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Top 5 Riding Lawn Mowers for 2023 To Gain the Advantage Over Your Grass

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If you’re looking for a riding lawn mower to conquer your lawn in 2023, one of these models from John Deere, Husqvarna, Cub Cadet, or Ryobi might serve you well.

Summer is around the corner, and for some owners, riding lawn mowers are the only way to stay on top of lawn maintenance. However, the market is full of options, from EFI-equipped large-deck options to fully-electric mini mowers. Fret not; one of these five riding mowers can deliver what you need to conquer your grass in 2023, like the John Deere S130, S120, and Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro LT.

What are the top five riding lawn mowers?

When it comes to well-rounded riding mowers for small to medium lawns, these five are some of the most capable on the market.

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  • Husqvarna YTH18542
  • John Deere S130
  • Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro LT
  • John Deere S120
  • Ryobi RY48111

Additionally, the Husqvarna YTH18542 boasts two sets of cutting blades instead of a single cutting surface. However, the deck can be difficult to dismantle for sharpening, per ZDNet. Further, the YTH18542’s 18.5-horsepower Briggs Stratton engine is more than enough to handle challenging lawns and hills. The Husqvarna model starts at around 2,399.00.

What engine is in a John Deere S130?

John Deere’s S130 riding lawn mower packs a 22-horsepower, 724cc Briggs Stratton engine. As a result, the S130 is a more powerful riding mower, albeit more expensive than the Husqvarna YTH18542, per Bob Vila.

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over, the John Deere model will mow in reverse, packs multiple blades, and delivers easily controlled throttle via a hydrostatic transmission. Better yet, Bob Vila says the S130 will eagerly handle a two-acre lawn, but anything over three acres might be pushing it for the green machine.

Is a Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro LT one of the best riding lawn mowers?

With a 19.5-horsepower Kohler engine and a 42-inch deck, the Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro LT is an excellent gas-powered alternative to the John Deere S130 and Husqvarna YTH18542. over, with starting price point of 2,399, the Cub Cadet XT1 model is comparably priced in the segment.

Better yet, potential owners won’t be compromising compared to close competitors; the Enduro LT packs a smooth hydrostatic transmission and twin-blade cutting system.

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How much is a John Deere S120?

The John Deere S120 starts at 2,699.00, making it a pricier option than a comparable Husqvarna YTH18542 or Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro LT. However, the S120 shares many of the features of the S130, like the 22-horsepower engine and a 42-inch cutting deck.

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Is a Ryobi RY48111 a good electric riding mower for small lawns?

The Ryobi RY48111 is an excellent option for potential owners seeking an electric mower to tackle their small to mid-size lawns. With a low-maintenance, fully-electric 100 amp-hour battery system, the Ryobi model can continuously cut up to 2.5 hours.

Self-propelled lawn mowers vs. riding lawn mowers

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With the growing season now in full swing, the grass in your lawn is likely inching higher each day. To keep your yard from looking overgrown, every home dweller should invest in a quality mower.

There are a few factors to consider before rushing off to buy a new lawn mower, however. For those with more extensive yards, you’ll want a riding mower or a self-propelled mower. Riding mowers save you time and energy and are best for large plots of land. Self-propelled mowers work well on uneven terrain, require less effort to push and are cheaper than riding models.

Riding lawn mowers

Most lawns under half an acre don’t need a riding mower. That doesn’t mean you can’t use them for smaller spaces, especially for those with limited mobility. If faced with a sizeable overgrown lawn, a riding mower is your best friend. They cut through tough grass with ease while you sit and steer comfortably.

Riding mowers are available with decks ranging from 30 to 50 inches. To mow larger areas in the least amount of time, a wider deck is most effective. Like the car you drive, a riding mower also features a manual or automatic transmission.

For quality riding mowers, expect to spend between 1,000 and 4,000 depending on brand, size, power and features.

Riding mower cons

Top gas-powered riding mower

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You can comfortably mow a couple of acres in no time with this automatic, Troy-Bilt gas-powered mower. It features a convenient foot pedal and low-effort maintenance.

Self-propelled lawn mowers

For those with in-between lawns that feel a little too big for a push mower but aren’t large enough for a riding mower, a self-propelled mower is your best option. Offering assistance as you mow, you don’t have to use all your strength to push a heavy lawnmower up a hill or over long distances.

Self-propelled mowers come in various deck sizes and you can find gas-powered options with both two- and four-stroke engines. Two-stroke engines are cheaper and lightweight, but four-stroke options last longer.

Whichever style you choose, on average, expect to pay between 250 and 1,000 for a decent mower.

Self-propelled mower cons

Top gas-powered self-propelled mowers

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This easy-to-stow Toro mower is great for space-saving and quickly cutting mid-sized lawns without hassle.

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A great all-around option, this Honda mower is capable of more than clipping your grass. The four-in-one feature lets you decide between mulching, bagging, discharging and leaf shredding.

Top electric self-propelled mower

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You don’t have to worry about adding gas or oil to this environmentally friendly Greenworks mower. It features a 60-minute runtime and variable speeds.

