Lawn mowers good guys. Choosing Between Gas Vs. Electric Lawn Mower
Choosing Between Gas Vs. Electric Lawn Mower
A lush, beautiful lawn requires more than a sprinkle of water and a weekly mow. Lawn maintenance is an intricate science requiring proper feeding, aeration, and pest control for optimal protection from weeds, insects, and diseases that can wreak havoc on your grassy paradise. With the proper care program in place, you can rest assured knowing your flowers, shrubs grass are well-defended against all manner of lawn-damaging pests.
Mowing your lawn is not only necessary for a pristine appearance but also essential to ensure the health and strength of each blade. By mowing regularly, you’ll guarantee that every part of your grass receives adequate sunlight, water, and fertilizers – promoting strong growth with time. over, during each trimming session, the strongest blades will thrive while weaker ones wither away – providing optimal results. You can take care of the lawn and garden better using Smart home gardening products. These products integrate technology with lawn and garden maintenance, making your work easier. To achieve this, you need to use the premium garden tools in the market.
When it comes to choosing the right lawn mower, consumers have two lawn mower types: gas-powered or electric. Both models offer unique advantages, so here’s a look at which option best fits your needs.
Comparison Of Electric and Gas Lawn Mowers
Choosing between an electric lawn mower and a gas-powered lawn mower can be a difficult process. With both mowers offering their distinct benefits, it’s essential to consider the pros and cons of each before making your final choice.
What Is an Electric Lawn Mower?
Battery-powered electric lawn mowers are considered as one of the best-rated garden tools and are more powerful and efficient than ever before, providing the convenience of cordless operation while being better for the environment than gas models.
On the other hand, a corded electric mower is an economical alternative to a battery-powered lawnmower, but it requires being plugged into a nearby outlet while in use.
You can expect both electric mowers to be lightweight, with some models weighing a little over 34 pounds. This makes them easy to maneuver and store after each trimming session. The noise output of electric mowers is significantly lower as well, making them an excellent choice for those who prefer a quieter operation.
How Do Electric Mowers Work?
The lawn-and-garden industry has two types of electric mowers that operate with electricity, yet the distinction between them lies in their power source. There are two primary types of tools: corded and cordless. It’s evident that the main difference is cords versus no cords; however, there are a few more differences between them.
Corded electric mowers are perfect for small lawns due to their unlimited run time as long as they can access an adequate power source. However, the larger the yard size is, the longer cord you will need to reach everywhere. That being said, corded electric mowers offer a reliable and continuous supply of energy that makes them suitable for cutting grass over short distances seamlessly.
Cordless mowers are powered by batteries, meaning you must charge them for extended periods to continue trimming your grass. Once the battery runs out, so does your grass-cutting session – like any other battery-operated device. It is essential to properly charge up its power source to maximize cutting times and get the most use out of a cordless mower.
Benefits Offered by an Electric Mower
If you have a small yard and mostly flat terrain with few obstacles, then an electric lawnmower can truly elevate your mowing experience. Here are some reasons why battery-powered mowers are the better choice for yards up to two acres:
- Lower Maintenance Cost – Since electric mowers do not use oil, clutch, throttle, belts, and gears, you’ll avoid a lot of maintenance compared to their gas counterparts. You wouldn’t have to bother about refilling on petrol either; that equates to no more fuss with spills or extra expenditure for fuel!
- Zero Emissions.Electric-powered mowers provide an eco-friendly, zero-emission ride. Exhaust, carbon monoxide, and unburned hydrocarbons are not emitted from the onboard power source for a healthier environment. Not only does this benefit the planet, but it also helps you breathe cleaner air!
- Quieter Operation – A battery-powered mower can generate up to 82 decibels, lower than the threshold for a person to experience harmful exposure. On the other hand, gasoline mowers are much louder and boast 95 decibels- similar in sound volume to a motorcycle! Using an electric lawnmower will be significantly less disruptive for your neighbors if you reside in an urban or suburban area.
- Easier Maneuverability – Electric lawnmowers are not as heavy as their gas-powered counterparts. Due to this, this weed removal machine is easier to maneuver around tight corners and navigate through your yard.
What Is A Gas Lawn Mower?
Gas-powered mowers depend on the capacity of their fuel tank for runtime. Most lawnmowers have a one-gallon gas tank that is enough to finish cutting a sizable family-sized yard in one go from start to finish. Refilling the tank is possible when you run out, but remember to add oil as well! A two-stroke motor calls for this lubrication so it can operate efficiently and its engine parts glide seamlessly.
How Do Gas Mowers Work?
A gas-burning mower combines air and fuel to generate an internal explosion inside the cylinder. The machine then captures this blast and converts it into kinetic energy that powers it forward.
Don’t assume what type of fuel your lawn mower needs – it could be detrimental to the engine and even lead to voiding its warranty. To avoid mishaps, check the owner’s manual for your model’s specific requirements. However, most mowers require high-grade unleaded fuel or a mix of oil and gas.
Two-stroke engines necessitate a combination of gas and oil, with the proportions varying according to brand. Additionally, if you don’t plan on using your lawnmower for over 30 days, then make sure to add a fuel stabilizer into a full tank of gasoline, as this will protect the machine’s carburetor and engine from deteriorating due to stale petrol.
Benefits Offered by a Gas Mower
Gas mowers offer plenty of advantages over electric models, particularly when it comes to larger lawns or yards with hills. You can expect the following benefits from this type of machine:
- Longer Operational Time – Gas-powered lawn mowers come in a variety of styles, with the largest versions packing up to two gallons of fuel capacity. Nevertheless, most models boast one-gallon tanks that are perfect for keeping your backyard looking neat and tidy! You can easily take on larger yards with this much fuel without stopping mid-mow.
- Plenty of Power – With a gas-powered lawnmower, getting the job done has never been easier! These machines are designed to slice through even the toughest grasses effortlessly as soon as you turn them on. Plus, with more affordable models possessing powerful motors that can handle any terrain or climate condition, your mowing experience is sure to be second to none.
- Suitable for Wet Grass – A gas-powered lawnmower is the ultimate solution for managing moist turf. Its high-torque motor can easily breeze through the grass with maximum efficiency, running for extended periods without issue.
- Strong and Durable – Gas-powered lawnmowers are incredibly indestructible compared to electric models. This is because the solid motor efficiently cuts through even long grass with minimal effort and for a longer duration than electric models. Plus, you get more value for your money since one pass will suffice, unlike regular electric mowers that require multiple passes over areas to achieve an acceptable result.
Which Is Better: Electric Vs. Gas Lawn Mowers?
Gas-powered lawnmowers are still the go-to choice for many homeowners. Gas mowers offer more power than battery-powered models to handle challenging conditions and longer grass – even in the hottest temperatures!
On the other hand, electric lawnmowers make less noise and are more eco-friendly than gas-powered motors. They are also much more lightweight and easier to maneuver, so they’re great for smaller lawns.
