The 8 Best Push Mowers for Small and Medium Yards

Our favorite mower is the Ryobi 40V HP Brushless Whisper Series All-Wheel Drive Electric mower. If you want a self-propelled gas mower, check out Toro’s 21-inch Personal Pace SmartStow Super Recycler Electric Start Mower.

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Push Lawn Mower
Courtesy of The Home Depot

Mowing is an essential part of summer lawn maintenance—and push mowers are the ideal size for homeowners with yards that are 1 acre or smaller. But wading through all the lawn mower choices can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming. Do you want the power of a gas mower, or would you prefer an eco-friendly electric option? If you prefer an electric mower, do you want a cordless mower powered by batteries or a corded model? Or would you rather opt for a quiet, budget-friendly reel mower that doesn't have a motor at all?

There are advantages and disadvantages of each type of mower, so it's important to do your research about each model and consider how often you mow and the conditions on your property.

"Look at the size of your yard, the cost of the mower, and make an assessment about what suits your needs best," says Andrew Bray, vice president of government relations for the National Association of Landscape Professionals. "If it's electric, look at the charge time of the battery and make sure you understand the cost of replacement batteries—and how to dispose of the battery safely and responsibly."

In addition to choosing between gas, electric, and reel mowers, there are a host of other features to consider as well. To come up with this list of the best push mowers, we researched dozens of models, looking at their power source, performance, price, cutting deck width and height, grass clipping options, and more. We also spoke with Andrew Bray and Abigail Mikkelsen, associate product manager for Ryobi Outdoor Power Equipment.

We chose the Ryobi 40V HP Brushless Whisper Series 21-Inch All-Wheel Drive Electric Mower as the overall best push mower. It has a great balance of power and convenience as well as up to 70 minutes of run times, allowing you to mow up to 0.66 acres on just one battery charge. We're also a fan of its all-wheel drive feature and its large rear wheels that can help you navigate overgrown grass and weeds.

We've pulled together a list of the best push mowers to suit a variety of yards, preferences, and budgets. Read on to find out more about our top choices.

What We Recommend

Best Overall: Ryobi 40V HP Brushless Whisper Series 21-Inch All-Wheel Drive Mower

Push Lawn Mower
Courtesy of The Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: If you're ready to give electric mowers a try, this one is powerful and extra quiet—offering the low-maintenance and eco-friendly qualities of electric without losing the power typically found in gas mowers. Plus, it's self-propelled and all-wheel drive, making it easier to get over any type of grass or terrain.

Keep in Mind: If you use the all-wheel drive mode throughout your mowing session, run times may be lower.

This Ryobi 40V Brushless Whisper Series mower gives you the power of gas, without all the noise, making it our overall choice for the best push mower. All-wheel drive makes it a good option for yards with steep hills, and the brushless motor enhances power and run times. Two battery ports and two 40V 6Ah batteries can provide up to 70 minutes of run time, so it works well for yards up to 1 acre.

A host of convenient features, such as the push button start, LED headlights, and external fuel gauge that shows you the remaining run time, help make your mowing chores easier. The Smart Trek technology matches the mower's speed to your pace, and the self-propelled function can be engaged even if the blades are turned off to make it easier to transport the mower from your garage to your yard.

The mower's Cross Cut multi-blade system lets you choose between two blades for better cutting performance or one blade for a longer run time. An integrated mulch plug makes it simple to choose mulching, bagging, or side discharge, and a single lever lets you choose between seven different cutting heights. Large 11-inch rear wheels help you make it over uneven ground, and the aluminum handles fold up when you're done for compact, vertical storage.

The Ryobi mower also comes with a rapid charger to charge your batteries four times faster than a traditional charger—so if you don't quite finish your yard in one go, you'll be back out to finish up after a short break.

Product Details:

  • Power: Cordless electric, 40V 6Ah batteries (two)
  • Ideal Lawn Size: Up to 1 acre
  • Cutting Width: 21 inches
  • Minimum Cutting Height: 1 inch
  • Maximum Cutting Height: 4 inches
  • Weight: 78 pounds

Best Budget: Sun Joe 14-Inch 12-Amp Electric Lawn Mower

Push Lawn Mower
Courtesy of Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This corded electric mower is cheaper than some reel mowers, but it offers more power for getting through tall grass.

Keep in Mind: This is a corded model, so it's only recommended for small yards of 0.25 acres or less.