Should you get a riding mower or a self-propelled mower?

There is no quick-and-easy answer. Factor in the size of your yard, the amount of physical labor you’re willing to put in and your budget. That should give you a clearer picture of which mower would work best. Both have their advantages, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference and need.

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Matthew Young writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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Make your yard the envy of your neighbors with one of these top lawn mowers.

By Tony Carrick and Mark Wolfe and Glenda Taylor | Updated May 18, 2023 4:59 AM

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

A good lawn mower is crucial for maintaining a lush, well-manicured lawn. With so many options and brands to choose from, selecting a mower that is appropriate for your yard can be challenging. To this task easier for you, we got our hands on some of the most popular options and put them to the test on our own lawns.

Whether you’re replacing an old mower for your current lawn or buying one to maintain a new property, it’s important to choose one that fits the size and terrain of the property. This guide explores the features and factors that are important to consider when shopping for the best lawn mower while reviewing some of the top models on the market.

We tested the following lawn mowers to find out how they would perform in terms of cutting ability, finish quality, and operator comfort. Read on to learn more about the criteria we used to select our picks. Then check out our lawn mower reviews to learn why we consider these models to be some of the best lawn mowers available.

  • BEST OVERALL:Honda 21-Inch Walk Behind Mower
  • BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:Craftsman M220 150-cc 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
  • BEST3-IN-1:DeWALT 2X20V MAX 21.5-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
  • BEST BATTERY-POWERED:Ego Power 21-Inch Mower
  • BEST RIDING LAWN MOWER:John Deere S130 42-Inch Lawn Tractor
  • BEST CORDED LAWN MOWER:American Lawn Mower 14-Inch 120V Corded Mower
  • BEST FOR LARGE YARDS:Toro 50-Inch TimeCutter Zero Turn Mower
  • BEST ROBOTIC:Worx Landroid M 20V Robotic Lawn Mower
  • BEST ECO-FRIENDLY:Makita 36V XML03 Electric Lawn Mower

How We Chose the Best Lawn Mowers

All of the mowers included in our list exceeded quality standards established in our shopping criteria and proved worthy through testing. We selected each of the above mowers based on our previously mentioned shopping considerations. After sourcing the mowers and assembling the mowers according to the manufacturer’s instructions, we tested them in an average yard in order to gauge capabilities in several key areas. The most critical aspects we observed included general quality and durability, mowing power and cut quality, and operator comfort and convenience.

We also tested each according to its claimed abilities. Riding mowers were used for larger and sometimes rougher areas and were assessed for power, speed, and comfort. Walk-behind and push mowers were mostly restricted to testing on well-established and well-maintained lawn spaces and closely monitored for cut quality and user convenience. We actually pre-mowed the grass ahead of testing the robot mower since it is intended to maintain rather than reduce grass height.

Our Top Picks

We tested mowers that range from corded lawn mowers for small yards to powerful self-propelled gas lawn mowers for medium-size yards to riding mowers that can handle 3 acres or more. Read on to learn more about these mowers, how they performed during our grass tests, and why we think they are some of the best.

Honda 21-Inch Walk Behind Mower

Whether it’s a car, generator, or lawn mower, it’s tough to beat the reliability and durability of Honda engines—and such is the case with this self-propelled gas lawn mower. Its powerful GCV170 engine powers not just one but two blades, giving it a cleaner, more precise cut over most other gas-powered lawn mowers that have just a single blade.

With its rear-wheel drive, this mower is ideal to contend with yards that have slopes and more-rugged terrain. Its engine is formidable, and so are its features. An easy-to-use clip system makes it simple to switch between its three grass-clipping options—mulching, side discharge, and bagging—and the well-designed speed controls add to the quality of this premium self-propelled walk-behind mower.

In our tests, this Honda walk-behind mower’s high-quality components and thoughtful design really stood out. The engine layout and oversize gas gap made fueling up and adding oil easy and can simplify oil and filter changes. After a quick 5-minute assembly of the handle and bagger and adding fuel and oil, the mower started on the first pull. The engine ran smoothly and surprisingly quietly.

The variable-speed controller at first felt awkward until we realized that we could adjust the angle to any of five positions. The mower had plenty of power for mowing and driving the wheels, even in dense, tall grass, and on steep slopes. If the goal is to find a top-quality walk-behind mower that is easy to use and leaves a great-looking finish, this would make an excellent choice.

Product Specs

  • Power source: Honda GCV170 gas engine
  • Deck size: 21 inches
  • Type: Self-propelled walk-behind
  • Twin-blade mowing system for finer mulching
  • Auto choke for fast, easy starting
  • Variable speed, 0 to 4 miles per hour
  • Clip system makes changing cutting modes easy

Get the Honda lawn mower at Amazon or Lowe’s.

Craftsman M220 150-cc 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mow

Craftsman is a well-established, well-respected brand in the world of lawn mowers, and this gas-powered model is no exception. It boasts a powerful 140-cc engine and an ample 21-inch mowing deck, making it ideal for yards up to ¾ of an acre.

