Most and Least Reliable Walk-Behind Lawn Mower Brands

How to find a lawn mower that lasts: Reliability ratings based on CR members’ reports on almost 56,000 walk-behind mowers

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A reliable lawn mower is like a little insurance policy. Season after season, it ensures that you don’t waste precious money and time on repairs—or on purchasing a new machine.

Indeed, if you’re in the market for a new lawn mower, reliability can be as crucial a factor in your purchase decision as performance.

“That’s why our overall lawn mower ratings combine our lab test results with brand reliability and satisfaction data from our annual member surveys,” says Simon Slater, associate director of survey research at Consumer Reports.

Our most recent survey collected feedback from CR members on almost 56,000 walk-behind mowers purchased between 2010 and 2020. That tally reflects experiences with about 44,500 gas mowers and more than 11,000 battery units.

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The results inform our predicted reliability and owner satisfaction ratings for each brand and mower type—battery-powered push mowers, battery-powered self-propelled mowers, gas push mowers, and gas self-propelled mowers. And those ratings factor into each model’s Overall Score, along with performance ratings based on our exhaustive mower field tests.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the winners and losers from our survey, across the four walk-behind mower categories. The results cover a variety of brands, including Cub Cadet, Ego, Greenworks, Honda, Kobalt, Stihl, and Troy-Bilt. If a brand receives an unfavorable reliability rating of Fair or Poor in a given mower category, its models in that category are not eligible to be recommended by CR—no matter how well they cut in our performance tests.

For our reliability results on riding mowers, check out our guide to the most and least reliable riding mower brands.

Battery-Powered Push Mowers

These cordless electric push mowers run long enough to cut small yards on a single charge and require little maintenance compared with their gas-powered equivalents.

Battery push mowers typically don’t cost as much as self-propelled battery models, but they’re a little more troublesome, our members told us. The most commonly reported problem—batteries that got worse—was an issue among a brand median of 10 percent of battery push mowers, compared with a brand median of 6 percent of self-propelled mowers. (“Brand median” means the halfway point; among brands for which we had sufficient data, some had batteries worsen at a higher rate, and some at a lower rate.) 

A brand median of 7 percent of battery push mowers had batteries that died completely; that compares with a brand median of 3 percent of self-propelled mowers.

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We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.