The Best Lawn Mowers for Small Yards of 2024, Tested 

No matter what you consider “small,” this list has you covered.

Best Overall

The Best Lawn Mowers for Small Yards Option Toro 60V MAX 22 Recycler Personal Pace Lawn Mower

Toro 60V MAX 22" Recycler Personal Pace Lawn Mower

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Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Lawn Mowers for Small Yards Option Wild Badger Power 40V 18 Cordless Lawn Mower

Wild Badger Power 40V 18" Cordless Lawn Mower

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Best Electric

The Best Lawn Mowers for Small Yards Option American Lawn Mower 120V 14 Corded Mower

American Lawn Mower 120V 14" Corded Mower

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What, exactly, is a small yard? If you come from a farm community, then an acre may seem small; but to a suburbanite, “small” might mean a 10,000-square-foot urban lot. No matter the definition of “small,” the best lawn mower for small yards is one that is reliable, durable, and easy to use. Of the dozens of lawn mowers we test every year, half of them offer the combination of agility, clean cutting ability, and convenience features best suited to smaller yards. In this guide we will share some of our favorites.

Finding the best mower can be tricky. First, shoppers can choose among a gas-powered mower, an electric mower, or a manual mower. Next, they will want to look for the perfect size, price, and style (riding mower or push mower). To help keep the search short, here’s a helpful guide to finding the best lawn mower for small yards.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Toro 60V MAX 22″ Recycler Personal Pace Lawn Mower
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  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Wild Badger Power 40V 18″ Cordless Lawn Mower 
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  3. BEST ELECTRIC: American Lawn Mower 120V 14″ Corded Mower
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  4. BEST BATTERY-POWERED: DeWalt 2x20V MAX XR Cordless Self-Propelled Mower Kit
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  5. BEST GAS-POWERED: Toro 22″ Recycler Personal Pace Gas Lawn Mower
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  6. BEST MANUAL: American Lawn Mower Company 14″ Manual Reel Mower
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  7. BEST ROBOTIC: Worx Landroid M 20V Robotic Lawn Mower
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  8. BEST PUSH: Greenworks Pro 80V 21″ Brushless Push Lawn Mower
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  9. BEST SELF-PROPELLED: Ego Power+ 21″ Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
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  10. BEST RIDING: Troy-Bilt Super Bronco 42E XP Battery Riding Mower
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How We Tested the Best Lawn Mowers for Small Yards

For small yards, in addition to a high-quality cut, we were looking for lawn mowers that fit the space, maneuver comfortably around obstacles, and store easily. Recognizing that “small” is a subjective word that is interpreted differently depending on perspective, we tested several mower types, including some that can comfortably maintain areas up to an acre or more.

We tested these mowers on a quarter-acre lawn area featuring a gentle slope, a tree ring in the middle, and a narrow grassy corridor that helped us gauge maneuverability. We used each of the mowers to cut the grass and recorded our observations on a scoring rubric. Finally, we rated each mower in the areas of cut quality, maneuverability, operator comfort, noise, and storability. 

Testing Stats

Products tested: 

27
Hours/Weeks/Time spent testing: 49 hours
Tests performed:6
Price range:$150 to $4,800

Our Top Picks

Not every mower we tested for this guide made the cut. The models included here left the lawn looking great and made the chore more pleasant with easy operation, low noise, and convenient storage. 

Best Overall

Toro 60V MAX 22" Recycler Personal Pace Lawn Mower

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Our Ratings: Ease of Use 4.5/5; Cut Quality 5/5; Noise 5/5; Grass Disposal 5/5; Value 4.7/5 

Product Specs 

  • Type: Self-propelled
  • Power: Cordless electric
  • Deck size: 22 inches

Pros

  • Vortex cutting deck creates powerful airflow, enabling superior mowing quality
  • Personal Pace adjustable drive system automatically matches the operator’s pace
  • Fold-flat handle and vertical storage configuration conserve storage space
  • RunSmart system adjusts output in real time to deliver the required power while maximizing battery life

Cons

  • 40-minute average runtime per charge is less than top competitors

Quiet, convenient battery-powered lawn mowers make a lot of sense for small yards. Our top choice, the Toro 60V MAX 22-inch Recycler self-propelled lawn mower, features an efficient 3-phase brushless motor, a high airflow mowing deck, and a self-adjusting drive system that produced the best overall mowing experience in our test group. 

