Over the last couple of years, we’ve tested more than 30 lawn mowers and found these eight push lawn mowers to be the best in their category, easy to use, and capable of fine finishes. We’ve mowed rows and rows on 2 acres with each of these mowers during 6 weeks of testing. In that time, we assessed each of their strengths to determine which mowers would best suit a variety of situations.
This guide outlines key features to look for in these lawn-maintenance tools and a product lineup that includes a variety of mowers, including some with self-propulsion. Traditionally, push mowers refer to a category of walk-behind mowers that require the user to push the mower, as opposed to a self-propelled walk-behind mower, which mechanically assists the user.
However, because people often use push and walk-behind interchangeably, this list includes some self-propelled options as well. Regardless of how you define them, the best push mowers are frustration-free and provide consistent results.
- BEST OVERALL: Greenworks Pro 80V 21-Inch Push Lawn Mower
- RUNNER-UP: Ego Power+ 21-Inch Self-Propelled Mower
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: American Lawn Mower Company 14-Inch Corded Mower
- BEST FOR SMALL YARDS: Stihl RMA 460 19-Inch Lawn Mower
- BEST FOR LARGE YARDS: Greenworks 40V 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
- BEST SELF-PROPELLED: Toro 60V MAX 21-Inch Super Recycler Mower
- BEST GAS: Craftsman 21-Inch 150cc Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
- BEST REEL: Fiskars StaySharp 18-Inch Max Reel Mower
How We Tested the Best Push Lawn Mowers
Before we began testing these mowers, we researched dozens of products in this category. Starting with top-rated models, we narrowed top picks down to products that we thought would offer exceptional performance based on features, consumer reviews, and our own experience with certain brands and similar products. We also chose a variety of products with user experience in mind, so this list includes mowers of various sizes and power output.
We then put these mowers to the test, evaluating maneuverability, cut quality, noise, grass-discharge options, runtime, overall ease of use, and any special features. With each mower, we mowed our test over several weeks. Finally, we rated each mower’s capabilities, awarding Best Overall to the highest-rated mower. We then awarded other mowers based on their strengths or best use.
Our Top Picks
With the best push mower, keeping a lawn neat and orderly isn’t difficult. Here’s how our tested models stack up.
Greenworks is known for its advancements in battery technology, and this model comes with two 80-volt (V) 2-amp-hour (Ah) batteries that allow for up to 60 minutes of runtime from a full charge. Better yet, the combined recharge time for two batteries is just 60 minutes using the rapid charger. It runs on one battery at a time and will power through up to a half acre of lawn during the 60 minutes of runtime provided by two fully charged batteries.
This push mower features a 21-inch-wide steel deck and Greenworks’ SmartCut technology. This technology adjusts the motor speed based on load, which makes for more efficient battery usage and better cut quality. In addition to impressive mowing coverage, this model has seven cutting-height positions, three grass-disposal options, and large 10-inch rear wheels to make it easy to mow and maneuver.
Not surprisingly, this Greenworks push mower required a bit more effort to move around the yard than the self-propelled mowers, but it was an extremely capable mower. The powerful motor offered the most “gaslike” performance among the electric mowers. It easily cut through dense, weedy grass up to 10 inches tall and left possibly the best finish of all the mowers we tested. In all grass-disposal modes—bagging, mulching, and side discharging—it left the grass perfectly smooth with no uneven spots or stringy weeds left behind. Plus, it mulched thick grass into virtually invisible clippings.
The only downside of this mower was that hilly ground reduced the amount of area we could mow per charge—not because of demand on the mower, but because our pace slowed. Also, we noticed that the side-discharge chute fit loosely, making it very easy to knock off when in use.
All things considered, we found that this push mower delivered the strongest mowing capability, even though we had to push it. And the price was significantly less than the others.
