Single rotor lawn mower. Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Reviews 2023

US1336257A. Lawn-mower. Google Patents

Publication number US1336257A US1336257A US289195A US28919519A US1336257A US 1336257 A US1336257 A US 1336257A US 289195 A US289195 A US 289195A US 28919519 A US28919519 A US 28919519A US 1336257 A US1336257 A US 1336257A Authority US United States Prior art keywords disk cutting mower lawn housing Prior art date 1919-04-11 Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.) Expired. Lifetime Application number US289195A Inventor Ernest E Muzzy Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.) CHARLES H RITTERBUSH Original Assignee CHARLES H RITTERBUSH Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.) 1919-04-11 Filing date 1919-04-11 Publication date 1920-04-06 1919-04-11 Application filed by CHARLES H RITTERBUSH filed Critical CHARLES H RITTERBUSH 1919-04-11 Priority to US289195A priority Critical patent/US1336257A/en 1920-04-06 Application granted granted Critical 1920-04-06 Publication of US1336257A publication Critical patent/US1336257A/en 1937-04-06 Anticipated expiration legal-status Critical Status Expired. Lifetime legal-status Critical Current


  • 238000010276 construction Methods 0.000 description 8
  • 210000003414 Extremities Anatomy 0.000 description 6
  • 230000002093 peripheral Effects 0.000 description 6
  • 240000000218 Cannabis sativa Species 0.000 description 4
  • 241001494496 Leersia Species 0.000 description 4
  • 210000003141 Lower Extremity Anatomy 0.000 description 4
  • 210000001364 Upper Extremity Anatomy 0.000 description 2
  • 238000005452 bending Methods 0.000 description 2
  • 230000000875 corresponding Effects 0.000 description 2
  • 239000000463 material Substances 0.000 description 2
  • 239000004575 stone Substances 0.000 description 2



  • A01D34/00 — Mowers; Mowing apparatus of harvesters
  • A01D34/01 — Mowers; Mowing apparatus of harvesters characterised by features relating to the type of cutting apparatus
  • A01D34/412 — Mowers; Mowing apparatus of harvesters characterised by features relating to the type of cutting apparatus having rotating cutters
  • A01D34/63 — Mowers; Mowing apparatus of harvesters characterised by features relating to the type of cutting apparatus having rotating cutters having cutters rotating about a vertical axis
  • A01D2101/00 — Lawn-mowers


ATo all Iwhom it may concern! Amore. especially to a lawn mower V.providedwith a horizontal rotating knife.

The object of the invention is to provide a lawn mower having a horizontally dis-` posed cutting disk provided with a peripheral cutting edge and with radial cutting edges and having radial wings thereon adapted to convey the cut grass away from the mower; and to simplify and impiove the construction of lawn mowers. l

With these objects in view the invention consists in thev novel construction and arrangement of parts, hereinafter described, illustrated in the accompanying drawings,` and particularly pointed out in the appended claims, it being understood that various changes in the form, proportions, size and minor details ofY construction may be made within the scope of the appended claim, without departing from the spirit or sacrificing any of the advantages of the invention.

The invention thus set forth in general terms is illustrated in the l accompanying drawings forming part hereof, in which- Figure 1 is a plan View of a lawn mower embodying the invention.

Fig. 4 is a fragmentary view of a ortion of the housing and cutting disk s owing one of the disk Sharpeners. Y

A practical embodiment of the invention is disclosed in the accompanying drawings, forming a part of this specification in which y similar numerals 0f reference indicate corresponding parts throughout the. several views.

The housing within which the rota-ry cutting disk is carried comprises the forward portion 1v and the rear portion 2, which portions are hinged together as shown at 3 to more readily gain access to the interior. A rearwardly disposed spout 4 is provided upon the rear portion of the housing and ar- Specicaton of Letters Patent. i `Patented APL 6, 1920 1919. SerialNo. 289,195.

ranged to direct the cut grass into the basket 5f, which ‘issuspended from the handle 6 in the usual manner.

A pair-,lof parallel arms 7 are attached to the sides. of.the ,housing’and extend some distance :beyond ‘the housing to the front andrear, the forward extremities of said arms carrying’ a.’ shaft 8 upon which are mounted the rollers’9 while.the rear extremities of thel larms have journaled therein the axis of anelongated roller v10 extending across Vthe width of the device.

Formed integrally with the forward portion of the housing is acylindrical bearing memberv 11 within which is located the stem of the rotating disk l2, said stem being formed in three sections designated by the ` numerals 13, 14 and 15, a tie bolt 16 4being ‘passedthrough the three sections and connecting the upper section 13 and the lower section 15, the lower extremity of said bolt being passed through the center of the cutting disk 12, a nut 17 being located thereon to hold the cutting disk firmly in position upon the stem. Ball bearings 18 are located at the upper and lower extremities of the central section 14 and a st screw 19 is located through the bearing member 11 and contacts with the periphery of the said section 14.

The rotating cutting disk 12 is provided with the peripheral cutting edge 20 and with the radial cutting edges 21 and an inner circular cuttingl edge 22 formed by cutting the vanes 23 from’the disk as shown inthe drawings and bending them upwardly at an angle, a substantially tri-angular cut-out portion being formed between each vane and the adjacent cutting edge,21. ,It will be understood that although it is preferable to form the rotatingdisk of one piece forming the vanes therefrom, that the vanes may be made of separate pieces and spotwelded or otherwise connected to the body of the cutting disk.

The upper portion 13 of the stem is provided with a ratchet 24 engaged by a suitable pin 25, carried in the beveled pinion 26 which is loosely mounted upon said stem portion.v The pinion 26 meshes with a beveled gear 27 carried. on the horizontal shaft 28, said shaft being mounted in suitable bearings 29 carried at each side of the housing, a pinion 30 being mounted upon each extremity of said shaft and meshing with the the internal.gear-31of the adjacent driving For the purpose of keeping theperiphery of the cutting Adisk sharp, one or more sharpening devicesfmay he provided and a housarrangd to be movedinto contact with periphery of the disk while the mower is’in operation. Eachof these devices comprisesa disk 33 pivotally mounted upon a pin 34 carried by, the housing, a spring 35 having’ one end coiled around the pin 34 and.y the other end around.a stud 36 carried by the disk-33. A. sharpeningstone 37 of any ing suitable material’is carried by the disk 33, the

Y tion of the arrow, raising the stone 37 out of engagement with the cutting disk the stud 36 will be thrown over the’center of the disk 33 and the spring 35 will thus hold the sharpening’device out of engagement with vthe cutting disk.

In operation as the lawn mower is moved forward, the cutting disk 12 will be rotated throughthe gearing abovedescribed and as the mower is stopped or moved `backward the cutting disk will be allowed to continuev to rotate owing to the ratchet arrangement in the stem above described. As the disk rotats’the several cutting edges thereon will clip the grass at the height to which the cutting disk 12 is adjusted, the clipped grass passing backward over the inclined vanes 23 and through the rearwardly disposed spout.4 into the basket 5.

Although the drawings and above specification disclose the best mode in which I have Acontemplated embodying my invention I desire tobe not limited to the details of such disclosure, for, in the `further practical application of my invention, many changes in form and construction mav be made, as circumstances require or experience suggests, without departing from the spirit of the invention, within the scopel of the appended claim.

I claim- In a lawn mower, a rotary cutting disk provided with a peripheral cutting edge and with radial cut-out portions in said disk, a

cutting edge formed upon one edge of each A cut-out portion and an upwardly inclined vane formed at the opposite edge of each cut-out portion.

Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Reviews 2023

Deciding on the best self-propelled lawn mower isn’t as easy as it used to be. Do you need commercial or residential quality? Do you want to use gas or batteries for power? How much grass do you need to cut? Are you a mulcher or a bagger?

Having tested dozens of the best walk-behind lawn mowers from entry-level residential to the top professional models, we got our Pro team together to choose our top mowers in a range of scenarios.

One of the big things changing in the market is Honda’s announcement that the brand is exiting the lawn mower market. While you can still buy Honda mowers until they run out of stock, 2023 marks the end of production. We still highly recommend them, but due to the news and iffy availability, we’re not considering Honda as part of our choices this year.

Want to see more, including ride-on and robotic recommendations? Read out Best Lawn Mower Reviews main article!

Best Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower

Commercial: Exmark Commercial X-Series Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

As we bid adieu to Honda this year, the HRC series still gets two thumbs up from us while you can get them. From there, we turn to Exnark and its Commercial X line that complements its Lazer Z zero-turn mowers well. Some professionals will certainly turn to the higher-capacity 30-inch model, but we expect the 21-inch model will find its way onto more trailers.

Exmark wisely uses a Honda 163cc GXV engine with a legendary reputation for reliability. It’s fed by a generous 1-gallon fuel tank and turns the blade at tip speeds up to 18,500 fpm. There’s also an option for a Kawasaki FJ180V engine if you’d like to step up to a 179cc engine.

The deck is 1/4-inch aluminum construction that keeps the weight down (112 pounds) while maintaining high durability. The deck is adjustable from 4.5 inches on the high side all the way down to 1 inch while the drive runs at speeds up to 4.2 MPH.

Residential: Toro Super Recycler Series 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Toro runs deep in the residential lawn mower sector and our favorite among them is the Super Recycler series. Getting the best of all the technology Toro has to offer, our top recommendation (model 21565) includes the Personal Pace drive system and the Smart Stow design that allows you to vertically store the mower even though it’s a gas model.

It uses a 163cc Briggs Stratton engine that produces 7.25 ft-lbs of torque and just under 17,000 fpm blade tip speed.

Toro touts a commercial-grade construction on this model and includes a lighter aluminum deck rather than steel. In addition to that, you get outstanding cut quality, especially on the mulching side (you better with the name Super Recycler!). Wrapping it up, the Personal Pace drive system adjusts to your walking pace so there are no levers or dials to adjust.

Best Self-Propelled Electric Lawn Mower

Just a few years ago, if you wanted to find the best battery-powered lawn mower, you could only find residential models. Now, there’s an emerging class of professional-grade options and we have picks for both Pros and homeowners.

Professional: Milwaukee M18 Fuel 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

There aren’t many true commercial self-propelled lawn mowers with lithium-ion power sources. Milwaukee launched their effort in 2022 with a monstrous 10 ft-lbs of torque that tops what you typically see from a 200cc gas engine. It’s more than just muscle, though. Its blade and deck combine to handle mulching and bagging better than most.