On a full charge, the 60-volt 6-amp-hour battery powered about 40 minutes of mowing time. That was enough to mow a half acre of grass while bagging the clippings. 

The first standout feature was the self-driving system, which automatically adjusted to the operator’s pace by means of a pressure-sensitive handle. The system was very well executed, with smooth motion in the handlebar and gradual acceleration in the wheel motor. It handled slopes and rough ground effortlessly.

We also noted the mower’s proficiency with grass of different textures, lengths, and densities. The deep, well-ventilated mowing deck uplifted tall grass blades for a crisp level cut, while the motor automatically boosted output for heavier cutting conditions with no lag time. The result was a perfect lawn at a faster walking pace with no need to double cut.

For most small lawns, we really see no reason to continue shopping. This mower was excellent by any measure. Slightly larger lawns may require a bit more runtime (see the Lowe’s link below with an upgraded 8-amp-hour battery), and budget shoppers might balk at the price.

Get the Toro 60V MAX lawn mower for small yards at Lowe’s (with 8-amp-hour battery) or Tractor Supply and Co..

Best Bang for the Buck

Wild Badger Power 40V 18" Cordless Lawn Mower

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Our Ratings: Ease of Use 4.5/5; Cut Quality 4/5; Noise 5/5; Grass Disposal 4/5; Value 4.7/5

Product Specs 

  • Type: Push
  • Power: Cordless electric
  • Deck size: 18 inches

Pros

  • Good-quality cordless electric small lawn mower at a budget-friendly price
  • Compact, lightweight model is easy to store and easy to use
  • Manage clippings by mulching to feed the lawn or bagging for disposal
  • Handle folds down flat over the motor for compact storage

Cons

  • Deck, wheels, and handlebar feel a bit flimsy but fine for light duty

No need to overspend if you have a tiny yard. The Wild Badger 40-volt cordless lawn mower won’t break the bank. It features an 18-inch mowing deck and a runtime of 30 minutes per charge. That’s enough to mow between 5,000 and 7,000 square feet, whether you bag or mulch the clippings.

For a cheap lawn mower, the Wild Badger cordless mower did a pretty good job. Because it was so lightweight, and we only used it for about 30 minutes at a time, there was no problem with operator fatigue. Although the small deck produced very little uplift, the finish was decent after a single pass in most areas, but we did touch up a few of the faster-growing spots with a second pass.

We recommend this mower for a courtyard or small urban lot. It was easy to pick up when needed, maneuvered well over most terrain, and stowed away in a nice neat package. The plastic wheels and deck are not susceptible to corrosion, so with basic care and maintenance, it should last many seasons.

Get the Wild Badger lawn mower for small yards at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Walmart.

Best Electric

American Lawn Mower 120V 14" Corded Mower

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Our Ratings: Ease of Use 4.5/5; Cut Quality 4/5; Noise 5/5; Grass Disposal 4/5; Value 4.3/5

Product Specs 

  • Type: Push 
  • Power: Corded electric
  • Deck size: 14 inches

Pros

  • Compact size that is easy to store, even in small spaces
  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver; great for extended use
  • Budget-friendly price compared to similar models
  • No expensive batteries, and no downtime for recharging 

Cons

  • When bagger is nearly full, front wheels may lift off the ground
  • Much narrower cutting swath than the battery-powered mowers we tested

The corded electric lawn mower from American Lawn Mower offers convenient features at an attractive price point. It features a strong 11-amp motor and cuts a 14-inch swath width. The cutting height adjusts from 1 inch up to 2.5 inches, making it most suitable for low-growing and warm-season grass types. 

