You can’t have a lawn without a lawnmower! These convenient garden electricals are available in a variety of sizes and designs to suit every outdoor space. So whether you have a vast lawn to maintain, or you want to tidy up your smaller back yard every once in a while, there’s a mower here for you.
Choose a cordless lawnmower for an easy and enjoyable gardening experience. These electric lawnmowers are straightforward to use and don’t compromise on performance, so you can maintain your lawn without the hassle.
Hover and self-propelled lawnmowers make the job even more straightforward, and there are lots of sizes and powers to choose from here. Add hedge trimmers and garden vacuums to finish tidying up your garden in no time.
The Flymo EasiStore Rotary Lawnmower is perfect for small to medium gardens, 34cm electric wheeled rotary lawnmower with a powerful 1400W motor. Designed with the user in mind, the EasiStore 340R features space saving storage solutions and unique transport positions. Read more
The Flymo EasiGlide 360 is designed for small to medium gardens with a powerful 1800W motor. Highly manoeuvrable as it floats on a cushion of air whilst cutting the grass. Equipped with dual lever handles, an easy to empty 26L. Read more
Designed for small to medium gardens, the Flymo EasiStore 340R Li is a 34cm battery powered wheeled rotary lawnmower which uses 2 removable 20V Lithium Ion batteries to give 40V power. Features space saving storage and unique transport position. Equipped. Read more
The Greenworks Robotic Lawnmower remote controlled via Greenworks App with Bluetooth wireless connection. Easy to clean thanks to the removable body and resistance to water (water hoseable IPX5).Very low noise with 60dB guaranteed, light weight and nimble and takes care. Read more
Ryobi Mower Long Term Review
After three years of use, and extensive research on the competition, I believe the Ryobi 40-volt cordless lawn mower is the best mower for the money, for people with small lawns. My mower is the RY40170 20″ brushless mower. It came included with two 4 amp hour batteries, is capable of mulching and bagging, only weighs 44 lbs (plus battery), and comes with a 5 year warranty. It has seven cutting height adjustments (from 1.25″ – 3.75″) that you can easily adjust with a single lever and the handles fold down flat making it super easy to store. This is especially helpful if you have limited space in your garage or shed. Having two batteries included is a big bonus. Based on the reading I’ve done, with the included batteries, the Ryobi has the longest run time of any cordless mower (over 1hr). With a robust 40 volt ecosystem, its batteries can also be used to power other Ryobi lawn equipment, such as a string trimmer and blower.
PROS OF BATTERY MOWERS IN GENERAL
Three years ago, my Ryobi mower was among the first cordless electric mowers I had seen. Now, however, it seems that the cordless revolution has truly arrived. Battery operated mowers offer everything you like about mowing a lawn without all of the things you hate. No gas, oil, cords, or noise.
They are environmentally friendly and require none of the yearly maintenance that traditional mowers require. They start instantly with the press of a button, run much more quietly and, of course, do not emit exhaust fumes. Everyone I know who has made the switch has said that when they owned a gas mower they weren’t particularly offended by the noise and inconvenience of gas, however after switching, they couldn’t dream of going back.
The main advantages of the Ryobi mower are that:
- It’s very lightweight and maneuverable
- Its folding design makes it very portable and easy to hang
- Its runtime is very long, amongs the best on the market
- Its rechargeable lithium-ion batteries can be used to power your other compatible Ryobi cordless lawn equipment.
CONS OF THE RYOBI
- There is no option of a side discharge
- It’s not self-propelled. Although it is lightweight, it may be difficult for some to maneuver on hills or steep grades. A self propelled version is now available, which I will hopefully get a chance to test
- Its charge rate is good, however a ‘quick charge’ option would be good
Over a three year period, I’ve used this mower in wide range of conditions – super thick grass, wet grass, new sod, new seed, mulching leaves, bagging, different cut heights etc, and its power and performance did not disappoint.
It can handle tough grass without any issue, and given how light it is, it did well on newly seeded areas as well. When the mower hits a patch of lawn that is tougher it adds more power. You can hear the motor speed up to compensate. This is done automatically in order to conserve battery usage.
Ryobi’s batteries charge to full capacity in 90 minutes. So technically, if you had three batteries, you could basically mow indefinitely. The batteries each have 4 led lights on them so you can check their power level and you can see their charge progress as they’re charging. Even though the mower could be used to mow 1/2 acre or larger; in my opinion, it is best suited for lawns that are between 1/3 of an acre to 1/2 an acre. That leaves you plenty of capacity for those days when the grass is super thick, or if you need to cut when it’s wet. And, truthfully, I think most people would want a self-propelled mower for lawns larger than 1/2 an acre.
