Choose the best tool to keep your yard in tip-top shape.
Cutting the grass is a chore that most people enjoy — or begrudge — for at least seven months out of the year, depending on your climate. So it’s worth investing in a lawn mower that’ll make your job easier and more pleasant.
Compare various types, features and price ranges to find the best fit for your lawn care needs.
Compare some of the best lawn mowers
|Name||Average price||Type||Power source||Functions||Engine/motor||Purchase|
|Honda HRX217K5VKA||$599||Self-propelled||Gas||Mulch, bag, discharge, leaf shred||187 cubic centimeters||Buy now|
|Ego LM2102SP||$499||Self-propelled||Battery||Mulch, bag, discharge||56 volts||Buy now|
|Toro 20340||$379||Self-propelled||Gas||Mulch, bag, discharge||163 cubic centimeters||Buy now|
|American Lawn Mower Company 1204||$60||Reel||Manual||Discharge||N/A||Buy now|
|Greenworks 25012||$188||Push||Electric||Mulch, discharge||120 volts||Buy now|
Common types of lawn mowers
For the purposes of this article, we’re focusing on nonriding mowers. Within the world of walk-behinds, there are several types to choose from, including:
- Push. Push mowers are probably what you have in mind when you think of a walk-behind lawn mower. You provide the force to push them along your lawn, while a motor spins the blades under the deck to cut the grass. These are ideal for smaller, flat yards.
- Self-propelled. These mowers help to push themselves to make your job easier. They can be a big help if you have a large yard or lots of hills.
- Reel. These mowers don’t have a motor. Instead, you push them from behind, manually turning a set of rotating blades as you go along. These are best for very small areas.
- Hover. Hover mowers feature a raised cutting disc under their deck, making them more maneuverable than rotary mowers. This might be a good pick for you if you have lots of sloped edges and hard-to-reach areas.
- Robotic. These are the latest models and work similarly to robotic vacuums. You set up a border wire along the edges of your property, and the robotic lawn mower will cut the grass inside that border.
Lawn mower power sources
Lawn mowers are available with three main power options: gas, battery and electric.
|Power type||Best for||Pros||Cons|
|Electric||Small, flat areas||
How to compare lawn mowers
When buying a new mower, compare these features to find the best fit for you:
- Price. New walk-behind mowers can range from $100 to $1,000, depending on the model and features you choose. On average, expect to spend a few hundred bucks.
- Engine. Most walk-behind mower engines are 140 to 190 cubic centimeters. Larger mowers are typically more powerful and therefore better able to handle tall grasses and weeds. Smaller engines may use slightly less gas and are generally quieter.
- Starting system. Pull starts can be tricky and require the most effort. Electric starts are much easier, but require priming. Automatic choke starts eliminate both pulling and priming.
- Drive control. Do you want a self-propelled or manually-driven model? Mowers also come with front, rear and all-wheel drive.
- Functions. Mowers can perform three cutting functions: mulch, bag or discharge. Some models can do all three, while others can only perform one or two of these functions. Higher-end mowers can also shred leaves.
- Extra features. If you’re looking for bells and whistles, compare models that offer additional features like a blade brake clutch, wash-out fitting, tall rear wheels or front caster wheels.
How to sharpen a lawn mower blade
Keeping your mower blade sharp and in good condition will greatly impact the quality of the cutting job it can perform. When blades become dull, you may get an uneven, choppy cut. To sharpen your lawn mower blade, you have two options: take it to a professional to have it sharpened, or do it yourself.
If you remove the blade and take it to a professional, expect to pay around $5 to $15 per blade.
But if you have a metal grinder or file at home, and feel comfortable using it, you can sharpen blades yourself. Just follow these steps:
- Remove the spark plug wire from the mower for safety purposes.
- Tip the mower straight upwards to remove the blade under the deck.
- Securely place the blade in a vice.
- If using a metal file, make strokes in one direction following the existing angle of the blade.
- If using a metal grinder, always wear proper eye protection. Try to keep the existing angle of the blade lined up with the grinder to ensure a smooth, effective finish.
- Be sure to remove the same amount of metal from each side of the blade to keep in balanced.
How to check the balance of your blade
It’s important that your lawn mower blade is properly balanced so it cuts evenly. To check its balance, you can buy a universal mower blade balancer for around $5.
Place the center of the blade on the balancer, and check to see which side — if either — tips toward the table or workstation. The heavier side will need filed or ground more to balance the blade.
Lawn mower safety tips
Follow these basic lawn mower safety tips to prevent injury:
- Always wear closed-toe shoes like sneakers or boots. Never mow in sandals or flip flops.
- Wear protective eyewear.
- Only mow when the grass is dry.
- Remove debris like sticks, rocks, pinecones and toys before mowing.
- Never tilt your mower.
- Turn off your mower when crossing a sidewalk or driveway.
- Always turn off the mower before adjusting the height, cleaning the grass chute, adding gas or performing other maintenance tasks.
- Never pull the mower back towards you.
Investing in a new lawn mower can make your yard work easier and more enjoyable. Since it’s a relatively large purchase that you should have around for years to come, it’s worth taking some time to research the top options before deciding on your favorite.
How did we choose these products?
We combined our own personal experiences with online research to create our list of the best lawn mowers, comparing the type, power source, price and extra features.