Along with a sturdy ladder and full toolkit, the lawn mower is the most important piece of equipment in the garage or shed. A high-quality lawn mower cuts grass quickly and easily, making summer less of a chore. Push lawn mowers, also known as walk-behind mowers, are designed for yards smaller than one-half acre. Using a push mower is the classic image of suburban outdoor power equipment. The best push mowers are efficient, comfortable, and dependable, but with so many lawn maintenance options on the market you may wonder which one is best for your yard. And that’s where we step in. Battery-powered electric mowers, corded electric mowers, gas-powered mowers, self-propelled push mowers—we’ll help you understand the pros and cons of each type of tool and find the best push lawn mower for the job.
- Best corded electric push mower: Greenworks 25142 10A 16-inch Corded Mower
- Best cordless electric mower: WORX WG779 40V 4.0Ah 14-inch Lawn Mower
- Best gas-powered push mower: Craftsman M105 21-inch Gas-powered Push Lawn Mower
- Best gas-powered self-propelled mower: PowerSmart 21-inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
- Best push-reel mower: American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 Push-Reel Lawn Mower
How to shop for the best push mower
The best push mower will make yard work a breeze. Manual push mowers and self-propelled push mowers are the most efficient ways to cut a lawn smaller than one-half acres (yards larger than one-half acres will benefit most from a riding mower). You may find a wide variety of options at the home store, so it’s important to know the basics of push mowers before you buy.
Electric mowers can be battery-operated or corded. They are Earth-friendly, lightweight, and easy to maintain. Gas lawn mowers are sturdier, last longer, have more cutting time, and the blades chomp through tough, tall grass. Self-propelled push mowers are great for inclines and larger areas, and take the strain out of pushing a 100-pound machine around the yard on a hot day.
Yard size can help narrow down the options for lawn care equipment. Self-propelled push mowers are a godsend for yards between one-fourth acre and one-half acre. Lawns smaller than one-fourth acre may only need a less-expensive electric push mower. And if you want to use nothing but hard work and the sweat of your brow, a reel mower ditches the engines and batteries for a simple spiral of blades that is 100-percent powered by your own two hands (a cost-effective solution for homes with only a small patch of grass, or folks looking for a workout).
Look at your yard and explore the options below to find the best push mower that works for you and your lawn’s needs.
The benefits of a corded electric lawn mower
It may seem counterintuitive that something designed to cut the ground is also equipped with a cord that stretches across the ground, but a corded electric mower can be one of the best push mowers for your yard. The big difference between a corded and cordless electric mower, besides the cord, is power. You’ll get more power from a corded model. While not as beefy as a gas-powered engine, the corded electric lawn mower can easily cut most suburban yards. And it’s always ready to work. Battery-powered mowers must be charged and even on a full charge may die in less than an hour of work. If you don’t want to schedule yard maintenance down to the minute, a corded electric mower is your ready, steady tool. But you will need a convenient electrical outlet.
The lack of a battery makes a corded lawn mower lighter, which can be a huge plus. Those using a corded mower must pay attention to the path ahead, and always keep the cord safely draped over the shoulder and behind the back. A heavy-duty, high-quality extension cord will give you more range of movement. Check your yard to be sure the distance between the outlet and the property line is within the cord’s limit.
Corded mowers need very little maintenance. They can be stored in a shed all winter and start instantly on the first day of spring. And one of the biggest benefits of an electric mower is the small carbon footprint: there are no gas fumes and exhaust. And electric mowers are quiet. Corded electric mowers have been around for decades, but they just might be the future of eco-friendly gas cutting.
Best corded electric push mower: Greenworks 25142 10A 16-inch Corded Mower
Light And Limber
The best corded electric lawn mower cuts, mulches, and bags with ease. Greenworks
The Greenworks Corded Mower tops the list as one of the best push lawn mowers because it’s lightweight, yet strong enough to handle overgrown lawns. Clippings can be bagged or mulched and spread back to the lawn. The 16-inch cutting deck is wide enough for suburban mowing and it can get into tough-to-reach corners. The handling of the 48-pound mower feels smooth and it can easily be pushed up small hills. It starts instantly and there is practically no maintenance required. The corded Greenworks lawn mower is ideal for small yards with access to electrical outlets. Add a 150-foot extension cord and take the electric mower wherever the evil grass is hiding.
Go anywhere and go green with a cordless electric mower
The pros of a cordless electric mower are clear: all the benefits of a corded electric mower without being tethered to the house. Today’s cordless mowers have long-lasting batteries that give users a good 40 minutes of cutting time. The lightweight construction is perfect for pushing through the yard and is easier to maneuver than heavy gas lawn mowers, as a cordless mower may weigh only 30 pounds while a gas lawn mower can weigh over 90 pounds (and you’ll begin to feel every one of the added pounds after an hour of use).
And you’re not the only thing that may be bruised after using a gas lawn mower; in a single grass-cutting season, one gas-powered mower can produce the same pollution as 43 cars. Add in the cost of gas and using an electric mower is the obvious planet-conscious choice. For a single mowing season, the cost of electricity needed to cut one-half acre is about $1.60. You can cut your yard all year for half the price of a single gallon of gas.