- Power source: One 80V 2Ah battery
- Deck size: 21 inches
- Cutting heights: 1.38 to 3.75 inches in 7 positions
- Two 2Ah batteries offer up to 60 minutes of runtime
- Strong motor delivers clean cuts and adjusts blade speed for thick grass
- Easy-to-use controls integrated into the handle
- Rapid charger replenishes battery power for 1 battery in 30 minutes
- Not self-propelled, so it may not be as easy to use for some
- Side-discharge chute fits loosely and could be knocked off
Get the Greenworks 80V push lawn mower at Amazon or Lowe’s.
With Ego’s advanced battery power and feature upgrades typical of more expensive models, this mower is one of the best on the market. It boasts 60 minutes of runtime thanks to its high-efficiency brushless motor and 56V 7.5Ah battery, which is what we used in testing. (Ego also offers 4Ah, 5Ah, and 10Ah batteries.) Plus, the 7.5Ah battery takes just 60 minutes to recharge with the rapid charger.
An intuitive lever controls the variable-speed self-propel system, which is capable of mowing more than 3 miles per hour. A load-sensing cutting system automatically increases when conditions get tougher, such as in dense, weedy areas or tall grass. Adjustable handle height, fold-down storage, three grass-disposal options, and LED headlights round out some of the impressive features of this mower.
In testing, we appreciated this mower’s blend of mowing ability, operator comfort, and rapid recharging ability. It easily mowed down tall weeds and traversed steep slopes, and its battery life appeared to be less affected by the added workload. In tough conditions where we experienced declines in battery life of up to 50 percent with some of the other mowers, the Ego mower only lost about 25 percent of its runtime.
The self-propel feature, on the other hand, cut battery time by about half, compared to using the manual mode. A second charged battery could alleviate that issue, however. The self-propel system also seemed to make the mower a bit noisier than it was otherwise.
That said, the Ego Power+ mower was comfortable and easy to use in all conditions and would be a good choice for lawns up to about a half acre.
Read our full review: Ego Power+ 21-Inch Self-Propelled Mower
- Power source: One 56V 4Ah, 5Ah, 7.5Ah or 10Ah battery
- Deck size: 21 inches
- Cutting heights: 1.5 to 4 inches in 6 positions
- 60 minutes of runtime works for lawns up to 0.5 acre
- Battery charges in an hour making it suitable for multiple uses
- Battery works with many other Ego Power+ tools
- Exhibits mowing power similar to a gasoline lawn mowers
- Using the self-propel feature decreases battery runtime by up to half, depending on terrain
- Drive system emits a whiny sound that some users may not like
Get the Ego Power+ push lawn mower at Amazon (with two 4Ah batteries), Lowe’s (tool only), or Acme Tools (tool only).
American Lawn Mower Company’s corded mower allows you to mow lawns as far as your extension cords can reach and at an attractive price. It also has offset oversize rear wheels to help users navigate hilly and uneven terrain. It features an 11-amp motor and cuts a 14-inch swath, so it’ll take a few more passes to cut the lawn, but its compact size and adjustable fold-down handle also make it very easy to store. The cutting height adjusts to five settings, from 1 inch up to 2.5 inches, making it most suitable for low-growing and warm-season grass types.
In testing, we liked the nonslip grip handle for comfortable control. The large 7-inch rear wheels and narrow, lightweight body also 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 other mowers.
The mower also features a safety shutoff if you release the handle while mowing, and it has mulching and side-discharge grass disposal options. It does require a 12- or 14-gauge exterior extension cord (not included) to run the mower. Overall, this mower is a good choice for those with small yards and limited storage space.
- Power source: 11-amp corded motor
- Deck size: 14 inches
- Cutting heights: 1.5 to 2.5 inches in 5 positions
- Has rear-discharge port and bagger attachment
- Offset oversize wheels for easier navigation on challenging terrain
- Adjustable handle height for improved user comfort
- Doesn’t require gas or charged batteries to operate, saving users time
- Narrow 14-inch cutting deck, so users have to make more passes to finish cutting
Get the American Lawn Mower Company push lawn mower at Amazon.