Over my three years of ownership I only had two things break on the mower. The first item was the plastic battery cover. One of the hinge pins broke when I was opening it. It doesn’t open quite far enough in my opinion. I was able to fix this simply by putting a bent nail in it’s place. The other item that broke, was the rear protective shield. See photo. It basically ripped off. This item receives a lot of wear, so perhaps it should be made from metal instead of plastic and rubber. I called Ryobi about this problem and they mailed me a new one free of charge, so that wasn’t too big of a deal. It was fairly easy to swap out.
The starting price of the Ryobi is comparable to gas mowers, while also having comparable power. It cuts just as good as a gas mower. In fact, it is the same style blade. Similarly sized gas push gas mowers, however, weigh between 60 and 70 lbs. So the Ryobi pushes a bit easier than a push gas mower in my opinion. In comparison to other battery powered mowers, it’s main competitor is the more espensive EGO mower. The design of the Ryobi isn’t quite as refined as the EGO, however it offers a more appealing value proposition in my opinion. Other 36V cordless mowers look like reasonably good alternatives, but their power and feature sets just don’t compare.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this mower. Ryobi offers a great combination of features at a reasonable price. It’s perfect for a small to medium-sized lawns, and especially attractive if you plan to buy other tools that can use the 40-volt battery architecture. It’s very light, very portable, does an excellent job cutting, and has ample run time. On top of that, it has all the benefits of a cordless electric mower – ie. quiet, no maintenance, easy storage, easy to start, etc.
Check out my gear section for links to this mower and more.
Комментарии и мнения владельцев
JC after 3 years…my only problem is that my “circuit” breaker keeps popping. I need to wait about 2 minutes to reset it. Any idea how to get this fixed?
Kevin Not sure. It should still be under warranty. If it can wait until winter you that’s a more convenient time to get repairs done
Joseph J Dear JC, I was also facing similar problem with my old Ryobi lawn mower. After a proper servicing by a local expert fixed the issue. So I suggest you to do the same.
Diane Romanski Hi I brought the newer Ryobi push lawn mower yesterday and after charging the battery to full capacity I mowed my yard. It was 88 degrees and hadn’t rained here in days. I noticed that my passes of cutting had grass that had never been cut. I am not understanding why this is happening. I tried googling it and it talked a lot about sharpening the blade. I just took it out of the box yesterday. Any ideas? Thank you.
Joe Anshien Let me say that there are some very good things about this mower but if you serch YouTube or other sites for problems they are there. Mine kept cutting out and I tried all the DIY solutions and eventually took the thing part. The inside had tons of grass clippings indicating it is sealed very poorly. Eventually I gave up and brought it to Home Depot for service. Even though it has a warranty they charge a 20 evaluation fee. Then they send it to Atlanta for repair. After about 6 weeks I finally got the # for the repair depot in Atlanta and called. They said they had not received it. I could have pushed to mower to Atlanta from Richmond in less than 6 weeks. At the end of this saga I fanally got it back after over 3 months and they tried charging me over 70 for stuff that I did not authorize such as that protective shield. I met a guy on the way out that heard me complain and said his trimmer was MIA for over 6 months. Better have a backup mower if this one ever needs service.
The 10 Best Electric Lawn Mowers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Sage McHugh has written for Dotdash Meredith since 2019. With over a decade of experience in consumer-oriented content, Sage has a passion for products and how they enhance our everyday lives.
Barbara Gillette is a Master Gardener, herbalist, beekeeper, and journalist. She has 30 years of experience propagating and growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals.
Rich Scherr is a seasoned technology and financial journalist who spent nearly two decades as the editor of Potomac and Bay Area Tech Wire. The Baltimore native also covered the technology scene for LocalBusiness.com and has been a regular contributor to the sports pages of The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post.
Electric lawn mowers have many advantages over gas-powered models. For example, electric models don’t release exhaust fumes and can be significantly quieter and easier to operate, resulting in a much more pleasant mowing experience all around. “Electric lawn mowers come with many features to help owners stay safe, comfortable, and productive,” says Kris Kiser, president and CEO of Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI).