Overall, the choice between electric vs. gas lawnmowers comes down to your needs, budget, and preferred features. An electric mower may be the perfect option if you have a small or flat yard with limited obstacles and like quiet operation. However, a gas-powered mower could be the better choice if you have a larger yard with thick or damp grass. Consider all your options and select the best lawn-mowing solution that fits your needs!
In conclusion, these lawn mower types offer their benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately it is up to you and your preferences to choose the best type of mower for your lawn. Consider factors such as the size of the yard, terrain, budget, and environmental impact when selecting the perfect lawn mower for your needs. With either option – electric or gas – you can get a beautiful, healthy lawn that will make any homeowner proud.
Lawn Mowing Tricks No One Ever Told You
Mowing your lawn seems like a pretty straightforward task, but are you unintentionally making the chore harder than it needs to be? Our lawn care experts have some lawn mowing tips that will make mowing your lawn easier and help your lawn grow healthier too!
How to Choose the Right Mower
This lawn mowing tip should not be underestimated. Having the right equipment makes any job easier, especially when it comes to mowing your lawn. Using the right mower will make cutting the grass easier and more manageable, and you won’t harm the grass in the process. There are many different types of mowers to consider, so choose one that best suits your needs.
Here are some of the different types of lawn mowers to consider:
- Riding Mower: If you have a large area to mow — more than a ¼ acre of grass — consider investing in a rider mower.
- Walk Behind Front-wheel Drive Mower: This mower is ideal for areas that have level ground because it allows you to pivot in and out of corners easily.
- Walk Behind Rear-wheel Drive Mower: An ideal option for lawns that requires uphill or angled mowing.
- Walk Behind All-wheel Drive Mower: This mower is ideal for a wide range of surfaces, including rough ground.
Electric VS Petrol Lawnmowers | The Gadget Show
As mentioned, choosing the right mower for your lawn can make all the difference when it comes to cutting it efficiently. Mowing a large area with a push mower or trying to mow sloped areas of your property with a mower that’s not built for the job makes it a lot tougher. And when mowing becomes a chore, you probably won’t do it as often, which can affect the health of your lawn.
In addition to choosing the right equipment, there are other things that will make your mowing job easier, and keep your lawn healthy.
Mow at the Right Time
This may seem obvious, but the best time of day to mow is when it’s cool outside, usually morning or early evening. Mowing when it’s cool helps keep moisture in the roots where it’s needed. It also reduces the risk of heat exhaustion.
Mowing in the evening is preferable to the morning because the grass gets additional hours of darkness to heal before the sun comes up. The grass also tends to be dewy or wet,especially if it was watered overnight. As a general rule, you shouldn’t mow when the grass is wet for your own safety and the health of your grass. Cutting grass when it’s wet may leave piles of grass on your lawn that could eventually kill that area of grass. In addition, if the grass is too wet, it may clog your mower and result in a less precise cut. Finally, if you do cut your grass in the early evening, make sure you leave yourself enough time to complete the job so you’re not mowing in the dark.
It’s easy to cut the grass on a set weekly schedule but keep in mind that hot, dry weather slows the growth of cool-season grass. In these conditions, you’ll be happy to hear you can mow less frequently without harming the grass.
Set the Blade Height Properly
One of the most essential tips for mowing lawns is setting the mower’s blade to the right height. Setting your mower to the appropriate height depends on your grass type and the season. For most mowers, adjusting the height is a matter of raising or lowering the wheels. Other mowers have a lever that you can push and release to adjust the height. When adjusting the height of your mower, make sure to place the lawn mower on a flat surface, and never adjust the blade height while the engine is running. For warm-season grasses raise the height of your mower in the fall to avoid cutting the grass too short. Adjust the blade height of your mower in the summer for cool-season grasses. For most grasses, cutting at a height of 3 to 3.5 inches will prevent browning, dehydration, and keep your cool-season grass healthy during the hotter months.
Sharpen Your Mower Blade
At first, you may think this lawn mower tip simply lengthens your to-do list, but it will actually save you time in the long run. A sharp mower blade makes cutting more efficient and prevents you from having to make multiple passes over the same section of grass. This quick investment of your time at the start of summer can make mowing the lawn easier all season long.
Gas mower vs battery mower
Use Different Mowing Patterns
It’s easy to fall into the habit of mowing along the same route, but since grass tends to lean in the direction you mow, you’ll encourage more upward growth and it will help you avoid falling into a rut, literally. So, switch up the way you mow each time with different mowing patterns and enjoy the change of pace.
Remove Any Debris
The last thing you or your lawn mower needs is a rock, stick, or baseball dulling its freshly sharpened blades. To prevent frustration and potential injury, clear these items from the grass before you start mowing. A quick survey of the area before you begin mowing is time well spent, as it can help you avoid a damaged mower and downtime.
Don’t Bag the Clippings
While leaving grass clippings behind may look a little messy, these clippings are beneficial to your lawn. This organic fertilizing technique returns nitrogen and other valuable nutrients to the soil. Make sure you direct grass clippings onto areas you’ve already mowed as a free way to promote a healthier lawn.
How much and how often you water your lawn will help keep it looking great and healthy throughout the year. If the soil feels dry and the grass looks dehydrated, water your lawn immediately after mowing it. Watering dry grass after cutting it helps it bounce back quicker. However, if your lawn is hydrated and healthy looking, continue watering it on the same schedule. If your area has received a lot of rain, allow the wet soil to dry to a depth of about one or two inches before watering again. It’s important to remember that a lawn can receive too much water. Overwatering your lawn makes it more susceptible to fungal or bacterial infections, which could eventually kill your entire lawn.
Don’t Scalp Your Lawn
While cutting your lawn regularly is important to maintain its good health, you don’t want to cut it too short or too often. Scalping or mowing your grass too short can weaken it, create brown spots, and potentially cause it to die. Cutting your lawn too low limits the nutrient supply your grass needs and makes it more vulnerable to weeds, pests, and infections. Remember our mowing tip about your lawn mower blade? Keeping the blade on your mower sharp will result in a cleaner, more precise cut. A dull blade is a significant contributor to scalping because it pulls the blade up as it cuts rather than cutting it clean.
Maintain Your Mower
Keeping your lawn mower in top working condition is one of the most important lawn mower tips. Performing regular maintenance will ensure it’s ready to do a great job whenever you need it. It’s good practice to perform mower maintenance before each growing season and to check your mower periodically throughout the season.
Here’s a maintenance checklist that will help you keep your lawn mower working its best year-round:
- Replace the lawn mower oil (always check it prior to the first cut of the season).
- Treat the fuel with a fluid stabilizer (gas can go stale in less than 30 days).
- Change the spark plug every 2 years.
- Clean or replace the air filter once a year (more if your mower is exposed to a lot of dust and debris).
- Sharpen the blades before each season and throughout the year, depending on usage.
- Clean your mower blades after every use. Give your lawn mower a thorough cleaning about twice a year.
