The 9 Best Lawn Mowers of 2021

Make sure your lawn is in tip-top shape

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Lawn mowers are a key tool in most homeowners’ arsenals—they make it quick and easy to keep grass at the proper height and your yard looking neat all season long. Lawn mowers come in a variety of different sizes and styles, including ride-on and walk-behind models, and the best one for your needs will depend mostly on the size and terrain of your lawn. 

When shopping for a lawn mower, you’ll need to decide between gas, battery or electric models, as well as a wide range of deck sizes—the larger the cutting deck, the faster you’ll be able to mow large areas. Of course, you’ll also need to balance this with your budget, as ride-on models are significantly more expensive than walk-behind styles. 

The following are the best lawn mowers you can use to tend your grass.

Our Top Picks
This self-propelled mower has 3-in-1 cutting options, a twin-blade system, and a variety of adjustable features.
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If you're OK working around an extension cord, this electric mower is affordable and efficient.
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Tackle hills and large lawns with ease thanks to self-propelled wheels with variable speed cutting.
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Two batteries provide up to 60 minutes of runtime, allowing you to maintain larger yards with ease.
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This battery-powered riding mower delivers gas-like power and up to two hours of cutting time.
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Navigate around obstacles more easily with this zero-turn radius riding mower, which has a large 50-inch deck.
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This corded mower offers both side and rear discharge options, as well as numerous cutting heights.
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The self-propelled mower travels up hills and slopes with minimal effort on your part.
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Automatically mow up to 0.4 acre with this robotic, app-controlled battery lawn mower.
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Best Overall : Honda 3-in-1 Variable Speed Gas Self Propelled Lawn Mower

Honda 21 in. 3-in-1 Variable Speed Gas Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Cutting Width: 21 inches | Power Type: Gas | Cutting Options: Bag, mulch, side-discharge | Size of Yard: 1/4–1/2 acres

What We Like
  • Reasonable price

  • Self-propelled design is easy to move

  • Adapts mowing speed to match pace

  • 3-in-1 cutting system

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy weight can be hard to turn

  • Discharge chute prone to clogging

Most homeowners will do well with this gas-powered Honda Self-Propelled Lawn Mower, which has a 21-inch deck and offers a wide range of cutting options. Despite its reasonable price, this mower has variable speed control that adapts the mowing speed to match your pace, as well as a 3-in-1 system for mulching, bagging, and side discharge. 

There are seven cutting heights to choose from, which you can adjust with the dual-lever adjustment system, and the mower’s microcut twin blade system provides a better cut with smaller clippings. The handle can be adjusted to five positions for user comfort, and overall, this is a great mower for anyone with a small- or medium-sized lawn.

Best Budget: Sun Joe MJ400E 12-Amp 13-Inch Electric Lawn Mower

Sun Joe MJ400E 12-Amp 13-Inch Electric Lawn Mower

Cutting Width: 13 inches | Power Type: Electric (corded) | Cutting Options: Bag | Size of Yard: 1/4–1/2 acres

What We Like
  • Extremely affordable

  • Includes rear collection bag

  • Lightweight design is easy to push

What We Don't Like
  • Limited height adjustments

  • No option for side discharge

Don’t want to break the bank buying a lawn mower? This electric model from Sun Joe is a compact and extremely budget-friendly choice, and its corded design is ideal for those with small lawns. The mower has a 12-amp motor and a 13-inch deck, and the whole unit weighs just 22 pounds, making it easy for anyone to handle. There are three cutting heights to choose from, and it even comes with a rear collection bag to catch grass clippings as you mow. It might not be the fanciest lawn mower out there, but it will get the job done for an extremely low price. 

Best Self-Propelled: Toro Recycler 22 in. High-Wheel Gas Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Recycler 22 in. Gas Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Cutting Width: 22 inches | Power Type: Gas | Cutting Options: Bag, mulch, side-discharge | Size of Yard: 1/4–1/2 acres

What We Like
  • Self-propelled design is easy to use

  • Nine cutting heights

  • Washout ports on deck for easy cleaning

  • No oil changes necessary

What We Don't Like
  • Handle is too short for tall individuals

  • Speed can be hard to control

Self-propelled lawn mowers are easier to push, making them ideal for anyone with a large or hilly lawn. The Toro Recycler is a top-rated option in this category, thanks to its durable build, hassle-free maintenance, and numerous cutting options. It has a 22-inch deck with nine cutting heights, and the 11-inch rear wheels provide improved traction on uneven terrain. 

This lawn mower offers bagging, mulching, and side-discharge options, and there’s no need to ever change its oil—you can simply top it off as needed. The variable speed cutting matches your walking pace for more comfortable operation, and there’s even a washout port on the deck where you can attach a garden hose for easy cleaning.

