Best and Worst Walk-Behind Lawn Mowers
The top performers in CR's unparalleled field tests come from Cub Cadet, Ego, Greenworks, Honda, Kobalt, Ryobi, Toro, and Troy-Bilt
A great walk-behind lawn mower ably handles the particular challenges of mowing a smaller yard, so your grass-cutting is simple and quick.
What are those challenges? You may not have even considered them.
"In a small yard you’re more likely to be turning around or navigating around obstacles more often," says Misha Kollontai, a Consumer Reports senior test project leader who covers mowers. A walk-behind mower is more appropriate for such jobs than a tractor or riding mower, he adds, because it’s easier to maneuver.
Consumer Reports has found plenty of winners among the newest crop of gas and battery-powered walk-behinds. We’re giving more than half of the walk-behind mowers we tested this winter our recommended stamp of approval.
The stars in the class of 2022 include push and self-propelled standouts from Cub Cadet, Ego, Greenworks, Honda, Kobalt, Ryobi, Toro, Troy-Bilt, and more.
How CR Tests Lawn Mowers and Tractors
To get you ratings and reviews of the latest models by early spring, our testers travel to our mower-testing facility in Fort Myers, Fla., to conduct tests in late winter at grounds we prepare each year. We plant 1,800 pounds of grass seed (predominantly annual rye, prized for its dense growth) and cut 500,000 square feet of grass in three modes—mulching, side-discharging, and bagging (a total of 3,000 pounds of clippings). We mow both level turf and slopes to get a feel for each model’s performance and review the convenience features.
The Overall Score incorporates all that performance data, along with predicted reliability and owner satisfaction ratings from our latest member surveys, fielded in the fall of 2019, 2020, and 2021. In all, we collected CR member feedback on nearly 44,000 mowers purchased between 2011 and 2021, reflecting experiences with more than 32,500 gas mowers and more than 11,500 battery mowers.
If you’re not sure which type of lawn mower is right for your needs, start with our lawn mower buying guide.
CR members can read on for ratings and reviews of this year’s very best walk-behind mowers from brands such as Cub Cadet, Ego, Honda, Greenworks, Kobalt, Ryobi, and Toro. Along with top-rated models, we’ve included high-performing models that represent value as CR Best Buys. For even more options, CR members can check out our comprehensive lawn mower and tractor ratings.
Following our recommended picks, we’ve listed several models that fall at the bottom of our ratings.
Best Battery Push Mowers
Best Battery Self-Propelled Mowers
Best Gas Push Mowers
Best Gas Self-Propelled Mowers
Best Gas Wide-Deck Self-Propelled Mower
Worst Battery & Gas Walk-Behind Mowers
More than half of the walk-behind mowers in our ratings perform well enough for CR to recommend. Others struggle in our exhaustive cutting tests. Here, we list a few of them. Check CR’s mower ratings for a more complete list.
Finding the Perfect Lawn Mower
Is your lawn mower failing to make the cut? On the "Consumer 101" TV show, Consumer Reports expert John Galeotafiore explains to host Jack Rico how to find the best mower for your needs.