The Best Lawn Mowers for Every Type of Yard

Our top pick is the Ryobi 40V HP Brushless Self-Propelled Lawn Mower.

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Mowing the lawn can be a frustrating challenge, but investing in a high-quality lawn mower can make a huge difference in reducing the effort spent on this chore. If you're not familiar with lawn equipment and don't know where to start on your search, have no fear—we heavily researched all different types of mowers in order to make our list, looking into factors like fuel type, recommended terrain, and cutting width. Additionally, we spoke to Michael Felices, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Master Mower,to get expert advice on what to look for when shopping for lawn mowers as well as how to properly use and maintain them.

A good mower will last at least "five or six years," says Felices, adding that it's important to check if your mower comes with dealer service and warranty support to help with maintenance needs. Our top pick is the Ryobi40V HP Brushless Self-Propelled Lawn Mower, which has customizable features and is surprisingly compact.

Keep reading for the rest of our picks for the best lawn mowers available to buy right now.

Our Top Picks

Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower: Ryobi 40V HP Brushless Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

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Who it's for: People who want a long-lasting and compact battery-powered mower that has customizable features.

Who it isn't for: People who need a mower that can cover huge swaths in little time.

If you want a lawn mower that requires minimal effort to operate, a self-propelled option is the way to go. This model from Ryobi easily cuts and maneuvers through grass with its rear wheel drive, preventing you from working up a sweat no matter how thick the grass is. It runs on an HP brushless motor that lasts for up to 70 minutes before needing the two included batteries charged, enough time to cut up to approximately 0.75 acres. When it is time for a charge, just place both batteries into the dual-active charging port, and they'll be ready to go again in no time at all.

The mower's green, black, and silver deck is lightweight yet durable and rust-resistant, with powerful LED headlights attached to help you see clearly as you work. To ensure your grass is cut just how you like it, you can adjust the cutting height to one of seven positions and choose between three functions (bagging, mulching, or side discharge) as needed. When you've finished up for the day, empty out the included grass catcher bag using the mower's easy-lift bag removal and fold the device up with its aluminum handles. Just pull the lever and place the mower into a vertical position, and then it'll be compact and perfect for storage.

Product Details:

  • Mower Type: Cordless
  • Fuel Type: Battery-powered
  • Mowing Width: 21 inches
  • Extra Features: Grass bag, charger, LED headlights

Best Electric Lawn Mower: Greenworks 21-Inch 13 Amp Corded Electric Lawn Mower

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Also available at Walmart.

Who it's for: People who want an inexpensive, reliable mower ideal for mid-size lawns.

Who it isn't for: People who don't want to have to plug their mower into an outlet or extension cord.

For those in the market for electric lawn mowers, look no further than this great option from Greenworks. To get it going, just plug it into either an extension cord or a wall outlet, depending on what you have available, and push the start button. The powerful 120-volt motor will immediately get to work, whether you want the mower to be focused on mulching, rear collection, or side discharge. Best of all, this mower has a pretty affordable price tag, so you don't have to break the bank in order to have a strong, dependable mower at your service.

This mower has a wide cutting path of 12 inches (ideal for mid-sized yards), with a sturdy, steel (yet still lightweight!) cutting deck that's durable enough to last for season after season. You can adjust the cutting height to one of five positions, and maneuver the mower around the grass easily thanks to its set of four wheels. Both a grass collection bag and a mulch plug are included, making cleanup as simple as it gets, and when you're done mowing for the afternoon, use the cam lock handle to fold it up and get it ready for storage. Speaking of locks, the mower also comes with a cord lock that prevents the cord from disconnecting while the mower's in use, giving you one less thing to worry about as you work.

Product Details:

  • Mower Type: Corded
  • Fuel Type: Electric
  • Mowing Width: 21 inches
  • Extra Features: Cord lock, grass bag

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Best Gas Lawn Mower: Honda 21-Inch Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower

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Who it's for: People who want a powerful mower with a variety of speeds and cutting modes.

Who it isn't for: People who want a mower that won't cost a pretty penny.

Yes, this Honda lawn mower is certainly pricier than most, but if you're able and willing to splurge a bit, it's definitely worth the cost. It's a durable and reliable self-propelled gas mower that's powered by a notably strong engine able to handle even the thickest, longest grass. To get it going, just pull on the starter cord (no tugging needed!) and it'll immediately rev right up.

Before mowing, choose from four cutting models (mulch, bag, rear discharge, and leaf shredding) to pick the one that's right for your lawn's specific needs. You can also choose from seven cutting height options (more than most mowers have) and use the device's real-drive self propel to get you from place to place without too much effort.

The mower also features the brand's strong yet lightweight NeXite steel deck, which is rust-resistant and doesn't easily dent, as well as Honda's Twin Blade MicroCut System that leads to particularly fine clippings and a greater number of clippings per grass bag (making clean-up easier). You can even change the mower's speed as needed just by rotating the speed adjust dial and pressing down on the lever. All in all, this is a mower that will save you valuable time and energy as you work on keeping your lawn looking neat and uniform.

Product Details:

  • Mower Type: Self-propelled
  • Fuel Type: Gas
  • Mowing Width: 21 inches
  • Extra Features: Grass bag, speed control

Best Battery-Powered Lawn Mower: Sun Joe 48-Volt iON+ Cordless Brushless Lawn Mower

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Also available at Walmart.

Who it's for: People who want a reliable and lightweight lawn mower.

