Lawn mower aluminum deck. 20 Things to Know When Buying a New Lawn Mower

There’s lots to consider when it comes time to buy a lawn mower

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When you’re thinking about buying a lawn mower, you need to find the mower that matches up with what you need for your lawn. You’ll find that walk-behind mowers have engines that range from 140-cc to 190-cc. Pick the engine size that will handle tasks like cutting through tall grass, wet grass, leaf mulching and bagging.

There are several different engine styles out there, including a side valve engine, engines with overhead valves or a direct overhead valve. An overhead valve engine is quieter and has better fuel consumption typically, but it costs more. Bonus: If you’re shopping during holiday season, don’t miss these amazing lawn mower sales.



You’re going to be walking behind the mower or riding it for years to come so you’d better make sure it’s comfortable. Make sure the walk-behind mower can be set at the right height for you or the tractor seat is firm enough for you. A stand-on mower is another option to consider. If you plan to buy one, then make sure you check out our list of the best stand-on mowers.


Features like John Deere’s Easy Change Oil Filter are important to think about before buying a lawn mower. Are other mower parts easily replaceable like the air filter or how tough is it to replace the mower’s pull cord? If you know how to tune up a lawn mower you can get it to last a long time. Another way to get it to last a long time? Get a lawn mower cover.

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Electric Mowers

When deciding between electric vs. gas lawn mowers, consider the size of your lawn. If you don’t have a huge lawn, a battery-powered electric lawn mower may be perfect. Cordless mowers are quieter, require less maintenance, and of course, run without gas or oil. But best of all, you’ll never have to start a gas engine—you just push a button or lever and you’re mowing. Here are a few reasons why you should switch to electric lawn care.

As lithium-ion battery technology has improved, most manufacturers have included cordless mowers in their lineup, so you’ll have plenty of choices. Many of these mowers can cut an average suburban yard (about one-fifth of an acre) on a single charge. for battery-powered mowers are similar to those of gas-powered mowers, and you’ll find most of the same features, too.

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Drive System

If your lawn is relatively flat and not huge, chances are you’ll be perfectly happy buying a push mower—that is, a mower that’s not self-propelled. In addition to being cheaper, mowers without power to the wheels are lighter, have fewer mechanical parts to wear out, and are usually easier to maneuver.

If you have hills or a large yard, a self-propelled mower is a better choice. Front wheel drive mowers pull the mower along but may lose traction on hills, where you tend to push down on the handle. And if you bag your grass, the weight of the bag will reduce the traction on the front wheels, making the drive wheels less effective. In most cases, rear- wheel drive is the best option since it works great on hills and with a bag. All-wheel drive is needed only for severely sloping terrain.

If you buy a self-propelled mower, consider upgrading to variable speed for more flexibility in matching your mowing speed to the lawn conditions and your walking speed.

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Spending Up Front

Residential, walk-behind lawn mowers range in price from less than 200 to well over 600. And you may be wondering if it’s worth spending top dollar on a mower. In addition to the extra features available on more expensive mowers, high-end mowers have better-quality components. You’ll find easy-rolling ball bearing wheels, long-lasting composite or aluminum decks, and top-quality engines. And most high-end mowers include a longer warranty, too. This adds up to a mower that will last longer and need fewer repairs. So you may save money by not having to repair or replace your old mower.

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Online Reviews

Even a top-brand mower will occasionally have a quirky problem. One good way to discover whether the mower you’re considering has a hidden flaw is to check online reviews. You’ll find user reviews on manufacturer websites, Amazon and other websites where lawn mowers are sold. But keep in mind that there will always be a few users who have had a bad experience. Multiple complaints about the same problem should be a red flag, though.

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Your Local Dealer

You may be able to save a little money by buying a lawn mower from a department store or home center. But buying from a local servicing dealer has advantages that might outweigh any cost savings. First, you’re more likely to get better purchasing advice from the more knowledgeable staff at a dealer showroom. And when it comes time for a tune-up or warranty repairs, you’ll know right where to go for convenient, personal service. Most dealers have at least two or three top-quality lawn mower brands to choose from and will display the most popular models on the showroom floor.

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A Good Mulcher

If you mulch your grass, look for features like special mulching lawn mower blades or an aluminum or composite deck that resists grass buildup on the underside better than steel. If you prefer to bag your grass, make sure the bag is easy to remove and reinstall. And for the greatest versatility, look for a mower that also has a side discharge chute for times when you’ve let your grass grow too long for mulching or bagging. Some mowers have features like Toro’s ‘Bag On Demand’ that simplify the changeover from bagging to mulching. Honda makes a mower with a feature called Versamow that allows you to mulch and bag at the same time, and adjust the percentage of clippings that go into the bag.

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Cutting Height Adjustment

Try out the height adjusters on the mower you intend to buy to make sure they work smoothly and easily. On some mowers, a single lever adjusts a pair of wheels or even all four wheels at once to make sure you are mowing at the right height.

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Electric Start

If pulling a starter rope is difficult for you or anyone else who will be using the mower, look for a mower with an electric start. A built-in battery and starter motor eliminate the need to pull-start your mower. This is great for people with shoulder or strength problems. The electric start feature is also handy when you need to stop to empty the grass-catcher bag or pick up a stick that’s in the way. Just turn off the engine. Restarting is a button-push away. Honda even makes a mower that charges the battery while you mow, so you don’t ever have to plug in the mower to recharge the battery. You’ll spend about 100 more for the electric start feature.

