Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Reviews 2023
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.
One of the big things changing in the market is Honda’s announcement that the brand is exiting the lawn mower market. While you can still buy Honda mowers until they run out of stock, 2023 marks the end of production. We still highly recommend them, but due to the news and iffy availability, we’re not considering Honda as part of our choices this year.
Want to see more, including ride-on and robotic recommendations? Read out Best Lawn Mower Reviews main article!
Best Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower
Commercial: Exmark Commercial X-Series Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
As we bid adieu to Honda this year, the HRC series still gets two thumbs up from us while you can get them. From there, we turn to Exnark and its Commercial X line that complements its Lazer Z zero-turn mowers well. Some professionals will certainly turn to the higher-capacity 30-inch model, but we expect the 21-inch model will find its way onto more trailers.
Exmark wisely uses a Honda 163cc GXV engine with a legendary reputation for reliability. It’s fed by a generous 1-gallon fuel tank and turns the blade at tip speeds up to 18,500 fpm. There’s also an option for a Kawasaki FJ180V engine if you’d like to step up to a 179cc engine.
The deck is 1/4-inch aluminum construction that keeps the weight down (112 pounds) while maintaining high durability. The deck is adjustable from 4.5 inches on the high side all the way down to 1 inch while the drive runs at speeds up to 4.2 MPH.
Residential: Toro Super Recycler Series 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Toro runs deep in the residential lawn mower sector and our favorite among them is the Super Recycler series. Getting the best of all the technology Toro has to offer, our top recommendation (model 21565) includes the Personal Pace drive system and the Smart Stow design that allows you to vertically store the mower even though it’s a gas model.
It uses a 163cc Briggs Stratton engine that produces 7.25 ft-lbs of torque and just under 17,000 fpm blade tip speed.
Toro touts a commercial-grade construction on this model and includes a lighter aluminum deck rather than steel. In addition to that, you get outstanding cut quality, especially on the mulching side (you better with the name Super Recycler!). Wrapping it up, the Personal Pace drive system adjusts to your walking pace so there are no levers or dials to adjust.
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: 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: 1099.00 with two 12.0Ah batteries and dual-port Rapid charger
Residential: EGO Select Cut XP 21-Inch Lawn Mower with Speed IQ
The evolution of EGO’s flagship mower is interesting. It started with the dual-battery Peak Power model that raised the bar of what lithium-ion is capable of. Then, we saw the first stacked-blade SelectCut options that improved cut quality and effectiveness in tall grass. The two technologies combined in the SelectCut XP. Now EGO adds Speed IQ to the mix.
Speed IQ is a self-propelled drive system that automatically adjusts to your pace. However, it’s not a spring-loaded set of handles like Toro uses on its Personal Pace models. Instead, there’s a sensor doing some serious engineering magic… and it works like a charm from our brief time with it at Equip Expo 2022 (formerly GIE).
Price: 599.00 bare, 999.00 with a 12.0Ah battery and Turbo charger
Best Large Walk-Behind Lawn Mower
Commercial: Greenworks Commercial 30-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Can a battery-powered commercial mower really displace gas models? Greenworks Commercial has an 82V 30-inch model that got our attention at the Equip Expo in late 2022, and it’s hard to ignore as a legitimate option. It has the power to replace a 200cc gas engine with blade speeds up to 16,000 FPM. On a full charge, it can cover up to 2 acres.
There are drive system features worth considering as well. Independent hub wheel motors engage what Greenworks calls the Easy Turn System (ETS), making the mower easier to maneuver. Another big deal is that there is a powered reverse function—something that’s incredibly helpful with the weight of mowers in this class. The controls are all up next to your hands and there’s even a display to help you keep track of your battery levels.
Price: 1999.99 bare, 2999.99 with three 8Ah batteries and a dual-port charger
Residential: 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.
Price: 1599.00 (21199), 1499.99 (20200)
Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower for the Money
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. The big kick in the pants is Honda leaving the market, though.
