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Lawn Mower Reviews

By: Carl Laron on May 04, 2017

Editor's Note:
Gas mowers like the Honda HRX217VKA still perform best, but if your property isn't too big, and the headaches of gas are becoming too much to take, some Ego cordless electric mowers can be a terrific alternative. We also found some good corded electric mowers. And for those who really want to go green, check out our manual reel mower recommendations.

Honda HRX217VKA Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Cutting height -- 0.75" to 4" Fuel tank (gallons) -- 0.25 Warranty -- 5-year residential; 90-day commercial

Best lawn mower

Reviewers call the self-propelled Honda HRX217VKA the best all-around lawn mower for its superb mowing and mulching, easy-start engine and solid construction. Users also love its adjustable propulsion. Versamow technology lets users mulch some clippings while bagging the rest, and the Select Drive transmission makes controlling the mower's speed a breeze, even on hills. Moreover, Honda is known for its reliable products and good customer service. See our full review »

Cub Cadet SC100 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Cutting height -- 1.25" to 3.75" Fuel tank (gallons) -- 0.25 Warranty -- 3 years

Best push mower

The Cub Cadet SC100 gets more acclaim among experts and owners than any other gas push mower. Its performance is strong in tests, especially when discharging or mulching clippings. User feedback for this model is solid, and experts say that it is solidly made. The three-year warranty includes a guarantee that the mower will start within two attempts during the warranty period. See our full review »

Ego LM2102SP Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Cutting height -- 1.5" to 4" Battery -- 7.5 Ah Warranty -- 5 years

Best electric mower

If electric mowers are the wave of the future, Ego proves that the future is now with the Ego LM2102SP. This self-propelled electric mower is the only one we saw that gets raves for performance that rival those of a gas mower -- but without the mess, noise and nasty emissions. Its 7.5 Ah lithium-ion battery runs for about 60 minutes, and the mower gets kudos for its mowing and mulching performance. See our full review »

EGO LM2101 Review
Runners Up
Specs that Matter Cutting height -- 1.5" to 4" Battery -- 5 Ah Warranty -- 5 years

Cordless electric push mower

Like its self-propelled sibling, the Ego LM2101 does very well in testing in mulching and discharging clippings, and excels in handling and ease of use. The 5 Ah Lithium-Ion battery charges quickly and runs for about 45 minutes on a charge. It can mow up to 1/2 acre before running down, and owners say it does a fantastic job of cutting and that it has plenty of torque for most jobs.

Fiskars StaySharp Max 6201 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Cutting height -- 1" to 4" # of blades -- 5 Warranty -- 3 years

Best reel mower

If you just love the Zen of lawn mowing, the Fiskars StaySharp Max reel mower is going to make you very happy. 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. This reel mower requires very little maintenance and doesn't take up much room in the garage. See our full review »

Buy for $231.08

No matter your lawn or your budget, there's a perfect lawn mower 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 (when maker's cautions and basic common sense are observed) and can be ready to mow without much hassle. Clean up should be hassle-free as well -- the best mowers handle the clippings by bagging them or mulching them into fine pieces.

While walk-behind lawn mowers are a great choice for most people (and yards), if you have a larger plot of land, you may be better served by a lawn tractor, also known as a riding mower, which we cover in a separate report. To deal with the clippings left on your sidewalks and driveway, you may want to consider investing in a leaf blower, while a string trimmer will put a beautiful finish on the job -- and we have reports on those yard tools as well.

Types of Lawn Mowers

Self-Propelled Mowers

Typically the most expensive type of lawn mower, self-propelled models have a transmission that powers the drive wheels, so they move forward without effort, you merely walk behind it and guide it where you want it to go -- much like a car. Less expensive models often have set speeds, while pricier models use an automatic transmission and speed levers to accelerate and slow down. The top self-propelled mowers can travel up to 4 mph and have user-friendly controls within easy reach.

Push Mowers

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 push mowers and self-propelled mowers. This type is best for medium to small flat yards, if you have a lot of hills you may wear yourself out with a push mower. Some push mowers have larger rear wheels, which manufacturers say make them easier to use on rougher terrain, but many experts and owners say that actually makes them more difficult to maneuver.

Cordless Electric Lawn Mowers

The newest generation of cordless electric mowers are feature-rich and get ratings for performance that nearly rival those of the top gas mowers. They do have limited run times, however, so they are best for lawns of no more than half an acre. Models that use lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are by far the preferred choice -- while other types of cordless electric mowers remain available, our advice is to stay away. The advantages of Li-ion technology include lighter weight, fast recharge times and power that does not drop off until the battery is depleted. Maintenance is also easier than with a gas-powered mower.

Corded Electric Mowers

Corded electric lawn mowers are the most affordable type of powered mower. Unlike cordless models, corded mowers aren't limited by run time, though they are limited in range by the length of your extension cord. Wrangling the cord can be a pain, but less of a pain than dealing with filling and maintaining a gas model. This is also 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, but they are also, generally speaking, the least powerful type. That means that corded electric mowers are likely best for small yards without unruly patches of tall grass or weeds.

Reel Mowers

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 cheaper than most powered mowers -- and they also will save you money down the line 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.

Finding The Best Lawn Mowers
Our Sources
"Lawn Mowers & Tractors"
"Best and Worst Walk-Behind Lawn Mowers "
"Best Lawnmowers of the Year: Comparison Test"

To find the very best gas, electric (corded and cordless) and manual reel mowers, ConsumerSearch editors first consulted expert reviews and comparison tests. While expert feedback is a bit limited, we found a large comparative report at ConsumerReports.org, and some more reporting from Popular Mechanics, TopTenReviews.com and elsewhere.

We then looked to owner feedback. These reports typically reflect less information about the available choices, but provide deeper insight into how particular mowers perform in the hands of typical users.

With all of that data under our belt, we consider reliability, handling, noise and safety, and also factor in user comments and survey responses regarding long-term durability. The results are our Best Reviewed picks, along with some alternatives to consider, among gas, electric and reel mowers of all types.

Recently Updated
Lawn Mowers buying guide

What every best Lawn Mowers has:

  • Leaves lawn looking well-trimmed.
  • Handles intuitively for easy pushing and steering.
  • Offers brand reliability and a good warranty.

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