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Stop Without Restarting

If you collect your grass clippings and need to empty the bag frequently, or if you have to stop often to pick up sticks or move toys out of the way, you know what a hassle it can be to restart the lawn mower every time. You can avoid this problem by shopping for a mower with a blade brake clutch (BBC) or Toro’s Blade Override System (BOS). Mowers with either feature allow you to stop the blade but leave the engine running. Expect to pay about 100 more.

Lawn Tractors: Easy Deck Engagement

For safety reasons, the cutting blades don’t automatically spin at start-up; you have to engage them with a mechanical lever or an easy electric push-button. Some of the lever mechanisms are awkward or stubborn, so try before you buy.

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Lawn Tractors: Get a Bumper

Trust us on this: You’re going to smack a tree someday, and that impact can destroy the hood. So plan on buying a lawn mower with a bumper or set aside some dough to buy an add-on bumper from the manufacturer. And if your little collision with the tree made your lawn mower not start, here’s how to fix it.

Lawn Tractors: Check the Hour Meter

All lawn tractors require maintenance based on hourly usage. A built-in hour meter takes all the guesswork out of maintaining your tractor. You can always add an hour meter later (50), but the built-in models eliminate that hassle.

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Lawn Tractors: Know Engine Size and Features

Lawn tractor engines are sized to match the mower deck and climb the grade listed in the manufacturer’s specs. Buying a lawn tractor with a larger engine won’t get you a higher top-end speed, but the larger engine is important if you plan to haul a cart or add a snow blade or a snow thrower accessory.

Most tractor engines have traditional carburetors. However, the Cub Cadet model shown above, has electronic fuel injection (EFI), which dramatically reduces the starting problems associated with carbureted engines and ethanol fuel. Plus, Cub Cadet claims its EFI system boosts fuel efficiency by 25 percent.

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Mow-in-Reverse Mechanisms

Lawn tractors automatically stop blade movement the instant you shift into reverse. To mow in reverse, you have to hold in a button the entire time you’re mowing in reverse or turn the key to the reverse position and then reposition the key when you want to move forward. We slightly prefer the button system, but both are inconvenient.

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Convenient Gas Gauge

Some models have a gas gauge you can check while driving, while others offer a see-through tank. The less expensive models require you to stop and lift the hood to check the fuel level. You’ll also want to be sure to empty out the gas in your lawn tractor before winter.

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Rear-Engine Riding Mowers

Rear-engine riding lawn mowers do one thing: cut grass. Compared with lawn tractors, they’re less powerful, slower and cut a smaller swath (maximum width: 30 in.). At 800 to 1,400, they’re not always cheaper than a lawn tractor. The least expensive models are a good choice for smaller yards and limited storage space.

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Garden Tractors

Garden tractors are the heavy-duty models. They start at about 2,200 and top out at about 8,000. They accept larger mowing decks (up to 72 in.!) and a wide range of implements such as tillers, seeders, snow throwers, front loaders and backhoes.

Best Makita Lawn Mower Reviews – Updated for 2022

Having already published our best lawn mower reviews article and also one on the best electric lawn mowers, we know mowers. We’ve spent countless hours cutting with them and testing them on our property. So what if you’ve already decided on Makita as your manufacturer of choice? You still have over a half dozen models to choose from! We polled our best Makita lawn mower reviews for many different applications to help you decide. We’ve reviewed nearly every model and have the testing, data, runtime, and more to help you make an informed decision.

Best Makita Lawn Mower Review Overall

Makita XML08 21″ Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Review

If you want the best Makita lawn mower review we did all year, we have to recommend the XML08 we first reviewed in 2021. This model gives you the goods without quite going overboard. In fact, we’ve seen the mower and batteries on sale for 699. You can also buy just the mower and add your own set of batteries. For commercial Pros or anyone on a 1-acre lot or less, this Makita lawn mower should do the trick.

Testing during the summer, we set the deck to 3-inches and loaded up four 6.0Ah batteries. We didn’t exactly take it easy—cutting Bermuda, Bahia, and St. Augustine. About 2/3 of our cutting area was pre-cut to 5 inches. The other 1/3 hadn’t been cut at all in two weeks. We had a runtime total of 47 minutes. On a regular maintenance cut, we would have easily cut for more than an hour.

Commercial self-propelled mowers run more than 1000. Sticking with battery competitors, STIHL’s self-propelled model with a similar battery loadout is 879. That may seem expensive compared to residential mowers, but you get much more in terms of build quality and cutting power. The Makita XML08 self-propelled lawn mower is a good solution when your crew needs a solution for where gas mowers are unwanted or unwelcome.

Aside from perhaps making the battery switch automatic, there’s not much to complain about with this mower. Take a look at the XML09 if you want a true aluminum deck that adds a bit more weight as a tradeoff for better weather resistance and a higher price point.

Our Favorite Makita Lawn Mowers for Pros

Makita XML09 21″ Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

We already declared the XML08 the best Makita lawnmower we reviewed so far. However, if you want to kick it up a notch, the nearly-identical XML09 adds an all-aluminum deck that makes this mower even more weather-proof. It does add some weight, but nothing you wouldn’t get from a commercial gas model. Of our Makita lawn mower reviews, the XML09 really stands apart (it’s also the most expensive model Makita makes).