Of course, you are giving up some cutting torque when you cut the cord, so if chopping power is important, go with a corded electric model or gas-powered beast. That said, you should have plenty of battery brawn to eat through a standard lawn once a week with a cordless mower. Any yard smaller than one-fourth acre is perfect for a cordless mower.
Buying an extra battery or two helps eliminate long breaks for charging. Read the product instructions to determine safe and proper charging time, but four to five hours to get a full charge is common. And keep the mower away from wet grass. Wet grass is tough to cut with a cordless mower, and water and electricity aren’t good friends.
Best cordless electric mower: WORX WG779 40V 4.0Ah 14-inch Lawn Mower
Lightweight Material, Hefty Cutting
A great cordless lawn mower with extra power when needed. WORX
The WORX WG779 is the best cordless lawn mower thanks to its ultra-light frame and added torque. The INTELLICUT technology gives you an extra boost of power to cut through tall grass with the turn of a knob. While using the extra torque will eat up battery life, it does come in handy for patches of taller grass. When operating on eco-mode, you get about 45 minutes of cutting time. Buying additional WORX 40V batteries is recommended for yards nearing one-fourth acre. The WORX lawn mower comes ready to mulch, but you can easily add the bag attachment if needed. At only 29 pounds, it’s one of the lightest cordless mowers and one of the best.
Get the cutting power you need in a gas-powered push mower
With their strong cutting power and durability, gas-powered push mowers are one of the most popular types of push mowers. They can go anywhere you push it and make short work out of tall grass. They can also handle damp grass, eliminating all the time you waste waiting for the lawn to dry after a summer storm.
Gas push mowers have more options when it comes to grass clippings. Mulching chops and re-chops the grass until it’s fine confetti, which can return nutrients back to the ground. Side discharge will shoot the grass out on the site from the cutting deck—not a bad option if you don’t mind raking the remains. Bagging systems keep all the clippings in one place and, for small yards, you won’t need to stop every 10 minutes to empty the bag. The mulching mechanisms are the easiest way to handle the clippings, but everyone has their own preference. And even powerful gas mulching mowers can’t chew up everything, so if the grass is too tall or you have thick weeds, the mower will struggle to mulch the material.
Gas push mowers are hearty machines, but they do need love and care. Regular maintenance is a must. And even modern starting systems won’t fire on the first try all the time. Knowing a bit about engines, sparkplugs, oil changing, priming, etc., can help. When shopping for a gas push mower, check the weight. Gas engines are heavier than electric mowers, so you want to be certain it will feel good to push around a yard. Hills and inclines can be tough for gas push mowers unless you go for a self-propelled model…which can be much more expensive (but we’ll touch on that in a bit).
If you don’t mind pushing and are comfortable caring for gas engines, a gas-powered push mower will be perfect for any yard smaller than one-half acre.
Best gas-powered push mower: Craftsman M105 140cc 21-inch Gas-powered Push Lawn Mower
Heavy-Duty Frame, Powerful Handling
Show the lawn who’s boss with the mighty Craftsman push mower. Walmart
Take care of tough grass when armed with the Craftsman gas-powered push mower. Craftsman lawn mowers all have solid construction, but the M105 is lightweight making it perfect for mowing big areas. The 3-in-1 feature means it bags, mulches, or drops the grass from the rear depending on your preference. The 140cc Briggs and Stratton engine is relatively easy to maintain and starts quickly. While not great on hills, the Craftsman push mower is easy to push through most yards. This is a great mower for new homeowners who need a basic gas-powered mower to maintain the lawn.
Go and mow with the best self-propelled lawn mowers
A self-propelled gas mower is a link between push mowers and riding mowers. These mowers are great for any lawn smaller than one-half acre. If you don’t have room (or budget) for a riding mower, but still want to cut the grass in comfort, a self-propelled gas mower is an efficient answer.
With varying speeds and brakes, self-propelled mowers will be more complicated to operate. Self-propelled mowers can have four-wheel drive, but it’s not always ideal. With a four-wheel-drive system, it’s impossible to easily drag the lawn mower back and around turns. Front-wheel drive is the way to go—if you need to stop or turn, simply rock the mower back, lift the front wheels up, and push the mower into place. Rear-wheel drive is good, however, if you have a lot of hills to climb.
A blade brake will stop the blades from spinning without stopping the engine. This is perfect if you need to stop for a few seconds to talk to someone or safely move something, but you don’t want to restart the engine. And if you do need to start and restart the engine, a push-button starter prevents hours and hours of tugging on pull cords.
Because it’s packed with more parts and gears and levers, a self-propelled mower needs regular maintenance and there is always the potential for something to malfunction (electric mowers, for instance, are much easier to maintain). But self-propelled mowers have enough power to mow up and along hills, something other push mowers struggle to do. They also make long days of lawn mowing less strenuous. Self-propelled mowers, while more expensive and complex, are a must-have garden tool for anyone with a medium-sized yard.
