Best Makita Lawn Mower Reviews – Updated for 2022
Having already published our best lawn mower reviews article and also one on the best electric lawn mowers, we know mowers. We’ve spent countless hours cutting with them and testing them on our property. So what if you’ve already decided on Makita as your manufacturer of choice? You still have over a half dozen models to choose from! We polled our best Makita lawn mower reviews for many different applications to help you decide. We’ve reviewed nearly every model and have the testing, data, runtime, and more to help you make an informed decision.
Best Makita Lawn Mower Review Overall
Makita XML08 21″ Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Review
If you want the best Makita lawn mower review we did all year, we have to recommend the XML08 we first reviewed in 2021. This model gives you the goods without quite going overboard. In fact, we’ve seen the mower and batteries on sale for 699. You can also buy just the mower and add your own set of batteries. For commercial Pros or anyone on a 1-acre lot or less, this Makita lawn mower should do the trick.
Testing during the summer, we set the deck to 3-inches and loaded up four 6.0Ah batteries. We didn’t exactly take it easy—cutting Bermuda, Bahia, and St. Augustine. About 2/3 of our cutting area was pre-cut to 5 inches. The other 1/3 hadn’t been cut at all in two weeks. We had a runtime total of 47 minutes. On a regular maintenance cut, we would have easily cut for more than an hour.
Commercial self-propelled mowers run more than 1000. Sticking with battery competitors, STIHL’s self-propelled model with a similar battery loadout is 879. That may seem expensive compared to residential mowers, but you get much more in terms of build quality and cutting power. The Makita XML08 self-propelled lawn mower is a good solution when your crew needs a solution for where gas mowers are unwanted or unwelcome.
Aside from perhaps making the battery switch automatic, there’s not much to complain about with this mower. Take a look at the XML09 if you want a true aluminum deck that adds a bit more weight as a tradeoff for better weather resistance and a higher price point.
Our Favorite Makita Lawn Mowers for Pros
Makita XML09 21″ Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
We already declared the XML08 the best Makita lawnmower we reviewed so far. However, if you want to kick it up a notch, the nearly-identical XML09 adds an all-aluminum deck that makes this mower even more weather-proof. It does add some weight, but nothing you wouldn’t get from a commercial gas model. Of our Makita lawn mower reviews, the XML09 really stands apart (it’s also the most expensive model Makita makes).
You get the same power and runtime as the XML08, but it eliminates the plastic on the front of the deck. Instead, the aluminum (not steel) deck extends all the way front with a metal guard out front as well to avoid damage from obstructions, stone borders, etc.
Look for the Makita XML09PT1 lawn mower to run about 999 with a set of four 5.0Ah batteries.
Makita CML01 ConnectX 21-inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
For landscaping crews, the Makita ConnectX 21-inch self-propelled lawn mower takes direct aim at the problem of runtime. Its ConnectX 1200Wh backpack is like having a little more than thirteen (13) 18V LXT 5Ah batteries. Makita isn’t the first to have a backpack battery, but we really like their implementation. The backpack-style battery connects directly to the top of the ConnectX lawn mower. You don’t have to tether yourself to it with a cord.
When it comes to runtime, you can mow up to 3 continuous hours. For the way most professional crews use their walk-behind mowers to supplement their ZTs, it’s enough to get through an entire day.
As a professional-grade mower, the Makita CML01 runs 949 as a bare tool. The battery adds another 1399 for a grand total of 2348 if you buy them separately. Like Makita’s other lithium-ion tools, the warranty runs 3 years on both the mower and the power supply.
Best Makita 36V Push Lawn Mower for Homeowners
Makita XML11 21″ 36V (X2) Self-propelled Push Mower
If you don’t require a self-propelled mechanism, the Makita XML11 presents a great entry-level option for homeowners who still have a reasonably-sized property (up to 1/2-acre). The Makita XML11CT1 lawnmower kit includes four 5Ah batteries and typically out around 499. That includes a rear bag and dual-port charger.