Best Electric: Greenworks PRO 25 in. 60-Volt Battery Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Greenworks Pro 25 in. Battery Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Cutting Width: 25 inches | Power Type: Battery | Cutting Options: Bag or mulch | Size of Yard: 1/2–1 acres

What We Like
  • 60-minute battery like

  • Extremely limited maintenance

  • Large deck for a push mower

What We Don't Like
  • Bogs down in thick or wet grass

  • Slight delay before self-propelling will disengage

Many people enjoy the low-maintenance design of electric lawn mowers, and the Greenworks Pro Self-Propelled Mower has a large 25-inch deck and 60-minute battery life that make it a great choice for small- to medium-size lawns. The electric mower comes with two batteries, and when the first depletes, the unit automatically switches to the second one, delivering uninterrupted runtime. 

This mower has seven cutting heights and folding handles for compact storage. Its smart cut technology automatically increases the blade speed when going through thick grass, and the advanced brushless motor delivers maximum torque and power with virtually no maintenance.

Best Riding: RYOBI 38 in. 75 Ah Battery Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower

ryobi-electric-law-mower

Cutting Width: 38 inches | Power Type: Battery | Cutting Options: Bag, side-discharge | Size of Yard: 2 acres

What We Like
  • No gas and limited maintenance required

  • Great performance, even in thick grass

  • Quiet operation

  • Impressive battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Uncomfortable seat

  • Questions about longevity

  • Expensive replacement batteries

If you’re looking for a riding mower that’s extremely powerful and easy to maintain, look no further than this battery-powered model from RYOBI. It has three brushless motors that deliver the same cut quality as gas-powered mowers, and you’ll get up to two hours of runtime on a single charge, making it appropriate for lawns up to two acres. 

In addition to limited maintenance and quiet operation, this riding mower has 12 height options on its 38-inch deck, which has two blades. The RYOBI mower has LED headlights, cruise control, and even a built-in USB charger for electronics, and it charges via a standard 120-volt outlet—it doesn’t get more convenient than that!

Best Zero-Turn: Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 50 in. 23 HP V-Twin Gas Engine Zero Turn Mower

Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 50 in. Zero Turn Mower

Cutting Width: 50 inches | Power Type: Gas | Cutting Options: Side-discharge | Size of Yard: 2-4 acres

What We Like
  • Unbeatable maneuverability

  • Wide cutting deck

  • 12 height adjustments

What We Don't Likee
  • Expensive

  • No hour meter

While more expensive than traditional ride-on mowers, zero-turn lawn mowers have a better turning radius for improved maneuverability, and they also typically have large cutting decks that make quick work or big yards. The Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 is a top choice in this category thanks to its durability and comfort, and it has a powerful engine that delivers speeds up to 7.5 MPH. 

This mower has a 50-inch deck with triple blades that deliver finer clippings, fewer clumps, and an overall even cut. It features a foot-operated deck lift with 12 cutting heights, an open-frame design with ergonomic lap bars, and 20-inch rear tires that offer excellent traction, and its seat is inspired by a traditional car seat with a fully adjustable ergonomic design—ideal if you often spend several hours mowing.

Best for Small Yards: Kobalt 13-Amp 21-in Corded Electric Lawn Mower

Kobalt 21-in Corded Electric Lawn Mower

Cutting Width: 21 inches | Power Type: Electric (corded) | Cutting Options: Bag, mulch, side and rear discharge | Size of Yard: Up to 1/4 acre

What We Like
  • Cord retention system to prevent disconnecting

  • Both rear and side discharge

  • Large back wheels for improved traction

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't perform well in thick grass

  • Not all clippings are collected in bag

You can maintain a yard up to ¼ of an acre with the Kobalt Electric Lawn Mower. This affordable pick runs on electricity, but it has to be connected to an extension cord during operation, which is why it’s best for small yards. It does have a cord retention system to prevent disconnecting while you mow.

The Kobalt mower has a 21-inch deck with seven cutting heights, and it offers rear and side discharge, as well as mulching and bagging abilities. The mower has 10-inch rear wheels for improved maneuvering, and its padded handle reduces wrist strain during operation.

Best for Hills: RYOBI 20 in. 40-Volt 6.0 Ah Lithium-Ion Battery Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

20 in. Battery Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Cutting Width: 20 inches | Power Type: Battery | Cutting Options: Bag, mulch, side-discharge | Size of Yard: 1/4–1/2 acres

What We Like
  • Easy start button

  • Lightweight, collapsible design

  • Self-propelled to make it easy to maneuver

  • Runs quieter than most mowers

What We Don't Like
  • Can be hard to turn

  • Neon green design

If your yard has hilly areas, you’ll definitely benefit from a self-propelled lawn mower like this model from RYOBI, as it will propel itself up slopes, saving you from having to push it. This battery-powered mower has a 20-inch deck, and it can run for up to 40 minutes per charge, allowing you to cut up to ½ acre. 

