The 8 best lawn mowers are listed below: 5 best electric and 3 best gas powered…
…Spend minutes not hours finding the best one for your needs – even if you’ve never used one.
Check out our picks then keep reading for the full review of our testing.
If you buy through a link we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.
3 Best Gas Powered Lawn Mowers:
- Best Overall: Honda HRX217-HYA
- Runner-up: Honda HRN216-VKA
- Most Affordable: Toro Recycler 21332
5 Best Electric:
- Top Pick: EGO LM2135SP
- Max Performance: Milwaukee M18
- Budget Pick: Ryobi RY40117VNM
- Also Good: Makita XML07PT1
- Runner-up: Greenworks 80V
Why Should You Trust This Ranking?
- Our experience – We have spent 100s of hours (since June 2014) researching lawn mowers, how they work, how to use them and we have tested and used 23 different ones (so far).
- Our practical knowledge – Combine our team’s mechanical engineering experience with the hands-on real-life use testing for LawnManual.com and the benefits and downfalls of each lawn mower becomes easy to spot.
- Our aim is to help you find the best lawn mower for you – The 8 best are chosen after our field notes are reviewed and comparisons made, then the buying advice is detailed below.
So if you plan on using your new lawn mower to:
- Mow your small lawn quick.
- Make your neighbour jealous with your golf green quality lawn.
- Get your big backyard ready for a summer BBQ and game of football with the family.
Then you’re in the right place.
Quick Look: Best Mowers
Honda 21-inch Self-Propelled
- Reliable and durable Honda engine for long life
- Two cutting blades for increased mow performance
- Perfect for the lawn care obsessed
EGO 21-inch Battery Powered
- 10 Ah battery lasts 45 mins so you can easily mow 1/3 acre on 1 charge
- Cordless, no fumes, quiet, low maintenance so you can actually enjoy the mow
Scotts Outdoor 20-inch 5-Blade
- Zero maintenance, no gas or oil and no noise
- Rotary blades don’t tear your grass leaving it healthy and thriving
- Affordable and it’s what golf courses use on their greens
3 Best Gas Lawn Mowers
Best Overall: Honda HRX217-HYA
We have owned and tested 8 different Honda mowers over the years including multiple HRN (residential), HRX (prosumer) and HRC (commercial) models.
The best walk-behind mower (for most people) is the HRX217-HYA.
It is a prosumer $1,000 mower that will last you 20 years with regular maintenance.
You may be wondering: Why recommend such an expensive lawn mower?
The reason the HRX is the clear winner:
- Bigger engine. The HRX model mowers come with the GCV200 to give you 17% more horsepower and 15% more torque over the lower HRN model mowers. Simply put: You can mow more lawn per minute compared to less powerful engines.
- Never rust mower deck. Honda has patented what they call a NeXite material mower deck that never rusts and has a lifetime warranty. The material is a durable hard plastic.
- Mow low. The HRX Honda mower allows you to mow down to 3/4″ (19mm) which is plenty low for making your backyard into a golf green.
- Longer warranty. The HRX has a 5 year warranty compared to 3 years on the lower models.
- The mower goes at your speed. With a hydrostatic self propelled drive system the mower has adjustable walk-behind speed to suit you. See in the above picture what the handlebar layout looks like. You can adjust the speed however you want.
- Runtime. With a 1 litre gas tank you can expect to get 3+ hours of mowing time before needing to fill up.
What could be better:
- Bag feels flimsy at first. Honda has gone for a lighter, less sturdy material bag instead of the hard plastic of older years. At first it feels flimsy but as you use it more you realize it is nice how light it is.
- Have a single height adjustment lever instead of 2. This is a minor thing but yeah, you need to adjust the mower height for each wheel separate. HRC models you only have to adjust 1 lever and it controls the height at all wheels.
- Handle is too wide. All mower companies should taper their handles to get skinnier as they get closer to where you control them. This would allow for closer cutting in corners and easier turning in spots near walls and fences.
Runner-up: Honda HRN216-VKA
The Honda HRN models might be the best lawn mower for you if price is a bigger factor than power and durability.
The HRN216-VKA is $500 cheaper (MSRP on Honda website) and you are getting a similar mower for most purposes.
