How to Clean a Lawn Mower Grass Bag. Bag for Honda mower
How to Clean a Lawn Mower Grass Bag
As summer approaches so does the need for regular lawn care. Periodic cleaning of the lawn mower grass bag helps increase the life of the bag. This will also optimize your lawn mower’s functionality. You can effectively clean your mower’s grass bag by emptying it, blowing out the dust, dry grass, and other matter. Next, you will have to hose it down thoroughly. Finally, you should perform a deep cleaning to eliminate mold, other toxins, and grass stains. Most people don’t even realize that cleaning the grass bag is so important. I’ve compiled some simple steps to follow to maintain the cleanliness and life of your lawn mower grass bag. For more optimal cleanliness, you can perform a deep cleaning after following the first four steps to get rid of stains and prevent mold from forming.
Cleaning your grass bag
To clean your grass bag follow these simple steps. First, you should prepare the grass bag for cleaning. Next, you will unclog the pores in the fabric. Then, hose the bag down. Finally you will brush the fabric of the bag. Additionally, a deeper clean can be performed to get rid of bad smells and prevent mold and mildew from forming. You can read about these steps in more detain below.
Prepare the grass bag for cleaning
- First, make sure that your lawn mower is completely turned off to avoid any accidents. Put safety first when performing any kind of cleaning or maintenance on your lawn mower.
- Disconnect the grass bag. You should consult your user manual prior to doing this as different models operate differently.
- Empty the grass and leaves into a lawn refuse bag. Leftover grass and leaves can eventually decompose and cause mold and fungus which will make your grass bag smell and may cause the fabric to deteriorate.
- Make sure to shake out even the smallest remnants of lawn waste. This will make it easier to clean in later steps.
Unclog the pores in the fabric
The pores in the fabric of the grass bag can easily get clogged with. Later in the summer especially, when grass tends to be drier and dust and dirt settle in your yard, this becomes a bigger problem.
Tiny remnants of leaves can also get stuck. When this happens, it negatively impacts the overall functionality of your mower.
- Turn your grass bag upside down on a flat surface.
- Using a leaf blower or an air compressor with a nozzle blow air around the outside of the grass bag. This will help to further loosen any particles of lawn waste stuck in the fabric. If you use an air compressor, make sure you use one with a low psi to prevent tearing.
- After you have thoroughly worked your way around the outside of the grass bag, turn it inside out. Repeat the process over the entire surface of the inside of the bag to further clear the pores. Make sure to remove as much debris as possible or the bag will get muddy when you hose it down.
Hose the grass bag down
After blowing out the last bits of debris from your grass bag, you will want to hose it down. You can use a regular garden hose or if you want to remove more dirt, you can use a pressure washer with a low psi.
Most grass bags are made out of nylon and can’t withstand the strength of a pressure washer so this may be a better option if you have a grass bag that is made out of canvas or another more durable material.
After hosing the outside of the grass bag, turn it inside out and hose the inside of the bag generously.
Brush the grass bag
After hosing the bag to get rid of further dirt and grime, you will want to scrub it.
It is recommended that you scrub the bag with a soft brush like a utility scrub brush you would use on kitchen or bathroom tile or to scrub dishes.
If you don’t have a scrub brush at hand, or simply don’t want to use the same brush you use to wash your dishes, you can buy one from Amazon.
If you don’t have a soft-bristled utility scrub brush you can even use a toothbrush. This may take a bit longer as it will cover less surface area per brush stroke.
Most lawn bags are made of nylon so refrain from using a brush with steel bristles or even harder plastic bristles that can tear the material.
Once you’ve scrubbed the bag down, hose it one more time. Keep the bag turned inside out and let it dry in the sun before reattaching it to the lawn mower. This is important as it will prevent mold and mildew from forming on the inside of the bag.
Further cleansing: Removing grass (and other) stains
Now that you’ve completed a basic cleansing, you may want to take additional steps to eliminate
There are a number of ways you can clean the fabric of your grass bag. The deep clean will happen after you’ve hosed down the bag.
You can use an easy-to-make DIY stain remover.
Let the lawn bag sit for an hour. If the stain is still visible, repeat the process. Once the stain is no longer visible, let the bag sit in the sun to dry.
