5 Best Commercial Walk Behind Mowers. Largest walk behind mower
Best Commercial Walk Behind Mowers
There are various forms of lawn mowers in the landscaping industry, but the walk-behind form factor does it for a lot of people.
The reason for that is not far-fetched. These kinds of mowers are great for working residential spaces to the best cut accuracy and landscape management. Besides, they are also ergonomically customized to work into tight spaces and get the job done.
However, choosing a great walk behind lawn mower is very important to get the best output from it. That is why we have created this list of the top five walk behind lawn mowers to put on your list when you are going shopping for one of these.
Why a commercial walk behind mower?
Many people ask me if walk behind mowers still has a place in the commercial market. My answer is it depends. I really only see walk behind mowers behind a good investment if you have steep hills or small gates. Otherwise, I would go with a stand on mower.
Even for small gates, I’m not sure I would go with one of these commercial walk behind mowers below. It would ultimately depend on the size of the yards with small gates. If they are large yards I would probably go with a stand on. If they are small yards I would probably go with something like a Ferris FW15 or Toro TurfMaster.
It is entirely up to you and commercial walk mowers definitely have a place it just depends on many different factors. It is very rarely a one-size-fits-all approach to setting up a trailer for commercial lawn mowering.
Hydrostatic VS Gear Drive
The difference is in the drivetrain. The hydrostatic is going to have either 2 transaxles or 2 pumps and wheel motors… similar to a stand on or zero turn mower. The gear drive mowers will use belts to drive the mower.
Personally, I would only go with a hydrostatic walk behind mower. There is no way I would ever buy a gear drive… trust me I have made this mistake. Not only are they more difficult to drive and control but if it is raining you are screwed. Wet grass or rain is the worst enemy of a belt/gear drive walk behind mower.
Best Commercial Walk Behind Zero Turn Mower Comparison
|Cut Width||52″ and 60″||48″ and 52″||36″, 48″, 54″, or 60″||36″, 48″, 54″, or 60″||36″, 48″, 52″, or 60″|
|Engine||Kohler Command EFI||Kawasaki FX651V, FX730V, or Vanguard with oil guard||Kawasaki FS451, FS600, FS651, or FS691||Kawasaki FS or FX||Kawasaki FX481V, FS600V, or FS691V|
|Drive System||Hydro-gear pumps and Parker wheel motors||Hydro-Gear ZT-3400||Hydro-Gear ZT-2800||Hydro-gear ZT-2800||Hydro-Gear ZT-2800|
|Speed||6.75 mph||7 mph||6.3 mph||7 mph||8 mph|
|Fuel Capacity||5 gallons||5 gallons||3.4 gallons||5 gallons||5.8 gallons|
|Warranty||2-year unlimited hours||2-year unlimited hours||2-year unlimited hours or 5-year / 1200 hours||2-year unlimited hours||2-year unlimited hours or 4-year/750 hours|
Exmark Turf Tracer Walk Behind Mower
The defining features of every mower in the Exmark Turf Tracer series are a combination of speed, durability, and the efficiency that they bring on board. These mowers are made in such a way that they maximize your productivity while taking care of your comfort and needs in the same vein.
Coming with options of 52- and 60-inch cutting decks, the mowers can attain ground speeds of up to 6.75mph on either of the Kohler EFI, Kawasaki, or Kohler EFI propane engine types which you can opt for.
With special optimizations to allow you to pay less on operational costs, you get to make more on your commercial lawn mower business without having to cut corners.
Simple and durable are the words that come to mind when discussing these mowers. They are built tough and without any moving parts to break. Simple is sometimes better, especially when it comes to mowers.
Check out Exmark’s website for more info and for their dealer locator!
- Industry leading parts and accessories
- Outstanding frame durability
- High-precision cutting
- Patented control system for maximum comfort
Ferris FW35 Walk Behind Mower
2022 Update: The FW35 has been replaced by the new FW45 mower. There are some great changes and additions to this mower that make it even better than the previous mower. Check out the full review of this mower here.
We made the Ferris FW35 walk behind mower second place simply based on popularity. This mower and the Turf Tracer are incredibly close and really just comes down to personal preference.
Fun fact, Ferris was actually the first company ever to introduce a hydrostatic walk behind back in the 1980s.
There are two main engine choices for this machine – the Kawasaki and Briggs Stratton Vanguard options. They have all been specially built to give you the maximum power and run on the best efficiency levels available for the mowers in this level, consuming lesser fuel in the process.
This mower has two control options, Centralized Controls(CC) or pistol grip. The CC controls are similar to Exmark’s controls but with one less step. The mower is so easy to use and operate.
The height adjustment is so simple on this mower. There is a crank that raises and lowers the deck… no more using pins! This is a huge time saver and just a lot easier on the operator.
Sporting a fabricated 10-gauge deck on top of the dual commercial Hydro-Gear transaxles, this mower represents one of the very best value for money on the market.
