Grass cutter for lawn. 15 Different Types of Lawn Mowers Explained

Different Types of Lawn Mowers Explained

Lawnmowers are an essential piece of kit for yard maintenance and lawn care, and whether you merely want to keep your lawn from becoming an overgrown wild meadow or you want a neat and manicured lawn, the neighbors will envy, there are several things you will need to consider before making a purchase. To learn all about the different types of lawnmowers and which type will be best suited to your yard, your budget, and your specifications, read our comprehensive list of all of the types of lawnmowers available.

Ride-On Mowers

If you have a large lawn to cut, you might want to treat yourself to a ride-on mower. These make light work of mowing lawns, significantly cutting down the time it takes you to cut your grass, and usually making it an easier and more enjoyable experience. In terms of efficiency, ride-on mowers are far superior to walk-along mowers, but they have a price tag to match. There are also many different types to choose from, but most of these can be broken down into three categories. These are:

1.1. Lawn Tractor

Lawn tractors will be familiar to most people, and these front-mounted engines will be what many of us visualize when we think about ride-on mowers. They are a good choice of mower for large lawns, with deck widths typically ranging from between 42 and 54 inches. A good way to work out which size lawn tractor you need is to divide its deck width by 12, and the answer will be the maximum size of lawn it can handle. For example, a 42-inch deck width will be suitable for lawns of up to 4 acres.

When it comes to engine size, lawn tractors range from 18 to 25 horsepower, with entry-level models having a single cylinder and some pricier models benefitting from twin cylinders. Basic lawn tractors will have lever-operated gear transmissions, while upgraded models may have continuously variable transmission, which is a pulley drive powered automatic transmission managed by a shift-on-the-go hand lever.

If you want to really push your budget boundaries, you could choose a lawn tractor with a hydrostatic pedal transmission. Lawn tractors generally range in price from around 1000 to 3000, making them quite reasonably priced compared to other types of ride-on mowers. They are good all-rounders for large lawns, though their main drawback is limited maneuverability. They struggle to turn easily and can not tackle obstacles well, which often results in patches of grass that remain uncut when a lawn tractor has been unable to get tight enough to an edge or an obstacle.

1.2. Zero Turn Mower

Zero-turn mowers, over the last few decades, have become the Ferrari’s of the lawn mowing world. They are controlled by lap bars in the front seat, which operate the dual hydrostatic transmissions at the rear wheels. Their design means that unlike other ride-on mowers, they offer unsurpassed maneuverability. They can pivot, make sharp turns, and give an excellent all-round cutting performance. Zero-turn mowers can get much closer to obstacles than other ride-on mowers, being able to cut tightly against landscaped edges, which will result in a better finish on most lawns. Their steering ability makes for a more efficient mowing experience, especially on lawns of irregular shapes. They typically offer the easiest mowing of all lawnmowers, with the capacity to cut the most grass in the shortest space of time.

Deck widths of zero-turn mowers generally range from 32 inches to 60 inches. They have estimated horsepower of between 12 and 25, from engine sizes ranging between 452 to 700 cc. The cost of a zero-turn mower varies depending on model and specification, with a price range of between 1000 and 6000.

1.3. Rear Engine Riding Mower

These ride-on mowers are a good choice for moderately sized lawns, which may be too small to warrant a lawn tractor, but too big to comfortably use a walk mower. These mowers, as the name suggests, hold the engine at the rear of the machine, underneath the driving seat, and the deck is under the driver’s position. They are typically controlled with a shift-on-the-go hand lever, which operates the continuously variable transmission, and has single-cylinder engines, which can range from 344 to 38 cc, with horsepower estimated to be between 10 and 11.

Deck sizes of rear engine riding mowers tend to range from 30 to 33 inches, making them most suitable for lawns, which are less than 2.5 acres in total. A lawn of this size would cause a fair amount of wear and tear to the mower over a season, so a good maintenance regime would be important, but the rear engine riding mower would be able to handle it. For a lawn much larger than 3 acres, you would need to be looking at a lawn tractor or zero turn mower.

Walk Mowers

Walk mowers encompass a range of lawnmowers that the user walks along behind. They are best suited to smaller lawns, generally anything up to half an acre in size (although a half-acre lawn might take you a good few hours to mow with a walk mower and you’d be forgiven for choosing a ride-on to tackle a lawn of this size.)Walk mowers offer the greatest variety and versatility when it comes to lawnmowers. They can vary wildly in price, quality, and offer numerous different features. Most walk mowers can be broken down into the following categories.

2.1. Cylinder Mower

Cylinder mowers, also known as reel mowers, have vertically rotating cylindrical blades at the front of the mower, which slices against a fixed blade. They trap the grass between the blades and slice it off, with action not dissimilar to scissors. The vertical blades on a cylinder mower can range in number from three to twelve, with a higher number of blades usually signaling a more precise cut. They are designed for use on flat lawns and don’t cope particularly well with uneven or rough surfaces. They give a neat cut, which works especially well for creating defined stripes on a lawn if this is a look you would like to achieve. They are best suited to soft grass types, as they don’t handle coarse grass well. They also struggle to cut long grass, so if you opt for a cylinder mower, you will need to keep on top of your mowing and cut your grass regularly, as the mower won’t perform well on grass that has become overgrown.

During the growing season, this will mean mowing your lawn at least once a week, ideally twice a week. These types of mowers have blades that are less accessible, making them more difficult to sharpen than a rotary mower, which is unfortunate because they do tend to require the most maintenance. If a cylinder mower is not serviced regularly, it’s blades will start to chew the grass, giving a very poor cut. For this reason, cylinder mowers are best suited to those who are mechanically skilled. They also tend to be less adjustable than other mowers, giving you fewer options when it comes to grass cutting height. They are also generally less common, so if they go wrong, you might struggle to find replacement parts. That being said, these mowers can be affordable and efficient when paired up with the right type of lawn and are enormously popular among those gardeners who take pride in a neat and short lawn cut. They also often come equipped with a roller on the back, offering the user a two-in-one tool. The grass box on a cylinder mower is usually at the front.

2.2. Rotary Mower

These are the most common types of walk-along mower you will find. They have a single blade that rotates at very high speed in a horizontal motion, cutting grass as it comes into contact with it, a lot like a food processor or blender. These mowers work best on medium to long grass, meaning you can leave longer in between mowing sessions without any negative impact. The cut you get from a rotary mower is less precise than a cylinder mower. It tends to bash and thrash the blades of grass around, slicing them on impact due to the high speed of rotation, which results in a less accurate and more uneven cut than you would get from a good cylinder mower. The difference of cut, however, probably wouldn’t be that noticeable to most people, especially on an average lawn with its slopes, bumps, and color and thickness variations. A more manicured lawn, however, may be able to tell the difference between the two cuts, with the cylinder mower offering the more superior cut of the two.

