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.
Gas-powered push lawn mowers are lighter and cheaper than self-propelled models because they do not have a transmission for the wheels. But since you are the driving force, this also means they are best for smaller lawns with few slopes.
For this update, we saw more positive feedback for the Cub Cadet SC100HW (Est. $250) push mower than for any other non-self-propelled gas model. It's very similar to the now discontinued Cub Cadet SC100, our former Best Reviewed pick and a former Best Buy at Consumer Reports. The two mowers are identical save for the rear wheels. The SC100HW has oversized rear wheels that are a particular plus for those with uneven terrain.
The SC100HW receives a recommendation from Jose Castellanos at Mowers Direct. Calling it a "great machine" and "a customer favorite for many reasons," he adds that 'The 8 and 11-inch industrial tread, ball-bearing wheels make the mower very easy to push and control across uneven terrain with ease." Users there give it good marks as well -- just over 4.5 stars based on more than 80 reviews. Feedback at Home Depot is nearly on a par -- 4.4 stars -- but based on a lot more feedback, over 670 reviews.
There are some reports of reliability issues and mowers that arrived defective or broken, but most owners give it high marks for ease of assembly, ease of use and the quality of the cut. Castellanos says that the Cub Cadet mower features the company's Signature Cut System, "that has been optimized for flawless performance, low maintenance, and a consistently professional-quality cut." The mower, which is completely made in the USA, is covered by a three year limited warranty, as well as a three year "SureStart Guarantee" that promises that the mower will start with no more than two pulls.
Consumer Reports does not test the SC100HW, but does test the Cub Cadet SC100H (Est. $300) and grants it Recommended status. The key difference between the two is that while the SC100HW has a Cub Cadet branded motor, the SC100H features a Honda GCV160 motor. Honda motors are generally lauded as the gold standard when it comes to small gas-fueled engines, but there is just too little user feedback for us to elevate this mower to Best Reviewed status, at least at present -- though the handful of owners that have the SC100H so far seem to be very pleased. As far as test results go, it's not a terrific performer when bagging clippings -- earning only a Good rating on that score -- but better in mulching and discharging clippings from the side, earning marks of Very Good. It's covered by the same three year general warranty as the SC100HW, but interestingly, not the SureStart Guarantee.
Speaking of Honda, it's pricy, and a little hard to find, but Consumer Reports gives top marks to the Honda HRR216PKA (Est. $420). It's the top scoring gas push mower (out of eight currently rated), and in a free article, Paul Hope says "Among gas push mowers, this Honda delivers impressive results in mulching and side-discharge modes, and CR's test engineers noted that it handles easily." The biggest accumulation of user reviews we spotted was at Mowers Direct, where it draws a 4.7 star rating based on over 90 reviews. It has the same Honda GCV160 as found on the Cub Cadet SC100H. It lacks the oversized rear wheels, but the biggest downside is the cost, with Hope noting that for just a little more, a Honda self-propelled mower, like the ones we cover in the section on the best lawn mowers, might be worth considering instead. If the lure of a Honda GCV160 is hard to resist, and you can overlook the lack of a substantial track record among owners, the Cub Cadet SC100H -- at more than $100 cheaper -- might be worth a look-see as well. The Honda HRR216PKA is covered by a three year warranty, same as the Cub Cadet models.
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 (Nearly 100 user reviews) and solid ratings (4 stars -- which is around the best that any Craftsman model with a considerable number of reviews earns). The 149cc Kohler gas engine is a little less powerful than the ones on the Cub Cadet and Honda 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. We also spotted a few more reliability issues than we saw last year -- though the majority of owners still give the mower a thumbs up. The warranty is for two years.