As you roll into fall, the mower’s high-lift mode keeps the blades at 3300 RPM to help pull those lightweight leaves and clean up your lawn. Other features include 180° LED lighting, LED battery indicators facing you, variable speed thumb bar (in addition to the speed wheel), a durable build, and much more.

Price: 1099.00 with two 12.0Ah batteries and dual-port Rapid charger

Residential: EGO Select Cut XP 21-Inch Lawn Mower with Speed IQ

The evolution of EGO’s flagship mower is interesting. It started with the dual-battery Peak Power model that raised the bar of what lithium-ion is capable of. Then, we saw the first stacked-blade SelectCut options that improved cut quality and effectiveness in tall grass. The two technologies combined in the SelectCut XP. Now EGO adds Speed IQ to the mix.

Speed IQ is a self-propelled drive system that automatically adjusts to your pace. However, it’s not a spring-loaded set of handles like Toro uses on its Personal Pace models. Instead, there’s a sensor doing some serious engineering magic… and it works like a charm from our brief time with it at Equip Expo 2022 (formerly GIE).

Price: 599.00 bare, 999.00 with a 12.0Ah battery and Turbo charger

Best Large Walk-Behind Lawn Mower

Commercial: Greenworks Commercial 30-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Can a battery-powered commercial mower really displace gas models? Greenworks Commercial has an 82V 30-inch model that got our attention at the Equip Expo in late 2022, and it’s hard to ignore as a legitimate option. It has the power to replace a 200cc gas engine with blade speeds up to 16,000 FPM. On a full charge, it can cover up to 2 acres.

There are drive system features worth considering as well. Independent hub wheel motors engage what Greenworks calls the Easy Turn System (ETS), making the mower easier to maneuver. Another big deal is that there is a powered reverse function—something that’s incredibly helpful with the weight of mowers in this class. The controls are all up next to your hands and there’s even a display to help you keep track of your battery levels.

Price: 1999.99 bare, 2999.99 with three 8Ah batteries and a dual-port charger

Residential: Toro TimeMaster 30-inch Personal Pace Mower

With 10 ft-lbs of torque delivered from its Briggs Stratton 223cc engine, the 30-inch Toro TimeMaster is our pick as the best large walk-behind lawn mower. Not only does it deliver big power to turn its time-saving 30-inch blade, but it also features Toro’s Personal Pace self-propelled drive and Spin-Stop that lets you stop the blade without shutting off the mower.

It all adds up to big-time savings on larger lawns. Grab model 21200 if you want an electric start or the 21199 if you don’t mind a recoil start and want to save 100.

Price: 1599.00 (21199), 1499.99 (20200)

Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower for the Money

Toro’s 21-inch Recycler (21352) offers an excellent value for budget-minded homeowners. It’s a Made in the USA rear-wheel drive system powered by a Briggs Stratton 140cc engine. It comes ready to mulch, bag, or side discharge and you don’t have to worry about changing the oil. Just check the levels and add more when it’s necessary.

single, lawn, mower, best, self-propelled, reviews

Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Brand

No one in the self-propelled lawn mower market dominates like Honda. Their engines enjoy a reputation for quality and durability every other manufacturer is shooting for, and their mowers are simply outstanding.

They typically run at a premium, though. Both Honda mowers and Honda-powered mowers are more expensive than similar designs from other brands. The big kick in the pants is Honda leaving the market, though.

That opens the door for Toro. There are a lot of Toro models we recommend for good reason and hit a wide range from budget-friendly homeowner mowers to commercial zero turns. It’s one of the best-selling brands of walk-behind mowers.

Getting hard sales figures is tough to come by, and it’s always possible we missed the mark. However, we see more Honda and Toro walk-behind mowers on commercial trailers and residential lawns than any other brand.

Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower for Bagging

You don’t have to ditch your current self-propelled lawn mower and buy a whole new one to improve your bagging efficiency. In most cases, adding a high-lift blade to your current mower will make a significant difference. With the exception of electric mowers, you don’t need to worry too much about matching the brand making the blade, but you do need to match the arbor style and the length. The package should tell you which brands it is compatible with.

If you’re still in the market for a new mower, higher RPMs make for better airflow and bagging. Check mowers with a 160cc or higher engine and compare the top blade speeds. You can always swap blades, but you can’t change the speed.

Pro Tip: If you have a 2-point or 4-point deck height adjustment, set the front wheels of your mower one notch higher than the rear to improve bagging.

Best Self-Propelled Mulching Lawn Mower

Similar to a high-lift blade for bagging, you can improve your mulching efficiency with a mulching-specific blade. These usually have additional cutting edges that cut the clippings more times before they drop back into the grass. Keeping the blade sharp ensures you get the best mulching results every time you mow.

If you’re in the market for a new mower, look for a 160cc or higher engine to give you the torque you need to keep your blade speed high in thicker grass. Remember, you can always add a mulching blade, but you can’t make up for an underpowered engine.

Pro Tip: You get the best mulching results if you’re only taking an inch or two off the top of your grass, so make sure you stay on top of lawn maintenance during the peak cutting season.

Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower – Priorities

Best Rear-Wheel Drive Self-Propelled Lawn Mower for Hills: YBravo Gen II 25-inch Commercial Mower

After running into issues with other commercial walk-behind mowers, we turned to YBravo 25-inch commercial mower to take care of a 3-acre soggy field that our ZTs only bogged down in. Its Kawasaki 180cc engine kept the blade turning where others simply stalled.

When it’s time to move out of the radio station swamp and you’re going for a more professional look, its cut quality is excellent as well. Available in a 21-inch and the 25-inch model we tested, Ybravo is worth serious consideration.

If you have a Bad Boy dealer closer to you, check out the same model sold under the Bad Boy brand name.

Price: 1299.00 (25-inch model)

Best All-Wheel Drive Self-Propelled Lawn Mower: Toro 22-inch Personal Pace All-Wheel Drive Mower 21472

AWD mowers are what you turn to for work on slopes and uneven terrain where it’s possible to have a wheel or two lose traction. For the best all-wheel drive self-propelled lawn mower, we like the Toro 21472 Personal Pace model.

Its 22-inch deck is on the larger size of standard mowers and the Personal Pace system is easy to work with once you get used to it. If you switch between mulching and bagging, the mower’s lever system is super simple.

Packing plenty of power with its 163cc Briggs Stratton engine, it’s not so much that it destroys the competition. It’s that its performance is excellent and the innovations are genuinely helpful while keeping its price in check.

Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Recommendations

Not every mower earns an award, but there are several other models we recommend that didn’t find a place earlier in the article. Check these options out if one of the others doesn’t fit your needs.

Best Lawn Mower Buying Guide – What We Look For

Gas vs Battery

Gas power still wins the day when you’re highest priorities are keeping your purchase price down and your power level high. With advancements in battery and motor technology, the OPE world is shifting towards battery power, though. It’s cleaner and quieter to run and requires less maintenance.

However, you have to look at premium models to get true gas power, and runtime can be a limiting factor. It’s also less likely you have a service center nearby that can get you back up and running quickly if there’s a problem.

If your lawn is a 1/4-acre or less, there are a lot of battery-powered options available. Once you get beyond that size, you need to consider how many batteries you’ll need and legitimate options really start to thin out once you hit 1/2 an acre. With larger lawns, newer battery-powered zero turn mowers are a legitimate option.

Take a deeper look at the comparison between gas and battery power in this article.

Commercial vs Residential

This might be better titled “professional vs homeowner” considering there are both commercial and residential professional crews. Regardless, commercial mowers are built with better components and commercial engines, creating a machine that is built to last for years of high-hour daily use.

If you’re a homeowner mowing once a week or so, a good residential mower can still last for 5 or 10 years (or more) if you take care of it. It just uses components and engine designs better fit for occasional use.

Engine Size and Cutting Power

If you stay on top of your mowing and cut quality isn’t a high priority, an engine as small as 140cc is likely fine.

Move up to the 160cc–180cc class for better performance when the grass is thicker and taller, or when you want to make sure you get excellent mulching, bagging, and/or clean cuts. The greater power improves lift and is less likely to bog down in thick patches.

When you’re looking at deck sizes beyond 22 inches, you should start looking for engines in the 180cc–200cc range (or higher) to ensure it can keep the RPMs high while it’s cutting such a large swath.

Cut Quality

We look for three major components of cut quality: evenness, mulching size, and bagging efficiency.

Evenness is pretty straightforward. When we’re testing, we look for grass blades that weren’t cut and indications that there wasn’t enough lift to clip all of the blades at the same level.

When mulching, smaller clippings are better since they drop down closer to the base of the remaining grass. We also look to see if a mower is prone to leaving trails and clumps.

For bagging, it’s all about how much grass is collected, if the chute tends to clog while we’re cutting, and how much grass is deposited back to the ground.

Noise Level

One of the major benefits of battery-powered mowers is the lower noise levels compared to gas, but that doesn’t mean gas mowers have to be obnoxious. We expect higher levels than battery-powered models and that is typically the case.

When we test noise levels, we measure from our operator’s ear to get an idea of what the person using the mower should expect. Even though some mowers are quieter than others, we still recommend hearing protection when you’re using a gas model.

Fuel Efficiency

How efficient gas mowers use fuel has a very direct effect on your wallet, especially when you’re mowing every day as a Pro.

Fuel efficiency testing is more than just a runtime calculation. The cutting swath of a mower comes into play, especially on those 25 and 30-inch models. With larger lawns, it’s possible to get more cutting done per gallon of gas with an engine that uses more gas per hour.

Deck Size

21 or 22 inches is pretty standard for most mowers. Jumping up to a 25-inch or 30-inch mower may seem tempting, but it’s not for everyone.

If your lawn is a 1/4-acre or less, the time you gain with a larger deck might not mean a whole lot of time savings. Where you really gain some time is on lawns that are a 1/2-acre or more.

Keep in mind, larger deck-size mowers are heavier. When you have to mow wet or soggy areas, the weight can work against you.

Steel vs Plastic (Poly) Deck

The vast majority of gas mowers have steel decks while battery-powered models have a much higher percentage of plastic poly decks.

Those poly plastic decks are tougher than they look, but they probably won’t hold up as well as steel in the long run. It’s still highly unlikely that you’ll wear through one before it’s time to replace the mower, though.

However, there’s a whole lot more design flexibility that comes with poly decks, and engineers can do some amazing things to help with airflow that directly affects cut quality along with bagging and mulching efficiency.

Deck Height

Here in Florida, we have a lot of St. Augustine grass that we cut at 3 1/2 inches, so we prefer a mower that has at least a 4-inch maximum deck height.