The good and bad of the Honda HRN:
- It has a slightly smaller engine – but it’s still a Honda and plenty powerful for 97% of homeowners.
- It has a shorter warranty: 3 years vs. 5 years – but with regular maintenance you shouldn’t need to use your warranty anyways.
- It has a steel deck not a NeXite. It has the potential to rust but only if you leave grass clippings stuck to bottom over winter.
- You can mow as low as 1″ (25mm) not 3/4″ (19mm) but will you even notice the difference?
All-in-all the HRN series from Honda is a close 2nd (but clear 1st if budget is your main buying criteria). If you aren’t lawn obsessed and just need a solid mower then this is for you.
Most Affordable: Toro Recycler 21332
If you want a high quality standard mow-and-go lawn mower then the new model Toro Recycler is a great buy.
It has all the features and benefits you need but none you don’t.
We don’t often recommend a push (not self propelled mower) but after using 4 Toro mowers over a few years we love the idea recommending a base model mower. And that’s what this is: The most basic Toro mower on the market for $350.
- The Briggs and Stratton engine has never failed us – and we’ve only done 3 oil changes in 5 years of monthly use. For sure it takes 2 or 3 pulls to start but then it chugs along with no fuss.
- It bags grass just as good as the EGO electric and Honda HRN without leaving clumps.
- Even though it only has 1 rotary blade (not dual) it has no problem getting through taller grass and even wet dense grass if you go slow.
- You just can’t beat how affordable it is for a starter mower around your home.
The main downfalls (but not dealbreakers):
- It is not self propelled so you have to push it up hills and through thick grass.
- The Briggs engine has some weird recommendation for you to never empty the oil and just add oil when its low. We recommened not following this advice and changing the oil after 20hrs, 50hrs etc.
5 Best Electric Lawn Mowers
The 5 electric lawn mowers we recommend are cordless battery powered. If you’re already invested in a battery tool ecosystem – EGO, Milwaukee, Makita, Ryobi, Greenworks etc. – you should get the lawn mower of that brand because you already own batteries.
Picking a battery lawn mower is as much about the lawn mower as it is about the rest of the ecosystem of tools. EGO and Greenworks focus on outdoor garden tools: hedgers, blowers, mowers, chainsaws etc. Whereas Makita, Ryobi, Milwaukee have a full range of power tools.
Quick note about battery capacity and voltage:
A huge factor in buying a battery lawn mower is how long you can mow on 1 charge.
Battery capacity needs to be known in Watt-Hours but most spec sheets only list Amp-Hours.
We need to multiply Amp-Hours by the Voltage to get Watt-Hours.
Different brands use different voltages.
- EGO has a 56V system
- Makita has a 18V system
- Greenworks has a 40V, 60V and 80V system.
Watt-Hours tells you how much lawn you can mow with 1 battery.
Let’s look at the EGO 7.5 Ah battery at 56 Volts.
- Power (Watts) = I (Amps) x V (Volts)
The EGO mower has 7.5Ah x 56V = 420Wh of available power.
The Milwaukee mower uses 2x 18V batteries in series to run the motor at 36V. It comes with 2x 12Ah batteries. So it is effectively using 1x 12Ah battery at 36V.
The Milwaukee mower has 12Ah x 36V = 432Wh of available power.
Despite Milwaukee including 2 huge batteries and EGO including 1 medium battery they have – basically – the same available power for mowing lawns because of the voltage the motor is run at.
Top Pick: EGO LM2135SP Lawn Mower
The best electric lawn mower for most people is the top-line EGO LM2135SP.
We have been using this as our go-to mower for 6 months now. When the battery dies we pull out our trusty Honda. But it is such a joy to use we find it hard not to get excited pulling it out the shed first.
All-in-all the ease-of-use is better than a gas powered mower because it starts easier, is light to move around, is nearly silent and has no fumes or maintenance to deal with.
Despite EGO marketing “60 minutes of battery run-time” with the 7.5Ah battery we have yet to get it last longer than 39 minutes. We quite literally start a timer every single use and experiment with cut heights, bagging vs. side discharge vs. mulching and using self propelled or not and the longest we have got it to last is 39 minutes (This was cutting high, bagging and not using self propelled).