You get the same power and runtime as the XML08, but it eliminates the plastic on the front of the deck. Instead, the aluminum (not steel) deck extends all the way front with a metal guard out front as well to avoid damage from obstructions, stone borders, etc.

Look for the Makita XML09PT1 lawn mower to run about 999 with a set of four 5.0Ah batteries.

Makita CML01 ConnectX 21-inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

For landscaping crews, the Makita ConnectX 21-inch self-propelled lawn mower takes direct aim at the problem of runtime. Its ConnectX 1200Wh backpack is like having a little more than thirteen (13) 18V LXT 5Ah batteries. Makita isn’t the first to have a backpack battery, but we really like their implementation. The backpack-style battery connects directly to the top of the ConnectX lawn mower. You don’t have to tether yourself to it with a cord.

When it comes to runtime, you can mow up to 3 continuous hours. For the way most professional crews use their walk-behind mowers to supplement their ZTs, it’s enough to get through an entire day.

As a professional-grade mower, the Makita CML01 runs 949 as a bare tool. The battery adds another 1399 for a grand total of 2348 if you buy them separately. Like Makita’s other lithium-ion tools, the warranty runs 3 years on both the mower and the power supply.

Best Makita 36V Push Lawn Mower for Homeowners

Makita XML11 21″ 36V (X2) Self-propelled Push Mower

If you don’t require a self-propelled mechanism, the Makita XML11 presents a great entry-level option for homeowners who still have a reasonably-sized property (up to 1/2-acre). The Makita XML11CT1 lawnmower kit includes four 5Ah batteries and typically out around 499. That includes a rear bag and dual-port charger.

Makita claims around 40 minutes of runtime with these batteries, and the self-propelled mechanism has a variable speed between 1.5 and 3 MPH. Single-lever height adjustment lets you set the blade to cut between 1-1/4″ and 4″. Lastly, the handle folds down to make garage or shed storage a breeze. Given the 499 price, this mower might be one of the best bangs for your buck in the 21-inch self-propelled range.

Best Makita 18V (X2) Lawn Mower for Really Small Yards

Makita XML03 18″ Push Mower

It may be that you want a self-propelled lawnmower for a bit less than the available commercial models from Makita. In that case, the Makita XML03 lawn mower provides an excellent compromise. This push mower runs just 399 for a kit that includes four 4.0Ah batteries and a dual charger. That’s an insanely low price for a fully-electric battery-powered mower.

Of our Makita lawn mower reviews, the Makita XML03 might seem diminished. It lacks a self-propelled motor, and you “only” get an 18-inch wide deck. However, it can cut up to a 1/3-acre in 43 minutes or less. The steel deck also provides commercial-level quality—letting it work just as well for a more maneuverable solution for landscapers.

With a folding handle for easy storage and a single-lever cut height adjustment (13/16″ – 3″), you have everything you need for a smaller yard or super-maneuverable commercial mowing tool.

Best Electric Push Lawn Mower (Not Self-Propelled)

Makita XML07 Push Lawn Mower

The Makita XML07 is essentially the same as the XML08 that we recommended above but without the self-propelled drive. Makita made huge improvements to this model compared to earlier versions to get it ready for commercial use.

You get the same steel deck commercial landscapers love. Like other Makita lawnmowers, the XML07 uses two 18V batteries to run (it’s a 36V mower) and has room for four packs so you don’t have to go back to the trailer or garage as often.

Makita also dialed in a Quiet Mode for its brushless motor. When you’re trying to conserve runtime or keep the noise level down in lighter cutting conditions, it keeps the blade at a lower—and quieter—RPM. Pick up this capable commercial-level push mower for 699 with four 5.0Ah batteries and a dual-port charger.

How We Make Our Best Makita Lawn Mower Picks

Deck Size and Material

When doing Makita lawn mower reviews we have to understand the deck size and material. Pros typically want steel decks (Makita even has a model with an aluminum deck to save on weight). While most insist on 21-inch deck size for cutting grass, many Pros need a solution that can get into tighter areas where the zero turn or stand-on cannot. For that, 17-inch and 18-inch models excel.


How much runtime a battery-powered lawn mower has is only part of the equation. The best information is how much area you can cut on a charge. We recommend Makita mowers with an eye to the amount of cutting they can be expected to accomplish on a set of 4 batteries.


The build quality largely includes the deck material, but also takes into account the other items consumers and Pros need for extended use. We’re looking for solid components that will last well beyond the warranty period, a rigid construction, and protection for the electrical components and batteries.

Other Features

In addition to any standout features, here’s a list of the standard items we look for:

  • Drive type and function
  • Height adjustment and range
  • Handle positions
  • Discharge options


For our team of experts, value is much more than just price. It’s about what you get for what you pay. An expensive model may very well be the best battery mower value if it’s performing far enough ahead of the budget brands to justify it.

Best Makita Lawn Mowers Buying Guide

As you’re deciding on the best Makita battery-powered lawn mower for you in 2022, there’s a lot to consider. These electric mowers are a long way away from when we started with battery power.

What’s Your Budget?

While you can get a Makita battery lawnmower for less than 500, plan on spending at least 700 for a commercial kit with four batteries and more than 800 for the top models.

That can cause a bit of a conflict. When you look at what you can get for the same price on a gas mower, you get more power and features from that gas engine. It won’t have the noise, emission, and maintenance benefits, though.

