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Best Push Mowers

By: Carl Laron on May 04, 2017

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 are 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 at ConsumerReports.org, and a Best Buy there as well. In a free article, Paul Hope says that "the Cub Cadet SC100 delivers impressive mowing in mulching and side-discharge modes, and CR's test engineers noted that it handles easily."

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.

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. Overall, 95 percent of the more than 120 owners that leave reviews at MowersDirect.com recommend it, and feedback elsewhere is similar. Cub Cadet covers the SC 100 with a three-year warranty for residential use, including a SureStart guarantee that the mower will start with one or two pulls during that period.

While the SC100 is ideal for typical lawns, if your property has uneven terrain, a model with larger rear wheels can smooth things out. In that case, the Cub Cadet SC100 HW (Est. $280) might be worth considering. Other than the wheels, it's identical to the SC100, experts say. User scores are a little lower, however, but they seem to be related more to quality control than to performance. The SC100HW is also covered by the same warranty as the SC100.

If the SC100 is unavailable, the Yard Machines 11A-B9A9729 (Est. $240) is a good choice as well. Depending on sales, it's about $10 cheaper than the SC100, and gets reviews that are just a few ticks less complimentary, both in testing and by owners.

The Yard Machine's mower is best when called upon to mulch or discharge clippings to the side, but struggles a bit more when asked to bag -- something that's true of many push mowers in this class, including the SC100. ConsumerReports.org's testers aren't impressed with the engine, however, calling it "non premium," and don't like the high rear wheels as they make the mower harder to tip back. However, as noted in our discussion of the SC100 HW, those wheels can be a real plus on uneven terrain, making the Yard Machines an especially good value for those with that type of property.

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, -- though note the comments in the Buying Guide regarding the issues with improper fuel and/or fuel storage, and the problems that can cause any gas mower. On the plus side, most owners say that the Yard Machines mower is super easy to assemble, cuts very well, and seems to be a sturdy, durable mower -- as long as proper maintenance procedures are followed. A number of reviewers praise its light weight, saying it's quite easy to push. 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, the Craftsman 37438 (Est. $280) might be worth considering. It's not been professionally tested, but gets more feedback (around 60 user reviews) and better ratings (4.5 stars) than any other current Craftsman model; all but six users award it 4 stars or better. The 149cc Kohler gas engine is a little less powerful than the ones on the Cub Cadet and Yard Machines mowers above, but lots of owners like this mower's light weight and easy maneuverability. We do see some complaints, however, that the rear bag is too small, and that the mower is prone to blowing out some dust and debris. The warranty is for two years.

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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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