Makita claims around 40 minutes of runtime with these batteries, and the self-propelled mechanism has a variable speed between 1.5 and 3 MPH. Single-lever height adjustment lets you set the blade to cut between 1-1/4″ and 4″. Lastly, the handle folds down to make garage or shed storage a breeze. Given the 499 price, this mower might be one of the best bangs for your buck in the 21-inch self-propelled range.
Best Makita 18V (X2) Lawn Mower for Really Small Yards
Makita XML03 18″ Push Mower
It may be that you want a self-propelled lawnmower for a bit less than the available commercial models from Makita. In that case, the Makita XML03 lawn mower provides an excellent compromise. This push mower runs just 399 for a kit that includes four 4.0Ah batteries and a dual charger. That’s an insanely low price for a fully-electric battery-powered mower.
Of our Makita lawn mower reviews, the Makita XML03 might seem diminished. It lacks a self-propelled motor, and you “only” get an 18-inch wide deck. However, it can cut up to a 1/3-acre in 43 minutes or less. The steel deck also provides commercial-level quality—letting it work just as well for a more maneuverable solution for landscapers.
With a folding handle for easy storage and a single-lever cut height adjustment (13/16″ – 3″), you have everything you need for a smaller yard or super-maneuverable commercial mowing tool.
Best Electric Push Lawn Mower (Not Self-Propelled)
Makita XML07 Push Lawn Mower
The Makita XML07 is essentially the same as the XML08 that we recommended above but without the self-propelled drive. Makita made huge improvements to this model compared to earlier versions to get it ready for commercial use.
You get the same steel deck commercial landscapers love. Like other Makita lawnmowers, the XML07 uses two 18V batteries to run (it’s a 36V mower) and has room for four packs so you don’t have to go back to the trailer or garage as often.
Makita also dialed in a Quiet Mode for its brushless motor. When you’re trying to conserve runtime or keep the noise level down in lighter cutting conditions, it keeps the blade at a lower—and quieter—RPM. Pick up this capable commercial-level push mower for 699 with four 5.0Ah batteries and a dual-port charger.
How We Make Our Best Makita Lawn Mower Picks
Deck Size and Material
When doing Makita lawn mower reviews we have to understand the deck size and material. Pros typically want steel decks (Makita even has a model with an aluminum deck to save on weight). While most insist on 21-inch deck size for cutting grass, many Pros need a solution that can get into tighter areas where the zero turn or stand-on cannot. For that, 17-inch and 18-inch models excel.
How much runtime a battery-powered lawn mower has is only part of the equation. The best information is how much area you can cut on a charge. We recommend Makita mowers with an eye to the amount of cutting they can be expected to accomplish on a set of 4 batteries.
The build quality largely includes the deck material, but also takes into account the other items consumers and Pros need for extended use. We’re looking for solid components that will last well beyond the warranty period, a rigid construction, and protection for the electrical components and batteries.
In addition to any standout features, here’s a list of the standard items we look for:
- Drive type and function
- Height adjustment and range
- Handle positions
- Discharge options
For our team of experts, value is much more than just price. It’s about what you get for what you pay. An expensive model may very well be the best battery mower value if it’s performing far enough ahead of the budget brands to justify it.
Best Makita Lawn Mowers Buying Guide
As you’re deciding on the best Makita battery-powered lawn mower for you in 2022, there’s a lot to consider. These electric mowers are a long way away from when we started with battery power.
What’s Your Budget?
While you can get a Makita battery lawnmower for less than 500, plan on spending at least 700 for a commercial kit with four batteries and more than 800 for the top models.
That can cause a bit of a conflict. When you look at what you can get for the same price on a gas mower, you get more power and features from that gas engine. It won’t have the noise, emission, and maintenance benefits, though.
Residential or Commercial Quality?
With many manufacturers, you don’t see a ton of differences between commercial and residential walk-behind battery lawn mowers. Makita mostly makes commercial lawn mowers.
These professional battery-powered electric mowers from Makita include a familiar design and features that match what professionals look for. Makita also has a pretty large dealer network that they should end up leveraging as they continue to expand into battery-powered outdoor power equipment.
Self-Propelled vs Push Drive
Considering a self-propelled drive doesn’t have a huge effect on your runtime, it’s a feature you should get if it’s in your budget. Look for variable speed control and try working it in the store before you bring it home. You can usually tell in just a few minutes if it’s comfortable and natural for your hands.
