Our just updated report on lawn mowers identifies the best mowers, according to the best reviews we could find, covering all types from manual reel mowers to self-propelled gas models. But what if your lawn isn't your pride and joy, and you just want a mower that's "good enough?" How little can you pay for a walk-behind mower and still get a reasonably good cut?
Gas, electric or manual, these mowers deliver performance and value
If you want excellent mulching -- thus saving on fertilizer, as well as the mower itself -- reviewers like the Toro Recycler 20332 (*Est. $350). This mower can also bag and side-discharge clippings, but not as well as it mulches. It's self-propelled and has the Personal Pace drive that many owners like; the mower adopts the user's walking pace automatically as you move forward.
If your lawn is flat, though, you can save even more by choosing a gas-powered push mower. Yes, this classic design still exists! In fact, its simplicity makes this type less prone to repairs than a self-propelled mower. Reviewers like the Husqvarna 7021P (*Est. $280), which draws kudos for its ability to cut grass and mulch the clippings.
If your lawn is small as well as flat, you don't even need to hassle with gasoline The electric Black & Decker MM875 (*Est. $240) earns good reviews for both mulching and bagging clippings. As long as your mowing is within 100 feet of an outlet, you'll save money on gas and give your ears a break, too. Electric mowers are much quieter than gas models.
For the ultimate in simplicity -- for a small, flat yard that's kept well raked -- consider a manual reel mower. Reel mowers work best on lawns that have relatively few weeds, but lawn experts recommend pulling or spraying weeds anyway rather than just mowing them, which still lets their roots spread underground and can even spread their seeds. A classic reel mower like the Scotts Green Classic 2000-20 (*Est. $120) costs little to maintain -- just sharpen the blades with a file once a year.
While most pricier lawn mowers offer performance or features that make their higher cost worth considering, if money is tight or you just have more important uses for it, one of these "good enough" lawn mowers should keep your lawn looking -- well -- good enough. If you want to see what you'd be missing, check out our full report on lawn mowers. And if you have more money than time, remember the fun of robotic mowers.