This mower is a good choice for those with small yards and limited storage space. We liked the padded nonslip grip handle for comfortable control. The large 7-inch rear wheels and narrow, lightweight, compact body made it easy to pivot and navigate tight spaces. Plus it had no problem mowing thick, weedy grass. It did struggle with tall grass since the tallest setting is 2.5 inches, compared to 3-plus inches on the other mowers.

The mower also features a safety switch to shut off the motor if the user releases the handle, and it folds down to aid in storage. You can set the mower for clippings to discharge into a 16-gallon grass bag or to fall back on the lawn for use as natural mulch. Users will need a 12- or 14-gauge exterior extension cord (not included) and a nearby electrical outlet to run the mower.

Get the American Lawn Mower electric lawn mower for small yards at Amazon or Walmart.

Best Battery-Powered

DeWalt 2x20V MAX XR Cordless Self-Propelled Mower Kit

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Our Ratings: Ease of Use 5/5; Cut Quality 5/5; Noise 4/5; Grass Disposal 5/5; Value 4.3/5

Product Specs 

  • Type: Self-propelled
  • Power: Cordless electric
  • Deck size: 21.5 inches

Pros

  • Longest runtime per charge of all battery-powered walk-behind mowers tested
  • Simplified deck height and handle adjustments for convenience and easy operation 
  • Rugged steel deck, dual sharp blades, and powerful brushless motor tackles tough conditions
  • Folds flat and stands vertically for space-saving storage

Cons

  • Shallow cutting deck produces weak uplift in overgrown grass
  • One of the most expensive walk-behind lawn mowers of the group

Our top battery-powered lawn mower is one of the newest additions to the wide-ranging DeWalt 20-volt XR platform. The DeWalt 2x20V MAX XR cordless self-propelled mower runs on a pair of 10-amp-hour batteries that give it 80 minutes of runtime per charge. That runtime leads all cordless walk-behind mowers we have tested to date. 

This 21-inch self-propelled mower also features a 3-phase brushless motor, an adjustable-speed self-propel system, a single-point deck-height adjustment, and three-way grass clippings management. Like many of our other favorites in the small yard category, it also folds flat and stands upright for space saving in storage.

We were truly impressed by the amount of grass we were able to cover with this mower. Our test yard included about three-quarter acres of grass, and we mowed the whole thing. The finish was not as refined as some of the other mowers in this group, mainly due to the lack of uplift beneath the shallow mowing deck. For best results, it may take a second pass when the yard is overgrown. 

Get the DeWalt lawn mower for small yards at Tractor Supply Co. or The Home Depot.

Best Gas-Powered

Toro 22" Recycler Personal Pace Gas Lawn Mower

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Our Ratings: Ease of Use 4.5/5; Cut Quality 5/5; Noise 4/5; Grass Disposal 5/5; Value 4.7/5

Product Specs 

  • Type: Self-propelled
  • Power: Gas
  • Deck size: 22 inches

Pros

  • Low maintenance and easy to start 163 cubic centimeter (cc) gas powerful engine provides ample cutting power
  • Rugged steel Vortex cutting deck boosts airflow and uplift for superior cut quality
  • Smooth and responsive automatically adjustable drive system for user comfort 
  • Fold-flat handle and vertical storage compatibility saves space in storage

Cons

  • Wheels must be individually adjusted for deck height changes

We performed a side-by-side comparison between our top pick, the Toro 60V Recycler, and this 163cc gas-powered Toro Recycler, and were surprised to see nearly identical results. Both use the same 22-inch Vortex mowing deck and Personal Pace adjustable drive system. The mowing results were notably similar as well, which is to say outstanding.

Those who prefer a gas-powered lawn mower will appreciate several aspects of this machine. First, it started for us on the first pull every time—no need to choke it or mess around with a fuel lever. It ran smoothly and noticeably quietly for a gas mower. Another notable detail is that it has been engineered to never require an oil change. Just check the oil level and top off when needed.