Look for a mower that disengages its drive easily when you want to pull the mower back. Some systems have a hard time letting go and force you to drag the drive wheels rather than allowing them to roll.
Let’s not completely rule out the classic push mower style, though. When you’re on a budget, you can easily save 100 or more without losing cutting performance if you’re willing to carry more of the workload.
If that’s the direction you’re heading, look for a poly deck to help reduce weight and wheels with low rolling resistance to make your job a little easier.
Self-Propel Drive Adjustment
Our testing team generally prefers a variable speed control separate from the presence bar. The Makita XML03 also includes a “Whisper Mode”. This tells the brushless motor to maintain 2500 RPM to keep the noise down and your battery efficiency up.
The Makita XML11 uses an easy-to-use speed control on the left to set the speed between the minimum and maximum extremes.
Steel vs Aluminum vs Poly Deck
In the gas-powered world, there are really no poly decks—most are either steel or aluminum. The cordless lawn mower world is much different with poly decks in every direction.
Steel is more durable, but it’s very unlikely you’re going to wear through a poly deck over the life of your battery-powered lawn mower. Poly also has an advantage in design. It’s much easier to make subtle changes in the shape that optimizes airflow for better lift, mulching, and bagging than a steel deck.
And, while steel is more durable, aluminum saves weight and resists corrosion. If you have a lot of small rocks you kick up when you’re mowing or perhaps your 15-year-old doesn’t pay quite as much attention as you’d like, then a steel or aluminum deck can extend your mower’s life!
Bag, Mulch, or Side Discharge?
You probably already know whether you prefer to mulch or bag. Here in central Florida, we usually mulch to return nutrients to the lawn and avoid stopping every 10 minutes (literally) to dump the bag.
Sometimes, however, you go on vacation or the weather prevents you from hitting your normal mowing day. That’s when side (or rear) discharge becomes helpful.
Instead of keeping the grass up in the deck for finer mulching, it kicks it out. You could bag it, of course, but you’d spend a lot of time emptying. For the sake of getting your cut back under control, side discharging can help keep you moving along when your grass gets long.
Some Makita mowers give you all three options. That way, you can keep that side discharge chute somewhere handy just in case you need it.
Deck and Blade Size
Most of the best electric lawn mowers have 20 or 21-inch deck sizes with slightly smaller blades (Makita is one brand that lists the actual blade diameter rather than the deck diameter).
Makita also provides smaller models appropriate for smaller lawns or areas with a lot of landscaping to work around.
The larger deck sizes are most helpful on lawns over 1/4-acre where they offer more significant time savings. For lawns 1/4-acre or less, even a 17-inch deck works well. Those smaller decks also work for taking care of limited areas where zero turns cannot fit.
Height Adjustment and Range
This one is really about what your preference is. We find most people set their height once and leave it, so just make sure the mower you choose has the cutting height you need.
The majority of electric lawn mowers have all the height range you need to cover a wide variety of grass species. If you prefer to cut at heights over 3-1/2 inches or under 2 inches, just double check that the mower you’re looking at covers it.
Multiple Battery Ports
If you have a lawn that’s more than 1/3 of an acre, there’s a good chance you can benefit from multiple battery ports. There are three possibilities: a second storage port, a second active port with a manual switch, and a second active port with automatic switching.
Automatic switching is the most convenient and usually comes on higher-priced mowers. Manual switching and simple storage take some extra effort, but not as much as going back to the garage or trailer for another battery. With four battery ports onboard, Makita at least ensures you have plenty of runtime available on their 18V X2 (36V) mowers.
Why Buy an Electric Lawn Mower?
The best Makita electric lawn mower for you should get your lawn cut on one charge. No matter which model that is, they all share some common characteristics. There are no gas emissions and no gas engine to maintain. You still need to clean it off when you’re done, but the maintenance is much easier and takes less time.
Makita lawn mowers also dramatically cut down noise compared to gas mowers. The early bird gets the worm and if you want to start mowing at 7:00 on Saturday morning, your neighbors can probably sleep through it. of a night owl? While many battery-powered mowers have headlights, Makita’s do not—so no night mowing for you!