An alternative solution is to use a homemade vinegar and baking soda paste.
To make the paste:
- Pour a little bit of baking soda in a bowl
- Add a few tablespoons of vinegar to the bowl and stir it with the measuring spoon until it turns into a paste.
Directions for using:
After mixing the paste, pour vinegar over the stain, then dab a bit of paste onto a clean rag and rub the paste over the stain until it comes out.
While your grass bag is drying, clean the receiving end of your lawn mower where the bag sits.
You can use the soft brush, but for this step a steel brush will be more effective in removing dirt and grime. This additional step will prevent further staining of the grass bag after it is re-attached to the lawn mower.
Removing mold and mildew from your grass bag
The two DIY remedies recommended for removing stains from your lawn bag can also be used to effectively kill mold and mildew on your lawn bag. Baking soda, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide are active agents in preventing mold and mildew.
One household product you can purchase that is effective in killing and preventing mold and mildew is the Star Brite Ultimate Mold and Mildew Stain Remover (buy on Amazon).
Make sure to store your lawn mower grass bag in a dry place. You can place a silica gel pack (buy on Amazon) in your bag to absorb moisture if it may be exposed to it while in storage.
Remember to remove the gel pack in the spring when you use your lawn mower again.
You can also toss a tablespoon or two of baking soda in your grass bag to make it smell better. Leave it in overnight and then empty it out before re-attaching it to the lawn mower.
The summer season is the time to enjoy our lawns and what better way to do that than with a clean and efficient lawn mower. Following these steps periodically will increase both the life of your lawn mower’s grass bag and the lawn mower’s overall life.
Hi! I’m Peter, the owner of BackyardGadget. Working around the house has always been a big part of my life. I’ve created this site to share my experience, and to help people choose the right tools for the job. Thank you for stopping by!
Have you ever pulled on the starter cord to get your mower started, but the rope snaps? Or perhaps it pulls all the way out and doesn’t rewind by itself. Either way, it’s clear the pull cord is.
One of the most common features of most gas-powered push mowers is the cord or rope that you use to get it started. But why do they have pull cords rather than some other starting mechanism? The.
Hi! I’m Peter, the owner of BackyardGadget. Working around the house has always been a big part of my life. I’ve created this site to share my experience, and to help people choose the right tools for the job. Thank you for stopping by!
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Lawn Mower Grass Catcher Troubleshooting
Stopping every 5 minutes to clear the underside of the mower isn’t much fun! Grass catcher problems can be so annoying.
Troubleshooting a lawn mower grass catcher? Common grass catcher problems like clumping, clogging, uncut grass, and a grass bag that won’t fill are caused by:
In this guide, I will cover all the most common grass catcher problems and their solutions.
Very often, a bad or blunt blade is the root cause of bagging issues. Sharpening or replacing a worn blade will improve bagging performance.
The sharpening video covers safely sharpening the blade both on and off the mower. It also includes balancing the blade and torquing the blade bolt to specification.
What Is Mulching?
I live in Ireland, and it rains a lot; sometimes, it rains persistently, and if you need to cut grass, then you have to cut wet grass. Grass chute clogging is usually caused by cutting conditions but is also commonly caused by a worn cutting blade.
The blade is the business end, and it needs to be in tip-top condition.
Chute – A clogged chute can, of course, be a symptom of an underlying problem. So clearing the chute may not solve the problem. Check the chute for damage or old dry grass build-up.
Clean – Old grass on the deck can cause problems. Regular cleaning will prevent build-up and prolong the life of your mower.
Sharpening – A sharp blade will solve lots of cutting and collecting issues.
Wet Grass – It’s much heavier than dry grass, obviously, and won’t be thrown as far into the grass bag/box by the laboring engine. It also sticks to the underside of the mower, causing clogging and preventing the grass catcher from filling. Mowers don’t cut damp/wet grass very well, especially if it’s tall.
Height – How about the cutting height? It may be set too low. I know this sounds obvious, but try lifting the deck height, and if you want a tighter cut – drop the deck and cut again. Ideally, your mower shouldn’t be cutting more than an inch of grass; ask it to do more, and cut quality suffers.
Try cutting more regularly, and keep your mower deck clean and free from dry grass. Consider coating the underside of your deck with Teflon Non-Stick coating; it helps reduce grass clogging.