Have A Perfect Lawn All Year Round
As you can see from these lawn mowing tips, there is a lot that goes into maintaining a great looking, healthy lawn. If you have limited time or would rather spend it doing something else, there is another way to have a beautiful, healthy lawn all year round — The Grounds Guys! Our team of experienced pros have all the equipment and expertise needed to ensure your lawn stays healthy and looks its absolute best throughout the year. To get started, give us a call or find The Grounds Guys® location nearest you. We’re happy to answer your questions, provide a free quote, or explain our extensive range of lawn maintenance services.
As a proud member of the Neighborly community of home service brands, all our work is backed by the Neighborly Done Right Promise™. This ensures the quality of work and guarantees your satisfaction.
The best electric lawn mowers to keep your yard under control
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Although gas-powered lawn mowers have their place on large lawns that require maximum power and runtime, their messy fuel mixes, harmful fumes, and environmental effects have many seeking another option. Luckily, electric lawn mowers don’t have these issues.
Advancements in battery design and capacity have made electric mowers a practical alternative to gas-powered machines, with long running times, quiet operation, and lightweight design. Perhaps most convenient of all, electric mowers feature push-button start mechanisms, which means no more frustrating pull cords.
All the mowers in this guide are either battery-powered or corded models that can be plugged into a standard home power outlet. These corded options are perfect for small yards that don’t require the portability of cordless options. Battery-powered models are a bit more versatile, though you’ll find that battery life varies. If you have a large yard or an incline, keeping two sets of batteries charged and ready may be necessary if you want to mow the entire space in one session. Just keep in mind that electric mowers won’t be as powerful as gas versions and aren’t ideal for extremely thick grass or brush.
We included the electric lawn mowers below based on several factors, including versatility, power, battery life, features, and overall performance. They’re available at various price points, so you should be able to find something that works for your budget and needs.
Our top picks for electric lawn mowers
Best electric lawn mower overall: Ego LM2102SP 21-inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower. See at Lowe’sThe Ego Power LM2102SP 21-inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower produces plenty of power, has a push-button start, and self-propels for nearly effortless operation.
Best electric mulching lawn mower: Toro 21356 Recycler SmartStow Cordless Lawn Mower. See at The Home DepotThe Toro 21356 Recycler SmartStow Cordless Lawn Mower offers mulching, bagging, and nine cutting positions, making it versatile and efficient.
Best budget electric lawn mower: Greenworks 25022 20-Inch 12-Amp Corded Lawn Mower. See at AmazonThe Greenworks 25022 20-Inch 12-Amp Corded Lawn Mower cuts the cost compared to other electric ones without cutting down its versatile trimmer options.
Best electric riding lawn mower: Ryobi RY48111 38-Inch Battery Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower. See at The Home DepotThe Ryobi RY48111 38-Inch Battery Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower is a hands-on option that still reaps the benefits of a traditional gas-powered ride-on.
Best lawn mower for small yards: Sun Joe MJ401E-PRO Electric Lawn Mower. See at AmazonA narrow 14-inch cutting width makes the Sun Joe MJ401E-PRO Electric Lawn Mower ideal for maneuvering around small yards, and its affordable price is perfect for those on a tight budget.
Best electric lawn mower overall: Ego LM2102SP 21-inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Pros: Powerful motor, quiet operation, Rapid-charging battery, foldable upright storage, headlights, good warranty
Cons: Batteries are expensive to replace (or stock spares)
Featuring a powerful 7.5 Ah battery, the 56-Volt Ego LM2102SP 21-inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower offers the performance of gas in a convenient, cordless electric design. Its functionality and ease of use made it an easy choice for our top pick.
A three-in-one design allows you to choose between mulching, bagging, and side discharge of your grass cuttings, and the battery provides 60 minutes of runtime on a single charge. The push-button start makes it easy to start mowing right away, and thanks to a pair of LED headlights, you can safely mow at dusk or on overcast days.
The self-propelling feature of this mower also offers variable speed control, so you can customize it to whatever pace you prefer. A large, easy-to-use lever by the handle makes it simple to adjust these speeds. If you feel like getting some exercise, you can disengage this feature and push the mower manually.
We’re also big fans of the six cutting heights offered by the Ego LM2102SP allowing you to precisely set your preferred height from 1.5 to 4 inches. Although the 165-pound weight is heavier than similar models, the fold-up design is extremely convenient, especially if your garage or tool shed is tight on space. This mower comes with great warranty options that are slightly on the generous side compared with others.
Best electric mulching lawn mower: Toro 21356 Recycler SmartStow Cordless Lawn Mower
Pros: Fast to charge, wide range of blade position options
Mulching your grass while you mow allows you to reuse those valuable clippings instead of throwing them away with the rest of your yard waste. These mulched clippings break down and release nutrients back into your lawn, which both benefits your grass and makes less work for you after you’re finished. If you’d prefer not to mulch, you can also use the Toro Recycler as a bagging mower.
The mower uses a single 60V battery to power its 21-inch blade, and the brushless motor help it to operate as efficiently as possible. This should help increase the lifespan of the mower motor itself. The Toro Recycler’s runtime is about 45 minutes, which should be sufficient for medium-sized yards up to 1/3 acre. It can fully recharge in 2.5 hours.
You can adjust the handle of the Toro Recycler to two different positions, making it convenient for those who want to customize their mower to their specific height. This handle also completely folds down when the mower is not in use, so you’ll be able to store it vertically or potentially under a worktable.
Nine height settings allow for a wide range of positions. With a minimum cutting height of 1.25 inches, you can get very low. The steel deck of this mower is also more durable than other plastic or composite models and should hold up well under regular wear and tear.
Best budget electric lawn mower: Greenworks 25022 20-Inch 12-Amp Corded Lawn Mower
Pros: Seven-position height adjustment, foldable handles, four-year warranty
Cons: Corded design limits reach
Electric mowers don’t have to be costly, and the Greenworks 20-Inch Corded Lawn Mower is proof. This mower, offered at a budget-friendly price, still has plenty of bells and whistles and impressive performance. Its 20-inch steel deck offers durability, and the 12-amp, 120-volt motor (effectively 1440 watts) is powerful enough for easy mowing.
The mower includes three-in-one mulching, side discharge, and rear bag functions. It also offers a seven-position height adjustment, allowing you to choose cutting heights between 1.5 and 3.75 inches. The push-button start makes for easy operation, and the foldable handles allow for convenient storage or transportation.
This mower weighs just 56 pounds, so it’s relatively easy to push. While it’s a fairly basic design, this mower is suitable for homeowners or renters with smaller lawns, provided there’s access to a power outlet.
Best electric riding lawn mower: Ryobi RY48111 38-Inch Battery Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower
Pros: Excellent battery power, full of features, capable of large jobs
Cons: Requires more storage space than push mowers, higher price point
The Ryobi RY48111 38-Inch Battery Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower is a quality piece of equipment that pairs durable construction with the benefits of electric power. The steel frame houses a generous 38-inch blade deck, and three high-torque brushless motors provide maximized cutting power.
