It’s hard to tell at the store which lawn mower will make quick work of your yard. To help, Consumer Reports tested 81 gas-powered mowers and can tell you what to consider and what to skip.
For starters, skip mowers that cost less than $200. They have mediocre cutting performance, at best.
If you’ve got a limited budget, check out the Husqvarna LC121P, available at Lowe’s, a Consumer Reports Best Buy for $250. It handles easily and cuts very evenly. It’s a very basic push mower, and you’ll need some muscle to move it. But it has the same deck and blades as more expensive Husqvarna mowers.
Toro mowers, available at Home Depot, have several options. The $400 Toro Recycler Smart Stow is another Consumer Reports Best Buy. It’s self-propelled, with multiple speeds and very good cutting performance in all modes. Plus it folds, so you can store it standing up.
Hands down, the top performers regardless of price are Hondas, also available at Home Depot as well as at independent retailers. The $600 Honda HRX217 has multiple speeds, superlative cutting, and excellent handling. Plus Consumer Reports surveys find Honda’s self-propelled gas mowers stand out for reliability.
If you’ve got the urge to go green, Consumer Reports found some decent battery-powered cordless mowers. Several are made by Ego, but they’re expensive. The best, the Ego LM102SP self-propelled mower, is $600.
More of Consumer Reports’ lawn-mower buying advice is available here.