We researched many different types of electric lawn mowers and tested several in our own backyards across the country. We then evaluated products based on their set up, design, performance, usability, safety, and value and selected our favorites in a range of categories for this list. We also recently conducted a test of six riding lawn mowers in our personal yards and selected the best electric ones based on its power, maneuverability, and noise level.
EGO Power Select Cut 56-Volt 21-Inch Self-Propelled Cordless Lawn Mower
- Powerful and easy to use
- Lightweight and foldable for vertical storage
- 60-minute runtime and recharging
- Relatively affordable
After testing other electric mowers across the country, the EGO LM2102SP POWER 21-Inch Cordless Self-Propelled Mower is our best overall pick because it is very easy to use, lightweight and compact, and offers additional power when you need it, all at a relatively affordable price. Self-propelled mowers make mowing—especially over hills and rugged terrain—much easier because the mower moves for you at your pace, while you simply guide it around your yard. This option is no exception. While we tested this mower, we almost found it too powerful at first, especially because it was our first time using a self-propelled mower. But once we got the hang of it, we turned it off and on easily, and adjusted the speeds when needed by using the levers on the handle. We found the self-propulsion helpful for going up small hills (the lowest speed was all we needed) and turned it off when navigating around obstacles.
We also appreciated the battery life and fast recharging this mower offers. Although it comes with just one EGO 56V ARC Lithium battery, it has a 60-minute runtime and only takes about the same time to recharge using the included Rapid charger. And while it only took 50 minutes to mow our lawn, we are happy to report that the battery did not run out. If you have other EGO products at home with the same battery, you could always swap in that battery if you have a larger lawn and want to continue mowing without much of a break.
Other user-friendly features we love include the easily-adjustable handle: You have two options for the height and three options for the angle, so you can pick the one that is most comfortable for you. We also found adjusting the cutting height to be a simple task, with six settings to choose from ranging in height from 1.5 to 4 inches. And when you are done, the handle is just as easy to fold, so you can store your mower vertically in your garage or shed. We do want to note that while we think this mower did a great job mowing in dry and damp conditions, once when mowing over a particularly wet area, an orange light came on and the mower stopped. However, once we moved the mower to a more drier area, we were able to start it again easily. The only other minor issue we reported is putting on the grass collection bag. We found it would be much easier with two people since it clips on tightly and it’s a bit hard to get around the support bar (it popped off a few times during this process). But other than those small issues, we think this is an excellent electric mower for navigating different types of terrain with ease.
Price at time of publish: 549
Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 93.61 pounds | Power Source: Battery | Cutting Options: Bag, mulch, side-discharge
Greenworks 12 Amp 20-Inch 3-in-1 Corded Lawn Mower
We’ve tested the Greenworks Electric Corded Lawn Mower several times over the last few years, and it continues to stand out as the best affordable choice for small yards and tight spaces, even those with somewhat challenging terrain. In fact, while testing this mower in our latest round of testing, we had no issues navigating over divots, clumps, bumps, and other parts of our lawn that were uneven—we found that this mower powered right through them. Plus, the 12-amp motor is powerful enough for tough cutting and mulching, including the tall, spindly weeds in our yard. We didn’t report any issues mowing over slightly wet grass either.
The 20-inch cutting deck is narrower than some other options, but we found that it helped us get through the tight areas of our yard easily. Adjusting the cutting height (seven different heights ranging from 1.5 to 3.75 inches) is simple as well, and really is the only setting you need to worry about. However, we did note that the mower didn’t go quite low enough to cut some patches of clover. Although it’s budget-friendly, we love that you have three options for your grass clippings—bag, mulch, or side discharge—and you don’t have to purchase any of these features separately (which would add to the cost). The grass collection bag was easy to clip on, although we did spill some grass clippings the first time we removed it and noted that the bag was not even full. However, we think this won’t be an issue once we get the hang of it.
Although this electric model is corded, we appreciated the unlimited runtime and didn’t find the cord to be cumbersome. We did find ourselves holding on to the cord even though there was a cord restraint system that kept it in place, but we were able to mow the lawn easily with our other hand. It’s important to note that this mower must be used with a 14-gauge 50-foot extension cord or a 12-gauge 100-foot extension cord (not included). Overall, we found this to be a really easy lawn mower to set up (just a few screws are needed for the handle), use, and store (just fold the handle), and it continues to impress us with its performance and price.