The best part is the quality of the cut. It didn’t matter how fast we walked or how thick the grass was or whether we mulched or bagged the clippings. We experienced no stalls or slowdowns, and the finish quality was consistently excellent. The only minor criticism we offer is the need to adjust levers on every wheel to change the mowing height, but most users will set it and forget it.

Get the Toro gas-powered lawn mower for small yards at Tractor Supply Co., Ace Hardware, or The Home Depot.

Best Manual

American Lawn Mower Company 14" Manual Reel Mower

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Our Ratings: Ease of Use 4/5; Cut Quality 4/5; Noise 5/5; Grass Disposal N/A; Value 4.7/5

Product Specs

  • Type: Push
  • Power: Manual
  • Deck size: 14 inches

Pros

  • Compact and easy to store
  • Adjustable cutting height from 0.5 to 1.75 inches
  • Simple to clean and maintain; blades remain sharp for several years

Cons

  • Requires physical effort to push

Those with small yards are less likely to want to suffer the hassle of pulling out large, heavy lawn mowing equipment for just 10 minutes to cut their grass. That’s where a push reel mower can shine. This model from American Lawn Mower Company is a compact garden tool that’s easy to store and lightweight enough to retrieve easily. Gas fumes, battery life, and limited cord lengths can be forgotten for the small price of a little manual labor. 

The adjustable blade height allows users to tailor their lawn to their specifications, from 0.5 inches to 1.75 inches in height. The heat-treated alloy-steel blades can stay sharp for several years before needing maintenance. Note that this push reel mower will struggle to cut lawns taller than 4 inches in height. 

With a total weight of just 20 pounds, this 14-inch model is the lightest reel mower in this guide. It features four cutting blades made from heat-treated steel alloy to reduce dulling and 8.5-inch polymer wheels and rear rollers to increase stability. This smaller mower is naturally well suited to mowing a small lawn. The low weight makes it not only simpler for more petite users to operate but also light enough to hang on wall hooks in a garage or storage shed. The T-style handle folds down for storage, and nonslip, cushioned grips allow for more comfortable mowing. Cutting height is adjustable from 0.5 to 1.5 inches, although a wrench is required to make those adjustments.

With only four 14-inch blades slicing against the bedknife, this model offered the least resistance of all the reel mowers we tested, making it the easiest to push. However, fewer blades meant a less consistent finish in dense or overgrown grass. Overall, the mower felt strong, durable, and easy to use, but it required a second pass to clean up some of the more difficult areas. It’s probably a good choice for keeping up with pathways in the vegetable garden or other secondary grassy areas.

Get the American Lawn Mower Company manual lawn mower for small yards at Amazon or Walmart.

Best Robotic

Worx Landroid M 20V Robotic Lawn Mower

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Our Ratings: Ease of Use 5/5; Cut Quality 4/5; Noise 5/5; Grass Disposal 5/5; Value 4.7/5

Product Specs

  • Type: Robotic
  • Power: Cordless electric
  • Deck size: 7 inches

Pros

  • Easy installation; user-friendly mobile app is also available
  • Numerous upgrades available
  • Excellent runtime per charge times

Cons

  • Base station must be installed perfectly
  • Some desirable features are not included

The popular Worx Landroid robotic mower lineup includes models S, M, and L for yards up to ⅛, ¼, and ½ acre, respectively. Although they feature many similarities, we found that the Worx Landroid M offers the best combination of capability and affordability. 

It is powered by a 20-volt 4-amp-hour lithium-ion battery for 2 hours of runtime per 90-minute charge. It can mow on a 20-degree slope thanks to a pair of high-efficiency brushless wheel motors that provide extra traction. The Landroid’s 8-inch self-leveling mowing disc cuts closer to the edges of the yard than many of its competitors. The blade height manually adjusts from 1.5 to 3.5 inches.

Landroid connects to a home Wi-Fi network via Bluetooth and automatically keeps its software up to date. Users can easily set or adjust the custom mowing schedule or monitor the mower on the go via the Landroid mobile app. An integrated rain sensor stops the mower from cutting if it starts raining and sends it back to its charging station.