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 Rear-Wheel Drive Self-Propelled Lawn Mower for Hills: YBravo Gen II 25-inch Commercial Mower
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 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: 1299.00 (25-inch model)
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.
Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Recommendations
Not every mower earns an award, but there are several other models we recommend that didn’t find a place earlier in the article. Check these options out if one of the others doesn’t fit your needs.
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.
As an email subscriber you will receive exclusive in-store offers, online-only coupons, and helpful project tips and advice.
Please add email@example.com to your address book.
This functionality is enabled only for desktop.
Choosing the Right Gas Mower for Your Yard
When selecting the correct lawn mower that will meet your needs, you should consider your yard size and landscape, clipping disposal options and engine preference. And depending if you want a little workout or none at all, choose from Push Mowers, Self-Propelled Mower models.
How To Handle Grass Clipping
The cutting deck on your gas lawn mower will determine how your grass clippings will be managed. The options include:
Mulching Mowers:Mulching mowers feature a high dome deck that contains clippings as they are cut into fine pieces and redistributed to your lawn, adding helpful nutrients.
Bagging Mowers: Bagging mowers provide your cleanest-looking lawn option. A rear bag collects clippings for disposal or composting. Rear bags, as well as mulching mowers, are most convenient for mowing near fences, trees and other obstacles from either side of the mower.
Side Discharge: disperses clippings across the lawn as you mow. It is most effective with high grass or wet lawn conditions that prevent bagging or mulching.
How to Chose Between Push Mowers and Self-Propelled Mowers
Push Mowers: Best for smaller, flat yards up to 1/4 acre with few obstacles. The operator pushes the mower as the gas engine powers the blade. These simple to-operate mowers are economically-priced.
Ideal for inclines, uneven or hilly terrain and for yards between 1/3 to 1/2 acre. The engine powers both the blade and the wheels. Available in front, rear wheel or all-wheel drive for even greater traction.
Additional Features to Consider when Purchasing a Gas Lawn Mower
Electric Key Start: Starts with a simple turn of an automotive-style ignition key.
Speed Control: Self-propelled models feature variable speeds for adjustment without stopping the mower. You’re able to easily slow down around obstacles and speed up in open areas.
High Wheels: Rear high wheels improve maneuverability and reduce effort on hilly or uneven terrain.
Deck Wash-out Port: Your garden hose connects to the deck port to clean and maintain air flow.
Count on True Value for all your lawn care needs. In addition to our gas lawn mowers, we also carry a line of riding, electric and reel mowers. Troy-Bilt, Husqvarna, Black Decker, and DeWALT to name a few. Get ready to add curb appeal to your home today.
Toro. 22″ (56cm) Variable Speed High Wheel Mower (21378)
The Toro Recycler series is a patented cutting technology that brings an innovative mulching technique that make your clippings ultra-fine to provide moisture and nutrients that feed back into your lawn. We call these nutrient rich grass clippings, LawnVitamins This model features a powerful 150cc Briggs Stratton engine with.
The Toro Recycler series is a patented cutting technology that brings an innovative mulching technique that make your clippings ultra-fine to provide moisture and nutrients that feed back into your lawn. We call these nutrient rich grass clippings, LawnVitamins This model features a powerful 150cc Briggs Stratton engine with a durable 22 inch steel deck frame for you to enjoy for years to come. The 11 inch rear High-Wheels provide increased traction and combined with this mower being lightweight makes it easy to maneuver in tight spaces. Enjoy the variable speed of this self-propelled lawn mower that will make cutting your lawn quick and easy. Best of all, no oil changes for the life of the engine. Just Top it Off.
- Durable Steel Deck. Enjoy years of reliable use from your deck thanks to its steel construction.
- Feed Your Lawn. The ultra-fine clippings created by our Recycler Cutting System are Lawn Vitamins nourishing your grass.