Part of the AK series of battery-powered tools, the RMA 460 is Stihl’s first mower in the brand’s lawn-care lineup. It’s available with an AK 30 battery and charger or as a tool only, for those who already own Stihl AK batteries.
At just 58 pounds with a 19-inch steel deck, it’s an easily maneuverable mower for those who have plenty of landscaping to move around or narrow passes to squeeze through. It also offers three grass-discharge options: bagging, mulching, and side discharge. With an AK 30 battery, the RMA 460 can mow 2,852 square feet on a single charge, according to the Stihl site. It also features two battery slots for backup power. Comfort features include a cushioned handle that adjusts to three positions.
In testing, the mower’s battery power lived up to Stihl’s claim: We mowed a little over 3,000 square feet on a single charge in standard mode with the mulch plug installed. A switch in the battery compartment allowed us to choose between standard mode or eco mode. Standard mode produces consistent high power. Eco mode defaults to lower output until it senses resistance—then it kicks into higher power until the resistance level dissipates. Eco mode allowed us to mow just under 4,000 square feet.
The mower deck was lightweight and easy to push but could also be used in self-propelled mode with a manual speed adjuster to match our pace. We were impressed with its cut quality too—no stringy weeds left behind.
- Power source: One 36V 5.2Ah battery
- Deck size: 19 inches
- Cutting heights: 1.4 to 3.9 inches in 7 positions
- Competitively priced for a premium-brand lawn mower
- Handles fold flat and mower can stand vertically for more convenient storage
- Lightweight build made it easy to push on slopes and to maneuver for storage
- Eco mode saves battery life but still cleanly cuts dense grass
- Narrow cutting deck requires more passes to complete mowing
- 3-hour charge time was not as fast as some of the competition
Get the Stihl push lawn mower at Ace Hardware or a Stihl dealer.
With up to 70 minutes of runtime per charge and a 21-inch mowing swath, this efficient, brushless lawn mower from Greenworks tackles larger yards up to half an acre (or even more for flat, manicured yards). It includes two 40V 4Ah batteries and a single-port battery charger that recharges each battery in 120 minutes.
Its convenient self-propelled feature operates with a pressure-sensitive handle that automatically adjusts wheel speed to the user’s walking pace. This mower also offers single-lever height adjustment so you can quickly set the mowing deck to cut from 1.38 to 3.75 inches in seven positions. The kit includes a side-discharge chute, bagger, and mulch plug to handle clippings in whichever way works best.
In our tests, we were somewhat surprised that this mower performed similarly to others with significantly more battery power, though it did tend to bog down dense grass in mulching mode a bit more. Otherwise, it delivered excellent results. With the discharge chute in place, we easily mowed overgrown, weedy areas, but those areas cut down runtime by about half. Overall, the cut quality was quite good. Only the most difficult grass patches required a second pass to achieve decent results.
The Greenworks 40V mower uses one battery at a time and automatically switches to the second battery when the first is depleted. This enabled us to start charging the depleted battery while mowing on the second battery, reducing downtime to just 20 minutes after depleting the second battery. On a single battery, we averaged from 20 to 30 minutes of runtime depending on our pace, terrain, and overall mowing conditions. Based on our testing experience with this model and other mowers, getting a full 70 minutes of runtime with two batteries is likely without using the self-propel feature and cutting one-third of regular grass (not weedy or overgrown).
The self-propel system worked fairly well, but, as is the case with most of these pressure-sensitive handle systems, it was not perfect. The sliding-handle mechanism was not as smooth as we would have liked, resulting in uneven acceleration, particularly going uphill. Decreasing speed proved challenging for the system as well. On downhills and flats, it occasionally felt as if the mower were running away instead of slowing down with the operator.
Still, it was much easier to adjust to these glitches than to push the mower for an hour at a time. For its excellent runtime and battery-management capabilities, this could make a good choice for those with larger lawns.