Best gas-powered self-propelled mower: PowerSmart 170cc Gas-powered Self-propelled Lawn Mower
Quick Starting, Long Lasting
With a PowerSmart self-propelled walk-behind mower, nothing can stop you. PowerSmart
This self-propelled mower has everything you need: horsepower, usability, and all the clipping options. The 21-inch cutting deck cuts through big areas quickly. The 170cc engine goes up inclines better than expected. And the five different cutting heights give you options for just the right look. Maintenance is straightforward, even for a self-propelled mower. The large, eight-inch rear wheel creates a smooth mowing path and gives you solid control of the mower. The PowerSmart lawn mower is a fantastic self-propelled machine ready to clean up any yard.
What kind of mower can you get for less than $100?
Low-cost lawn cutters are simple machines and they may be the best push mower for small yards. While corded electoral mowers are rather inexpensive, the cheapest of the cheap are classic push-reel lawn mowers. Reel mowers don’t have any engine or batteries: It’s a simple tool made of four or five blades attached to a spinning axle, as basic a lawn mower as you can get outside of garden shears.
By choosing an inexpensive lawn mower, you are giving up a lot of cutting power. The reel mower only works as hard as you can push. But for small yards, like those of townhomes or in heavily populated areas, all you need is a quick way to mow a few square feet of greenery. Don’t waste money on push mowers with too much power. And using a self-propelled mower on cute and cozy yards is more hassle than it’s worth.
Modern reel mowers are surprisingly smooth and easy to push. You will need to give the lawn a few passes with these sharp instruments, but consider it a free workout. You can find reel mowers with T-handles (like a bike) or loop handles (like traditional mowers) and both are comfortable. Cutting widths will vary between 14 inches and 18 inches and the mowers usually weigh about 20 pounds. Some models will come with grass catchers attached to the back, but using them can sometimes be a pain and you’re better off letting the grass spread out on the ground.
Speaking of hassle, you will need to sharpen the blades regularly, but it’s not too difficult once you get the hang of it. The reel mower can be quickly broken down into its basic parts for repairs. You may also need to oil the gears to get smooth rotation on the blades. Compared to maintenance needed for other push mowers, this is easy to care for. The biggest problem with low-cost reel mowers is trying to use it on a yard overdue for a trim. These mowers work best if you cut the grass at least every week. Keep the lawn short and neat and you should have no trouble pushing the reel mower.
Best push-reel mower: American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 Push-reel Lawn Mower
Solid Construction, Super Price
A sharp push mower is easy on the back, the palms, and the budget. American Lawn Mower Company
When all you need is a tool for cutting small lawns, the American Lawn Mower Company’s 14-inch four-blade push-reel mower is the best push lawn mower for the money. It’s a solid, well-built garden tool that stays sharp and is easy to store. You can set the four blades to cut the grass down to between 0.5 inches and 1.75 inches. The wheels get good traction and you can take turns and cut along curved edges. A few passes with its scissor action blades can cut the backyard of a townhome in minutes. For the budget but still best push-reel mower, the American Lawn Company is a bargain.
Best push mower FAQ: people also ask
How long do push mowers last?
A push mower can last 10 years or longer. The key is maintenance. If you neglect the mower, it may only last five years or less. Regular maintenance includes blade sharpening, changing the oil and air filter, cleaning the cutting deck, checking the starter, and anything else recommended in the manual. Do not ignore the recommended routine care. Cordless electric mowers will be easier to maintain, but you will need to buy replacement batteries about every four years to get the most life out of the mower.
How hard is it to push a mower?
Pushing a lawn mower isn’t too tough, once you get used to it. While it won’t be as smooth and weightless as rollerskates on a basketball court, modern push mowers are designed for easy moving. Some mowers will advertise large rear wheels for easy moving over rugged terrain, but bigger rear wheels push the engine forward, making it more difficult to tilt and turn.
What is the most reliable brand of push mower?
There are several great brands producing reliable push mowers. Honda, Troy-Bilt, Craftsman, and Husqvarna push mowers all offer excellent quality. Check the specifications to make sure the mower can do what you need it to. And know that not all brands make all types of mowers. For instance, gas-powered Honda push mowers have been on the market for a long time, but the company has only recently entered the electric mower market. Choose a brand known for great mechanical products. They will last a long time and the parts needed for repairs and maintenance will be readily available.
Related: Leaves falling all over your lawn? Your good spirits won’t follow them with the best leaf vacuum.
The final word on choosing the best push mower
The grass won’t cut itself, so add one of the best outdoor power tools to your shed or garage. Electric and gas-powered push mowers offer a variety of features and benefits for cutting the yard just the way you like. For big yards, go big with high-powered self-propelled mowers. For lawns smaller than one-fourth acre, you can get by with an electric push mower. And for the smallest lawns, never underestimate the economic power of a push-reel mower. Take a long hard look at your yard and then take a long hard look at your push mower options. The best tool for lawn care is out there and it will save your entire summer.