Buying Guide: Lawn Mowers
The days of spending time in our yards is upon us!
This also means that the days of spending time doing yard work are upon us. Follow our guide to get the best lawn mower for your yard, budget, and time!
Here’s a quick checklist of things to consider before moving on:
Terrain – What does your landscaping call for? What’s the size of your yard, are there obstacles, and does it have a slope you’ll have to contend with?
Pull Cord or Electric Start – Do you want that classic pull cord on a gas mower or do you want the ease of the modern push button of an electric mower?
Storage – How much space do you have to store your mower? Do you need a collapsible or foldable handle? Most electric, and even a few gas models, can be stored on the wall of your garage.
Push or Riding
How much yard do you have?
It’s recommended that if you have more than ½ an acre of land to purchase a riding mower for your time and sanity.
Of course, if you have less than ½ an acre and still want a riding mower, that’s up to you. Though you do risk appearing like the kooky neighbor if you ride it out of your garage to mow just the road verge (that little strip of grass between the road and the sidewalk). Who are we to stand in your way, though? If your budget allows it, you do you.
For purposes of this article, however, we are going to assume you’re living residentially and have less than ½ an acre to mow.
Manual, Push, or Self-Propelled
Looking to make your yardwork your exercise? Manual might just be for you!
Working with only the energy you provide, this mower is quiet, requires no gas or electricity, and is eco-conscious.
Manual mowers are best if your yard is small, square, and simple since it cuts swaths of only about 14 to 18 inches across and can’t get close to items in your yard to trim properly. They also don’t collect the clippings, so if you plan to rake, it’s easier if you don’t have a lot of yard to clean up after.
These can range from around $80 to just over $100.
You push this mower, but the blades are powered by either motor or engine. It cuts a swath of about 21 to 22 inches and can take on more difficult yards with weeds and longer, thicker grass. Self-propelled mowers usually come with a rear-bag, or can mulch or side-discharge the clippings.
There are two options: gas or electric.
- Gas – these can run longer, but they are loud, produce emissions, and tend to have more general upkeep with gas, oil changes, and regular tune-ups.
- These can range from about $200 to around $350
- Electric – these are quieter and greener with no emissions, but they tend to run for shorter time (around enough time to cut a 1/3 of an acre). While more expensive initially, these do end up seeing savings in the long run, as they have less upkeep without the gas, oil, and tune-ups that a gas push mower requires.
- These tend to run a little pricier up front with prices from around $250 to upwards of $500, though you can get a corded electric mower from around $100.
If your yard is larger, more sloped or uneven, or has obstacles like trees and flower beds, the self-propelled mower might be the right choice for you. It cuts swaths of about 21 to 22 inches across and, just like the push mower, it can take on more difficult yards with weeds and longer, thicker grass. Self-propelled mowers usually can bag, mulch, or side-discharge the clippings.
There are three types of self-propelled lawn mowers each with their own merits and faults.
- Front-wheel drive – best for level terrain because, as the name suggests, the drive wheels are in front allowing for easier turning on flat surfaces.
- Rear-wheel drive – better for hilly terrain as the traction is centered on the mower.
- All-wheel drive – good for combination yards because all four wheels have power. You benefit from this on all terrain.
These come in gas or electric which also come with their own pros and cons.
- Gas – longer use time usually, but are loud, require tune-ups and oil changes, and produce emissions.
- Electric – quieter and have less upkeep, but they tend to have less operating time, unless you have more than one battery.
The price on a self-propelled mower hovers somewhere around $280 and $400, but some can be as expensive as over $2000.
Now go get the best lawn mower for you and your yard!