Large 8-inch rear wheels with heavy tread make it easy to push this mower, while six cutting heights offer versatility. The mower also offers three disposal settings: mulch, side discharge, and bag. And while this mower may lack the power assist of other walk-behind mowers, it is significantly cheaper, making it a good choice for those with level yards who may not need a self-propelled mower.

We liked the Craftsman mower’s affordability and simplicity. It only required about 20 minutes of easy assembly. The completed handle configuration was a bit less refined in appearance, the grip area is unpadded metal, and the blade and drive control cables are retained on the handle by heavy-duty cable ties.

After adding oil and gas, the mower started easily on the first pull. It had good power for cutting average lawn grass and pulling uphill, but it bogged down ever so slightly in tall, overgrown grass. The front-wheel-drive feature made turning easy, but a fully loaded bagger could weigh down the rear and cause it to lose traction (we did not experience this). The fuel tank size is adequate to mow about a half acre per fill-up. This could be an excellent value pick for a budget-minded shopper looking for a durable self-propelled mower.

Product Specs

  • Power source: 150 cc Briggs Stratton gas engine
  • Deck size: 21 inches
  • Type: Walk-behind
  • Front-wheel drive assists the user while mowing; prevents strain while in use
  • Easy to start, no priming or choke required
  • Side-discharge, mulch, or bag for ease of cleanup after mowing
  • Self-propelled feature is not adjustable; may not be suitable for some users’ preferences
  • Non-padded grip could lead to hand fatigue with extended use

Get the Craftsman lawn mower at Ace Hardware, Lowe’s, or Blain’s Farm Fleet.

DeWALT 2X20V MAX 21.5-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

With mulching, bagging, and side-discharge capabilities, the DeWALT 2X20V MAX self-propelled cordless lawn mower has a better-than-average build quality and thoughtful design. Its heavy-duty 21.5-inch, 15-gauge stamped-steel deck adjusts to six different cutting heights from 1.5 to 4 inches. Running on two batteries and offering up to 60 minutes of runtime per charge, this mower is ideal for small to medium yards up to a half acre.

We set up a test area for the DeWALT mower in our yard, with about 10,000 square feet of lawn that included some short but steep slopes, weedy spots, and dense grass. We mowed the test plot three times, requiring just over two full battery charges each time. The DeWALT covered about 5,000 square feet per charge when adjusted to 2.5 inches high with the grass catcher in place. At 3.5 inches, that extended to about 8,000 square feet and 40 minutes of runtime. The controls were well laid out for easy operation, and the cushioned handle felt comfortable while we mowed. Also, this mower is a space saver. With its fold-flat handle and vertical storage capability, it only needs about 2.5 square feet of storage floor space.

The DeWALT 3-in-1 lawn mower features a security-key-enabled push-button start. Its adjustable font-wheel-drive self-propulsion eliminates half the work of mowing, lets you choose your own pace, and works on all kinds of terrain. The motor is equipped with auto-sensing technology that seamlessly increases torque when encountering tougher mowing conditions. In our tests, it was easier to turn than rear-wheel drive mowers. A removable discharge chute, grass catcher, and integrated mulch plug allow for quick conversion to your preferred method of grass-clipping disposal. Overall, the quality of the DeWALT 3-in-1 mower is better than most and is a solid choice for quarter- to half-acre lots.

Product Specs

  • Power source: Two 20-volt, 10-Ah lithium-ion rechargeable batteries
  • Deck size: 21.5 inches
  • Type: Self-propelled walk-behind
  • Heavy-duty steel mower deck with 3-way grass-clipping management
  • Front-wheel drive self-propel system supports safe operation and smooth turns
  • Powered by 2 rechargeable DeWALT XR 20-volt (V) lithium-ion batteries
  • 2-stage brushless motor preserves battery life and automatically increases power for tougher mowing conditions
  • Ergonomic cushioned hand grip are comfortable to use and reduce operator fatigue
  • Heavy and cumbersome to maneuver manually without the self-propel feature engaged
  • Takes a long time to recharge the batteries with the included DCB107 battery chargers
  • The mower’s battery compartment has an awkward design

Get the DeWALT cordless lawn mower at Ace Hardware, The Home Depot (with 3 batteries), Tractor Supply Co., or Acme Tools.

Ego Power 21-Inch Mower

The Ego Power comes ready to mow, including a battery and Rapid charger. The advancements Ego has made with its battery-powered mower sets it atop the cordless models. It boasts 45 minutes of runtime, thanks to its brushless motor and large 56-volt, 5-Ah battery. With its 21-inch deck, the Ego is suitable for yards up to half an acre. The Ego Power also includes other features that make it an attractive buy, including speed controls that the user operates with an intuitive dial and bagging, mulching, or side-discharge capability.

Overall, the Ego Power cordless mower was easy and comfortable to operate in our tests. The preset self-propelled pace felt comfortably moderate but not leisurely. The mower had no difficulty cutting normal grass and did not bog down noticeably in thick, tall grass. Finish quality was good to excellent.

