Best Lawn Mowers of 2018
A good lawn mower can help make your landscape the best on the block. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best lawn mower for your yard's needs.
Enjoy the Best Lawn Year Round: How to Find the Perfect Lawn Mower
We all enjoy sitting out on the lawn, playing with our kids or pets, or grilling in the backyard on a hot summer's day. But to reap these rewards, we have to tackle that one annoying task—mowing the lawn.
The good news is cutting your grass won't feel like a chore with the right lawn mower. How do you find that perfect lawn mower? BestReviews is here to help!
At BestReviews, we talk with product experts, consult existing customers, and analyze data. We never accept free samples from manufacturers. The result of our diligent product research: fair, unbiased reviews that you can trust.
The shopping guide below contains all the information you need to find a lawn mower that suits your requirements. When you're ready to buy a new lawn mower, please scroll up to see our top three lawn mower picks.
Lawn Mower Types
Learn more about the main lawn mower types to discover which is right for you.
Cylinder Lawn Mowers
Cylinder lawn mowers sport several blades at the front of the unit. The blades rotate vertically against a fixed bottom blade, almost like scissors.
Cylinder Lawn Mower Pros:
- Cylinder lawn mowers achieve a close crop for a short, neat-looking lawn.
- You can find electric, gas, battery-powered, and even manual cylinder lawn mowers.
- Manual cylinder models tend to be among the cheapest lawn mowers available.
Cylinder Lawn Mower Cons:
- You'll need to mow regularly with a cylinder lawn mower, as this type doesn't cope with tall grass very well.
- Cylinder mowers work well on flat lawns, but they don't do a good job on uneven terrain.
Other Types of Lawn Mowers
Rotary Lawn Mowers
Rotary mowers have blades that rotate horizontally, like plane propellers, at a fixed cutting height. This is currently the most popular type of lawn mower in use.
Rotary Lawn Mower Pros:
- Rotary lawn mowers are versatile machines that can cope with different lawn types, including those with rough, bumpy areas.
- Unless you prefer a short lawn, you don't need to mow as often with a rotary lawn mower as you would with a cylinder lawn mower. Rotary lawn mowers can easily handle longer grass.
- Rotary mowers work well on uneven lawns, slopes, and rough ground.
Rotary Lawn Mower Cons:
- It's difficult to achieve a finish with a rotary lawn mower that's as neat as the finish produced by a cylinder lawn mower.
- Some rotary lawn mowers are heavy and difficult to maneuver.
Hover Lawn Mowers
Hover lawn mowers employ the same cutting mechanism as rotary lawn mowers, but instead of rolling on wheels, they hover over the lawn on a cushion of air.
Hover Lawn Mower Pros:
- Hover lawn mowers are extremely lightweight and easy to maneuver.
- These mowers work exceptionally well on uneven surfaces.
Hover Lawn Mower Cons:
- Hover lawn mowers don't tackle wet or long grass very well.
- This type of mower doesn't provide a particularly even finish.
Riding Lawn Mowers
Riding lawn mowers are perfect if you have acres of lawn to tackle, but for your average residential lot, they're overkill. We won't focus on them in this guide.
Lawn Mower Power Options: Electric Lawn Mowers
How will you power your lawn mower? Some run on electricity or battery power; others run on gas. Still, others depend on the user to supply all power manually.
The option best for you depends on the size of your lawn and your personal preference.
Electric Lawn Mowers
● Electric lawn mowers have an electrical cord that plugs into an outlet.
● They tend to be compact and therefore easier to store.
● Electric lawn mowers are almost always cheaper than other types of lawn mowers.
● Because you can only mow as far as your extension cord allows, electric lawn mowers are best for small yards.
Battery-Powered Lawn Mowers
● Battery-powered lawn mowers run on lithium-ion batteries.
● In the past, these weren't the best choice. But as their performance improves, battery-operated lawn mowers grow in popularity.
● Many battery-powered lawn mowers can run for over an hour on a single charge. Once the juice runs out, however, you must wait for the battery to recharge.
● Since battery-powered lawn mowers are cordless, you're not tethered to the nearest outlet when you cut your grass.
● Unlike gas lawn mowers, there's no messy refueling or the need to store gasoline.
Gas and Manual Lawn Mowers
Gas Lawn Mowers
● Gas lawn mowers are fueled by gasoline.
● They're cordless and powerful, so they're suitable for cutting large areas of grass.
● Compared to battery-powered mowers of similar quality, gas mowers are usually more affordable.
● If you run out of gas, you can refuel your mower right away and begin work again—no waiting for a battery to recharge.
● Refueling a gas-fed lawn mower can be inconvenient, and not everyone likes to store gasoline at home.
● Since these mowers are powered by gas engines, they need servicing and oil maintenance, just as cars do.
Manual Lawn Mowers
● Manual lawn mowers contain no engine or motor whatsoever. As you push the unit, the blades rotate and cut the grass.
● They're totally cordless, and they require no refueling or recharging.
● Pushing a manual mower is quite a workout. We recommend this type of mower only to people with compact lawns.
● If you want to purchase a manual lawn mower, first make sure you have the physical stamina to endure this type of exercise.
Features to Look for in a Lawn Mower
Once you've decided which type of lawn mower and power option you prefer, you have a few more features to consider.
Some lawn mowers are self-propelled; once you set them in motion, they move on their own. All you have to do is steer. This is an excellent option if you have a large yard. Notably, self-propelled lawn mowers tend to cost more than those without this feature.
A grass box attaches to the back of the lawn mower and collects grass clippings as you mow. If you have a large lawn, we recommend a lawn mower with a large grass box. Otherwise, you'll have to stop often to empty it.
Some lawn mowers don't have a grass box at all. In this case, you must rake your lawn to collect the clippings after mowing—an inconvenience most people could do without.
Cutting width refers to the width of the path a lawn mower cuts with each pass.
● For a small lawn, choose a lawn mower with a cutting path of 12 to 15 inches.
● For a mid-size lawn, choose a lawn mower with a cutting path of 16 to 19 inches.
● For a large lawn, choose a lawn mower with a cutting path of 20 inches or more.
Do you have an uneven lawn with lots of slopes and bumps? Opt for a self-propelled lawn mower with all-wheel drive. Just like an all-wheel drive vehicle, all four wheels on these mowers are turned by the engine, moving it over the toughest terrain.
Lawn Mower Prices
You can find lawn mowers to suit a range of budgets. Price varies depending on the type of lawn mower you choose, how it's powered, how large it is, and the types of extra features it may have.
● You can find basic lawn mowers—including manual cylinder lawn mowers and corded electric mowers—for a price of $50 to $150. Manual mowers and those with smaller cutting widths tend toward the cheaper end of this price range.
● A mid-range lawn mower should cost you $150 to $250. This includes smaller and more basic battery-powered models and some decent gas mowers.
● If you want a high-end lawn mower, expect to pay between $250 and $500. Some of our favorites cost around the $400 mark.
Lawn Mower FAQ
Q. Do I need a self-propelled lawn mower?
A. If you have a large lawn, we highly recommend opting for a self-propelled mower. It'll finish the job quicker, and it won't tire you out as much.
Q. Can I adjust the height to which my lawn mower cuts grass?
A. Most rotary lawn mowers allow you to set the cutting height, so you can decide how long or short you'd like your grass to be. Different models have different cutting ranges, however, so check the manufacturer's specifications.
Q. How can I get neat edges on my lawn?
A. If you want a lawn mower that cuts right up to the edges of your lawn, leaving flower beds looking nice and neat, a cylinder mower or a model with a rear roller would do the best job.