What Is The Best Type Of Lawn Mower
The two main classifications are walk-behind or riding mowers and the size and slope of your yard will be the main factors for choosing the right option. As a simple rule of thumb, you should get a walk-behind mower if you have less than ½ an acre or 10,000 square feet of grass space. Anything more and youll want to opt for a riding option.
Walk-behinds come in three basic types:
- Manual lawn mowers require you to do all the work without any assist from a motor or engine
- Push lawn mowers have an engine or motor to power the blades
- Self-propelled lawn mowers have an engine or motor powers the wheels and the blades.
Riding mowers are available in both manual and automatic transmissions as well as hydrostatic, which uses fluid instead of belts for power transfer.
- Zero turn tractors are essentially suped-up riding mowers and enable better handling and higher speeds than traditional tractors, as you control rotation with a pair of levers as opposed to a wheel .
For a more detailed breakdown of the types of mowers, check out Popular Mechanics‘ lawn mower buying guide.
Once you determine the type of mower or tractor youll want, there are a slew of other considerations you should be mindful of:
Types Of Self Propelled Mowers
Self-propelled mowers can save you both energy and time. Youll be able to cut through very thick grass without having to use extra effort since the mower is mechanically moved forward across areas with a slight upgrade and other challenging areas of your yard.
A single-speed model has been designed to accommodate a mid-range ground-speed that will satisfy most operators and most types of cutting conditions .
If you require a greater range of ground-speed , then you might want to opt for a variable speed mower.
Todays self-propelled mowers can be used for mulching, bagging, or collecting clippings in a side bag. The majority of the machines reviewed today offer all 3 functions and are termed 3-in-1 mowers .
Modern mowers also start easily with automatic-choke recovery systems on their engines that facilitate starting an engine cold a push of a button is all that is required.
What Is The Difference Between Mulching And Regular Lawn Mowers
There are two different types of mulching lawn mowers.
- Dedicated mulching mowers that specialize in mulching only and
- Multipurpose lawn mowers that can be used for different purposes, including mulching.
As I mentioned, dedicated mulching mowers do precisely that they mulch. Usually, they are a little limited to mulching and potentially side discharging.
However, the other type of mulching mowers is frequently referred to as 3-in-1 or 4-in-1 mowers.
They can be used not just for mulching but for bagging, side discharging, and leaf shredding. So right off the bat, you can see how more beneficial a multipurpose mower like this can be.
Lawn mowers that have been designed explicitly with mulching in mind usually have an underdeck carriage that looks a little different it is more smoothly designed, roomier, and with less sharp edges and places where grass clippings could potentially get stuck.
The underdeck is designed to promote better airflow, which pushes the grass clippings into the blade and retains them there for longer before they fall back to the ground.
The standard lawn mowers, on the other hand, may have an undercarriage that is not suitable for mulching. The deck may be designed to perform well when bagging the grass but fall short if you try to use it for mulching.
Lastly, mulching mowers are used with a special type of blade. The mulching blades are a little different compared to the regular blades. They can sometimes be referred to as 3-in-1 blades as well.
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Best Battery: Kobalt 80
Lithium batteries get better every year, and the Kobalt 80-Volt Max didn’t waste any time leveraging modern innovations. This brushless lawn mower, which will adapt to the amount of power needed for your lawn and grass, runs on a powerful 6.0 Ah battery and delivers 80 minutes of cutting time on a full charge.
An indicator tells you how much battery power you have left, and the included charger makes it easy to charge between mowing sessions. We also appreciate that this grass cutter has a rear-wheel drive, seven cutting heights, variable speed control, and sensors that automatically adjust the power and speed based on varying grass conditions.
For an all-around reliable mower with multiple customization options, the best option is the Ryobi 40-Volt Brushless Self-Propelled Lawn Mower. The lithium battery can cover half an acre of lawn on a full charge, and the bagging system makes for easy cleanup . But if you prefer gas-powered cutters, you can’t go wrong with the Honda 3-in-1 Variable Speed Lawn Mower, which has an impressive engine, automatic choke, and adaptable speed technology .
Two Function Vs Three Function
Mowers will either be two function, which bag or mulch, or three function, which allow you to bag, mulch or discharge . More expensive models will offer three functions, though some cheaper models may have the three-in-one function. Not everyone will need the choice for mulching and discharging, so don’t think a three-function mower is always better it depends on whether or not you need those functions.
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Commercial: Greenworks Commercial 25
There arent many true commercial mowers with lithium-ion power sources. The Greenworks Commercial 25-inch model gets the nod as the best battery-powered self-propelled lawn mower on the commercial side thanks to its runtime and 25-inch cutting swath.