Tallgrass – Tallgrass is hard on a mower, especially if you’re asking it to cut the lawn tight with just one cut. Tallgrass will cause the mower to clog.
- Option 1 – Quick fix is to spray the deck with WD40; it does help, but it won’t last.
- Option 2 – Spray deck with DuPont Teflon coating.
- Option 3 – Spray the deck with bed liner, my preferred option. Works on tractors, riders, and walk-behind mowers.
As you know, mulching blades chop grass very finely and drop it back onto the lawn, where it helps feed the lawn. Mulching blades are designed specifically for this task, but they can cause lots of clogging problems, especially if the grass is long or damp.
Mulching blades just don’t move grass efficiently because they’re not designed to. They work best when the grass is cut dry, regularly and in small amounts.
Mulching Blades aren’t designed to collect.
Mulching tall wet grass won’t work; the blade is designed to cut just small amounts of grass at a time.
Hybrid Mulching Blade
As you know, a true mulching mower doesn’t collect; its function is to finely chop and drop the clippings. This type of cutting is convenient; it’s a lot less work than emptying a grass bag, which gave mower manufacturers an idea.
The Hybrid Blade (3 in 1) – a mower blade that does it all, collects, mulches, and discharges. Well, it does an OK job, but if conditions become challenging, the quality does suffer, especially if conditions are wet.
The complaint I hear most with the 3-in-1 mulching blades – won’t fill the grass catcher. The solution – remove the mulching blade and fit a lift blade.
If you don’t want to mulch, change your blade for a lift blade; you will eliminate lots of clogging, clumping, and half-filled grass bags.
3 in 1 – The Hybrid mulching blade is kind of ok at everything.
The lift blade is also known as the 2 in 1, so-called because it bags and discharges. The lift blade vacuums the grass upright before cutting and moving clippings to the bag.
They’re designed for collecting grass and are available in low, medium, and high lift. A higher lift blade will require a more powerful engine. The lift is created by curving upwards of the trailing edge of the blade. The higher the lift, the better the bagging. If you love bagging – You need a lift blade.
Honda 3 in 1 – The Honda Hybrid mulching blade is the best in the business. Unfortunately, it can’t be fitted to other mower makes. The reason the Honda is so good at mulching and collecting – twin cut blade setup. Twin stacked blades working together allow blades mulches and move the clippings. Smart!
Grass Bag Won’t Fill
A grass bag/box that doesn’t fill has a few likely causes. The obvious ones: are clogged chute, thatched grass bag, damaged or worn blade, insufficient throttle, and poor engine performance.
Thatched – A thatched grass bag is a common problem. Mowers often get cleaned at the end of the season (well, some do), but bags rarely do. Examine your bag/box as a guide; when held to the light, you should be able to see through it. If the air can’t pass through the bag, then grass won’t be carried into the bag.
A stiff brush will remove the old thatched grass, or better, use a power washer. Cleaning – Stiff brush or a power washer does the job.
Chute Clogs – A clogged chute can be a symptom of an underlying problem. So clearing the chute may not resolve the issue. Check the chute for damage or old dry grass build-up. Grass build-up or damage to the underside of the deck can cause the grass to catch and clog.
Deck Coating – The underside of the deck should be smooth so that the grass moves freely around the deck, up the chute, and into the bag. DuPont makes a Teflon Non-Stick coating which helps reduce grass clogging.
Cleaning – Move your mower to a suitable location, as it leaves a bit of a mess. Just attach and turn on the garden hose. Start your mower to engage the blades.
Why The Grass Trailings?
Grass trailings are commonly caused by a poorly fitting or damaged grass catcher. If you find your grass catcher is damaged, consider buying a new one, they’re available to purchase with or without the metal frame.
Check if the bag/box sits correctly against the mower body. If it’s loose or damaged, the air and grass flow to the bag is compromised.
If all is well with the grass catcher, go ahead and replace your blade.
Trailings are really annoying; check the bagger is closing snugly.
Check For Blade Damage – A defective blade can cause vibration, uneven cutting, and poor grass collection. Examine your blade, checking for damage, misalignment, or bent or broken trailing/leading edges.
