Whether you have acres of lawn or just a tiny patch of grass, you’ll need a capable mower that gets the job done. And the right one for the job, at that. Consumer Reports tests all types of mowers for mulching, bagging, ease of use, and maneuverability, and evaluates features that save you time and effort. We also asked thousands of CR members to sound off on mower brand reliability and owner satisfaction, the results of which we now incorporate into each model’s individual Overall Score.
Top 12 Lawn Mower
- Durable 20-Inch Steel Deck
- Powerful 12 Amp Motor
- 140CC OHV GAS POWERED ENGINE: Engine comes equipped with recoil and auto choke. No more fussing with a...
- 3-IN-1 CAPABILITIES: Unit has side discharge, rear discharge, and mulching capabilities.
- 14" Cutting width, polymer wheels with a 4-blade ball bearing reel, and 8.5" Composite wheels
- Adjustable cutting Height of 0.5"-1.75" For a clean, scissor-like cut every time
- G-MAX 40V 4Ah Li-Ion Battery (Model 29472) powers multiple tools for complete yard work system--includes...
- Single lever 5-position height adjustment offers cutting height range from 1-1/4 inch to 3-3/8-inch for...
- 132CC GAS ENGINE: Reliable gas engine perfect for mowing small-medium sized yards.
- 3 CUTTING HEIGHT POSITIONS: Cut the grass down to your ideal size!
- G-max 40 Volts Li-Ion battery system powers multiple tools for complete yard work system--includes one 4...
- 20-inch cutting deck offers a great balance of maneuverability and cutting capacity making it ideal for...
- 3 tools in 1, easily converts from mower to trimmer to edger
- AFS automatic feed system ensures continuous work without bumping and having to stop.Ideal Property Size...
- Improved ergonomics: Comfort grip handle makes the lawn mower easy to maneuver
- Better clipping collection: Our winged blade achieves 30 % better clipping collection
- Includes (2) 20V 4.0Ah Li-ion batteries for extended run time
- 14" Cordless Mower and TURBINE Cordless Blower
- Easily converts from mower to trimmer to edger for 3 tools in 1
- The 6.5 amp motor and power drive transmission provide maximum performance when trimming through the...
How CR Tests Lawn Mowers and Tractors
To get you ratings and reviews of the latest models by early spring, our testers travel to Florida to conduct tests in late winter at grounds we maintain year-round. We plant 1,800 pounds of grass seed (predominantly annual rye, prized for its dense growth) and spread 500 pounds of fertilizer. For our tests, we cut 450,000 square feet of grass in three modes—mulching, bagging, and side-discharging—covering level turf, slopes, and in ditches to get a feel for each and every model. We also review the convenience features on every model we assess.
What Lawn Mower Should I Get?
A lawn mower is one of the best and most essential tools for any lawn. While you can avoid purchasing other landscaping tools, there’s no avoiding the need to cut your grass regularly. Not only does it keep your lawn healthy and attractive, but it also conveys the appearance of a well-kept home, boosting curb appeal and resale value. To make your garden look extra tidy, it’s worth investing in a high-quality leaf blower, as well as a wheelbarrow (see the top choices).
There are two kinds of electric mowers to choose from—corded and cordless. Corded electric mowers are powered through an electrical cord, meaning you’ll have to run an extension cord from a power outlet in order to operate the tool. These mowers can run as long as power is supplied to them, making them great for prolonged use. The downside is that you are restricted by the length of your power cord, though with a variety of lengths available, this is an easy issue to work around.
Gas-powered mowers are powerful machines that use gasoline that you can easily get from the local gas station. They normally run on a two or four stroke engine which requires regular maintenance. Due to this, they need more care than electric mowers in order to keep them running efficiently. The benefit of these fuel-powered mowers is that they are more powerful than their electric counterparts.
If you’re looking for a light, affordable alternative to a power tool, there are also old-fashioned reel mowers available. These mowers were once common but have fallen out of favor due to the popularity of gas and electric mowers. But they’ve seen resurgence due to improvements in design that have made them a bit easier to use than they once were.
The riding mower is the big boy on the block. They can be rather expensive but these gas-powered machines make mowing grass easy. You simply sit back and drive across your lawn, saving you the hassle that comes with a walk-behind model. While powerful and extremely efficient, due to their size and turning ability, they are best suited for medium to large size yards.
What to Consider Before You Buy
Push vs. self-propelled. Push mowers tend to be more affordable. Self-propelled models draw energy from the engine (or motor on electric models) to power the wheels, which makes them easier to maneuver if you have a larger lawn or live on a sloped lot. All-wheel drive offers the best traction on slopes, followed by rear-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive, which is standard on most models, is still well suited for flat parcels.
Yard size. Consider the size of your yard to find the perfect walk-behind mower. Gas self-propelled mowers will be best for larger yards, while push mowers (electric or gas) are better for small yards. Check out our guide to finding the right mower for your yard size.
Washout port. You should clean the underside of your mower after each cut. When it’s time to do so, a washout port makes it easier: It accepts a hose connection for clearing clippings beneath the mower deck without the need to tip the machine.
Electric start. On gas models, this feature lets you power the engine with push-button ease, rather than yanking a pull cord. All electric mowers start this way.
Folding handle. Models with a folding or collapsing handle require less space to store.
Upright storage. Almost all electrics can be stored vertically in a cramped garage. Some gas models have special engine seals that allow for upright storage, too, without the risk of oil or gas leaking out.
Uniform wheels. Some mowers boast larger rear wheels. Skip them. In our tests, mowers with uniform wheels are easiest to maneuver.
Landscape needs. Get a riding mower or tractor that best matches the size and scope of your property. And if your yard resembles an agility training obstacle course, you might want to consider a zero-turn-radius model; that type is favored by professionals.
Hour meter. This indicates how long the engine has run since the last oil change or other maintenance. A few models can link to a smartphone app via Bluetooth, to keep track of maintenance and order parts.
Ability to check the fuel. A tractor with a cutout that allows you to see your fuel level—preferably from the seat—is ideal.
High-back seat and cup holder. The first is more supportive and comfortable than a conventional seat, and the second is for when you’re sweltering in the hot sun—you’ll appreciate it.
Cruise control. As with a car, cruise control lets you lock in a ground speed with a riding mower.