One of the best lawn mowers for big yards.

If you have a small lot or a sprawling estate, picking a lawn mower is fairly straightforward.

Push mowers are a solid choice for up to about a quarter-acre. Self-propelled mowers, with their powered wheels, are great for yards from ¼ acre to about a ½ acre—the mower pulls itself forward, freeing you from having to push the mower forward yourself.

But if you're tackling a lawn of around ¾ acre, even powered wheels won't make the job seem easy if you're only clearing a 21-inch-wide swath on each pass. That's the standard width for walk-behind mowers. And yet a regular riding mower or zero-turn-radius model might seem like overkill for a yard that size—plus they’re expensive and inconvenient to store.

More on Lawn Mowers

Let us direct you to two better options: the wide-deck self-propelled mower and the rear-engine rider.

The former resembles a standard walk-behind mower, but it boasts an extra-wide cutting deck, typically 28 inches. That extra width will shave about a quarter of the time off each mowing—which adds up to a lot of hours saved over the season.

Rear-engine riders, on the other hand, are scaled-down riding mowers, with engines mounted behind (rather than in front of) the seat. Most have 30-inch-wide cutting decks, compared with the riding mower’s standard 42-inch decks. The narrower profile means they’re about 25 percent smaller than full-sized riders, which means these rear-engine riders require less storage space. And prices start around $1,000, instead of near the $1,500 mark.

Both types of mowers are typically powered by gas, but we have tested one battery-powered rear-engine rider.

“Wide-deck self-propelled mowers and rear-engine riders make up a small share of all the lawn mowers sold in the U.S.,” says Courtney Pennicooke, an analyst who oversees the lawn mower market for Consumer Reports. “But for people with lawns of a certain size, they really hit the sweet spot.”

Each year, Pennicooke makes sure that a number of both mower types are among the dozens of models we evaluate at our dedicated testing facility.

How CR Tests Lawn Mowers and Tractors

To get you ratings and reviews of the latest models by early spring, our testers travel to Florida to conduct tests in late winter at grounds we maintain year-round. We plant 1,800 pounds of grass seed (predominantly annual rye, prized for its dense growth) and spread 500 pounds of fertilizer. We cut 450,000 square feet of grass in three modes—mulching, bagging, and side-discharging—covering level turf, slopes, and in ditches to get a feel for each and every model. We also review the convenience features on every model we assess.

The Overall Score for each model in CR's mower ratings incorporates all that performance data, along with predicted reliability and owner satisfaction ratings from our latest member survey. The survey leverages data on more than 43,916 lawn mowers and tractors that members purchased between 2008 and 2018.

The Best Lawn Mowers for Big Yards

Size isn’t the only factor that should dictate your decision. Start with our lawn mower buying guide, which explains how the slope of your yard can change the equation. You’ll also find a thorough overview of electric models, which make up an ever-growing slice of the mower market. Next, check out our comprehensive lawn mower ratings.

CR members with digital access can also read on for ratings and reviews of the very best mowers for big yards (up to an acre).

Best Wide-Deck Self-Propelled Mowers

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Best Rear-Engine Riding Mowers for Big Yards

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Bagging

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Mulching
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