Depending on what species of grass you have, you might be able to get away with a lower height, but 4 inches is a good all-around benchmark.

On the low end, most of us aren’t cutting golf course greens (you’d use a reel mower for that, anyway), so the minimum deck height usually isn’t an issue.

However, if you use a blade that dethatches or scalps for maintenance or re-seeding, you might want to make sure the deck height gets low enough—typically 1 1/2 inches or less.

Height Adjustment

Single-point height adjustments are the easiest since you can raise or lower the deck with just one lever. It’s common on battery-powered lawn mowers, but not so much on their heavier gas counterparts.

Part of that is because the single-point mechanisms tend to introduce additional flex into the system and the weight of a gas mower puts more strain on the mechanism. So while we generally prefer single-point, we understand why gas mowers may opt away from them.

Pro Tip: Set the front wheels one notch higher than the rear wheels to improve bagging efficiency on 4-point or 2-point adjustable mowers.

Adjustment Levels

If you’re really OCD, more height adjustments mean more precise cutting. Realistically, most of us are going to find a good height on any mower as long as it hits the maximum and minimum heights we mow at.

Setting the Speed

The type of speed adjustment your self-propelled lawn mower has can make or break your experience. There are pull levers, thumb push levers, full push bars (Toro’s Personal Pace), and iterations on those.

Try it at the dealer before you buy it. If you hate working the mechanism for a couple of minutes, imagine what it’s going to feel like after 30 minutes or an hour.

Front-Wheel Drive, Rear-Wheel Drive, or All-Wheel Drive?

Front-wheel drive lawn mowers are typically the least expensive and work well for even terrain. They also help you turn the easiest since you lift up the drive wheels as you make your turns.

Rear-wheel drive mowers add some cost but create better traction on hills and slopes. They’re particularly good at pushing the mower’s weight uphill where front-wheel drives start to lose traction as they try to pull the weight.

All-wheel drive mowers are the most expensive and generally do the best job on hills, slopes, and uneven terrain. On particularly bumpy areas where it’s likely one or more wheels will lose traction, it’s the best bet.

Wheel Size

Larger wheels tend to handle bumps and uneven terrain better than smaller wheels according to manufacturers. However, it’s a claim that Consumer Reports says isn’t really the case.

Electric Start

If you’ve used a gas engine, there’s a good chance you’ve worn out your arm pulling the cord to start it. There’s no doubt that having an electric start on your mower can take away a lot of the frustration.

It won’t make up for poor maintenance, though. A well-maintained mower starts easily on the first or second pull. That begs the question as to whether the electric start is worth an extra hundred dollars.

It’s totally up to you, but if it’s in the budget, we want it.

Mulch, Bag, or Side/Rear Discharge?

Most quality mowers are 3-in-1, meaning you can bag, mulch, or side/rear discharge. Less expensive models often only provide options for bagging and mulching. Which one you choose depends on what type of grass you have, how fast it grows, and your personal preference.

In central Florida where St. Augustine, Zoysia, and Bahia dominate our landscapes, the summer heat and rains make our grass grow incredibly fast. Most of us mulch out of necessity since we almost need a dumpster for the volume of clippings we create.

Handle Positions

Most lawn mowers have 3 handle positions you can set. For tall guys like me or average-height guys like Clint, it helps you find a more comfortable grip. Some mowers opt for 2, or sometimes just 1 handle position.


Value is more than just price. We take a broad look at the performance and features compared to the price to determine the value of each mower.

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Secs. 2, 3, 7, 9, 14, 19, Pub. L. 92–573, 86 Stat. 1207, 1208, 1212–1217, 1220, 1224; 15 U.S.C. 2051, 2052, 2056, 2058, 2063, 2068; sec. 1212, Pub. L. 97–35, 95 Stat. 357.


44 FR 10024, Feb. 15, 1979, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A—The Standard

§ 1205.1 Scope of the standard.

( a ) General. This subpart A of part 1205 is a consumer product safety standard which prescribes safety requirements for certain walk-behind power lawn mowers, including labeling and performance requirements. The performance requirements of the standard apply to rotary mowers. The labeling requirements apply to both rotary and reel-type mowers. The standard is intended to reduce the risk of injury to consumers caused by contact, primarily of the foot and hand, with the rotating blade of the mower. A detailed discussion of the risk of injury and of the anticipated costs, benefits, and other factors associated with the standard is contained in § 1205.8 Findings.

( 1 ) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, all walk-behind rotary and reel-type power lawn mowers manufactured or imported on or after the effective date of the standard are subject to the requirements of this standard if they are “consumer products”. “Walk behind power lawn mower” is defined as a grass cutting machine with a minimum cutting width of 12 in (305 mm) that employs an engine or motor as a power source. Section 3(a)(1) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (“CPSA”), 15 U.S.C. 2052(a)(1), defines the term consumer product as an “article, or component part thereof, produced or distributed

( i ) for sale to a consumer for use in or around a permanent or temporary household or residence, a school, in recreation, or otherwise, or

( ii ) for the personal use, consumption or enjoyment of a consumer in or around a permanent or temporary household or residence, a school, in recreation, or otherwise.” The term does not include products that are not customarily produced or distributed for sale to, or for the use or consumption by, or enjoyment of, a consumer.

( 2 ) It is unlawful to manufacture for sale, offer for sale, distribute in commerce, or import into the United States any product subject to this standard that is not in conformity with the standard. The Commission is not applying the standard to rental transactions or to the ultimate sale of used rental mowers by rental firms.

( 1 ) General. Mowers that have all three of the following characteristics are not covered by the standard:

( i ) A cutting width of 30 in (762 mm) or greater,

( ii ) A weight of 200 lb (90.7 kg) or more, and

( iii ) For engine-powered mowers, an engine of 8 horsepower (6 kw) or more.

( 2 ) Reel-type mowers. Reel-type power lawn mowers need not meet the performance requirements of the standard but they must be labeled as required by § 1205.6.

§ 1205.2 Effective date.

This standard applies to all rotary walk behind power lawn mowers manufactured after June 30, 1982, except § 1205.6 Warning labels, applies to rotary and reel-type walk-behind power lawn mowers manufactured after December 31, 1979.

[44 FR 10024, Feb. 15, 1979, as amended 45 FR 86417, Dec. 31, 1980]

§ 1205.3 Definitions.

( a ) As used in this part 1205:

( 1 ) Blade means any rigid or semi-rigid device or means that is intended to cut grass during mowing operations and includes all blades of a multi-bladed mower.

( 2 ) Blade tip circle means the path described by the outermost point of the blade as it moves about its axis.

( 3 ) Crack means a visible external fissure in a solid body caused by tensile, compressive, or shear forces.

( 4 ) Cutting width means the blade tip circle diameter or, for a multi-bladed mower, the width, measured perpendicular to the forward direction, of a composite of all blade tip circles.

( 5 ) Deform means any visible alteration of shape or dimension of a body caused by stresses induced by external forces.

( 6 ) Engine means a power producing device which converts thermal energy from a fuel into mechanical energy.

( 7 ) Manual starting means starting the mower engine with power obtained from the physical efforts of the operator.

( 8 ) Maximum operating speed means the maximum revolutions per minute (rpm) obtainable by the engine or motor under the conditions of the particular test where the term is used. For an electrically powered mower, it is the speed attained when the mower is energized from a 60 Hz alternating current source that delivers a voltage no greater than 120 V and no less than 115 V at the power input to the mower, with the mower running. For a battery-powered mower, it is the speed attained after the battery has been fully charged in accordance with the mower manufacturer’s instructions.

( 9 ) Motor means a power producing device that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.

( 10 ) Normal starting means is the primary mechanism intended to be actuated by the operator to start a mower’s engine or motor (e.g., the cord mechanism of a manual start engine, the switch of an electric motor, or a power start mechanism).

( 11 ) Operating control zone means the space enclosed by a cylinder with a radius of 15 in (381 mm) having a horizontal axis that is (1) perpendicular to the fore-aft centerline of the mower and (2) tangent to the rearmost part of the mower handle, extending 4 in (102 mm) beyond the outermost portion of each side of the handle (See Fig. 1).

( 12 ) Power source means an engine or motor.

( 13 ) Reel-type mower means a lawn mower which cuts grass by rotating one or more helically formed blades about a horizontal axis to provide a shearing action with a stationary cutter bar or bed knife.

( 14 ) Rotary mower means a power lawn mower in which one or more cutting blades rotate in essentially a horizontal plane about at least one vertical axis.

( 15 ) Separate means to cause to have any apparent relative displacement induced by external forces.

( 16 ) Shield means a part or an assembly which restricts access to a hazardous area. For the purposes of this part 1205, the blade housing is considered a shield.

( 17 ) Stress means a force acting across a unit area in a solid material in resisting separation, compacting, or sliding that tends to be induced by external forces.

( 18 ) Top of the mower’s handles means the uppermost portion(s) of the handle that would be gripped by an operator in the normal operating position.

( 19 ) Walk-behind power lawn mower means a grass cutting machine either pushed or self-propelled, with a minimum cutting width of 12 in (305 mm) that employs an engine or a motor as a power source and is normally controlled by an operator walking behind the mower.

( b ) Where applicable, the definitions in section 3 of the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2052) apply to this part 1205.

[44 FR 10024, Feb. 15, 1979, as amended at 46 FR 54934, Nov. 5, 1981]

§ 1205.4 Walk-behind rotary power mower protective shields.

( a ) General requirements. Walk-behind rotary power mowers shall meet the following requirements:

( 1 ) When the foot probe of Fig. 2 is inserted under any point within the areas to be probed during the foot probe test of paragraph (b)(1) of this section, the shields shall prevent the foot probe from entering the path of the blade or causing any part of the mower to enter the path of the blade.

( 2 ) Any shield located totally or partly within the areas to be probed, as defined in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section, shall not permanently separate, crack, or deform when the shield is subjected to a 50 lb (222 N) static tensile force, uniformly distributed over not less than half the length of the shield. The force shall be applied for at least 10 seconds in the direction which produces the maximum stress on the shield. While being tested, a shield shall be attached to the mower in the manner in which it is intended to be used. (This requirement does not apply to the housing.)

( 3 ) During the obstruction test of paragraph (b)(2) of this section, shields shall not:

( i ) Stop the mower as a result of contact with the raised obstacle,

( ii ) Enter the path of the blade, or

( iii ) Cause more than one wheel at a time to be lifted from the fixture surface.

( i ) The following test conditions shall be observed:

( A ) The test shall be performed on a smooth level surface.