For those looking for the best push mower on a budget, this Sun Joe mower is lightweight and features all-terrain wheels to help ensure you can push it over uneven ground (unlike some reel mowers available at similar price points). Plus, it's cheaper to maintain than gas mowers since there's no need to add gas or oil (or replace spark plugs).

The corded mower's 12-amp motor offers plenty of power for most lawns (it's recommended for both flat and sloped yards), and the small 14-inch cutting width makes this machine easy to maneuver in small spaces.

You can choose from three different cutting heights between 1.18 and 2.52 inches to customize the height of your grass. The 10.6-gallon collection bag can be taken off easily to dispose of grass clippings, and the collapsible handle lets you store the mower in compact spaces.

This affordable corded mower doesn't have all the bells and whistles that more expensive mowers might have, but it offers owners of small yards (up to 0.25 acres) a lot for a low price.

Product Details:

  • Power: Corded electric, 12-amp motor
  • Ideal Lawn Size: Up to 0.25 acres
  • Cutting Deck Width: 14 inches
  • Minimum Cutting Height: 1.18 inches
  • Maximum Cutting Height: 2.52 inches
  • Weight: 29 pounds

Best Gas: Honda 21-Inch 3-in-1 Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Mower

Push Lawn Mower
Courtesy of The Home Depot

Also available at Lowe's

Why You Should Get It: If you don't mow as often as you should or just need lots of power to push through tall grass and weeds, gas mowers are a great choice. This one has lots of bells and whistles to make mowing quick and easy.

Keep in Mind: This mower starts with a pull cord rather than an electric push button start.

With a reliable, easy-start Honda GCV170 engine, this is a machine you can count on to be ready whenever you are (with regular maintenance, of course).

It's a self-propelled mower, so you don't have to put as much effort into pushing the machine around—plus, it adapts the mowing speed to match your stride, so you won't feel like you're chasing after the mower either. Rear-wheel drive makes it easier to mow hills, and high rear wheels help it power through tough spots. The deck is made of 16-gauge steel for extra durability.

It's simple to adjust the mower to seven different cutting heights with the dual-lever height adjustment function, and you can easily switch between mulching and bagging without any extra attachments. With two offset blades, it cuts the grass into small pieces that are better for both mulching and bagging.

Keep in mind that you have to start this mower with a traditional pull cord rather than an electric start button, so it will take a bit more effort to get it started. With a 170cc engine, it's got plenty of power, but it's not the largest engine available on the market.

Product Details:

  • Power: Gas-powered, 170cc engine
  • Ideal Lawn Size: Up to 0.5 acres
  • Cutting Width: 21 inches
  • Minimum Cutting Height: 1.8 inches
  • Maximum Cutting Height: 4 inches
  • Weight: 77.8 pounds

Related: The 8 Best Lawn Mowers to Keep Your Yard Neat and Trim

Best Cordless Electric: Greenworks Pro 60V 25-inch Brushless Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Push Lawn Mower
Courtesy of Greenworks

Why You Should Get It: The 25-inch cutting deck size is the largest of any cordless model, so you'll get your lawn mowed faster. Plus, the runtime of up to 80 minutes means you can tackle good-size yards in one go.

Keep in Mind: It's more expensive than many other electric models. In this case, you get what you pay for, but it might not be the best choice if you're on a tight budget.

If lots of power but little noise sounds like your ideal push mower, this might be the machine for you. The Greenworks Pro 60V 25-Inch mower features a cutting deck made with heavy steel for durability and a brushless motor that combines extra power with quiet operation.

With two ports for 4.0 Ah batteries, the mower will automatically switch over to the second battery, allowing for an uninterrupted run time of up to 80 minutes. That's enough to mow yards up to 0.66 acres in size. If you need an extra burst of power to get over tough terrain or pick up leaves, you can push the turbo button.

The wide 25-inch mowing deck (the largest of the cordless models on this list) will help you cover more surface faster, but LED headlights can light the way if you're finishing up at dusk. (In fact, this mower is so quiet, you probably can mow at dawn and beat the heat of the day without disturbing your neighbors.)

A single lever makes it easy to switch between seven different cutting heights, and the self-propelled drive with variable speed control helps take some of the pushing work off your shoulders.

The mower's 3-in-1 discharge mode lets you bag grass, mulch, or pick up leaves, and when you're done working, you can fold its handles for easier storage. Keep in mind that these features do come at a cost; this is one of the most expensive electric mowers on our list.

