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A walk-behind mower.

Best and Worst Walk-Behind Lawn Mowers

Cutting champs and clumping chumps from Consumer Reports' unparalleled field tests

Every year Consumer Reports evaluates the latest gas and electric walk-behind mowers at its mower-testing facility in Fort Myers, Fla., including push and self-propelled models. In our most recent testing, we evaluated machines from Ariens, Cub Cadet, EGO, Echo, Honda, Toro, and more. 

"This year, new models rose to the top of our ratings in push mowers," says Frank Spinelli, who oversees lawn mower testing for Consumer Reports. "We're recommending a record number of electric models—the best of which can cut as well as gas mowers."

But not every walk-behind mower measured up. Several that left ugly clumps scored 50 or lower on CR's 100-point scale. (For comparison, even the lowest-rated tractors and riding mowers we tested performed passably.) We'll fill you in below. 

How CR Tests Lawn Mowers and Tractors
At our Florida facility, we plant a blend of grass; cut the grass in three modes: mulching, bagging, and side-discharge; and review the convenience features on every model we assess. Here's what all that testing looks like:
4,900 pounds of grass seed planted, predominantly annual rye, which is prized for its dense growth.
991,800 square feet of grass cut. We cut on level turf, slopes, and in ditches to get a feel for each and every model.
2,000 pounds of clippings bagged. If composted and returned to your lawn, this amount would eliminate the need for 1,300 pounds of commercial fertilizer.
• 58,651 miles traveled by CR experts and staff to test mowers.

Mowers That Don't Make the Cut
Only about a third of the 75-plus walk-behind mowers in our ratings perform well enough for CR to recommend. Here are models that struggle in our exhaustive cutting tests.

Push Mowers to Avoid:

Self-Propelled Mowers to Avoid:

The Best Walk-Behind Lawn Mowers
Ready for a great mower? Start with our lawn mower buying guide to find the right type for your needs. Read on for ratings and reviews of this year's very best walk-behind mowers.