With two active battery ports available, we were able to run just under 2 hours and cut more than an acre under a moderate load in St. Augustine grass.
Price: Starts at $649 without batteries or charger. Find a dealer near you.
Also Consider: Makita XML08
Makita entered the commercial scene in a big way with its XML08 self-propelled mower. It boasts a sturdy, well-built design and has impressive power considering its 36V power plant.
Price: $849 with 4 batteries and dual-port rapid charger
Best For Large Yards: Ego Power+ Select Cut Self
If you’re working with a large yard, you might consider the EGO Power+ Select Cut . This cordless walk-behind lawn mower runs on an advanced lithium fuel-gauge battery, offering over an hour of grass cutting on a full charge.
It’s even more powerful than gas mowers and is easy to control, thanks to the brand’s Touch Drive Technology. Additionally, it has an innovative cutting system with three interchangeable blades.
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Toro 21378 Recycler Lawn Mower: Best Gas Lawn Mower For Cutting Heights
Reasons to avoid
When it comes to a reliable cut and easy-to-handle operation, the Toro 21378 is one of the best mowers for the job. This affordable machine is packed with features too and includes a mulching system that finely shreds grass and puts it back onto your lawn to nourish it. If you wanted to bag the grass instead, then the Toro 21378 also has a quick-connect bagging system that allows you to easily switch from mulching.
The 150cc engine and 22-inch steel deck can take on yards of up to half an acre, with the adjustable handle and lightweight 11-inch rear wheels making it super-easy to control over most lawns. There is also flexibility for precision cutting, and this self-propelling lawn mower has nine positions that will trim between one to four inches.
Overall, when it comes to residential use this self-propelled gas mower is a no-brainer, and at 74lb the Toro 21378 Recycler Lawn Mower can be used by most people with relative ease.
What Is The Best Gas To Use In A Lawn Mower
Motor oil comes in different grades, from Single Grade Oil to Full Synthetic Oil. Just like any vehicle, your gas lawn mower needs the right kind of fuel to power its engine and ensure it works to its optimal best.
Generally speaking, 10W30 is the most common motor oil used for a wide range of lawn mowers available on the US market today. However before topping up the oil in your mower, check your owners manual as this will detail the exact grade of fuel required, in addition to the viscosity rating to use.
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Top 10 Best Mulching Mowers Reviews
The Craftsman M105 is a 3-in-1 mulching mower finished at the top of the class with a 21-inch cutting width, making it ideal for mowing small to mid-sized lawns with ease.
Bonus points: This all-around top performer is reasonably priced so it wont break the bank.
Here are the details: The Craftsman M105 has settings for mulching, bagging, or side discharging clippings and a 140 cc Briggs and Stratton engine. It also has dual-lever height adjustment with six different heights .
Includes 2 batteries 21-inch cutting width means more coverage with fewer passes 11-inch rear tires with zag tread make it easy to maneuver
19-inch cutting width is smaller than similarly priced mowers Some reviewers complain that battery run time diminishes over time
How To Use A Gas Lawn Mower
Using a gas lawn mower for the first time might feel like an intimidating task, but the top-rated models included in this guide will make it easy for you to integrate your new tool into your gardening routine. The first thing to do is get to grips with your owners manual, where youll find out that one of the most crucial steps is to top up your lawnmower correctly with gas and oil.
Once youve consulted your manual and topped up your mower, its essential that you rid the area of anything that you can see that can jam your mower and damage its parts. Youll also want to start out on flat ground, even if your mower will have to contend with a hilly backyard later in the mowing session.
The way of turning your mower on will depend on the exact model youve got, usually by pulling a cord or turning on an electric key start. Then youll be good to go to work on your backyard.
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Steel Vs Plastic Deck
The vast majority of gas mowers have steel decks while battery-powered models have a much higher percentage of plastic poly decks.
Those poly plastic decks are tougher than they look, but they probably wont hold up as well as steel in the long run. Its still highly unlikely that youll wear through one before its time to replace the mower.
However, theres a whole lot more design flexibility that comes with poly decks, and engineers can do some amazing things to help with airflow that directly affects cut quality along with bagging and mulching efficiency.
What We Think Of The American Lawn Mower 1204
American Lawn Mowers deluxe hand reel mower could not offer more to its users. It comes in a brilliant orange, is very lightweight, has the clearance width of a standard mower, is made of a durable material, and can stand on its own without leaning against anything. There is nothing else we could ask for in a hand powered mower.
The compactness of this mower allows you to store it essentially anywhere it can be stored easily in the garage, a shed, a corner of the yard, in the basement or a closet, and anywhere else you could possibly want to put it. It is very easy to move around at only 20 lbs, but it is still heavy enough to sit solidly on the ground for an even cut.