2.3. Push Mower

Push mowers, as the name suggests, requires the user to manually force the machine across the lawn. The motor turns the blades, but the wheel action is all you. These mowers are popular because they are usually the most inexpensive, and they are also lightweight and easy to handle. A push mower offers good maneuverability, allowing the user to direct exactly where it goes, steering around obstacles and corners, and even reversing. The fact that it is lightweight may be useful if you need to lift the mower into a trailer or truck bed, or if you need to carry it up and down steps.

These mowers take some physical exertion, which is great if you’re keen to add some extra exercise into your schedule, but may not be good for people with health complaints or anyone who doesn’t want to get a sweat on. It should be noted that push mowers work best for level lawns because having to push it up a hill can be very labor-intensive, as can chasing it down a hill! They are best suited to small yards due to their strenuous nature and are probably the most simple type of lawnmower you can get. For anyone concerned about the environmental impact of mowing their lawn, push mowers are the best option as they produce no emissions. They also don’t make noise pollution like powered lawnmowers.

2.4. Self Propelled Mower

Self-propelled lawnmowers have a transmission that propels the machine forward, so the user does not need to push it, and instead guides it. These mowers are generally simple to operate and make mowing a lawn a much easier and quicker job, even in small yards. The main advantage of a self-propelled mower is the fact that it doesn’t require any manpower, but there are other advantages too. These mowers tend to give a more consistent lawn cut compared to push mowers, as they are able to maintain a constant speed. Self-propelled mowers are more mechanically technical than push mowers, so they require more maintenance and can be more difficult to fix when things go wrong. These mowers are typically more expensive to buy than push mowers, but many people find that the extra expenditure is worth it to avoid having to manually propel a push mower.

2.5. Hover Mower

These lawnmowers hover a few inches above the ground, sitting on a cushion of air. Due to their reduced contact with the ground, and therefore reduced friction, they are very easy to guide around the lawn. They are able to move in any direction, including sideways, which makes them particularly useful for yards, which are awkward shapes, or for maneuvering around obstacles such as planters, trees, and garden features. They also give the user more control when it comes to edges of the lawn. Hover mowers tend to be fairly inexpensive, which is another factor that makes them quite popular. Though these types of mowers do have their advantages, they also have drawbacks. The main problem with hover mowers is that they lack power, presenting an issue for anyone with a larger sized lawn. They are most often electric-powered, and they are best suited to small lawns.

Power Types

The type of power source most appropriate for your mower will depend on the size of your lawn, your strength, and your own personal preferences. The options to choose from when it comes to lawnmower power types are:

3.1. Manual Powered Mower

Manual powered mowers essentially push mowers. Though they may have an engine, this only operates the blades and doesn’t provide any momentum. The user is the source of momentum with muscle power, as opposed to an electric, battery, or gas-powered mower, where the momentum is supplied by the engine, and the user just provides directional guidance. These mowers are the quietest, most environmentally friendly, and the most inexpensive. They are also the hardest to use, requiring a good amount of strength and energy to operate. They are best suited to small lawns.

3.2. Electric Powered Mower

These corded mowers are powered by electricity through a cable attached to the mower. They are enormously popular and account for the majority of lawnmowers purchased each year, being especially common in small to medium-sized yards. Their popularity is due to their many advantages. They are lightweight, therefore easy to handle and maneuver. They are smaller than gas-powered mowers, making them easier to store when not in use. They never have to be charged like battery-powered mowers, and they won’t run out of gas. This means that so long as you have electric power, you can run these mowers whenever you like, giving the user ultimate convenience. Electric mowers are simple to use and give good, consistent results. They are also very affordable, typically ranging from around 100 to 250.

The biggest disadvantage of electric mowers is the fact that they are tethered to an electrical outlet. This presents a few problems. The main problem is that if you have a yard that is longer than your cable, then the furthest part of your lawn is not going to cut. It’s vital you measure your lawn and compare it with the cable length of a mower before you buy it to avoid this issue. The second problem, which can be worked around, is having a cable trailing behind you everywhere you mow. You’ll need to be careful not to bring your mower blades into contact with the cable, and take care not to get tangled along the way. This is a minor inconvenience that can be worked around with a bit of practice, but many people find corded mowers too restrictive.

3.3. Gas-Powered Mower

Gas-powered lawnmowers have engines that run on petrol. They aren’t restricted by a cable and therefore are great for mowing large areas where corded mowers can’t reach. They are more powerful than electric mowers and will cut grass faster, resulting in shorter mowing time. Their power means they are suitable for cutting even dense, thick, or tall grass with ease. Gas-powered mowers are easy to steer and maneuver reasonably well around obstacles. In terms of use, one of the biggest differences you will notice when operating a gas mower is that it is much heavier and larger in size.

There are a few drawbacks of gas-powered mowers. Firstly, they have engines which, much like vehicle engines, are a cause of pollution. They also need to be regularly maintained and serviced to prevent them from going wrong. You will also need to keep on top of oil and fuel levels. Gas mowers are also very noisy and are typically the most expensive type of walk mower you can get. They generally range in price between 200 and 800.

3.4. Battery-Powered Mower

Battery-powered mowers run off a battery, usually, a lithium-ion battery, which is lightweight and long-lasting. These mowers give the user all the benefits of an electric mower, without the restriction of cable length. As these mowers are not tied down to a power source, they are well suited to gardens of any size. They tend to be slightly heavier than an electric mower, but much lighter than a gas-powered mower. These mowers offer excellent convenience, but this comes at a cost. They are more expensive than electric mowers, usually costing in excess of 500 for a good quality model.

The main drawback of a battery-powered mower is its run time. Many of these mowers will run for about an hour before they need to be re-charged, which could prove quite frustrating if you’re only halfway through mowing your lawn when the battery runs out. Batteries also do not last forever and will need to be replaced every few years.

Drive Types

The drive of your mower is an important consideration that can impact performance, depending on your terrain. Mowers will either be rear-wheel drive (RWD), front-wheel drive (FWD), or all-wheel drive (AWD), with each having pros and cons.

4.1. Rear Wheel Drive

These mowers are pushed forwards by the motion of the back wheels. They work well for wide-open spaces as they can be difficult to maneuver, and therefore you may struggle in small or awkwardly shaped gardens. They can be difficult to turn in order to change direction, and particularly struggle to reverse. However, they are excellent on rough or unsteady terrain, as they will push forward across any bumps or steep inclines.

4.2. Front-Wheel Drive

FWD mowers are propelled by the front wheels, which pull the mower along with their turning motion. These types of mowers work best for level lawns that don’t feature slopes or hills, as they don’t perform well on inclines. Front-wheel drive mowers are easy to steer, and they can be maneuvered well around obstacles or irregularly shaped lawns.