Residential or Commercial Quality?

With many manufacturers, you don’t see a ton of differences between commercial and residential walk-behind battery lawn mowers. Makita mostly makes commercial lawn mowers.

These professional battery-powered electric mowers from Makita include a familiar design and features that match what professionals look for. Makita also has a pretty large dealer network that they should end up leveraging as they continue to expand into battery-powered outdoor power equipment.

Self-Propelled vs Push Drive

Considering a self-propelled drive doesn’t have a huge effect on your runtime, it’s a feature you should get if it’s in your budget. Look for variable speed control and try working it in the store before you bring it home. You can usually tell in just a few minutes if it’s comfortable and natural for your hands.

Look for a mower that disengages its drive easily when you want to pull the mower back. Some systems have a hard time letting go and force you to drag the drive wheels rather than allowing them to roll.

Let’s not completely rule out the classic push mower style, though. When you’re on a budget, you can easily save 100 or more without losing cutting performance if you’re willing to carry more of the workload.

If that’s the direction you’re heading, look for a poly deck to help reduce weight and wheels with low rolling resistance to make your job a little easier.

Self-Propel Drive Adjustment

Our testing team generally prefers a variable speed control separate from the presence bar. The Makita XML03 also includes a “Whisper Mode”. This tells the brushless motor to maintain 2500 RPM to keep the noise down and your battery efficiency up.

The Makita XML11 uses an easy-to-use speed control on the left to set the speed between the minimum and maximum extremes.

Steel vs Aluminum vs Poly Deck

In the gas-powered world, there are really no poly decks—most are either steel or aluminum. The cordless lawn mower world is much different with poly decks in every direction.

Steel is more durable, but it’s very unlikely you’re going to wear through a poly deck over the life of your battery-powered lawn mower. Poly also has an advantage in design. It’s much easier to make subtle changes in the shape that optimizes airflow for better lift, mulching, and bagging than a steel deck.

And, while steel is more durable, aluminum saves weight and resists corrosion. If you have a lot of small rocks you kick up when you’re mowing or perhaps your 15-year-old doesn’t pay quite as much attention as you’d like, then a steel or aluminum deck can extend your mower’s life!

Bag, Mulch, or Side Discharge?

You probably already know whether you prefer to mulch or bag. Here in central Florida, we usually mulch to return nutrients to the lawn and avoid stopping every 10 minutes (literally) to dump the bag.

Sometimes, however, you go on vacation or the weather prevents you from hitting your normal mowing day. That’s when side (or rear) discharge becomes helpful.

Instead of keeping the grass up in the deck for finer mulching, it kicks it out. You could bag it, of course, but you’d spend a lot of time emptying. For the sake of getting your cut back under control, side discharging can help keep you moving along when your grass gets long.

Some Makita mowers give you all three options. That way, you can keep that side discharge chute somewhere handy just in case you need it.

Deck and Blade Size

Most of the best electric lawn mowers have 20 or 21-inch deck sizes with slightly smaller blades (Makita is one brand that lists the actual blade diameter rather than the deck diameter).

Makita also provides smaller models appropriate for smaller lawns or areas with a lot of landscaping to work around.

The larger deck sizes are most helpful on lawns over 1/4-acre where they offer more significant time savings. For lawns 1/4-acre or less, even a 17-inch deck works well. Those smaller decks also work for taking care of limited areas where zero turns cannot fit.

Height Adjustment and Range

This one is really about what your preference is. We find most people set their height once and leave it, so just make sure the mower you choose has the cutting height you need.

The majority of electric lawn mowers have all the height range you need to cover a wide variety of grass species. If you prefer to cut at heights over 3-1/2 inches or under 2 inches, just double check that the mower you’re looking at covers it.

Multiple Battery Ports

If you have a lawn that’s more than 1/3 of an acre, there’s a good chance you can benefit from multiple battery ports. There are three possibilities: a second storage port, a second active port with a manual switch, and a second active port with automatic switching.

Automatic switching is the most convenient and usually comes on higher-priced mowers. Manual switching and simple storage take some extra effort, but not as much as going back to the garage or trailer for another battery. With four battery ports onboard, Makita at least ensures you have plenty of runtime available on their 18V X2 (36V) mowers.

Why Buy an Electric Lawn Mower?

The best Makita electric lawn mower for you should get your lawn cut on one charge. No matter which model that is, they all share some common characteristics. There are no gas emissions and no gas engine to maintain. You still need to clean it off when you’re done, but the maintenance is much easier and takes less time.

Makita lawn mowers also dramatically cut down noise compared to gas mowers. The early bird gets the worm and if you want to start mowing at 7:00 on Saturday morning, your neighbors can probably sleep through it. of a night owl? While many battery-powered mowers have headlights, Makita’s do not—so no night mowing for you!

Our favorite reason to buy a Makita electric battery lawn mower is that you can just insert the batteries and mow. There’s no cranking, no choke, and no fuel cut-off valve. As long as you have enough batteries to get the entire lawn cut, it’s an easier system to work with than gas.

Why did he kill this grass!?

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 won’t recommend anything unless we’d actually use it ourselves and we don’t really care who the primary retailer is. 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.