The Landroid M performed at or near the top in most of our testing rubric categories. Assembly and programming were easy, mowing was reliable with excellent coverage, communication through the mobile app was intuitive, and runtime was superior—all for a very competitive price. Runtime was especially impressive: We clocked it at 2 hours 35 minutes, the longest of all the mowers we tested.

Unfortunately, we subtracted points for poor docking ability. Landroid was the only mower we tested with recharging contacts located on the side of the machine rather than the front or back. To recharge, it must be perfectly positioned in relation to two flexible contact points as it passes over the base station; otherwise, it continues tracking along the perimeter wire without stopping. After resetting the base station three times and ensuring it was absolutely level in all directions with a long, straight approach, we finally achieved satisfactory results.

Aside from that issue, the Landroid provides outstanding overall functionality for the price. Available upgrades include the ACS module that prevents collisions, Find My Landroid GPS cellular module, Radio Link module to extend Wi-Fi connectivity for improved artificial intelligence, an Off Limits module for wire-free no-mow zones within the main mowing area, and the Landroid Garage.

Get the Worx lawn mower for small yards at Amazon, Lowe’s, Tractor Supply Co., Walmart, or Target.

Best Push

Greenworks Pro 80V 21" Brushless Push Lawn Mower

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Our Ratings: Ease of Use 4.5/5; Cut Quality 4/5; Noise 5/5; Grass Disposal 5/5; Value 4.7/5

Product Specs 

  • Type: Push
  • Power: Cordless electric
  • Deck size: 21 inches

Pros

  • Large 10-inch rear wheels and 8-inch front wheels roll easily across all terrain
  • Durable steel mowing deck with convenient single-lever mowing height adjustment
  • Deep mowing deck produces good uplift for excellent cut quality
  • Affordable price for a high-quality mower from a reputable manufacturer

Cons

  • Modest runtime in average mowing conditions

For some shoppers, a simple and affordable push mower is the best choice. The Greenworks 80-volt 21-inch push mower is an ideal pick for small to midsize yards, including occasional heavy-duty mowing. It delivers excellent power and performance, with enough runtime to mow three-quarters of an acre per charge.

This was one of the simpler and more affordable mowers we tested, so we were pleasantly surprised that it completed the whole yard on one charge. It was easy to push, and the large wheels allowed it to roll smoothly across uneven ground.

The cut quality was excellent overall thanks to the deep deck and strong airflow. It mulched thoroughly, bagged well (although it struggled a bit after the bag was 75 percent filled), and discharged clippings far and evenly. The deck produced adequate airflow to stand taller grass blades straight up for an even cut.

Because of the easy mobility and plentiful cutting power, we also found that the Greenworks Pro 80V push mower did a better job on overgrown lawns than most of the other models tested. To satisfy our curiosity, we raised the deck to the highest setting and tested it on 1,000 square feet of knee-high grass, weeds, and brambles. Within 20 minutes, after a double mowing that depleted the battery, the area resembled a lawn. 

Get the Greenworks lawn mower for small yards at Amazon or Lowe’s.

Best Self-Propelled

Ego Power+ 21" Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

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Our Ratings: Ease of Use 5/5; Cut Quality 4/5; Noise 4/5; Grass Disposal 5/5; Value 4.7/5

Product Specs 

  • Type: Self-propelled
  • Power: Cordless electric
  • Deck size: 21 inches

Pros

  • Excellent cutting power in all conditions; power automatically increases when needed
  • Adjustable drive pace; easily maneuvers on slopes and uneven ground
  • Weather-resistant construction ensures longevity in different climates
  • Packed with features and a stylish appearance for a budget-friendly price

Cons

  • Drive system makes a high-pitched sound that is audible over the blade noise
  • Weak airflow leads to ragged mowing in taller grass

When it comes to mowing slopes and uneven terrain, a good self-propelled lawn mower makes the job easier and safer. The Ego Power+ 21-inch self-propelled lawn mower covers bumpy yards with ease and has the cutting power to tame any yard. 

