Push Lawn Mower Reviews
The term push mower is often used to describe a broad class of lawn mowers that require the operator to provide the propulsion. This includes gasoline-powered lawn mowers, battery-powered electric lawn mowers, corded electric lawn mowers, and even manual reel mowers.
Admittedly, some require more effort from you, the operator than others. There are also other factors like the preferred power source and the size of your yard can also come into play.
To find the best push mower for you, it helps to ask some essential questions.
What Is The Best Engine For a Push Mower?
When it comes to push mowers the three most common engine types are gasoline, cordless battery-electric, a corded electric. Of course, this doesn’t include reel or manual lawn mowers where you are the power source.
Each engine type has its own pros and cons. To truly find the best lawn mower engine for you it helps to take a closer look at the basic details of each.
What Are The Pros & Cons Of A Gas Push Mower?
Right off the bat, you have to appreciate the power produced by a gasoline push mower. Even the smallest lawn mower engines in this class produce significant torque for cutting through even the thickest grass.
Of course, the biggest drawback of a gasoline push mower is the periodic maintenance they require to keep operating properly. Some people complain about the smoke, mess, and the recurring cost of fuel.
Without proper maintenance and quality fuel, even the best gasoline push mowers will become prone to starting problems, carburetor complications, and spark plug failure.
Though when they are properly taken care of a gasoline push Gower’s on-demand power and performance offset the maintenance argument for many people.
What Are The Pros & Cons Of A Battery Powered Push Mower?
Battery-powered electric lawn mowers are enjoying a boost in popularity thanks to massive improvements in lithium-ion battery technology as well as manufacturing innovation. This means that today battery-powered or cordless lawn mowers have greater run time and performance than they did just a decade ago.
The benefits of a cordless battery-powered lawn mower include cost-effectiveness and low maintenance. The cost per unit for electricity is always going to be less than gasoline. Not to mention the fact that other than keeping the blades sharp and the cutting deck clean, all you really need to do to maintain a cordless lawn mower is to charge the battery properly.
It’s also worth noting that lithium-ion batteries have more consistent discharge than lead-acid batteries. This means that you will get the same impressive performance whether the battery is at 100% charge or 10% charge. Whereas a lead-acid battery will tend to fade off its performance once it starts dipping below 50% of the maximum charge.
Though there are a few small drawbacks with battery-powered lawn mowers. For starters, your range is limited to the charge the batteries can hold. This is usually enough to clear a third to perhaps half an acre of grass. Though self-propelled cordless lawn mowers will get less run time as they need to use some of the charge to move the actual mower body itself.
One way to get around this run time issue is to purchase additional batteries. There are even some battery-powered lawn equipment companies like Greenworks, Worx, Makita, and Ryobi that offer other power tools that use the same batteries as their cordless lawn mowers. If you are brand loyal, you could swap these batteries interchangeably to increase the run time of the cordless lawn mower when you need it.
One of the potential long-term problems with a battery powered electric push mower is that while the lithium-ion batteries will likely last for three to five years, they inevitably have a limited life span. In time, you will need to purchase new replacement batteries, which adds to the long-term cost of ownership.
Over-charging is also a concern with battery-powered push mowers. If you leave a lithium-ion or lead-acid battery on a charger for days on end, the heat of overcharging can damage the battery. To prevent this from happening you should try not to leave a battery on the charger for more than overnight. Though there are also new “Smart Chargers” that monitor the battery and reduce the charge delivered as it nears maximum capacity.
What Are The Pros & Cons Of A Corded Electric Lawn Mower?
Right off the bat, one of the things you’ll notice about corded electric lawn mowers is that they are cheaper than battery and gasoline push lawn mowers of the same size. This is due in part to their overall simplicity, as well as lightweight design. With a corded electric lawn mower, you never have to worry about run time or recharging as you do with their battery-powered siblings.
The tradeoff here is that a corded electric lawn mower is limited in physical range to about 50-feet. Even if you try to interconnect extension cords together you will see a noticeably drop off in the performance of the corded electric lawn mower once the current goes beyond 50-feet.
Though you can extend the range beyond 50 feet by using multiple outdoor electric outlets and a little strategic thinking. Upgrading to a thick gauge commercial extension cord can also help extend your range beyond 50-feet. Of course, you also need to be mindful of your mowing pattern to prevent cord tangles and accidentally running over your own extension cord with the lawn mower.
What Are The Pros & Cons Of A Cordless Electric Lawn Mower?