Talking to other owners and reading reviews people are reporting 60 minutes run-time with their EGO so we don’t know if we have a dud battery or what…
…Regardless, with the super charger included the battery fully charges in 25 – 35 minutes, which is the perfect amount of time to complete the string trimmer grass trimming work.
EGO LM2135SP field notes:
- This electric vs. gas. You will need to mow different compared to a gas mower. When you approach tall, thick grass you will need to do a few passes, raise the cutting height or go slow (or all the above) to avoid stalling the lawn mower. This isn’t any different than a gas mower but it is more noticeable and harder to hear when to back off in a cordless electric mower.
- Ease of use. Because the mower is much lighter than a gas powered one you rarely need the self propel feature.
- Cut height. You have 7 cutting heights to choose from which is great for after you return from holidays and your lawn is out of control. You can also get right down tight and make your grass look like a golf green.
- Grass bagging. It has amazing grass bagging (see the pic above).
- Battery fuel gauge. You can see through the battery compartment and the battery has a fuel gauge in 20% increments showing you how much charge is left – 100%, 80%, 60%, 40%, 20%.
- Storage. This EGO lawn mower is extremely easy to store in the garage. Its handles fold up and because you aren’t worried about flooding the carburetor you can store it on its side or hang it from the wall.
- A negative: The bail safety switch you have to hold to keep the blades moving gives you a solid forearm workout. Our other mowers require nowhere near the force the EGO requires. What this means is your forearms will get sore and you will need to take a break.
The EGO Power Plus way
The 7.5 Ah battery that comes with this EGO lawn mower can be used to power 60 other EGO tools including:
- Grass trimmers
- Leaf blowers
- Hedge trimmers
- Portable lights, fans and more…
If you already own a bunch of Milwaukee or Ryobi power tools that share the battery system with their lawn mower then those may be the better option. You can buy skin only (no battery included) lawn mowers to save heaps of money.
However, if you are not already “bought-in” to another battery system then EGO is the best electric lawn mower to start with.
Max Performance: Milwaukee M18 Fuel Lawn Mower
The max performance battery powered lawn mower is the M18 by Milwaukee.
It has 10 ft-lbs of max torque compared to 8.3 ft-lbs in the EGO and 9.4 ft-lbs in the Honda HRX lawn mower. Torque tells us the turning power and gives a measurement how good the mower will cut through thick, wet grass. More torque = harder to stall the mower in the tough stuff.
Milwaukee markets the lawn mower to landscapers and lawn care pros. When you include for the batteries it is the most expensive lawn mower we recommend here.
Let’s take a look at some field testing notes.
Milwaukee M18 field notes:
- Battery setup. Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel battery ecosystem uses 18V batteries to power their tools. The lawn mower uses 2x 18V batteries in series to run the brushless electric motor at 36V. It won’t start if it doesn’t have 2 batteries installed. The included 2x 12Ah Milwaukee batteries have a capacity nearly identical to the 7.5Ah EGO battery (18V vs. 56V). We mowed (long, dense grass) at a medium height for 42 minutes before it died.
- Turbo mode. The lawn mower has a high lift mode which pumps the RPMs up from 2,800 to 3,300 RPM creating more vacuum under the deck to cut thicker grass, lift leaves up into the bag or to simply mow faster. This features sucks the battery life down to 25 mins. But most will only use this feature on and off throughout the mow.
- Handle comfort. The safety switch lever you hold to keep the motor and blades running was easier on the forearms than the EGO mower. It slots in nicely to the main handlebar for grip comfort. The buttons are easy to push while using the mower and we have nothing else to note.
- Storage. The lawn mower handles fold down over the battery compartment and mower deck for easy storage. Because it has no filters or carburetor (that can flood with fuel) you can store it anyway you want – even hang it on the wall.
- Single cutting blade. The Milwaukee mower has a single cutting blade setup (the EGO has a dual blade setup) so it maximizes for cutting power and not for bagging. Milwaukee’s ‘high lift mode’ helps but sucks the battery dry faster. In a dual blade setup the bottom blade cuts the turf and the top blade chops it smaller so more fits into the grass bag (it also has more suction/lift to ‘hold’ the grass up when mowing).