4.3. All Wheel Drive

These mowers have all four wheels connected to their source of power and are all propelled equally, moving together in unison. The main benefits of an all-wheel-drive mover are its speed and power, though it does lack the maneuverability of front-wheel drive mowers.

Grass Cutting Height Chart: How High to Cut Your Grass

David Beaulieu is a landscaping expert and plant photographer, with 20 years of experience.

Sonya Harris is an award-winning gardening expert with two decades of experience teaching and sharing her extensive knowledge about small space gardening. She is a Master Gardener and founder of the award-winning Bullock Garden Project in New Jersey. Sonya has written for Martha Stewart Living, won South Jersey Magazine’s One to Watch Award, and is also a member of The Spruce Gardening and Plant Care Review Board.

Finding the optimal grass cutting height is important to maintain your lawn’s health. If you mow the lawn too short it can damage your lawn. But cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses also require different cutting heights. Below, review our grass-cutting height chart for types of grasses and learn how high to cut grass in the spring, summer, and fall.

How High to Cut Grass in Spring

In the spring, cut cool-season grasses to 3 or 4 inches. Once your grass reaches a height of about 6 inches tall, it’s time to mow. Warm-season grasses should be cut to 2 or 2 ½ inches, and you’ll know it’s time to mow once these grasses reach about 4 inches tall.

Grass starts growing quickly in the spring, especially after rain, and can be cut shorter at the beginning of the growing season to help remove winter debris and encourage new growth. It’s tough to know how often to mow because it depends on several factors, including rainfall amounts, grass type, and soil health.

How High to Cut Grass in Summer

In the summer, keep both cool-season and warm-season grasses slightly taller. Cut cool-season grasses to 3 or 3 ½ inches. Mow warm-season grasses to 2 or 2 ½ inches. In summer, grass can be kept a bit higher to prevent weeds, help shade the soil line, and maintain water in the soil.

How High to Cut Grass in Fall

Cool-season grass can be mowed down to about 2 ½ inches before winter’s first frost. Warm-season grasses can be cut to 1 ½ or 2 inches in the fall before cooler weather appears.

In fall, grass should be cut to a medium length to keep it at a reasonable height over winter but to keep the roots protect during winter. Finding that right height is a little tricky because grass that’s too tall in the winter tends to become matted and prone to diseases.

A Trick to Help You Remember These Measurements

Draw a line across one of your lawn mower tires that stands 3 2/3 inches above surface level. Draw an arrow, as well, to indicate which direction is up/down. That way, you’ll see where the grass level stands in relation to the line so you’ll know when and how much to mow your lawn. It can take some experimenting to see what mowing height you need to set your mower to and then you can mark that slot to find it quickly.

Different types of mowers have different ways to set the height so it’s best to consult your owner’s manual. You can typically use the mower’s levers or gears to set the correct height according to the type of grass you have.

The 1 out of 3 rule refers to the preference that you should never cut more than 1/3 of the grass blades every time you mow your lawn. For example, if you are cutting your lawn and it has grown 3 inches tall, do not cut more than 1 inch off of the blade, which is 1/3 of the total height. Cutting only 1/3 of the blade keeps the grass healthy without damaging its growth.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is mowing the grass too short in the summer. Keep the grass slightly longer in the summer so the longer blades can protect the roots from the harsh summer sun.

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

Lawn Mowing Tips: How to Mow a Lawn the Right Way

Lawn mowing is an important part of keeping your grass healthy and looking good. It can be the difference between a green expanse or a brown, bland disappointment. We’ll share lawn mowing tips to help you cut your grass the right way.

How you mow, when you mow, and what you mow with will all make a difference in keeping your lawn looking and feeling its best.

  • Why Mow?
  • How to Mow a Lawn
  • Sharpen Mower Blades Regularly
  • Know When to Mow the Lawn
  • Best Time of Day to Mow Your Lawn
  • Mowing Pattern
  • Proper Height to Cut Grass
  • Grass Clippings: Mulch Them
  • Lawn Mowing Tips
  • How To Choose The Right Lawn Mower
  • Be Courteous to Your Neighbors When Mowing

Why Mow?

You are doing your lawn a favor when you mow it. Mowing your lawn stimulates its growth. A grass plant’s purpose in life is photosynthesis — that is, pulling in carbon from the air, energy from the sun, and water from the earth to grow roots and blades of grass.

When you cut off the tips of the grass plants, they are stimulated to grow more. The result is a thicker lawn with better roots, which crowds out weeds and makes your turf oh so nice to roll around in and toss the ball on.

But as anyone with parched brown spots, patches of weeds, or scalped grass can attest, a lot can go wrong in the process.

How to Mow a Lawn

“Without regular mowing, even a fine turf quickly becomes just another weed patch,” wrote Richard L. Duble, retired professor and renowned turfgrass specialist for the University of Texas AM.

But where do you begin? Whether this is your first time behind a mower or you’re a seasoned pro, follow these lawn mowing tips to increase the health and vigor of your lawn and get that gorgeous green look you’ve always wanted.

Sharpen Mower Blades Regularly

If you can’t remember the last time you sharpened your lawn mower blade, it’s time to do so.

“A dull blade is about the worst thing you can do to a lawn,” says Campbell Vaughn, agriculture and natural resources agent for the University of Georgia-Augusta Richmond County Extension. “When you tear the leaf, it opens it up for diseases to attack it. A clean cut helps it regenerate a lot faster and be a healthier plant in the long run.”

How often you need to get your blade sharpened will depend largely on how many hours of mowing it does. Mowing a large lawn frequently will cause more wear and tear than occasional use on a small patch of turf.

How to know if your blade is dull:

  • Check evenness of the cut:
  • If the individual blades of grass have been neatly sheared, you’re good.
  • If they have an uneven, tatty appearance and torn leaves, it’s time to sharpen the blade.

You can take the mower into a shop or home improvement store to have the blade professionally sharpened, or you can do it yourself. Lawn mower blade sharpening kits cost as little as 10.

  • Inspect your blade:
  • If there are chips or gaps, it may be time for a new one.

How to replace a lawn mower blade

If you’ve been hesitant to replace your lawn mower blade, relax. This is a beginner-level DIY project that you can accomplish with tools most of us have around the house.

Instructions vary slightly depending on the type of mower you have, so it’s best to follow your user’s manual.

  • Disconnect the spark plug boot and remove gas from the tank into a safe storage container.
  • Tip the mower on its side with the air filter facing up.
  • Wearing gloves, secure the blade with a block of wood or a universal blade removal tool.
  • Loosen the bladeretaining bolt to remove the blade.
  • Install new blade, making sure the center hole aligns with the blade adapter.
  • Using a torque wrench tighten the retaining bolt to the proper torque suggested in your user manual.
  • Tip back onto its wheels, reattach the spark plug boot, and refill the gas tank.

You’re ready for a clean-cut lawn!

