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Push Mower Buying Guide

A beautiful lawn starts with the right mower. Mowing correctly and efficiently is good for your lawn and can be less of a dreaded chore for you. If you opt for a push mower to take care of your turfgrass duties, there are several factors to consider when choosing the one that meets your needs.

Push Mower with Bagger.

Finding the Right Push Mower for Your Landscape

Push Mower Size Chart.

Find a push mower that is suited for your particular landscape. One of the factors to consider is the power source.

Reel mowers are classic lawn-care tools that use human power to spin a set of rotating knives (the reel) against a fixed blade. The cutting action is similar to that of scissors. Manual mowers work best for very small, flat lawns.

Shop for Reel Push Mowers

Electric lawn mowers are quiet, pollution-free and start with the flip of a switch. Except for replacing or sharpening the blade and, on cordless models, caring for the battery, they're mostly maintenance-free. Overall, electric mowers are good for lawns measuring a quarter of an acre or less.

  • Cordless models feature rechargeable batteries that provide 30 to 70 minutes of run time. Cordless mowers may struggle in tall grass.
  • Corded models must remain plugged into an outlet while mowing, making it a challenge to mow large lawns or those with lots of trees and other obstructions. Corded mowers require a suitable extension cord. Follow the device manufacturer's recommendations for compatible extension cords and see Power Cord Safety Tips.

Shop for Cordless Push Mowers

Shop for Corded Push Mowers

Gasoline-powered mowers are a good choice for yards up to a 1/2 acre and are better suited than electric models for mowing more substantial growth. A gasoline-powered mower offers more power and longer cutting time, since they aren't restricted by a battery charge or the location of a power outlet.

Traditional push mowers rely solely on human power to move along. These mowers can be good choices for level lawns up to a 1/3 acre. Models with larger rear wheels give you better maneuverability around your landscape.

  • Front-wheel drive (FWD) mowers are self-propelled models. The engine on a FWD mower powers the front wheels to pull the mower along, relieving you of a lot of the effort required to mow.
  • Rear-wheel drive (RWD) mowers are self-propelled models that offer you more traction at the center of the mower, helping you tackle hilly terrain more easily.
  • All-wheel drive (AWD) self-propelled models give you power at all four wheels. These models offer more traction and require less effort than other push mowers, making it easier to tackle larger landscapes with uneven terrain.

Shop for Gas Push Mowers

Push Mowers and Grass Clippings

Push Mower Clippings Discharge Options.

The design of the cutting deck on a mower determines where grass clippings go as you cut.

  • Side-discharge mowers direct the clippings back out onto the lawn.
  • Mowers with bagging systems direct the clippings into an attached bag.
  • Mulching mowers have decks designed to contain the clippings, allowing the blade to cut them to a smaller size. The clippings fall onto the lawn as mulch.

Many mowers can convert between these different configurations.

Push Mower Features and Options

Once you've decided on the type of mower that best suits your lawn, look for features and options that maximize your mowing results while minimizing the effort.

  • Engine torque on gasoline-powered mowers measures the force that keeps mower blades spinning in foot-pounds (ft-lbs.). Higher torque offers a more even cut in tall, thick or wet grass.
  • Engine displacement describes the size of the cylinder in a gasoline engine. Manufacturers measure displacement in cubic centimeters (ccs). A higher cc measurement means a more powerful engine.
  • A no-prime engine lets you start a gasoline-powered mower more quickly and easily.
  • Voltage (V) on cordless electric mowers and amperage (amps) on corded electric mowers indicate power output. Higher measurements mean more power.
  • Cut width determines how wide a swath of grass you can cut in a single pass.
  • Variable speed controls let you set your own pace on some self-propelled mowers. Some mowers let you control the speed with either hand for maximum comfort.
  • A blade brake clutch stops the blade from spinning but allows the engine to keep running. This system lets you empty the bag or move obstacles out of the way without requiring you to restart the mower.
  • Height adjustment allows you to change the height of the cut. Four adjustment levers are common, but some models offer easier and quicker adjustment with only two levers or even a single lever.
  • A deck wash port connects to a garden hose to help you clean the underside of the cutting deck.

Always follow the mower manufacturer's operating, maintenance and safety instructions, including instructions on safety gear.