The Best Lawn Mowers for Small Yards of 2023

Cut your search for the best lawn mowers in half with this guide for finding a top-notch yard-maintenance product for a small lawn.

By Tom Scalisi | Updated Oct 27, 2022 5:11 PM

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The Best Lawn Mower for Small Yard Option


When shopping for the best lawn mower for small yards, narrow down the choices to what matters: ease of use, durability, and reliability. Users with a small lawn should also consider storage and yard size: Taking a ½-hour to get out a mower to run it for only 10 minutes is a waste of time and space.

Finding the best mower can be tricky. First, shoppers must choose among a gas-powered mower, an electric mower, or a manual mower. Next, they should 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: Greenworks G-Max 40V 16” Cordless Lawn Mower
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Sun Joe MJ401E-PRO 14″ 13-Amp Electric Lawn Mower
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Gardena 15001-41 Robotic Lawn Mower
  4. BEST GAS-POWERED: Craftsman M105 140cc 21″ Gas Push Lawn Mower
  5. BEST ELECTRIC: Greenworks 19″ Brushless Cordless Lawn Mower
  6. BEST REEL: Great States 18″ 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower
  7. BEST CORDLESS: Makita XML03CM1 18V X2 (36V) LXT 18″ Lawn Mower
  8. BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: Black+Decker Electric Lawn Mower 15″ 10-Amp
  9. BEST ROBOTIC: Worx Landroid M 20V 2.0Ah Robotic Lawn Mower
  10. BEST MANUAL: American Lawn Mower Company 14″ Push Reel Lawn Mower
The Best Lawn Mower For Small Yards Option


Types of Lawn Mowers 

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


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 that 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.


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.

Key Considerations 

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.


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 electric lawn mower didn’t make the list of possibilities, do a bit of engine research. Walk-mower engines, which range in size from 140 cubic centimeters (cc) to 190 cc, come in four variations: traditional side valve, overhead valve, overhead cam, and direct overhead valve. 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, and pull the throttle bar back to the push bar, and voilà!
  • A gas-powered mower, on the other hand, requires a bit of elbow grease. To start a gas mower, pump gasoline into the fuel system to prime it, pull back the throttle bar, and yank on the pull start. If the motor stalls, don’t worry. The pull start may just need a few more tugs. Some mowers come with an additional built-in pull start function that multiplies the force applied to make the task easier.

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 15 and 21 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

Some homeowners don’t like yard clippings on their freshly cut lawn, while others use the clippings as mulch. Most mowers can discharge clippings, and they have a space on the side for grass clippings to exit the mower. However, some mowers come with a detachable bag that fits this space, so homeowners can bag the clippings to use as mulch.

In addition to giving a yard a cleaner look, mulch adds nutrients to the soil and can prevent the growth of weeds. Mulching also saves time and money.


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 smaller-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.


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 may need resharpening from time to time as well.

Our Top Picks

Ready to start shopping? With these features and considerations in mind, our recommendations were selected as some of the best lawn mowers for small-yard models.

Best Overall

The Best Lawn Mower for Small Yard Option: Greenworks G-Max 40V 16'' Cordless Lawn Mower

If a battery-powered mower is at the top of the list, check out the Greenworks G-Max 40V 16-Inch Cordless Lawn Mower. This mower can mow up to 4,000 square feet in 45 minutes on one charge. Bonus: It has a push-button start and weighs only 37.5 pounds.

The Greenworks G-Max has a 16-inch cutting width and five adjustable heights. Its 6-inch front wheels and 7-inch rear wheels handle most yards without issue. It can mulch or bag grass clippings (bag included), and it comes with a 40-volt (V) 4 amp hours (Ah) battery and charger.

Product Specs

  • Type: Cordless electric
  • Power: 40V
  • Cutting width: 16 inches


  • Clean, 40V battery-powered engine
  • Easy push-button start
  • Designed to mow yards up to a ½ acre
  • Mulches clippings or collects them (bag included)


  • Batteries can lose some of their charging power with time
  • A recharge takes about 2 hours

Get the Greenworks G-Max lawn mower for small yards on Amazon.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Lawn Mower For Small Yards Option: Sun Joe MJ401E-PRO 14 inch 13 Amp Electric Lawn Mower

The Sun Joe Electric Lawn Mower is ideal for those with a small, flat yard but very little room to store a mower. This corded electric mower’s cutting path is only 14 inches wide, which means it can maneuver into most tight places, both in the yard and in the storage shed or garage. It has a 13-amp motor but weighs only 29 pounds.