Blades need to be kept sharp. I recommend about twice per season or more, depending on the terrain. Obviously, if your blade is dull, it can cause all sorts of problems, including blocked chute and grass catcher issues. Check out blade maintenance tools here; they make the sharpening process a ton easier.
Toro Lawn Mower Grass Bag Replacement #115-4673
And if you need a video on the process, it covers it here, sharpening blade on and off the mower.
Impact – When blades hit something hard, well, you know! The damage causes vibration and all sorts of cutting issues.
Bent – Bent blades can’t be repaired; just go ahead and replace them.
What Is PTO Slip?
The blade clutch or PTO (Power take-off) won’t be fitted to all lawn tractors, but it’s easy to locate; it lives right under the engine. A clutch system isn’t common on walk-behind mowers, but Honda and Toro offer them on the higher-end models.
It may be manual or electric; either way, its job is to lock the engine crankshaft to the blade deck pulley when you engage the blades on a button or lever. The clutch, like a clutch in a car, will wear out, and when it does, it causes the connection between the engine and deck to slip.
Symptoms include poor grass collection, uncut grass, and sometimes a burning smell.
PTO – Check the PTO system. The manual version is engaged by a cable. It lives on the crankshaft, right under the engine. Check that the cable is pulling the PTO lever all the way.
Fitting – Replacing the PTO isn’t difficult, but air tools would make it really easy.
Check Deck Belt Condition
Belt wear is also a common reason for a chute to clog; check the deck-cutting belt for damage and general wear tear. A new belt will transfer more of the engine power to the cutting blades and will improve the cutting and bag filling performance.
Belt types and lengths will be specific. Some brands will only work well using OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) belts; check out “Mower belt replacement.”
If you need walk-behind or ride-on mower blades, bearings, sharpening tools, etc., check out the Amazon.com link below.
Worn – A cutting deck belt that’s slipping will be less efficient at collecting.
Check the belt for proper tension, cracking, glazing, or contamination.
Damaged – Damaged belts will cause vibration and poor general performance.
A typical deck belt might last 4 – 5 years.
Check Engine Performance
It’s also worth considering, is the throttle set correctly? It should be set to fast/run when cutting. Is the engine running as it should? If the engine power is reduced, the mower may still cut well but will be less efficient at collecting.
A small-engine tractor or walk-behind mower should have a tune-up at the beginning of every season, regardless of how well it might be running.
Belt types and lengths will be specific. Some brands will only work well using OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) belts; check out “Mower belt replacement.”
Old fuel is the number one cause of poor engine performance, use a gas stabilizer over the winter to help protect your lawn mower carburetor; check out “Carburetor troubleshooting.”
Tune-up – Mowers like a tune-up at least once per season.
How does grass catcher work? A grass catcher works by collecting the grass that is thrown into the bag by the force of the mower blade wings. The grass catcher works best when the walls of the bag/box are clear so that the forced air from the blade can pass through it quickly.
Hey, I’m John, and I’m a Red Seal Qualified Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience.
I’ve worked on all types of mechanical equipment, from cars to grass machinery, and this site is where I share fluff-free hacks, tips, and insider know-how.
The 6 Best Walk-Behind Lawn Mowers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Camryn Rabideau is a freelance writer and product reviewer specializing in home, kitchen, and pet products. In her 6 years of experience as a product tester, she’s reviewed hundreds of items firsthand, and her work appears in publications such as PEOPLE, The Spruce, Homes Gardens, and more. Camryn is also the proud owner of a small homestead in Rhode Island, where she spends her spare time gardening, tending her many animals, and working through a never-ending list of home improvement projects.
How to Insert the Bag on the Back of a Lawn Mower
In This Article
Summer is almost upon us, which means it’s time to start thinking about lawn care. There are a wide variety of lawn mowers that you can use keep your backyard looking pristine, but it’s important to find the right option to fit your yard — and your budget. If you have a small- to midsize yard, a walk-behind lawn mower generally provides the right balance of value and efficiency.
Nicole Durden, senior merchant of outdoor power at The Home Depot, says that both gas and electric mowers can make lawn care an easier chore. “Depending on your yard’s size and terrain, a walk-behind mower is ideal for a yard that’s ¾ of an acre or less,” she adds.