7 Best Diesel Zero Turn Mowers
You’re looking for a new commercial zero turn mower… is a diesel mower the best option for you? While they will usually come with a higher price tag there are definitely some advantages to them. In 1984, John Deere introduced the first-ever diesel engine on a lawn mower. Since then, most manufacturers have incorporated their Read …
Hustler Trimstar Walk Behind Mower Review
Hustler Turf is an American brand name for mowers sold across the nation. They are known for being the most innovative and best outdoor power equipment available in the industry. Hustler mowers have been around since 1964 and are still going strong. One of the lineups in the walk-behind mowers is the Hustler Trimstar. These Read …
John Deere Z950m Zero Turn Review
John Deere lawn mowers are one of the best riding mowers that are capable of your yard transformation. With easy-to-use attachments, you can use the mower effortlessly, and it provides you with full control. What type of John Deere lawn mower are you interested in? John Deere provides different lawn mowers for diverse purposes. The Read …
Replies to “ 5 Best Commercial Walk Behind Mowers ”
My number one as best as I can tell, and I’ve been looking at this for a while, is Bradley 48″ and 52″ hydro walk behinds. The current sale price not including shipping (which will add an average of 300 depending upon how far away one is from Bradley, IL) is 3,100 for the 48 and 3,400 for the 52; The problem with this “best 5” review is that it doesn’t consider “VALUE”, and so the list’s number one also happens to have a list price that is 3,900 more than the same-size Bradley hydro adding in shipping. The list expensive on the list above has the number 5 spot; the Hustler TrimStar, and it is still at least 2,000 more list price than a Bradley that is more powerful, a thicker gauge still deck, albeit a fixed deck. Besides the fixed deck (which could be a non starter for some) and, debatably but not proven, inferior engine brand, and maybe, but not proven, inferior steel quality, the Bradley WB hydro 48s and 52s have industry standard wheels/tires, bearings, pulleys, belts, thicker than most deck (7 gauge side and 10 gauge top), industry-standard Hydro Gear brand ZT2800 transmission, 25 HP commercial engine, 3 yr residential and 2 yr commercial warranty, 18 inch rear and 11 inch front wheel/tires. There have been some so-called negative reviews from folks who have never seen or used Bradley products or have never dealt with the company or dealers or have never attempted to get parts or service, but those are folks making assumptions based on non participation or rumor. But as for real, first-hand experience with Bradley WBs and/or standers, I’d say the positive review rating is near 90%, and since the price is from 2,000 to 3,900 less than competitors (at least comparing list prices) with the only negatives being a fixed deck and more traditional T-bar controls, I’d put Bradley at number 1.
Very great and informative reviews, What push mower would be a good starter for my new lawn care business? What are your thoughts on that? Thanks.
dont pay more than 150 for 1, get a mulching self propel if possible so you dont really work when using it. I found a returned to Walmart snapper self with a bs 5.5 for like 160. I also have a turf tracer 36 which I love. When my 50 inch zt dies I will buy a bradley because of the price. The 36 was to expensive but the dealer is like 1/4 Mi from my house. convenience is a big factor. Bradley dealer less than 6 Mi away though. Toro dealer is pretty close to
Great list, however, i wish you would have mentioned the scag swz hydro drive mower. yes it does have a fixed deck and some people dont like the pistol grips but there is a reason they haven’t changed the design of them much in 20 years. they tend to last longer than the business that bought them, from my experience. cut quality is great, tons of power, lasts a lifetime,the only con being that they are pricey.
Best Walk-Behind Lawn Mowers of 2023
Learn which walk-behind lawn mower models are the best for your lawn budget. Compare the key technical details, pros cons, and what are the best features.
30″ Wide Lawn Mower Saves 40% of Mowing Time? 2020 Toro Timemaster Review
An overgrown and unkempt lawn can be a homeowner’s nightmare.
Getting a landscaping crew can be expensive, so a quality walking lawn mower can help you tackle all the grass in your yard.
Walk-behind lawn mowers are the practical and manageable solution for most homeowners whether in an urban, suburban, or even rural setting.
But with so many lawn mowers coming in all shapes, sizes, and types, finding the perfect one for your needs can be hard work to find.
PropertyNest searched through dozens of walking or walk-behind lawn mowers to find the top models and brands for any kind of feature, function, and type of job.
Honda HRN216VKA Gas Self-Propelled Lawn Mower: Best Overall
Given all the money in the world, we think you can’t get better for your money than Honda walking lawn mowers because their engines are unmatched.
They are the finest in the business, but the best of the best comes with a hefty price tag. These walking mowers are not cheap.
The Honda 21 in. 3-in-1 Variable Speed Gas Walk Behind Self Propelled Lawn Mower with Auto Choke has 7 different cutting heights, ensuring you can make your lawn look just as you like it.
With its 5 adjustable speed positions, it is built not only for cutting the toughest of lawns but also for making sure you stay comfortable while doing it.
This particular model doesn’t just mow but also lets you decide how you want to dispel the clippings, whether it’s to mulch, bag, or discharge in the rear.
Troy-Bilt TB100 Briggs Stratton Engine Gas Lawn Mower: Best for Value
If you only have a small amount of grass that needs cutting and want a mower that will not break the bank, check out the Troy-Bilt.
The Troy-Bilt 21 in. 140cc 500e Series Briggs Stratton Engine 2-in-1 Gas Walk Behind Push Lawn Mower with High Rear Wheels is far cheaper than most gas mowers on the market yet does not sacrifice the power that is associated with a gas engine.
With a 140cc Briggs and Stratton OHV engine, it can handle any average-sized lawn easily.
Its 6 different cutting heights allow homeowners to keep their lawns between 1.25 to 3.75 inches.
Customers rave about this mower because it is the perfect light-duty walking lawn mower. Capable of handling any suburban lawn out there.
Even with its lightweight design, this lawn mower has improved traction to help the user with hills and uneven terrain.
And when you’re done, the handle folds so you can easily store this lawn mower even with tight storage space.
Toro 21466 60 V Battery Self-Propelled Lawn Mower: Best Battery-Powered
If you are a California resident and need a powerful lawn mower, you should keep the name Toro in mind as you transition out of gasoline-powered lawn equipment.
With plenty of gas-powered mowers on the market, Toro’s electric mowers outshine all others in terms of quality.
Most electric walking mowers do not have the power to be self-propelled, but Toro’s 60v battery gives this mower an unmatched cruise control.
