Lawn Mower Reviews
Finding the best lawn mower for your yard can feel a little daunting. This is a marketplace that has been flooded for years by a score or more of manufacturers both foreign and domestic. Some are meant for cutting simple, small suburban lawns, while others are truly commercial-grade machines with the engineering and build quality to tackle any type of lawn.
Buying the wrong lawn mower for your lawn or your personal needs is certainly puts you at risk for suffering the dreaded “Buyer’s Remorse.” Terms like a push mower, reel mower, self-propelled lawn mower, walk-behind lawn mower, riding lawn mower, zero turning radius lawn mower, and robotic lawn mowers can all be confusing at first glance. Not to mention deciding on whether or not you want to go with gasoline, corded electric, or a battery-powered cordless electric lawn mower.
To truly find the best lawn mower for your yard it helps to ask some essential questions.
What Is The Best Lawn Mower For The Size Of My Lawn?
The size of your lawn is the best place to start weeding out the type of lawn mower you might prefer. It may not give you a definitive answer, but it will help you weed out some of your options to further dial in the best lawn mower for you.
What Is The Best Type Of Lawn Mower For A Small Yard?
If you have a suburban lawn under a quarter acre or so, there are a lot of attractive options to consider.
These mowers have a limited range of 50 feet from the nearest electric outlet. If you attempt to extend that range by connecting multiple extension cords, you will find the corded electric lawn mower is noticeably down on power.
Within 50-feet, you get a lot of power from the electric motor to truly shred grass quickly. You might even want to look for a corded electric lawn mower with a mulching feature to mince the harvested grass clippings and prevent them from becoming dried out thatch.
If you are concerned about noise, you might want to prioritize a corded electric lawn mower with a brushless motor. This is a special type of electric motor that uses electromagnets to propel the blades, for nearly silent running. It also tend to have a longer lifespan than an electric lawn mower with brushes in the engine.
Also known as a “Manual Mower” this is a grass cutting device where you provide all the power. Chances are you saw one of these in your grandfather’s garage, though modern materials have certainly helped spur a renaissance in reel mowers, making them easy to use as well as “Green.” Not to mention you get a light workout in the process.
What Is The Best Lawn Mower For A Half-Acre Lawn?
Unless you have a lot of outbuildings with exterior electrical outlets, then chances are a corded electric lawn mower isn’t going to be able to tackle half an acre of grass. This also tends to be the point where a lot of people reach the limit of what they’re willing to do to with a reel lawn mower.
Recent advancements in lithium-ion battery technology and electric motors have really helped electric battery-powered lawn mowers to come into their own. They have a range that can challenge some gasoline push mowers, and in some cases can exceed them.
Many battery-powered lawn mower manufacturers have a line of other battery-powered lawn care tools like string trimmers and edgers that use the same batteries. If you are a fan of these lines, or you’re willing to invest in extra batteries you can extend the total run time of a battery-powered lawn mower.
This is the classic gasoline push mower that still remains popular today. They have all the power you want to cut, mulch, or bag, without bogging down too much in thick grass like some electric lawn mowers are prone to do.
In recent years manufacturers have been making a real effort to make gasoline lawn mowers more fuel-efficient and easier to maintain. A few have even added easy starting features like automatic choking systems and electric start features.
If you have a half-acre lawn or your yard has some hills, you might want to also prioritize a self-propelled gasoline lawn mower. This is a small internal drive system that sends power to either the front or rear wheels to help move the gasoline lawn mower with ease. A self-propelled lawn mower with a variable speed feature will also let you dial it to your natural walking speed.
What Is The Best Lawn Mower For A 1-Acre Yard?
For most people, a push mower, whether it’s gasoline or battery-powered, starts to fall out of favor once you step up to a full 1-acre lawn. Even lightweight models will give you a good workout if you try to push them yourself. Not to mention the amount of time it takes to cut an acre of grass with a standard push mower.
This is also a range where battery-powered electric lawn mowers can’t really handle in a single charge. Though if you have multiple batteries, or you’re willing to mow your lawn throughout multiple daily grass-cutting sessions, a battery-powered electric lawn mower might still be in play.
Self-propelled lawn mowers with their small internal drive engines are a good alternative for people who don’t want to make the major investment in a riding lawn mower. This is usually the area where you need to have a gasoline engine in the lawn mower to really get the power and range you need to tackle a full acre of grass.
A variable speed feature is also handy, as it lets you set the mower to your natural walking speed. It’s also nice if you have trees and landscaping features that you need to cut around, as you can dial the speed of the self-propulsion down to be more nimble, then turn it up again when you need to chew through long stretches of open lawn.
This is one of the three classes of riding lawn mower. The engine in the rear makes it nimble, for driving around trees, yet it also has an entry-level price range. These riding lawn mowers are the fastest or the most versatile. They’re not necessarily set up to tow things like aerators or brush, but they will tackle an acre of grass in a reasonable amount of time.
This is the next step up in riding lawn mowers. As you might expect they have a higher price tag, but they’re also more versatile. Most have a front-mounted engine with a lot of power as well as some type of rear hitch. This means lawn & garden tractors can pull aerators, and trailers behind them. They usually have a fuel tank large enough to cut up to two acres at a time.
What Is The Best Lawn Mower For 2 Acres Or More?
Once you step up to two acres or more self-propelled lawn mowers and rear engine riding lawn mowers tend to not have the speed and efficiency to get the job done. Especially if you need a lawn mower that can do more than cut the grass.