- Steel deck. Milwaukee went with a sturdy, durable steel deck for added dent resistance and rigidity. As a result it is 20 pounds heavier than the EGO top pick and can rust without proper care (clear grass clippings on the underside of the deck and blades before storage).
- Self propelled. You can use it as a push mower or you can have the mower propel forward at whatever speed you want. The features is activated by a switch you push down with your thumb(s) when in use. It is easy to use and works great.
- Warranty. 3 years for both the battery and tool (EGO has 5 year warranty).
Milwaukee outdoor power equipment ecosystem
If you already bought into the Milwaukee ecosystem – especially outdoor power equipment – then it makes sense to buy the Milwaukee lawn mower since half the cost is the batteries.
Milwaukee has a full range of battery powered cordless electric outdoor garden tools as well as a full suite of power tools marketed to professional tradesmen.
Milwaukee is our 2nd top pick as the best battery powered lawn mower and top pick if all you care about is max torque (max mowing capacity).
Budget Pick: Ryobi RY40117VNM
Our budget pick is the 20″ 40V push mower from Ryobi. This shouldn’t be surprising since Ryobi markets to the entry level and makes great products.
We have been using the Ryobi battery pressure washer and chainsaw for years and don’t have a bad thing to say (except the chainsaw does leak a little lube oil). After using this mower 5 times over several weekends we have no complaints – especially considering the cost savings.
At a fraction of the cost (1/2 the price of the EGO) you are getting a perfectly functional cordless electric mower that will make quick work mowing your basketball court size lawn with battery to spare.
Ryobi mower field notes:
- Battery compartment. The Ryobi lawn mower comes with 1x 40V 6Ah battery (240Wh capacity). In the battery compartment there is room for 2 batteries of varying sizes. We used 1x 6Ah and 1x 5Ah battery for testing. It does not automatically switch to the other battery, you have to do that manually – but it only takes a few seconds.
- Mowing height. With a single lever you can adjust the mowing height as low as 1.5″ (38mm). This height is perfectly fine for normal homeowners but the lawn obsessed will want to go lower. The EGO goes down to 3/4″ and the Milwaukee down to 1″. So keep that in mind when choosing the Ryobi.
- Ease of use despite not being self propelled. The Ryobi is extremely light – and with the bigger rear wheel tires – easy to move around obstacles, through tough grass and up hills.
- Grass bagging ability. Does not bag as well as the dual blade EGO but is on par with non-turbo mode Milwaukee.
Ryobi outdoor power equipment battery ecosystem
Ryobi has 301 different outdoor power equipment models to choose in corded and cordless options.
From submersible water pumps to pressure washers to snow blowers and log splitters Ryobi has an option using the same batteries as you’ll have from the lawn mower.
If you are new to battery power tools then Ryobi is a great starting point as they specifically market to the entry level.
Also Good: Makita XML07PT1
Another great lawn mower we tested is the Makita LXT battery series mower.
It uses Makita 18V batteries in series to run a brushless 36V motor which can adjust the cutting blade speed from 2,800 RPM to a 2,300 RPM ‘quiet-mode’ when you touch a button on the handle. This ‘quiet-mode’ is meant to save battery and reduce noise when mowing well-kept lawns that don’t require full cutting force.
The battery compartment has space for 4x 18V batteries and when the first 2 lose charge you turn a knob and the mower auto switches to the other batteries for seemless mowing.
The combined batteries have a capacity of 360 Watt-Hours which is less than EGO (420Wh) and Milwaukee (432Wh) mowers out-of-the-box with included batteries.
The Makita mower felt sturdy and strong with little rattling and movement in the handle – even going over divots in the lawn.
Another key strength of the Makita ecosystem is they have the best battery technology in terms of reliability and charging speed. We charged 2x 5Ah batteries in the included Rapid Optimum charging station in 43 minutes. The perfect amount of time to mow with the other batteries and then swap when the charge is complete.
It has an easy to control self propelled lever and the ‘quiet-mode’ and battery fuel gauge is all located at the upper part of the handle next to your left hand.
If you engage the ‘quiet mode’ the blade speed goes down 20% and you will have trouble bagging grass.