- Power source: One 40V 4Ah battery
- Deck size: 21 inches
- Cutting heights: 1.38 to 3.75 inches in 7 positions
- Can tackle small to large yards; 70 minutes of runtime per charge with 2 batteries
- Self-propelled with automatic pace adjustment to alleviate strain on user
- Heavy-duty steel deck can handle thin to thick grass varieties
- Large 10-inch rear wheels and 8-inch front wheels to traverse tricky terrain
- Pace-adjustment feature is less smooth than competitors
- Less effective at mulching dense grass than comparable options
Get the Greenworks 40V push lawn mower at Amazon.
The Toro Super Recycler lawn mower boasts design features that improve both performance and operator comfort. The three-phase motor automatically increases power output when it detects tougher mowing conditions, then eases off on less challenging terrain to conserve battery life. The 21-inch rustproof cast-aluminum deck features a powerful vortex air-intake system that stands grass blades up so the mower can evenly slice through them, delivering a clean cut.
Plus, for greater ease of use, this mower has a self-adjusting self-propelled drive system, and the handle includes springs and shocks to absorb bumps on uneven terrain. Bright LED headlights also make it easier to mow as the sun goes down. Its included 60V 7.5Ah battery delivers up to 50 minutes of runtime per charge and recharges in 3 hours.
The Toro Super Recycler was one of the most comfortable mowers we tested, primarily because of its robust self-propulsion system. Although it was not the only mower with a pressure-sensitive handle, this one functioned the best. It paired the slightly more resistant, but buttery smooth, handle movement with a higher top-end speed for self-movement that felt almost effortless on most terrain. We only had to apply slight pressure to climb uphill, and it didn’t try to run away when we walked downhill.
Toro’s excellent cut quality was second only to the Greenworks 80V push lawn mower. The Greenworks mower performed exceptionally well in overgrown areas, while the Toro needed a second pass for best results. We were also a bit underwhelmed by its battery performance. It averaged 45 to 50 minutes of runtime in normal conditions and 3 hours to recharge. Still, it’s a great choice for anyone who would like a mower that offers smooth operation and a top-quality cut on a lawn under a half acre.
- Power source: One 60V 7.5Ah battery
- Deck size: 21 inches
- Cutting heights: 1 to 4 inches in 9 positions
- Mows up to 0.4 acre (17,424 square feet) per charge
- Self-propelled system operates smoothly and improves ease of use
- Motor automatically adjusts output to match mowing conditions
- Rust- and corrosion-resistant aluminum deck stands up to the elements
- LED headlights allow for ample visibility in darker areas or nighttime mowing
- Longer recharge time than the competition
- Top mowing speed is too fast for imperfect conditions
Get the Toro push lawn mower at The Home Depot.
Craftsman is a well-established, well-respected brand in the world of lawn mowers, and this gas-powered model lives up to the Craftsman reputation. With a 21-inch mowing deck, it boasts a powerful 150cc engine ideal for yards up to a half acre. Large 8-inch rear wheels with heavy tread help this mower move through tougher terrain, while six cutting heights offer versatility. It also has three disposal settings: mulch, side discharge, and bag.
In testing, we appreciated the affordability and simplicity of the Craftsman. It only required about 20 minutes of easy assembly. Once we finished putting it together, we noticed that the completed handle configuration was a bit less refined in appearance than we would have liked as the blade and drive control cables are retained on the handle by heavy-duty cable ties. More noticeably, however, the grip area is unpadded metal, which is not nearly as comfortable to hold as other mowers.
On the good side, after we added oil and gas, the mower started easily on the first pull. It had good power for cutting average lawn grass and moving uphill, but it slowed down ever so slightly in tall, overgrown grass. The front-wheel drive made turning easy, but it’s important to note that with this configuration, a fully loaded bagger could weigh down the rear and cause it to lose traction, though we did not experience this.
The fuel tank size is adequate to mow about a half acre per fill-up. This could be an excellent pick for a budget-minded shopper looking for a durable self-propelled mower.
