Push lawn mowers can be a good option if you are looking for a relatively affordable alternative to other types of lawn mowers. They require more physical labor to function, but they’re an effective lawn tool to keep on hand if you need to maintain a small to medium lawn and hope to get some calorie-burning exercise while you’re at it. Depending on the type of push mower you choose, they can also be lighter and easier to maintain than other popular mower types, including self-propelled mowers and riding mowers.
Aqsa Tabassam, gardener and landscaper at Garden signpost with over 10 years of experience told us in our Lawn Mower Guide that while push lawn mowers are generally not loud, they are also less powerful than some of the other types of mowers and will not be as efficient to cut longer blades of grass. According to Bryan McKenzie, co-founder of the Exceptional harvest timesit is probably easier for a landscaping expert to mow first and then you can maintain the length yourself with a push mower.
We chatted with experts about the pros and cons of a push lawn mower and how to buy them, and got their recommendations for the best push lawn mowers to buy.
5 best push lawn mowers in 2021
Since we don’t test lawn mowers ourselves, we rely on expert advice and our previous reports on how to buy them. For push mowers, experts recommend looking for a cutting width proportional to the size of your lawn and the method of expelling the grass from the machine. Experts we spoke to recommended each of the top-rated push mowers below.
Best Corded Electric Lawn Mower: BLACK + DECKER
This battery powered push mower can also be used as an edger and edger (allowing you to cut grass right at the edge of your lawn), so you can do multiple jobs back to back as long as you have access to a source power supply or have an extension cord. The 12-inch string trimmer attaches to the mower deck to form a compact mower that you can push around your yard. “A big advantage of this construction is that you can also use it for a perfect edging and cut in hard-to-reach areas of the yard,” McKenzie said. This mower has an average rating of 4.2 stars on over 3,000 Amazon reviews.
Best cordless electric lawn mower: Greenworks
Tabassam previously told us that this cordless push mower is best for medium to large lawns due to its 20 inch cutting width and provides plenty of power for leaf picking. It offers up to 45 minutes of runtime and comes with two fully charged lithium-ion batteries. It has a rear bag for collecting grass clippings, but you can also use a side discharge or mulching method to collect and expel the grass. You can also buy a self-propelled version of this mower if you prefer.
Best gas powered push lawn mower: Craftsman
This gas powered push mower has an average rating of 4.4 stars out of over 1,500 reviews on Amazon. This model comes with side discharge, rear discharge and mulching capabilities, and you can choose from six different height settings for added comfort and stability. Tabassam said she liked the mower’s “durable wheels” and its large 21-inch mower deck that makes cutting grass more efficient with every pass.
Best cylinder lawn mower: Great States
This basic yet sturdy reel mower has an average rating of 4.4 stars from over 1,500 reviews on Amazon. McKenzie recommended this mower for small, flat lawns, noting that it “can last for decades if you take good care of the blades.” It has a 16 inch cutting width, universal height handle, and adjustable cutting height from half an inch to 2.5 inches. The device is relatively light at just over 2 pounds, so you can comfortably push it around your yard and store it hassle-free.
Best budget lawn mower: Sun Joe
Another popular corded electric option, this Sun Joe push mower has an average rating of 4.4 stars from over 2,000 Walmart reviewers. Ronnie Collins, gardener blogger for Electro garden tools, said he recommends this tool for small garden owners “who want to keep it cheap [and] calm and don’t worry about cord management. This budget option is under $ 100 and gives you a decent 12 amp motor, collapsible design, 14 inch cutting width, and a bag for clippings. It weighs 29 pounds, making it one of the lightest options on this list for extra comfort when pushing it around your yard.
What types of push lawn mowers are available?
Depending on the type of terrain you have and the amount of effort you want to put into mowing your lawn, there are two main types of push lawn mowers to choose from: reel mowers and motorized mowers.
Some people prefer push mowers for a more active lifestyle, but others want or need to limit the load with a self-propelled mower
Ronnie Collins, Gardening Blogger for Electro Garden Tools
A cylinder mower, or manual lawn mower, has a set of sharp blades – called a “spool” – that use a scissor-like motion to cut the grass as you push it. These mowers are compact and lightweight and rely solely on physical exertion. They do, however, require a little maintenance: you will need from time to time clean and sharpen the blades so that they do not become dull.
Reel mowers, according to Collins, are ideal for small (less than a third of an acre) and level lawns without steep slopes or hills. He added that you should also “have enough strength to push it at an angle if the whole yard is slightly sloping.”
A motorized rotary mower, on the other hand, has a rotating blade hidden under the mowing deck and is powered by a gasoline or electric motor (cord or battery). Motorized push mowers are generally the cheapest options when it comes to powered lawn mowers, although they are just as loud as other motorized units, according to McKenzie. They may be a more efficient option if you need to mow a lawn with patchy spots, but they’re generally heavier than reel mowers, according to Collins.
Motorized push mowers typically have cutting widths – the size of strip the machine can cut in a single pass – between 21 and 40 inches, while small reel mowers can go up to 14 inches because they are designed for small sites. Reel and power mowers can have adjustable cutting heights, allowing you to customize the number of inches of grass your unit can cut.
Experts have told us that you should pay attention to the horsepower of the engine as well as the cutting width of the deck. “Look for the best combination of engine and deck cutting width to make sure the entire lawn won’t take too long,” Collins advised.
How do lawn mowers grow grass?
Push lawn mowers typically collect and expel cut grass using one of three methods: bagging, side discharge, and mulching.
Push mowers with bagging systems Carefully collect the cut grass in a bag much like a vacuum cleaner, according to Michael Crnkovic, president of Fresh cut professionals lawn care service. This method is the best way to collect weed clippings, although it can increase your mowing time as you will need to get rid of the clippings during and after each use.
A mulching system breaks up grass clippings and distributes them around the lawn to provide nutrients to the soil. According to Crnkovic, this method is the “best of both worlds” as it does not blow grass all over the lawn like a side discharge system, but still leaves plant material to “continue the turf food cycle”. “If you mulch and bag the clippings, you can add them later as green material to your compost pile,” Collins added.
A side discharge system directs the cut grass to your garden using a side discharge chute. Your power mower can spin the blade faster when it doesn’t need to bag or shred clippings simultaneously, resulting in a cleaner cut. However, this method is losing popularity because it can be messy and leave grass clippings on driveways, sidewalks, and flower beds.
Walk-behind and self-propelled mowers: what’s the difference?
The main difference between a push lawn mower and a self-propelled or manual propelled mower is that the latter has a transmission (front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive) that can push the wheels forward – just guide it. rather than pushed.
“Some people prefer [push mowers] for a more active lifestyle, but others want or need to limit the load with a self-propelled mower, ”explained Collins.
Experts told us that they recommend self-propelled lawn mowers for rough terrain with hills and slopes. Motorized push lawn mowers can handle rough terrain better than reel mowers, but self-propelled mowers can maintain the same speed as you go up hills and slopes, putting less strain on your muscles.
“Bumpy lawns aren’t a problem for self-propelled mowers, while push-mower reels don’t have enough friction to cut grass evenly over bumps,” McKenzie said. “A powered push lawn mower doesn’t really have this problem, but it is heavier. [to push]. “