We use the word “cheap” in different ways to convey different meanings. In many instances, cheap either equates to rock-bottom prices or poor quality. But thrifty shoppers looking for a cheap lawn mower prefer to spend their hard-earned money on reliable equipment at an affordable price. A good cheap lawn mower gets the job done every time without breakdowns, slow starts, and constant repairs but lacks the branding and feature upgrades that often boost price without adding measurable value.
Whether your lawn consists of a few square feet or a few acres, a reliable rightsized lawn mower makes yard maintenance easier. Buying one doesn’t need to break the bank. If you’re shopping for a new mower and need a few suggestions, keep reading. This guide showcases one of the best cheap lawn mowers, as well as a few runners up, and makes it easier for you to make a good buying decision.
How We Chose the Best Cheap Lawn Mowers
We started by researching lawn mower purchasing trends to narrow our picks into a few cheap lawn mower categories: gas, electric, cordless, manual, push, self-propelled, and riding mowers. Of those categories, we determined that our top pick should be a gas-powered push mower because it would offer the best combination of low price, mowing power, maneuverability, runtime, and broad adaptability. We wanted to include suggestions for each of the other categories as well since there are so many great options.
When comparing lawn mower prices, we regarded “cheap” as a price no more than 15 percent higher than the lowest available in a given category. For instance, the absolute lowest price we encountered for any manual reel mower was $89, so our pick for that category had to be priced no higher than $102.35 ($89 x .15 = $13.35 and $89 + $13.35 = $102.35).
A good cheap lawn mower must start reliably and mow well. To that end, we limited our search to trusted manufacturers with a proven record of quality. We searched popular, highly rated lawn mower brands and dug deep to learn about the manufacturer. In many cases, a manufacturer produces equipment for multiple brands with certain basic designs and quality attributes permeating the operation.
Through this process we identified 43 really good lawn mowers near the entry price point for their respective categories. Finally, we selected the picks in this guide by ranking according to price, followed by prioritized performance attributes.
When looking for quality at a bargain price, sometimes there’s a hidden gem among the big manufacturers. The Yard Machines 20-inch gas push mower, manufactured by the same parent company as iconic lawn equipment brands Troy Bilt and Cub Cadet, is a great example. It’s a sub-$300 push mower powered by a reliable 125-cubic-centimeter (cc) Briggs & Stratton gas engine that stakes a strong claim as one of the best cheap lawn mowers around.
This cheap gas push mower offers dependable mowing capability for small to midsize yards without pricey branding or expensive feature upgrades. The mower conveniently arrives mostly assembled, with the exception of installing the discharge chute and tightening the handle. Engine oil is included and the spark plug is preinstalled. Users adjust the deck height by removing and reinstalling each of the 7-inch wheels at one of three positions on the deck. Add gas, and it’s ready to mow.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB)-compliant gas engine starts smoothly, runs quietly, and produces lower exhaust emissions than similar engines that do not meet this standard. At just 50 pounds, the mower maneuvers easily on flat or gently sloping ground. The simple side-discharge configuration spreads clippings evenly across the yard where they quickly degrade and protect the soil. The annual maintenance schedule is limited to sharpening the blade, changing the oil, and installing a new air filter.
As an inexpensive, easy-to-use, low-maintenance mower, this one is tough to beat. It comes from a respected brand with a long track record of producing quality equipment at competitive prices.
- Power source: 125cc Briggs & Stratton gas engine
- Cutting width: 20 inches
- Discharge system: Side discharge
- Durable Briggs & Stratton overhead-valve gas engine boasts a longer working life with less maintenance
- CARB-compliant engine produces fewer exhaust pollutants for a cleaner environment
- Lightweight 15-gauge steel deck and 7-inch wheels make it easy to push
- Side-discharge chute spreads clippings evenly across the lawn for rapid decomposition
- Not enough power to mow overgrown grass and weeds easily
- Cannot mulch coarse grass clippings, and cannot collect clippings into a bag
Get the Yard Machines lawn mower at Amazon or The Home Depot.
More Cheap Mowers Worth Your Money
Our best cheap mower pick may not be right for all shoppers. For more choices, including options for tiny yards, huge landscapes, and other special interests, check out these runners-up.
- Yardmax 21-Inch 170cc 2-in-1 Push Mower, available at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.
- American Lawn Mower Company 14-Inch 11-Amp Lawn Mower, available at Amazon or American Lawn Mower Co.
- Greenworks 21-Inch 40V Cordless Push Mower, available at Amazon or Greenworks Tools.
- Great States 14-Inch 5-Blade Reel Mower, available at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Mowers Direct.
- Craftsman M220 21-Inch 150cc Self-Propelled Lawn Mower, available at Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, or Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
- Cub Cadet XT1 46-Inch 22 HP Riding Lawn Tractor, available at The Home Depot, Tractor Supply Co., or Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
What to Consider When Choosing a Cheap Lawn Mower
Price is only one of several important factors in choosing a mower that will fulfill a shopper’s needs. Buyers will want to start by defining their other shopping criteria in order to make the best buying decision for their situation.