The fact that there is no cord tethering you to a fixed point, gives you unlimited travel to cut your lawn. You won’t be limited by the length of the cord, which would require you normally to get an extension cord or to unplug the cord and move it elsewhere. The only thing you are limited by is the power of your batteries, which is why we usually suggest getting a few extra batteries to remain in the charger just in case so you can swap them out when power runs low. Keeping your batteries topped off will ensure maximum power is going to the cutting task at hand. Lastly, by using cordless, you never have to worry about accidentally running over the cord, or getting the cord tangled or snagged on various things in your yard such as bushes, paver stones, decorations, trees and outdoor furniture.
Are Brushless Electric Push Mowers Better?
Brushless electric lawn mower motors use a special electromagnetic element to propel the blades rather than metallic brushes. There are a few benefits to this engineering feature.
For starters, there are no direct physical connections to generate heat. This helps you run the push mower more effectively in the short term, while also minimizing the long term effect that heat can have on the life span of the electric motor. Brushless electric lawn mower motors also tend to be much quieter, which is great if you have small children sleeping in the house, or you live in a tightly packed suburban neighborhood.
What Is The Lightest Type Of Push Mower?
Corded electric push mowers tend to weigh less than battery-powered lawn mowers, and weigh far less than heavy gasoline push mowers. Corded electric lawn mowers are little more than a lightweight electric engine, cutting deck, wheels, and frame.
Some corded electric push mowers and battery-powered push mowers are so light that you can store then by hanging them from a heavy-duty wall hook, or on a sturdy garage shelf. Though if you want to do this, look for a model that talks about features like collapsing handlebars.
What Is The Easiest Type Of Push Mower To Use?
If you can stay within 50-feet of an outdoor electrical outlet, then a corded electric lawn mower is generally the easiest to use. All you have to do is plug it in and turn it on, then walk your desired mowing pattern. Of course, you also need to be careful not to tangle or accidentally run over your own extension cord!
Reel mowers come in a very close second to corded electric push mowers for ease of use in cutting a small lawn. That is if you aren’t counting the exertion of pushing the manual mower, and instead, choose to see it as “Exercise.”
Battery-powered lawn mowers are also relatively easy to use for cutting small to medium-sized lawns. You need to charge and maintain the batteries, but most can cut around a third to half an acre of grass with a single charge.
What Is A 2-in-1 Push Mower?
A 2-in-1 push mower means that it either expels the harvested grass clippings out of a discharge chute in the side or rear of the lawn mower, or you can set it up as a bagger or mulching mower. This helps to remove grass clippings before they have a chance to dry out and turn into thatch that can choke the layers of your turf.
What Is A 3-in-1 Push Mower?
This is a push mower that can be set up for side discharge as well as mulching or bagging. Some 3-in-1 push mowers can be set up to mulch and bag at the same time. This is a great way to prevent thatch buildup in your turf, while also reducing the harvested grass clippings into tiny pieces that are easily absorbed by your garden or compost pile.
What Is The Difference Between A 2-Stroke And A 4-Stroke Push Mower?
Gasoline lawn mower engines are either classified as being 2-stroke or 4-strokes. These terms indicate the process used to produce the power needed to propel the cutting blades at high enough RPMs to harvest blades of grass. Each one has it’s pros and cons.
What Are The Pros & Cons Of A Two-Stroke Gas Push Mower?
With a two-stroke engine, the oil and gasoline are combined at a specific ratio in the fuel tank and then delivered to the combustion chamber with the necessary volume of air to move the piston with the spark generated by the spark plug. There aren’t any oil changes or a lot of other messy maintenance measures involved. With a two-stroke gasoline push mower, you do need to mix the oil correctly every time. They also tend to cost less than a four-stroke push mower.
Two-stroke push mowers also tend to smoke more and are louder than their four-stroke siblings. They are also increasingly prone to the carburetor and spark plug problems. Especially if you aren’t always accurate with mixing the gasoline and oil.
What Are The Pros & Cons Of A Four Stroke Gas Push Mower?
A four-stroke gasoline engine is very similar to the engine you have in your car or truck. They tend to be more fuel-efficient and cleaner than their two-stroke counterparts. Four-stroke push mowers also tend to start easier and are quieter than two-stroked.
Not to mention the fact that you don’t have to worry about getting the fuel to oil ratio wrong. With a four-stroke push mower, you simply fill the fuel tank and make sure it has enough oil on the dipstick. This also translates into less carburetor and spark plug problems.
Though there are a few drawbacks to a four-stroke push mower engine. They tend to cost a little bit more than two-stroke push mowers. They also tend to be a little bit heavier, which you might notice if you need to tackle hills with your four-stroke push mower. You also need to change the oil and make sure nothing gets into the fuel tank to clog the fuel filter.