Know When to Mow the Lawn

Ideally, you mow when your lawn needs it. Whether you do it yourself or hire a service, the idea is to schedule your lawn mowing so that it occurs when the grass benefits most from it.

Regularly scheduled weekly mowing may vary depending on a few things:

  • Recent fertilization: Your grass will undergo a growth spurt, and you can increase the frequency to prevent excess accumulation of clippings.
  • Drought: Set the mowing height higher and reduce your mowing frequency so the grass plants retain more moisture.
  • Grass type: Different types of grass have different peak growing seasons.

There are differences in the growth patterns of warm-season and cool-season grass types.

  • Warm-season (Southern) grasses such as St. Augustinegrass and Bermudagrass ramp up their growth in the summer, so expect to mow them more frequently then.
  • Cool-season (Northern) grasses: Kentucky bluegrass, turf-type tall fescues, and fine leaf fescues have twin peaks of growth in spring and fall, so that’s when your heaviest mowing workload will be. You can back off on mowing frequency in the summer.

You can cease mowing when grasses go dormant, either due to extended drought or cold. How soon that is will depend on your climate.

  • Cool-season grasses can take the cold and usually go dormant in the fall when the soil temperatures fall to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Warm-season grasses generally go dormant around mid to late October.

“During your grass’s growing season, mowing once a week should be plenty,” said Brad Leahy, owner of Blades of Green, a lawn care company that has been cutting Maryland and Northern Virginia lawns for more than 25 years.

Best Time of Day to Mow Your Lawn

When you mow can have an impact on your lawn’s health.

Best times to mow: The pros say mid-morning, between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., or after 4 p.m. are the best times to mow your lawn.

Worst times to mow: Early morning, between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. There will still be dew on the grass at this time. The wet dew makes your lawn mower work harder and causes clumps of wet grass to clog the mower and accumulate in your yard. Wait until that dew has dried and then have at it.

In addition, avoid mowing at mid-day — it’s just too hot — and in the evening after 6 p.m. when the grass won’t have time to recover before nightfall.

Mowing Pattern

“Once you finish mowing around any features and move on to mowing the open lawn, I suggest homeowners establish a mowing pattern, whether that’s straight rows or circles; again, whatever works best for you and your lawn,” says Leahy.

For the best lawn, it’s better to vary your mowing pattern, especially if your mower is heavy. That way you don’t wear grooves in your yard and you catch the blades of grass that may have bent out of the way the last time.

Proper Height to Cut Grass

The proper height for your grass will depend on its species. See the chart below for details. But over the years, turfgrass specialists have created one important rule:

  • The One-Third Rule: Never remove more than one-third of your grass on any cutting.

No matter how tempting it is to whack it all down when your lawn is growing wild, don’t do it. Adhere to the one-third rule, and cut your grass down in increments. This will reduce the amount of stress you put on the grass.

Ultimate grass cutter head to head, Makita Mower vs Miniature Horse

“The one-third rule is critical,” said Vaughn. Virtually all mowers have a height adjustment, so use yours.

How to adjust your lawn mower

Don’t just eyeball it. Here’s how to get an accurate cutting height every time.

  • Get out a tape measure and park your mower on a hard, even surface.
  • Measure from that surface up to the blade.
  • Most lawn mowers adjust the height of the deck with levers on the wheels.

As you adjust the height of the mower, you may find that the highest mower setting is the preferred cutting height.

Grass Clippings: Mulch Them

The standard wisdom has changed in the past few decades about grass clippings. A few decades ago, lawn clippings were thought to contribute to thatching, so the common practice when mowing your lawn was to bag lawn clippings and discard them.

It has since been discovered that mulching — leaving clippings on the lawn — is the better choice. Letting your mower chop the grass blades returns nitrogen to the soil and does not contribute to thatching. It does contribute to weed control and is an organic way to fertilize and maintain a healthy lawn.

Regular lawn mowers do an adequate job of mulching, but mulching mowers have a special blade that chops the grass blades into fine pieces, hastening their decomposition.

Pro Tip: It’s fine to run your mulching blade over leaves to add them to the mulch mix. If the leaves are thick, though, rake them up for leaf removal into a compost pile.

Lawn Mowing Tips

Pablo Solomon says he started mowing lawns for 50 cents a yard with a human-powered push mower when he was a 10-year-old growing up in Houston, where, he said, “the grass grows faster than the national debt.”

Now 71, he is a renowned “green designer” who chooses his grasses carefully. “Each type of grass has its own characteristics that determine when it grows, where it grows, and when it may go dormant according to the climate,” he said.

Over the years, he has developed his own mowing technique, which he still practices on the large lawn surrounding his historic house north of Austin, Texas.

  • Check the yard: That’s the first task for Solomon, “Be certain to scout out your lawn before you mow.”

“Remove any rocks, debris, toys, etc., that might damage your mower or that might be thrown by your mower and hurt someone or damage something. A lot of Windows are broken by lawn mowers slinging stuff, and a lot of people have gone to the hospital with shrapnel wounds,” Solomon said.

He and other experts advise:

Power mower: You ride up and down the slopes horizontally so that the mower is never tilted to one side.

Push mower: You do the opposite and mow parallel to the contour of the slope.

  • Not too close: Don’t get your mower too close to trees, the curb, flower beds, rocks, playground equipment, your shed, or anything else, he said.

That’s what the line trimmers and edgers are for. “By trying to get too close to stuff, you run the risk of damaging the stuff, the mower, and/or yourself,” he said.

If you are using a lawn care professional, make sure you convey your wishes to your service provider.

Solomon advises. “I know that people that care about having their lawns perfect can be somewhat neurotic at times. But allow yourself to be a bit less compulsive when you run the risk of a heat stroke or heart attack.”

Leahy agrees. “We always recommend starting at the places that will take the most time: around rocks, shrubs, buildings or other features in your lawn,” he said.

“By doing this at the start, you’re still fresh and willing to take the time to mow these areas carefully and correctly. If you wait till the end, you may rush these parts, potentially damaging your lawn mower.”

Be careful with a mower on newly sodded grass or new lawns grown from seed. The root system of the grass is not very deep, so be gentle by minimizing turns with your mower. Make the turns off the lawn or over pavement or bare soil, where possible.

Caveat: Mowing height recommendations will vary by grass type.

How To Choose The Right Lawn Mower

There are several different types of mowers that you can use in your lawn maintenance. Purchasing the correct mower for your needs really comes down to the size of your yard, your budget, and your personal preference.

Riding mowers are recommended for larger yards, while push mowers can handle small to medium jobs.

  • Lot size: A homeowner of a large property with multiple acres requires a different type of lawn mower than a person with a small yard. For this person, a riding lawn mower would be the weapon of choice.

Riding lawn mowers range in price from 600 to 14,000, depending on the power, size, and quality of the machine that a person needs. A large property will also restrict homeowners from using corded electric lawn mowers that require the machine to remain plugged into an outlet.