The Toro also has a whopping 9 different cutting positions, making it so you can cut at any height you could ever want.
It is easy to start and easy to run, with a 40 minute run time, it is great for jobs that will not take too long.
Sun Joe 24V-X2-16LM 48 V Cordless Electric Lawn Mower: Best Lightweight
A heavy mower can be a real pain to drag around, especially if you only have a small lawn that needs clipping.
At under 36 pounds, the Sun Joe 48-Volt 16-in Push Cordless Electric Lawn Mower 4 Ah is half the weight of most gas mowers.
Its 2 24-Volt, 4.0 Ah lithium-ion batteries give the Sun Joe a shocking 65-minute run time making this light little mower outrun most of its electric peers.
This mower is very popular in older communities since it is so lightweight and easy to use.
While its 16-inch deck is smaller than most mowers, it is excellent for getting in between flower beds and other areas you would usually have to weed.
Keep in mind, since it is so small and lightweight, many people have complained that it will get bogged down quickly if faced with too much grass or if you start walking too fast.
Honda HRX217HYA GCV200 Lawn Mower: Most Durable
As mentioned before, when it comes to tough walking lawn mowers, Hondas are the gold standard.
If their everyday mower is not tough enough for the jobs you are looking to do, then their commercial option should do the trick.
It is not cheap, but this is the walking mower that professionals rely on for daily use.
Its Roto-Stop safety feature stops the blades but keeps the engine running, so if you need to step away for a second, you can without having to restart the machine.
If you have a couple of acres of 12-inch grass that needs to be cut regularly, you can not go wrong with a Honda HRX217HYA.
There are plenty of customers that bought commercial Hondas 25 years ago and claim that they are still running smoothly today.
Greenworks 25142 10 Amp 16-inch Corded Mower: Best for Small Lawns
If you have a lawn that is a little too large for a weed-eater yet too small for a full-sized walking mower, consider getting a Greenworks 25142 10 Amp 16-inch Corded Mower.
Since it is a corded mower, you never have to worry about recharging the batteries or topping it up with gas. Just plug in and go.
However, you will be restricted to how long your extension cord is, and you will want to make sure you do not accidentally roll over it while the blades are spinning.
It’s lightweight enough to be carried with one hand yet durable enough to handle any small yard.
Plus, at less than 140, this is the cheapest mower on our list.
CRAFTSMAN M430 Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower: Best for Large Lawns
If you have a really large yard and are looking to get it cut quickly and efficiently, then a CRAFTSMAN M430 223-cc 28-in Self-propelled Gas Push Lawn Mower Briggs Stratton Engine would be perfect for you.
With its pace control system, you just have to start walking, and the mower will adapt to your pace, so there’s no switching between speeds.
Its Briggs Stratton engine does not need to be primed like most gas mowers and is large enough to handle the toughest and tallest grass.
Since it is a very large walking mower, it is equipped with 4 wheels for optimal mobility.
If you are worried about fitting this beast of a mower in your garage, fear not because its handles fold in for easy storage.
What Types of Walking Lawn Mowers Are There?
Walking lawn mowers are typically used on smaller lawns. If you are sitting on acres and acres of property, you would probably opt for a riding mower, but for many homeowners, a good walking mower is all you will ever need.
That said, there are various types of walking lawn mowers with numerous features and a range of prices.
A cylinder mower or reel mower is a walking mower with vertically rotating blades at the front.
They are known for having a more precise cut than most mowers. Also, since the process does not damage the grass as much, cylinder mowers keep lawns healthier.
While great for flat lawns, cylinder mowers are not suited for uneven or rough terrain. Therefore, they are most popular amongst gardening enthusiasts who want an immaculate yard.
Rotary mowers are by far the most common type of walking lawn mower on the market. They have a single rotating blade that cuts in a horizontal motion.
While the cut you get from a rotary mower is not as precise as a cylinder mower, they are much easier to use and can handle most slopes and uneven patches of your yard.
Top 5 Best Commercial Lawn Mower 2022
Almost all the mowers recommended above are rotary mowers.
The term “push mower” is usually associated with any mower that is not self-propelled, but traditional push mowers are mowers that do not require power.
People like these mowers because they are incredibly cheap and lightweight, but they do take a fair amount of physical excretion to operate.
Making these great if you want a little bit of exercise with your weekend chores.
As their name implies, a hover mower hovers above the ground while it cuts. This gives it the unique ability to cut in any direction with ease.
They are relatively inexpensive and very lightweight, making them a popular option among homeowners.
Unfortunately, since they do not have much power, they are not suitable for large yards or tough grass.
What is the Difference Between Gas and Electric Walking Lawn Mowers?
The difference between the two is pretty big, so figuring out which one is right for your lawn should be your first step. As a general rule, though, if you have a smaller yard, you should be okay with an electric mower, but you will have to go with gas if you have a larger yard.
Gas Lawn Mowers
Gas-powered lawn mowers have been the standard for generations, and there are plenty of reasons why.
Firstly, gas-powered engines are more powerful than electric ones and thus can handle a lot more grass. You can also use a gas mower on wet grass, where an electric one would get bogged down.
Not only are their run times longer than electric, but you will also still be using your gas-powered mower years after an electric one would have broken down.
On the other hand, gas engines require a lot of maintenance. You will have to replace air and gas filters and regularly top up the oil.
Given that they use a very flammable liquid for fuel, they are more dangerous. Also, the starting process for a gas mower is more complex.
Electric Lawn Mowers
There are two main kinds of electric-powered walking mowers, and like everything else, there are pros and cons to each.
The best part about a chord-powered mower is that its run time is unlimited. So as long as you are plugged in, you can keep mowing.