The Sun Joe has three height adjustments, allowing owners to choose the best grass length for the season. Leave clippings on the lawn to break down into the soil, or collect them with the included 10.6-gallon clipping bag.

Product Specs

  • Type: Corded electric
  • Power: 13 amps
  • Cutting width: 14 inches


  • Affordable easy-start electric mower for small lawns
  • The deck can be adjusted to 3 height positions
  • Compact; 14-inch-wide cutting path
  • Folding handle for storage
  • Includes a 10.6-gallon clipping collection bag


  • Small cutting width might require more passes
  • Cord requires outlet (and possibly an extension cord) to operate
  • Users must move cord out of the way while mowing

Get the Sun Joe lawn mower for small yards at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Tractor Supply Co.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Lawn Mower for Small Yard Option: Gardena 15001-41 Robotic Lawn Mower

Exhausting precious energy on garden chores can be a thing of the past with the Gardena Robotic Lawn Mower, which can cover up to 2,700 square feet of lawn. Users simply set up their preferences in the Bluetooth app on their mobile device, then sit back and watch the robot take care of the lawn maintenance all on its own. It also detects its battery level and can automatically return to recharge.

Smaller yards are ideal for this unit, which can last up to 75 minutes on a single charge. It also operates at a super-quiet 57 decibels, so it’s less likely to disturb people nearby while it works. Another nifty feature of the Gardena is how easy it is to clean—just spray it down with a garden hose.

Product Specs

  • Type: Automated cordless electric
  • Power: 18V
  • Cutting width: 6.3 inches


  • Automated for added convenience
  • Easy to set up using the app
  • Suitable for up to 2,700 square feet
  • Quiet operation


  • Struggles on sloped lawns
  • Boundary-wire installation can be difficult

Get the Gardena lawn mower for small yards on Amazon.

Best Gas-Powered

The Best Lawn Mower for Small Yard Option: Craftsman M105 140cc 21 Gas Push Lawn Mower

Those looking for a compact mower with plenty of power may want to look at the Craftsman M105. This gas-powered mower features a 140cc Briggs & Stratton gasoline engine with an auto choke and recoil for easy starts. It has a 21-inch cutting width and features oversize rear wheels for more challenging terrain. It can be adjusted to cut grass between 1.25 and 3.75 inches.

The M105 provides options for grass clippings. Bag them with the included bagger or mulch them to enrich the soil. The included side chute discharges longer clippings for raking, bagging, or blowing.

Product Specs

  • Type: Gas push mower
  • Power: 140cc
  • Cutting width: 21 inches


  • Compact gas-powered mower with Briggs & Stratton engine
  • Auto choke and recoil for easy starts
  • 21-inch cutting width makes quick work of small lawns
  • Includes a bagger for clippings


  • Wider cutting width can’t fit into tight spots
  • Gas engines are not as clean as electric

Get the Craftsman lawn mower for small yards on Amazon.

Best Eletric

The Best Lawn Mower for Small Yard Option: Greenworks 19 Brushless Cordless Lawn Mower

The Greenworks 19-inch Cordless Electric Lawn Mower may be a great choice for those looking for a reliable, powerful electric mower. This mower can cut paths of tough grass up to 19 inches wide. It also features two oversize 7-inch wheels for maneuvering over roots and rocks easily. The height adjusts to seven different settings. It weighs just 56 pounds and folds into a compact package for storage.

This pick mulches grass or captures it in a side discharge chute.

Product Specs

  • Type: Cordless electric
  • Power: 48V
  • Cutting width: 19 inches


  • 7 height adjustments
  • Affordable
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Compact design great for storage


  • Battery provides approximately 35 minutes of runtime

Get the Greenworks cordless lawn mower for small yards on Amazon.

Best Reel

The Best Lawn Mower for Small Yard Option: Great States 18 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower

The Great States Push Reel Lawn Mower is a good choice for those looking for a manual push mower. This quiet manual mower has an 18-inch cutting path as well as a five-blade design. The 10-inch wheels allow for some challenging terrain as well.

While the design is basic, this Great States lawn mower has some nice features. Its padded handle keeps it comfortable, and it adjusts to several different heights. Though it doesn’t mulch, its bagger attachment collects clippings.