Assessing power is trickier because Ryobi doesn’t offer the same information as the other brands featured within this guide. Still, the 48-volt battery can last for about two hours or 2 acres of mowing time on a single charge so you can get plenty of work done quickly.
This mower is full of features. The seat is adjustable for your comfort, and the control panel is conveniently located for accessibility. The 12-point deck height adjustment gives you nuanced control over your mowing height, and its LED headlights allow for evening work. There’s also cruise control and USB charging. A cup holder and cell phone holder round out this machine’s excellent design.
This mower offers plenty of advantages over traditional gas-powered variants. With no belts, spark plugs, or filters, it’s a low-maintenance option. If you’re looking for an alternative to gas-powered riding mowers, the Ryobi is reliable, powerful, and quiet.
Best electric mower for small yards: Sun Joe MJ401E-PRO Electric Lawn Mower
Pros: Lightweight, 10.6-gallon collection bag, low price
Cons: Too small for larger yards, only three height settings
The Sun Joe MJ401E-PRO electric lawn mower may not have the portability or width to be a practical option for larger yards, but its compact design and easy-to-use operation make it ideal for small or medium-sized ones. The relatively narrow width also makes it convenient to maneuver around tight landscaping elements like rocks or other obstacles that require more precision than a larger mower offers.
One reason I chose the Sun Joe for this list is that I appreciate anything that improves operation safety, especially involving lawn mowers. This model requires you to press the safety lock button and simultaneously pull the on trigger to power it up. It reduces the chance of you starting the mower unintentionally.
Because of the 14-inch cutting width, this compact mower is also well-suited for those who have limited storage space. It’s also incredibly lightweight. At just 29 pounds, it’s comfortable to use and makes its lack of self-propelling mechanism less of an issue.
I’ve used Sun Joe products in the past and have found them to be straightforward to operate. The user manual provides a clear diagram of how to effectively mow with a corded model and prevent running over your extension cord.
The Sun Joe MJ401E-PRO features three height settings, which is less than our other options. But if you are just looking for a hassle-free mower, this mower could be the perfect fit.
How we rate electric lawn mowers
After extensive online research from expert sources like Thriving Yard, we assembled this list of the best electric mowers you can buy. We also used our experience with large power tools to help evaluate battery life, runtimes, and power output.
Although we did not test all the options we chose, we reviewed owner and operation manuals, watched online tutorials, and consulted with lawn care equipment experts. We then used this information to create our five categories and choose the best option for each one.
We also used a set of specific criteria to help us evaluate and compare potential options.
- Battery Capacity: For cordless options, we paid close attention to the Ah (amp hour) of the included battery. In short, the higher the Ah, the more energy the battery can store, the higher power output, and the longer it will last.
- Charging Time: The time it takes to recharge a depleted battery can seriously affect the convenience of a cordless mower. If your battery can be recharged quickly, you’ll be able to get back to work soon, and there’s less of a chance that you’ll need to purchase a second battery.
- Runtime: Overall runtime per battery charge is probably the most important metric to consider when evaluating cordless mowers — obviously corded models will provide the longest. The longer the runtime, the better, especially for larger mowers that will be purchased to use on larger lawns.
- Weight: The lighter the mower weighs, the less effort it will place on the battery and the longer the overall runtime. We did our best to always choose lighter options whenever possible while still taking overall power into consideration.
What else we considered
Ego Power LM2101 56-V 20-Inch Cordless Lawn Mower: This was our previous top pick. Although it is a great option, we ultimately decided that its replacement, the EGO LM2102SP 21-inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower and its self-propelled design, was a better fit. If a self-propelled option isn’t important to you, this Ego mower would be a great choice for anyone with a relatively high budget who is looking for a high-quality battery-powered mower.
Worx WR165 Landroid: The high price of this robotic lawnmower kept it off our list. But if the 950 price tag isn’t an issue, it could be a good fit for anyone looking to explore a unique mower option. Similar to a Roomba, this mower navigates entirely on its own and automatically adjusts the height of the blade to account for uneven terrain. It wouldn’t be practical for anything larger than 1/8-acre, though, so keep that in mind.
Electric lawn mower FAQs
How long do electric lawn mowers last?
Battery-powered mowers themselves can last up to 10 years, but their batteries will only last about 4 years before they’re unable to hold an effective charge. To ensure your batteries will last as long as possible, try to completely deplete the battery before recharging it. This will reduce the overall number of charging cycles placed on the battery, increasing its lifespan. You should also do your best to remove the battery from the charger once it’s fully charged.
Corded mowers have a similar lifespan as long as they’re cared for properly. There are no batteries to worry about, but their extension cords are just as important to pay attention to. This means using the correct gauge for the job, which indicates how thick the cord is. The thicker the cord, the more voltage will reach the mower and the less unnecessary work the motor has to do. Your mower’s operating manual should tell you the best gauge for the job.
How expensive are electric lawn mowers?
Electric lawn mowers are available at a wide range of prices, although corded models tend to be cheaper than battery-powered options. Corded mowers also won’t require any additional battery purchases over time. Size also plays a part. Large riding mowers can cost thousands of dollars, while smaller, compact machines, like the Sun Joe MJ401E-PRO, our recommendation for small yards, can be found for about 140.
Neither requires the fuel or oil that gas-powered models do, which should cut down on the overall expense of the mower. However, the long-term cost of replacement batteries — which can cost hundreds of dollars — should be considered as well.
Is it safe to cut wet grass with an electric mower?
According to the Ego mower manual, you should avoid cutting wet grass with your electric mower for two reasons. First, the moisture can affect the electrical components of the mower and cause serious damage not covered by the warranty. Secondly, using your mower on wet grass is a potential safety hazard and can cause you to slip or fall and potentially injure yourself.
Wet grass can also present maintenance and cleaning challenges. It can become stuck on the deck and other components, and unlike gas-powered mowers, you can’t just spray it off with a hose. As long as you stick to cutting dry grass, you’ll have a much easier time cleaning up.
Can you leave an electric lawn mower outside?
Due to the electrical components and vulnerable batteries, we don’t recommend leaving your mower outdoors when it’s not in use. Both Ego and Greenworks recommend keeping their electric mowers indoors in a cool, dry space. They also state that you should never cover them with a plastic tarp, which can trap moisture that can damage the internal components. If you need to keep your mower outside, keep it elevated and off the ground. This will allow air to flow around it and prevent unnecessary moisture damage.
Check out more of our lawn care buying guides
- The best lawn mowers
- The best riding lawn mowers
- The best gardening and landscaping tools
- The best gardening tools for beginners
- The best garden hoses
- The best leaf blowers
- The best snow blowers
- The best snow shovels
- The best rakes
- The best sprinklers
Alex Rennie is a freelance writer who specializes in the home improvement, DIY, and appliance space. As a former residential and commercial carpenter for four years, Alex uses his hands-on experience to write buying guides, how-to articles, and product reviews. Before Insider, Alex was a full-time carpenter living in New York City. There, he worked as part of a team designing, building, and installing large furniture pieces, as well as performing a variety of home repair and maintenance projects. His expertise also extends to the landscaping and gardening space, supported by experience as a landscaping professional. Alex currently lives in Los Angeles, CA, and spends his free time exploring the beaches and mountains with his fiancé and their dog Louie. Learn more about how our team of experts tests and reviews products at Insider here.