( B ) Pneumatic tires, when present, shall be inflated to the cold pressures recommended by the mower manufacturer.

( C ) The mower housing shall be adjusted to its highest setting relative to the ground.

( D ) The blade shall be adjusted to its lowest position relative to the blade housing.

( E ) The mower shall be secured so that the mower may not move horizontally but is free to move vertically.

( 1 ) The minimum area to be probed shall include an area both 60 degrees to the right and 60 degrees to the left of the rear of the fore-aft centerline of the cutting width. For single-blade mowers, these angles shall be measured from a point on this fore-aft centerline which is at the center of the blade tip circle (see Fig. 3). For multi-blade mowers, these angles shall be measured from a point on the fore-aft centerline of the cutting width which is one half of the cutting width forward of the rearmost point of the composite of all the blade tip circles (See Fig. 4).

( 2 ) For a mower with a swing-over handle, the areas to be probed shall be determined as in paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A)(1) of this section from both possible rear positions. (See Fig. 5.)

( B ) Where a 360 degree foot protective shield is required by § 1205.5(a)(1)(iv)(B) or § 1205.5(c), the entire periphery of the mower shall be probed (including any discharge chute comprising part of the periphery).

( iii ) Procedure. Within the areas specified in paragraph (b)(1)(ii), the foot probe of Fig. 2 shall be inserted under the bottom edge of the blade housing and shields. During each insertion, the “sole” of the probe shall be kept in contact with the supporting surface. Insertion shall stop when the mower housing lifts or the horizontal force used to insert the probe reaches 4 lb (17.8 N), whichever occurs first. As the foot probe is withdrawn after each insertion, the “toe” shall be pivoted upward around the “heel” as much as possible without lifing the mower.

( i ) The following test conditions shall be observed:

( A ) Pneumatic tires, when present, shall be inflated to the cold pressure recommended by the mower manufacturer.

( B ) The mower housing shall be at its highest setting relative to the ground.

( ii ) The test shall be performed on the fixture of Fig. 6, which consists of a level surface having

( A ) a 0.99 in (25 mm) deep depression with a 5.90 in (150 mm) radius of curvature and

( B ) a raised obstacle 0.60 in (15 mm) square, each extending the full width of the fixture. The depression shall be lined with a material having a surface equivalent to a 16- to 36-grit abrasive. The depression and the obstacle shall be located a sufficient distance apart so that the mower contacts only one at a time.

( iii ) The test fixture may be relieved, only to the extent necessary, to prevent interference with any blade retaining device.

( iv ) The mower shall be pushed forward and pulled rearward perpendicular to and across the depression and the raised obstacle on the fixture. The mower shall be pulled and pushed, without lifting, with a horizontal force sufficient to transit the obstruction fixture at a speed not to exceed 2.2 ft/sec (0.7 m/sec).

( 1 ) General. Movable shields must meet the general shield requirements of paragraph (a) of this section. In addition, movable shields which are in any of the areas to be probed defined in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section and which are intended to be movable for the purpose of attaching auxiliary equipment, when deflected to their extreme open position in the manner intended by the manufacturer and released, shall either:

( i ) Return automatically to a position that meets the requirements of subpart A of this part 1205 when the attached equipment is not present, or

( ii ) Prevent operation of the blade(s) unless the attached equipment is present or the movable shield is returned to a position that meets the requirements of subpart A of this part 1205.

( i ) Automatic return of a movable shield shall be determined by manually deflecting the shield to its extreme open position, then releasing the shield and visually observing that it immediately returns to the closed position.

( ii ) Prevention of operation of the blade(s) shall be determined, first by manually deflecting the shield to its extreme open position, then, following the appropriate manufacturer’s instructions, completing the procedures necessary to operate the blade. Observe, using any safe method, that the blade(s) has been prevented from operating.

[44 FR 10024, Feb. 15, 1979, as amended at 45 FR 86417, 86418, Dec. 31, 1980; 46 FR 54934, Nov. 5, 1981; 48 FR 6328, Feb. 11, 1983]

§ 1205.5 Walk-behind rotary power mower controls.

( 1 ) Requirements for blade control. A walk-behind rotary power mower shall have a blade control system that will perform the following functions:

( i ) Prevent the blade from operating unless the operator actuates the control.

( ii ) Require continuous contact with the control in order for the blade to continue to be driven.

( iii ) Cause the blade motion in the normal direction of travel to come to a complete stop within 3.0 seconds after release of the control.

( iv ) For a mower with an engine and with only manual starting controls, this blade control shall stop the blade without stopping the engine, unless:

( A ) The engine starting controls for the lawn mower are located within 24 inches from the top of the mower’s handles, or

( B ) The mower has a protective foot shield which extends 360 degrees around the mower housing (see § 1205.4 (b)(1)(ii)(B)). [1]

( 2 ) All walk-behind rotary power mowers shall have, in addition to any blade control required by paragraph (a)(1) of this section, another means which must be manually actuated before a stopped blade can be restarted. This additional means may be either a control which is separate from the control required by paragraph (a)(1) of this section, or may be incorporated into the control required by paragraph (a)(1) of this section as a double-action device requiring two distinct actions to restart the blade.

( 1 ) General. Any test method that will determine the time between the release of the blade control and the complete stop of the blade motion in the normal direction of travel may be used.

( i ) The mower shall be operated at maximum operating speed for at least 6 minutes immediately prior to the test.

( ii ) The blade must be at maximum operating speed when the blade control is released.

( c ) Starting controls location. Walk-behind mowers with blades that begin operation when the power source starts shall have their normal starting means located within the operating control zone unless the requirements of paragraphs (a)(1)(iv) (A) or (B) of this section apply to the mowers.

[44 FR 10024, Feb. 15, 1979, as amended at 46 FR 54934, Nov. 5, 1978]

Footnotes. 1205.5

[1] Paragraphs (A) and (B) of § 1205.5(a)(1)(iv), permitting mowers that stop the blade by stopping the engine but that do not have power restart, were added to the standard as directed by Sec. 1212 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, Pub. L. 97–35, 95 Stat. 357.

§ 1205.6 Warning label for reel-type and rotary power mowers.

( a ) General. Walk-behind power lawn mowers shall be labeled on the blade housing or, in the absence of a blade housing, on other blade shielding or on an adjacent supporting structure or assembly, with the warning label shown in Fig. 7. The label shall be at least 3.25 in (82.5 mm) high and 4 in (102 mm) wide, and the lettering and symbol shall retain the same size relation to each other and to the label as shown in Fig. 7.

( b ) Rotary mowers. Walk-behind rotary mowers shall have one label as shown in Fig. 7, on the blade housing. The label shall be located as close as possible to any discharge opening, or, if there is no discharge opening, in a position that is conspicuous to an operator in the normal operating position.

( c ) Reel-type mowers. Walk-behind power reel-type mowers shall have one label as shown in Fig. 7, located as close to the center of the cutting width of the blade as possible. However, in the absence of a suitable mounting surface near the center of the cutting width, the label shall be placed on the nearest suitable mounting surface to the center of the cutting width.

[44 FR 10024, Feb. 15, 1979, as amended at 45 FR 86417, Dec. 31, 1980]

§ 1205.7 Prohibited stockpiling.

( a ) Stockpiling. Stockpiling means manufacturing or importing a product which is the subject of a consumer product safety rule between the date of issuance of the rule and its effective date at a rate that is significantly greater than the rate at which such product was produced or imported during a base period prescribed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

( b ) Prohibited acts. Stockpiling of power lawn mowers that do not comply with this subpart A of part 1205 at a rate that exceeds by 20% the rate at which the product was produced or imported during the base period described in paragraph (c) of this section is prohibited.

( c ) Base period. The base period for power lawn mowers is, at the option of each manufacturer or importer, any period of 365 consecutive days beginning on or after September 1, 1971, and ending on or before August 31, 1978.

§ 1205.8 Findings.

( a ) General. In order to issue a rule such as part 1205, the Consumer Product Safety Act requires the Commission to consider and make appropriate findings with respect to a number of topics. These findings are discussed below.

( b ) The degree and nature of the risk of injury part 1205 is designed to eliminate or reduce.

( 1 ) The Commission estimates that there are approximately 77,000 injuries to consumers each year caused by contact with the blades of power lawn mowers. From 1977 data, the Commission estimates that each year there are approximately 7,300 finger amputations, 2,600 toe amputations, 2,400 avulsions (the tearing of flesh or a body part), 11,450 fractures, 51,400 lacerations, and 2,300 contusions. Among the lacerations and avulsions, 35,800 were to hands and fingers and 18,000 were to toes and feet. The estimated costs caused by these injuries are 253 million, not counting any monetary damages for pain and suffering. These injuries are caused when consumers accidentally contact the blade, either inadvertently while in the vicinity of the mower, or while intentionally performing some task which they erroneously believe will not bring their hand or foot into the path of the blade.

( 2 ) Part 1205 is expected to eliminate or reduce the severity of about 60,000 blade contact injuries per year, or 77% of all such injuries. The Commission estimates that if all mowers had been in compliance with the standard in 1977, about 6,800 finger amputations, 1,500 toe amputations, 11,000 fractures, 1,800 avulsions, 38,400 lacerations, and several hundred contusions would not have occurred. Of the lacerations and avulsions, 28,300 were finger injuries and 9,400 were toe injuries.

( c ) Consumer products subject to the rule. The products subject to this standard are walk-behind power mowers. Power mowers with rigid or semi-rigid rotary blades are subject to all the provisions of the standard while reel-type and rotary mowers are subject to the labeling requirements. Mowers that in combination have engines of 8 HP or greater, weigh 200 lb or more, and have a cutting width of 30 in or more are excluded from the standard. The Commission estimates that at least 98% of the total annual market (by unit volume) for walk-behind mowers will be affected by the standard, and the Commission estimates that in 1978 this market was 5.4 million units.

( d ) Need of the public for the products subject to the rule. The Commission finds that the public need for walk-behind power mowers, which provide a relatively quick and effective way to cut grass, is substantial. Riding mowers, lawn and garden tractors, hand reel mowers, trimmers and edgers, and sickle-bar mowers also provide grass-cutting services, but walk-behind power rotary mowers are by far the most commonly used devices for maintaining household lawns. There are no devices that can completely substitute for walk-behind power mowers as a group, since they have applications for which other products are not as suitable. Each type of walk-behind power mower has individual properties which meet public needs, although one type of walk-behind is often an acceptable substitute for another. The newly developed monofilament line mower is not included within the scope of the standard and could be a substitute for mowers using rigid or semi-rigid blades under some conditions.