The included 56-volt 7.5-amp-hour rechargeable battery powers up to 60 minutes of mowing time per charge. The variable-speed self-propel system ranges from 0.9 to 3.1 miles per hour, allowing the operator to work at their most comfortable pace. The weatherproof deck adjusts to six cutting heights from 1.5 to 4 inches with a convenient single-lever controller. To manage grass clippings in whatever way is needed, choose from mulching, bagging, or side discharge.

We really liked the appearance of this mower; it was reminiscent of the Millenium Falcon, which was fun, and it felt extremely durable. It included LED headlights for mowing in low light or finding your way through a dim garage. The mowing power was quite good in all conditions, and power automatically increased for tougher conditions. But a disappointing lack of deck airflow made it necessary to double mow in some places that were left ragged after the first pass. Still, for the price, it was a good all-around mower that gets bonus points for style.

Get the Ego Power+ lawn mower for small yards at Amazon or Walmart.

Best Riding

Troy-Bilt Super Bronco 42E XP Battery Riding Mower

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Our Ratings: Ease of Use 5/5; Cut Quality 4/5; Noise 5/5; Grass Disposal N/A; Value 4.3/5

Product Specs 

  • Type: Lawn tractor
  • Power: Cordless electric
  • Deck size: 42 inches

Pros

  • Premium sewn seat with deep padding provides outstanding comfort
  • Excellent weight balance makes it easy to operate on uneven terrain
  • Impressive runtime; mowed more than 2.5 acres per charge in our tests

Cons

  • Starting and stopping were somewhat jerky
  • Mowing in reverse required extra steps at the control panel

The Troy-Bilt Super Bronco 42E XP’s mowing performance competes well with the rest of the group. As a lawn tractor, it is capable of cutting the grass as well as towing lawn equipment such as a dump cart, lawn spreader, or aerator. This small riding lawn mower comes equipped with a built-in 56-volt 60-amp-hour lithium battery and a 42-inch mowing deck. Other popular features include brushless motors, cruise control, LED headlights, and a premium sewn seat.

The Super Bronco 42E XP works much like gas-powered hydrostatic riding mowers. Two pedals on the right control direction and speed, while the brake pedal is located on the left. In operation, it was a tad jerky at the start and stop, especially when I first tried it. With some practice, I figured out how to “ease” on and off in order to minimize the jolt.

This riding mower for small yards was able to mow a little more than 2.5 acres. Those who will use this machine for towing and other applications should expect even longer runtimes when the mower blades are not operating. In short, this model boasts an excellent runtime and nice comfort features.

Get the Troy-Bilt lawn mower for small yards at The Home Depot or Northern Tool + Equipment.

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What to Consider when Choosing a Lawn Mower for Small Yards 

With all these options in mind, choosing the best lawn mower for a small yard may seem a bit overwhelming. Here are some additional features to consider before pulling out your checkbook.

Types of Lawn Mowers 

Before browsing for mowers, consider the power source: gas, corded electric, or battery. Or eliminate an exterior power source by purchasing a manual push mower. Next, choose the cutting type (rotary or reel).

Gas-Powered

Gas-powered lawn mowers are the old standby. These mowers use internal combustion engines to spin their mower blade and chop grass to the desired height. Gas-powered mowers, which are usually more powerful than other types of mowers, are easier to work on if something goes wrong.

However, gas-powered mowers are heavier and require more maintenance. The spark plugs, air filters, and fuel filters must be changed at least once per year, just like for a vehicle. Moreover, in colder climates, they must be winterized with a fuel stabilizer.

Corded Electric 

Although electric mowers aren’t a new concept or product, advances in motor technology have made these quiet-running mowers a viable option for small and midsize yards.

As the name suggests, an electric mower uses an electric motor to spin its blades. It’s also one of the easiest mowers to start. Users simply press the “on” button to start a corded electric lawn mower.