- Traction in Tough Terrain. Get great traction regardless of the job with lightweight and maneuverable 11 in. rear wheels.
- Hassle-Free Maintenance. There’s no oil change. ever. Just Top it Off.
You may return most new, unopened items within 30 days of delivery for a full refund. We’ll also pay the return shipping costs if the return is a result of our error (you received an incorrect or defective item, etc.).
You should expect to receive your refund within four weeks of giving your package to the return shipper, however, in many cases you will receive a refund more quickly. This time period includes the transit time for us to receive your return from the shipper (5 to 10 business days), the time it takes us to process your return once we receive it (3 to 5 business days), and the time it takes your bank to process our refund request (5 to 10 business days).
If you need to return an item, simply login to your account, view the order using the ‘Complete Orders’ link under the My Account menu and click the Return Item(s) button. We’ll notify you via e-mail of your refund once we’ve received and processed the returned item.
We can ship to virtually any address in the world. Note that there are restrictions on some products, and some products cannot be shipped to international destinations.
When you place an order, we will estimate shipping and delivery dates for you based on the availability of your items and the shipping options you choose. Depending on the shipping provider you choose, shipping date estimates may appear on the shipping quotes page.
Please also note that the shipping rates for many items we sell are weight-based. The weight of any such item can be found on its detail page. To reflect the policies of the shipping companies we use, all weights will be rounded up to the next full pound.
The 9 Best Push Lawn Mowers of 2023
Michelle Ullman is a home decor expert and product reviewer for home and garden products. She has been writing about home decor for over 10 years for publications like BobVila.com and Better Homes Gardens, among others.
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.
A push lawn mower, whether powered by gas, a battery, or an electric cord, lets you keep your lawn under control and looking its best. The best push lawn mowers are powerful enough to handle even thick grass while making clean cuts, are easy to push, and let you choose how to dispose of the grass clippings.
Noah James, a professional landscaper, and owner of Liberty Lawn Maintenance, says, “Powerful performance, ease of use, and environmental friendliness are all key considerations when it comes to selecting the right push lawnmower. For dependable results, find a mower with a well-balanced cutting blade made from heavy steel or aluminum. A good push mower should also have durable construction and advanced features such as ergonomic handlebars, thoughtfully placed switches, and convenient storage options.”
He adds, “Depending on the size of your yard, you may want to look for a mower that offers different speed settings. And you should be able to adjust the blades for different lengths of grass. The wheels should have a good grip that won’t leave small divots in the grass, while quieter motors will help you avoid disturbing neighbors by cutting noise to an absolute minimum.”
We researched and tested numerous push mowers, evaluating maneuverability, durability, safety features, and noise level.
Greenworks 12 Amp 20-Inch 3-in-1 Corded Lawn Mower
- Seven cutting height options
- Handles long weeds well
- Can bag, mulch, or side-discharge clippings
If you want a reliable lawn mower, look no further than the Greenworks 3-in-1 Electric Corded model. Based on our testing, the Greenworks lawn mower proved to be both efficient and effective, earning the top spot on this list. Despite the patchy condition of the grass, it cut down long, spindly weeds. And with seven easy-to-use cutting heights available, ranging from 1.5 inches to 3.75 inches, finding the perfect setting for the grass was a breeze. The mulching, side discharge, and bagging worked well, with only a few clippings escaping during the bag removal process.
Using the mower felt secure and reliable. To start the lawnmower, you’ll need to press a button. This feature gave us peace of mind as it minimizes the risk of children accidentally starting it. The mower felt sturdy and was easy to operate, even over divots. While the lawn mower is pretty small, it was a little bulky to turn. Yet, we only needed one hand to push it, freeing up our other hand to hold the cord. We appreciate the cord retainer feature that keeps it from getting unplugged while mowing. However, we think that placing it at the top of the handle would have been more convenient as we still had to flip the cord to move it out of the way. We did appreciate how the handle conveniently folds for easy storage in a garage or small shed.