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Make your yard the envy of your neighbors with one of these top lawn mowers.
By Tony Carrick and Mark Wolfe and Glenda Taylor | Updated May 18, 2023 4:59 AM
We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.
A good lawn mower is crucial for maintaining a lush, well-manicured lawn. With so many options and brands to choose from, selecting a mower that is appropriate for your yard can be challenging. To this task easier for you, we got our hands on some of the most popular options and put them to the test on our own lawns.
Whether you’re replacing an old mower for your current lawn or buying one to maintain a new property, it’s important to choose one that fits the size and terrain of the property. This guide explores the features and factors that are important to consider when shopping for the best lawn mower while reviewing some of the top models on the market.
We tested the following lawn mowers to find out how they would perform in terms of cutting ability, finish quality, and operator comfort. Read on to learn more about the criteria we used to select our picks. Then check out our lawn mower reviews to learn why we consider these models to be some of the best lawn mowers available.
- BEST OVERALL:Honda 21-Inch Walk Behind Mower
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:Craftsman M220 150-cc 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
- BEST3-IN-1:DeWALT 2X20V MAX 21.5-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
- BEST BATTERY-POWERED:Ego Power 21-Inch Mower
- BEST RIDING LAWN MOWER:John Deere S130 42-Inch Lawn Tractor
- BEST CORDED LAWN MOWER:American Lawn Mower 14-Inch 120V Corded Mower
- BEST FOR LARGE YARDS:Toro 50-Inch TimeCutter Zero Turn Mower
- BEST ROBOTIC:Worx Landroid M 20V Robotic Lawn Mower
- BEST ECO-FRIENDLY:Makita 36V XML03 Electric Lawn Mower
How We Chose the Best Lawn Mowers
All of the mowers included in our list exceeded quality standards established in our shopping criteria and proved worthy through testing. We selected each of the above mowers based on our previously mentioned shopping considerations. After sourcing the mowers and assembling the mowers according to the manufacturer’s instructions, we tested them in an average yard in order to gauge capabilities in several key areas. The most critical aspects we observed included general quality and durability, mowing power and cut quality, and operator comfort and convenience.
We also tested each according to its claimed abilities. Riding mowers were used for larger and sometimes rougher areas and were assessed for power, speed, and comfort. Walk-behind and push mowers were mostly restricted to testing on well-established and well-maintained lawn spaces and closely monitored for cut quality and user convenience. We actually pre-mowed the grass ahead of testing the robot mower since it is intended to maintain rather than reduce grass height.
Our Top Picks
We tested mowers that range from corded lawn mowers for small yards to powerful self-propelled gas lawn mowers for medium-size yards to riding mowers that can handle 3 acres or more. Read on to learn more about these mowers, how they performed during our grass tests, and why we think they are some of the best.
Honda 21-Inch Walk Behind Mower
Whether it’s a car, generator, or lawn mower, it’s tough to beat the reliability and durability of Honda engines—and such is the case with this self-propelled gas lawn mower. Its powerful GCV170 engine powers not just one but two blades, giving it a cleaner, more precise cut over most other gas-powered lawn mowers that have just a single blade.
With its rear-wheel drive, this mower is ideal to contend with yards that have slopes and more-rugged terrain. Its engine is formidable, and so are its features. An easy-to-use clip system makes it simple to switch between its three grass-clipping options—mulching, side discharge, and bagging—and the well-designed speed controls add to the quality of this premium self-propelled walk-behind mower.
In our tests, this Honda walk-behind mower’s high-quality components and thoughtful design really stood out. The engine layout and oversize gas gap made fueling up and adding oil easy and can simplify oil and filter changes. After a quick 5-minute assembly of the handle and bagger and adding fuel and oil, the mower started on the first pull. The engine ran smoothly and surprisingly quietly.
The variable-speed controller at first felt awkward until we realized that we could adjust the angle to any of five positions. The mower had plenty of power for mowing and driving the wheels, even in dense, tall grass, and on steep slopes. If the goal is to find a top-quality walk-behind mower that is easy to use and leaves a great-looking finish, this would make an excellent choice.
- Power source: Honda GCV170 gas engine
- Deck size: 21 inches
- Type: Self-propelled walk-behind
- Twin-blade mowing system for finer mulching
- Auto choke for fast, easy starting
- Variable speed, 0 to 4 miles per hour
- Clip system makes changing cutting modes easy
Get the Honda lawn mower at Amazon or Lowe’s.
Craftsman M220 150-cc 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mow
Craftsman is a well-established, well-respected brand in the world of lawn mowers, and this gas-powered model is no exception. It boasts a powerful 140-cc engine and an ample 21-inch mowing deck, making it ideal for yards up to ¾ of an acre.
Large 8-inch rear wheels with heavy tread make it easy to push this mower, while six cutting heights offer versatility. The mower also offers three disposal settings: mulch, side discharge, and bag. And while this mower may lack the power assist of other walk-behind mowers, it is significantly cheaper, making it a good choice for those with level yards who may not need a self-propelled mower.
We liked the Craftsman mower’s affordability and simplicity. It only required about 20 minutes of easy assembly. The completed handle configuration was a bit less refined in appearance, the grip area is unpadded metal, and the blade and drive control cables are retained on the handle by heavy-duty cable ties.
After adding oil and gas, the mower started easily on the first pull. It had good power for cutting average lawn grass and pulling uphill, but it bogged down ever so slightly in tall, overgrown grass. The front-wheel-drive feature made turning easy, but a fully loaded bagger could weigh down the rear and cause it to lose traction (we did not experience this). The fuel tank size is adequate to mow about a half acre per fill-up. This could be an excellent value pick for a budget-minded shopper looking for a durable self-propelled mower.
- Power source: 150 cc Briggs Stratton gas engine
- Deck size: 21 inches
- Type: Walk-behind
- Front-wheel drive assists the user while mowing; prevents strain while in use
- Easy to start, no priming or choke required
- Side-discharge, mulch, or bag for ease of cleanup after mowing
- Self-propelled feature is not adjustable; may not be suitable for some users’ preferences
- Non-padded grip could lead to hand fatigue with extended use
Get the Craftsman lawn mower at Ace Hardware, Lowe’s, or Blain’s Farm Fleet.
DeWALT 2X20V MAX 21.5-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
With mulching, bagging, and side-discharge capabilities, the DeWALT 2X20V MAX self-propelled cordless lawn mower has a better-than-average build quality and thoughtful design. Its heavy-duty 21.5-inch, 15-gauge stamped-steel deck adjusts to six different cutting heights from 1.5 to 4 inches. Running on two batteries and offering up to 60 minutes of runtime per charge, this mower is ideal for small to medium yards up to a half acre.