Price at time of publish: 227
Cutting Width: 20 inches | Weight: 56 pounds | Power Source: Corded | Cutting Options: Bag, mulch, side-discharge
Ryobi 40V HP Brushless 21-Inch Dual-Blade Self-Propelled Mower
Although it is a little more of a splurge compared to other options we tested, The Ryobi 40V HP Brushless 21 Inch Cordless Self-Propelled Mower stands out for its powerful performance (comparable to some gas models), and long, 70-minute runtime. We tested this mower on the first grass of the season and were quickly impressed by its ease of use and quiet performance (we thought it almost sounded like white noise), especially compared to gas models we’ve used in the past. Thanks to the self-propelled technology, it was a breeze to mow over uneven terrain, even over hills, with little effort on our part. It did take a little bit of time to select the right cutting height for our uneven lawn (the blade did get stuck a few times), but once we adjusted the height, we were impressed by the cutting performance. Luckily this mower offers seven adjustable cutting heights (1.5 to 4 inches), so you can easily pick the one you need. We also want to mention that like our best overall mower, the EGO LM2102SP POWER 21-Inch Cordless Self-Propelled Mower, the self-propelled feature does take some time to get used to, and you may feel like the mower will run away on you at first until you figure out which setting you need for each part of your yard.
This model comes with two 40-volt batteries and a Rapid charger. Since only one battery is needed at a time, you will always have one ready to go should you need it. Our lawn took only 45 minutes to an hour each time to mow, and we never had to stop and recharge it to finish the job. However, we did have to stop the first time we mowed to empty the grass collection bag, which we found to be surprisingly small. It filled up after mowing about 25-30 feet of tall grass. The next two times weren’t as much of an issue because the grass wasn’t as overgrown. It was very simple to remove the full bag, but we found that it spilled easily and a few blades even spilled when the mower was in use (whether or not it was filled.) These few issues aside, we appreciated the bag, mulching, and side-discharge options for the grass clippings overall, although it is worth noting that it did not break up older leaves very well.
Like most of the mowers on this list, the Ryobi 40V HP Brushless 21 Inch Cordless Self-Propelled Mower is easy to fold and store vertically to save space. We were equally impressed with all of the safety features. Although it has a simple, push-button start, the mower has a key that you can store separately so no one can accidentally start the mower. When ready to use, the key has to be inserted behind a flap. Plus, the mower only works while you are gripping a lever. The LED headlights provide extra light that might be helpful when mowing around dusk or dawn. Although this mower is a bit more pricey than our best overall (which is also a battery-powered self-propel model), we think it’s worth the extra cost for the power, long runtime, and extra battery.
Price at time of publish: 799
Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 75 pounds | Power Source: Battery | Cutting Options: Bag, mulch, side-discharge
Greenworks 12 Amp 20-Inch 3-in-1 Corded Lawn Mower
- Good value for a larger corded mower.
- The mower performs well on both dry and damp grass, as well as tall weeds.
- It has no problem driving over uneven ground.
- The mower is easy to push with one hand, even though it’s not self-propelled.
- It can be a bit bulky to turn or maneuver around obstacles.
- Clippings often fall out when emptying the collection bag, even if it’s not full.
The Greenworks Corded Lawn Mower is a great value if you don’t mind working around an extension cord as you mow. This electric model has a fairly large 20-inch cutting deck, and it offers side discharge, bagging, and mulching abilities, unlike other corded models we tested. We used it on both dry and damp grass, and it had no problems cutting either one, breezing right through tall weeds. It also did a good job capturing grass clippings in the included collection bag, though some do spill out when you remove the bag for emptying.
We tested this mower on a fairly uneven lawn, and thanks to its large rear wheels, it didn’t have any problem driving over divots that have posed a problem for other mowers. We were able to push the mower around with just one hand, holding the power cord with the other, but it does require two hands to turn the mower around, as it’s a bit bulky (and not self-propelled). Bottom line? With its affordable price and reliable performance, this mower is a good option for anyone with a smaller yard who wants a corded lawn mower with features.
Price at time of publish: 229
Power Source: Plug-in | Cutting Width: 20 inches | Weight: 56 pounds | Self-Propelled: No | Clipping Options: Side discharge, bag, mulch
EGO Power Select Cut 56-Volt 21-Inch Self-Propelled Cordless Lawn Mower
- The battery still had power left after 50 minutes of use.
- The handle can be adjusted to different heights and angles for maximum comfort.
- The self-propelled design is easy to maneuver and takes strain off your body.
