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The best push mowers offer great handling

Gas-powered push lawn mowers are lighter and cheaper than self-propelled models because they do not have a transmission for the wheels. Since you become the driving force, handling is one of the most important features for a gas push mower. This also means they are best for smaller lawns with few slopes.

For this update, we saw more positive feedback for the Cub Cadet SC100 11A-A92J710 (Est. $250) push mower than for any other non-self-propelled gas model. It's the top-rated gas push-mower in one large comparative survey, earning very good ratings across the board for mulching, handling, bagging, side discharging and ease of use.

However, the reviewer in that roundup does not explicitly recommend this mower because, according to its survey of lawn-mower owners, the Cub Cadet brand is relatively repair prone. Be that as it may, user feedback for this model tells a different story. It gets more feedback and higher satisfaction -- 4.6 stars following more than 200 reviews -- than any other gas push mower at HomeDepot.com, and 94 percent of owners recommend it.

The story is similar at MowersDirect.com, where 98 percent of the more than 55 reviewers recommend the Cub Cadet. MowersDirect.com's product expert, Jose Castellanos, also gives it a Recommended label. Highlights he notes include its thermal auto choke system that adjust with the temperature for easier starting. Cub Cadet backs that up with a three-year SureStart guarantee that the mower will start with one or two pulls.

If there's a serious drawback to the Cub Cadet SC100 11A-A92J710, it's finding it in stock when you want to buy it. TheSweetHome.com, which says that the Cub Cadet is the best push mower, notes that its popularity makes it prone to selling out. "We spoke to Cub Cadet about this, and they told us that during the height of the summer, it may only be in stock for a few days at a time," says TheSweetHome.com's Doug Mahoney.

If that's the case, you can opt for the similar Cub Cadet SC100HW 11A-B92J710 (Est. $280) instead. It's the identical model, Mahoney notes, but with bigger rear wheels. "This means that it will perform better on uneven terrain, but will be a little more difficult for tight turns," Mahoney says. It, too, is covered by the three year SureStart guarantee, and both models are covered by three year general warranties for residential use.

The Lawn Boy 10730 (Est. $240) is also worth considering. It scores a little bit behind the Cub Cadet SC100 11A-A92J710 in the large comparative review mentioned above, but still does well enough to earn Best Buy status. Its chief pitfall is less than stellar performance when bagging or using the side discharge mode, but it's every bit the equal of the Cub Cadet when mulching and the handling and ease of use are also very good -- especially over rough terrain thanks to its high rear wheels. The "premium" Kohler engine is another plus. User feedback is good, though at roughly 4 stars across multiple sites, a notch behind the Cub Cadet. It carries a similar three-year warranty for starting with no more than two pulls, but only a two-year warranty overall.

It's a little pricier, but our top rated push mower from last season, the lightweight and easy to steer Husqvarna 7021P (Est. $320) remains an excellent choice as well. User feedback isn't quite as strong as for the Cub Cadet, but owners still appreciate the mower's easy handling, citing the ball bearings and extra-large wheels as the main factors.

On 10Rate.com, the 7021P gets the Editor's Choice award for its great value. The durable Honda engine is the same model that powers the self-propelled Honda HRX217VKA (Est. $600), which earns kudos as one of the best mowers you can buy, period. That's enough for MowersDirect.com's Castellanos to give the 7021P his recommendation. "You can get this same high quality engine without the high end Honda mower price tag," he says.

The 7021P is capable of handling all three cutting modes -- mulching, bagging and side discharging -- but reviews especially praise its first-class mulching. Some owners rave that they can't even see the mulched clippings.

The Husqvarna warranty covers the mower for three years. Though the brand has above-average customer satisfaction, a few users say this particular model only lasts a few seasons.

Elsewhere in this report:

Best Lawn Mowers | Best Electric Mowers | Reel Mowers | Buying Guide | Our Sources

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Husqvarna 7021P 21-Inch 160cc Honda GCV160 Gas Powered 3-N-1 Push Lawn Mower With High Rear Wheels (CARB Compliant)
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from Amazon.com
New: $399.99 $299.95   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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21 in. Lawn Gas Mower-Cub Cadet-11A-A92J710
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from Amazon.com
New: $342.79
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Lawn-Boy 10730 Kohler High Wheel Push Gas Walk Behind Lawn Mower, 21-Inch
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from Amazon.com
New: $239.99 $239.00   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  

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