Our favorite reason to buy a Makita electric battery lawn mower is that you can just insert the batteries and mow. There’s no cranking, no choke, and no fuel cut-off valve. As long as you have enough batteries to get the entire lawn cut, it’s an easier system to work with than gas.
Why You Can Trust Pro Tool Reviews
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We’ve been in business since 2008 covering tools, writing reviews, and reporting on industry news in the construction, automotive, and lawn care industries. Our Pro reviewers work in the trades and have the skills and experience to know whether tools can perform well in the field.
Each year, we bring in and review more than 250 individual products. Our team will put our hands on hundreds of additional tools at media events and trade shows throughout the year.
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The end result is information you can trust because of the editorial, scientific, and real-world professional experience we collectively utilize each and every time we pick up and test a tool.
Makita 18V X2 Cordless Lawn Mower XML03 Review
When he’s not playing with the latest power tool, Clint DeBoer enjoys life as a husband, father, and avid reader—especially the Bible. He loves Jesus, has a degree in recording engineering, and has been involved in multimedia and/or online publishing in one form or another since 1992.
Clint’s career has covered nearly the entire realm of audio and video production. After graduating at the top of his class with an Associates Degree in Recording Engineering, he began working for the famed Soundelux studios in 1994, one of the largest post-production companies specializing in audio for feature films television. Working on a myriad of feature films, Clint honed his skills as a dialogue editor, foley editor, and sound designer. Years later, he moved into the expanding area of video editing, where he served as the company’s senior AVID video editor for three years.
Working for such clients as Universal Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment, NASA, Universal Studios, Planet Hollywood, SEGA, NASCAR, and others, Clint DeBoer dealt extensively with client management as well as film video editing, color correction, and digital video MPEG compression. He also carries several THX certifications (Technician I and II, THX Video), and is ISF Level II Certified.
After founding the CD Media, Inc. publishing company in 1996, he went on to help start or grow several successful online publications, including Audioholics (as Editor-in-Chief for 12 years), Audiogurus, and AV Gadgets. In 2008, Clint founded Pro Tool Reviews followed by the landscape and outdoor power equipment-focused OPE Reviews in 2017. He also heads up the Pro Tool Innovation Awards, an annual awards program honoring innovative tools and accessories across the trades.
Crediting God and his excellent staff for the success of what is now the largest power tool review publication in the industry, Clint DeBoer hopes to see continued growth for the company as it rapidly expands its reach. Pro Tool Reviews critically reviews hundreds of hand tools, power tools, and accessories each year to help inform users about the best and newest products in the industry. Reaching everyone from the construction industry professional and tradesman to the serious DIYer, Pro Tool Reviews helps tool consumers shop better, work smarter, and stay aware of what tools and products can help put them at the top of their game.
Buyer’s Guide to Walk Behind Lawn Mowers
A walk behind lawn mower is an important purchase. Selecting the model that’s perfect for your lawn can be daunting. There are many aspects you should consider when making your purchase and this guide will help you get started.
Type of mower
There are three types of mowers to choose from: gas, electric, battery-powered
Yard size and operation
Electric and battery-powered walk behind lawn mowers are best for small lawns. A drawback of electric mowers is the cord, which can get in the way of the user. Gas-powered mowers allow you to mow without restriction. They’re more powerful and can cut thick grass on flat, hilly or uneven lawns. strength will be needed to push these mowers unless you’re working with a self-propelled model. Self-propelled walk behind lawn mowers use either front or back wheels to propel the mower for you.
For a zone start mower, hold the bail and pull the row; releasing the handle will stop the engine. Blade-brake clutch mowers start the same way, but releasing the handle will stop only the blade, not the engine. Simply use a key to start electric mowers.
Walk behind lawn mowers are available in 20-inch, 21-inch, and 22-inch cutting widths. These widths indicate how wide a swath of grass you can cut with a single pass of your lawn mower.
There are varying engines available. A typical engine will have a side valve and be gas-powered. Overhead valve engines are more useful for heavier mowing conditions.