Since they draw their power from an outlet, they are also some of the lightest and easiest mowers to use on the market.
You will have to get used to carrying around an extension cord when you mow and make sure that you do not accidentally run it over.
Also, the voltage that you can pull from an outlet is not as strong as gas or battery-powered mowers, so cord-powered mowers can not handle a lot of grass.
Battery-powered mowers are by far the easiest walking mowers to use. Just press a button and start mowing without worrying about priming your engine or lugging around an extension cable.
They do not use fossil fuels, so they are much better for the environment than gas-powered mowers.
Keep in mind that the physical batteries that the mowers use are expensive and usually unique to that particular product and brand.
Also, most battery-powered mowers last from 30 to 60 minutes which is shorter than gas and obviously shorter than chorded.
What is a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower?
When it comes to walking mowers, there are two kinds, push mowers and self-propelled mowers. As the names imply, the push mowers have to be pushed while the self-propelled ones will use the engine’s power to move them along.
Obviously, self-propelled mowers are the nicer of the two, especially if you are dealing with a heavy mower, but do not discount-push mowers altogether.
Push mowers are, on average, much cheaper than their self-propelled peers and are made lighter so that pushing them is not too much of a hassle.
Consider your budget and the size of your yard before deciding which is suitable for you.
How to Care for Your Walking Lawn Mower
Like all tools, you will want to take good care of your walking lawn mower, regardless of if it is gas or electric.
The most important thing you can do when you get a new piece of equipment is to familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual.
While it may be somewhat tedious, your manual will have all the information to ensure your mower runs properly for years.
One of the first things your manual will tell you is to clean your mower after every few uses. Making sure your mower is not clogged up with grass and debris is essential for its operation.
Also, regardless of your power source, you will have to sharpen and balance your mower blades periodically.
If it looks like your mower is not cutting as well, as usual, take it into a shop and get your blades redone, it will drastically improve your mower’s cutting ability.
Care of Gas Mowers
If you have a gas mower, then there are some other things you will want to do regularly to make sure it is running correctly.
Believe it or not, your gas can go bad if it is left out for too long.
Running an engine on bad gas can ruin it, so be sure to empty your tank at the end of every season.
You will need small engine oil for your gas mower, and this oil will have to be topped up every so often for your engine to run right.
If your mower is dying on you after it starts, it is very likely that your air or gas filters are clogged up.
It would be best if you were replacing both of those filters on a yearly basis. With help from the manual, you can do that yourself or take it to a shop.
If your mower is not starting at all, it may be because your spark plug has gone bad.
All gas mowers should come with a spark plug wrench so you can easily inspect your plug. Your spark plug should be coffee-colored. If it is black, then you will know that you need a new one.
How We Picked the Best Walk-Behind Lawn Mowers
Here are the key factors we focused on when selecting the best lawn mowers for this list:
The first thing we look at is the customer ratings, regardless of how good the mower seems on paper. If a product has bad reviews across multiple websites, we will never endorse it.
If you can not get your hands on the equipment, then it would not make much sense for us to suggest them. Therefore, our picks can be found nationwide brands like Lowes and Home Depot.
We would never suggest a product that is priced unfairly. Every price above is appropriate for the industry standards and its features.
Our walking lawn mower choices are equipped with every feature needed to get the job done and the standard of quality to ensure it lasts for years.
Marcus Pagliarulo is living in Texas, writing about all things construction and landscaping. Having worked as a landscaper and on job sites for years, and most recently being head groundskeeper at a prestigious guest ranch in northern Wyoming, he shares his knowledge and insights with readers.
The Best Lawn Mowers of 2023
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases made through the links below may earn us and our publishing partners a commission.
The Honda HRX217VKA is powerful, heavy and ideal for larger lawns. Read
Ego Power LM2135SP
This mower is powerful, comfortable, and a joy to use. It performed extremely well mulching and driving itself uphill. Read
Honda has produced superior power equipment for many years and this mower, which operates with rear-wheel drive, is no exception. Read
Kobalt KM 5080-06
The electric Kobalt KM 5080-06 was flexible and easy to operate, and can run bagged or bagless. Read
The Hart HLPM061US performed well across terrains and has a simple to use speed control. Read
Until just a few short years ago, gas lawn mowers were king. As more consumers are seeking eco-friendly cars, homes, and, yes, power equipment, advanced battery technology answers the call.
Today, consumers can drive an electric car, thrive in a solar-powered home and maintain their property with battery-powered equipment. But are the new electric push lawn mowers as good as the old internal combustion mowers? We decided to find out.
We tested gasoline, electric-corded, and battery-powered lawn mowers from the leading brands. We were eager to see if the battery-powered mowers could handle a large yard as well as the tried-and-true gasoline models. We weren’t disappointed. The Honda HRX217VKA (available at Amazon) came out on top as Best Overall, edging out its predecessor and our previous winner, the Honda HRN216VKA.
For the non-gasoline mowers, the Ego Power LM2135SP (available at Walmart) is our choice for Best Electric Lawn Mower. This mower set-up was quick, and it handled our testing well. The Ego Power also includes features not found on similar electric models.
The Honda HRX217VKA was a pleasure to use.
Quiet and powerful, the Honda HRX217VKA 21-inch NeXite lawn mower is the one to have for larger spaces. It is not designed for small yards, and you won’t be darting in and out of flower beds and shrubbery.
It is a pleasure to use. We had tested Honda mowers before and were familiar with their operation and overall product quality. The HRX217VKA did not disappoint. Easy to assemble and set up right out of the box, it started on the first pull of the cord.