- The mower did get bogged down on a wet patch of grass and ferns.
- The process to start the mower is a bit complicated and hard to understand based on the directions.
There are several benefits to battery-powered mowers like the EGO Power Self-Propelled Lawn Mower, including its lack of emissions, quiet operation, and minimal maintenance. This 21-inch lawn mower only comes with one 56-volt battery, but it was able to mow for 50 minutes with power to spare, making it a great option even for larger yards. On first use, we struggled to figure out how to start the mower — it’s not as simple as just pushing a single button — but once we conquered that hurdle, it was smooth sailing.
The self-propelled design was easy to maneuver around the yard, and we loved that it requires minimal effort, so it won’t strain your back. The mower delivered a clean, even cut, even when the grass was damp, and it’s easy and intuitive to adjust settings like the cutting height and mower speed. We did find that the mower would occasionally get bogged down in thicker, wet areas (for instance, it had trouble cutting through a patch of ferns), but this is the case with many mowers, so we don’t think it’s a dealbreaker.
Price at time of publish: 549 (orig. 576.45)
Power Source: Battery | Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 54.5 pounds | Self-Propelled: Yes | Clipping Options: Side discharge, bag, mulch
Honda HRX217VKA 21-Inch Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower
- The mower is easy to start without priming or worrying about flooding the motor.
- Self-propelled function locks into your desired speed, saving you from having to hold down a lever.
- There’s a setting that allows you to half bag and half mulch the grass clippings.
If you have a lot of ground to cover, we recommend this Honda HRX Lawn Mower. It’s powered by a 201cc engine that easily cuts through thick and dense grass, yet it’s incredibly easy to start up — we were able to get the mower going with a single pull, no priming needed. The Honda mower also has 4-in-1 functionality, meaning you can side discharge, bag, mulch, or shred grass clippings, and we like that there’s even an option to bag half and mulch half. This setting would definitely come in handy if you’re cutting longer grass.
This mower also stood out thanks to its convenient self-propelled design. The control bar has a knob that lets you select the speed you want, essentially locking the mower at that pace so you don’t have to worry about holding the lever down at the right pressure. It can also go quite fast — we found that a medium speed was comfortable for walking, but you could dial it up for faster mowing, if desired.
Overall, we had very few complaints about this self-propelled mower. It did take a little trial and error to find the right deck height and speed setting, but once that was done, the mower delivered a nice even cut every time.
Price at time of publish: 799 (orig. 989.99)
Power Source: Gas | Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 91 pounds | Self-Propelled: Yes | Clipping Options: Side discharge, bag, mulch, leaf shred
Ryobi 40V HP Brushless 21-Inch Dual-Blade Self-Propelled Mower
- Unbelievably quiet during operation — it almost sounds like a white noise machine.
- The battery-powered mower offers comparable power to a gas mower.
- The batteries lasted for more than three mowings (42 minutes total) without needing to be recharged.
- Self-propelled design makes it effortless to mow hilly areas.
The Ryobi Dual-Blade Self-Propelled Lawn Mower is our top pick for anyone with a hilly yard, as its self-propulsion abilities outperformed the competition in our testing. This electric mower has a standard 21-inch deck, and we found that it performs just as well as gas mowers thanks to its two powerful 40-volt batteries. It offers variable speed self-propulsion that lets you match the mower to your pace, and it had no problems tackling hills during testing. In fact, the feature can be too fast on straightaways if you turn it to max speed — we had to jog to keep up with it!
Because this mower is battery-powered, it’s much quieter than a gas mower, almost sounding like a white noise machine. It also impressed us with its runtime — we were able to mow a 2,000-square-foot yard three times without needing to recharge the batteries. While we loved the convenience and easy operation of this mower, it wasn’t totally perfect. The main negatives we discovered were that the grass collection bag is quite small and needed to be emptied frequently while mowing, and the mulching setting left behind quite a few dry leaves on the lawn.
Price at time of publish: 919
Power Source: Battery | Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 75 pounds | Self-Propelled: Yes | Clipping Options: Side discharge, bag, mulch
Things to Consider Before Buying a Walk-Behind Lawn Mower
There are three main styles of walk-behind lawn mowers: gas, battery, and electric, also called corded. Gas mowers are usually the most powerful option, boasting large motors that can power through thick grass and weeds, but they’re also loud and require frequent maintenance, including oil and spark plug changes.