The RYOBI mower has seven cutting heights, as well as 3-in-1 mulching, bagging and side discharge abilities, and its load-sensing technology maximizes efficiency depending on how thick your grass is. It has collapsible handles, LED headlights, and an on-board battery storage compartment, and its rear-wheel drive offers improved traction, even on sloped areas.

Best Robotic: Husqvarna Automower 115H Robotic Lawn Mower

Husqvarna Automower 115H Robotic Lawn Mower

Cutting Width: 8.6 inches | Power Type: Battery | Cutting Options: N/A | Size of Yard: Up to 0.4 acres

What We Like
  • Automatic mowing

  • Quiet operation

  • Waterproof design

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Bluetooth range is limited

  • Random cutting route

Similar to robotic vacuums, robotic lawn mowers automatically navigate around your yard, trimming the grass without you having to lift a finger. The Husqvarna Automower is one of the top robot mowers available today, as it is able to maintain small or medium-sized lawns up to 0.4 acre. It has a weatherproof design and can be programmed to run any time of day, and it works quietly to minimize disruption to your daily activities. 

The Husqvarna Automower is easy to set up on your own—all you have to do is install boundary wires that tell it where to stop. Its cutting width is just over 8.5 inches, and it will automatically return to its charging base when the battery is depleted. Plus, it can even be controlled via your smartphone, allowing you to start or stop the robot with a simple touch.

Final Verdict

The Honda 21 in. 3-in-1 Variable Speed Gas Self-Propelled Lawn Mower (view at Home Depot) is ideal for small- to medium-size yards, thanks to its numerous adjustable settings, 3-in-1 cutting options, and twin blade system. However, those with larger yards may prefer a ride-on mower like the RYOBI 38 in. 75 Ah Battery Electric Riding Lawn Mower, which delivers up to two hours of battery life per charge.

What to Look for in a Lawn Mower

Type

There are many types of lawn mowers available today, and two of the biggest choices you’ll have to make are whether you want a walk-behind or riding mower and whether you want gas, electric, or battery power. Riding mowers are naturally less work to operate, but you’ll pay a higher price for this luxury. When it comes to fuel type, gas mowers have a reputation for being more powerful, but they require more maintenance. Today’s electric and battery-powered mowers are often comparable in performance to gas mowers, and they’re quieter and more eco-friendly.

Deck Size

The size of your yard will dictate how large a deck your lawn mower should have. If you have ½ acre or less, you’ll do fine with a 20- to 30-inch deck. However, if you have more than an acre of land to mow, you’ll want a bigger mower with a deck of 40 inches or more—this will decrease the number of passes you have to make while mowing, decreasing the time it takes to trim your lawn. 

Cutting Options

Most lawn mowers have a combination of side discharge, mulching, and bagging capabilities, each of which has its own benefits. Side discharge simply tosses grass clippings back onto your yard, while mulching cuts them up into fine pieces to deliver nutrients back to the lawn. If you don’t want grass clippings on your lawn at all, you may prefer a bagging mower, but keep in mind that you’ll have to empty the collection bag frequently. 

Drive Type

Lawn mowers come in both front-wheel drive (FWD) and rear-wheel drive (RWD) options. FWD mowers perform best on flat, even terrain, and they’re often easier to steer. However, RWD mowers are better for hilly or uneven terrain, as they provide more traction at the center of the mower.

FAQ
  • How do you choose the best lawn mower for your yard?

    When selecting a lawn mower for your home, you’ll want to consider the size of your yard, the terrain, as well as any obstacles, such as trees and landscaping features. If you have a small yard, corded lawn mowers are an economical and low-maintenance option—as long as you’re willing to work around an extension cord. For landscaping with numerous obstacles, a regular push mower might be a better choice. Self-propelled mowers are ideal for hilly terrain, as they’ll save you from having to manually push the unit up a slope, and for anyone with multiple acres of lawn, a riding mower is the way to go, as they make it quicker and easier to cut large areas.

  • How do you sharpen lawn mower blades?

    Your lawn mower blades will need to be sharpened periodically if you want a clean, even cut, and it’s fairly easy to sharpen lawn mower blades at home using a drill attachment. Start by removing the blades from your mower and securing them in a vise. From here, all you have to do is insert the cutting edge into the sharpening attachment, press the drill trigger, and run the attachment along the blade. Repeat this process on both edges of the blade to keep it in balance.

  • How often should you change your lawn mower oil?

    The oil (and oil filter, if it has one) on your lawn mower should be changed after every 50 hours of use, Assuming it does not have a filter. If it does have a filter, you can change it every 200 hours. At a minimum, change your oil at least once per season. It’s important to change the oil in your lawn mower to reduce friction between its moving metal parts and protect the life of your engine.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance contributor for The Spruce. As someone who grew up on a 70-acre farm and owns a 5-acre parcel herself, she’s no stranger to lawn mowers, and she’s written extensively on them, even doing first-hand product testing.

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