…But are feeling overwhelmed by the 771 different lawn mower options, you’re in the right place.
Why? Because I’ve done the research and am showing you only the best 3 of each style.
Petrol, Electric or Manual Reel Lawn Mower?
- Good: More affordable power. You don’t have to charge batteries or deal with electric cord. More portable because don’t rely on electric outlets.
- Bad: Have to wear earplugs. Have fumes and exhaust in your face (pollution). Have to purchase oil and petrol, which means extra running cost and hassle. Have to replace the spark plug and other parts over its life.
- Good: Don’t have to wear earplugs or deal with fumes and pollution. Don’t have to deal with electric cord while still getting the benefits of low maintenance and running cost.
- Bad: Have to charge the batteries after 1 hour use. High upfront cost (2x price corded electric and 1.5x price petrol mowers).
- Good: Low cost. Don’t have to deal with refuelling or costs associated with maintaining a petrol engine. Don’t have to wear earplugs. Lightweight and easy to push.
- Bad: Have to deal with electric cord while mowing.
- Good: Zero maintenance and running cost. Lowest upfront cost. Clips grass instead of chopping/tearing grass leaving it looking fresh and healthy. Makes mowing more pleasurable (somehow).
- Bad: No option to bag grass. You’ll have to do several passes over – making large lawns take too long.
The Best Walk-Behind Petrol Lawn Mower
When you buy a petrol lawn mower – you’re buying an internal combustion engine with some parts attached to cut grass…
…So it makes sense that the best lawn mower is powered by the best engine – Honda.
Husqvarna is a very large, trusted brand in the power products category and when you pair that with a durable, reliable and powerful engine you get the best walk-behind petrol mower for most people.
It has fold down handles to make storing under your work bench easy. It has larger 12-inch rear wheels to make tight turning in the corners of your lawn easy. It is CARB Compliant meaning it complies with California air quality standards. And it’s currently 23% off with free shipping.
After that whole spiel about engines above, I should mention B & S are the second largest producers of small petrol engines in the world. Second to Honda. And B & S engines are just as popular for use on other brands’ lawn mowers.
The Poulan Pro is lightweight (40 pounds) making it easy to push – even up slopes. It has a recoil start, option for mulching and side discharge, and a 21-inch blade.
If you don’t need to bag your grass clippings then get this one because it’s 30% less money than the Husqvarna.
For about the same price as the Poulan Pro, you’re getting the option to bag your grass. And you can get a free side discharge chute by sending in your registration card to LawnBoy.
It has a Kohler OHV automatic choke engine, so no priming required. And it has an all steel deck adjustable to 2 heights.
Honda is a great engine – Kohler is good too – and you can rest easy knowing that Toro has put this one together. So if you’re not fussed about Honda vs Kohler vs B & S then get this mower and save 30% compared to the Husqvarna.
The Best Walk-Behind Electric Lawn Mower
It uses dual blades instead of a single blade claiming better cut and better battery efficiency. Marketing or truth? Well, out of 130 customer reviews people rate it on average 4.2 / 5 stars.
There’s a variety of battery setups to use, including different combinations of 2 and 4 Ah Lithium-ion batteries. With 2x 4Ah batteries you get about 2 hours of run-time. With 1x 2 Ah and 1x 4 Ah (what the mower comes with) you get about 70 minutes of mowing. The 4 Ah battery costs $120.
The reason this is the number 1 cordless and not the Black & Decker below is because it is $50 less cash and 30 pounds lighter.
For most people, a corded electric mower does the trick. Overall, it is the most hassle-free option – low maintenance, no fuel or oil, most affordable etc. And if you only have a modest yard I doubt cord management is much worry.
This model by GreenWorks is the most popular and most affordable lawn mower on the market. It’s $200 to $250 less than cordless mowers and $100 less than petrol ones.
As you can see it has a grass catching bag and also offers side discharge and mulching. It has an adjustable deck to give you 7 different cutting heights. Make sure to purchase a cord (12 Amp) as it doesn’t come with for some reason.
You get a mower that can run for 1 hour or 2 on one charge (depending on if self propel is on). And no loud petrol engine to maintain or refuel. And no electric cord to get in the way.
Best of both worlds? A great option for small and medium lawns that are well kept, but in terms of brute power, electric still lags behind petrol. So if you’re mowing thick, unkept, large lawns for a job – get petrol…
…If you want electric, then this is one of the best cordless electric mowers. Made by Black & Decker, it’s even self-propelled (with the option to switch off to save battery) and mows up to 60 mins on one charge.
It is an expensive unit with a list price of $539 but is currently being offered for $399, which is 26% off.
The Best Walk-Behind Reel Lawn Mower
The best reel lawn mower for most lawns is this 18-inch Fiskars. Reel mowers offer a serenity to mowing the lawn sort of like rowing a canoe versus steering a motor boat. It’s really a matter of preference…
…And although you may be confused at the $199 price tag you’re getting a sturdy, well made piece of mechanical equipment (I mean look at those $400 Japanese knives).
Some advantages of this reel mower: It’s lightweight and easier to push around than gas or electric mowers. It clips instead of tearing your grass so leaves a nicer, fresher looking lawn. It throws the clippings away from your feet (you can purchase a grass catcher extra).
Keep in mind this mower will only cut when moving forward so if you have many turns and awkward edges on your lawn it may be troublesome. But all together this is the best reel mower, and you’ll never worry about maintenance, noise, pollution or ongoing costs.
It’s half the weight of the Fiskars, which makes it a desirable option for frequent mowing of small lawns.
Again, a reel mower is a preference, and this one is a great option. You can let your young kids use this mower under supervision without worry about projectiles or safety. If you prefer a reel mower have a look at this one.
Like the other reel mowers, you’ll have to do some assembly. But people rave about how easy this unit is to put together. Just a wrench and tightening some nuts.
This is a great reel mower; however, if you’re buying this unit for the grass catcher, don’t. If you look, it’s just connected with a single hook so not very sturdy.
Sources and Useful Links
1. LawnMowersCatalog.com (this website) homepage, comparison page and buying flow map were used to quickly see the pros and cons of each of the best lawn mower styles and the specs of individual units.
4. GreenWorks range of products is all “Green” as in they have no pollution. All their mowers are made in China by Globe Tools Co., LTD (see the Greenworks logo at the bottom of this webpage?) Not that this is a problem. Most of the mowers these days are manufactured there.