Pros and cons of walk-behind and riding mowers

Match the mower to the size of your lawn and your budget

Published: April 03, 2015 04:00 PM

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Even if you limit the size of your lawn and let the grass grow a bit longer, you’ll have to mow it eventually. The mower you choose depends on the size of your property, the amount you want to spend, and how much energy you want to exert. Here are the pros and cons of the four types of mower as well as some recommended models from Consumer Reports’ mower tests.

Reel mower

Price range: $70-$200
Best for: Small lawns. They don’t pollute. They’re quiet, inexpensive, and ­relatively safe.
But: Cutting tends to be uneven. Also, be prepared for a hard slog if you let grass grow higher than a few inches.
Calories burned per hour (by a 150-pound person): 434

Craftsman 37432

Push mower

Price range: Gas, $150-$350; electric, $160-$690
Best for: Level lawns smaller than a half-acre. Electrics start with a button.
But: You’ll do all of the pushing when mowing. Gas units need maintenance.
Calories burned per hour: 362
Recommended gas mower: Craftsman 37432, $220
Recommended electric mower: EGO LM2000, $500

Honda HRX2175VYA

Self-propelled mower

Price range: Gas, $250-$800; electric, $380-$500
Best for: Most lawns. They mow more evenly and are better for slopes.
But: Self-propelled mowers tend to need more repairs than push mowers.
Calories burned per hour: 325
Recommended gas multiple speed: Honda HRX2175VYA, $800
Recommended gas single speed:
Toro 20339, $350
Recommended electric mower:
Black & Decker SPCM1936, $450
Recommended wide-deck:
Toro 20199, $1,000

John Deere X300

Lawn tractor or rider

Price range: $1,200-$4,000
Best for: Lawns of one-half acre or more; lawn tractors are better for slopes.
But: You’ll need roughly 4x6-foot storage space. Add-ons may use more fuel.
Calories burned per hour: 181
Recommended tractor: John Deere X300, $3,000
Recommended wide-deck tractor:
Craftsman 20445, $1,500
Recommended zero-turn-radius rider:
Troy-Bilt Mustang 17WFCACS, $2,300
Recommended rear-engine rider:
Troy-Bilt TB30R 13BC26JD, $1,000

More great choices

Find more mower picks of every type in our full mower Ratings and recommendations.

—Ed Perratore (@EdPerratore on Twitter)

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