Clint DeBoer

When he’s not playing with the latest power tool, Clint DeBoer enjoys life as a husband, father, and avid reader—especially the Bible. He loves Jesus, has a degree in recording engineering, and has been involved in multimedia and/or online publishing in one form or another since 1992.

WOW!! You Won’t Believe What’s Wrong With This Lawn Mower

Clint’s career has covered nearly the entire realm of audio and video production. After graduating at the top of his class with an Associates Degree in Recording Engineering, he began working for the famed Soundelux studios in 1994, one of the largest post-production companies specializing in audio for feature films television. Working on a myriad of feature films, Clint honed his skills as a dialogue editor, foley editor, and sound designer. Years later, he moved into the expanding area of video editing, where he served as the company’s senior AVID video editor for three years.

Working for such clients as Universal Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment, NASA, Universal Studios, Planet Hollywood, SEGA, NASCAR, and others, Clint DeBoer dealt extensively with client management as well as film video editing, color correction, and digital video MPEG compression. He also carries several THX certifications (Technician I and II, THX Video), and is ISF Level II Certified.

After founding the CD Media, Inc. publishing company in 1996, he went on to help start or grow several successful online publications, including Audioholics (as Editor-in-Chief for 12 years), Audiogurus, and AV Gadgets. In 2008, Clint founded Pro Tool Reviews followed by the landscape and outdoor power equipment-focused OPE Reviews in 2017. He also heads up the Pro Tool Innovation Awards, an annual awards program honoring innovative tools and accessories across the trades.

Crediting God and his excellent staff for the success of what is now the largest power tool review publication in the industry, Clint DeBoer hopes to see continued growth for the company as it rapidly expands its reach. Pro Tool Reviews critically reviews hundreds of hand tools, power tools, and accessories each year to help inform users about the best and newest products in the industry. Reaching everyone from the construction industry professional and tradesman to the serious DIYer, Pro Tool Reviews helps tool consumers shop better, work smarter, and stay aware of what tools and products can help put them at the top of their game.

STIHL RM650T 48cm-19 1 Speed Petrol Self Propelled Aluminium Deck Mower Kohler XT800 Engine

STIHL RM650T Fitted with Mono-comfort handles as standard, the new RM 650 T is packed full of features making mowing large lawns quick and effortless. The innovative mono-comfort handle design improves access to the grass box, so emptying it is much easier. The RM 650 T comes as standard with a 3 in 1 cutting system, this means the mower can be used to cut and collect, mulch or as a cut and drop machine without having to change the blade. The RM 650 T comes with a 5 year extended domestic warranty (subject to registration and annual servicing).

Aluminium Alloy Deck Powder coated, aluminium non-rusting and light weight deck. A sturdy front bumper helps to provide protection from front impacts.

Multi-blade 3-in1 Collect, mulch or rear discharge the cuttings. Thanks to the specially shaped cutting blades, the multi-blade of the STIHL petrol lawn mower shreds the mown grass. When using the grass catcher box, it is then efficiently conveyed in the box. During mulch mowing, the mown grass is directly ejected onto the lawn so that it falls back onto the turf as a nutritional fertiliser.

Super soft grip Mono Handle The super soft grip is comfortable to hold, especially when used over longer periods. The extremely sturdy, height adjustable mono-comfort handlebar increases access to the grass catcher box making emptying the grass even easier, it can also be easily folded over for compact storage and transport.

Central cutting height adjustment The central cutting height adjustment is spring-loaded, which makes it easy to set the desired cutting height in several settings. The current height is indicated by a scale.

The STIHL name has stood for revolutionary technology and innovative ideas ever since the firm was founded by Andreas STIHL in 1926. Throughout their 90-plus year history that has made them the name for state-of-the-art engineering and allowed them to diversify from just chainsaws in the early days to the vast range of products that we see today. These include chainsaws and pole pruners, KombiSystems, MultiSystems, brushcutters, hedge trimmers, blowers, sweepers, pressure washers, vacuum cleaners and cut-off saws and other construction equipment, as well as all the fuels, oils and accessories to keep them running at their best.

Whether you’re a hobby gardener or a professional, STIHL have the right power tool for you, with most products available in petrol or battery cordless models.

To help you decide which mower would be best for you, it’s really useful to know how big your lawn is! One of our suppliers, Husqvarna, have a great tool that makes use of satellite mapping so that you can draw around your garden to get a lawn size measurement. Although the tool was originally designed to help choose which of their Automowers would best suit your garden, it can equally well be used to establish the size of your garden when choosing a walk behind mower.

Once you’ve got the measurement, if you want to continue with the tool, it will then recommend which automower would suit your garden. To use their Lawn Calculator tool just click here. or to look at their range of Husqvarna Automowers please click here.

And if you would still like some personal advice then please do give us a call on 01489 575242 option 2 for the sales department.

Delivery by carrier

For most purchases of £50 inc VAT and over, we offer FREE nationwide delivery via carrier, except for the Highlands and islands (priced separately by postcode). However, we only deliver ride-on mowers locally and use our own vehicles to do this, see below.

For purchases of less than £50 inc VAT, there is a small charge of £3 inc VAT

Our delivery service is operated by contracted carriers.

Larger boxed items would normally be delivered to you the next working day after shipping. This is a very reliable service and whilst most customers receive their goods the next working day it is not absolutely guaranteed as carriers can have logistical problems.