Right away you can feel the heft of this mower with its innovative NeXite deck and powerful motor. It’s heavier than most mowers, but it feels planted on the lawn and tracks perfectly. It’s a mower for large lawns, and it makes the most difficult cuts a breeze.
With its 200cc motor and Select Drive Control, this mower easily cuts, bags and mulches the heaviest grass with ease. The Select Drive Control is almost intuitive as it lets you adjust the walking speed with a variety of settings.
The controls on the mower are large and easy to use. You can set the mower to bag or mulch or anywhere in between. Its user-friendly platform is clearly marked. You will use this lawn mower for years and years to come.
The Ego Power LM2135SP is the best electric lawn mower we’ve tested.
Until a few years ago, those who preferred not to buy an internal combustion mower had little choice. But advanced battery technology has finally arrived and the benefits can readily be seen in the Ego Power LM2135SP, a 21-inch self-propelled electric mower. This cordless mower with a cutting width of 21 inches utilizes a 56-volt lithium ion battery to power through up to 60 minutes of lawn cutting.
The Ego Power is powerful, comfortable, and a joy to use. Even though the battery only lasted about an hour, the mower performed extremely well mulching and driving itself uphill. It has plenty of torque and is capable of doing anything a gasoline-powered mower can do. It is clean, easy to use, and efficient.
The set-up on this mower was the easiest of the bunch. The handle slides and folds across the mower with ease, making storage a snap. Adjusting it to a personal height takes seconds.
A quick 50-minute charge on the battery and you’re ready to go. The battery charger even has a cooling fan that improves charging times and keeps the battery cool.
Like some of our other mowers, the Ego Power has twin blades that improve mulching and keep the trips to empty the rear bag to a minimum. Cutting height is achieved with one easy-to-access lever.
Operation is straightforward, and the composite deck makes the mower light and easy to maneuver around yard obstacles. Simply depress the power button, pull the green handle and the blades begin to spin. Dual buttons on the handle make engaging the self-propel feature safe and comfortable.
The Ego Power comes with LED headlights for convenience, and it was the only mower we tested that could propel itself when the blades were not spinning. This was a nice feature that eliminated pushing the mower back to the garage.
Other Lawn Mowers We Tested
Previously our pick for best lawn mower, the Honda HRN216VKA is a 21-inch self-propelled gas mower that’s a great choice for any yard. Honda has produced superior power equipment for many years, and this mower, which operates with rear-wheel drive, is no exception. It can handle the toughest lawns with ease and won’t take up much room in the garage.
The set-up was easy and the mower started on the first pull. Its smooth engine is quieter than the other gasoline mowers, and it has more than enough power to cut and mulch the grass even while going uphill.
The Honda has a stacked and offset blade design that produces smaller clippings, which allows for better mulching and bagging. This means more efficient cutting and fewer stops to empty the grass bag. The bagging and mulching options can be easily and safely selected, once the mower is off, by using one lever on the mowing deck.
The innovative self-propel system is comfortable on the hands, provides adequate speed control, and can even be adjusted for those who are taller or shorter. Folding the handle for storage can be done quickly. This Honda lawn mower even has a gas shut-off valve for off-season storage.
The Kobalt 80V 21-inch electric mower is a great choice for anyone that wants an affordable, flexible, compact mower that is easy to maneuver and doesn’t require extension cords or gas cans. The mower is strong enough to chop through thick grass, and offers a highly adjustable cutting height.
At 66 pounds it is very easy to operate, with the ability to go bagged or bagless, and you can fold up the push handle for compact storage.
The main draw here is the 80V battery system, which gives you an hour of runtime in our testing, enough to cut about 7,500 square feet on a full charge. It also works in a variety of other Kobalt tools, and spares will run you right around 150. Charging the battery takes around 45 minutes when it’s dead, and it just pops into the battery slot and the mower can turn on with a press of a button if the safety key is inserted—much easier than having to use a traditional pull start.
Overall if you need a nice, basic mower to get the job done and want to go cordless, this is an excellent choice. It cuts clean lines, it’s easy to use, it can handle most lawns with ease, and the light weight makes it much easier to move up and around slopes and hills.
Especially if you’re planning to invest in a range of electric tools, this is a good system to buy into.
This Hart lawnmower was a pleasant surprise.
After removing it from the box and charging the batteries, we fired it up and took it out to the thick, lush grass.
It performed beautifully; its powerful electric motor cut through the lawn with ease and even increased its revolutions when we cut thicker grass. This mower easily handles a larger lawn.
The Hart mower moved with power and confidence through the lawn, and the simple-to-use speed control was right there at your fingertips. While our winning Honda gas mower has a sophisticated Select Drive System, the Hart’s simple slide bar works as well or better.
This excellent lawnmower has the power and convenience of mowers costing much more.
The Toro is a worthy competitor to the top-ranking mowers on this list.
This Toro lawn mower has the largest cutting area at 22 inches, and it is powerful and comfortable to use, thanks to its Personal Pace self-propel system.
To engage the self-propel, simply push the lever forward a bit and the mower begins to move forward, push it a little more and the mower moves faster. After a couple of rows of cutting, you will see how easy it is to regulate speed. This system is not as intuitive as some of the others, but it still works quite well.
Another great feature: The Toro has Briggs and Stratton’s check-don’t-change oil system that never requires an oil change.
Storage is also a snap as the handle folds down and the mower can be stored vertically.
At just 58 pounds, this mower makes cutting small lawns a lot of fun. The rear discharge chute allows you trim close to trees, beds, and shrubbery. I found myself zipping around obstacles using only one hand.
This is a simple machine with one battery in the center. Charging time is quick, and once the battery is in you’re on your way.