For these reasons, battery-powered models are becoming more popular: “Homeowners have been gravitating to battery power for a few years, and we’ll be seeing even more of that in 2023 with various laws and regulations and even HOA restrictions aiming to limit the use of gas,” explains Durden. “Advancements in technology are making it possible and practical for everyone to make the switch — we have several battery mowers that offer the same (or better) power than gas mowers today.” Battery-powered mowers are also quieter and don’t give off any harmful emissions, but they do have a limited runtime. Our top pick for a battery-powered mower is the EGO Power Lawn Mower.
Finally, there are corded walk-behind mowers, which tend to be the most affordable. These use an extension cord to plug into an electrical outlet, giving them an unlimited runtime, but you have to navigate around the cord as you mow, which is why they’re recommended for small yards.
The size of your yard will dictate which type of walk-behind mower is best for your needs. If you have a small yard that’s less than ¼ acre, a corded push mower will generally meet your needs. These are usually lightweight and have smaller decks, and they’re easy to operate and store.
For larger yards, you may want to upgrade to a self-propelled mower, such as the Ryobi Dual-Blade Mower, which moves forwards on its own using power from the motor. This means you don’t have to physically push the mower to move it around your yard, making the process less strenuous.
In terms of a gas vs. battery powered model, battery mowers do have a limited runtime — typically less than an hour, but it will vary by product — which may not be enough for yards that are an acre or more. However, keep in mind that you can always buy backup batteries, if needed.
The terrain of your yard is another factor to consider as you shop for a lawn mower. “If your yard is flat, a push mower will be the most affordable choice,” recommends Durden. “If your yard has hills, you may want to invest in a self-propelled mower that takes less manual effort.”
Walk-behind mowers with larger rear wheels — like the Greenworks 12 Amp 20-Inch 3-in-1 Corded Lawn Mower — tend to handle better on uneven ground, so you may want to look for this feature if your yard has a lot of divots or ruts.
There are three main options for handling grass clippings while you’re mowing: discharging them out the side or back, bagging them up, or mulching them into fine pieces that will decay back into your lawn. Some lawn mowers, such as the Sun Joe Electric Lawn Mower only offer one option, while other models like the Honda Hrx 21-in Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower offer all three.
If you want a bagging mower, pay careful attention to the size of the collection bag in comparison to your yard. If the bag is too small, you may find yourself stopping to empty it frequently — a problem we ran into when testing the Ryobi Dual-Blade Self-Propelled Mower.
How We Tested
We researched today’s most popular walk-behind lawn mowers, and we selected nine top-rated models for testing, including three battery-operated, two corded, and four gas options. We sent each model to the homes of our testers, who are located in seven different cities across three states, and they tested each lawn mower over the period of several days.
We used each lawn mower three times, evaluating them on their ease of use, performance, power, safety features, and more. Each product was then scored on its setup, design, performance, usability, safety, and value, and the highest-scoring products were selected for this round-up.
If you have a larger yard or a lot of hilly terrain, a self-propelled lawn mower will take a lot of the manual effort out of mowing your grass. “Self-propelled mowers are designed to automatically move forward from 1 to 3.5 miles per hour,” explains Durden. “They‘re recommended for yards of more than half an acre, especially those that are hilly or sloped. Some mowers offer variable speeds that come in handy when working near trees and garden beds.”
In general, you can expect to pay between 400 and 450,000 for a self-propelled lawn mower, and the more you’re willing to spend, the more power and features your mower will have. However, some of our top-rated models are only around 500, so don’t feel like you have to splurge to get a great tool.
If your lawn is only a few hundred square feet, you can probably get by with a reel-style lawn mower, but if it’s over ¼ of an acre, a walk-behind mower will make weekly maintenance much easier. The great thing about walk-behind lawn mowers is that there’s an option for every lawn size and budget. If you have a small yard, an inexpensive option like the Sun Joe Electric Lawn Mower will make quick work of your grass without breaking the bank.
How we picked and tested
As a result of our years of lawn mower evaluation, we’re sure that most people will be happiest with a self-propelled, electric cordless option. Honestly, it all comes down to convenience. Every single element of a gas mower that is considered a nuisance—from the fiddly start-up to the annual maintenance schedule—is gone. Cordless mowers start with the push of a button, are easier to maneuver, and don’t need oil changes, gas, spark plugs, or air filters. They’re much quieter, they don’t smell, they don’t produce emissions, and they’re easier to store in the off-season. The run time has limitations, and charge times can be slow, but the latest models close the performance gaps between cordless and gas.