We did notice that mowing in “push” mode (without the self-propelled motor running) extended battery life by about 20 minutes to as much as 65 minutes per charge. Buying a second battery for extended runtime, or as backup for tougher mowing, may be a wise investment. This mower would be a good choice for small and midsize lawns up to about a half acre and for owners who want to reduce noise, exhaust, and fuel handling.

Product Specs

  • Power source: 56-volt, 5-Ah lithium-ion rechargeable battery
  • Deck size: 21 inches
  • Type: Self-propelled walk-behind
  • 45 minutes of runtime per charge; suitable for small- to large-sized yards
  • Battery charges in less than an hour; suitable for multiple uses or yards
  • Battery works with many other Ego Power tools
  • Emits power similar to a gasoline mower
  • Higher cost than gas mower with similar power
  • Poor traction on slopes; may not be ideal for hilly yards
  • Noisy drive system; may not be ideal for nighttime mowing

Get the Ego lawn mower at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or Lowe’s.

John Deere S130 42-Inch Lawn Tractor

Larger yards from ½ to 2 acres call for a bigger machine for mowing. The John Deere S130, with its 22-horsepower V-twin engine and 42-inch deck, offers excellent mowing ability plus performance and comfort features that extend its range of use. The 20 by 10-8 rear tires and wide stance provide excellent stability and help to cushion the ride. It features hydrostatic operation, single-lever throttle with spring-return choke, ergonomic deck-height adjustment lever, dash-mounted digital fuel gauge, LED headlights, and John Deere’s Easy Change 30-second oil change system. The included drop-pin towing hitch and PTO make it compatible with a wide range of John Deere branded and non-branded yard implements such as utility carts, spreaders, sweepers, snow blowers, and more.

In our extensive test, the S130 lawn tractor proved to be a comfortable, capable riding mower with good maneuverability in a wide range of conditions. It easily handled grassy slopes up to 13 degrees (4.5 vertical feet per 20 linear feet), which is the limit recommended by the manufacturer. Measured against leading competitors, it offered a tighter real-life turning radius thanks to superior weight balance, and a seat base that is 3 inches higher to provide a better operator vantage point.

The high, open-back seat was well cushioned and supportive while allowing excellent ventilation. The deck height, blade engagement, and throttle controls were well positioned for convenience and safe operation. Even with the slightly elevated price tag, this mower offers tons of value, making it an excellent choice for most larger yards.

Product Specs

  • Power source: 22-horsepower V-twin gas engine
  • Deck size: 42 inches
  • Type: Lawn tractor
  • High vantage point for optimal viewing of the yard and machine while mowing
  • Tight turning radius allows for clean and even cutting paths
  • Comfortable seat and controls make it easy for the user to mow the lawn
  • Should not require much maintenance to keep running for years

Get the John Deere riding lawn mower at Lowe’s or a local John Deere dealer.

American Lawn Mower 14-Inch 120V Corded Mower

Corded lawn mowers make an easy, affordable choice for smaller yards where a gas-powered mower would be a hassle. This mower from American Lawn Mower Company can keep the yard looking great at a low price point, without worrying about the mess or expense of gasoline or batteries.

Its 14-inch deck suits smaller yards and smaller storage areas. At about 20 pounds, this mower is easy to maneuver for those who might struggle with a heavier model. It also has a surprising range of options, allowing one to bag or mulch clippings (though it oddly has no side-discharge option). It also offers a convenient single lever for height control, eliminating the need to make height adjustments for each wheel individually.

In our tests, this model delivered a rock-solid performance. Assembly, which entailed installation of the handle and cord retainers, took about 10 minutes to complete. It mowed well, even in dense, weedy grass, and the bagger worked well. The small size and lightweight build limit this mower’s practicality more than its corded motor does.

By starting close to the electrical outlet and mowing progressively farther away, we easily minimized the risk of cord damage or entanglement. As an affordable mower for small yards, with arguably the least environmental impact, this quiet, capable corded electric model could be the best choice.

Product Specs

  • Durable, maintenance-free electric motor; eco-friendly compared to similar options
  • Lightweight and easy to use; offers excellent maneuverability
  • Offers bagging and mulching options for easy clean-up after mowing
  • Not ideal for large-sized yards; suitable for only the smallest yards
  • No side-discharge option; may not be ideal for some users’ needs

Get the American Lawn Mower electric lawn mower at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Walmart.

Toro 50-Inch TimeCutter Zero Turn Mower

If spending an entire afternoon mowing the lawn isn’t a problem, those with yards that could house a couple of football fields require a mowing deck that can level large swaths of green in a single pass. With its massive 50-inch deck, the aptly named TimeCutter from Toro is ready for a big job. This large mower, which boasts a 24.5-horsepower engine, can reach speeds of up to 7 miles per hour, making it capable of handling yards of 3 acres or more.

