There’s something timeless about the sound of lawn mowers and the smell of fresh-cut grass on a Saturday morning. Well-manicured lawns and fresh air go hand in hand, and the best push mower helps make it more enjoyable.
The best push mowers are frustration-free, easy to use, and provide consistent results. Some of these machines even propel themselves, allowing the user to follow behind comfortably. They can collect clippings and create leaf mulch. Keep reading to learn more.
- BEST OVERALL: Greenworks 40V Brushless (Smart Pace) Self-Propelled
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade
- BEST BATTERY: Greenworks G-MAX 40V 16” Cordless Lawn Mower
- BEST GASOLINE: Craftsman M215 159cc 21-Inch 3-in-1 High-Wheeled FWD
- BEST ELECTRIC: American Lawn Mower Company 14-Inch 11-Amp Corded
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Push Mower
A push mower is available for front-yard perfectionists as well as for those who simply need to trim a small patch of grass. But choosing the best push mower takes a bit of research. The following tips can help shoppers decide which lawn mower may work best for their yards.
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 fuel is readily available.
- Electric push mowers run on batteries or an extension cord, and they’re quiet and require little maintenance. Battery-powered mowers can go anywhere, while corded models work well in small yards. But batteries don’t last forever, and some can 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.
- Self-propelled mowers run on both gasoline and batteries, and their wheels drive the mowers. They’re excellent for larger yards.
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.
Some yards slope, have walkways or curbs, 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 oversized 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 Width and Height
When choosing a push mower, consider the mower’s cutting width. 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 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.
For some folks, pushing a mower across the lawn can put stress on their arms, hands, and lower back. When considering comfort, the best option is a self-propelled push mower, which helps reduce the stress on the hands and arms and allows the user to follow behind it. The user only has to keep up, manipulate the mower around turns and corners, and release the throttle to stop it. Some mowers have padded handlebars or adjustable heights, which can increase ergonomics and reduce discomfort.
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.
Additional features to keep in mind include bag attachments that collect grass clippings, preventing unsightly clumps of clippings on the yard. Other mowers offer mulching chutes that work well with a quality mulching blade.
Some battery-powered push mower kits come with additional batteries. And some self-propelled models have adjustable speeds that allow the user to walk as comfortably as possible behind the machine.
Our Top Picks
With the best push mower, keeping a lawn neat and orderly isn’t difficult. When shopping, keep the following list in mind, which contains some of the top push mowers on the market.
Greenworks 40V 21-inch self-propelled push mower comes with a charger and two batteries, offering up to 70 minutes of total runtime without a recharge. When both batteries are installed into the dual ports, the mower automatically switches over to the fresh battery when the used one depletes.
This 40V motor offers plenty of power and torque, enough to run a heavy-duty mulching blade. The Greenworks mower features a steel 21-inch cutting deck for durability and fewer passes, collapsible handles for storage, a bagger attachment, adjustable heights, push-button start, and oversized rear wheels. The self-propelled mechanism has Smart Pace technology that automatically adjusts to the user’s speed.
American Lawn Mower Company’s 14-inch four-blade reel mower is quiet and works via the sweat of the user’s brow instead of gasoline or electricity, making it a good option for smaller yards.
This reel mower has a 14-inch cutting width and features a T-shaped handle with padded grips to make pushing it as comfortable as possible. The 8 ½-inch wheels make pushing this 20-pound mower over uneven terrain easier. And, with its height adjustment between ½ and 1 ¾ inches, this mower allows users to customize the length of the cut grass.
The Greenworks G-Max 16-inch cordless lawn mower has a narrow cutting deck that allows it to pass through tight areas. This push mower has a 45-minute runtime, allowing users to cut up to a half acre on one charge. It comes with a charger, one battery, and a detachable bagger.
The Greenworks G-Max has 7-inch rear wheels and 6-inch front wheels, allowing it to traverse mildly uneven terrain. It also has a one-lever height adjustment, allowing users to tweak their grass’s length quickly. The handlebar is padded, and the height adjusts to improve ergonomics and comfort.
Craftsman’s M215 self-propelled, gasoline-powered push mower features front-wheel drive, which allows the user to tip the mower back to lift the drive wheels off the ground for easy directional changes and mowing under shrubs and bushes. The speed is adjustable.
This powerful 159cc push mower features a 21-inch cutting width as well as six adjustable heights. It has extra-large 11-inch rear wheels, while the drive wheels measure 8 inches, making traversing rough terrain easier. It can cut, bag, or mulch, and it comes with the equipment for each: a bag, side chute, and mulching flap.
American Lawn Mower Company’s 14-inch 11-amp corded mower allows users to mow lawns as far as their extension cords can reach. It has both a rear discharge port and a bagger attachment as well as offset oversize wheels.
The American Lawn Mower Company mower features a 14-inch wide deck, which might take a few passes to mow a lawn but stores easily in tight sheds or garages. The 11-amp electric motor has enough power to cut most yards without issues. This push mower features adjustable handle heights and five adjustable cutting heights.
FAQs About Push Mowers
Even with all this background in how to find the best push mower, some questions may still remain. The following section is a collection of 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 the winter 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.