How Often Do You Have To Change The Oil In A Gas Push Mower?
Routine oil changes are an important maintenance step in prolonging the life of most four-stroke gasoline push mowers. You should at least change the oil every single spring when you take it out of winter storage. From there you need to change the oil every 50 hours of operation.
Though some relatively new four-stroke push mower engines have been engineered to not need an oil change. Instead, you merely check the oil dipstick every two or three mowing sessions and top it up as needed. While this is very convenient, it’s such a new concept that it’s still unclear on the overall lifespan of these “Check & Fill” gasoline push mowers.
Do I Need An Adjustable Cutting Deck On My Push Mower?
Most, but not all push mowers have an adjustable cutting deck. This lets you set the height of the blades to the conditions of your lawn.
Let’s say that the recent weather has been a mix of rain and sunshine and that the coming forecast is calling for more of the same. In a scenario like this, you might want to set your cutting height deck low to keep ahead of the growth.
On the other end of the spectrum, let’s say that the local weather has been dry, and the forecast is calling for more of the same. In a situation like this, you might want to set the cutting deck high. This will leave the grass long to help shade the underlying turf and preserve soil moisture, while still keeping your lawn looking neatly trimmed.
What Does A Deck Wash System Do?
Deck wash systems are a somewhat new innovation in gasoline push mowers. When clumps of grass and other organic debris get clogged under the cutting deck it can hamper the performance of the cutting blades. Left unchecked these materials can even promote corrosion and rusting problems, which can shorten the lifespan of your push mower.
Of course, turning your gasoline push mower on its side to wipe grass clippings away isn’t good for the oil and other engine fluids. It can also be a little dangerous! With a deck washing system, you simply connect a standard garden hose and turn the water on. It produces a pressurized spray that cleans away any stuck-on grass clippings to keep the underside of the cutting deck nice and clean.
The Best Push Mower Brands
Craftsman has a reputation for offering warranty protection. Their gasoline push mowers have a reputation for being well-engineered and easy to start. Many of their high-end models come with special starting features like electric start and automatic choke features.
Cub Cadet tries to appeal to the average consumer as well as lawn care professionals who need a commercial-grade lawn mower. They tend to carry a slightly higher price on their entry-level models, but you’re still getting a lot of good build quality and sound engineering principles, which hedge your bets on seeing a nice return on your investment.
Honda has a strong reputation for making high-quality gasoline-powered lawn mowers that are built to last. They tend to start easily, run quiet, and often carry superior warranty coverage. This might translate into a slightly higher price tag, but Honda is one of your best bets for seeing a strong return on your investment.
Husqvarna has built a reputation on superior engineering principles, build quality and manufacturing innovation throughout their line. They have put a lot of effort into making gasoline lawn mowers that are easy to start and maintain. Many of their mid to high-end units also carry superior warranty coverage, which also makes a quality statement.
Greenworks is an electric lawn mower company that has been growing by leaps and bounds. They offer both battery-powered and corded electric push mowers. In the case of their battery-powered lineup, they also have several tools that use the same battery as their lawn mowers. If you are a fan of the brand, you can expand your battery-powered push mower’s overall run time.
Toro is one of the long-standing brands in the gasoline push mower niche. They made their name on solid build quality with gasoline engines that are easy to start as well as maintain. Toro’s high-end push mowers tend to carry superior warranty protection.
This is another electric lawn mower manufacturer that offers both consumer and commercial grade lawn mowers. They have a nice entry-level price range, with the build quality to help you see a hearty return on your push mower investment. A few of their push mowers also have larger rear wheels to help make them easier to move up hills and over uneven turf.
Push mowers might require a little bit of extra effort to cut your lawn as opposed to a self-propelled lawn mower. Still, modern innovations have helped to lighten them up and make them easier than ever to move.
If you have a relatively small suburban lawn of a quarter acre or less, you might be interested in a corded electric push mower. They tend to be light and affordable, and a brushless electric motor is nearly silent for keeping good relations with close-by neighbors.
If you have a slightly larger yard, up to half an acre or so, you might want to lean mower toward a battery-powered electric lawn mower. A model that has interchangeable batteries with other lawn care tools in the manufacturer’s line will further help extend your run time.
If you have a larger yard, or you want superior torque for cutting thick grass, then a gasoline-powered lawn mower might be on your radar. While you might save a little money on a two-stroke gasoline push mower, you will likely see a more robust return on your investment from a four-stroke push mower.