This is not a lawn mower for the back 40. With a 20-inch cut and a small electric motor, it is just not capable of handling larger lawns. But for most mid to small yards, this mower can clean up the area in no time.
Light and easy to store, this is the perfect mower to keep a lawn looking great.
The 21-inch Ryobi RY401150 40-volt brushless mower set up quickly and easily right out of the box. It includes double blades and cuts clean and clear.
This mower comes with two batteries that can be installed in the top of the machine. One notable drawback is that only one battery powers the mower at a time—cut your grass for approximately 30 minutes and when the first battery is depleted, you stop and move a switch to engage the second battery. Ryobi says that the batteries will last for 70 minutes, but stopping to change batteries seems counterproductive.
Otherwise, the mower performed well and completed all of the tests. It has a one-lever height adjustment and is light enough to maneuver around obstacles. It has plenty of power and handled the hill with little strain.
While both the Ego Power and Ryobi were solid performers on the electric front, the Ryobi was let down by its self-propel controls. The controls are located under the bar, but the lever is vague and unresponsive. Because the lever is designed for thumbs only, you need to push the lever in an awkward manner to get the mower up to speed.
For a corded mower, the Greenworks 25022 lawn mower performed quite well. The set-up was easy, and once it was plugged in, it started right up.
Of course, before you use the mower there is the time-consuming task of unearthing your extension cord, unraveling it, and finding a suitable outdoor plug. Once plugged in, the mower embraces its purpose with ease.
It has a powerful 12-amp electric motor that may not conquer larger lawns, but is perfect for smaller yards and trimming duties. Not to mention it offers clean and even mowing.
Not being self-propelled, it takes some effort to push the lawn mower and cord uphill and then navigate a path back so as to not cut your cord.
The 14-inch Sun Joe MJ401E lawn mower is the easiest to store. Its diminutive size makes it the perfect lawn mower for small yards and trimming duties. It’s light enough to pick up and move, and it comes with an easy-to-use bagging system.
Still, this is not a lawn mower for cutting the typical suburban lawn, as its lightweight, short wheel base and small wheels make it a little unstable over roots and ruts.
Of all of the lawnmowers tested, the Sun Joe provided the most difficulty when it came time to adjust the height of the blades. The mower utilizes solid axles, front and rear, and the axles are located in a three-notch system under the mower. To change the height of the cut, you need to pull the spring-loaded axles from their positions and move them up or down. It’s a challenging exercise.
The Sun Joe is corded, so cutting area is limited. To its credit, it’s powerful enough when running, but the limited scope means you will have a hard time tackling an entire yard.
How We Tested Lawn Mowers
We spent the summer mowing a half-acre New England lawn, over and over again.
Kevin Kavanaugh is a retired public school teacher and a product tester for Reviewed. Kevin has been cutting lawns for just about 50 years. He has always been intrigued by all things mechanical, be it watches, power equipment, vintage bicycles, or classic cars.
Ray Lane is a retired supermarket store manager, avid golfer, and product tester for Reviewed. His lawn is the envy of Cumberland, Rhode Island, and he has used several push mowers over the years. At 83 years of age, his input on the mowers was critical, specifically when evaluating ease of starting, maneuverability, and safety.
We tested lawn mowers on both flat land and hills to test maneuverability and power.
After ordering from retailers like Lowe’s and The Home Depot, we assembled each mower and took note of the ease of the set up and how quickly we could adjust the handle to our preference. We then added gasoline, a battery, or an electrical cord to get the mower ready. We evaluated at the ease of setting the cutting height, first testing a high cutting height and then a lower one.
We took each mower on a few passes of an uncut half-acre lawn, measuring approximately 22,000 square feet, noting how it cut at a high height and a lower height while we monitored both the bagging and mulching features. Then we took each mower up and down a grassy hill to see how they performed. Our final test was testing storage capability.
What You Should Know About Lawn Mowers
Self-propelled lawn mowers can take some of the effort out of walk-behind mowing.
There are two basic types of walk-behind mowers: push and self-propelled.
The push type of mower is usually smaller, lighter, and easier to store. They are used primarily for smaller, level lawns. They are perfect for cleaning up areas that larger riding lawn mowers may miss. They can be run by gasoline, cords, or battery.
Self-propelled lawn mowers usually have a larger cutting diameter and can move on their own through operator controls. These mowers can also be powered by gasoline, cords, or battery. Since they take the brunt of the pushing away, self-propelled mowers are perfect for larger lawns up to a half-acre, and they can easily handle hills and sloped lawns. These self-propelled mowers aren’t fully robotic lawn mowers so you still have to do some work guiding them around your yard.
What Is A Self-propelled Lawn Mower?
The first self-propelled lawn mowers started to appear in the late-1960s. As suburbia grew and lawns got larger, pushing a heavy steel mower around on a summer afternoon wasn’t what most people wanted to be doing.
The first self-propelled mowers had primitive front-wheel drive systems that worked well enough, but the mowers often moved along too slowly. Sure, you weren’t pushing but you were caught in a slow-moving lawn-cutting procession. Early mowers either moved too slowly or too fast to match a natural walking speed.
Today’s mowers offer a much better propulsion system. The Honda NeXite Variable Speed 4-in-1 Gas Walk Behind Self-propelled Mower with Select Drive Control, for example, allows a variety of walking speed settings. Owners can literally dial in their preferred walking speed so that they become one with the mower, not being pulled and not having to push.
The Ego Power Select Cut 56-Volt Brushless 21-in Self-propelled Cordless Electric Lawn Mower even allows the operator to drive out to the lawn without the blades turning. That is a great feature.
Today’s self-propelled mowers reduce operator fatigue and make cutting the grass easier than years ago. Self-propelled mowers make cutting on hills safer and more efficient. And with modern speed options they make a summertime chore a little more enjoyable.