While a corded push mower might not be a convenient option for all users, with this model, you won’t have to worry about a dead battery in the middle of mowing, and there won’t be any unpleasant gas fumes or the need to change the oil. Plus, considering this mower’s features and power, we think it’s a great value. We also found this lawn mower to be incredibly simple to set up, with only 10 minutes of assembly time, and a few screws needed. It comes with a three-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: 217
Cutting Width: 20 inches | Weight: 52 pounds | Power Source: Corded | Clippings Options: Bag, mulch, side discharge
Best Overall, Cordless
RYOBI RY401110-Y 20-Inch 40-Volt Cordless Push Lawn Mower
- Long runtime
- Load-sensing technology adjusts to grass thickness
- LED headlight
- Handle folds for storage
You’ll get nearly the power of a gas mower but no smelly fumes with this Ryobi push mower that comes with a 40-volt, 6.0-Ah battery that runs for up to 48 minutes on a single charge. The cutting deck is 20 inches wide, and there are seven cutting levels ranging from 1.5 inches to 4 inches, so you can quickly and cleanly mow lawns up to 1/2 acre in size, whatever your type of lawn grass. The mower senses the thickness of the grass and automatically increases the power to handle dense patches, then dials it back a bit once you’re in the clear, which helps extend the battery runtime. With 10-inch rear wheels and 8-inch front wheels, it’s fairly easy to push the mower over slight slopes and uneven terrain.
This push mower comes with a bag for catching clippings, but you’ll have to purchase a side-discharge chute separately if desired. You can also let the clippings mulch back into the lawn. The mower has an LED headlight, which is very helpful when mowing in the evening or early in the morning. The telescoping handle can be set to the height most comfortable for you while you mow and then folded down completely for convenient storage of the mower in your garage or shed.
Along with the battery, the mower comes with a charger that takes around four hours to recharge the battery fully. If you purchase a second battery or have other Ryobi batteries on hand, then you can take advantage of the mower’s onboard battery storage compartment and swap out batteries when needed. The mower is covered by a five-year limited warranty and the battery by a three-year limited warranty.
Price at time of publish: 399
Cutting Width: 20 inches | Weight: 56 pounds | Power Source: Battery | Clippings Options: Bag, mulch
Sun Joe MJ401E-P2 Electric Lawn Mower
If you only have a small lawn to tend and don’t want to spend a lot on a mower, then this reasonably priced electric mower we tested from Sun Joe is a great option. Assembly was a breeze, with only four main components to put together. We swiftly put together the mower in just 10 minutes before proceeding to test it out. Upon turning on the mower, we were pleasantly surprised by how quiet it was. Compared to gasoline-powered alternatives, this one can be started with the push of a button and produces no harmful emissions. Keep in mind that you will need an appropriate outdoor-rated extension cord—either a 50-foot 14-gauge or 100-foot 12-gauge. Those with large lawns may need to invest in a longer cord.
We were impressed by the mower’s performance, as it was easy to turn and trimmed the grass evenly. The mower has a 14-inch cutting deck and three height adjustments ranging from 1.18 to 2.52 inches. The bagging feature worked well, although it didn’t hold much (10.6 gallons), so it filled up quickly. If grass gets stuck in the mower, it automatically shuts off, which is a great safety feature. Restarting the mower was a breeze after removing the grass from under it.
