Product Reviews
Take Action

Fight for Fair Finance

Tell the administration and Congress to stand up for the consumer watchdog that protects you from financial fraud and abuse.
Take Action
Why Do We Have Campaigns?
We're fighting to ensure you and your family can get a fair deal in the marketplace, especially on the choices that matter most: health care, privacy, automobiles, food, finances and more. Join our campaigns and together, we'll hold corporations and lawmakers accountable.

The winners of our Florida lawn mower showdown

Consumer Reports News: March 20, 2013 03:08 PM

Find Ratings

While people across the northern part of the nation were coping with multiple snow storms, the Consumer Reports mower test team was down in Fort Myers, Florida, for six weeks of testing walk-behind mowers, lawn tractors, and other mowing gear. The results of our tests of 120 mowers just posted and over the coming days and weeks we'll be reporting on the highlights from our tests including new mower features that make it easier to cut the grass.

In our mower tests, we gauge cutting evenness in three mowing modes, how broadly machines disperse clippings they discharge, how completely they fill their bags, and many other factors related to the cutting itself. Moreover, we judge machines for how smoothly they handle, how intelligently the controls are situated, and how easy it is to switch cutting modes.

If the arrival of spring is making you yearn for a new mower, you may want to see how the new models you'll find in the stores performed in our tough mowing tests. We've added 32 new walk-behind mowers and 12 riders to our mower Ratings. Here's a sampling of what our testers found in Florida.

Walk-behind mowers
• How the $500 Honda HRR216K9VLA, which includes a new self-charging electric-start system actually cuts grass;
• Some welcome results from tests of Ariens' walk-behind mowers, newly designed for this season, which feature premium engines, deep decks, single-lever wheel-height adjustment, and other notable features;
• The industry's first walk-behind mower with all-wheel drive, the Husqvarna HU800AWD, $500, and what this feature did for maneuverability;
• Why several of the latest models we tested have a surprisingly similar look; and
• An exception to our advice that a premium engine is invariably better.

Tractors and riders
• Our mixed review of the $3,000 Raven MPV-710, a hybrid lawn tractor with a 17-mph ground speed for when you're not mowing&mdashand a built-in 7,100-watt generator that's as portable as it gets;
• Some stellar results from new zero-turn-radius riders from Troy-Bilt, which cost the same as or less than other comparably sized machines;
• Scores of three John Deere machines we first saw demonstrated last fall; and
• A closer look at two new rear-engine riders of the kind you might have seen in the film Forrest Gump. One of them is an upgraded version of the $1,000 Troy-Bilt model we first tested last year.

Ed Perratore

Find Ratings

Lawn mowers Ratings

View and compare all Lawn mowers ratings.

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Home & Garden News


Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings


Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more