The standard rule for choosing a lawn mower based on yard size is:

  • Yards no larger than one-half acre, stick with a push mower.
  • Lawns larger than one-half acre, the homeowner should begin to consider a riding mower, which will save time and energy for the user.
  • Greater than three acres, look at upgrading to a zero-turn or garden mower, which will provide better mobility and ease each time the grass needs mowing.

Determine how much you have to mow to choose the best option for you.

  • Topography: You must determine if your yard is flat or if there are variations in elevation, including varying hills and valleys.

A riding lawn mower, for example, wouldn’t be a great fit for a yard with steep hills and tight spaces due to the lack of mobility that they provide compared to push mowers. If your lawn is bumpier than you like, you may need to level your lawn.

  • Physical fitness: Lawn care is a physical activity that requires a certain level of strength and stamina. This can be offset to an extent with a riding lawn mower, but the individual would then incur a greater cost.

Motorized push lawn mowers are generally a perfect balance between the price (compared to that of riding lawn mowers) and the physical effort needed to propel a nonelectric reel lawn mower that uses only the physical exertion of its user to cut the grass.

A study by Harvard Medical School measured the calories burned by people in different activities, including lawn mowing. A 155-pound person pushing a manual push (reel) mower would burn 198 calories in a half hour — the same caloric output as someone doing a half hour of low-impact aerobics.

Pushing a motorized mower was less strenuous, the study found, burning 162 calories in a half hour — the same as a good half-hour game of badminton.

grass, cutter, lawn, different, types

Average cost of a reel mower: 104

Average cost of a walk-behind mower: 363

Average cost of a riding mower: 2,450

Average cost of a robot mower: 1,470

grass, cutter, lawn, different, types
  • Personal preference: Personal preferences mean you may choose an electric versus a gas push mower or choose to go completely low-tech with a standard reel mower.

Mowers can also be personalized with features that include a mulching blade that chops up the grass into tiny bits and distributes it across the yard or a grass bag that collects the grass clippings as you go to make for easier disposal.

Be Courteous to Your Neighbors When Mowing

It’s just common courtesy to avoid mowing too late or too early. The Noise Pollution Clearinghouse, a nonprofit organization that fights noise pollution, has enacted a “Good Neighbor Policy.”

Regarding the use of lawn equipment, the policy suggests that people:

  • Use a reel mower and rake whenever possible
  • Use power lawn and garden equipment between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Do not use a leaf blower for health and noise reasons.
  • Whenever possible, avoid the outdoor use of power tools on Sunday.
  • Avoid the use of power lawn equipment if your neighbors are in their yards.
  • Establish a schedule for motorized outdoor lawn and garden work with your neighbors (e.g., even number days only).

If courtesy isn’t enough of an incentive for you, be aware that more than 500 local governments have passed noise pollution legislation, violations of which could force you to pay a hefty fine.

To mow with as little noise as possible, electric mowers and reel mowers are a quieter choice than gas mowers.

FAQ: How To Mow Your Lawn The Right Way

Yes. Mowing incorrectly can leave brown patches and scalped grass that can ruin your healthy lawn. Here’s the right way to mow your lawn:

Follow the One-Third Rule Keep mower blades sharp Mow mid-morning or late afternoon Vary your mowing pattern Cut at the proper height Leave your clippings on the lawn

Simply bend the grass blades in opposite directions to create that baseball field look in your lawn. With a simple striping kit, you can create checkerboard, diagonal stripes, waves, or any other shape you desire.

Here’s how to mow stripes in your lawn:

Attach a striping kit to your mower. Striping kits are mini lawn rollers that help the grass blades to bend in the desired direction. Start by mowing the entire perimeter of the lawn. Look for a straight path or driveway to follow. First stripe should be mowed parallel to this. At the end of that stripe, either elevate the mower deck or make a tight turn with your mower to mow the following row. If your turn marks are visible, finish by cutting a final strip of grass along the yard’s perimeter to hide them.

Making the fewest number of turns is the fastest approach to mowing your lawn. According to David’s Lawn Mowing Efficiency Hierarchy, the list of fastest to most-time consuming mowing methods are:

Spiral: Start from the outside and spiral into the middle. (No 180-degree turns!) Long stripes: Mow the long edge — the length of the rectangle — then u-turn, and go back the other way. Short stripes: Same as long stripes, but mow across the short side. Diagonal stripes: Start at one corner, and go back and forth across the diagonal.

In most places, no, the lawn does not need to be mowed in winter. In fact, mowing the lawn in winter when your grass is dormant can hurt it a lot more than help it. In areas with particularly mild winters, such as South Florida, the grass may never go dormant and may need occasional mowing (think once a month or less) during winter.

Yes, you can mow and fertilize on the same day. Mow first, then wait a few hours before applying fertilizer. Ideally, you should mow a few days before fertilizing, but doing both on the same day is OK in a pinch.

Mow it Yourself? Or Hire a Pro

Your other choice is to forgo the lawn mower purchase and instead hire a professional lawn service. So, if you don’t want to learn the fine art of lawn care, see if we provide service to your area. Finally, make sure to check references and Better Business Bureau ratings for your pro before they mow.

Main Image Credit: Daniel Watson / Unsplash / License

Daniel Ray

Daniel Ray is’s former editor in chief. He is an award-winning writer and editor who previously was editor in chief of the personal finance websites and, but with 30 years of gardening experience, he’s well qualified to help consumers grow a different kind of green.

Yard work at the click of a button.

As seen in Forbes, CNBC and USA Today, LawnStarter makes it easy to schedule service with a local lawn care professional.

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Best Lawn Mowers: Top 5 Grass Cutters Most Recommended By Experts

When warm weather returns, it is time for BBQ, swimming pools, and outdoor gardening. Lawn care for a home can be a major endeavor, depending on the size and layout of the lawn itself. In the search to find the right tool for the job, the best lawn mowers come in handy to keep your yard manicured.

According to a recent study, more than two-thirds of Americans find themselves spending more time at home now than two years ago – and the economy may be to blame. That’s according to a new survey of 2,000 Americans, where 69 percent of respondents remain home due to external factors such as inflation and a looming recession. With all that time on their hands, respondents have been staying busy by upgrading their homes. Over the last year, Americans have prioritized maintaining their yards and lawns (36%), followed by their kitchens (30%) and living rooms (29%). On top of that, they spend 50 hours maintaining their lawn, 42 hours caring for their kitchen, 27 hours keeping up their dining room, and 33 hours on their home gym each year.

Spending time on lawn care and gardening can be good for your health. In fact, a new study reports that gardening could help reduce the risk of cancer, boost mental health and bring communities together. Scientists say it leads to eating more fibrous fruits and vegetables, exercising more and building social connections. These positive elements of gardening can ease stress and anxiety and lower the risk of various illnesses, according to researchers from The University of Colorado Boulder.