Smaller items that are shipped in packets for instance, will be posted and should arrive in 2-3 days. If you need these items sooner, please call us on 01489 550999 and we will endeavour to help where possible.

Please note that delivery can be anytime between 8am and 6pm Monday-Friday. If you need your delivery to be made in a specific time slot, please call us on 01489 550999 to discuss the options available.

Next working day delivery is subject to the goods being in stock at our warehouse.

Please call us on 01489 550999 to check availability if it is an urgent order.

Local deliveries using our own vehicles

Delivery of some products (mainly garden tractors and attachments) is limited to the local area as indicated by the list of postcodes below. Delivery is direct from our store in Swanwick using our own vehicles. One of our sales staff will personally contact you and arrange a convenient time to deliver your purchase.

Delivery is made free to most of the Hampshire, West Sussex, East Dorset and South Wiltshire region as per the postcodes below:

BH5, BH6, BH7, BH8, BH22, BH23, BH24, BH25 BH31

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Note regarding STIHL machinery only

Currently STIHL machinery is only available to collect in store. All other STIHL products including accessories, parts and forestry equipment are available for delivery. For more information click here.

  • Lawns m² up to 2.000
  • Cutting width cm 48
  • Cutting height mm 25-85
  • Grass catcher box l 70
  • Engine type XT800 OHV SC
  • Displacement cm³ 173
  • Nominal output 2.6 kW / 3.5 PS
  • Working speed rpm 2.800
  • Weight kg 45
  • Vibration value ahw m/s² 3.8
  • Uncertainty factor K m/s² 1.9
  • Guaranteed sound power level LWAd [dB(A)] dB(A) 96
  • Uncertainty factor KpA [dB(A)] dB(A) 2

The Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers in 2023 for Making Your Yard Work Easier

These lawn mowers drive themselves, taking the load off you in the process.

By Roy Berendsohn Published: Mar 21, 2023

One of the perks of the warm-weather season is getting to spend time outside. If you own your own home and have a yard, it’s very likely that in order to enjoy your outdoor space, you need to mow the lawn. The larger the yard, the more work it will be to maintain. If you have a lot of grass to cut, you’d be wise to consider a self-propelled lawn mower especially now that there are a ton of sales just in time for Memorial Day.

The primary difference between a standard push mower and a self-propelled mower is that the former moves when you push it, and the latter essentially moves itself with only your guidance. Once the engine is running, all you have to do is squeeze a handle or push a lever and the mower will start moving forward with you as you walk.

Turning the mower around is your job, but once you have your heading, just keep the drive handle squeezed and escort the mower down the path, no pushing necessary.

Self-propelled law mowers take power off the engine and route it via a belt to a pulley on the transmission and axle. When you move the drive control lever on the mower handle, you tension the belt, causing the pulley to turn, and this drives the transmission, moving the mower forward.

Move the drive control lever back and the tension is released, the pulley stops turning, and the mower stops moving forward. The belt-driven transmission is a time-tested design to power the mower and take the load off you in the process.

What to Consider

A mower is like many consumer products in that the more features a manufacturer adds, the more expensive it becomes. But a longer or more eye-catching list of features isn’t necessarily better. Sometimes less is more. Here are the most important to keep in mind.

Front-wheel drive mowers tend to be less expensive than rear-wheel drive units. They can be easier to turn because you don’t have to disengage the drive wheels to do so. Simply push down on the handlebar to raise the front wheels off the ground. However, their traction isn’t as strong on hills or when the bag is full, as there isn’t as much weight over the drive wheels.

Rear-wheel drive mowers do cost more and aren’t as easy to turn, as you do need to disengage the drive—but this isn’t too much of a hassle. Rear-wheel drive mowers shine on hills and inclines, and when the grass bag is full. In either scenario, weight is shifted rearward and over the drive wheels, which enables superior traction, thus making the self-propel more effective.

An engine as small as 125 cc can power a mower, but most are somewhere in the 140 cc to 190 cc range. A large engine helps when powering through tall, lush grass or in extreme conditions, such as with a side discharge chute in place and mowing tall weeds in a border area. Also, the extra torque provided by a larger engine can improve bagging when the going gets tough (tall, leaf-covered grass in the fall). But if you mow sensibly and pay attention to deck height—and especially if you don’t let your lawn get out of control—an engine between 140 and 160 cc has more than enough power to get the job done.

A mower can have all four wheels the same diameter (7 to 8 inches), or it may have rear wheels that range from 9.5 inches to 12 inches in diameter. Larger rear wheels help the mower roll more easily over bumpy ground.

With some mowers you can start the engine with the twist of a key or the press of a button. It’s a great option, but a luxury. Keep the mower engine tuned and use fresh fuel with stabilizer added to it, and you’ll never have trouble starting.

Any number of mechanisms can control a mower’s ground speed—a squeeze handle, a drive bar that you press forward, even a dial. There’s no single right answer here. Look at the design and think about how you like to work. For example, if more than one person will be using the mower (and not all of them are right-handed), a drive control like that on a Toro Personal Pace mower might be the answer. Just push down on the bar to make it go faster. Let up on the bar to slow down.

A mower that can bag, mulch, and side discharge is known as a three-function mower, the most versatile kind. Two-function mowers bag and mulch or mulch and side discharge.

Mowers will typically have one, two, or four levers to control the deck height. Single-lever adjustment is the easiest to use, but it requires more linkage, which adds weight and complexity. If, for some reason, you find yourself varying deck height frequently, it’s a good option. Otherwise, two or four levers work just fine.