One of the downsides to an electric mower is it’s not as powerful as a gas-powered mower, so heavy or wet grass can pose a problem. In addition, servicing an electric mower is more difficult and less cost-effective, as its parts are usually fairly expensive.

Battery-Powered

Unlike a corded electric mower, a battery-powered mower uses rechargeable batteries, so users can mow the lawn without a nearby outlet or cord. They’re also noiseless, lightweight, and environmentally friendly.

Though cordless mowers may sound convenient, also consider battery life and price before making a purchase. Some battery-powered mowers, for example, are sold in a kit that includes the battery and the charger, but not always. Be sure to double-check the warranty and battery life before opting for a cordless mower.

Push Reel 

For a more eco-friendly approach to mowing, the trusty reel mower (also known as a push mower) may be the way to go. As opposed to a gas- or electric-powered mower, traditional push mowers require manual power.

Thanks to their scissorlike cutting action, reel mowers help the grass stay healthy and disease- and insect-resistant. They’re also quiet, efficient, and affordable. Purchasing a reel mower is an environmentally conscious, one-time investment for your lawn, and they generally require little maintenance.

If the grass is 4 inches or taller, operating a push mower may be difficult but not impossible. When mowing an overgrown lawn with a reel mower, be patient and mow in an overlapping, or checkerboard, pattern.

Terrain 

When shopping for a new mower, think about more than just the grass. Consider the number of trees and obstacles; yard debris, such as leaves, twigs, or nuts; and the terrain, which can dictate wheel size and weight.

Engine Features

If a battery-powered or corded small electric lawn mower didn’t make the list of possibilities, do a bit of engine research. Walk-behind mower engines range in size from 140cc to 190cc. The more cc an engine has, the more power. Those planning to cut thick, long grass may want to purchase a high-powered riding mower, but a lower-powered push mower can handle routine trimming.

Starting Mechanism

Starting a lawn mower shouldn’t be an ordeal, especially if mowing a small yard. Whether it’s an electric or gas-powered mower, the simpler it is to start, the better.

  • Starting an electric mower is pretty straightforward: Simply connect to a power source, flip a switch, push a button or turn a key, pull the throttle bar back to the push bar, and voilà!
  • A gas-powered mower may require a bit of elbow grease. To start a cheap gas mower, pump gasoline into the fuel system to prime it, pull back the throttle bar, and pull the starting cord. If the motor stalls, don’t worry. The pull start may just need a few more tugs. Many of the best new gas mowers have eliminated the traditional need to prime and choke before starting and include features that reduce the exertion required for pull starting.

Cutting Width and Height

When shopping for the best mower for your yard, consider its cutting width and height. Gas-powered mowers usually come in widths ranging from 20 to 30 inches; models on the lower end of that range are ideal for smaller yards.

Electric mowers are manufactured in widths between 14 and 22 inches, which work well for small yards. The same range applies to a reel-style mower. Though mowers with a smaller width require more passes, they can reach tight spots in the yard and store easily.

Mulching and Bags

New push mowers and walk-behind mowers are designed with mulching as the primary method of clipping disposal. Airflow under the deck suspends the clippings so that the blade chops them to a fine texture before depositing them back into the lawn. This is the cleanest and easiest way to deal with clippings. Mulching is healthy for the lawn because the clippings return nutrients back to the soil.

Before mulching mowers existed, bagging was popular because it eliminated the longer clippings that side discharge mowers left on the grass. Bagging is still helpful when the grass has grown too high for efficient mulching. Almost every new lawn mower comes equipped for both mulching and bagging. 

Side discharge is now sort of an afterthought but still comes in handy when dealing with overgrown grass and seasonal landscape cleanup. Heavy yields of clippings can overwhelm bagging systems and cause the engine to stall. Discharging the clippings can help the mower power through the toughest cutting conditions in order to tame unruly lawns or landscape beds.