All that said, there are many capable—and several excellent—gas mowers available. Whatever type of mower you need, here are the criteria we feel matter most in making a selection:
Rear-Wheel Self-propulsion: Self-propelled mowers make life easier. With the mower moving itself across the lawn, all you have to do is throttle and steer, rather than forcing the mower’s full weight up every incline and over every bump. Self-propelled cordless mowers are all rear-wheel drive (RWD), which is preferred over front-wheel drive (FWD), because the mower’s traction improves as the grass bag fills and adds weight over the rear wheels. A self-propulsion feature adds to a mower’s price, but it’s a feature we feel is well worth it, and this requirement doesn’t narrow the field by a whole lot. It does, however, weed out the most bare-bones machines.
Performance as a mower: We researched which mowers could perform the best from a lawn-care perspective—which could make cleaner cuts in grass or promote turf health. We’ve measured this performance firsthand over years of long-term testing and in tests of new contenders against our established recommendations.
User interface and features: In years of tests, we’ve found most midrange mowers perform at a comparable level; most can cut the grass just fine. That led us to place an emphasis on user interface features—how difficult is it to adjust the push-bar height, or to raise and lower the mowing deck? Can you intuitively control and adjust the self-propulsion? Is the bag a pain to put on and take off? Are there other design details that make startup smoother, reduce engine maintenance, or make storage easier?
Cost: We looked at cost in terms of long-term value. Gas mowers are cheaper up-front, generally, but they carry long-term costs that cordless mowers avoid. Those include supplies (like gas, oil, stabilizers, air filters, and spark plugs) and the time and labor of caring for one: getting gas, changing the oil, and emptying the tank at the end of the season. With cordless mowers, a large percentage of the price tag is the battery. Most companies offer a series of outdoor tools (leaf blowers, string trimmers, hedge trimmers, etc.), all compatible with the same battery. And they cost less if you buy them without a battery. So for a high cost up-front, a cordless investment may open the door for an affordable expansion into that manufacturer’s other tools.
Charge time and run time: For cordless candidates, we looked at these two primary factors, which determine whether a battery will be adequate or frustrating. Because these two elements are so important, we looked only at mowers that used at least a 40-volt battery.
and reputation: The best mowers out there have proved satisfying for the most number of people for the longest amount of time. That led us to closely consider the differences among a smaller group of about 50 established, well-regarded models from major brands, often covered by comparable warranties of about three to five years.
Best overall lawn mower
The best lawn mower
The self-propelled Ego LM2135SP’s battery runs for an hour and easily mows down overgrown grass—and it spares you the noise, emissions, and maintenance of a typical gas mower.
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For the best in convenience, battery run time, cut quality, and value, we recommend the Ego Power Select Cut Mower LM2135SP. Compared with a gas mower, it’s quieter, doesn’t create exhaust, and requires almost no maintenance. Among other cordless models, the Ego LM2135SP has among the longest run time and shortest charge time. This Ego has a redesigned control interface that allows you to control the propulsion with either hand. It also cuts with two blades, making for a finer cut and better mulching. Rounding out the features are two forward-facing LED lights, an easy-to-use cutting-height adjustment, and a battery port that faces the battery gauge toward the operator. The battery, which is good for a solid hour of mowing, is compatible with Ego’s other lawn tools, such as the company’s leaf blower, chainsaw, and string trimmer.
Most people report getting roughly 60 minutes of run time from a full charge of the Ego’s 56-volt, 7.5 Ah battery, which is included with the purchase. We confirmed the run-time figures in tests of this pick and our runner-up in March 2019 and in 2020. In several hour-long sessions of strenuous cutting on tough grass in Los Angeles, running this mower across hills (some of which were steeper than its recommended 15-degree max), the battery never died before we expected it to. If anything, it exceeded the hour-long window by about 10 to 15 minutes. An added bonus: Once the battery was too low to power the mower blades, it still had enough juice to operate the self-propulsion function, letting us drive the mower back to the charger. Compared to older Ego batteries, this one has a ring of lights that give you an approximate gauge of the remaining charge (the previous generation communicated with a red light only when the battery got critically low). The battery regularly recharges in 60 minutes or less. (Recharge time is another advantage for Ego, as competitors’ charge times range from an hour and a half up to almost five and a half hours.)