Only Honda makes a gas-engine mower with a high-impact plastic deck (there are battery mowers that have plastic decks). Otherwise, mowers generally have a steel deck, and a few manufacturers—Toro, for one—offer a corrosion-resistant aluminum deck. An aluminum deck won’t rot the way a steel deck will, but you still need to keep it clean.

This is a hose fitting mounted on top of the mower’s deck. When you’re done mowing, hook up a hose and run the mower to power wash the underside of the deck. We’ve had mixed results with these, but they’re better than just letting a mass of dried grass clippings accumulate.

expensive mowers come with a more durable bag with more dust-blocking capability. If you bag a lot, especially leaves or other lawn debris in the fall, then you need a mower with a higher quality dust-blocking bag. Having said that, if you rarely bag, the standard one that comes with a mower will last you the life of the mower.

Also called wide-area mowers, machines in this subgroup help homeowners better reconcile their need for more power and speed with the fact that they may not have enough storage for a tractor or zero-turn mower. A typical residential walk mower has a single-blade deck that cuts a swath from 20 to 22 inches wide. Wide-cut mowers (built for homeowner use) have either a single blade or, more typically, a pair of blades, cutting from 26 to 30 inches with each pass. Some of these are rated for light commercial use and have larger decks, in the 32-inch range, and engines that start at 223 cc and go up to about 337 cc.

Wide-cut mowers typically employ gear or hydrostatic drive transmissions, and they have top speeds of about 4 to 6 miles per hour. At their fastest, they move so quickly you have to trot to keep up with them. Needless to say, they’re overkill for small yards; only opt for one of these if you’ve got a significant plot of land that you need to keep tidy, but not one so large that you’d be better off going with a full-on riding mower.

How We Tested and Selected

We compiled this list based on Popular Mechanics mower testing and our knowledge of the lawn mower market at large. For our testing, we put mowers through the paces using our standard Popular Mechanics methodology: We cut turf grasses such as fescues and blue grass and rougher non-turf grasses like Timothy, clover, orchard grass, and wild oats, all in both normal and shin-deep heights. We mow uphill, downhill, and across the faces of hills. The maximum slope we cut is about 30 degrees.

That may not sound like much, but it’s about all you can do to stand on it, let alone push a mower up it or across it. We mow damp and wet grass to test general cutting performance and whether clippings accumulate on the tires. And we cut dry and dusty surfaces to see how well the bag filters under less-than-optimal conditions.

Honda HRN 216VKA

Key Specs

Honda mowers enjoy a sterling reputation. Having tested their walk and self-propelled mowers for the last 30 years, we feel confident that Honda’s entry level mower is a great choice for homeowners looking for power and durability. The HRN features a GCV 170 gas engine that’s built to withstand long hours of operation.

If you do your own maintenance (and most owners who buy this class of product do), you’ll appreciate the easily accessible spark plug and the fuel shutoff valve that enables better winter storage. Close the fuel shutoff and run the mower until it sputters to a halt. This will clear the carburetor of any gasoline, which will prevent the ethanol in it from disintegrating and causing running issues later on. Open the shutoff valve in the spring, add some fresh gasoline, and the mower should start easily.

All this maintenance stuff is great, but we can also tell you that our past test findings on other Hondas prove that their cut quality is outstanding for cleanliness. Sharp blades deliver a velvet-like finish. And their bagging ability is also quite good, in the same league with other well-bagging mowers from Toro.

In all, if you take mowing seriously, you should enjoy this Honda. If you have a little wiggle room in your budget, consider the Honda HRX, which features a mower powerful engine and a composite deck that won’t rust and is renowned for its durability.

One note is that Honda has announced that it will cease selling lawn mowers in the United States after this year—so if you’re considering buying one, best do it sooner rather than later.

Toro Recycler 60-Volt Max Lithium-Ion

Key Specs

Toro mowers have garnered more recommendations from us than any other brand for two reasons: build quality and cut quality. These were amply demonstrated in our testing as the Recycler turned in the best ratio of cut area per amp-hour of battery in the self-propelled category, while at the same time not skimping on cutting, mulching, or bagging quality.

We attribute this outstanding mower performance to three features, all upgrades to the previous version of this machine. First, the air vent at the front of the mower deck seems to improve mulching and bagging performance. Toro calls it Vortex technology, a design that increases air flow under the deck. This helps to stand the grass for a cleaner cut, which improves mulching performance, and also allows better airflow into the bag when collecting the clippings.

Next, the company’s redesigned “Atomic” blade configuration appears to assist the air flow and clipping movement. Finally, the three-phase, 60-volt motor is exceptionally efficient, resulting in a large cut area for a single battery.

Toro has maintained features that make this mower work: rear wheel drive, a one-piece deck that’s all steel (no plastic nose), 11-inch wheels to help it roll over roots and crevices, and the same fold-forward handle that was an industry breakthrough when it was introduced some years ago.

Ryobi 40-Volt Brushless Self-Propelled Mower

Key Specs

This is one of Ryobi’s top-of-the-line mowers, and it’s American-made construction is something we wish we saw more of. It delivers a tremendous cut area with its two 6-Ah batteries providing a total of 12-Ah of capacity, and its X-shaped blade leaves a pristine surface in its wake.