We set up a test area for the DeWALT mower in our yard, with about 10,000 square feet of lawn that included some short but steep slopes, weedy spots, and dense grass. We mowed the test plot three times, requiring just over two full battery charges each time. The DeWALT covered about 5,000 square feet per charge when adjusted to 2.5 inches high with the grass catcher in place. At 3.5 inches, that extended to about 8,000 square feet and 40 minutes of runtime. The controls were well laid out for easy operation, and the cushioned handle felt comfortable while we mowed. Also, this mower is a space saver. With its fold-flat handle and vertical storage capability, it only needs about 2.5 square feet of storage floor space.
The DeWALT 3-in-1 lawn mower features a security-key-enabled push-button start. Its adjustable font-wheel-drive self-propulsion eliminates half the work of mowing, lets you choose your own pace, and works on all kinds of terrain. The motor is equipped with auto-sensing technology that seamlessly increases torque when encountering tougher mowing conditions. In our tests, it was easier to turn than rear-wheel drive mowers. A removable discharge chute, grass catcher, and integrated mulch plug allow for quick conversion to your preferred method of grass-clipping disposal. Overall, the quality of the DeWALT 3-in-1 mower is better than most and is a solid choice for quarter- to half-acre lots.
- Power source: Two 20-volt, 10-Ah lithium-ion rechargeable batteries
- Deck size: 21.5 inches
- Type: Self-propelled walk-behind
- Heavy-duty steel mower deck with 3-way grass-clipping management
- Front-wheel drive self-propel system supports safe operation and smooth turns
- Powered by 2 rechargeable DeWALT XR 20-volt (V) lithium-ion batteries
- 2-stage brushless motor preserves battery life and automatically increases power for tougher mowing conditions
- Ergonomic cushioned hand grip are comfortable to use and reduce operator fatigue
- Heavy and cumbersome to maneuver manually without the self-propel feature engaged
- Takes a long time to recharge the batteries with the included DCB107 battery chargers
- The mower’s battery compartment has an awkward design
Get the DeWALT cordless lawn mower at Ace Hardware, The Home Depot (with 3 batteries), Tractor Supply Co., or Acme Tools.
Ego Power 21-Inch Mower
The Ego Power comes ready to mow, including a battery and Rapid charger. The advancements Ego has made with its battery-powered mower sets it atop the cordless models. It boasts 45 minutes of runtime, thanks to its brushless motor and large 56-volt, 5-Ah battery. With its 21-inch deck, the Ego is suitable for yards up to half an acre. The Ego Power also includes other features that make it an attractive buy, including speed controls that the user operates with an intuitive dial and bagging, mulching, or side-discharge capability.
Overall, the Ego Power cordless mower was easy and comfortable to operate in our tests. The preset self-propelled pace felt comfortably moderate but not leisurely. The mower had no difficulty cutting normal grass and did not bog down noticeably in thick, tall grass. Finish quality was good to excellent.
We did notice that mowing in “push” mode (without the self-propelled motor running) extended battery life by about 20 minutes to as much as 65 minutes per charge. Buying a second battery for extended runtime, or as backup for tougher mowing, may be a wise investment. This mower would be a good choice for small and midsize lawns up to about a half acre and for owners who want to reduce noise, exhaust, and fuel handling.
- Power source: 56-volt, 5-Ah lithium-ion rechargeable battery
- Deck size: 21 inches
- Type: Self-propelled walk-behind
- 45 minutes of runtime per charge; suitable for small- to large-sized yards
- Battery charges in less than an hour; suitable for multiple uses or yards
- Battery works with many other Ego Power tools
- Emits power similar to a gasoline mower
- Higher cost than gas mower with similar power
- Poor traction on slopes; may not be ideal for hilly yards
- Noisy drive system; may not be ideal for nighttime mowing
Get the Ego lawn mower at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or Lowe’s.
John Deere S130 42-Inch Lawn Tractor
Larger yards from ½ to 2 acres call for a bigger machine for mowing. The John Deere S130, with its 22-horsepower V-twin engine and 42-inch deck, offers excellent mowing ability plus performance and comfort features that extend its range of use. The 20 by 10-8 rear tires and wide stance provide excellent stability and help to cushion the ride. It features hydrostatic operation, single-lever throttle with spring-return choke, ergonomic deck-height adjustment lever, dash-mounted digital fuel gauge, LED headlights, and John Deere’s Easy Change 30-second oil change system. The included drop-pin towing hitch and PTO make it compatible with a wide range of John Deere branded and non-branded yard implements such as utility carts, spreaders, sweepers, snow blowers, and more.
In our extensive test, the S130 lawn tractor proved to be a comfortable, capable riding mower with good maneuverability in a wide range of conditions. It easily handled grassy slopes up to 13 degrees (4.5 vertical feet per 20 linear feet), which is the limit recommended by the manufacturer. Measured against leading competitors, it offered a tighter real-life turning radius thanks to superior weight balance, and a seat base that is 3 inches higher to provide a better operator vantage point.
The high, open-back seat was well cushioned and supportive while allowing excellent ventilation. The deck height, blade engagement, and throttle controls were well positioned for convenience and safe operation. Even with the slightly elevated price tag, this mower offers tons of value, making it an excellent choice for most larger yards.
- Power source: 22-horsepower V-twin gas engine
- Deck size: 42 inches
- Type: Lawn tractor
- High vantage point for optimal viewing of the yard and machine while mowing
- Tight turning radius allows for clean and even cutting paths
- Comfortable seat and controls make it easy for the user to mow the lawn
- Should not require much maintenance to keep running for years
Get the John Deere riding lawn mower at Lowe’s or a local John Deere dealer.
American Lawn Mower 14-Inch 120V Corded Mower
Corded lawn mowers make an easy, affordable choice for smaller yards where a gas-powered mower would be a hassle. This mower from American Lawn Mower Company can keep the yard looking great at a low price point, without worrying about the mess or expense of gasoline or batteries.
Its 14-inch deck suits smaller yards and smaller storage areas. At about 20 pounds, this mower is easy to maneuver for those who might struggle with a heavier model. It also has a surprising range of options, allowing one to bag or mulch clippings (though it oddly has no side-discharge option). It also offers a convenient single lever for height control, eliminating the need to make height adjustments for each wheel individually.
In our tests, this model delivered a rock-solid performance. Assembly, which entailed installation of the handle and cord retainers, took about 10 minutes to complete. It mowed well, even in dense, weedy grass, and the bagger worked well. The small size and lightweight build limit this mower’s practicality more than its corded motor does.
By starting close to the electrical outlet and mowing progressively farther away, we easily minimized the risk of cord damage or entanglement. As an affordable mower for small yards, with arguably the least environmental impact, this quiet, capable corded electric model could be the best choice.