Today, you can find walk-behind lawn mowers that are powered by gas, batteries, or even an extension cord, and to help you select the best product for your yard, we tested nine popular models, putting them through the paces over the course of 10 hours of testing. After many hours of mowing, we evaluated each walk-behind mower on its design, performance, useability, safety, and value.
The following are the best walk-behind lawn mowers that People Tested.
Honda HRN216VKA 21-Inch Gas Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
- The mower is able to cut through dense and wet grass on the first pass.
- It starts quickly and reliably with just one pull.
- Thorough mulching abilities can handle wet leaves and grass.
- Good value for a lawn mower of its size and power.
- Bag latch can become clogged with clippings and may need cleanout prior to reinserting the bag.
- Self-propelled speed doesn’t respond well to slight increases.
In terms of all-around performance, our top-recommended walk-behind mower is this model from Honda. The gas mower has a self-propelled design that’s powered by a 4-stroke 166cc engine, yet we found that it was extremely easy to start up, only ever needing one pull to get the motor going. The tool has a 21-inch cutting deck and weighs around 75 pounds, but despite its substantial weight, the self-propelled design made it easy for us to operate and navigate around obstacles in the yard.
This Honda lawn mower did a phenomenal job while cutting, and it was able to cut through dense patches of grass and weeds on a single pass. We even tested it in slightly damp conditions, and it didn’t get bogged down at all. You can choose between rear discharge, bagging, or mulching grass clippings, and we loved that the mulching setting cut debris up into fine pieces that will help feed nutrients back into the lawn. It was even able to mulch wet leaves and grass without any issues.
While we were impressed with this mower’s overall performance, there are a few small caveats worth noting. The area where the collection bag latches to the mower frequently got clogged with grass pieces, and we had to clean it out before reattaching the bag. Additionally, the self-propulsion doesn’t respond well to gradual increases in speed — it tends to go from slow to fast with no options in between.
Price at time of publish: 549
Power Source: Gas | Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 74.75 pounds | Self-Propelled: Yes | Clipping Options: Rear discharge, bag, mulch
Sun Joe MJ401E-P2 Electric Lawn Mower
- This lawn mower is very lightweight, and it’s similar to operating a vacuum.
- Its small form is easy to maneuver and can fit into tight spaces.
- The mower is much quieter than a gas-powered mower.
- Grass collection bag fills up very quickly and may need to be emptied multiple times while mowing.
- Grass can get clogged underneath the mowing deck, which causes the mower to shut off.
If you have a small yard, chances are you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a push mower. Luckily for you, the Sun Joe Electric Lawn Mower is an inexpensive option that’s unbelievably easy to use and maintain. This lawn mower is half the weight of many other walk-behind models we tested, and its corded design makes it easy to mow a small yard without worrying about running out of power. In testing, we found that it requires very little effort to push — we’d compare it to pushing a vacuum cleaner across a carpet — and were impressed by how quiet it is while mowing.
This electric mower can get into tight spaces easily, thanks to its 14-inch cutting deck, but it can get stuck if you’re cutting thick grass — during testing, the mower shut off on us because the blades were clogged up. However, it was easy to clean out the cutting deck and continue mowing. The only major downside of this compact electric mower is that it solely bags grass clippings, and the collection bag is extremely small. We had to empty it two or three times while mowing a 400-square-foot area, which made the process take a little longer than expected.
Price at time of publish: 108
Power Source: Plug-in | Cutting Width: 14 inches | Weight: 29 pounds | Self-Propelled: No | Clipping Options: Bag
Greenworks 12 Amp 20-Inch 3-in-1 Corded Lawn Mower
- Good value for a larger corded mower.
- The mower performs well on both dry and damp grass, as well as tall weeds.
- It has no problem driving over uneven ground.
- The mower is easy to push with one hand, even though it’s not self-propelled.
- It can be a bit bulky to turn or maneuver around obstacles.
- Clippings often fall out when emptying the collection bag, even if it’s not full.
The Greenworks Corded Lawn Mower is a great value if you don’t mind working around an extension cord as you mow. This electric model has a fairly large 20-inch cutting deck, and it offers side discharge, bagging, and mulching abilities, unlike other corded models we tested. We used it on both dry and damp grass, and it had no problems cutting either one, breezing right through tall weeds. It also did a good job capturing grass clippings in the included collection bag, though some do spill out when you remove the bag for emptying.