Ryobi estimates the design should provide 70 minutes of run time; we didn’t time our cut, but it strikes as plausible. Its rear-wheel drive and reasonably aggressive tire tread pattern provide good hill climbing and sidehill cutting performance, and its bagging on all surfaces (level, sidehill, and uphill) is also commendable.

Other ease-of-use features include an easily installed or removed bag that mounts and dismounts straight up and down through the handle; deck adjustment is quick and easy thanks to a single-level deck height adjustment. The straight edge deck is polypropylene; it will never rust and needs very little care other than basic cleaning.

Toro TimeMaster 30 in. Briggs Stratton Personal Pace

The Toro Timemaster 30-in. mower has been around for several years and has earned a reputation as a sturdy workhorse for homeowners who want to cut down on their mowing time. It’s also used by some professionals as well. A few years ago the Timemaster got a slightly more powerful Briggs and Stratton gas engine, so it should have no issues powering through most demanding mowing jobs.

The Timemaster is rear-wheel drive and features Toro’s Personal Pace drive system that’s used on many of its self-propelled mowers. This allows the mower to move at your speed by simply pushing down or releasing the handle, which is spring-tensioned.

With a 30-in. deck, Toro claims the Timemaster will help you reduce your mowing time by about 40% compared to using a standard-sized mower. You can mulch, back, or side discharge with the Timemaster, and the handlebar can be locked in a fully vertical position to reduce space consumption in storage.

If you have half an acre to a full acre of lawn to mow and prefer the experience of a walk-behind mower versus a tractor or zero-turn, the Timemaster is worth a look.

Craftsman M220

Key Specs

Craftsman mowers have been doing very well in our tests, so we can recommend this one because it’s so much like the many other of the brand’s models that we’ve tested. If you’re looking for a good blend of maneuverability and power, you’ll get it with this mower. Its front drive helps move it along and makes it easy to turn.

It’s important to note that front-drive mowers do lose some traction when running uphill, particularly with a full grass bag. But if your slope is less than 20 degrees, and you’re not bagging uphill, you’ll be fine. The side discharge will also help you handle tall grass. Adjust the two deck levers to bring the mower up to full height and have at the rough stuff.

The fact that this mower bags, mulches, and side discharges is a plus, enabling you to handle a wide range of mowing conditions, from early spring and late into the fall. Three-function mowers like this are our preference for that versatility.

Toro Super Recycler Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Key Specs

This is a beauty of a mower, with a cast-aluminum deck and a smooth-running Briggs Stratton 163-cc engine. We tested the Honda engine-equipped version, and it was effective at both bagging and mulching, even in moist grass.

Equipped with rear-wheel drive and the Personal Pace system (the farther you push the drive bar, the faster the mower goes), it’s an effective hill climber and moderately effective on sidehill cutting. It has relatively small 7.5-inch tires on all four corners, which causes this Toro to bump up and down a bit on washboard surfaces. But the good news is that it’s equipped with a far higher quality tire than we’re used to seeing these days. We didn’t notice them pick up any grass on moist surfaces.

Other features we like include its forward-fold handle that has a built-in shock absorber that Toro calls a Flex Handle Suspension, and a high-quality grass bag that loads through the handle, from the top.


Are there special maintenance considerations with self-propelled mowers?

Yes. Both front- and rear-wheel drive mowers typically feature a drive belt, which can crack or wear out over time. Fortunately these belts are not difficult or particularly expensive to replace.

Secondly, you may have to replace the drive wheels occasionally. These wheels are driven with gears. there are typically teeth on the inside diameter of the drive wheel that line up with a gear on the axle. These teeth can wear out, especially if they are made of plastic. Higher-end mowers may feature drive wheels with a metal gear that meets the metal axle gear, which improves longevity of these components.

My lawnmower says I don’t ever have to change the oil, but just add oil when needed. Is this OK?

It’s not a good idea to never change the oil in your lawn mower. In a lawn mower, same as a car, oil degrades over time and is less effective at reducing heat and friction in metal components. Changing the oil in your lawn mower is easy to do and will significantly increase its service life. For most homeowners, changing the oil at the beginning or end of each mowing season should be sufficient, though there is certainly no harm in doing it more often.

Roy Berendsohn has worked for more than 25 years at Popular Mechanics, where he has written on carpentry, masonry, painting, plumbing, electrical, woodworking, blacksmithing, welding, lawn care, chainsaw use, and outdoor power equipment. When he’s not working on his own house, he volunteers with Sovereign Grace Church doing home repair for families in rural, suburban and urban locations throughout central and southern New Jersey.

World Self Drive Aluminium Deck Lawnmower 22 | WLZ21H

The World WL21H Self Drive Lawnmower. 21in ihas been specifically designed for medium to large sized gardens. Powered by a Briggs Stratton 625 Series engine, its self-propelled transmission allows for maximum control with minimum effort. Its large rear wheels give perfect cutting results even in the most demanding of garden conditions. It comes equipped with a 53cm single lever centralised height adjustment system. It also contains a deck wash facility. This versatile machine offers a 3-in-1 system for cutting your grass. Firstly, it comes with a rear discharge system which simply allows the grass to fall to the ground when cut. Secondly, its collection facility features an impressive grass bag capacity of 70 litres. Finally, it also offers the added facility of recycling your grass through the use of its mulching kit.

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