Fitting your lawn mower into a tight garage or shed can be a challenge—you have to surrender about five square feet, plus more if you can’t adjust the mower’s handle to an upright position. If you're storing other gear such as a pressure washer or snow blower, you’ll appreciate Toro's latest mower, which stores in about half the space. The self-propelled Toro Recycler Smart Stow 20340, $400, is an improvement over the manufacturer’s first Smart Stow mower, the Toro 23309, $350.

As with the 2014 model, the Briggs & Stratton engine in the new 20340 has specially designed seals, gaskets, and fuel tank, plus a carburetor that won’t leak through air intake holes when the mower is upended. In addition to shaving down storage space to about two square feet, the stand-up position lets you reach the deck and blade without waiting until you’ve run the engine dry and drained the oil.

Toro Pros and Cons

One improvement over the previous model is that the Toro Recycler Smart Stow 20340 is a multiple-speed mower. The older self-propelled model had just one speed, which is fine unless you like to walk faster or slower while mowing. That shortcoming, characteristic of all such self-propelled mowers, resulted in handling scores a couple of notches below the newer model.

Another upgrade: The newer model is rear-drive, which makes for easier pushing up hills in bagging mode, when the front wheels tend to rise off the ground. The older model had front-wheel drive.

In performance, the Toro Recycler Smart Stow 20340 cut great in mulching mode, the most commonly used for owners of walk-behind mowers. And it was impressive in the bagging and side-discharge modes. For the price, we’d like to have seen electric start. The side-valve engine, too, is less efficient than overhead-valve designs and might not start as easily over time. Still, both concerns are forgivable when room for storage is at a premium.

Need a New Mower?

Our mower Ratings for lawn mowers, tractors, and riders include test results for more than 160 models. If you haven’t shopped in a few years, be sure to check our Lawn Mower Buying Guide for a breakdown of the types and helpful features.