( e ) Probable effect of the rule upon the utility of the product.

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( 1 ) The Commission finds that the probable overall effect of the standard on the utility of mowers should be to increase their utility. In the first place, consumers are likely to experience an increased sense of security from having a safer mower. A study of brake-clutch mowers conducted by the Federal Supply Service (GSA) shows that almost all users appreciated the safety features on brake-clutch mowers. In addition, by releasing the blade control and stopping the blade, the operator can then travel over gravel or other surfaces without fear of thrown objects or of the blade striking objects that might damage the mower. Brake-clutch type mowers would also give an increase in utility by virtue of enabling the operator to use the clutch to prevent stalling when the mower bogs down in heavy grass. On the other hand, there may be some minor adverse effects on utility caused by some aspects of complying mowers. For example, in very heavy mowing conditions, there may be some difficulty in engaging the blade in a blade-clutch mower. (However, mowers that are currently on the market that are not equipped with a blade clutch may have difficulty in starting the engine in heavy grass.) Complying mowers may require slightly more time and a few additional actions to operate. Since complying mowers may have more electrical and mechanical parts than current mowers, they may weigh more and require more maintenance than current mowers. No significant increase in mowing time is expected if a brake-clutch device is used to comply with the standard since each engagement of the blade would require only a few seconds. The amount of additional time and expense required for maintenance, if any, will be dependent on the design solution used. Such disutilities are expected to be slight and to be more than balanced by the increased sense of security consumers are likely to experience from having a safer mower.

( 2 ) During the development of the rule, questions were raised about whether changes in the shields necessitated by the foot probe requirements would adversely affect utility by causing mowers to be hard to push in grass or to be unable to mow close to walls. At the time of issuance of this rule, mowers are available that will pass a 360° foot probe and others are available that will pass rear and side foot probing without any significant loss of utility caused by shielding. Therefore, the Commission concludes that this requirement will not adversely affect the utility of mowers. Mowers with swing-over handles, however, may be more difficult to design in this regard, since 120° at each end of the mower are subject to the foot probe requirement. However, since mowers meeting this requirement have already been built without apparent loss of utility, the Commission concludes that shielding can be designed so that there should be no loss of utility even for mowers with swing-over handles.

( 3 ) As required by section 9(b) of the CPSA, the Commission, in considering the issues involved in issuing a power lawn mower safety standard, has considered and taken into account the special needs of elderly and handicapped persons to determine the extent to which such persons may be adversely affected by the rule. The Commission has determined that there will be no significant adverse effect on such persons as a result of this part 1205. In the first place, the rule can affect only those persons who are physically capable of using a power lawn mower. None of the rule’s provisions will make it more difficult to operate a mower that complies with the standard. On the contrary, complying mowers should be easier to use because the need for manually restarting the mower will be less and because, if the mower uses a brake-clutch to comply with the blade control requirement, use of the brake-clutch can reduce the tendency of the engine to stall in heavy grass. Although a person’s ability to hold a device such as a blade control for a long period of time will decline with age, the force required to hold the blade control can be made low enough that it will not be a problem during the length of time that it takes for consumers to mow a lawn.

( 4 ) After considering the possible adverse effects on mowers that could be caused by the standard and balancing them against the increase in utility that is expected, the Commission concludes that, for a typical consumer, the increases in utility should more than offset any decreases.

( f ) Probable effect of the rule upon the cost of the product. The Commission estimates that the retail price impact of the standard will be about 35 for the average walk-behind mower. Based on an average useful mower-life of about 8 years, the additional annual cost to the purchaser is expected to average about 4.40. The probable effect of the standard will differ on the various types of mowers within its scope. Percentage increases in price will vary from about a 7 percent increase for power-restart self-propelled mowers to about a 30 percent increase for gasoline-powered manual start push mowers. The costs attributable to individual requirements of the standard are discussed in paragraph (i) of this section.

( g ) Probable effect of the rule upon the availability of the product.

( 1 ) The Commission finds that the standard is not expected to have a significant impact on the availability of walk-behind rotary mowers, since domestic production capacity appears to be sufficient to handle any increased demand for safety-related components or materials. Although adapting some types of power mowers to the standard may be more costly than others, the effects of the standard on the price or utility of a particular category of power mowers are not expected to cause radical shifts in demand among types of mowers. The Commission finds that all types of power mowers subject to the standard will be available, although some, such as house-current-powered mowers, may increase their market shares becauses they can be brought into compliance with the standard at a lesser cost.

( 2 ) Because some manufacturers may not revise their entire product line before the effective date of the standard, individual mower manufacturers may initially have less varied lines than at present, but there should be no decrease in the overall types and features of mowers available to consumers.

( 1 ) The Commission has considered other means of achieving the objective of the standard. For example, alternatives were considered such as hand probes, “blade harmless” tests, and blade control by engine kill but allowing manual restart. These alternatives have been rejected by the Commission as being either unfeasible or not as effective as the rule which is being issued.

( 2 ) Similarly, the Commission has found no alternative means of achieving the objective of the standard that it believes would have fewer adverse effects on competition or that would cause less disruption or dislocation of manufacturing and other commercial practices, consistent with the public health and safety.

( i ) Unreasonable risk of injury.

( 1 ) The determination of whether a consumer product safety rule is reasonably necessary to reduce an unreasonable risk of injury involves a balancing of the degree and nature of risk of injury addressed by the rule against the probable effect of the rule on the utility, cost, or availability of the product. The factors of utility and availability of the products, adverse effects on competition, and disruption or dislocation of manufacturing and other commercial practices have been discussed above. The following discussion concerns the relationship of anticipated injury reduction and costs for various requirements of the standard. (See the report, Economic Impact of Blade Contact Requirements for Power Mowers, January 1979, for a detailed analysis of the possible effects of discounting and inflation on the computation of the quantifiable benefits associated with this regulation.)

( 2 ) The foot probe and related requirements are expected to reduce the number of blade contact injuries to the foot by 13,000 each year. It is not possible to apportion this injury reduction among the respective requirements. The cost of these requirements is estimated to be about 4.00 per mower, mostly for redesign of the shields. The shield strength requirement is similar to a requirement in the existing voluntary standard that is almost universally complied with, and should comprise only a small portion of the 4.00 retail cost increase compared to pre-standard mowers that is attributable to this related group of requirements. Also, shields complying with the movable shield requirement are featured in some currently produced mowers.

( 3 ) The foot probe and related requirements should result in a cost increase of about 22,000,000 and undiscounted injury savings of about 46,000,000, exclusive of any allowance for pain and suffering.

( 4 ) The starting location control requirement would apply only to mowers with a power restart capability using engine kill to stop the blade. The cost for relocating the power restart switch, if necessary, should be very minor, and more than offset by the elimination of a clutch, as discussed below.

( 5 ) The requirement that the blade stop within 3 seconds of the release of the blade control is supported by

( i ) the requirement that those mowers that stop the blade by stopping the engine must have a power restart (to remove the motivation to disable the blade control because of the inconven- ience of manually starting the mower each time the control is released) and by

( ii ) the requirement for an additional control that must be actuated before the blade can resume operation (to prevent accidental starting of the blade). Together, these requirements are expected to reduce the number of blade contact injuries by 46,500 per year for an undiscounted savings in injury costs of about 165,000,000 per year, exclusive of pain and suffering.

( 6 ) Virtually all mowers will be subjected to a cost increase of about 3 for the blade control actuating means and 1 for the second control required to restart the blade. (The 1 cost could be eliminated for power restart-engine kill mowers that do not start when the blade control is actuated.)

( 7 ) Also, most mowers would require a brake for the blade in order to achieve a 3 second stop time. This would add another 6.50–8.50, depending on the type of mower. Mowers with power restart capability could stop the blade by killing the engine and thus would not need to provide a clutch to disconnect the engine from the blade. Mowers using manual restart would have to provide a clutch or other blade disengagement devices, which would probably be combined with the brake in a unitary brake-clutch mechanism.

( 8 ) The following are the Commission’s estimates of the probable retail price increases associated with certain types of currently produced mowers that will be caused by the blade control requirements.

Type of mower Blade control retail price increases

( 9 ) The weighted average retail price increase of the blade stop requirements is expected to be about 31 per mower for a total retail cost increase of 167,000,000.

( 10 ) The foot probe and blade stop requirements of the standard will obviously not completely protect the users of mowers under all circumstances. It is still essential for consumers to be aware of the hazard of blade contact and take the proper precautions to protect themselves. It is especially important that users not become complacent with the knowledge that the mower incorporates blade contact safety requirements. Accordingly, the Commission has determined that it is desirable that mowers complying with the standard bear a label warning of the danger of blade contact. Such a requirement would result in practically no effect on the retail price of mowers since labels are very inexpensive and practically all currently produced mowers bear some type of warning label. In view of the hazard that will be associated with power mowers even after the effective date of the standard, and the low cost of the label, the Commission concludes there is an unreasonable risk of injury that can be addressed by the label requirements in this part 1205.

( j ) Conclusion. Therefore, after considering the anticipated costs and benefits of part 1205 and the other factors discussed above, and having taken into account the special needs of elderly and handicapped persons to determine the extent to which such persons may be adversely affected by the rule, the Commission finds that part 1205 (including the effective dates) is reasonably necessary to eliminate or reduce the unreasonable risk of injury associated with walk-behind power lawn mowers and that promulgation of the rule is in the public interest.

[44 FR 10024, Feb. 15, 1979, as amended at 45 FR 86417, Dec. 31, 1980]

Subpart B—Certification


44 FR 70386, Dec. 6, 1979, unless otherwise noted.

§ 1205.30 Purpose, scope, and application.

( a ) Purpose. Section 14(a) of the Consumer Product Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. 2063(a), requires every manufacturer (including importer) and private labeler of a product which is subject to a consumer product safety standard to issue a certificate that the product conforms to the applicable standard, and to base that certificate either on a test of each product or on a “reasonable testing program.” The purpose of this subpart B of part 1205 is to establish requirements that manufacturers and importers of walk-behind rotary power lawn mowers subject to the Safety Standard for Walk-Behind Power Lawn Mowers (16 CFR part 1205, subpart A), shall issue certificates of compliance in the form of specified labeling and shall keep records of the testing program on which the certificates are based.

( 1 ) The provisions of this rule apply to all rotary walk-behind power lawn mowers which are subject to the requirements of the Safety Standard for Walk-Behind Power Lawn Mowers. This rule does not apply to reel-type mowers, which are subject only to the labeling requirements of the standard.