Toro also makes sure the operator will be comfortable while covering all that ground with its adjustable MyRIDE suspension system that absorbs bumps in the lawn as well as vibrations from the engine. Plush seating provides support and comfort for longer mowing sessions. Toro also includes other useful features, including a foot-lever-assisted deck-height adjustment, toolless oil-change system, and a cupholder.

When we tested the 50-inch Toro TimeCutter, we timed its performance on a 1-acre area of an old field converted to lawn. The MyRIDE suspension system smoothed out the ruts and bumps for a comfortable ride at near top speed. It mowed the acre in 20 minutes, a blistering 3-acres-per-hour pace. The finish quality was excellent, and it used less than 3 quarts of gasoline. As a point of comparison, a 22-HP, 46-inch lawn tractor that has been used to mow the same area takes nearly an hour and uses more than 1.25 gallons of gas.

Even before factoring in the amazingly comfortable ride, we appreciated the prospect of mowing in one-third the time and reducing fuel and maintenance expenses by half on this large lot. For large grassy areas, it’s hard to beat the efficiency of a zero turn mower, and the TimeCutter makes an excellent pick.

Product Specs

  • Huge mowing deck makes this model ideal for medium- to large-sized yards
  • Shock-absorbing suspension system integrated; can tackle tough jobs without causing strain to the user
  • Large engine is capable of cutting thicker grass varieties

Get the Toro TimeCutter lawn mower at The Home Depot or a local Toro dealer.

Worx Landroid M 20V Robotic Lawn Mower

Pushing the edge of lawn mower technology further is this robotic lawn mower from Worx. It functions similarly to a robot vacuum cleaner by mowing a preset area of up to a quarter acre on its own. The operator sets up wire barriers that the lawn mower won’t cross, ensuring it only mows in a set area. It has a laser eye that guides it around any obstacles that might be in the yard. A single front caster and two large rear-drive wheels carry it through the yard while allowing it to turn on a dime.

The Worx Landroid M can also connect to a Smart device, through which the user can program daily schedules or direct the mower to stop or start. It runs off the same 20-volt Worx battery that powers the company’s other yard tools and will automatically return to its charging station when the battery gets low.

Testing the Landroid M required a detailed setup process, but then the operation was almost completely hands-off. After installing the Landroid mobile app, the base station, boundary wire, and establishing the mower’s Wi-Fi connection, we programmed the robot for a daily mowing schedule. Setup and programming were straightforward with easy-to-follow instructions and tutorial videos on the Landroid app. The whole process took about 2.5 hours, including time taken to watch videos. The covered area included a sloped section, a narrow corridor, a broad contiguous area, and an off-limits landscape bed.

Landroid mowed on time every time and stayed inbounds without a problem. On an evening when rain moved in during the mowing cycle, Landroid’s rain sensor picked it up and sent the unit back to its base station to wait it out. The only challenge we encountered was that the mower initially did not dock properly after mowing because the base station was not sitting level. After fixing that issue, it simply worked.

A week after we installed the Landroid, the grass it cut still looked freshly mowed with the exception of the edges, while the adjacent lawn outside Landroid’s coverage needed to be cut. Those looking to infuse the time-, fuel-, and labor-saving benefits of robotics into their lawn care routine would do well to consider Landroid.

Product Specs

  • Mows up to ¼ of an acre with ease
  • Can be controlled via an app through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth
  • Brushless motor extends battery life; suitable for small to large yards
  • Onboard rain sensor protects the mower from potential damage

Get the Worx robotic lawn mower at Amazon.

Makita 36V XML03 Electric Lawn Mower

The Makita XML03, an 18-inch, battery-powered lawn mower, comes with four included batteries, and the claim that it will mow up to 1/3 acre on a single charge, so we tested that claim. We marked out a 1/3-acre area on our lawn and mowed with the Makita XML03 six times over three weeks.

During testing, the Makita mower completed all but one mowing session without battery depletion—with a small battery charge remaining. However, when we tested the mower on damp grass, we depleted all four batteries before we could finish the session. Keep in mind that the Makita mower is not self-propelled, so ultimately, the mowing area will depend on user speed and grass thickness.

Operating at 3,300 rpm, its single blade matches the speed of gas-powered mowers, but dense grass resistance can hinder spinning speed. The trick to overcoming this issue is to mow more frequently—while the grass height is low enough, you’re not removing any more than 1/3 of the grass leaf.

The height adjustment (a single lever on the back right wheel) is convenient; the mower’s deck height range of 13/16 inch to 3 inches could have been improved. This limitation may impact those with specific grass types or desired cutting heights. Although a typical range of 2-1/2 to 3 inches covers many grass varieties, species such as tall fescue are often mowed at 3-1/2 inches high.

The Makita’s detachable grass-catching bag holds 1.7 bushels (16 gallons), which is on the small side, and we had to empty the clippings frequently. But overall, the Makita XML03 meets its mowing claims with reliable battery performance. It starts at the press of a button and is much quieter than gas-powered mowers, so you won’t upset the neighbors if you mow early on a Saturday morning.