The Sun Joe Electric Mower is an excellent choice for those on a tighter budget due to its low price and high quality. It’s a safe, efficient, and simple lawn mower that anyone with a smaller yard can confidently use. To make storage convenient, the mower’s handle can be folded down. Additionally, the mower is backed by a two-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: 99
Cutting Width: 14 inches | Weight: 34 pounds | Power Source: Corded | Clippings Options: Bag
Troy-Bilt TB110 21-Inch 2-in-1 Gas Push Lawn Mower
- Powerful motor
- Delivers a clean, even cut
- Easy to start
- Large rear wheels offer improved handling
Unlike many gas mowers, which require seemingly endless cord pulls to power up the machine, this one starts right up, thanks to Troy-Bilt’s ReadyStart technology. And once started, the 140cc Briggs Stratton engine has plenty of power to slice through even thick grass, leaving your lawn neatly groomed. This sturdy mower has a 21-inch cutting deck and six easily-adjusted cutting levels ranging from 1.25 inches to 3.75 inches, so whatever your type of lawn grass, you can cut it to the appropriate height. However, one downside is that, like many gas mowers, you need to change the oil periodically—use 10w-30 oil—and to do so, you’ll need to tip the mower onto its side to let the old oil drain out before adding the new oil. There is no need to mix oil with gasoline, though.
Thanks to Troy-Bilt’s TriAction cutting system, the mower gives an exceptionally clean cut to the grass and produces very fine clippings, which can either be mulched back into the lawn or collected in the included 1.9-bushel bag. There is no side-discharge option on this mower. Its 11-inch rear wheels allow the mower to move easily over even rough terrain and up or down gentle slopes on lawns up to 1/4 acre or so in size. It comes fully assembled and has a two-year limited warranty.
Price at time of publish: 399
Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 66 pounds | Power Source: Gas | Clippings Options: Bag, mulch
Best Reel Mower
American Lawn Mower Company 14-Inch Manual Reel Mower
- Cuts grass up to 4 inches
- Adjustable blade height
There’s no motor or battery in this mower; it’s entirely powered by your own exertion in pushing it across your lawn. But if you have a small, flat lawn and want the ultimate in environmentally friendly lawn care, then it’s hard to beat this reel mower. Unlike powered mowers, which have a single blade that spins on a horizontal axis, this reel mower has four blades that spin vertically, neatly snipping your grass with a scissor-like action that creates a very even cut. And there’s almost no maintenance required; every few years, you’ll need to sharpen the blades. That’s it. It can occasionally get jammed on large sticks or other lawn debris, though, so it’s best to be sure there aren’t obstructions in your path while mowing.
The mower cuts a 14-inch swath of grass in a single pass. You can adjust the cutting height between 1 inch and 1.75 inches, but the mower won’t perform well on grass that is taller than four inches. The polymer wheels are 8.5 inches in diameter and roll smoothly. The clippings will mulch into your lawn, but American Lawn Mower Company does sell a separate bag for this mower if you prefer to bag your clippings. While you’ll get a bit of a workout using this mower, it does create a very fine cut, doesn’t make much noise, and won’t take up a lot of room in your garage or garden shed. It’s very reasonably priced, as well.
Price at time of publish: 82
Cutting Width: 14 inches | Power Type: Manual | Weight: 19 pounds | Clippings Options: Mulch
Best for Thick Grass
Craftsman M110 140cc 21-inch Gas Push Lawn Mower
- Powerful motor
- One-step start, no priming required
- Includes grass collection bag and mulch kit
With a 140cc Briggs Stratton engine, this gas push mower from Craftsman is best for smaller lawns that are no more than 1/4 acre in size, but it easily handles even thick or tall grass. Unlike many other gas mowers, this one starts up easily, so you won’t be yanking on the cord in frustration. The 21-inch cutting deck is wide enough to get the mowing down quickly, and there are six cutting height levels ranging from 1.25 inches to 3.75 inches. The sturdy wheels maneuver easily over rough terrain or slight slopes. You can set the mower to side discharge clippings, collect them in the included rear bag, or mulch them back into the lawn.
At 65 pounds, this isn’t a light lawn mower, but it does handle easily. On the downside, this mower does require periodic oil changes, and you’ll need to tip the mower onto its side to drain the old oil before adding fresh 10w-30 oil. As a general rule, the oil should be changed at least once each year. However, there is no need to mix oil with gas as the mower has a 4-stroke engine. A two-year warranty covers the mower.