( 2 ) As authorized by section 14(a)(2) of the act, the Commission exempts manufacturers who manufacture or import only component parts, and private labelers, from the requirement to issue certificates. (Private labelers who are also importers must still certify.)

§ 1205.31 Effective date.

Any walk-behind rotary power mower manufactured after December 31, 1981, must meet the standard and must be certified as complying with the standard in accordance with this rule.

§ 1205.32 Definitions.

In addition to the definitions set forth in section 3 of the act (15 U.S.C. 2052) and in § 1205.3 of the standard, the following definitions shall apply to this subpart B of part 1205:

( a ) Manufacturer means any person or firm that manufactures or imports power lawn mowers subject to this standard, and includes those that assemble power lawn mowers from parts manufactured by other firms.

( b ) Manufactured means the earliest point at which the mower is in the form in which it will be sold or offered for sale to the consumer or is in the form in which it will be shipped to a distributor or retailer. In these forms, a “manufactured” mower may still require partial assembly by the consumer or the lawn mower dealer.

( c ) Private labeler means an owner of a brand or trademark which is used on a power lawn mower subject to the standard and which is not the brand or trademark of the manufacturer of the mower, provided the owner of the brand or trademark has caused or authorized the mower to be so labeled and the brand or trademark of the manufacturer of such mower does not appear on the label.

( d ) Production lot means a quantity of mowers from which certain mowers are selected for testing prior to certifying the lot. All mowers in a lot must be essentially identical in those design, construction, and material features which relate to the ability of a mower to comply with the standard.

( e ) Reasonable testing program means any test or series of tests which are identical or equivalent to, or more stringent than, the tests defined in the standard and which are performed on one or more mowers of the production lot for the purpose of determining whether there is reasonable assurance that the mowers in that lot comply with the requirements of the standard.

§ 1205.33 Certification testing.

( a ) General. Manufacturers and importers shall either test each individual rotary walk-behind power lawn mower (or have it tested) or shall rely upon a reasonable testing program to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the standard.

( b ) Reasonable testing program.

( 1 ) A reasonable testing program for rotary walk-behind power mowers is one that provides reasonable assurance that the mowers comply with the standard. Manufacturers and importers may define their own reasonable testing programs. Such reasonable testing programs may, at the option of manufacturers and importers, be conducted by an independent third party qualified to perform such testing programs.

( 2 ) To conduct a reasonable testing program, the mowers shall be divided into production lots. Sample mowers from each production lot shall be tested in accordance with the reasonable testing program so that there is a reasonable assurance that if the mowers selected for testing meet the standard, all mowers in the lot will meet the standard. Where there is a change in parts, suppliers of parts, or production methods that could affect the ability of the mower to comply with the requirements of the standard, the manufacturer should establish a new production lot for testing.

( 3 ) The Commission will test for compliance with the standard by using the test procedures contained in the standard. However, a manufacturer’s reasonable testing program may include either tests prescribed in the standard or any other reasonable test procedures. (For example, in the shield strength test (§ 1205.4), the manufacturer might choose to use a force higher than the 50 lb force specified in the standard.)

( 4 ) If the reasonable testing program shows that a mower does not comply with one or more requirements of the standard, no mower in the production lot can be certified as complying until the noncomplying mowers in the lot have been identified and destroyed or altered by repair, redesign, or use of a different material or components to the extent necessary to make them conform to the standard. The sale or offering for sale of mowers that do not comply with the standard is a prohibited act and a violation of section 19(a)(1) of the CPSA, regardless of whether the mower has been validly certified.

§ 1205.34 Recordkeeping requirements.

( a ) General. Every person issuing certificates of compliance for walk-behind rotary power lawn mowers subject to the standard shall maintain written records which show that the certificates are based on a test of each mower or on a reasonable testing program. The records shall be maintained for a period of at least 3 years from the date of certification of each mower or each production lot. These records shall be available to any designated officer or employee of the Commission upon request in accordance with section 16(b) of the act (15 U.S.C. 2065(b)).

( b ) Content of records. Records shall identify the mower tested and the production lot and describe the tests the mowers have been subjected to and the results of the tests.

( c ) Format for records. The records required to be maintained by this section may be in any appropriate form or format that clearly provides the required information.

§ 1205.35 Product certification and labeling by manufacturers.

( a ) Form of permanent label of certification. Manufacturers (including importers) shall issue certificates of compliance for walk-behind rotary power lawn mowers manufactured after the effective date of the mower standard in the form of a label which can reasonably be expected to remain on the mower during the period the mower is capable of being used. Such labeling shall be deemed to be a “certificate” of compliance as that term is used in section 14 of the act. (15 U.S.C. 2063.)

( b ) Contents of certification label. The certification labels required by this section shall clearly and legibly contain the following information:

( 1 ) The statement “Meets CPSC blade safety requirements.”

( 2 ) An identification of the production lot.

( 3 ) The name of the person or firm issuing the certificate.

( 4 ) The location where the product was principally assembled.

( 5 ) The month and year the product was manufactured.

( c ) Coding. Except for the requirements of paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(3) of this section, all of the information required by § 1205.35 may be in code, provided the person or firm issuing the certificate maintains a written record of the meaning of each symbol used in the code that will be made available to the distributor, retailer, consumer, and the Commission upon request. If a mower is manufactured for sale by a private labeler, and if the name of the private labeler is also on the certification label, the name of the manufacturer or importer issuing the certificate may also be in such a code.

( d ) Placement of label. The label required by this section must be visible and legible to the ultimate purchaser of the lawn mower. For mowers manufactured before January 1, 1984, where the label is not visible to the consumer at the time of sale because of packaging or marketing practices, an additional label or notice, which may be temporary, stating “Meets CPSC blade safety requirements” shall also appear on the container, or, if the container is not so visible, the promotional material, used in connection with the sale of the mowers.

[44 FR 70386, Dec. 6, 1979, as amended at 49 FR 28241, July 11, 1984]

§ 1205.36 Product certification and labeling by importers.

( a ) General. The importer of any rotary walk-behind power lawn mower subject to the standard must issue the certificate of compliance required by section 14(a) of the Act and § 1205.35 of this regulation. If testing of each mower, or a reasonable testing program, meeting the requirements of this subpart B of part 1205 has been performed by or for the foreign manufacturer of the product, the importer may rely in good faith on such tests to support the certificate of compliance provided the importer is a resident of the United States or has a resident agent in the United States and the records of such tests required by § 1205.34 of this part are maintained in the United States.

( b ) Responsibility of importer. If the importer relies on tests by the foreign manufacturer to support the certificate of compliance, the importer bears the responsibility for examining the records supplied by the manufacturer to determine that the records of such tests appear to comply with § 1205.34 of this part.

The 6 Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Michelle Ullman is a home decor expert and product reviewer for home and garden products. She has been writing about home decor for over 10 years for publications like and Better Homes Gardens, among others.

Barbara Gillette is a Master Gardener, herbalist, beekeeper, and journalist. She has 30 years of experience propagating and growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals.

Emily Estep is a plant biologist and journalist who has worked for a variety of online news and media outlets, writing about and editing topics including environmental science and houseplants.

If you dream of a lush, green lawn, but dread the maintenance involved in keeping it that way, then a self-propelled lawn mower can make your life easier. These mowers not only power the blades but also power the wheels to make your pushing requirements little more than guiding the machine across the grass.

Brock Ingham, gardener, landscaper, and founder of the website Bigger Garden, says, The main advantage of a self-propelled mower is that it requires less effort to operate than a push mower. This can be beneficial for people with large lawns or those who have difficulty pushing a mower due to physical limitations. Self-propelled mowers can also provide a more consistent cut, since the speed is controlled by the mower rather than the operator. Overall, a self-propelled lawn mower can make mowing easier and more efficient.

Henry Bravo, founder and editor-in-chief of, adds, Self-propelled lawnmowers are much easier to maneuver around obstacles, and they can handle uneven terrain without a problem. Plus, I can adjust the speed so I can mow quickly or at a slower, more leisurely pace. And I love that I can easily switch between mulching, side discharge, and bagging capabilities.

We bought and tested several self-propelled mowers, both gas and electric, and evaluated many others based on their power, the size of lawn they can handle, their options for handling grass clippings, their range of cutting heights, the easiness of using the mower, and their overall value.

Best Overall

EGO Power Select Cut 56-Volt 21-Inch Self-Propelled Cordless Lawn Mower

  • Variable-speed self-propel
  • Generous battery runtime
  • Fast recharging
  • Folds for compact storage

Earning the top spot in our tests is a battery lawn mower that rivals the power of a gas mower but without the smelly fumes, the oil changes, or the frustrating pull cord. Instead, this self-propelled mower from EGO has a 56-volt, 7.5-Ah battery that provides up to 60 minutes of runtime on a single charge; that’s enough to mow most lawns up to a 0.5 acre and more than enough for our small yard. We put the mower to the test in early spring, mowing a lawn just out of winter dormancy that was patchy, wet, and ferny.

Other than attaching the bag, assembling the mower was easy. And a mere press of the button brought it roaring to life. This mower has a 21-inch cutting deck and a one-hand lever that adjusts the cutting heights through six different settings for grass heights of 1.5 to 4 inches. We found it very easy to adjust.

The lawn mower easily handles all common types of lawn grass, including tougher warm-season varieties like Bermudagrass, zoysia, and St. Augustine. A few buyers have complained that it struggles to lift overly tall grass high enough for an even cut. However, we found that it struggled a bit in the wet grass as well, becoming stuck at one point in a ferny patch. Aside from that, it delivers a precise and crisp cut that is sure to impress.

The speed of the mower is variable, so you can set it to match your stride from a leisurely 0.9 mph up to a brisk 3.1 mph. As this was our first time using a self-propelled mower, there was a bit of a learning curve. At first, it felt like the mower was pulling us along. However, we soon got the hang of it and appreciated the ease of adjusting the mower’s speed. We also liked the adjustable handle, which made it more comfortable to mow.

We found that the mower was easy to maneuver, even around obstacles or sharp turns. As the self-propelled function does most of the heavy work, this is also a great mower for yards with slopes. At nine inches in diameter, the mower’s wheels are fairly large, and it is rear-wheel drive, which also helps when mowing over rough terrain or hilly areas. You can dispose of the grass clippings in the included 2-bushel bag, discharge them to the side, or mulch them into fine clippings to quickly decompose them into healthful lawn nutrients. This mower even has a LED headlight, so you can mow early in the morning or at dusk to take advantage of mild temperatures.