We tested this mower on a fairly uneven lawn, and thanks to its large rear wheels, it didn’t have any problem driving over divots that have posed a problem for other mowers. We were able to push the mower around with just one hand, holding the power cord with the other, but it does require two hands to turn the mower around, as it’s a bit bulky (and not self-propelled). Bottom line? With its affordable price and reliable performance, this mower is a good option for anyone with a smaller yard who wants a corded lawn mower with features.
Price at time of publish: 229
Power Source: Plug-in | Cutting Width: 20 inches | Weight: 56 pounds | Self-Propelled: No | Clipping Options: Side discharge, bag, mulch
EGO Power Select Cut 56-Volt 21-Inch Self-Propelled Cordless Lawn Mower
- The battery still had power left after 50 minutes of use.
- The handle can be adjusted to different heights and angles for maximum comfort.
- The self-propelled design is easy to maneuver and takes strain off your body.
- The mower did get bogged down on a wet patch of grass and ferns.
- The process to start the mower is a bit complicated and hard to understand based on the directions.
There are several benefits to battery-powered mowers like the EGO Power Self-Propelled Lawn Mower, including its lack of emissions, quiet operation, and minimal maintenance. This 21-inch lawn mower only comes with one 56-volt battery, but it was able to mow for 50 minutes with power to spare, making it a great option even for larger yards. On first use, we struggled to figure out how to start the mower — it’s not as simple as just pushing a single button — but once we conquered that hurdle, it was smooth sailing.
The self-propelled design was easy to maneuver around the yard, and we loved that it requires minimal effort, so it won’t strain your back. The mower delivered a clean, even cut, even when the grass was damp, and it’s easy and intuitive to adjust settings like the cutting height and mower speed. We did find that the mower would occasionally get bogged down in thicker, wet areas (for instance, it had trouble cutting through a patch of ferns), but this is the case with many mowers, so we don’t think it’s a dealbreaker.
Price at time of publish: 549 (orig. 576.45)
Power Source: Battery | Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 54.5 pounds | Self-Propelled: Yes | Clipping Options: Side discharge, bag, mulch
Honda HRX217VKA 21-Inch Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower
- The mower is easy to start without priming or worrying about flooding the motor.
- Self-propelled function locks into your desired speed, saving you from having to hold down a lever.
- There’s a setting that allows you to half bag and half mulch the grass clippings.
If you have a lot of ground to cover, we recommend this Honda HRX Lawn Mower. It’s powered by a 201cc engine that easily cuts through thick and dense grass, yet it’s incredibly easy to start up — we were able to get the mower going with a single pull, no priming needed. The Honda mower also has 4-in-1 functionality, meaning you can side discharge, bag, mulch, or shred grass clippings, and we like that there’s even an option to bag half and mulch half. This setting would definitely come in handy if you’re cutting longer grass.
This mower also stood out thanks to its convenient self-propelled design. The control bar has a knob that lets you select the speed you want, essentially locking the mower at that pace so you don’t have to worry about holding the lever down at the right pressure. It can also go quite fast — we found that a medium speed was comfortable for walking, but you could dial it up for faster mowing, if desired.
Overall, we had very few complaints about this self-propelled mower. It did take a little trial and error to find the right deck height and speed setting, but once that was done, the mower delivered a nice even cut every time.
Price at time of publish: 799 (orig. 989.99)
Power Source: Gas | Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 91 pounds | Self-Propelled: Yes | Clipping Options: Side discharge, bag, mulch, leaf shred
Ryobi 40V HP Brushless 21-Inch Dual-Blade Self-Propelled Mower
- Unbelievably quiet during operation — it almost sounds like a white noise machine.
- The battery-powered mower offers comparable power to a gas mower.
- The batteries lasted for more than three mowings (42 minutes total) without needing to be recharged.
- Self-propelled design makes it effortless to mow hilly areas.
The Ryobi Dual-Blade Self-Propelled Lawn Mower is our top pick for anyone with a hilly yard, as its self-propulsion abilities outperformed the competition in our testing. This electric mower has a standard 21-inch deck, and we found that it performs just as well as gas mowers thanks to its two powerful 40-volt batteries. It offers variable speed self-propulsion that lets you match the mower to your pace, and it had no problems tackling hills during testing. In fact, the feature can be too fast on straightaways if you turn it to max speed — we had to jog to keep up with it!