A common deck construction is steel; however, this deck may rust over time. Cast aluminum decks will not rust and will absorb vibrations. They will also last longer than steel decks. Xenoy decks have the same benefits of aluminum but are lighter weight.
Other aspects to consider: mulching/bagging
Mulching mowers have decks designed to keep the clippings, allowing the blade to cut them into smaller fragments. The small clippings fall on the lawn as mulch to add nutrients to the soil. Mulching works well if you mow regularly and your grass isn’t too tall.
Mowers with bagging systems have a bag attached to their rear. This bag collect clippings as you mow, giving your lawn a clean, freshly manicured look. Once your bag is filled with clippings you must dispose of them in a yard waste bag or a compost pile. This bag is also easily removable so you can switch between bagger and mulcher.
Side discharge mowers release clippings out the side of your lawn mower. These clippings will eventually decay into your lawn. This is a helpful option if you have tall or coarse grass. If the clippings are thick, rake them up and dispose of them. These clippings could smother your grass and leave unwanted brown streaks on your lawn.
Height adjustment and mower speed
Iron walk behind lawn mowers allow for height adjustment for mowing different heights of grass. Self-propelled walk behinds are designed with single and multi-speed options. Multi-speed is recommended because of its flexibility for varying mowing conditions.
Regular maintenance and blade care are necessary for the longevity of your walk behind lawn mower, but additional maintenance is needed based on your mower type. Electric and battery-powered mowers require battery care. A gas mower requires regular oil, spark plug, and air filter changes.
Feel free to contact us for any of your walk behind lawn mower maintenance needs.
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Weingartz, family owned and operated, began in 1945 as a farm supply store for local Michigan families. In the 1970s, we began to FOCUS exclusively on outdoor power equipment. Over time, we morphed into the “power equipment superstore” that now defines all of our locations. The staff and experts at Weingartz work diligently to provide the best service possible and give honest and helpful advice to each and every customer.
Weingartz also sells parts for all outdoor power equipment at https://weingartz.com/parts-lookup.
Weingartz46061 Van Dyke Ave.Utica, Mi 48317(586) 731-7240[email protected]
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The Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers in 2023 for Making Your Yard Work Easier
These lawn mowers drive themselves, taking the load off you in the process.
By Roy Berendsohn Published: Mar 21, 2023
One of the perks of the warm-weather season is getting to spend time outside. If you own your own home and have a yard, it’s very likely that in order to enjoy your outdoor space, you need to mow the lawn. The larger the yard, the more work it will be to maintain. If you have a lot of grass to cut, you’d be wise to consider a self-propelled lawn mower especially now that there are a ton of sales just in time for Memorial Day.
The primary difference between a standard push mower and a self-propelled mower is that the former moves when you push it, and the latter essentially moves itself with only your guidance. Once the engine is running, all you have to do is squeeze a handle or push a lever and the mower will start moving forward with you as you walk.
Turning the mower around is your job, but once you have your heading, just keep the drive handle squeezed and escort the mower down the path, no pushing necessary.
Self-propelled law mowers take power off the engine and route it via a belt to a pulley on the transmission and axle. When you move the drive control lever on the mower handle, you tension the belt, causing the pulley to turn, and this drives the transmission, moving the mower forward.
Move the drive control lever back and the tension is released, the pulley stops turning, and the mower stops moving forward. The belt-driven transmission is a time-tested design to power the mower and take the load off you in the process.
What to Consider
A mower is like many consumer products in that the more features a manufacturer adds, the more expensive it becomes. But a longer or more eye-catching list of features isn’t necessarily better. Sometimes less is more. Here are the most important to keep in mind.
Front-wheel drive mowers tend to be less expensive than rear-wheel drive units. They can be easier to turn because you don’t have to disengage the drive wheels to do so. Simply push down on the handlebar to raise the front wheels off the ground. However, their traction isn’t as strong on hills or when the bag is full, as there isn’t as much weight over the drive wheels.
Rear-wheel drive mowers do cost more and aren’t as easy to turn, as you do need to disengage the drive—but this isn’t too much of a hassle. Rear-wheel drive mowers shine on hills and inclines, and when the grass bag is full. In either scenario, weight is shifted rearward and over the drive wheels, which enables superior traction, thus making the self-propel more effective.