In the mowing tests, the two-bladed Ego showed a superior cut-quality compared with our runner-up, and this is the primary reason we’d choose this model over the older version. We’ve put the mowers on some rough tufts of knotty crabgrass, knee-height rye grass, and thick purple stalks of weeds, and although the runner-up never bogged down, the LM2135SP did a better job of lifting overgrown grasses as it cut, mincing up fine mulch and effectively cutting through tall growth without pushing the grass flat. This second blade elevates the Ego into some territory that was formerly exclusive to mowers like the highly regarded Honda HRX series, making the case for cordless that much stronger.
A new-for-2020 speed-control system can be operated with your thumbs on either hand—a more versatile setup than the single, oversize, right-handed trigger on the 2019 version. Photo: Rozette Rago
With its onboard indicators displaying battery life and other troubleshooting diagnostics, the Ego is quite intuitive for anyone new to cordless mowers. Photo: Rozette Rago
A new-for-2020 speed-control system can be operated with your thumbs on either hand—a more versatile setup than the single, oversize, right-handed trigger on the 2019 version. Photo: Rozette Rago
Controlling the Ego is easy and intuitive. As with many mowers, the Ego has a metal bar (called a bail) that’s held against the handle to activate the blades. To activate the RWD self-propulsion, you press one of two buttons in the upper corners of the handle, and a central dial controls the mower’s speed. A couple of subtle changes set this mower apart from other models: The speed-control system can be operated with your thumbs on either hand—a more versatile setup than the single, oversize, right-handed trigger on the runner-up. Second, although the mower can move at a brisk pace if you want it to, the slowest speed setting available is unusually slow. This is quite handy if you’re backing in and out under a tree or in another tricky area, if you’re mowing across a hill and taking care not to let the mower slide or roll away, or if you just need to take it slow to make sure you’re not about to mow over an obstruction.
Random aside: Without the stink of gas engine exhaust in your face, the smell of mowing the grass while using Ego is entirely different and much more pleasant; unfortunately, the allergens are exactly the same.
The Ego has a number of other convenience features. The headlight, something not found on gas mowers, gives some illumination as the day starts to end. The single-adjust height control, a rarity on gas mowers, allows you to set the cutting height with a single lever. On most gas mowers, cutting height has to be adjusted at each individual wheel. The Ego has seven cutting heights, between 1½ to 4 inches—a wider range than on most cordless mowers, which top out at around 3½ to 3¾ inches.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Although the two-handed self-propulsion control is a more convenient setup than the one-handed paddle design seen on competitors, it does make accidentally engaging the self-propulsion a little too easy. Usually this isn’t an issue, but often the moments when you’re grasping to get a better grip on the handle are the times you least want to engage the self-propulsion. For example, if you are mowing across a hill, there’s a brief moment during a turnaround when the mower is pointing up or down the hill. When adjusting your grip to make those turns, you may inadvertently tap the throttle, destabilizing your stance or your grip on the mower. If anyone from Ego’s reading this, they’ll probably say we’re mowing on too steep a hill, but hey, sometimes life throws a steep hill at you.
We think that the hour or so of run time is going to be enough for anyone keeping to about a half-acre, but if that’s not enough, additional batteries are available to extend run time infinitely. But batteries are costly. Depending on the Ah, they currently range in price from about 140 (2.5 Ah) to about 250 (5.0 Ah), and up to about 450 for a 7.5 Ah battery. They all fit, and with a second one on the charger while one is on the mower, you can really minimize or eliminate downtime.
Because the Ego is cordless and loaded with electrical components, the company does not recommend using a hose to wash out the underside of the mowing dome. Instead, the mower needs to be put on its side and the dome wiped off or scraped clean, using a plastic scraper. Because there is no gas or oil to leak out, this process is much easier than with a gas mower.
Finally, Wirecutter writer Kit Dillon, who loves his Ego mower, uncovered an issue with an older version of our pick, where the wires for the self-propulsion function run up the handle to the operating switch. “The wiring is super thin and where the arm bends over itself over time this wire breaks,” he explained. “The annoying thing is the wire is so thin it will sometimes break inside the sheath, which makes it difficult to diagnose or even find what section to repair.” Because of the large number of YouTube videos devoted to the problem, it’s clear that this isn’t an isolated incident. We’re not sure if this problem happens with this current version of the mower, but looking through the customer feedback at Lowe’s, we found a number of people saying that their mower won’t start, which makes us think the issue persists in newer models.