With so many choices from gas to electric to remote controlled and more, there are many lawncare products to choose from. StudyFinds did the research for you by turning to the experts to find the best lawn mowers available for your today. Let us know your opinion in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев below!

The List: Best Lawn Mowers, According to Experts

Honda 21-Inch Walk Behind Mower

As always, it is unusual for our sources to agree on which product is the best. However when it comes to Lawn Mowers, our sources agree: Honda is top of the line. “Whether it’s a car, generator, or lawn mower, it’s tough to beat the reliability and durability of Honda engines—and such is the case with this self-propelled gas lawn mower. Its powerful GCV170 engine powers not just one but two blades, giving it a cleaner, more precise cut over most other gas-powered lawn mowers that have just a single blade. With its rear-wheel drive, this mower is ideal to contend with yards that have slopes and more-rugged terrain. Its engine is formidable, and so are its features. An easy-to-use clip system makes it simple to switch between its three grass-clipping options—mulching, side discharge, and bagging—and the well-designed speed controls add to the quality of this premium self-propelled walk-behind mower,” writes Bob Vila.

The wow factor of this mower comes from the quality and power of the engine. “In terms of cut quality and the ability to maintain turf health, it’s one of the best self-propelled mowers available, due mostly to a pair of features—a two-blade cutting system that offers golf-course-like results, and a unique way to dial in a precise mulching-to-bagging ratio to compensate for various grass conditions. Combine all of that with this mower’s other strong details, like a large 200 cc engine and rear-wheel drive to help traverse tall grass or hills, and you’re getting enough to justify the steep price,” says the NY Times.

This mower is especially well-suited for larger lawns: “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,” adds USA Today.

Ego Power Select Cut Mower

Battery powered mowers have finally become a match for gas-powered competitors. “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,” says USA Today.

This model boasts powerful specifications as well as a compact size it could be a great choice for smaller lawns. “The battery is compatible with all Ego power tools, so you can swap batteries around and always have a spare ready to hot-swap if needed. The drive is controlled using a typical lever control, and delivers excellent fine-speed control over the range of the mower’s performance. The mower’s multi-blade system gives a professional, clean cut to your lawn that a single-blade mower can’t achieve. Need to mow late in the day? No problem: There are LED headlights to illuminate your path. The Ego lets you quickly switch between mulching, bagging and discharge with a single lever, and the collection bag holds 2 bushels of clippings. You can vary the deck height from 1.25 inches to 4 inches using a single handy lever—you don’t need to adjust each wheel or front and rear individually,” mentions Forbes.

For the average suburban home this model could easily be a go-to purchase for lawn care. “The Ego Power Cordless Mower is the best bang for your buck. With its Rapid charger, this battery-powered push mower contains lots of helpful features, such as LED lights that keep you on track if your mowing time spans into the night. Create the cut of your dreams with one of six height positions, so the stripes on your grass are always up to snuff. When you’re ready to store your mower, take advantage of its foldable technology to be compact and out of sight. Oh, and don’t forget about the lawn mower cover, too,” writes Family Handyman.

Husqvarna AUTOMOWER Robotic Lawn Mower

Robot lawn care has not only arrived but are now becoming more readily available. “Robot lawn mowers are for those of us who don’t want to mow the lawn ever again. They’re still relatively new, meaning are still relatively high, but if you’ve got the cash to spend, they’re a fantastic investment for the time-tight gardener. The 315X has built-in Bluetooth and cellular, meaning you can use the companion app and check in on your lawnmower’s progress wherever you are in the world, as well as stop and start it manually if you prefer. Set a schedule, and you’ll never need to worry about mowing the lawn ever again or use voice commands to bark instructions at it via Amazon Alexa or Google Home instead,” explains Homes Gardens.

For those who want to take the plunge and go robotic, “This Husqvarna Automower Robotic pick mows the yard for you! It can complete large yards, too, thanks to its 145 minutes of running time and fast-charge battery. Its adjustable cut height system can be set between 0.8 to 2.4 inches, and you never have to worry about it being stolen thanks to its GPS tracker and PIN code. The weatherproof technology allows this mower to be caught in the rain without damaging its system, and it’s also capable of mowing slopes up to 24 degrees,” says Family Handyman.

This particular model is pricey, but with the larger price tag comes all the exciting features one might want from a lawn care robot. “This futuristic-looking machine is specifically designed to be able to handle hills up to 35°. This Automower works great for yards up to roughly 0.9 acres and the battery keeps it mowing for an hour and 40 minutes. Charging takes just 30 minutes before it’s off and running again. Like most robotic mowers, the cut height is limited. Ranging from 1.2 to 2.8 inches, it’s not the best option for all grass species. Smartphone connectivity and GPS assistance are built into the system. It’s not completely wire-free just yet, though Husqvarna is working on that,” mentions Pro Tool Reviews.

Greenworks 3-in-1 Lawn Mower

Suburban homeowners are certainly the target audience for many lawn mower manufacturers. “If you have a small lawn that’s no more than 0.25 acre (a typical size for a suburban lawn in many parts of the US), we recommend the Greenworks 3-in-1 Lawn Mower, a mower that impressed us when we tested it in the past. During our latest round of testing, we tested this model again in one of our own backyards on three separate days and found it simple to assemble. It only took around 10 minutes to be up and running), easy to turn on, and comfortable to use. We also had no trouble folding down the handle when it was time to store the mower and appreciated its small size. Overall, we continue to be impressed with this push mower’s features, performance on flat lawns or gently sloped terrain, and value,” explains The Spruce.

The benefits of a corded lawnmower outweigh the hassle of an extension cord, particularly for smaller lawns. “If you’re on a budget, you’ll get a lot of performance for your money. The deck is on the smaller side at 20 inches, meaning you might want to leave this one if you have a larger yard. It is better for nipping around smaller areas and getting into smaller corners easily instead. Noise levels are low, and an easy push-to-start button will get it up and running without any hassle. It’s well-made and reliable, so you have no worries about running out of fuel or battery at any stage. Features are pretty functional here, but there’s enough. You can choose between seven mow levels and between bagging, side discharge, and mulching for the cuttings,” points out Homes Gardens.

It’s all about choosing the right tool for the right job. “If you have a small yard, there’s no need to spend big bucks for a large or expensive machine. This Greenworks option is corded, so you don’t need to think about recharging a battery or making sure the fuel tank is full. The mower’s 20-inch deck allows you to cover plenty of ground in one pass, while seven position height adjustment lets you get the perfect mow every time. Clippings can go right into the included bag. Since this is a plug-in model, it’s nice to know it has a cord retainer to keep the extension cord from accidentally unplugging during the job. Once you’re finished, fold down the handle for easy and compact storage,” mentions Forbes.