An engine as small as 125 cc can power a mower, but most are somewhere in the 140 cc to 190 cc range. A large engine helps when powering through tall, lush grass or in extreme conditions, such as with a side discharge chute in place and mowing tall weeds in a border area. Also, the extra torque provided by a larger engine can improve bagging when the going gets tough (tall, leaf-covered grass in the fall). But if you mow sensibly and pay attention to deck height—and especially if you don’t let your lawn get out of control—an engine between 140 and 160 cc has more than enough power to get the job done.
A mower can have all four wheels the same diameter (7 to 8 inches), or it may have rear wheels that range from 9.5 inches to 12 inches in diameter. Larger rear wheels help the mower roll more easily over bumpy ground.
With some mowers you can start the engine with the twist of a key or the press of a button. It’s a great option, but a luxury. Keep the mower engine tuned and use fresh fuel with stabilizer added to it, and you’ll never have trouble starting.
Any number of mechanisms can control a mower’s ground speed—a squeeze handle, a drive bar that you press forward, even a dial. There’s no single right answer here. Look at the design and think about how you like to work. For example, if more than one person will be using the mower (and not all of them are right-handed), a drive control like that on a Toro Personal Pace mower might be the answer. Just push down on the bar to make it go faster. Let up on the bar to slow down.
A mower that can bag, mulch, and side discharge is known as a three-function mower, the most versatile kind. Two-function mowers bag and mulch or mulch and side discharge.
Mowers will typically have one, two, or four levers to control the deck height. Single-lever adjustment is the easiest to use, but it requires more linkage, which adds weight and complexity. If, for some reason, you find yourself varying deck height frequently, it’s a good option. Otherwise, two or four levers work just fine.
Only Honda makes a gas-engine mower with a high-impact plastic deck (there are battery mowers that have plastic decks). Otherwise, mowers generally have a steel deck, and a few manufacturers—Toro, for one—offer a corrosion-resistant aluminum deck. An aluminum deck won’t rot the way a steel deck will, but you still need to keep it clean.
This is a hose fitting mounted on top of the mower’s deck. When you’re done mowing, hook up a hose and run the mower to power wash the underside of the deck. We’ve had mixed results with these, but they’re better than just letting a mass of dried grass clippings accumulate.
expensive mowers come with a more durable bag with more dust-blocking capability. If you bag a lot, especially leaves or other lawn debris in the fall, then you need a mower with a higher quality dust-blocking bag. Having said that, if you rarely bag, the standard one that comes with a mower will last you the life of the mower.
Also called wide-area mowers, machines in this subgroup help homeowners better reconcile their need for more power and speed with the fact that they may not have enough storage for a tractor or zero-turn mower. A typical residential walk mower has a single-blade deck that cuts a swath from 20 to 22 inches wide. Wide-cut mowers (built for homeowner use) have either a single blade or, more typically, a pair of blades, cutting from 26 to 30 inches with each pass. Some of these are rated for light commercial use and have larger decks, in the 32-inch range, and engines that start at 223 cc and go up to about 337 cc.
Wide-cut mowers typically employ gear or hydrostatic drive transmissions, and they have top speeds of about 4 to 6 miles per hour. At their fastest, they move so quickly you have to trot to keep up with them. Needless to say, they’re overkill for small yards; only opt for one of these if you’ve got a significant plot of land that you need to keep tidy, but not one so large that you’d be better off going with a full-on riding mower.
How We Tested and Selected
We compiled this list based on Popular Mechanics mower testing and our knowledge of the lawn mower market at large. For our testing, we put mowers through the paces using our standard Popular Mechanics methodology: We cut turf grasses such as fescues and blue grass and rougher non-turf grasses like Timothy, clover, orchard grass, and wild oats, all in both normal and shin-deep heights. We mow uphill, downhill, and across the faces of hills. The maximum slope we cut is about 30 degrees.
That may not sound like much, but it’s about all you can do to stand on it, let alone push a mower up it or across it. We mow damp and wet grass to test general cutting performance and whether clippings accumulate on the tires. And we cut dry and dusty surfaces to see how well the bag filters under less-than-optimal conditions.