The Makita mower has at least 15% less battery capacity than competitors.
Makita outdoor power equipment ecosystem
If you already own Makita tools then it’s a no brainer getting the mower. Buying into the ecosystem gives you a wide range of options in outdoor power equipment – including: blowers, chainsaws, string trimmers, augers, hedge trimmers, pole saws and more.
Check out the current best deal on the Makita mower at this link:
Runner-up: Greenworks 80V MO80L421
The best lawn mower from Greenworks is their new 80V brushless self propelled mower with dual battery compartment and 21″ mowing width.
By having the electrics run at 80V allows Greenworks to design a smaller and more efficient brushless motor because it runs with less current (amps).
In addition an 80V motor can provide more power/torque when required. And you can charge it faster than a 40V battery (per watt-hour).
During operation we found there to be a blank spot caused by the 6″ bumper at the front of the mower. When you try to mow close to a fence or garden bed it leaves 6″ not mowed so you have to really wiggle the mower around to get it properly mowed.
If you already own Greenworks 80V tools then this is a no brainer to switch over from your gas powered mower.
Other Notable Lawn Mowers We Looked At
If you have bought in to a battery powered power tool brand then you should buy a lawn mower of the same brand. It will save you money on batteries being able to buy the skin only mowers.
Here are some cordless electric mowers we looked at but ultimately didn’t put in our list of the best electrics above.
All things considered: Push, riding, commercial and residential – Toro is the #1 lawn mower brand due to sheer volume of the market they sell to.
Their new family of battery push mowers uses their 60V Flex-Force battery system with batteries ranging from 2Ah to 10Ah in capacity.
We looked at their best/max performance cordless battery electric mower the 21566 model number. Their battery technology is not where brands like EGO, Greenworks, Ryobi, Makita and Milwaukee are. Their mower is promising so will revisit next texting round.
The DeWalt mower we tried was the DCMWSP244U2 it uses 2 x 20 Volt DeWalt batteries (10Ah each) for a max total of 20Ah. Good for 45+ mins of mowing depending if you use the self propelled feature and how thick the grass is.
2 reasons we didn’t choose it:
- It wasn’t great at bagging grass leaving clumps all over the lawn. The EGO was the best bagger by far.
- The customer service/warranty situation isn’t the best since the mower is manufactured under license by MTD Products.
The ECHO mower we looked at was the ECHO eForce. It is in a good price range uses a 56V battery system and ECHO is well-known power equipment company.
The reason it didn’t make the best list is because the battery system by ECHO does not charge the battery fast enough. Even their fast charger took 68 mins to charge 1x 5Ah battery. For comparison: The EGO 7.5Ah battery charges in 22 mins with the EGO fast charger.
WORX has popular robot mower and 2 cordless electrics. We never got our hands on any of the WORX so we relied on online reviews at youtube and Amazon. They seem to be great budget mowers and people especially liked the robot mower because they are more affordable than Husqvarna AutoMowers.
Sun Joe goes for the budget end of the lawn mower market and offers many cordless and corded electric mowers.
They felt flimsy and lacked power compared to other higher rated models.
In addition, their batteries took forever to charge: From dead to full in 2 hours.
We will keep checking back at the Sun Joe mower line in the future.
Husqvarna offers 1 cordless electric mower as they mostly make riding mowers and robot mowers. The cordless mower we borrowed from our local dealer (Husqvarna W520i) and tried on our lawn was decent but far too expensive compared to EGO and Milwaukee. We found nothing awesome or horrible about it. It mowed. That said: It is expensive and doesn’t offer the best value for money yet.
Craftsman lawn mowers are made by MTD Products. Effectively: DeWalt, Black+Decker and Craftsman are all made by MTD Products and are only different by color and sticker name. It’s called rebadging.
Craftsman corded electric mowers are some of the most affordable on the market and great if you have a small lawn and adequate extension cord length.
Nothing wrong with the Black+Decker corded lawn mower if you have a small tennis court size or smaller lawn. You can check them out any big box store and see how light they are.
American Lawn Mower Company
American Lawn Mower Company is best known for their reel/cylinder mowers sold at Lowe’s, Walmart and Home Depot. They also sell under the brands: Scotts, Earthwise and Great States.