  • Power source: Two 18-volt, 4-Ah lithium-ion rechargeable batteries
  • Deck size: 18 inches
  • Type: Walk-behind
  • Environmentally friendly battery power eliminates the necessity for carbon-emitting gas and oil
  • Produces less noise than gas-powered mowers, ensuring peaceful early morning mowing without disturbing neighbors
  • Comes with 4 batteries upon purchase, allowing for convenient swapping of charged sets when 1 set runs out
  • Simple push-button start eliminates the need for tugging cords or priming pumps
  • The relatively narrow 18-inch swath width may result in time-consuming mowing for larger yards
  • The Makita XML03 lacks self-propulsion, making it challenging to push on inclines
  • The grass-clipping bag has a small capacity, so frequent emptying may be necessary

Get the Makita Lawn Mower at Amazon, Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, or Acme Tools.

What to Consider When Choosing a Lawn Mower

In addition to mower type, it’s vital to consider other factors like deck size and fuel requirements when shopping for a lawn mower. Ahead, learn more about these and other important characteristics of lawn mowers.

Types of Lawn Mowers

The first step to selecting the right mower is to decide which type of mower best suits the yard.


Walk-behind mowers consist of two different kinds of mower: push and self-propelled. Self-propelled mowers have power wheels that pull the mower forward. Some self-propelled mowers have an adjustment feature to increase or decrease the travel speed for improved operator comfort and convenience. Manual mowers have no power-assisted wheels and must be pushed manually by the user.


Riding mowers include zero-turn mowers, lawn tractors, and rear-engine riding mowers. Zero-turn mowers, the most expensive lawn mowers on the market, have a motor that sits behind the operator and are controlled using two levers. The mowers get their name from their ability to pivot 360 degrees in place. Zero-turn mowers also have very broad mowing decks. Their size and maneuverability make them ideal for cutting large lawns with obstacles the user must drive around.

A lawn tractor looks similar to a farm tractor with its motor in the front of the mower. The user operates the tractor from a driver’s seat using a steering wheel. Lawn tractors have broad mowing decks but do not have the small turning radius of a zero-turn tractor. Because of their balance and traction, lawn tractors are well suited for mowing hilly terrain and may be used for other property management tasks like towing a utility cart or plowing snow.

Rear-engine lawn mowers are similar to lawn tractors but have their engines in the rear. Rear-engine lawn tractors typically have smaller decks, though they allow for greater visibility and nimbler handling for the operator.


The newest type of lawn mower, robotic mowers look similar to robotic vacuum cleaners, only they are larger and have bigger wheels that enable them to move through grass. Robotic lawn mowers can mow a yard automatically while being controlled via a Smart device.

These lawn mowers are powered by a rechargeable battery and can be programmed to mow the lawn at programmed times and intervals. Robotic mowers require the user to set up wires in the yard that create boundaries for the mower so it doesn’t wander away. They also use laser-eye technology that spots obstacles in the yard so the mower can evade them.


Self-propelled mowers come in different drive wheel options including front-wheel, rear-wheel, and all-wheel drive.

  • Front-wheel drive mowers are easier to turn by allowing the operator to raise the front wheels and use the back wheels to pivot.
  • Rear-wheel drive mowers place the bulk of the mower’s weight over the drive wheels, creating better traction for climbing inclines and slopes.
  • All-wheel drive mowers are well suited for yards with more extreme slopes and rougher terrain.

Cutting Width and Yard Size

A mower’s deck size determines the width of the swath of grass it can cut with each pass and hence how quickly it can mow the lawn. A wider deck also makes a mower less nimble, which can make it awkward to mow small lawns with flower beds, trees, and gardens to navigate.

A walk-behind mower with a deck up to 22 inches is usually a good size for a smaller yard of up to about half an acre. Riding mowers with decks that range between 30 and 46 inches are a good choice for lawns up to 1 acre. Zero turn mowers and lawn tractors with 48- to 60-inch decks can be efficient choices for larger properties.

Fuel Type

Lawn mowers can use three types of fuel sources: corded electricity, gas, and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

Electric mowers supply a constant source of power; however, they are limited by a cord that connects to a standard wall outlet. This makes corded lawn mowers somewhat awkward to use. However, they are extremely durable, have no batteries to recharge or replace, and are almost entirely maintenance free.

Gas-powered lawn mowers provide the greatest amount of power, run a long time on a single tank, and have no recharge time to worry about. However, gas mowers are loud, require more maintenance to keep in top condition than electric mowers, and produce exhaust fumes.

Battery-powered mowers run on lithium-ion batteries. They are easier to start than gas-powered lawn mowers and create no exhaust fumes; however, they are less powerful and are limited to about 45 minutes of runtime per charge. Battery-powered mowers are also significantly more expensive to purchase than gas mowers, and the batteries typically need to be replaced every 5 years.

Blade Type

Mowers come in two blade types: the more common rotary and the cylinder blade. Rotary blades are the type of blade found on most residential lawn mowers. They consist of a blade or blades that spin on a horizontal plane, cross-cutting the tops of grass blades to trim them to the desired height.