- Power source: 150cc Briggs & Stratton gas engine
- Deck size: 21 inches
- Cutting heights: 1.25 to 3.75 inches in 6 positions
- Self-propelled front-wheel drive assists the user while mowing to prevent strain
- Easy to start; no priming or choke required
- 3-in-1 grass disposal options: side discharge, mulch, or bag
- Self-propelled feature is a single speed
- Nonpadded grip could lead to hand fatigue with extended use
Get the Craftsman push lawn mower at Lowe’s or Ace Hardware.
Despite their sought-after power, gas mowers emit carbon dioxide into the air; and although cordless electric mowers limit emissions, battery disposal is not perfect. For the “greenest” lawn care, a reel mower can’t be beat, and the Fiskars StaySharp reel mower is one of our favorites.
It features high-quality StaySharp blades that reduce the need for resharpening and an InertiaDrive reel that enables the mower to power through thicker grasses. This mower also has two small front rollers to help balance and stabilize the mower.
Though this solidly built mower weighs in at a hefty 52 pounds, it works smoothly and efficiently. In testing, we found that the ergonomic handle was extremely comfortable, and the machine moved almost effortlessly over all but the roughest ground. Not only did the InertiaDrive system make it easy to push, but it also allowed the blades to slice through coarse weeds and small sticks that brought other reel mowers to an immediate halt.
This mower worked on a wider variety of terrain and grass types than any other reel mowers that we’ve tested and cut closest to the edges as well. Unlike other reel mowers, the offset wheels don’t flatten the grass before it is mowed and allow the mower to cut within an inch of the edge rather than 3.5 inches from the edge like other reel mowers.
The only criticism we had was that the 8.5-inch drive wheels felt somewhat undersized on taller grass and bumpy ground. Overall though, it was a pleasure to mow with this tool, and the completed cut was clean and even. The Fiskars mower cuts a generous 18-inch swath, making it well suited to mowing small- and medium-size yards. An optional grass catcher can be purchased separately.
- Power source: Manual
- Cutting swath: 18 inches
- Cutting heights: 1 to 4 inches in 4 positions
- Heavy-duty construction can last for several years
- Ergonomic design feels comfortable to use
- Easy to adjust and maneuver thanks to the InertiaDrive system
- Cuts closest to the edges so you can make fewer passes
- More than twice the weight of other reel mowers
- Larger footprint takes up slightly more storage space
Get the Fiskars push lawn mower at The Home Depot.
What to Consider When Choosing a Push Lawn Mower
Choosing the best push mower takes a bit of research. The following tips can help you decide which lawn mower may work best for your yard.
Push mowers come in several varieties, each of which has pros and cons:
- Gas-powered push mowers are loud and require a bit of maintenance, and the exhaust can be stinky, but gas-powered push mowers are powerful, and you can refill a gas tank faster than a battery recharges.
- Corded electric push mowers require an extension cord, but they’re quiet and require little maintenance. On the downside, because they’re tethered to an outlet, they tend to work best only for smaller yards.
- Battery-powered mowers, on the other hand, can go anywhere, and some battery-powered mower kits include extra batteries, extending the runtime. Batteries don’t last forever, though, and some may be difficult to replace over time.
- Reel mowers use old-school technology—gears and drive wheels—that spin a set of cylindrical blades when the mower is pushed.
Runtime refers to how long a mower can operate before it needs fresh batteries or gasoline. Gas-powered models can go for a few hours before refueling. Some battery-powered lawn mowers come with two batteries in the kit to provide an hour or more of total runtime.
Gasoline-powered engines come in varying sizes. In push mowers, power is usually relative to engine size. For the mower to have enough power to avoid bogging down in thick patches of grass, it needs an appropriately sized engine.
Most basic gas-powered mowers do well with a roughly 140cc engine, though self-propelled models benefit from more power (150cc and up). The larger the mower, the more fuel it will use, and more fuel means greater emissions.
Electric mowers have motors instead of engines. Look for a battery model that runs off a 36V or greater system or a corded model with an 11-amp rating or greater.