Price at time of publish: 369
Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 65 pounds | Power Source: Gas | Clippings Options: Bag, mulch, side-discharge
Best for Small Yards
Worx WG779 Power Share 40-Volt 14-Inch Cordless Walk Behind Mower
- Easy to see when collection bag is full
- Batteries compatible with other WORX tools
This excellent mower from WORX comes with two 20-volt, 4.0-Ah batteries, both of which power the mower simultaneously for a total of 40 volts. That lets you mow up to 5,000 square feet on a single charge of the two batteries. The cutting deck is only 14 inches wide, so this mower is best for smaller yards, but you’ll be able to easily maneuver the mower around tree trunks, flowerbeds, and other obstacles. There are six height adjustments ranging from 2.5 inches to 3.5 inches. And the mower has WORX’s IntelliCut feature, which lets you up the power when tackling tough or thick grass, and then dial it back down again to conserve battery life.
At only 29 pounds, it’s not tough to push this mower, even on slight slopes. You can mulch the grass clippings or collect them in the included 0.85-bushel bag, which has an indicator that lets you know when the bag is full. There is no side-discharge option, however. The mower’s handle folds down for easy storage. Along with the two batteries, you get a dual-battery charger to charge both batteries together. The batteries can be used with any other WORX products. The mower is covered by a three-year warranty, and the batteries by a one-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: 300
Cutting Width: 14 inches | Weight: 29 pounds | Power Source: Battery | Clippings Options: Bag, mulch
Best Battery Powered
EGO Power LM2021 20-Inch 56-Volt Push Lawn Mower
- Long runtime
- Fast recharge
- Good power
- Bags, mulches, or side-discharges clippings
It’s not inexpensive, but at up to a 60-minute runtime and a blazing 40-minute recharging time, this cordless mower from EGO has one of the best runtimes of any battery mower. Nor is it lacking in power; the included 56-volt, 5-Ah battery and high-efficiency brushless motor give this lawn mower plenty of oomph for handling tall or thick grass. It occasionally struggles a bit with wet grass, however. The cutting deck is 20 inches wide, and there are six height adjustments ranging from 1.2 inches to 4 inches. You’ll also appreciate the bright LED headlights, which make it easier to mow at dusk or in the morning.
You can bag your clippings in the included grass catcher, which is very easy to lift for emptying, let them discharge to the side, or mulch them into the lawn. And when you are finished mowing, the mower’s handle folds down so you can store it easily. The mower comes with a battery and charger. Like all EGO tools, the battery is compatible with any other EGO product. The warranty is good for five years.
Price at time of publish: 499
Cutting Width: 20 inches | Weight: 57.5 pounds | Power Source: Battery | Clippings Options: Bag, mulch, side discharge
Toro 21311 Recycler Gas 21-Inch Push Mower
- Creates very fine clippings for mulch
- Powerful engine
- Nine cutting heights
- Performs well even on wet grass
Unlike many other gas mowers, you never need to do an oil change on this one; just check the oil level and top it off when necessary. And you’ll love the power of this mower, which has a 140cc Briggs Stratton engine that easily handles thick or tall grass, even if wet. The mowing deck is 21 inches wide. There are nine cutting levels ranging from 1.25 inches to 3.75 inches; that’s one of the widest cutting height ranges available and lets you closely adjust the cut to suit your lawn grass. Nor is it difficult to start; generally, it will roar to life with just one or two pulls of the cord.
Where this mower really shines is in its ability to reduce grass clippings into the finest mulch, which Toro calls “lawn vitamins.” But if you prefer not to leave the clippings on your lawn, then you’ll appreciate the included two-bushel bag. The mower can also side-discharge clippings, but to get the free side-discharge chute, you’ll need to first register your mower with Toro, who will then mail you the chute. Thanks to the tractioned 10-inch rear wheels and 8-inch front wheels, the mower handles even rough terrain easily, and it’s not difficult to push or maneuver. The mower comes with a three-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: 369
Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 62 pounds | Power Source: Gas | Clippings Options: Bag, mulch, side discharge
We love Greenworks’ 16-Inch Corded Electric Lawn Mower. With its powerful 12-amp motor, this corded electric lawn mower eliminates the need for gas, oil, and the hassle of a dead battery in the middle of mowing. If you’re on a tighter budget but still want a high-quality mower, we recommend the Sun Joe Electric Mower. You can keep your lawn looking great without disturbing the neighbors thanks to its small size, light weight, and quiet operation.