Cylinder blades, which can cut grass to a very low height without damaging it, have historically been confined to use on sports fields and golf courses. They consist of a rotating cylinder that is equipped with blades that wrap around the cylinder in a spiral pattern. The blades cut the grass using a shearing action that creates a cleaner cut than rotary blades, which can tear grass and leave a ragged edge.

While cylinder mowers (also known as reel mowers) make more precise cuts, they are not capable of cutting through taller grass. In fact, their cutting ability ranges from a height of about 1/16 of an inch to 1 inch. This limits this type of mower to varieties of grass that can survive being cut to a low height, such as Bermuda grass.

Disposal Options

Mowers offer different grass-disposal options including side discharge, mulching, and bagging. Side discharge ejects the grass clippings out of the side of the mower onto the lawn. Mulching keeps the grass clippings under the deck, allowing the blade to cut them multiple times to produce a fine mulch that quickly incorporates into the soil. Mowers that support baggers collect the clippings in a bag at the rear of the mower.

Additional Features

Mowers come with additional features that make them easier to operate and maintain. Deck height adjustment allows the user to increase or decrease the mowing height for optimal lawn health. These useful add-ons include mowing decks with built-in wash-out ports that make them easier to clean, switches that make it easy to change between cutting options, and easy-to-operate variable-speed controls for self-propelled mowers.

Many riding mowers have LED headlights for nighttime mowing, drink holders, adjustable plush ergonomic seating, and many other convenient features.


For those who have concerns about maintaining a lawn mower or are wondering how big an engine the mower needs, read on for answers to these and other common questions.

Q. How long should a lawn mower last?

Most mowers can last about 10 years, depending on how often it is used and how well it is maintained.

Q. How powerful of a lawn mower do I need?

Engine sizes for walk-behind mowers range from 140 cc to 190 cc. For tough terrain with thick grass, a larger engine is usually a better choice.

Q. Can I replace the pull cord on a lawn mower?

Yes. In fact, replacing the pull cord on a mower is a fairly simple repair, requiring just a screwdriver and wrench.

Q. How long does a lawn mower’s battery last?

As a general rule of thumb, a riding lawn mower’s battery can last about 4 years. The rechargeable battery on an electric mower can last about 5 years.

Q. How do I clean my lawn mower?

To clean a mower, tip the mower over to access the deck. Remove any grass clippings or debris that may be wrapped around the blade or stuck to the bottom of the deck. Wet the deck with a garden hose, then spray the underside with an all-purpose cleaner. Scrub the deck with a brush, then rinse thoroughly. Turn the mower back upright and use a damp rag or paper towel to wipe down the housing.

Q. How often do I need to change spark plugs in my lawn mower?

Change the spark plugs in the spring at the beginning of the mowing season or after 100 hours of use.

Why Trust Bob Vila

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

Meet the Tester

Mark Wolfe is a writer and product tester with a background in the nursery and landscaping industry. For more than 20 years he mowed, edged, planted, pruned, cultivated, irrigated, and renovated beautiful landscapes. Now he tests and writes reviews about the latest outdoor power equipment, hand tools, lawn-care products, and other outdoor-living goods.

Additional research provided by Tony Carrick and Glenda Taylor.

We tested the Craftsman electric riding lawnmower — Our honest review

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New York Post may be compensated and/or receive an affiliate commission if you buy through our links.

As a recent suburban transplant from NYC, it didn’t take long for me to realize that my years of city living had not prepared me for the realities of homeownership – more specifically, lawn care.

No longer could I rely on my superintendent to keep the grounds neat and tidy; instead, I found myself facing nearly an acre of unruly grass that demanded constant attention. In my search for a simple solution, I found myself gravitating towards a mower of the riding type. On top of that, I didn’t want the hassle of dealing with gas cans and spark plugs and oil changes – I have enough of that on the car I also had to acquire with this move.

On: product reviews

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That’s when I landed on the Craftsman 56V MAX 42-Inch Battery-Powered Brushless Riding Mower, and I must say, it has been a game-changer.

OK, full disclosure, I have been a loyal Craftsman man for as long as I can remember. I have memories of my dad getting the Craftsman tools he needed from Sears and commenting he wouldn’t go with any other brand due to their incredible warranty and, well, craftsmanship.

Do I currently have my grandfather’s steel Craftsman toolbox housing the various sets of Craftsman tools my father passed down to me nestled by my tool bench in the garage? Why, yes, yes, I do.

How to choose an electric lawn mower

Craftsman 56V MAX Battery-Powered Brushless Riding Mower, 4,899

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When choosing an electric mower, it’s important to consider factors such as the size of your lawn, the power of the motor, the length of the battery life, and the ease of maintenance. The Craftsman 56V MAX battery-powered brushless riding mower ticks all these boxes for me, making it an attractive option for those who want a reliable and efficient lawn mower for an average-sized lawn.

Depending on where you live, the average lawn size in America ranges from.25 acres to.75 acres, with Angi highlighting data from the U.S. Census Bureau that states the average lot size for a new single-family was at a record low of 13,896 square feet in 2020. If you are on the higher end of the range, maybe an electric lawnmower isn’t the best lawnmower for you quite yet.