Yard Size and Terrain
Some yards slope or are just generally uneven, so push mowers are built to handle dips, depressions, ruts, and other types of rough terrain. To handle uneven terrain, some push mowers have oversize wheels, typically in the back, which prevent the mower from getting stuck in a rut or hung on a walkway. Some even have oversize wheels on all four corners to provide an easier rollover.
Cutting Deck Width and Height
When choosing a push mower, consider the mower’s cutting deck—the part of the mower that houses the blades. Smaller mowers, such as those with 16-inch decks, may fit through small garden gates and flower beds, but they’ll require more passes to mow a yard. Larger mowers, such as those with 21-inch decks, can make short work of a larger yard.
Push mowers, like all mowers, have adjustable cutting heights. Users can adjust the mower deck height to the desired grass height with the levers attached to the wheels. Shorter grass requires less frequent mowing, but the sun’s intense heat during the summer can burn a lawn cut too short.
Push vs. Self-Propelled
As mentioned above, push and self-propelled lawn mowers have traditionally been defined differently, with push mower wheels powered only by the user and self-propelled mower wheels powered by the engine or motor. However, both types of walk-behind mowers are often defined as push mowers, so it’s fair to say that you can find a push mower with a self-propelled option.
No matter how a mower is categorized, for some folks, pushing a mower across the lawn can put stress on their arms, hands, and lower back. That’s particularly true if they’re mowing large or hilly yards.
For overall ease of use, the best option for many may be a self-propelled mower, which helps reduce the physical stress of mowing. You simply need to keep up, lightly pushing the mower and manipulating it around turns and corners, releasing the throttle to stop it. Some self-propelled models have adjustable speeds that allow you to walk as comfortably as possible behind the machine.
Grass Disposal Options
There are three ways to dispose of grass clippings as you mow: mulching, bagging, or discharging through a side chute. Mulching keeps the grass clippings under the deck, allowing the blade to cut them multiple times to produce a fine mulch that quickly incorporates nutrients back into the soil.
To bag grass clippings, some mowers include a bag that connects at the rear of the mower and the mower shoots the clippings into the bag. This prevents unsightly clumps of clippings on the yard and helps prevent thatch buildup on a lawn.
Finally, some mowers include a chute that connects to the side of the mower. In side-discharge mode, the mower shoots the grass clippings through the chute, providing an even dispersal of grass clippings. Mowers may include one, two, or all three of these options.
Any push mower, whether corded, battery-powered, or gas fed, can be dangerous. All mowers have some sort of fail-safe lever to hold down that allows the motor to operate. Releasing the lever causes the mower to stop.
Since many electric and battery-powered options start very easily, manufacturers include removable safety keys that act like kill switches when removed. These keys prevent a small child from accidentally starting the mower.
Even with all this background on how to find the best push mower, some questions may remain. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about push mowers.
Q. What should I look for in a push mower?
Although preferences vary, most people prefer a model with plenty of power, a bagger attachment, large wheels (if the yard has some rougher terrain), and adjustable cutting heights.
Q. What is a good horsepower for a lawn mower?
Manufacturers are moving away from horsepower ratings; instead, look for a gas-powered push mower with a 140cc or larger engine, a battery-operated model with 36V or more battery and motor, and an 11-amp or greater corded electric motor.
Q. How do I maintain my push mower?
Clean the underside of any mower’s deck with a hose and sharpen its blades from time to time. If it’s a gasoline-powered mower, change the spark plug and air filter once a year. Also, remember to winterize the fuel system before cold weather hits by adding a fuel treatment.
Q. How long will my push mower last?
The average push mower can last for 8 to 10 years. Electric mowers probably last the longest, as they have the simplest motors and mechanisms. Batteries could fail on cordless models, and replacing the battery if it’s no longer available may be difficult.
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 “do-it-yourself” home improvement.
Over the course of 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.
Meet the Tester
Mark Wolfe is a writer and product tester with a background in the nursery and landscaping industry. 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.