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 (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. It also earns a Best Buy nod. Owners like it too, making it one of the highest-rated push mowers we saw across several retail sites. At MowersDirect.com, product expert Jose Castellanos, also gives it a Recommended label. Highlights he notes include its thermal auto choke system that adjusts 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.
The one consistent complaint we saw about the Cub Cadet SC100 is that some say it's difficult to assemble. Several of those owners say the instructions are confusing, or it was missing parts right out of the box. Still, most say they had no problems and that assembly was intuitive. One last caveat: if you want this mower, you may want to buy it now. Doug Mahoney at TheSweethome.com says that the Cub Cadet's popularity makes it prone to selling out.
If that's the case, you can opt for the similar Cub Cadet SC100 HW (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. The SC100HW gets lower scores from users, but they seem to be related more to quality control than to performance. The SC100HW is also covered by the three year SureStart guarantee, and both models are covered by three year general warranties for residential use.
For a bit less, the Yard Machines 11A-B9A9729 (Est. $240) gets reviews that are just a few ticks less complimentary than the Cub Cadet's, both in testing and by owners. It gets lower scores for ease of use than the Cub Cadet models, but comparable scores of Very Good for mulching and bagging, with a rare Excellent for side discharging.
Owners give the Yard Machines push mower kudos for being a good value. We saw a few scattered complaints about durability, or that it was hard to start, but most say it's super easy to assemble, cuts very well, and seems to be a sturdy, durable mower. A number of reviewers praise its light weight, saying it's quite easy to push, especially over large, flat expanses of lawn. It's covered by a two-year warranty.
Craftsman is well-known for its quality tools, and many people wouldn't consider anything but a Craftsman mower. If you're a fan, we recommend the Craftsman 37237 (Est. $240). It does very well in professional testing, earning ratings of Very Good for mulching, bagging, side discharge and ease of use, but only Good scores for bagging. Still, owners love this push mower, saying it's very easy to set up and use, and that it handles beautifully. The extended dock feature gets some raves, because it trims so well some say they don't have to finish with a string trimmer (which we cover in a separate report in case you want one anyway). Users also praise this mower's easy maintenance, it never needs an oil change and cleans up easily.