Lawn mowers may be powered by gasoline, electricity, or human power. A manual reel mower may be an attractive option for those with smaller, mostly weed-free yards and few sticks, pine cones, or other debris. There is no fuel to buy, and the only required maintenance is an annual blade tune-up. Because of the physical effort required, these mowers are best for lawns under 10,000 square feet.
Those with moderately sized lawns that are up to about ½ acre, and who want to eliminate fuel handling while limiting air pollution and noise, may prefer a cheap electric mower. Traditional electric mowers require a long extension cord and an exterior power outlet. Or, consider a cheap cordless lawn mower that uses rechargeable batteries and won’t restrict movement.
Even with their noise and emissions, gas-powered lawn mowers are still the dominant force for mid-size and larger yards. If a yard is larger than ½ acre, consider buying a cheap self-propelled lawn mower or a cheap riding lawn mower. They provide ample power for all kinds of grass and weeds and are best suited for mowing weedy spots or overgrown areas that may only be cut a few times a year.
Those with the largest lawns may be interested in finding a cheap zero-turn lawn mower to get the work done faster. Due to the complexity of these machines, “cheap” is very much a relative term. Even the cheapest models will still set shoppers back several thousand dollars.
Cutting Width and Number of Positions
The size and configuration of a mower, specifically the cutting width, wheel positions, and handle height positions, play into both mowing capability and user comfort. A wider deck covers more ground faster than a narrower deck but also requires more energy to operate. For instance, manual reel mowers range from about 12 inches wide up to 20 inches wide. The 12-inch mower is easy to push but takes almost twice as long to mow. The 20-inch mower covers ground faster but requires significantly more pushing power.
Wheel height directly translates to grass-cutting height. Most users only need one or two options, even though many mower manufacturers provide six or eight. The key here is to know how high grass should be cut, including any likely seasonal adjustments, and to make sure the chosen mower can do so.
Handle height adjustability for push mowers and self-propelled mowers equate to operator comfort. Again, users only need one or maybe a couple of height options. Most of these mowers offer adjustability that is suitable for users within the average adult height range, but if buyers are taller or shorter than average, they may want to try it out in person before purchasing.
Additional Features and Accessories
Cheap lawn mowers often lack in the area of extra features, but not always. Some of the more popular features include various ways to manage the grass clippings. Conventional “one-way” mower decks discharge the clippings back onto the lawn. Two-way decks offer either mulching or bagging capability along with the side-discharge option. Mulching uses a special blade type and deck design to chop the clippings to a finer texture for faster degradation. Bagging sends the clippings into an onboard collection bag that the user can dispose of elsewhere, off the lawn. Three-way decks include all of these options.
A couple of other features to consider are a high wheel design and self-propelled capability. Mowers with rear wheels that are larger than the front wheels are easier to maneuver on varying terrain than those with all four wheels that are the same size. A self-propelled or walk-behind mower looks like a regular push mower but includes powered wheels to drive it while the operator steers. Self-propelled mowers sometimes include variable-speed technology that adjusts to the user’s preference.
Finally, don’t forget about maintenance. Thrifty buyers often wish to perform their own repairs and maintenance and keep old mowers running as long as possible to save money. This means they need cheap lawn mower parts. It pays to research the cost of parts at the outset. Make sure that the purchased mower is compatible with some of the cheap lawn mower batteries, blades, filters, and cheap lawn mower tires available online or through a local parts store.
Still not sure about buying a good cheap mower? Read on for more buying info and reasons why it may be time to go ahead and make the move.
Q. How much is a good cheap lawn mower?
Good cheap mowers cost slightly more than the absolute cheapest in their class but far less than the big brand-name models. As of this writing, the best cheap reel mowers start just under $100, corded electric mowers start at $130, gas push mowers start at $200, gas self-propelled mowers start at $275, cordless mowers start at $400, and cheap riding lawn mowers start around $2,000.
Q. What time of year are lawn mowers the cheapest?
Late spring and summer often bring the cheapest prices on new lawn mowers, including those in our cheap lawn mower group of picks.
Q. How long do cheap lawn mowers last?
With average care and proper storage, a good cheap lawn mower can last 10 years or more.
Q. Is it cheaper to fix a mower or buy a new one?
If the mower is broken but still under warranty, ask a pro to fix it. Tuning up, sharpening or replacing worn blades, deep cleaning and lubricating, replacing batteries, and fixing small broken parts are straightforward tasks that are inexpensive and within reach for average DIYers. But when the mower passes the 10-year mark, repairs become more frequent and parts become harder to find. Then, it may be time to think about a replacement.
Why Trust Bob Vila
BobVila.com has been a trusted resource for DIY information since 1996. Our product reviews offer recommendations based on hours of thorough research by subject matter experts. Mark Wolfe is a writer with an extensive background in the nursery and landscaping industry. He kept his tool box well stocked in order to build or repair fences, walls, sprinkler systems, and lawn equipment on any given day. Now he tests and writes reviews about the latest hand tools, lawn care products, outdoor power equipment, and other outdoor-living goods.