Product Details:

  • Power: Cordless electric, 60V 4Ah batteries (two)
  • Ideal Lawn Size: Up to 0.66 acres
  • Cutting Width: 25 inches
  • Minimum Cut Height: 1.375 inches
  • Maximum Cut Height: 4 inches
  • Weight: 60 pounds

Related: The 8 Best Electric Lawn Mowers for Easy and Efficient Mowing

Best Corded Electric: Craftsman 20-Inch 13-Amp Corded Electric Lawn Mower

Push Lawn Mower
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Lowe's

Why You Should Get It: With a powerful motor and convenient features, this corded mower is a great choice for small yards up to 0.25 acres.

Keep in Mind: It doesn't have a self-propel feature, but it is a fairly lightweight mower.

The Craftsman 20-Inch 13-Amp Corded Electric Lawn Mower features a powerful 13-amp motor, so you can make it through tough grass without having to worry about the regular maintenance that's necessary for gas mowers.

Although it's designed for small lots of up to 0.25 acres, it offers several of the convenient features available on larger, more expensive mowers, such as winged blades for more powerful cutting and 3-in-1 mulching, bagging, and side discharge for optimum flexibility.

This corded mower also makes it easy to change the cutting height between 1.5 and 3.5 inches and features a folding handle so you can store the mower vertically. A 20-inch deck makes it easy to maneuver in small yards.

Be aware that this mower requires an outdoor extension cord to ensure you can reach all areas of your yard. This cord will add some weight and make it a little more difficult to maneuver around the lawn. However, this mower is lighter than many other corded models (it's made of molded plastic), so it's easy to push even without a self-propelled feature.

Product Details:

  • Power: Corded electric, 13-amp motor
  • Ideal Lawn Size: Up to 0.25 acres
  • Cutting Width: 20 inches
  • Minimum Cutting Height: 1.5 inches
  • Maximum Cutting Height: 3.5 inches
  • Weight: 46.3 pounds

Related: The 7 Best Riding Mowers to Mow the Lawn with Comfort and Ease

Best Self-Propelled: Toro 21-Inch Super Recycler Personal Pace SmartStow 190cc Self-Propelled Mower

Push Lawn Mower
Courtesy of The Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: With the Personal Pace Auto-Drive system, the mower will match your walking speed—rather than pulling or pushing you around. An electric start ensures this gas mower is easy to start, and additional technology helps fill the bag completely so you have to empty it less often.

Keep in Mind: A side chute is not included with the mower, but you can get a free one from Toro if you register the mower with the company.

If you're looking for the best push mower with a self-propel feature, this Toro mower takes the typical self-propelled mower up a notch. It offers lots of convenient features, including Personal Pace technology that matches the mower's speed to your walking pace. Suddenly you feel like you're in charge (rather than running to keep up with the machine).

A large 190cc Briggs & Stratton engine gives this mower plenty of power to get through even wet, thick grass, while smart construction, such as a cast-aluminum deck and rugged wheels with sealed ball bearings, help it last for years.

This mower also offers plenty of flexibility with nine different cutting height settings and options for bagging, mulching, and side discharge. If you choose to bag, the commercial-grade Bagging Tunnel helps grass clippings to be blown farther back into the bag so you can fill it completely and empty it less often.

If you choose to mulch, the Vortex air intake technology pulls more air into the cutting chamber so the grass ends up being cut into ultra-fine bits that more quickly break down and fertilize your lawn.

When you're done mowing, you can fold, lock, and flip the machine to store it in a minimal amount of space. Because many homeowners choose to bag or mulch their grass clippings, Toro doesn't include a side chute with this mower, but you can opt to have Toro send one to you at no cost if you register your mower with the company.

Product Details:

  • Power: Gas-powered, 190cc engine
  • Ideal Lawn Size: Up to 0.5 acres
  • Cutting Width: 21 inches
  • Minimum Cutting Height: 1.25 inches
  • Maximum Cutting Height: 4.25 inches
  • Weight: 90 pounds

Best Reel: Fiskars StaySharp 17-Inch Manual Reel Mower

Push Lawn Mower
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at The Home Depot and Walmart

Why You Should Get It: The reel mower offers more cutting power than traditional manual mowers, and it works on uneven ground. Plus, the blades don't need to be sharpened annually.

Keep in Mind: At 43.5 pounds, it's heavier than most reel mowers, which may cause difficulty for some users.

Reel mowers are quiet, eco-friendly, and easy on the wallet. But they can't always work on weeds or tall grass—and uneven ground can sometimes stop them in their tracks. Fiskars StaySharp mower offers a solution for these common problems.