They are especially popular in large rural yards where they can help out with other chores. Some people even use them as small tractors for taking care of yard work and towing things in and out of the garden. Many manufacturers will even make these versatile machines just wide enough that they can fit through a standard garden gate.
With their four-stroke gasoline engines, and large fuel tanks they can generally cut around 2 acres before needing to refuel. A hydrostatic transmission system will also make it more responsive for times when you need to pull a heavy load or carefully maneuver around an obstacle.
This is the high end of the riding lawn mower niche. They are powerful and as the name implies very nimble. Most are designed to appeal to lawn care professionals with the commercial-grade build quality and thoughtful engineering. They can turn on a dime and have the comfort features that an operator needs for long mower sessions.
Of course, all this high-end build quality, engineering, and comfort also translate to a higher price tag. Still, if you have a large yard with mature trees and/or a lot of landscaping, a zero turning radius lawn mower is worth the investment.
What Is The Easiest Lawn Mower To Use?
If you are willing to put in a little extra effort, or you’re just looking for a new way to get a good workout, a reel or manual lawn mower is technically easy to use. As long as the cutting blades are sharp and in-tune, you simply give it a push and go for a vigorous walk.
If that much effort sounds like too much, a corded electric lawn mower is probably the next easiest option. As long as you are thinking about cord management, you simply plug it in and you can cut up to 50-feet from the nearest electrical outlet.
What Is The Cheapest Lawn Mower To Operate?
Corded electric lawn mowers and reel lawn mowers tend to have the lowest cost of ownership. Though they tend to only be able to handle a lawn of a quarter acre or less. With a reel mower the only cost beyond maintaining sharp blades is the calories you burn pushing it.
If your yard is between a quarter acre to one acre in size, a battery-powered electric lawn mower is probably the cheapest to operate, as you’re only using electricity at a lower per-unit cost than gasoline. One challenge here is that you either need to have multiple lithium-ion batteries or cut your lawn in multiple sessions.
What Is The Best Lawn Mower For A Large Yard?
If you have a wide-open lawn of two acres or more, your options essentially boil down to either a lawn & garden tractor or a zero turning radius riding lawn mower. If you have a lot of trees and landscaping features to worry about and you have the budget available to make a major investment in a high-end lawn care machine, then you might want to lean heavily toward a zero turning radius riding lawn mower.
If you have a lot of wide-open stretches of lawn, and only a few trees or landscaping features to worry about, then you might want to prioritize a lawn & garden tractor. They tend to be more affordable, and can also do things like pulling a small garden trailer or a seasonal aerator. Just be prepared to take the string trimmer out afterward to clean up stray blades of grass around trees and at the base of retaining walls.
A rear-engine riding lawn mower might also be warranted if you think of a large yard as being around an acre or less. Once you go beyond and acre to perhaps an acre and a half the general low speed of a rear engine riding lawn mower can be a little bit time-consuming.
What Is The Best Lawn Mower For A Hilly Yard?
Hills can be a real challenge for push mowers and especially manual reel lawn mowers. If you have significant hills and changes in terrain, you’ll want to look for a self-propelled lawn mower. If you have to choose between gasoline or battery-powered electric lawn mowers, you’ll probably get better performance from a gasoline self-propelled lawn mower. Self-propelled battery-powered electric lawn mowers tend to use up too much of their charge tackling hills.
What Is The Best Lawn Mower For A Manicured Lawn?
If you want your lawn to look crisp and manicured without any stray grass of unkempt lines, then your options boil down to either a zero turning radius riding lawn mower or a robotic lawn mower.
Zero turning riding lawn mowers turn on a dime to make sure the last pass is a neatly cut as the first. A robotic lawn mower using many of the same meticulous features like an indoor robotic vacuum cleaner. They can also be programmed using special apps and GPS features to mow your lawn with precision. As needed you can adjust their cutting patter to prevent things like ruts and pattern lines.
What Is The Best Lawn Mower For Professional Use?
If you are a lawn care professional, or you just want to use the same high-end quality, then a zero turning radius riding lawn mower should be at the top of your list. Especially if you have a large lawn bigger than an acre or your lawn has a lot of trees and landscaping features.
Which Lawn Mowers Are Made In The USA?
Many lawn mower companies are owned internationally, then have their own manufacturing facilities in the United States. Some foreign lawn mower manufacturers source many of their components internationally, then use an American made engine and assemble it in the United States.
This includes companies like Honda, Husqvarna, Greenworks, and Ego. When it comes to lawn mowers that are 100% made in the USA, you are looking at American Lawn Mowers, Snapper, Toro, Cub Cadet, John Deer, and Kohler.
Which Lawn Mowers Have Honda Engines?
Honda is well-known for its high build quality and engineering innovation in all their small engines. This means that they make lawn mowers as well as offer their small engines for other manufacturers to put in their lawn mowers. This means you might find a Honda engine in a lawn mower with another manufacturer’s badge on the body.
This isn’t a bad thing. Lawn mower manufacturers have long been outsourcing engines from other manufacturers and industries. So, when you see Honda in the specifications, you can trust that the beating heart of your new lawn mower is going to have the best chance at a long life span. Though it might also add to the price tag a little bit.
Some of the most common companies that outsource Honda engines in their lawn mowers include Husqvarna, Poulan, and John Deere as well as Toro.