What to Look for in a Push Lawn Mower
There are four basic types of push mowers based on their power sources.
Gas mowers are fueled by gasoline. These are generally the most powerful push mowers, and as long as the tank has fuel, the mower will keep running without concern for losing power. On the downside, these mowers are noisy, they emit smelly fumes and pollutants, and they can be hard to start. The Craftsman M110 21-Inch Push Mower is an excellent gas mower.
Corded electric mowers are not as popular as they once were, but are still a good option for buyers who have small lawns and are looking for a bargain. These mowers must be plugged into an electrical outlet, meaning that you will need a long, outdoor-rated extension cord for power. Along with low cost, the pros of these mowers include that they do not emit any fumes, you don’t need to keep track of battery life, and they are relatively low maintenance. However, you’ll need to take care not to run over the extension cord while you mow. We recommend Greenwork’s 20-Inch Corded Push Mower.
Battery or cordless push mowers are powered by a battery. That means you don’t have to worry about an extension cord, and you won’t be bothered by fumes. However, even though battery technology is ever-improving, you can still expect only 30 minutes or so runtime on a single charge, although some more powerful mowers can run close to an hour before the battery runs down. While there are cordless mowers powered by an 18-volt battery, most use 40 volts or more. Our top pick, the Ryobi 20-Inch Push Mower, runs on a 40-volt battery.
Manual, or reel mowers, rely on your own muscle power to push the mower. These old-fashioned, environmentally friendly mowers have no motor or engine. However, they can do an exceptional job of neatly clipping lawn grass, as long as the grass isn’t too high or thick. These are generally very inexpensive but are suited only to small lawns, and they can be tiring to use. The 14-inch reel mower from American Lawn Mower Company is a great choice.
Some mowers, especially older models, have four wheels that are all the same size, generally between 6 and 8 inches in diameter. However, many mowers today, especially higher-end models, have typical 7- or 8-inch wheels in front but higher wheels in back. Often labeled as “high wheel” mowers, the rear wheels on these models are typically 10 to 12 inches in diameter.
The Troy-Bilt TB110 21-Inch Push Mower has 11-inch rear wheels, so it easily rolls over just about any lawn. Having the higher rear wheels lets the mower move more easily over rough terrain and makes pushing the mower uphill easier. Note that higher wheels do not mean that the mower’s deck is higher; the mower deck should still sit just a few inches above the lawn.
The tread of your mower’s wheels is also a consideration. The more grooved and patterned the tread, the easier it will be to push the mower over wet grass, soft grass, or dirt.
The cutting deck of a lawn mower is the base that houses the spinning blade that cuts the grass, and the size of the cutting deck determines the width of the cutting path achieved by one pass of the mower. The most common cutting deck size for a push mower is between 20 and 21 inches, but you’ll find mowers with smaller decks and some larger ones. Keep in mind that the larger the cutting deck, the more energy you’ll need to exert to push the mower, and the more difficult it will be to maneuver around tree trunks and other obstacles.
Smaller mowers with decks that are less than 18 inches are good for small lawns or lawns that require considerable maneuvering between trees, flowerbeds, or other obstacles. The Sun Joe Electric Lawn Mower is a corded push mower with a 14-inch deck that is perfect for small yards.
Grass Disposal Options
There are three basic options for handling the grass clippings that accumulate as you mow. Some mowers have all three options, while others only have one or two of them.