Thanks to its InertiaDrive system, the wheels create more power for the cutting reel, which makes it easier to tackle weeds and tall grass. It can even handle tough grass varieties, such as St. Augustine, Zoysia, Bahia, and Bermuda. And unlike most reel mowers that are only recommended for flat yards, this model can handle uneven ground, too.

The StaySharp cutting system features steel blades that cut the grass without touching each other—this means you won't need to sharpen the blades as often. (And, let's face it, that's a task that some of us may never get around to.)

Although the model is relatively heavy, the new technology added to the traditional reel mower design makes it easier to push through the grass. A larger 17-inch cutting deck also means you can finish mowing the yard faster. Several cutting height options between 1.5 and 3.5 inches provide added flexibility and help you get through taller grass if you've waited too long to mow.

Product Details:

  • Power: Manual
  • Ideal Lawn Size: Up to 1 acre
  • Cutting Width: 17 inches
  • Minimum Cutting Height: 1.5 inches
  • Maximum Cutting Height: 3.5 inches
  • Weight: 43.5 pounds

Best Heavy-Duty: Troy-Bilt 18-Inch 195cc Gas Walk Behind Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Push Lawn Mower
Courtesy of The Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: A powerful motor and a large 28-inch wide deck let you power through any type of grass and get your mowing done fast.

Keep in Mind: This is a heavy mower, so it may be difficult for some users to manage. Although the wide deck can help you plow through a large yard faster, it may make it difficult to maneuver through tight spaces or around obstacles.

If you have large areas to mow, including uneven ground or steep hills, the best push mower for you should be a heavy-duty model. This Troy-Bilt self-propelled mower will help you get the work done quickly and easily thanks to an extra-wide cutting deck of 28 inches that lets you cover more area in one pass.

The mower is recommended for yards up to 1 acre in size and features a powerful 195cc engine and 10-inch-high rear wheels to help you make it through tall grass or rough patches in your yard. Variable speed control lets you choose your speed and gives you more control when mowing on hills.

The gas mower starts with a pull cord rather than an electric start button, but the Autochoke feature ensures it's easy to start every time. You can adjust the cutting height with a single lever (choose from six positions) and opt for the 2-bushel rear bag for glass clippings, a mulch kit, or side discharge.

A steel deck promises extended durability, and a deck wash adaptor allows you to hook up a garden hose to quickly wash off the underside of the deck. Just keep in mind that this mower's wide deck could make it more difficult to mow in small spaces or around obstacles.

Product Details:

  • Power: Gas powered, 195cc engine
  • Ideal Lawn Size: Up to 1 acre
  • Cutting Width: 28 inches
  • Minimum Cutting Height: 1.25 inches
  • Maximum Cutting Height: 3.75 inches
  • Weight: 160 pounds

Related: The 8 Best Weed Whackers for a Tidy, Weed-Free Lawn

The Bottom Line

We chose the Ryobi 40V HP Brushless Whisper Series 21-Inch All-Wheel Drive Electric Mower as our overall best push mower pick because it combines power and convenience—and shows just how far electric mowers have come in recent years. With up to 70 minutes of run times, you can mow properties up to 0.66 acres on just one charge, and the all-wheel drive and large rear wheels help you get through tall grass and weeds.

If you have a larger property or need even more power, the Toro 21-Inch Super Recycler Personal Pace SmartStow 190cc Self-Propelled Mower offers plenty of convenient features to make mowing your lawn easier than ever, such as nine different cutting heights and a more efficient bagging system.

What to Know About Push Mowers Before Shopping

Power Source

When choosing the best push mower for your property, first consider your power source options. Gas-powered mowers used to be the only option when it came to lawn mowers, but these days more people are opting for electric mowers as the technology continues to improve. And a segment of the market still relies on traditional reel mowers.

Gas-powered mowers provide plenty of power to easily tackle long grass, leaves, and weeds as well as traverse tough terrain. You don't have to worry about a battery running out of charge, but you do have to top up on gas and oil on a regular basis. Gas mowers also require regular maintenance to make sure the mower is winterized in the fall and ready to go in the spring.

Electric mowers are available as cordless (battery-operated units) and corded models. Both types of electric mowers are more eco-friendly than gas mowers, but they often don't have quite as much power. If you opt for a cordless option, you'll want to make sure the run time is long enough to make it through your yard on one charge, or you can also purchase spare battery packs to swap out when one runs out of charge.