Because this mower is battery-powered, it’s much quieter than a gas mower, almost sounding like a white noise machine. It also impressed us with its runtime — we were able to mow a 2,000-square-foot yard three times without needing to recharge the batteries. While we loved the convenience and easy operation of this mower, it wasn’t totally perfect. The main negatives we discovered were that the grass collection bag is quite small and needed to be emptied frequently while mowing, and the mulching setting left behind quite a few dry leaves on the lawn.
Price at time of publish: 919
Power Source: Battery | Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 75 pounds | Self-Propelled: Yes | Clipping Options: Side discharge, bag, mulch
Things to Consider Before Buying a Walk-Behind Lawn Mower
There are three main styles of walk-behind lawn mowers: gas, battery, and electric, also called corded. Gas mowers are usually the most powerful option, boasting large motors that can power through thick grass and weeds, but they’re also loud and require frequent maintenance, including oil and spark plug changes.
For these reasons, battery-powered models are becoming more popular: “Homeowners have been gravitating to battery power for a few years, and we’ll be seeing even more of that in 2023 with various laws and regulations and even HOA restrictions aiming to limit the use of gas,” explains Durden. “Advancements in technology are making it possible and practical for everyone to make the switch — we have several battery mowers that offer the same (or better) power than gas mowers today.” Battery-powered mowers are also quieter and don’t give off any harmful emissions, but they do have a limited runtime. Our top pick for a battery-powered mower is the EGO Power Lawn Mower.
Finally, there are corded walk-behind mowers, which tend to be the most affordable. These use an extension cord to plug into an electrical outlet, giving them an unlimited runtime, but you have to navigate around the cord as you mow, which is why they’re recommended for small yards.
The size of your yard will dictate which type of walk-behind mower is best for your needs. If you have a small yard that’s less than ¼ acre, a corded push mower will generally meet your needs. These are usually lightweight and have smaller decks, and they’re easy to operate and store.
For larger yards, you may want to upgrade to a self-propelled mower, such as the Ryobi Dual-Blade Mower, which moves forwards on its own using power from the motor. This means you don’t have to physically push the mower to move it around your yard, making the process less strenuous.
In terms of a gas vs. battery powered model, battery mowers do have a limited runtime — typically less than an hour, but it will vary by product — which may not be enough for yards that are an acre or more. However, keep in mind that you can always buy backup batteries, if needed.
The terrain of your yard is another factor to consider as you shop for a lawn mower. “If your yard is flat, a push mower will be the most affordable choice,” recommends Durden. “If your yard has hills, you may want to invest in a self-propelled mower that takes less manual effort.”
Walk-behind mowers with larger rear wheels — like the Greenworks 12 Amp 20-Inch 3-in-1 Corded Lawn Mower — tend to handle better on uneven ground, so you may want to look for this feature if your yard has a lot of divots or ruts.
There are three main options for handling grass clippings while you’re mowing: discharging them out the side or back, bagging them up, or mulching them into fine pieces that will decay back into your lawn. Some lawn mowers, such as the Sun Joe Electric Lawn Mower only offer one option, while other models like the Honda Hrx 21-in Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower offer all three.
If you want a bagging mower, pay careful attention to the size of the collection bag in comparison to your yard. If the bag is too small, you may find yourself stopping to empty it frequently — a problem we ran into when testing the Ryobi Dual-Blade Self-Propelled Mower.
How We Tested
We researched today’s most popular walk-behind lawn mowers, and we selected nine top-rated models for testing, including three battery-operated, two corded, and four gas options. We sent each model to the homes of our testers, who are located in seven different cities across three states, and they tested each lawn mower over the period of several days.
We used each lawn mower three times, evaluating them on their ease of use, performance, power, safety features, and more. Each product was then scored on its setup, design, performance, usability, safety, and value, and the highest-scoring products were selected for this round-up.
If you have a larger yard or a lot of hilly terrain, a self-propelled lawn mower will take a lot of the manual effort out of mowing your grass. “Self-propelled mowers are designed to automatically move forward from 1 to 3.5 miles per hour,” explains Durden. “They‘re recommended for yards of more than half an acre, especially those that are hilly or sloped. Some mowers offer variable speeds that come in handy when working near trees and garden beds.”