Toro Smart Stow

Toro is a trusted American brand for lawn care. “Toro touts a commercial-grade construction on this model and includes a lighter aluminum deck rather than steel. In addition to that, you get outstanding cut quality, especially on the mulching side (you better with the name Super Recycler!). Wrapping it up, the Personal Pace drive system adjusts to your walking pace so there are no levers or dials to adjust,” says Pro Tool Reviews.

The Toro Smart Stow could be a great choice for larger lawns or lawns that are not level. “The Toro SmartStow is another top-rated mower that our experts like for homeowners who are short on space in their garage or shed because it folds down for vertical storage. It’s extremely versatile, too: the self-propelled engine lets you customize its speed to match your pace, plus the mower has nine cutting height options and 10-inch rear wheels that make it easy to maneuver over all lawn types. Thanks to its flex handle suspension, physical fatigue is reduced when mowing larger or sloped lawns. It also features a robust Briggs and Stratton engine for easy riding and powerful mowing — and easy maintenance with no oil changes required. The all-terrain workhorse allows for versatility with its three-in-one cutting offerings — rear bagging collection, side discharge or recycler mulching,” notes Good Housekeeping.

The Toro Smart Stow touts several great functional advantages: “The Toro 20340’s storage feature is called the SmartStow system, which is made possible by the Briggs Stratton engine’s unique design. It’s a simple process: You fold the handle over the body of the mower and lock it in place. Then (with the bag removed), you set the mower upright or wheel it around like a piece of luggage, much like you would a cordless model. It makes storage easy, not to mention cleaning the underside of the mowing deck or inspecting the blade,” claims the NY Times.


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.

The Lawn Mower Buyer’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Buy the Right Type of Lawn Mower

Not all yards are the same, and not all mowers are either.

grass, cutter, lawn, different, types

By Roy Berendsohn Published: May 5, 2022

Nothing kills the joy of a sunny day like the wrong type of lawn mower. Fortunately, the opposite is also true. The right type of lawn mower can make cutting your lawn a pleasure.

If you know you need a new lawn mower, but aren’t sure how much mower you need or what features you might want, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Use this guide to select the right machine, and happy mowing.

Step 1: Walk or Ride?

The first step is the choice between two basic types of lawn mowers: riding mower and a walk-behind. Any more ground to cover than a 1/4 acre, you’ll want to ride if for no other reason than to get the lawn done faster.

First, make an approximation of your mowing surface. Simply walk off large rectangles. counting your steps as you go. Add up the areas of the rectangles. No need to get too precise here. An average man’s stride is about 30 inches and a woman’s stride is about 26 inches, or measure your own stride for the most accurate measurement.

An acre is 43,560 square feet, so one-fourth acre is 10,890 square feet. Anything above that threshold, and you’ll likely want to get a riding mower. In fact, the vast majority of people wouldn’t dream of cutting a ¼ acre of grass with a 22-inch walk mower, but we have to start somewhere. So think realistically about how much time you have to mow your lawn on a busy weekend and select your equipment accordingly.

For lawns from ¼ of an acre to 2 acres. you’ll most likely be most comfortable with a rear-engine riding mowers, light-duty lawn tractors, and residential-duty zero-turn mowers. Anything more than two acres and you’ll want a commercial-duty zero turn mower.

Step 2: Selecting Your Features

Once you’ve selected whether you ride or walk, there are two factors that will drive your purchase—your budget and your comfort. The more you spend on a mower, the more durable, versatile, intuitive, and probably, the quicker you’ll get the job done. The opposite is also true.

It doesn’t make as much difference with a small, simple yard. But the larger and more complex the yard, the more thought you need to give to selecting mower features.

Walk Mowers

We’ll begin with walk mowers. one of the most versatile cutting machines out there.

Walk mowers are somewhat like cars in that they are available with a wide range of options, all of which increase cost and complexity. Look carefully at the product’s hang tag and talk to the sales staff to get a better sense of whether the features are useful to you.

Let’s break down all the major components and what lawnmowers use them:

Reel Mowing Tall Grass?


Look it at this way: You can push a mower, or the mower can push itself, in which case it’s either a front-drive or a rear-drive mower (we’ll get to all-wheel drive in a moment). A self-propelled mower makes your life a lot easier when mowing hills, or when you mow and bag. There’s nothing like pushing a fully loaded mower uphill to make you appreciate a self-propelled machine.

The Lawn and the Short of it

Front-wheel drive is best for level ground with a lot of obstacles. This allows you to push down on the handle, reducing traction on the front wheels and pivot into and out of corners.

Rear-wheel drive works best for for uphill mowing and sidehill mowing. Rear wheel drive works better here because when you push down on the handle going up a hill, the front tires will not lose traction.

Yes, a handful of mowers are all-wheel drive. built for homeowners who cut across washboard surfaces, sidehill mowing, steep uphill and downhill mowing that makes good of AWD. We were dubious when these mowers were introduced several years ago, but when we cut some very rough ground, we were surprised at how much easier AWD made things.


In this section, we’re talking about what the machines actually does with the grass. Mowers can mulch clippings (repeatedly cut and recut them), discharge them to the side or rear, or bag them.

Two-function is a mower that mulches and bags. Mulching is healthier for the lawn in that it returns nitrogen-rich grass clippings into the ground, but it doesn’t work particularly well for tall-grass conditions in the spring and early summer or early fall when the lawn bounces back from summer stress.

A three-function machine bags, mulches, and side discharges. Side discharging is useful for utility mowing (mowing areas with tall weeds and non-turf grasses). It also helps if the lawn gets away from you and you need to set the mower deck to its full height and take the grass down in stages.

Common Features

We’ve barely scratched the surface of mower features. These are the more common things you’ll find on your average mower’s spec list:

Deck levers come in groupings of one, two, or four. One lever is the most convenient, but it comes with a lot of linkage that adds weight and that you have to keep lubricated if you want it to work well. Two levers are a good compromise between one and four levers. Yes, these mowers have a bit more linkage than a four-lever mower, but it’s easier to get the height right. Four levers is the standard, time-tested design.

The only way to get a sense of whether you’ll like the ground speed control is to actually get your hands on a mower at a dealership, hardware store, or home center.

The control may be integral with the handle. The harder you press forward on the drive control in the handle, the faster the mower goes. Or it may be a separate lever or even a bail (a metal rod). Squeeze the lever to increase ground speed or to activate the mower’s drive system for fixed-speed mowers.

Self-propelled mowers are equipped with three types of transmissions. Hydrostatic is the most expensive and the smoothest operating. It drives hydraulic fluid past an impeller that spins an output shaft, which controls ground speed. This is your smoothest running and most reliable transmission, but it’s also the most expensive.