- Durable, maintenance-free electric motor; eco-friendly compared to similar options
- Lightweight and easy to use; offers excellent maneuverability
- Offers bagging and mulching options for easy clean-up after mowing
- Not ideal for large-sized yards; suitable for only the smallest yards
- No side-discharge option; may not be ideal for some users’ needs
Get the American Lawn Mower electric lawn mower at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Walmart.
Toro 50-Inch TimeCutter Zero Turn Mower
If spending an entire afternoon mowing the lawn isn’t a problem, those with yards that could house a couple of football fields require a mowing deck that can level large swaths of green in a single pass. With its massive 50-inch deck, the aptly named TimeCutter from Toro is ready for a big job. This large mower, which boasts a 24.5-horsepower engine, can reach speeds of up to 7 miles per hour, making it capable of handling yards of 3 acres or more.
Toro also makes sure the operator will be comfortable while covering all that ground with its adjustable MyRIDE suspension system that absorbs bumps in the lawn as well as vibrations from the engine. Plush seating provides support and comfort for longer mowing sessions. Toro also includes other useful features, including a foot-lever-assisted deck-height adjustment, toolless oil-change system, and a cupholder.
When we tested the 50-inch Toro TimeCutter, we timed its performance on a 1-acre area of an old field converted to lawn. The MyRIDE suspension system smoothed out the ruts and bumps for a comfortable ride at near top speed. It mowed the acre in 20 minutes, a blistering 3-acres-per-hour pace. The finish quality was excellent, and it used less than 3 quarts of gasoline. As a point of comparison, a 22-HP, 46-inch lawn tractor that has been used to mow the same area takes nearly an hour and uses more than 1.25 gallons of gas.
Even before factoring in the amazingly comfortable ride, we appreciated the prospect of mowing in one-third the time and reducing fuel and maintenance expenses by half on this large lot. For large grassy areas, it’s hard to beat the efficiency of a zero turn mower, and the TimeCutter makes an excellent pick.
- Huge mowing deck makes this model ideal for medium- to large-sized yards
- Shock-absorbing suspension system integrated; can tackle tough jobs without causing strain to the user
- Large engine is capable of cutting thicker grass varieties
Get the Toro TimeCutter lawn mower at The Home Depot or a local Toro dealer.
Worx Landroid M 20V Robotic Lawn Mower
Pushing the edge of lawn mower technology further is this robotic lawn mower from Worx. It functions similarly to a robot vacuum cleaner by mowing a preset area of up to a quarter acre on its own. The operator sets up wire barriers that the lawn mower won’t cross, ensuring it only mows in a set area. It has a laser eye that guides it around any obstacles that might be in the yard. A single front caster and two large rear-drive wheels carry it through the yard while allowing it to turn on a dime.
The Worx Landroid M can also connect to a Smart device, through which the user can program daily schedules or direct the mower to stop or start. It runs off the same 20-volt Worx battery that powers the company’s other yard tools and will automatically return to its charging station when the battery gets low.
Testing the Landroid M required a detailed setup process, but then the operation was almost completely hands-off. After installing the Landroid mobile app, the base station, boundary wire, and establishing the mower’s Wi-Fi connection, we programmed the robot for a daily mowing schedule. Setup and programming were straightforward with easy-to-follow instructions and tutorial videos on the Landroid app. The whole process took about 2.5 hours, including time taken to watch videos. The covered area included a sloped section, a narrow corridor, a broad contiguous area, and an off-limits landscape bed.
Landroid mowed on time every time and stayed inbounds without a problem. On an evening when rain moved in during the mowing cycle, Landroid’s rain sensor picked it up and sent the unit back to its base station to wait it out. The only challenge we encountered was that the mower initially did not dock properly after mowing because the base station was not sitting level. After fixing that issue, it simply worked.
A week after we installed the Landroid, the grass it cut still looked freshly mowed with the exception of the edges, while the adjacent lawn outside Landroid’s coverage needed to be cut. Those looking to infuse the time-, fuel-, and labor-saving benefits of robotics into their lawn care routine would do well to consider Landroid.
- Mows up to ¼ of an acre with ease
- Can be controlled via an app through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth
- Brushless motor extends battery life; suitable for small to large yards
- Onboard rain sensor protects the mower from potential damage
Get the Worx robotic lawn mower at Amazon.
Makita 36V XML03 Electric Lawn Mower
The Makita XML03, an 18-inch, battery-powered lawn mower, comes with four included batteries, and the claim that it will mow up to 1/3 acre on a single charge, so we tested that claim. We marked out a 1/3-acre area on our lawn and mowed with the Makita XML03 six times over three weeks.
During testing, the Makita mower completed all but one mowing session without battery depletion—with a small battery charge remaining. However, when we tested the mower on damp grass, we depleted all four batteries before we could finish the session. Keep in mind that the Makita mower is not self-propelled, so ultimately, the mowing area will depend on user speed and grass thickness.
Operating at 3,300 rpm, its single blade matches the speed of gas-powered mowers, but dense grass resistance can hinder spinning speed. The trick to overcoming this issue is to mow more frequently—while the grass height is low enough, you’re not removing any more than 1/3 of the grass leaf.
The height adjustment (a single lever on the back right wheel) is convenient; the mower’s deck height range of 13/16 inch to 3 inches could have been improved. This limitation may impact those with specific grass types or desired cutting heights. Although a typical range of 2-1/2 to 3 inches covers many grass varieties, species such as tall fescue are often mowed at 3-1/2 inches high.
The Makita’s detachable grass-catching bag holds 1.7 bushels (16 gallons), which is on the small side, and we had to empty the clippings frequently. But overall, the Makita XML03 meets its mowing claims with reliable battery performance. It starts at the press of a button and is much quieter than gas-powered mowers, so you won’t upset the neighbors if you mow early on a Saturday morning.
- Power source: Two 18-volt, 4-Ah lithium-ion rechargeable batteries
- Deck size: 18 inches
- Type: Walk-behind
- Environmentally friendly battery power eliminates the necessity for carbon-emitting gas and oil
- Produces less noise than gas-powered mowers, ensuring peaceful early morning mowing without disturbing neighbors
- Comes with 4 batteries upon purchase, allowing for convenient swapping of charged sets when 1 set runs out
- Simple push-button start eliminates the need for tugging cords or priming pumps
- The relatively narrow 18-inch swath width may result in time-consuming mowing for larger yards
- The Makita XML03 lacks self-propulsion, making it challenging to push on inclines
- The grass-clipping bag has a small capacity, so frequent emptying may be necessary
Get the Makita Lawn Mower at Amazon, Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, or Acme Tools.
What to Consider When Choosing a Lawn Mower
In addition to mower type, it’s vital to consider other factors like deck size and fuel requirements when shopping for a lawn mower. Ahead, learn more about these and other important characteristics of lawn mowers.
Types of Lawn Mowers
The first step to selecting the right mower is to decide which type of mower best suits the yard.