I am beyond happy with this little hand powered mower. I have a small lawn both in the front and back of my house and no exterior access to the backyard. This lightweight mower is perfect for me because I can carry it through the house easily and store it in my basement . It works really well and could not be simpler to use. Highly recommend.
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Best Overall: Ryobi 20 In 40
RYOBI is a favorite among homeowners for cordless yard equipment, so it should come as no surprise that the brand makes the best self-propelled lawn mower. Though it moves with the power of a gas mower, the 40-Volt Brushless model runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It comes with its own charger, too, which makes maintenance a breeze.
It powers up with the push of a button, and the high-capacity battery can cover up to a half acre of grass on a full charge. The built-in bag insures a clean lawn with no trimmings in sight, and it’s easy to empty, thanks to a lock-and-release design. This self-propelled mower also has seven different settings for grass height, and it folds down for effortless storage.
Lawn Size And Terrain
The size of the job-in-hand will have a major bearing on what mulching mower you should be looking at.
Anything under ¼ acre and all of the mowers on this list will be more than adequate , but for areas, larger areas will need to shop a little smarter.
You see, battery run time, cutting deck width, and self-propulsion drive all become important considerations the larger and more uneven your terrain gets.
A wide deck will allow you to cut more grass per pass, but this will mean a larger heavier mower. Thats where a self-propelled mower become invaluable, especially if you need to get up an incline. Whilst you following your mower up and down hills the last thing you need is for the battery to run out, leaving you to sit on the side-line waiting for a re-charge. So you need a high-capacity battery, maybe 10Ah. Or perhaps a gas mower is the order of the day, so you can refuel as you go.
I know but dont worry Ive got each eventuality covered. You just need to read through the next section and take care to think about what it is that will suit your lawn so that you can enjoy success at the end of the day. You dont want to spend hundreds of dollars to realize that your mower is not fit for purpose.
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Toro 20339 Recycler 22 Self Propelled Mower
Best Mulching/Bagging And Discharge Self Propelled Mower
The Toro 20339 comes with a 163cc overhead valve gasoline-powered Briggs and Stratton engine. It’s a front-wheel-drive self-propelled lawn mower with a 22-inch cutting width. The 11 inch back wheels ensure you have good traction even in tough terrain. Plus, it never requires an oil change. You just check the level and top up when needed. This is good for reducing your maintenance time.
Why We Liked It: This self-propelled lawn mower is easy to maneuver around tight spaces as the engine is focused on the front wheels. It includes a washout port to clean the underside of the mower deck easily. A good, clean deck improves cutting performance.
Cutting WidthPowerHeight Position
What Else We Considered
Honda HRX217VKA 21-Inch Nexite: Our previous top pick, this gas-powered Honda mower features a powerful 200cc engine, and its rear-wheel drive allows you to effortlessly maneuver inclines and hills. Its Versamow system also allows you to choose how much grass is mulched and how much is bagged, depending on your yards conditions. This mower is currently out of stock, but well continue to monitor its status and will most likely add it back to our list once its available again.
The Craftsman M215 121-Inch Mower: Both of our experts recommended Craftsman brand mowers for typical homeowners, and Wilson specifically cited this model as a great option. Its self-propelled, has a nice cutting width of 21 inches, and could be a good lower-cost alternative to the Honda model above. Although its 159cc engine and 21-inch cutting width are great, they were ultimately not able to stack up against our current top pick, the Toro Recycler 20339 SmartStow. If the Toro is unavailable, this mower costs about the same and could be a great alternative.
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Husqvarna 5521p Lawn Mower
If I wanted the best mulching lawn mower for the money, and I had a limited budget, the Husqvarna 5521P is probably one of the best candidates in this category.
The build quality is solid. It is a gas lawn mower that is capable of mulching, bagging, and side discharging, so nothing usual here.
So what is the quality of the mulch? The mower is powered by a Briggs & Stratton engine a well-known manufacturer of quality engines and it can provide exceptional power while at the same time remaining fuel-efficient and easy to maintain.
With that being said, this mower is geared more towards homeowners with small to medium yards.
Note: By the time I finished writing this article, the product listing has disappeared from Amazon, but Ill make sure to update it when I find it somewhere else.
Cutting Width / Size Of Lawn
The blade size will need to relate to the size of your lawn. The larger the lawn, the larger the blade will need to be, as it will cut more grass on a single pass. For large lawns the blade will need to be around 20 inches, for smaller lawns around 14 inches. Of course, larger mowers will be heavier to maneuver especially when the grass catcher bag is full.
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