Gasoline, Corded Electric, or Battery—Which Lawn Mower is Right for You?
Battery-powered lawn mowers can be powerful and efficient.
Gasoline-powered lawnmowers have kept lawns manicured for decades. They are powerful, reliable, and affordable, and come with features such as self-propelled movement, mulching features, and self-cleaning availability. They are powerful enough for large lawn care jobs and can tackle any lawn from a quarter- to half-acre acre. Any lawn bigger than that would necessitate a riding mower.
But gas-powered mowers emit dangerous carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, require yearly maintenance, and require the storage of gasoline and oil. This may not be suitable for some consumers.
Corded electric mowers have been around for years and were historically the choice of consumers who had smaller lawns and didn’t need the more powerful gasoline mower. While powerful enough to get most cutting or trimming jobs done, the one obvious drawback to a corded mower is the electrical cord.
For any yard worthy of mowing, a long electrical extension cord is required to power the mower. This can be a minor annoyance, such as having to keep the cord free from getting tangled in trees and bushes, to a major annoyance when you drive over it and cut it into small pieces.
However, corded electric mowers require no gas, oil, or maintenance and, other than a blade sharpening from time to time, can perform reliably for years.
Battery-powered cars, power equipment, and tools have been around for a long time. The electric motors were strong and reliable enough, but the battery was not. Just a few years ago, an electric car could expect to go only 100 miles on a charge, and power tools and equipment didn’t last long either. In the past few years, battery technology has improved by leaps and bounds.
Electric cars can expect hundreds of miles on a charge and power tools and equipment can last a full day. This lithium battery technology found its way to lawnmowers and it has created a viable option for those consumers who don’t want gas and don’t want a cord. These battery-powered mowers are powerful, efficient, lightweight, and green. Many now use brushless electric motors, which are more efficient, produce more torque, and are longer lasting than the older electric motors with brushes.
How often should I mow my lawn?
Cutting the lawn too often and only cutting it when it gets overgrown are both unhealthy for a lush, beautiful lawn. The rule of thumb in the lawn-care industry is to keep the grass between 3 inches and 3.5 inches in length. This allows the grass to be long enough to thrive in hot, summer weather.
When cutting grass, never take more than a third of the blade at once. In other words, never cut more than an inch or so. Not only does this cause clumping of grass on the lawn or in the mower bag, but it takes too many nutrients and moisture from the grass itself.
After the late winter fertilizer treatments and the often heavy rains, lawns start to come to life. You’ll find that the grass will need cutting every 4 to 5 days in order to remove just enough length. As the summer wanes on and the temperature rises, the grass will grow a bit slower and a once week cutting is adequate.
It is also important to keep the blades of your lawnmower good and sharp. Since the lawnmower blades are often made of steel, they will develop a dull edge after a season of cutting. A dull edge on a blade will tear the grass and not cut it. This may result in browning of the tips of the grass and put more stress on the mower as well.
While you are under the deck checking those blades—and always disconnect the spark plug wire before going under the mower—be sure there is no old clumped up grass clinging to the mower deck.
Meet the testers
TJ is the Director of Content Development at Reviewed. He is a Massachusetts native and has covered electronics, cameras, TVs, smartphones, parenting, and more for Reviewed. He is from the self-styled “Cranberry Capitol of the World,” which is, in fact, a real thing.
Kevin Kavanaugh is a retired public school teacher and a product tester for Reviewed. Kevin has been cutting lawns for just about 50 years. He has always been intrigued by all things mechanical, be it watches, power equipment, vintage bicycles, or classic cars.
Checking our work.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you’re confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we’ll compare notes.
These are the top gas, electric, and manual push mowers
Push mowers are great options for anyone with a yard on the smaller side. ZDNET chose the Honda HRN 166cc as our top pick, but we also reviewed battery-powered and manual reel push mowers for anyone looking for a more eco-friendly option.
Push mowers are ideal for smaller yards since they have more narrow cutting decks and are more stripped-back than their ride-on tractor cousins. Along with traditional gas-powered models, you can find a wide variety of electric and manual reel mowers if you’re in the market for a more eco-friendly way to care for your lawn.
Electric mowers use rechargeable batteries to power the blades and any self-propelled transmissions, and they have comparable power to their gas-using counterparts. The downside is that they have relatively short run times.- often just up to an hour.- so you’ll have to keep a back-up battery charged and ready to go if your yard is on the larger side or has a lot of obstacles to mow around.
Manual reel mowers have seen an uptick in popularity with homeowners who have very small lots, often under.25 acres. With smaller cutting decks and no need to keep fuel or batteries on-hand, they’re perfect for more compact storage when not in use and during the off season. They also can help you reduce your carbon footprint since they don’t expel any sort of exhaust or require any electricity, just some good, old-fashioned elbow grease.
To help you find the best push mower for your yard, I’ve rounded up five of the best you can buy. I broke down their features, power sources, and price points so you can choose the one that best fits both your budget and your lawn care needs.
Honda HRN 166cc
Best push mower overall
Cutting width: 21 inches | Power source: gasoline | Self-propelled: Yes | Bagger included: Yes | Variable speed: Yes
The Honda HRN 166cc push mower snagged a spot in our list of the best lawn mowers you can buy, and it takes the crown as the best push mower available. The 166cc engine uses a mix of two-cycle oil and gasoline for power, while the 21-inch cutting deck works has two blades for ultra-fine clippings that either go into the included bagger attachment or re-feed your lawn with the side discharge chute. You can also adjust the cutting height to seven different positions with the easy-to-use levers for the perfect lawn every time.