Walk-behind mowers consist of two different kinds of mower: push and self-propelled. Self-propelled mowers have power wheels that pull the mower forward. Some self-propelled mowers have an adjustment feature to increase or decrease the travel speed for improved operator comfort and convenience. Manual mowers have no power-assisted wheels and must be pushed manually by the user.
Riding mowers include zero-turn mowers, lawn tractors, and rear-engine riding mowers. Zero-turn mowers, the most expensive lawn mowers on the market, have a motor that sits behind the operator and are controlled using two levers. The mowers get their name from their ability to pivot 360 degrees in place. Zero-turn mowers also have very broad mowing decks. Their size and maneuverability make them ideal for cutting large lawns with obstacles the user must drive around.
A lawn tractor looks similar to a farm tractor with its motor in the front of the mower. The user operates the tractor from a driver’s seat using a steering wheel. Lawn tractors have broad mowing decks but do not have the small turning radius of a zero-turn tractor. Because of their balance and traction, lawn tractors are well suited for mowing hilly terrain and may be used for other property management tasks like towing a utility cart or plowing snow.
Rear-engine lawn mowers are similar to lawn tractors but have their engines in the rear. Rear-engine lawn tractors typically have smaller decks, though they allow for greater visibility and nimbler handling for the operator.
The newest type of lawn mower, robotic mowers look similar to robotic vacuum cleaners, only they are larger and have bigger wheels that enable them to move through grass. Robotic lawn mowers can mow a yard automatically while being controlled via a Smart device.
These lawn mowers are powered by a rechargeable battery and can be programmed to mow the lawn at programmed times and intervals. Robotic mowers require the user to set up wires in the yard that create boundaries for the mower so it doesn’t wander away. They also use laser-eye technology that spots obstacles in the yard so the mower can evade them.
Self-propelled mowers come in different drive wheel options including front-wheel, rear-wheel, and all-wheel drive.
- Front-wheel drive mowers are easier to turn by allowing the operator to raise the front wheels and use the back wheels to pivot.
- Rear-wheel drive mowers place the bulk of the mower’s weight over the drive wheels, creating better traction for climbing inclines and slopes.
- All-wheel drive mowers are well suited for yards with more extreme slopes and rougher terrain.
Cutting Width and Yard Size
A mower’s deck size determines the width of the swath of grass it can cut with each pass and hence how quickly it can mow the lawn. A wider deck also makes a mower less nimble, which can make it awkward to mow small lawns with flower beds, trees, and gardens to navigate.
A walk-behind mower with a deck up to 22 inches is usually a good size for a smaller yard of up to about half an acre. Riding mowers with decks that range between 30 and 46 inches are a good choice for lawns up to 1 acre. Zero turn mowers and lawn tractors with 48- to 60-inch decks can be efficient choices for larger properties.
Lawn mowers can use three types of fuel sources: corded electricity, gas, and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
Electric mowers supply a constant source of power; however, they are limited by a cord that connects to a standard wall outlet. This makes corded lawn mowers somewhat awkward to use. However, they are extremely durable, have no batteries to recharge or replace, and are almost entirely maintenance free.
Gas-powered lawn mowers provide the greatest amount of power, run a long time on a single tank, and have no recharge time to worry about. However, gas mowers are loud, require more maintenance to keep in top condition than electric mowers, and produce exhaust fumes.
Battery-powered mowers run on lithium-ion batteries. They are easier to start than gas-powered lawn mowers and create no exhaust fumes; however, they are less powerful and are limited to about 45 minutes of runtime per charge. Battery-powered mowers are also significantly more expensive to purchase than gas mowers, and the batteries typically need to be replaced every 5 years.
Mowers come in two blade types: the more common rotary and the cylinder blade. Rotary blades are the type of blade found on most residential lawn mowers. They consist of a blade or blades that spin on a horizontal plane, cross-cutting the tops of grass blades to trim them to the desired height.
Cylinder blades, which can cut grass to a very low height without damaging it, have historically been confined to use on sports fields and golf courses. They consist of a rotating cylinder that is equipped with blades that wrap around the cylinder in a spiral pattern. The blades cut the grass using a shearing action that creates a cleaner cut than rotary blades, which can tear grass and leave a ragged edge.
While cylinder mowers (also known as reel mowers) make more precise cuts, they are not capable of cutting through taller grass. In fact, their cutting ability ranges from a height of about 1/16 of an inch to 1 inch. This limits this type of mower to varieties of grass that can survive being cut to a low height, such as Bermuda grass.
Mowers offer different grass-disposal options including side discharge, mulching, and bagging. Side discharge ejects the grass clippings out of the side of the mower onto the lawn. Mulching keeps the grass clippings under the deck, allowing the blade to cut them multiple times to produce a fine mulch that quickly incorporates into the soil. Mowers that support baggers collect the clippings in a bag at the rear of the mower.
Mowers come with additional features that make them easier to operate and maintain. Deck height adjustment allows the user to increase or decrease the mowing height for optimal lawn health. These useful add-ons include mowing decks with built-in wash-out ports that make them easier to clean, switches that make it easy to change between cutting options, and easy-to-operate variable-speed controls for self-propelled mowers.
Many riding mowers have LED headlights for nighttime mowing, drink holders, adjustable plush ergonomic seating, and many other convenient features.
For those who have concerns about maintaining a lawn mower or are wondering how big an engine the mower needs, read on for answers to these and other common questions.
Q. How long should a lawn mower last?
Most mowers can last about 10 years, depending on how often it is used and how well it is maintained.
Q. How powerful of a lawn mower do I need?
Engine sizes for walk-behind mowers range from 140 cc to 190 cc. For tough terrain with thick grass, a larger engine is usually a better choice.
Q. Can I replace the pull cord on a lawn mower?
Yes. In fact, replacing the pull cord on a mower is a fairly simple repair, requiring just a screwdriver and wrench.
Q. How long does a lawn mower’s battery last?
As a general rule of thumb, a riding lawn mower’s battery can last about 4 years. The rechargeable battery on an electric mower can last about 5 years.
Q. How do I clean my lawn mower?
To clean a mower, tip the mower over to access the deck. Remove any grass clippings or debris that may be wrapped around the blade or stuck to the bottom of the deck. Wet the deck with a garden hose, then spray the underside with an all-purpose cleaner. Scrub the deck with a brush, then rinse thoroughly. Turn the mower back upright and use a damp rag or paper towel to wipe down the housing.
Q. How often do I need to change spark plugs in my lawn mower?
Change the spark plugs in the spring at the beginning of the mowing season or after 100 hours of use.
Why Trust Bob Vila
Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.
Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.
Meet the Tester
Mark Wolfe is a writer and product tester with a background in the nursery and landscaping industry. For more than 20 years he mowed, edged, planted, pruned, cultivated, irrigated, and renovated beautiful landscapes. Now he tests and writes reviews about the latest outdoor power equipment, hand tools, lawn-care products, and other outdoor-living goods.
Additional research provided by Tony Carrick and Glenda Taylor.