The typical front or rear drive walk mower uses some form of belt-and-pulley arrangement to direct power from the engine’s output shaft to a gear box on a front or rear axle (or a gear at the wheel). There are several variations of this design, but all work well and are reasonably easy to maintain and repair.

Make Your Lawn Last

Gas engines sizes run from 140 cc to 190 cc. Larger engines produce more torque and are less likely to stall in tall grass at the beginning and end of the cutting season. A larger engine also helps drive self-propelled mowers more effectively uphill.

From least-expensive to most-expensive, mower engines may be traditional side valve design, overhead valve, or overhead cam. expensive engines provide increased durability, reduced noise, and less oil consumption.

The rear wheel size of a walk mower may be larger than the diameter of the front wheels. The wheels’ increased diameter helps it more easily navigate ruts and rough ground.

Ball bearing wheels are easier to push than those with bushing-type wheels. The larger your yard, the more difficult its terrain, or if you’re hauling around a bag of clippings or clippings mixed with mulched leaves, the more you want this option.

A blade-brake clutch is a feature found on high-end walk mowers. It allows you to completely release the operator control handle without stopping the engine. That way, you can pause your mowing, move whatever obstacle out of your way and continue mowing without having to restart the engine.

Unusual Features

A range of unusual features have been introduced in the last several years to make mowing easier or the whole mowing experience better.

Some engines require no oil change. like the small gas engines made by Briggs Stratton. The feature is known as “Just Check and Add.” You just add oil periodically to replace the small amount of oil that’s slowly vaporized in the combustion process.

Need a Recommendation?

Toro’s innovations have created mowers that have power-assisted reverse and a vertical-storage design that lets you fold the handle down, tip the mower back, and store it vertically against the wall.

Front caster wheels are great for elaborately-landscaped yards that require a lot of pivoting. Front caster wheels don’t track particularly well on bumpy ground or mowing sidehills. Mowox mowers have replaced dual front casters with a single front caster wheel, perhaps the most maneuverable form of mower you can get. But Cub Cadet has been among the mower manufacturers that pioneered the use of front caster wheels.

Wash-out fittings enable you to hook up a garden hose to wash accumulated grass clippings from under the deck. A clean deck lasts longer because accumulated grass holds moisture and lawn chemical residue, which causes deck corrosion. Our tests show that these fittings do help considerably, but that you still need some under-deck scraping with a putty knife.

Wide-cut mowers with decks that range from 28 to 33 inches are a fast cutting alternative to a 22-inch mower. These are still comparatively rare products made by Cub Cadet, Toro, Troy-Bilt, and Craftsman.

Finally, electric walk mowers are a perfect fit if you have a small yard (under 5,000 square feet of mowing surface) and one that’s quite manicured. However, there are three important things to keep in mind:

  • Cordless electric mowers tend to have smaller decks (19 and 20-inch sizes are the most common, though a few have 21-inch decks). That means it takes you longer to mow.
  • They tend to be less powerful than their gas engine counterparts. They can struggle with tall grass, wet grass, and thick grass with leaves. For intermediate mowing conditions, cordless mowers do just fine.
  • The larger the lawn, the more batteries you need. Manufacturers make recommendations about run time, but that’s very difficult to do accurately. It varies widely depending on your mowing habits and the height or thickness of the grass. We recommend you buy extra batteries so that you’re not compelled to rush the cut.

Related Story

Ride Mowers

If you can afford it, a riding mower is the way to go. Don’t get us wrong, we love walk mowers (goodness knows, we’ve used enough of them over the years here). But for speed and efficiency, there’s simply no comparison with a riding mower when you’re talking a large lawn.

When looking at riding mowers, you’ll likely come across three versions—lawn tractor, rear-engine riding mower, and a zero-turn mower. Let’s break them done one by one:

Lawn Tractor

Many people start out with a lawn tractor. With a steering wheel and a front-mounted engine, these look and feel familiar. Engine size range from 18-25 HP and most come with a single cylinder with step-up models having a V twin. Some fancier models also feature engines with electronic fuel injection.

When it comes to transmissions, less expensive models tend to be lever-operated gear transmissions. But a step-up from there comes pedal hydrostatic or continuously variable transmission (CVT) operated by a shift-on-the-go hand lever. The CVT is an automatic transmission powered by pulley drive to a sealed and lubricated gear case. You know you’re spending serious money if you’re considering a more expensive tractor with a heavy-duty foot pedal hydrostatic transmission.

Finally, how much can it cut? Well, much more than a push mower. Deck widths range from 42 inches to 54 inches. To know what size you need, divide the mower deck size by 12 to get an approximation of the acreage the mower can handle. So residential-duty a mower with a 54-inch deck can mow up to 4.5 acres. That’s a lot of grass and would result in significant wear and tear on a residential-grade mower in the course of the season. Still, it could do it.

These kind of mowers range anywhere from 1,300 to 3,000.

Rear-Engine Riding Mower

Many people with larger lawns too big for a walk mower but too small for a tractor or a zero turn should go with a rear-engine riding mower. The specifications below apply to deck under the operator’s position and not rear-engine residential/commercial mowers with the deck in front of the operator.

Need a Recommendation?

Most rear-engine mowers a single-cylinder engine ranging in size from 344 to 38 cc, estimated at 10 to 11 HP. The transmission is usually a CVT operated by a shift-on-the-go hand lever. Snapper’s famous rear-engine riding mower uses the company’s time-tested disc drive transmission, but a few rear-engine riders are offered with a hydrostatic transmission.

Deck sizes stretch anywhere from 30 to 33 inches, and operators use a manual hand lever for deck adjustment and deck engagement. That small cutting size also means a smaller price tag, ranging from 1,200 to 2,400.

Zero-Turn Mowers

In the last twenty years or so, zero-turn mowers have proved their worth to homeowners and landscape contractors alike. Their design enables forward speed and steering by means of dual hydrostatic transmissions at the rear wheels, each of which is controlled by a lap bar in front of the seat.

A pulley off the engine spins the impellers on the dual hydrostatic transmissions that power the rear wheels. When you move one of the lap bars farther forward than its neighbor, it acts as a throttle, allowing more hydraulic fluid to flow to the transmission at that wheel. This causes wheel to turn more rapidly than the opposite wheel, allowing you turn corners or pivot.

Power Up

Engine size can range from 452 cc up to 700 or more, with power estimated from 12 HP to 25 HP. This is powered by either a single cylinder or commercial-duty V twin, and transmissions are either hydrostatic or commercial-duty hydrostatic.

With deck sizes ranging from 32 inches to 60 inches, these mowers cut the most grass in the least amount of time. The decks are either stamped or heavy-duty fabricated, deck adjustment uses a manual hand lever or foot pedal, and deck engagement uses a manual hand lever or an electric PTO

All that grass-cutting power comes with a price, usually ranging between 1,200 to 6,000. But now, you can knock some dollars off thanks to 2023 Memorial Day sales.

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.