Most of the mower’s construction is heavy-duty plastic for weather and rust resistance, but that might not be as durable as steel, although we felt it seemed quite sturdy. Once you finish mowing, the handle folds all the way down for easy storage. We really appreciated this feature, as the mower doesn’t take up as much room in the garage. This mower comes with a 56-volt battery and a fast charger that has the battery ready to go in just an hour.

How It Performed Long-Term

We are extremely satisfied with the performance of the lawn mower, particularly with how long the battery lasts. It can easily handle mowing the lawn three times without requiring a recharge. Even when it does need to be recharged, it only takes around 20 minutes. The mower is also highly effective when dealing with thick, tall grass and can even tackle 10 days of uncut grass without issue. Additionally, it can handle damp grass and leaves with ease. Initially, it took some time to become familiar with turning it on and utilizing the self-propel feature, but once we did, mowing the lawn became a breeze.

Price at time of publish: 549

Cutting Width: 21 inches | Power Source: Battery | Weight: 62.6 pounds | Grass Discard Options: Bag, mulch, side-discharge

The Best Lawn Mowers of 2023

Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases made through the links below may earn us and our publishing partners a commission. were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

Honda HRX217VKA

The Honda HRX217VKA is powerful, heavy and ideal for larger lawns. Read

Ego Power LM2135SP

This mower is powerful, comfortable, and a joy to use. It performed extremely well mulching and driving itself uphill. Read

Honda HRN216VKA

Honda has produced superior power equipment for many years and this mower, which operates with rear-wheel drive, is no exception. Read

Kobalt KM 5080-06

The electric Kobalt KM 5080-06 was flexible and easy to operate, and can run bagged or bagless. Read

Hart HLPM061US

The Hart HLPM061US performed well across terrains and has a simple to use speed control. Read


Until just a few short years ago, gas lawn mowers were king. As more consumers are seeking eco-friendly cars, homes, and, yes, power equipment, advanced battery technology answers the call.

Today, consumers can drive an electric car, thrive in a solar-powered home and maintain their property with battery-powered equipment. But are the new electric push lawn mowers as good as the old internal combustion mowers? We decided to find out.

We tested gasoline, electric-corded, and battery-powered lawn mowers from the leading brands. We were eager to see if the battery-powered mowers could handle a large yard as well as the tried-and-true gasoline models. We weren’t disappointed. The Honda HRX217VKA (available at Amazon) came out on top as Best Overall, edging out its predecessor and our previous winner, the Honda HRN216VKA.

For the non-gasoline mowers, the Ego Power LM2135SP (available at Walmart) is our choice for Best Electric Lawn Mower. This mower set-up was quick, and it handled our testing well. The Ego Power also includes features not found on similar electric models.

The Honda HRX217VKA was a pleasure to use.

  • Power source: Gas
  • Self-propelled: Yes
  • Cutting options: Bag, Mulch, Rear discharge or shred leaves
  • Drive: Rear-wheel
  • Weight: 113 lbs

Quiet and powerful, the Honda HRX217VKA 21-inch NeXite lawn mower is the one to have for larger spaces. It is not designed for small yards, and you won’t be darting in and out of flower beds and shrubbery.

It is a pleasure to use. We had tested Honda mowers before and were familiar with their operation and overall product quality. The HRX217VKA did not disappoint. Easy to assemble and set up right out of the box, it started on the first pull of the cord.

Right away you can feel the heft of this mower with its innovative NeXite deck and powerful motor. It’s heavier than most mowers, but it feels planted on the lawn and tracks perfectly. It’s a mower for large lawns, and it makes the most difficult cuts a breeze.

With its 200cc motor and Select Drive Control, this mower easily cuts, bags and mulches the heaviest grass with ease. The Select Drive Control is almost intuitive as it lets you adjust the walking speed with a variety of settings.

The controls on the mower are large and easy to use. You can set the mower to bag or mulch or anywhere in between. Its user-friendly platform is clearly marked. You will use this lawn mower for years and years to come.


The Ego Power LM2135SP is the best electric lawn mower we’ve tested.

  • Power source: Electric/battery
  • Self-propelled: Yes
  • Cutting options: Bag, Mulch, Side discharge
  • Drive: Rear-wheel
  • Weight: 88 lbs

Until a few years ago, those who preferred not to buy an internal combustion mower had little choice. But advanced battery technology has finally arrived and the benefits can readily be seen in the Ego Power LM2135SP, a 21-inch self-propelled electric mower. This cordless mower with a cutting width of 21 inches utilizes a 56-volt lithium ion battery to power through up to 60 minutes of lawn cutting.

The Ego Power is powerful, comfortable, and a joy to use. Even though the battery only lasted about an hour, the mower performed extremely well mulching and driving itself uphill. It has plenty of torque and is capable of doing anything a gasoline-powered mower can do. It is clean, easy to use, and efficient.

The set-up on this mower was the easiest of the bunch. The handle slides and folds across the mower with ease, making storage a snap. Adjusting it to a personal height takes seconds.

A quick 50-minute charge on the battery and you’re ready to go. The battery charger even has a cooling fan that improves charging times and keeps the battery cool.

Like some of our other mowers, the Ego Power has twin blades that improve mulching and keep the trips to empty the rear bag to a minimum. Cutting height is achieved with one easy-to-access lever.

Operation is straightforward, and the composite deck makes the mower light and easy to maneuver around yard obstacles. Simply depress the power button, pull the green handle and the blades begin to spin. Dual buttons on the handle make engaging the self-propel feature safe and comfortable.

The Ego Power comes with LED headlights for convenience, and it was the only mower we tested that could propel itself when the blades were not spinning. This was a nice feature that eliminated pushing the mower back to the garage.

Other Lawn Mowers We Tested

Previously our pick for best lawn mower, the Honda HRN216VKA is a 21-inch self-propelled gas mower that’s a great choice for any yard. Honda has produced superior power equipment for many years, and this mower, which operates with rear-wheel drive, is no exception. It can handle the toughest lawns with ease and won’t take up much room in the garage.

Best Gas Lawn Mower in 2023 (Cheap & Self Propelled)

The set-up was easy and the mower started on the first pull. Its smooth engine is quieter than the other gasoline mowers, and it has more than enough power to cut and mulch the grass even while going uphill.

The Honda has a stacked and offset blade design that produces smaller clippings, which allows for better mulching and bagging. This means more efficient cutting and fewer stops to empty the grass bag. The bagging and mulching options can be easily and safely selected, once the mower is off, by using one lever on the mowing deck.

The innovative self-propel system is comfortable on the hands, provides adequate speed control, and can even be adjusted for those who are taller or shorter. Folding the handle for storage can be done quickly. This Honda lawn mower even has a gas shut-off valve for off-season storage.

single, lawn, mower, best, self-propelled, reviews


  • Power source: Electric/battery
  • Self-propelled: No
  • Cutting options: Bag, Mulch, Side discharge
  • Drive: Rear-wheel
  • Weight: 66 lbs

The Kobalt 80V 21-inch electric mower is a great choice for anyone that wants an affordable, flexible, compact mower that is easy to maneuver and doesn’t require extension cords or gas cans. The mower is strong enough to chop through thick grass, and offers a highly adjustable cutting height.

At 66 pounds it is very easy to operate, with the ability to go bagged or bagless, and you can fold up the push handle for compact storage.

The main draw here is the 80V battery system, which gives you an hour of runtime in our testing, enough to cut about 7,500 square feet on a full charge. It also works in a variety of other Kobalt tools, and spares will run you right around 150. Charging the battery takes around 45 minutes when it’s dead, and it just pops into the battery slot and the mower can turn on with a press of a button if the safety key is inserted—much easier than having to use a traditional pull start.

Overall if you need a nice, basic mower to get the job done and want to go cordless, this is an excellent choice. It cuts clean lines, it’s easy to use, it can handle most lawns with ease, and the light weight makes it much easier to move up and around slopes and hills.

Especially if you’re planning to invest in a range of electric tools, this is a good system to buy into.


  • Power source: Electric/battery
  • Self-propelled: Yes
  • Cutting options: Bag, Mulch, Side discharge
  • Drive: All-wheel
  • Weight: 89.5 lbs

This Hart lawnmower was a pleasant surprise.

After removing it from the box and charging the batteries, we fired it up and took it out to the thick, lush grass.

It performed beautifully; its powerful electric motor cut through the lawn with ease and even increased its revolutions when we cut thicker grass. This mower easily handles a larger lawn.

The Hart mower moved with power and confidence through the lawn, and the simple-to-use speed control was right there at your fingertips. While our winning Honda gas mower has a sophisticated Select Drive System, the Hart’s simple slide bar works as well or better.

This excellent lawnmower has the power and convenience of mowers costing much more.


The Toro is a worthy competitor to the top-ranking mowers on this list.

This Toro lawn mower has the largest cutting area at 22 inches, and it is powerful and comfortable to use, thanks to its Personal Pace self-propel system.

To engage the self-propel, simply push the lever forward a bit and the mower begins to move forward, push it a little more and the mower moves faster. After a couple of rows of cutting, you will see how easy it is to regulate speed. This system is not as intuitive as some of the others, but it still works quite well.

Another great feature: The Toro has Briggs and Stratton’s check-don’t-change oil system that never requires an oil change.

Storage is also a snap as the handle folds down and the mower can be stored vertically.


  • Power source: Electric/battery
  • Self-propelled: No
  • Cutting options: Bag, Mulch, Rear discharge
  • Drive: Rear-wheel
  • Weight: 58 lbs

At just 58 pounds, this mower makes cutting small lawns a lot of fun. The rear discharge chute allows you trim close to trees, beds, and shrubbery. I found myself zipping around obstacles using only one hand.

This is a simple machine with one battery in the center. Charging time is quick, and once the battery is in you’re on your way.

This is not a lawn mower for the back 40. With a 20-inch cut and a small electric motor, it is just not capable of handling larger lawns. But for most mid to small yards, this mower can clean up the area in no time.

Light and easy to store, this is the perfect mower to keep a lawn looking great.


  • Power source: Electric/battery
  • Self-propelled: Yes
  • Cutting options: Bag, Mulch, Side discharge
  • Drive: Rear-wheel
  • Weight: 78 lbs

The 21-inch Ryobi RY401150 40-volt brushless mower set up quickly and easily right out of the box. It includes double blades and cuts clean and clear.