Side discharge means the mower simply shoots the clippings out of a chute on the mower’s side and back onto the lawn. You can then either rake up the clippings or leave them in place. Keep in mind that leaving large clippings on the lawn can smother the grass, however.
Mulching the clippings means the mower blades chop the clippings into very fine pieces before dropping them back onto the lawn from underneath the mower’s deck. These finely-cut clippings decompose much faster than unmulched clippings, so they won’t smother your lawn and provide valuable nutrients to the grass as they decompose.
Bagged mowers have a rear bag that catches the clippings as they are cut. You then lift the bag off the mower and empty it once you’re finished working.
The EGO Power LM2021 20-inch push mower includes all three clippings options.
A push mower’s engine or motor merely powers the cutting blade; it is not connected to the mower wheels. That means you are required to supply the pushing power yourself to keep the mower moving across your lawn. A self-propelled mower, however, uses its engine or motor to power the blade and the wheels, meaning that the mower moves forward on its own power, leaving you to basically just steer. Self-propelled mowers are easier to use, especially when mowing up hills, but you’ll pay much more for these mowers. Still, it might be worth it if you have a very large or very hilly yard.
If properly cared for, a good push mower can last you a decade or longer. However, to achieve that goal, you need to carry out regular maintenance, which can include oil changes and filter changes on gas mowers, periodic blade sharpening, removal of caked-on grass and mud from the mower’s deck, and storage of the mower in a spot where it isn’t subjected to weather extremes. You should also take care not to mow over rocks or large sticks, which can damage the mower’s blades, deck, or motor. As a rule of thumb, gas mowers tend to last longer than battery mowers.
Like other seasonal outdoor products, lawnmowers go on sale at big home improvement centers at various times of the year. Often, you’ll find mowers on sale in the early spring as home improvement centers try to tempt buyers who are just starting to get back into their lawn care routines. But you’ll often also find sales during the late fall, when lawns are starting to go dormant in many parts of the country, and stores look to reduce inventory so as not to have to store it over the off-season. The big summer holidays of Independence Day, Father’s Day, and Memorial Day are also good times to purchase a mower, as most home improvement centers will have them on sale at those times.
A rotary mower has a motor or engine that is powered by gas, a battery, or by an electric cord. These powered mowers usually have a single blade that spins very rapidly on a horizontal plane inside the mower’s cutting deck. The spinning of the blade creates a slight lift in the grass, which is then cut by the blade. Reel mowers, also called manual mowers, do not have a motor or engine. Their only source of power is your own exertions in pushing them across your lawn. Reel mowers usually have three or more blades that spin vertically around a central axis. They cut the grass in a scissoring motion as they are pushed, which gives a very clean cut to the lawn. When choosing between a rotary and a reel mower, you’ll want to consider the size of your lawn, your own physical strength, and endurance, the amount of time you have to devote to lawn care, your budget, and your desire to be more or less “green” in your lifestyle. Rotary mowers are more expensive than reel mowers, require less effort to use, and get the mowing accomplished faster. Reel mowers are best for small lawns only and can be tiring to use, but they are relatively inexpensive and are the most environmentally friendly option.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Michelle Ullman, who is a writer specializing in home and garden products. She has been a commerce writer for The Spruce since 2020, covering a wide range of home improvement products, including power and hand tools, painting supplies, landscaping tools, and tool organizers.
To choose the best push lawn mowers for this article, she evaluated dozens of mowers based on power, range of cutting heights, ability to mow over uneven terrain or handle thick grass, options for disposing of grass clippings, and overall value. She also considered feedback from customers, both positive and negative, as well as product reviews on home improvement and lawn care websites.
She also received extensive, helpful input from Noah James, a professional landscaper and owner of Liberty Lawn Maintenance.
This article was updated by Daniela Galvez, a Senior Commerce Editor for The Spruce specializing in home improvement, gardening, and lifestyle. For this roundup, she reviewed testing results to select the best push models that performed best.
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.