Product Specs

  • Type: Manual push reel mower
  • Power: None, manual
  • Cutting width: 18 inches


  • Motorless push reel mower; 10-inch wheels help on challenging terrain
  • Quiet and eco-friendly
  • Good 18-inch cutting path
  • Padded handle with adjustable height


  • Requires a little more work on the operator’s part
  • No clippings bag; standard catcher can be purchased separately

Get the Great States lawn mower for small yards on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

Best Cordless

The Best Lawn Mower for Small Yard Option: Makita XML03CM1 18V X2 (36V) LXT 18 Lawn Mower

The Makita 18-inch lawn mower bridges the gap between cordless electric convenience and gas-powered dependability. This cordless electric lawn mower uses two 18V batteries to create 36V of power. The brushless motor runs between 2,500 and 3,300 revolutions per minute. It can cover up to 7,300 square feet of lawn on one charge. It comes with two sets of batteries and a charger.

This Makita lawn mower allows for both mulching and bagging with its included 16-gallon bag. It has 10 adjustable height settings. To store it, simply fold the handle and roll it under a workbench.

Product Specs

  • Type: Cordless electric
  • Power: 36V
  • Cutting width: 18 inches


  • 4 batteries included
  • Impressive power
  • Dual battery for longer runtime


  • Pricey

Get the Makita lawn mower for small yards on Amazon.

Best Lightweight

The Best Lawn Mower For Small Yards Option: BLACK+DECKER Electric Lawn Mower 10-Amp, 15-Inch

For a lightweight mower with plenty of features and capability, this corded electric lawn mower from Black+Decker should be on the list. This mower, with a 15-inch cutting width and a 10-amp electric motor, weighs just under 40 pounds. It features a push-button start and upright, ergonomically designed grips with built-in triggers.

Aside from the weight and comfortable grips, this Black+Decker mower has some other nice features. Its six height adjustments allow users to set it to the ideal length. Although it lacks a mulching function, it comes with a bag. Keep in mind that this is a corded mower, so it may require an additional extension cord.

Product Specs

  • Type: Corded electric
  • Power: 10 amps
  • Cutting width: 15 inches


  • Lightweight but capable corded electric mower for small lawns
  • Easy push-button start
  • Ergonomically designed handles
  • Adjustable height for comfort
  • Comes with a collection bag for clippings


  • Likely requires purchase of an outdoor extension cord
  • Users must move cord out of the way while mowing

Get the Black+Decker lawn mower for small yards on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

Best Robotic

The Best Lawn Mower for Small Yard Option: Worx Landroid M 20V 2.0Ah Robotic Lawn Mower

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 20V 4Ah 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 do. 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.

Product Specs

  • Type: Cordless electric robotic
  • Power: 20V
  • Cutting width: 7 inches


  • Easy installation
  • Numerous upgrades available
  • User-friendly mobile app
  • Excellent runtime per charge


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

Get the Worx lawn mower for small yards on Amazon.

Best Manual

The Best Lawn Mower for Small Yard Option: American Lawn Mower Company 14 Push Reel Lawn Mower

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.

Product Specs

  • Type: Manual push reel mower
  • Power: None, manual
  • Cutting width: 14 inches


  • Compact and easy to store
  • Adjustable cutting height
  • Simple to clean and maintain


  • Requires physical effort

Get the American Lawn Mower Company lawn mower for small yards on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

Our Verdict

For quick work of a small lawn and no cords to wrangle while cutting the lawn, the Greenworks G-Max lawn mower for small yards can get the job done. Those short on budget and space might prefer the Sun Joe lawn mower for small yards, which has a 14-inch cutting width and a collapsible handle for tight storage.

How We Chose the Best Lawn Mowers for Small Yards

Owners of small lawns don’t need heavy-duty mowers but still might prefer a decent cutting width and good power. We analyzed available mowers that could make quick and easy work of mowing small landscapes, including those powered by gas, electric cords, batteries, or the people who push them. In addition to engine features and power, we considered how easy a mower typically starts and its maneuverability over terrain or in tight spots.

We also looked at whether the mower adjusts for cutting height and if it has a mulching feature or collection bag for clippings. Finally, we found some models with better comfort, safety, or ease of maintenance.


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 36V 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 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:

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

Why Trust Bob Vila

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series, including This Old House and Bob Vila’s Home Again, he popularized and became synonymous with DIY home improvement.

Throughout his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

Tom Scalisi is a freelance writer specializing in the home design, construction, tools, and automotive industries. He has been involved in the trades for over 15 years as both a contractor and a commercial building mechanic. In addition to his professional life, Tom enjoys getting outside on his mountain bike, camping, beekeeping, and fishing. Tom is also an avid racing and baseball fan. He lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with his wife, their three children, and three dogs.