This mower comes with two batteries that can be installed in the top of the machine. One notable drawback is that only one battery powers the mower at a time—cut your grass for approximately 30 minutes and when the first battery is depleted, you stop and move a switch to engage the second battery. Ryobi says that the batteries will last for 70 minutes, but stopping to change batteries seems counterproductive.

Otherwise, the mower performed well and completed all of the tests. It has a one-lever height adjustment and is light enough to maneuver around obstacles. It has plenty of power and handled the hill with little strain.

While both the Ego Power and Ryobi were solid performers on the electric front, the Ryobi was let down by its self-propel controls. The controls are located under the bar, but the lever is vague and unresponsive. Because the lever is designed for thumbs only, you need to push the lever in an awkward manner to get the mower up to speed.


  • Power source: Electric/corded
  • Self-propelled: No
  • Cutting options: Bag, Mulch, Side discharge
  • Drive: Rear-wheel
  • Weight: 65 lbs

For a corded mower, the Greenworks 25022 lawn mower performed quite well. The set-up was easy, and once it was plugged in, it started right up.

Of course, before you use the mower there is the time-consuming task of unearthing your extension cord, unraveling it, and finding a suitable outdoor plug. Once plugged in, the mower embraces its purpose with ease.

It has a powerful 12-amp electric motor that may not conquer larger lawns, but is perfect for smaller yards and trimming duties. Not to mention it offers clean and even mowing.

Not being self-propelled, it takes some effort to push the lawn mower and cord uphill and then navigate a path back so as to not cut your cord.

Its small size makes storage a breeze.


The 14-inch Sun Joe MJ401E lawn mower is the easiest to store. Its diminutive size makes it the perfect lawn mower for small yards and trimming duties. It’s light enough to pick up and move, and it comes with an easy-to-use bagging system.

Still, this is not a lawn mower for cutting the typical suburban lawn, as its lightweight, short wheel base and small wheels make it a little unstable over roots and ruts.

Of all of the lawnmowers tested, the Sun Joe provided the most difficulty when it came time to adjust the height of the blades. The mower utilizes solid axles, front and rear, and the axles are located in a three-notch system under the mower. To change the height of the cut, you need to pull the spring-loaded axles from their positions and move them up or down. It’s a challenging exercise.

The Sun Joe is corded, so cutting area is limited. To its credit, it’s powerful enough when running, but the limited scope means you will have a hard time tackling an entire yard.


The Craftsman M220 is one of the more cumbersome mowers we’ve tested. Set up was more involved—to adjust it to my height I had to first kneel on the floor and remove two fasteners from the bottom of the handle and then pull the handle out of the body. Another two fasteners at the base of the handle allowed me to set the handle angle. The better mowers have release buttons and adjusting levers that allow the operator to make these adjustments quickly and safely while standing.

The mower started on the first pull and seemed to have enough power to tackle any lawn. However, the two levers on top of the handle—one to start and one for speed of self-propulsion—are difficult to operate. Both are difficult to grab if your hands are small to medium, and the levers are too far from the handle for comfortable operation. They’re also not intuitively placed; you have to look each time you make a pass.

The biggest disadvantage of this mower is that it is equipped with front-wheel drive. When self-propelled mowers first came out many years ago, a front-drive system was easy for manufacturers to design and implement and the homeowner didn’t have to push dead weight. The design worked for many years because there was nothing else. But over the years rear-drive systems were developed and it produced a more balanced, more comfortable cutting experience.

When cutting a lawn, the operator naturally has some weight on the handle. Add to this the weight of the grass in the bag off the back of the mower and you have a very light front end. Because the weight of the mower is not over the wheels, the front wheels tend to spin and grasp through each pass. This results in uneven lines, a hard to control mower (especially on a bumpy terrain), premature wearing out of the plastic front wheels, and difficulty trying to trim around obstacles. This antiquated front drive system really lets this mower down.


  • Controls are cumbersome
  • Front Drive System limits control and comfort
  • Not nimble around obstacles

How We Tested Lawn Mowers

The Testers

We spent the summer mowing a half-acre New England lawn, over and over again.

Kevin Kavanaugh is a retired public school teacher and a product tester for Reviewed. Kevin has been cutting lawns for just about 50 years. He has always been intrigued by all things mechanical, be it watches, power equipment, vintage bicycles, or classic cars.

Ray Lane is a retired supermarket store manager, avid golfer, and product tester for Reviewed. His lawn is the envy of Cumberland, Rhode Island, and he has used several push mowers over the years. At 83 years of age, his input on the mowers was critical, specifically when evaluating ease of starting, maneuverability, and safety.

The Tests

We tested lawn mowers on both flat land and hills to test maneuverability and power.

After ordering from retailers like Lowe’s and The Home Depot, we assembled each mower and took note of the ease of the set up and how quickly we could adjust the handle to our preference. We then added gasoline, a battery, or an electrical cord to get the mower ready. We evaluated at the ease of setting the cutting height, first testing a high cutting height and then a lower one.

We took each mower on a few passes of an uncut half-acre lawn, measuring approximately 22,000 square feet, noting how it cut at a high height and a lower height while we monitored both the bagging and mulching features. Then we took each mower up and down a grassy hill to see how they performed. Our final test was testing storage capability.

What You Should Know About Lawn Mowers

Self-propelled lawn mowers can take some of the effort out of walk-behind mowing.

There are two basic types of walk-behind mowers: push and self-propelled.

The push type of mower is usually smaller, lighter, and easier to store. They are used primarily for smaller, level lawns. They are perfect for cleaning up areas that larger riding lawn mowers may miss. They can be run by gasoline, cords, or battery.

Self-propelled lawn mowers usually have a larger cutting diameter and can move on their own through operator controls. These mowers can also be powered by gasoline, cords, or battery. Since they take the brunt of the pushing away, self-propelled mowers are perfect for larger lawns up to a half-acre, and they can easily handle hills and sloped lawns. These self-propelled mowers aren’t fully robotic lawn mowers so you still have to do some work guiding them around your yard.

What Is A Self-propelled Lawn Mower?

The first self-propelled lawn mowers started to appear in the late-1960s. As suburbia grew and lawns got larger, pushing a heavy steel mower around on a summer afternoon wasn’t what most people wanted to be doing.

The first self-propelled mowers had primitive front-wheel drive systems that worked well enough, but the mowers often moved along too slowly. Sure, you weren’t pushing but you were caught in a slow-moving lawn-cutting procession. Early mowers either moved too slowly or too fast to match a natural walking speed.

Today’s mowers offer a much better propulsion system. The Honda NeXite Variable Speed 4-in-1 Gas Walk Behind Self-propelled Mower with Select Drive Control, for example, allows a variety of walking speed settings. Owners can literally dial in their preferred walking speed so that they become one with the mower, not being pulled and not having to push.

The Ego Power Select Cut 56-Volt Brushless 21-in Self-propelled Cordless Electric Lawn Mower even allows the operator to drive out to the lawn without the blades turning. That is a great feature.

Today’s self-propelled mowers reduce operator fatigue and make cutting the grass easier than years ago. Self-propelled mowers make cutting on hills safer and more efficient. And with modern speed options they make a summertime chore a little more enjoyable.

Gasoline, Corded Electric, or Battery—Which Lawn Mower is Right for You?

Battery-powered lawn mowers can be powerful and efficient.


Gasoline-powered lawnmowers have kept lawns manicured for decades. They are powerful, reliable, and affordable, and come with features such as self-propelled movement, mulching features, and self-cleaning availability. They are powerful enough for large lawn care jobs and can tackle any lawn from a quarter- to half-acre acre. Any lawn bigger than that would necessitate a riding mower.

But gas-powered mowers emit dangerous carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, require yearly maintenance, and require the storage of gasoline and oil. This may not be suitable for some consumers.

Corded Electric

Corded electric mowers have been around for years and were historically the choice of consumers who had smaller lawns and didn’t need the more powerful gasoline mower. While powerful enough to get most cutting or trimming jobs done, the one obvious drawback to a corded mower is the electrical cord.

For any yard worthy of mowing, a long electrical extension cord is required to power the mower. This can be a minor annoyance, such as having to keep the cord free from getting tangled in trees and bushes, to a major annoyance when you drive over it and cut it into small pieces.

However, corded electric mowers require no gas, oil, or maintenance and, other than a blade sharpening from time to time, can perform reliably for years.


Battery-powered cars, power equipment, and tools have been around for a long time. The electric motors were strong and reliable enough, but the battery was not. Just a few years ago, an electric car could expect to go only 100 miles on a charge, and power tools and equipment didn’t last long either. In the past few years, battery technology has improved by leaps and bounds.

Electric cars can expect hundreds of miles on a charge and power tools and equipment can last a full day. This lithium battery technology found its way to lawnmowers and it has created a viable option for those consumers who don’t want gas and don’t want a cord. These battery-powered mowers are powerful, efficient, lightweight, and green. Many now use brushless electric motors, which are more efficient, produce more torque, and are longer lasting than the older electric motors with brushes.

How often should I mow my lawn?

Cutting the lawn too often and only cutting it when it gets overgrown are both unhealthy for a lush, beautiful lawn. The rule of thumb in the lawn-care industry is to keep the grass between 3 inches and 3.5 inches in length. This allows the grass to be long enough to thrive in hot, summer weather.

When cutting grass, never take more than a third of the blade at once. In other words, never cut more than an inch or so. Not only does this cause clumping of grass on the lawn or in the mower bag, but it takes too many nutrients and moisture from the grass itself.

After the late winter fertilizer treatments and the often heavy rains, lawns start to come to life. You’ll find that the grass will need cutting every 4 to 5 days in order to remove just enough length. As the summer wanes on and the temperature rises, the grass will grow a bit slower and a once week cutting is adequate.

It is also important to keep the blades of your lawnmower good and sharp. Since the lawnmower blades are often made of steel, they will develop a dull edge after a season of cutting. A dull edge on a blade will tear the grass and not cut it. This may result in browning of the tips of the grass and put more stress on the mower as well.

While you are under the deck checking those blades—and always disconnect the spark plug wire before going under the mower—be sure there is no old clumped up grass clinging to the mower deck.

Meet the testers

Director, Content Development

TJ is the Director of Content Development at Reviewed. He is a Massachusetts native and has covered electronics, cameras, TVs, smartphones, parenting, and more for Reviewed. He is from the self-styled Cranberry Capitol of the World, which is, in fact, a real thing.

Kevin Kavanaugh is a retired public school teacher and a product tester for Reviewed. Kevin has been cutting lawns for just about 50 years. He has always been intrigued by all things mechanical, be it watches, power equipment, vintage bicycles, or classic cars.

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