenance considerations with self-propelled mowers?
Yes. Both front- and rear-wheel drive mowers typically feature a drive belt, which can crack or wear out over time. Fortunately these belts are not difficult or particularly expensive to replace.
Secondly, you may have to replace the drive wheels occasionally. These wheels are driven with gears. there are typically teeth on the inside diameter of the drive wheel that line up with a gear on the axle. These teeth can wear out, especially if they are made of plastic. Higher-end mowers may feature drive wheels with a metal gear that meets the metal axle gear, which improves longevity of these components.
My lawnmower says I don’t ever have to change the oil, but just add oil when needed. Is this OK?
It’s not a good idea to never change the oil in your lawn mower. In a lawn mower, same as a car, oil degrades over time and is less effective at reducing heat and friction in metal components. Changing the oil in your lawn mower is easy to do and will significantly increase its service life. For most homeowners, changing the oil at the beginning or end of each mowing season should be sufficient, though there is certainly no harm in doing it more often.
Roy Berendsohn has worked for more than 25 years at Popular Mechanics, where he has written on carpentry, masonry, painting, plumbing, electrical, woodworking, blacksmithing, welding, lawn care, chainsaw use, and outdoor power equipment. When he’s not working on his own house, he volunteers with Sovereign Grace Church doing home repair for families in rural, suburban and urban locations throughout central and southern New Jersey.