Maneuverability

If a yard contains a lot of narrow spaces between shrubbery and garden beds, an easily maneuverable mower can help manage the tight turns and small passages. When choosing an easily maneuverable mower, weight is the most important consideration. A lightweight mower (50 pounds or lighter) allows precision mowing and tighter turns.

Moreover, a narrow-width mower is easier to pass through these tight spaces, so also look at the mower’s deck. This type of mower will require more passes, but it should be able to mow in the tight spots.

Safety Features 

Regardless of the type of mower, it should be safe to operate and easy to store. The easy start on an electric mower is dangerous because even a child could start it. To prevent such a scenario, look for an electric mower with a removable key or lockable switch.

On the other hand, gas-powered models have few safety features. However, they’re not unsafe because most of them contain a throttle bar that shuts down the mower when the push bar is released. This means that when someone falls or loses their grip on the mower, it shuts off almost immediately.

Reel mowers have even fewer safety features. In general, if their wheels are spinning, their blades are moving.

Two of the most important safety considerations when operating any type of lawn mower are to wear closed-toe shoes when mowing and keep children and pets out of the vicinity.

Maintenance 

As mentioned, gas-powered mowers require more maintenance than other types of mowers. Owners must change air and fuel filters as well as spark plugs about once a year. To ready the mower for winter, the gas must be drained, and most people add a fuel-system stabilizer.

Electric and reel mowers don’t require nearly as much maintenance, and cold weather doesn’t affect them. And, of course, they don’t use spark plugs or filters. However, these mowers still need some universal maintenance. Clean the underside of the mower a few times each year to prevent grass from building up and causing corrosion. The blade will need resharpening from time to time as well.

FAQs

Keep reading to find the answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions about using a lawn mower for small yards. If you still have questions, reach out to your mower’s manufacturer and speak to the customer service department. 

Q. What horsepower do I need for my lawn mower? 

Small yards don’t require much power, and manufacturers don’t always include power-output ratings in their packaging. For a gas-powered mower, an engine size over 120cc should be enough for small yards. For corded mowers, amp ratings around 12 usually work well. For cordless electric options, look for voltages in the 36-volt range. 

Q. How do I remove a lawn mower blade? 

A bolt or set of bolts holds the blade to the bottom of the mower. First, make sure the mower is off and can’t start by removing the power source and safety key or unplugging the spark plug. Then, holding the blade in place with a gloved hand, loosen the bolt(s) with a wrench. After it’s unbolted, the blade is easy to remove.

Q. How do I change the oil in my lawn mower?

Change the oil without gasoline in the system. If possible, run your lawn mower dry. Then tilt the mower on the side that has the oil-filler cap. When the mower is on its side, remove the cap and drain the old oil out of the system into a pan. When the mower’s empty, stand it back up and fill it with new 30W mower oil.

Q. How do I clean my lawn mower? 

Cleaning your mower is easy: 
Run the tank dry, so you can place the mower on its side. 
Unplug the spark plug to ensure the motor cannot turn over. 
Inspect under the mower deck for debris and obstructions. Remove any debris.
Spray the underside of the mower deck with a garden hose to remove any caked-on dirt and grass. 

Q. At what speed should you mow?

With riding lawn mowers, speed is more of a concern than when using push and walk-behind mowers. On residential riding mowers, the best results come from full-throttle blade speed and drive speed about 3.5 miles per hour. With walking mowers, the blade speed is automatically set. Walk at a steady, comfortable pace and you’ll get a good cut.

Meet the Tester

Mark Wolfe is a writer and product tester with a background in the nursery and landscaping industries. For more than 20 years he mowed, edged, planted, pruned, cultivated, irrigated, and renovated beautiful landscapes. Now he tests and writes reviews about the latest outdoor power equipment, hand tools, lawn care products, and other outdoor-living goods.

Additional research provided by Tom Scalisi.

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Tom Scalisi

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Tom Scalisi is a freelance writer, author, and blogger with a passion for building. Whether it’s a DIY project or an entire website, Tom loves creating something from the ground up, stepping back, and admiring a job well done.

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