Honda HRN 216VKA
Honda mowers enjoy a sterling reputation. Having tested their walk and self-propelled mowers for the last 30 years, we feel confident that Honda’s entry level mower is a great choice for homeowners looking for power and durability. The HRN features a GCV 170 gas engine that’s built to withstand long hours of operation.
If you do your own maintenance (and most owners who buy this class of product do), you’ll appreciate the easily accessible spark plug and the fuel shutoff valve that enables better winter storage. Close the fuel shutoff and run the mower until it sputters to a halt. This will clear the carburetor of any gasoline, which will prevent the ethanol in it from disintegrating and causing running issues later on. Open the shutoff valve in the spring, add some fresh gasoline, and the mower should start easily.
All this maintenance stuff is great, but we can also tell you that our past test findings on other Hondas prove that their cut quality is outstanding for cleanliness. Sharp blades deliver a velvet-like finish. And their bagging ability is also quite good, in the same league with other well-bagging mowers from Toro.
In all, if you take mowing seriously, you should enjoy this Honda. If you have a little wiggle room in your budget, consider the Honda HRX, which features a mower powerful engine and a composite deck that won’t rust and is renowned for its durability.
One note is that Honda has announced that it will cease selling lawn mowers in the United States after this year—so if you’re considering buying one, best do it sooner rather than later.
Toro Recycler 60-Volt Max Lithium-Ion
Toro mowers have garnered more recommendations from us than any other brand for two reasons: build quality and cut quality. These were amply demonstrated in our testing as the Recycler turned in the best ratio of cut area per amp-hour of battery in the self-propelled category, while at the same time not skimping on cutting, mulching, or bagging quality.
We attribute this outstanding mower performance to three features, all upgrades to the previous version of this machine. First, the air vent at the front of the mower deck seems to improve mulching and bagging performance. Toro calls it Vortex technology, a design that increases air flow under the deck. This helps to stand the grass for a cleaner cut, which improves mulching performance, and also allows better airflow into the bag when collecting the clippings.
Next, the company’s redesigned “Atomic” blade configuration appears to assist the air flow and clipping movement. Finally, the three-phase, 60-volt motor is exceptionally efficient, resulting in a large cut area for a single battery.
Toro has maintained features that make this mower work: rear wheel drive, a one-piece deck that’s all steel (no plastic nose), 11-inch wheels to help it roll over roots and crevices, and the same fold-forward handle that was an industry breakthrough when it was introduced some years ago.
Ryobi 40-Volt Brushless Self-Propelled Mower
This is one of Ryobi’s top-of-the-line mowers, and it’s American-made construction is something we wish we saw more of. It delivers a tremendous cut area with its two 6-Ah batteries providing a total of 12-Ah of capacity, and its X-shaped blade leaves a pristine surface in its wake.
Ryobi estimates the design should provide 70 minutes of run time; we didn’t time our cut, but it strikes as plausible. Its rear-wheel drive and reasonably aggressive tire tread pattern provide good hill climbing and sidehill cutting performance, and its bagging on all surfaces (level, sidehill, and uphill) is also commendable.
Other ease-of-use features include an easily installed or removed bag that mounts and dismounts straight up and down through the handle; deck adjustment is quick and easy thanks to a single-level deck height adjustment. The straight edge deck is polypropylene; it will never rust and needs very little care other than basic cleaning.
Toro TimeMaster 30 in. Briggs Stratton Personal Pace
The Toro Timemaster 30-in. mower has been around for several years and has earned a reputation as a sturdy workhorse for homeowners who want to cut down on their mowing time. It’s also used by some professionals as well. A few years ago the Timemaster got a slightly more powerful Briggs and Stratton gas engine, so it should have no issues powering through most demanding mowing jobs.
Makita XGT Brushless Cordless 21 in Self-Propelled Commercial Lawn Mower Review | GML01 | XML08
The Timemaster is rear-wheel drive and features Toro’s Personal Pace drive system that’s used on many of its self-propelled mowers. This allows the mower to move at your speed by simply pushing down or releasing the handle, which is spring-tensioned.