The rear wheels work with the mower’s self-propelling drive train for an easier mowing experience, and you can control the speed with the intuitive push throttle to match your natural walking speed. You’ll also get peace of mind with the three-year warranty to replace damaged and worn out parts from regular use, so your Honda HRN push mower will last season after season.
Ego Power 56V
Best electric push mower
- Folding design for compact storage
- Two-bushel bagger attachment included
- Self-propelled and variable speed
- Weather-resistant cutting deck
Cutting width: 21 inches | Power source: 56V battery | Self-propelled: Yes | Bagger included: Yes | Variable speed: Yes
The Ego Power 56V was named our number one pick on our list of the best electric mowers, and for good reason. The rechargeable battery gives you up to an hour of run time with full power, which is perfect for yards up to half an acre. A push-button start eliminates frustrating rip cords for near-instant engine turnover, so you can get started mowing your lawn seconds after you set up the mower.
It comes with a bagger attachment to collect grass clippings, but you can also use the mulching feature to create ultra-fine cuttings to re-feed your lawn between professional treatments. The bagger holds up to two bushels of cuttings, so you can spend more time getting yard work done and less time emptying the container.
The 21-inch cutting deck can be set to six different heights with the simple lever, and you can control the self-propelled speed with the intuitive squeeze throttle to go as slow as.9 MPH or as fast as 3.1 MPH. The deck is made of durable molded plastic to resist rust and corrosion that can ruin traditional steel cutting decks. And the entire mower folds down for more compact, vertical storage; which is perfect for garages and tool sheds that are on the smaller side. Dual LED headlights illuminate your cutting row for safer operation if you need to cut your grass in the early morning or late evening.
Top uses for small walk-behind mowers
When determining what type of mower to use, it’s important to first look at the site, says Paul Fraynd, CEO of Sun Valley Landscaping in Omaha, Neb.
Often, small, tight areas such as parking lot islands, fenced-in backyards, hillsides and spaces with a lot of obstacles call for smaller mowers. Sun Valley Landscaping uses 21- and 30-inch mowers for many of its residential customers.
“Generally, guys try to use the largest possible mower they can fit on a property, but oftentimes that doesn’t deliver the best cut,” Fraynd says. “We’ve found that the smaller mowers don’t cause any turf damage compared to some of the larger mowers.”
He says the philosophy takes some training for crews to get used to — especially since using a smaller mower means making more passes — but crew members notice superior cut quality with fewer turnaround marks and ruts. Additionally, Fraynd says using smaller mowers in residential areas may even attract potential clients who value a quality cut.
Fraynd notes that it all starts with the sales team. They should bid areas according to what type of mower will be used, as production rates vary.
“One acre of flat, wide-open area is going to be different than 1 acre of smaller areas, so plan ahead so you can give your guys a lot of time to do the proper job,” he says.
Carl Agee Product marketing manager
Walk-behinds are a great option for equipment fleets because they offer a machine form that’s easy to maneuver, compact and versatile. For those who maintain smaller yards or tight spaces with obstacles, a walk-behind mower might be the right solution to enhance a fleet. Additionally, walk-behinds can tackle a variety of terrains, from hills to flat spaces, giving these mowers an advantage over other machine forms. When selecting and using a walk-behind mower, there are a few things to consider. With the operator controls, a comfortable hand position ensures optimal comfort during operation. This can minimize operator fatigue and increase productivity. For smooth operation, a hydrostatic drive system allows for infinite speeds in forward and reverse that improve the maneuvering capability in varying terrain, enabling the machine to do the work, not the operator.
Elisha Lipscomb (Photo: Honda Power Equipment)
Honda Power Equipment
Elisha Lipscomb Senior marketing strategist, lawn garden
Walk-behind mowers are manufactured with a variety of transmissions, drive trains and mulching technologies that differentiate one model from another. Selecting the right lawn mower starts with sizing up the lawn. There’s a direct correlation between the square footage to be mowed and the cutting width required in a lawn mower. The type of terrain is another important factor. Knowing whether the area is flat or hilly, rough or smooth dictates whether or not the lawn mower model should be self-propelled, should have adjustable wheel height or should have a rear or side bagger. And, no matter how you cut it, properly maintaining a lawn has everything to do with environmental responsibility. Increasingly, ergonomic industrial designers are creating functional, comfortable and easy-to-use products. Lawn mowing should be as productive and effortless as possible. Productivity suffers when the operator has to constantly grip the handlebars to increase speed or adjust a jerking mower on an incline or wrestle to maneuver it onto a truck or into storage.
Giovanni Crespi Director of product management
We foresee in the U.S. that smaller applications are growing. Properties are shrinking in terms of size. We foresee, based on other industry statistics, that battery is taking a large component of this (small walk-behind) business. In most cases, using a gas engine creates issues in terms of startability. There are a lot of applications where smaller walk-behinds can execute the full task where traditional riders or stand-ons aren’t able to. For example, there are situations in public spaces where there are smaller-detail applications, and walk-behinds are suitable to those applications. There are critical areas from an incline perspective where you can’t use stand-ons. Plus, for residential areas, battery walk-behinds reduce the amount of noise. From a service perspective, we push our landscapers to make sure they’re keeping up with maintenance and service.
Mitch Hoffman Marketing manager
Many landscape contractors use commercial walk-behind mowers to reach hard-to-access areas or for trim work, before tackling wide-open areas with a zero-turn mower or a stand-on mower. Contractors can maximize their productivity out in the field before even stepping foot on a customer’s property by selecting a walk-behind mower that has time-saving features engineered into the unit itself. For example, some walk-behinds offer outstanding maneuverability in a compact package, all while boasting agility and productivity on the job.