Whether you enjoy spending time maintaining a lush, manicured lawn or you view cutting the grass as a tedious chore, nobody wants to deal with a broken-down lawn mower. Especially not when you’re in the thick of it, so to speak, come spring and summer.
If you’re in the market for a new mower, you’ll want a model that will last for years to come. And you want to be happy with your purchase, long-term. “That’s why our overall lawn mower ratings now combine our lab test results with brand reliability and satisfaction data from our annual member surveys,” says Simon Slater, associate director of survey research at Consumer Reports.
Top 10 Walk Behind Lawn Mower
- 140CC OHV GAS POWERED ENGINE: Powerful Briggs and Stratton 550E gas engine comes equipped with recoil and...
- 3-IN-1 CAPABILITIES: Unit has side discharge, rear discharge, and mulching capabilities.
- 14" Cutting width, 4-blade ball bearing reel, and 8.5" Composite wheels
- Adjustable cutting Height of 0.5"-1.75" For a clean, scissor-like cut every time
- G-MAX 40V 2Ah Li-Ion Battery System powers multiple tools for complete yard work system--includes 1-4Ah...
- Single lever 5-position height adjustment offers cutting height range from 1-1/4 inch to 3-3/8-inch for the...
- Powered by 420cc OHV engine with easy electric start and 4 rear-wheel drive forward speeds
- Offers a wider 33-inch twin blade cutting deck and four forward speeds with the rear wheel drive system (with...
- Assembled dimension: 13 in. w x 16.50 in. d x 24 in. h
- Use with or without bagger attachment
- Briggs & Stratton 850 Professional Series engine with ready start starting system - no priming, no choking....
- 21-Inch 14 gauge Steel mowing deck
- 3 tools in 1, easily converts from mower to trimmer to edger
- AFS automatic feed system ensures continuous work without bumping and having to stop.Ideal Property Size 750...
- Up to 45-minutes run time with the Briggs & Stratton 82V lithium ion 2.0Ah battery - Kit comes with 2 each of...
- 21" Steel mowing deck with 3-in-1 design - mulch, bag or side discharge grass clippings easily
- Powered by a 163cc Briggs & Stratton Engine
- Equipped with a 21-Inch TriAction cutting system with integrated premium deck wash
- Powered by 161 cc engine delivering the right amount of power in a compact, lightweight package
- Easy pull starting
How We Chose These Mowers
To select these top mowers, we relied on our decades-long experience testing every type of mower. We survey the market, talk to engineers and product managers, and weigh consumer reviews as well as our own testing and evaluation. We selected these mowers based on comparisons of gas and electric mowers where we examined mowing performance and industrial design as it relates to performance, ease of use, maintenance, storage, and value. We either tested these products directly or are recommending them based on having tested previous models, or similar versions.
Find the Perfect Mower
Gas-Powered or Electric Mower? One question today is whether you buy a gas engine mower or an electric mower. Answer: electric mowers are great for small, tidy yards. We’re talking under 5,000 square feet of grass and no mowing of non-lawn areas. For a larger grass area, especially one that may have a lot of leaves on it during the fall or other tree debris, like pine needles, buy a gas-engine mower. Especially by a gas mower if you occasionally mow at the lawn’s edge, pushing back tall grass and weeds or if you mow rough, non-lawn areas.
Types of Lawn Mowers
Walk mower (10,000 square feet of grass or less): Typical engine sizes up to 190 CC (with a few larger), cutting deck width from 21 to 33 inches. Choose rear drive if you mow uphill, especially if you bag the clippings. Use front drive on level ground for maneuverability. Buy all-wheel drive (or power reverse) for steep hills, side hills, rutted ground, and non-lawn areas.
Rear-engine riding mower, steering wheel (10,000 square feet of grass up to two acres; heavy-duty variations up to four acres): Typical engine sizes are in the range of 10.5 to 13.5-horsepower, with a few models as large as 21.5. Deck sizes are typically 30 to 33 inches, with heavy-duty models possessing decks up to 54 inches. The wider the deck, the more expensive the machine but the faster you get the job done.
Traditional lawn tractor (20,000 square feet of grass up to four acres): Typical engine sizes range from 10.5 to 25 horsepower. Deck sizes range from 42 inches up to 54 inches. As you increase horsepower and deck size, you find heavy-duty models with features like a differential lock: both rear wheels turn simultaneously, a big help going uphill or if you hook up an attachment like a grader or a box scraper to smooth a gravel driveway.
Zero-turn riding mower (20,000 square feet of grass up to four acres): Typical engine sizes range from 12 to 25 horsepower. Deck sizes start at about 32 inches and go all the way up to 60 inches. With the exception of a Cub Cadet product that has a steering wheel, universally, these machines steer with a pair of lap bars. Each is hooked up to a transmission—one at the left rear wheel and one at the right rear wheel.
Bagging or Mulching?
Most users will be best served by a good mulching mower, which discharges grass clippings under the deck. Mulching is great because the clippings contribute to grass health and leave nothing behind to clean up or compost. Mowers in side discharge mode shoot clippings out the side of the deck, a method for tall grass or when mowing non-lawn areas—the windrows formed by the grass clippings are unattractive and can damage lawn health if left in place.
The Hydrostatic Advantage
The hydrostatic transmission is the best thing to happen to grass-cutting equipment since the gas engine. Why is it so good? Because it’s hydraulic, like the automatic transmission in your car. It takes power from the engine and brings it to the rear wheels in a constant and easily controlled manner. It works this way: A pulley on the engine output shaft has a belt on it that runs to another pulley on the hydrostatic transmission. The shaft from that pulley runs into a sealed gear case, driving a pump which pressurizes hydraulic fluid inside the case.