With a 30-in. deck, Toro claims the Timemaster will help you reduce your mowing time by about 40% compared to using a standard-sized mower. You can mulch, back, or side discharge with the Timemaster, and the handlebar can be locked in a fully vertical position to reduce space consumption in storage.
If you have half an acre to a full acre of lawn to mow and prefer the experience of a walk-behind mower versus a tractor or zero-turn, the Timemaster is worth a look.
Craftsman mowers have been doing very well in our tests, so we can recommend this one because it’s so much like the many other of the brand’s models that we’ve tested. If you’re looking for a good blend of maneuverability and power, you’ll get it with this mower. Its front drive helps move it along and makes it easy to turn.
It’s important to note that front-drive mowers do lose some traction when running uphill, particularly with a full grass bag. But if your slope is less than 20 degrees, and you’re not bagging uphill, you’ll be fine. The side discharge will also help you handle tall grass. Adjust the two deck levers to bring the mower up to full height and have at the rough stuff.
The fact that this mower bags, mulches, and side discharges is a plus, enabling you to handle a wide range of mowing conditions, from early spring and late into the fall. Three-function mowers like this are our preference for that versatility.
Toro Super Recycler Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
This is a beauty of a mower, with a cast-aluminum deck and a smooth-running Briggs Stratton 163-cc engine. We tested the Honda engine-equipped version, and it was effective at both bagging and mulching, even in moist grass.
Equipped with rear-wheel drive and the Personal Pace system (the farther you push the drive bar, the faster the mower goes), it’s an effective hill climber and moderately effective on sidehill cutting. It has relatively small 7.5-inch tires on all four corners, which causes this Toro to bump up and down a bit on washboard surfaces. But the good news is that it’s equipped with a far higher quality tire than we’re used to seeing these days. We didn’t notice them pick up any grass on moist surfaces.
Other features we like include its forward-fold handle that has a built-in shock absorber that Toro calls a Flex Handle Suspension, and a high-quality grass bag that loads through the handle, from the top.
Are there special maintenance considerations with self-propelled mowers?
Yes. Both front- and rear-wheel drive mowers typically feature a drive belt, which can crack or wear out over time. Fortunately these belts are not difficult or particularly expensive to replace.
Secondly, you may have to replace the drive wheels occasionally. These wheels are driven with gears. there are typically teeth on the inside diameter of the drive wheel that line up with a gear on the axle. These teeth can wear out, especially if they are made of plastic. Higher-end mowers may feature drive wheels with a metal gear that meets the metal axle gear, which improves longevity of these components.
My lawnmower says I don’t ever have to change the oil, but just add oil when needed. Is this OK?
It’s not a good idea to never change the oil in your lawn mower. In a lawn mower, same as a car, oil degrades over time and is less effective at reducing heat and friction in metal components. Changing the oil in your lawn mower is easy to do and will significantly increase its service life. For most homeowners, changing the oil at the beginning or end of each mowing season should be sufficient, though there is certainly no harm in doing it more often.
Roy Berendsohn has worked for more than 25 years at Popular Mechanics, where he has written on carpentry, masonry, painting, plumbing, electrical, woodworking, blacksmithing, welding, lawn care, chainsaw use, and outdoor power equipment. When he’s not working on his own house, he volunteers with Sovereign Grace Church doing home repair for families in rural, suburban and urban locations throughout central and southern New Jersey.
World Self Drive Aluminium Deck Lawnmower 22 | WLZ21H
The World WL21H Self Drive Lawnmower. 21in ihas been specifically designed for medium to large sized gardens. Powered by a Briggs Stratton 625 Series engine, its self-propelled transmission allows for maximum control with minimum effort. Its large rear wheels give perfect cutting results even in the most demanding of garden conditions. It comes equipped with a 53cm single lever centralised height adjustment system. It also contains a deck wash facility. This versatile machine offers a 3-in-1 system for cutting your grass. Firstly, it comes with a rear discharge system which simply allows the grass to fall to the ground when cut. Secondly, its collection facility features an impressive grass bag capacity of 70 litres. Finally, it also offers the added facility of recycling your grass through the use of its mulching kit.
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