We tried a few of their reel and electric mowers including the Earthwise 14″ corded non-bagging mower. To be honest it felt extremely flimsy and sounded like an underpowered blender. It barely cut pre-mowed lawn. We will revisit their more expensive models in the future.
ExMark is a brand owned by Toro. They make only commercial duty lawn mowers. These machines are expensive and not accessible to homeowners unless you have $1,000s to spend on a push mower.
We tried a few hydro walk-behind models out (friend owns lawn care company) and you can see why so many pros swear by ExMark. They are so easy to control and feel lighter because they hydro drive system works to flawlessly and precisely.
Great mowers but it is hard to recommend a $2,500 push mower to most people.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
How do you decide between gas, electric or a reel lawn mower?
Here are the pros and cons of all the types of walk-behind lawn mowers:
- Good: More affordable power. You don’t have to charge batteries or deal with electric cord. More portable because don’t rely on electric outlets.
- Bad: Have to wear earplugs. Have fumes and exhaust in your face (pollution). Have to purchase oil and petrol, which means extra running cost and hassle. Have to replace the spark plug and other parts over its life.
- Good: Don’t have to wear earplugs or deal with fumes and pollution. Don’t have to deal with electric cord while still getting the benefits of low maintenance and running cost.
- Bad: Have to charge the batteries after 1 hour use. High upfront cost (2x price corded electric and 1.5x price petrol mowers).
- Good: Low cost. Don’t have to deal with refuelling or costs associated with maintaining a petrol engine. Don’t have to wear earplugs. Lightweight and easy to push.
- Bad: Have to deal with electric cord while mowing.
- Good: Zero maintenance and running cost. Lowest upfront cost. Clips grass instead of chopping/tearing grass leaving it looking fresh and healthy. Makes mowing more pleasurable (somehow).
- Bad: No option to bag grass. You’ll have to do several passes over – making large lawns take too long.
What brand of lawn mower is the most reliable?
Honda and Toro are known for their reliable lawn mowers.
- Honda uses Honda small engines
- Toro uses Briggs & Stratton small engines
Honda makes the most small engines for powered products. Briggs & Stratton makes the second most. Both have experience and the engineering teams to make the best small engines. As such they are reliable and durable. In addition, because these small engines are so common – there are many lawn mower repair shops near you.
What mower brand is better: Honda or Toro?
They are both great.
It comes down to what model best suits your needs. In terms of mower deck width: Toro has more options to choose.
In terms of availability near you they are both equal and commonly found everywhere.
You’ll find Toro to be more affordable and Honda mowers to have bigger engines.
When should you upgrade to a riding mower?
There are 3 things to think about when upgrading to a riding mower:
- Budget. The most affordable riding mowers are around $2,000 (rear engine riding mower) and the decent ones start at $3,500 (garden tractor and zero turn). If you have the money there is no reason you can’t upgrade to a riding mower with a lawn as small as 1/3 acre (Olympic swimming pool size).
- Lawn size. If your lawn is the size of a tennis court there isn’t much use for a riding mower but as your lawn gets bigger toward football field size a riding mower will save you heaps of time and energy.
- Mower storage. A riding mower is much bigger and heavier than a push mower so make sure you have a place to store it under cover before buying.
How long does it take to mow different size lawns?
Here’s how long it takes to mow these different size lawns with a 21″ wide push mower moving at walking pace of 3 mph (4.83 km/hr):
- Tennis court size lawn: 6 minutes
- Basketball court size: 10.5 minutes
- Olympic swimming pool size: 31 – 32 minutes
- Football field size lawn: 2+ hours.
Double those times for the real world to include for turning around, avoiding obstacles and overlapping the mowing lanes.
- Honda HRX217HYA. PowerEquipment.Honda.com.
- Honda HRN216VKA. PowerEquipment.Honda.com.
- Makita XML07PT1. MakitaTools.com.
- Toro Recycler 21332. Toro.com.
- EGO LM2135E-SP. EgoPowerPlus.com.
- Milwaukee M18. MilwaukeeTools.com.
- Greenworks MO80L421. GreenworksTools.com.
- Ryobi Mowers. RyobiTools.com.