Lawn Mower Buying Guide for 2019
If you're in the market for a new lawn mower, you've probably noticed that you have a lot of options. From simple push mowers and steering-wheeled lawn tractors to commercial grade zero-turn mowers, there's a tool for every job. Now it's time to pick the best one.
At the end of the day, it comes down to cost and time. How much money are you willing to spend on a lawn mower, and how much time are you willing to spend mowing? Once you have that figured out, the choice might end up being simpler than you thought.
For homeowners with small yards who don't mind spending some time on mowing, classic walk-behind mowers are still the go-to option. Price and speed vary, partly dependent on whether you choose a push or self-propelled model. Deck size is usually in the 20- to 30-inch range, though a few commercial walk-behinds go much larger.
- Price range: $200 to $1,000
- Best for: Yards up to 1/2 acre
- Pros: Budget-friendliness is the big advantage of the classic walk-behind mower, along with size. There's no need for a new shed when almost every garage has enough extra space for a push mower. They're also good options for anyone who actually enjoys spending time mowing, or who wants to get a bit of exercise at the same time.
- Cons: Walk-behind mowers don't offer much in the way of longevity—low end models often don't make it past their second season—but at least they're cheap to replace. These kinds of mowers are also not particularly efficient. Lawns larger than 1/4 acre take quite a long time to mow, and anything larger than 1/2 acre can become a monumental task.
You'll find steering-wheeled lawn tractors in many a garden shed across America and for good reason. They generally cut 3 to 5 times faster than walk-behinds, with a deck size that usually falls between 40 and 50 inches.
- Price range: $1,200 to $5,000
- Best for: Yards up to 1 Acre
- Pros: Although they are more costly than walk-behind mowers, lawn tractors are a relatively low-cost option compared to higher-end riding mowers. The steering wheel makes them easy and familiar to operate, and they're better than most other mowers on hilly terrain.
- Cons: Despite being a big step up, speed-wise, from walk-behind mowers, lawn tractors still fall short of zero-turn models. Without the ability to make tight turns, most homeowners find themselves mowing in a circular pattern, which is inefficient. If you have a lot of ground to cover, there's a good chance you'll spend more time mowing than you want to.
Prized for their speed and efficiency, zero-turn riding mowers have been the mowers of choice for landscape professionals for years. But they are also catching on among growing numbers of homeowners looking to cut down their mowing time.
- Price range: $2,000 to $10,000
- Best for: Yards larger than 1/2 acre
- Pros: With deck size typically ranging from 40 to 100 inches and top speeds up to 15 mph on some models, these mowers are the fastest on the market. Couple that with zero-turn technology and you're looking at about half the mowing time compared to similar-sized steering wheeled lawn tractor. Zero-turn mowers also offer a longer life span, excellent maneuverability, and are a lot of fun to drive.
- Cons: Cost is the big drawback compared to other mowers, although zero-turn models typically make up for it in longevity. These mowers also take up some room, which can be a problem for homeowners with limited garage space.