Updated July 2014
Love it or hate it, mowing the lawn is a necessary chore for about half the year -- more in a temperate climate. Using the right mower for your needs can make this job a lot easier and leave your lawn looking fabulous. ConsumerSearch editors choose the top gas, electric and reel mower for every lawn type and budget.
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Honda HRX217VKA
Honda HRX217VKA

Best lawn mower

Reviewers call the self-propelled Honda HRX217VKA the all-around best lawn mower for its superb mowing and mulching, easy-start engine and solid construction. The versatile height adjustments and Smart Drive automatic transmission ensure the best cut every time. Moreover, Honda is known for its reliable products and customer service.
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Est. $600 Estimated Price
Husqvarna 7021P
Husqvarna 7021P

Best push mower

The Husqvarna 7021P is a great value for a gas-powered push mower. It uses the same Honda engine as lawn mowers twice its price and reliably starts on the first pull. Weighing much less than other mowers, the 7021P is easy to push and steer, and the extra-large wheels and ball bearings help it roll smoothly over rough terrain.
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Toro e-Cycler 20360
Toro e-Cycler 20360

Best electric mower

For those wanting an alternative to the effort and expense of maintaining a gas mower, the electric Toro e-Cycler 20360 is the best option. Owners say its powerful cutting performance and ample battery life make it easy to go green. Furthermore, the mower is battery-powered so there's no cord to fuss with.
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Fiskars StaySharp Max 6201
Fiskars StaySharp Max 6201

Best reel mower

Expert comparisons and hundreds of owners say Fiskars StaySharp Max 6201 is hands-down the best manual reel mower. Its innovative design delivers a powerful cut from a well-built frame that is lightweight and easy to handle. The five-blade reel is exceptionally quiet and stays sharp for years.
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See a side-by-side comparison of key features, product specs, and prices.

Lawn Mowers Runners Up:

Black & Decker SPCM 1936 Est. $400

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NaturCut Ideal 40 Est. $160

1 pick including: MowersDirect.com, GreatMower.com…

There are plenty of different lawn mowers to match your needs

Shop for a new lawn mower and you'll soon discover there is no shortage of options. The best lawn mowers are easy to handle, safe to use and ready to mow without much hassle. They should keep your grounds looking their best by bagging clippings, discharging them to the side or mulching them into fine pieces.

Lawn mowers are powered by gas, electricity (some with electric cords, some with batteries). In general, gas-powered lawn mowers can power through tough vegetation better than electric mowers. Some reviews also say they impart the best finish or final appearance on a lawn. There are also manual reel mowers that are popular choices for the environmentally aware and with people who like to get their exercise points in while working in the yard.

To find the best lawn mower, start by narrowing down what type of lawn mower best suits your needs, budget and property. A major factor to keep in mind is reliability: Brands that rate highly for dependability tend to have fewer warranty and service issues. Taking your lawn mower in for repairs is a hassle, and owners frequently say authorized repair shops aren't conveniently located.

Self-propelled mowers require less effort

Typically the most expensive type of lawn mower, self-propelled models do the pushing for you. Less expensive models often have set speeds, while pricier models use an automatic transmission and speed levers to accelerate and slow down. Top mowers can travel up to 4 mph and have user-friendly controls within easy reach. Self-propelled mowers come in both gas and electric models, and tend to be a bit more expensive than push mowers.

Push mowers are lighter and less expensive

If you want to spend less on a lawn mower and don't mind putting in a little extra mowing effort, consider a push mower. Other than the transmission, there is very little difference between each brand's push models and self-propelled mowers. Look for a model with large wheels and ball bearings, which improve mobility.

Electric mowers save money

Corded electric lawn mowers are the most affordable kind of powered mower to use and maintain, experts say. Their motors don't require oil, spark plugs or batteries, and professionals estimate the electricity required to use them is much less expensive than gas.

Many owners say handling the extension cord on a corded mower is far easier than dealing with filling and maintaining a gas model. This is the lightest type of mower, making it a good alternative for those who lack the strength to pull the rip-cord on a gas model. Electric mowers aren't as powerful as gas lawn mowers, and their 100-foot extension cords keep you tethered to an outlet. They are best for small yards without unruly patches of tall grass or weeds.

Cordless lawn mowers run on a rechargeable battery

Cordless lawn mowers give you more freedom than corded lawn mowers and are often more powerful. However, they are also best for lawns of no more than half an acre because battery run time is limited to about an hour. Cordless lawn mowers use a lead-acid battery that typically lasts two to three years; good battery maintenance is key to extending its life. Cordless mowers are heavier than their corded relatives and are available with just as many features as gas mowers.

Reel mowers are the greenest option

Using a spinning reel to cut grass, manual reel mowers are operated by simply pushing them. These mowers offer more of an aerobic workout -- considered an advantage by many. Reel mowers are quiet, low-maintenance and save you money on repairs and servicing.

Because they mow slower, require more work and their blades aren't strong enough for twigs or unruly grass, experts advise using a reel mower on weed-free properties smaller than half an acre. Plan on cutting about twice a week, on average, to keep grass from getting too high to mow. Reel mowers are not only increasing in popularity, but according to expert tests, they are improving in performance.

ConsumerSearch editors consulted expert reviews and comparison tests along with owner feedback to select the best lawn mowers of each type. We consider reliability, handling, noise and safety, but factor in user comments to determine long-term durability as well.

This report covers walk-behind lawn mowers. We also have separate reports that cover lawn tractors, robotic lawn mowers and string trimmers.

Elsewhere in this report:

Best Lawn Mowers: What's the best lawn mower? Self-propelled are the most popular among users. Editors choose the best models based on expert comparisons and owner reviews.

Push Mowers: What's the best push lawn mower? Editors evaluate owner reviews and professional tests of popular models from brands like Husqvarna, Toro and Honda.

Electric Mowers: What's the best electric mower? Editors choose the best corded and cordless electric mowers based on expert evaluations and owner reviews.

Reel Mowers: Looking for the best reel lawn mower? Editors say reel mowers from Fiskars and NaturCut are the best according to professional tests and user feedback.

Buying Guide: Where should you start when buying a new lawn mower? Editors offer tips from experts and owners to help you select the right mower for your needs.

Our Sources: Links to the expert and user reviews we used to select the top lawn mowers, along with our assessment of each reviewer's expertise, credibility and helpfulness.

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