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First, decide whether you want a corded or cordless model. Corded mowers require an electrical outlet and may limit your range of motion, while cordless models offer greater flexibility but may have shorter battery life.

Next, consider the size of your yard and choose a mower with an appropriate cutting width and battery capacity. Residential lawnmowers cutting widths typically range from as short as 21 inches to as large as 54 inches, with the average falling between 30 inches and 42 inches.

Finally, look for features that are important to you, such as adjustable cutting height, bagging or mulching capabilities, and ease of maneuverability. Personally, I was less concerned with bagging while looking because I don’t need to bag grass clippings. However, I soon realized how convenient having that option would be when I want to mow some overgrown areas or during the fall for leaf collection.

How much is an electric lawn mower?

The price of an electric lawn mower varies depending on the model and features. Corded models are generally less expensive, with starting as low as 100 up to 300. Cordless models can range from 200 to 500 or more, depending on battery capacity and other features. Premium models, like the Craftsman 56V MAX battery-powered brushless riding mower, may cost upwards of 3,000. Professional models can run you well over 10,000.

How long does an electric lawn mower charge last?

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The battery life of an electric lawn mower depends on the capacity of the battery and the demands of the cutting job. The Craftsman 56V MAX battery-powered brushless riding mower boasts a 5.0 Ah battery that can last up to 90 minutes on a single charge. This is plenty of time to mow my entire.75-acre yard, with enough juice left over for some light trimming.

The size and density of your yard play a key role in the efficiency of your battery. If your yard is full of dense, long grass, or it has lots of areas requiring maneuvering, the battery will run on the shorter side of the range advertised. If your lawn is flat and relatively easy on your mower, your battery will likely make it to the maximum shown.

The higher the voltage, the longer the battery life. It’s fairly obvious the Craftsman 56V MAX battery-powered brushless riding mower boasts a 56-volt battery, which falls well within the standard range.

How to clean an electric lawn mower

To clean an electric lawn mower, first, make sure it is turned off, and the battery is removed if possible. The Craftsman 56V MAX battery-powered brushless riding mower battery does not come out. Then, use a brush and/or air compressor to remove any clippings or debris from the underside of the deck. Next, wipe down the mower with a damp cloth, being careful not to get any electrical components wet. Finally, if you took it out, replace the battery and store the mower in a dry, protected area.

Our review

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I have been using the Craftsman 56V MAX battery-powered brushless riding mower for several months now, and I must say, it has exceeded my expectations. The mower cuts well at every setting, from the lowest height of 1 inch for a clean, golf course-style lawn to the highest height of 4 inches for more lush terrain.

The length settings are set in quarter-inch increments and can be adjusted quickly and easily with the lever located directly beside the seat on the right side of the body of the mower. This makes customizing the length for different parts of my lawn quite easy. So far, this sounds like any other riding lawnmower, right?

Well, it’s what it sounds like that really sets it apart – or, I should say, the lack thereof. When this Craftsman 56V MAX battery-powered brushless riding mower isn’t in mow mode, it’s silent.

No, no, I don’t mean quiet, I mean zero sound. One of the starkest differences is its complete lack of sound when powered on. Sometimes I don’t know if I turned it on or not. If I miss the two beeps indicating it’s on, I might never know.

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To turn it on, the break must be depressed, which is easy to forget, given the aforementioned silence upon ignition. However, it doesn’t stay silent forever. Once those blades get going, we’re up and running, and I would say the cutting force feels comparable to that of a gas-powered motor.

That said, the noise level is less than that of its gassed-up counterparts. Don’t get me wrong, it’s loud, but not like you expect a lawnmower to be. My decibel levels are more than fine with my noise-canceling Airpods at mid-volume.

The battery life is impressive, lasting for the entirety of my.75-acre yard with power to spare. And because it’s cordless, I have the freedom to roam without worrying about getting tangled up or limited by cord length.

However, I must mention that in areas of dense, weedy grass, the mower can slow down or even shut off, requiring some extra maneuvering to get through. Additionally, the propel pedal (it’s not a “gas” pedal) and the reverse pedal are very sensitive, so it’s easy to take off pretty quickly if you press a little too hard too fast.

The blades cut the lawn just like I would expect. Rarely did I have to visit a spot twice, and those few times were when I had let the grass get exceedingly long for the purposes of this review. On my normal weekly mowing schedule, I never saw rouge rough spots in need of another run.

Craftsman 56V MAX Battery-Powered Brushless Riding Mower Pros and Cons


  • Eco-friendly
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Widely adjustable cutting height
  • Blade width is generous
  • Tight turning radius
  • Battery life up to 90 minutes
  • Fast charging time of 2 hours
  • Price comparable to gas mowers the same size
  • Suitable for average suburban-sized lawns


  • Somewhat tight legroom across the knees
  • Not a zero turn
  • Motor can slow down mowing tall, dense, weedy areas
  • Very sensitive acceleration and deceleration until one gets comfortable with it
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