Reel mowers, meanwhile, feature blades that spin vertically and cut the grass when you push it. They don't pollute the environment and don't require any batteries; their scissor-like cut is also healthier for the lawn. However, they do have trouble making it through long grass and require more effort by the user to keep them moving forward.

Property Size

As you're choosing the best push mower for you, be sure to check what size of yards the mower is recommended for. Typically, reel mowers and corded electric mowers are best for properties of 0.25 acres or less.

Cordless electric mowers work for small-to-medium yards—often up to 0.5 or 0.66 acres.

Gas mowers can work for any size of yard, although if your property is larger than 1 acre, you will likely want to opt for a riding mower rather than a walk-behind mower to get the job done faster. (You can certainly use a riding mower for yards of less than an acre if you prefer—many people do.)

Consider a commercial-duty zero-turn mower if your property is more than 2 acres.

Cutting Deck

As you consider different models, be sure to check the width of the cutting deck as this can vary by quite a bit from mower to mower. A 21-inch deck is standard, although many electric models feature smaller decks. Mowers with smaller decks can help you maneuver more easily in small spaces, while wider decks can help you mow large areas faster. Cutting decks can usually be set at different heights; be sure to consider how many height settings are available and how easy it is to change between them.

Push or Self-Propelled

A push mower requires you to push the full weight of the mower, while self-propelled models will move forward with very little effort on your part. "Users who have a hilly or uneven lawn or who want the mower to take on more of the work will prefer a self-propelled mower," Mikkelsen says. "Those who have a flat yard or don't mind pushing the weight of the unit can utilize a push mower with ease."

Noise Levels

Electric and reel mowers are quieter than gas models, allowing you to mow earlier in the morning without disturbing your neighbors.

Bagging and Mulching

The best push mowers provide a few different grass clipping options. Check to see whether a push mower model allows you to switch between collecting grass clippings in a rear bag and mulching and leaving them on the lawn for extra nutrients. Some models have a 3-in-1 system that offers bagging, mulching, and side discharge.

Your Questions, Answered

What is a self-propelled mower?

A self-propelled mower does some of the work for you. When a speed-control lever is engaged on these models (often operated by the handle), the mowers move forward by themselves so you just have to guide them around the yard rather than pushing them.

Should I buy a push mower or a riding mower?

When choosing the best mower for your property, selecting a mower type is a crucial first step. The larger your yard, the more likely you'll be happy with a riding mower. There's no set size of yard that's best for a riding mower (some people choose a riding mower for yards of only 0.25 acres), but generally riding mowers are a good bet if your yard is 1 acre or larger. You'll exert less effort on a riding mower than a walk-behind mower, especially a push mower model.

If you want more exercise and have a medium-size yard, you may want to stick with a push model. On the other hand, if you have a large yard and want to finish mowing as quickly as possible, a riding mower will likely be your best option. Riding mowers have much larger cutting decks, so you can mow large areas faster. However, they can be harder to maneuver into small spaces because of their large turning radius. (More expensive zero-turn riding mowers turn more easily, helping to solve this problem.) Also keep in mind that if you have a property with steep hills, the risk of a rollover in a riding lawn mower is higher.

How do you maintain a push mower?

Gas mowers require regular maintenance. You'll need to change the oil regularly, either every 50 hours or annually, depending on how much mowing you do. The air filter should be checked a few times during the mowing season and cleaned or replaced as needed. You'll also need to clean the mower's cutting deck a couple times a year, sharpen the blades regularly, and change the spark plug once a year. Before winter arrives, you'll want to empty the gas tank and drain and refill the oil tank per the manufacturer's instructions.

"The beauty of cordless mowers is that they require almost no maintenance," Mikkelsen says. You'll just need to keep an electric mower's cutting deck clean by periodically clearing off debris and ensuring the airway that is used to cool the motor is clear. It's also a good idea to replace the blades annually and regularly check batteries or cords for any sign of damage.

For reel mowers, you'll want to clear away debris regularly. You may need to lubricate some parts (check your owner's manual), and you'll periodically need to sharpen the blades.

Who We Are

Renee Freemon Mulvihill is a freelance writer who focuses on home and garden topics. To write this story on the best push mowers, she researched various products online, taking into account each mower's power source, features, cutting heights and width, price, and more. She also consulted Abigail Mikkelsen, associate product manager for Ryobi Outdoor Power Equipment, and Andrew Bray, vice president of government relations for the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

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