Who it isn't for: People who don't want to have to charge up their mower each time.

If you don't mind dealing with batteries and chargers, a battery-powered lawn mower can be a great tool, such as this lightweight yet durable option from Sun Joe. The mower is powered by the brand's iON+ lithium-ion battery system, with two 24-volt batteries included in your purchase (along with a dual-port charger). It takes under two hours for both batteries to get charged up and ready to go, so you won't have to wait long to get things started each time you want to mow.

This mower has a powerful 800-watt motor and a sharp, long-lasting steel blade that's efficient enough to mow an even cut of grass 16-inches wide in one go. If you're not happy with the height of the cut grass, that's no problem, as you can adjust the cutting height to one of six positions with the mower's manual lever. Additionally, this model comes with a large 12-gallon grass collection bag (no clippings left all over your yard!) and has a built-in grass indicator window that will alert you when that bag needs to be emptied.

The mower's wheels make it easy to navigate all over the yard as needed, and since the entire machine weighs less than 36 pounds, you can transport it without any hassle as well. Plus, it comes in a cool green hue, so you'll be cutting your grass in serious style.

Product Details:

  • Mower Type: Cordless
  • Fuel Type: Battery-powered
  • Mowing Width: 16 inches
  • Extra Features: Grass bag, charger

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Best Reel Lawn Mower: American Lawn Mower Company 14-Inch 4-Blade Manual Push Reel Lawn Mower

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Also available at Home Depot, Walmart, and Lowe's.

Who it's for: People who want a simple, long-lasting, and eco-friendly lawn mower.

Who it isn't for: People who don't want to work up a sweat as they mow.

For an easy-to-use and eco-friendly lawn mower that doesn't require fuel or emit fumes, consider a reel option, such as this highly popular model from the American Lawn Mower Company. A push mower with a four-blade ball bearing reel, it will require a bit of effort to tackle your whole lawn, but there are plenty of benefits to make up for that. For one thing, because the mower doesn't use gas or oil, maintenance and repairs over time will be minimal—you'll only need to sharpen the blades every three or four years, depending on how often you use it. Clean-up will be super simple, too, as an added bonus.

The orange and black mower features heat-treated alloy steel blades that are durable and strong, able to last for year after year. The blades cut the grass in a scissor-like motion (which avoids shredding the grass) and the cutting height can be adjusted between several positions to ensure the grass is mowed at your preferred height. The mower has a 14-inch cutting width (good for small to medium yards), and it comes with a set of sturdy polymer wheels that let you easily maneuver it around the yard and transport it as needed. Plus, it's a fairly lightweight device, so moving it around and storing it after mowing sessions won't be a hassle.

Product Details:

  • Mower Type: Manual
  • Fuel Type: None
  • Mowing Width: 14 inches
  • Extra Features: None

Final Verdict

If you're looking for an easy-to-use battery-powered mower, you can't go wrong with the Ryobi40V HP Brushless Self-Propelled Lawn Mower. Not only does it have a variety of customizable features, but it can be folded up into a compact size, making it easy to store. If you prefer a gas mower, we recommend the Honda 21-Inch Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower, which stands out for its power and durability.

How to Shop for Lawn Mowers Like a Pro

Mower Type

There are over a dozen different types of mowers that exist, but some of the most popular options are push mowers (where you manually lead the mower across the grass), self-propelled mowers (where the transmission propels the mower forward), electric mowers (where a cable provides the mower's power), gas mowers (where the engines run on oil), and battery-powered mowers (where a lithium-ion battery powers the mower). There's no one "best" option—which type you choose should come down to factors including the size of your yard, the effort you want to put into mowing, and the value you put on convenience or sustainability.

Fuel Type

For gas-powered mowers, you'll likely need to use regular, unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87 or higher, and a 10 percent or less ethanol content. You can pick this up at most gas stations.

Yard Size

If you have a medium or large lawn, you'll likely want to pick up a gas mower, since they last longer than electric and battery-powered mowers and cover more space. Consider the cutting width of the mower too, as that can be key to determining how big a space it can cover in 45 minutes or an hour's time.

Features

Some mowers come with extra features that can pose real benefits, such as chargers (for battery-operated mowers), grass bags (for picking up shards as you mow), or cord locks (to prevent the cord from disconnecting while you use the mower). Think about the specific needs of your yard to determine which features are best suited to you.

Questions You Might Ask

Are gas or electric lawn mowers better?

It depends on the size of your yard, says Felices. If you have a medium to large lawn, a gas mower might make more sense, as it won't run on a battery that could run out before you're finished with the job. Gas mowers also tend to be more durable and, often, less expensive. Electric mowers, however, are quieter, more eco-friendly, and convenient since you just have to pop in the battery.

When is the best time of day to mow the lawn?

Felices recommends mowing your lawn in the evening, as that's when the temperature "is cooler and the yard has no dew." Early morning, on the other hand, "would be the worst option, as cutting wet grass causes clumps and makes it susceptible to diseases."

What kind of maintenance does a lawn mower need?

Depending on how old they are and how frequently you use them, gas mowers may require you to occasionally service the engine, sharpen the blade, and fix up the belt, says Felices. Electric mowers, on the other hand, "are great in that they need nothing except sharpening the blade," he notes.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Rachel Simon, a writer for Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, The New York Times, and many other publications. She frequently covers home and outdoor products and did significant research on lawn mowers for this story, including speaking to Michael Felices, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Master Mower.

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