In general, you can expect to pay between 400 and 1,000 for a self-propelled lawn mower, and the more you’re willing to spend, the more power and features your mower will have. However, some of our top-rated models are only around 500, so don’t feel like you have to splurge to get a great tool.
If your lawn is only a few hundred square feet, you can probably get by with a reel-style lawn mower, but if it’s over ¼ of an acre, a walk-behind mower will make weekly maintenance much easier. The great thing about walk-behind lawn mowers is that there’s an option for every lawn size and budget. If you have a small yard, an inexpensive option like the Sun Joe Electric Lawn Mower will make quick work of your grass without breaking the bank.
Why Trust PEOPLE?
Camryn Rabideau has been a professional product tester for six years, and she’s previously tested ride-on lawn mowers from popular brands like Ryobi and Husqvarna. While writing this article, she relied on firsthand insights from the People Tested team, who used these lawn mowers for a total of 10 hours. She also spoke with Nicole Durden, senior merchant of outdoor power at The Home Depot, for tips on selecting the right lawn mower for your home based on factors like your yard size, terrain, and budget.
What Is People Tested?
We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.
But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.
In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.
What is the Honda Versamow System?
The Honda Versamow System is a feature for Honda HRX lawn mowers that allows users to choose how much grass is bagged and how much is mulched. With the 4-in-1 system, you can choose between mulching, bagging, discharging, and leaf-shredding. Versamow is built-in, so no tools or attachments are necessary.
How does the Honda Versamow 4-in-1 System work?
Versamow features the Clip Director knob built into the mower deck. When the Clip Director knob is moved, a sliding door under the deck will open or close to control how many clippings can go through.
The knob can be moved toward full bag mode or full bag mode with several steps in-between.
- Full bag mode: with the knob set to full bag mode, the sliding door under the deck is fully open, allowing grass clippings to freely enter the bag.
- In-between modes: when the knob is set anywhere between full bag mode and full mulch mode, the door will be partially opened or closed, depending on which side the knob is closest to. This allows you to choose exactly how much to bag and how much to mulch.
- Full mulch mode: with the knob set to full mulch mode, the door will be shut, keeping all the clippings circulating underneath the deck. The bag can be removed whenever mowing in full mulch mode.
Mulching with the Honda Versamow System
Mulching with the Versamow System is easy and efficient. Simply remove the bag and set the Clip Director knob to full mulch mode. The MicroCut Twin Blades will cut grass into finer pieces than standard mulching blades, leaving a better-looking lawn.
Mowing best practices tell us to avoid mulching wet grass. Versamow is the exception to that rule. With the ability to mulch and bag at the same time, you can adjust the Clip Director until you find the right setting for your mowing conditions. With the correct settings, you won’t have to worry about leaving clumps of grass in the yard.
How to mow longer before emptying the bag
Mulching grass clippings is healthy for a lawn, so bagging all the yard clippings is counter intuitive. With Honda’s Versamow System, you can choose how much grass is mulched and how much is bagged. Instead of bagging everything, set the Clip Director to one of the in-between positions so you can go further before emptying the bag. For example, if you normally empty the bag 10 times when mowing the lawn in full bagging mode, setting the Clip Director in the middle will reduce it to 5 bags.
How to discharge with the Versamow System
If you would rather discharge clippings, remove the bag and move the Clip Director knob to the full bag setting to close the rear-discharge door. Honda HRX lawn mowers feature a rear-discharge door rather than a side-discharge, eliminating the need for a discharge chute attachment. With the settings in place and the bag removed, clipping will be discharged out the back near the bottom of the mower.
Cleaning up leaves with the Honda Versamow System
The Honda HRX Versamow 4-in-1 System makes leaf shredding much easier than traditional 3-in-1 systems. For optimal leaf-shredding performance, set the Clip Director one or two notches from the full mulch mode setting. With the door only partially open, the mower will re-circulate leaves into fine pieces until they’re small enough to enter the bag opening. The finely shredded pieces will take up less space in the bag, allowing you to mow longer before emptying it.
Interested in the Honda HRX Versamow System? Contact us for more information or stop by one of our stores.