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For anyone with a small- to medium-size lawn, a push lawn mower is often the best way to maintain your yard. These models are significantly more affordable than ride-on lawn mowers, and they get the job done efficiently, leaving your grass perfectly manicured.
As the name implies, push mowers rely on manpower for operation. They're different than self-propelled mowers, which are walk-behind mowers that can move on their own, making your job easier. Push mowers are available in both gas and electric models, and there are pros and cons to each. For example, gas models are better equipped for larger lawns or cutting through tall grass, as tall (or thick) grass can put a strain on battery-powered models.
Whatever your needs may be, we've researched the best push lawn mowers to consider when shopping for a device to manicure your grass. Keep reading for our top picks.
Best Overall, Gas: Troy-Bilt 21 in. 159 cc Gas Walk Behind Push Mower
It doesn’t get better than this push mower from Troy-Bilt, delivering a clean and even cut every time. The unit is powered by a 159 cubic centimeter (cc) engine, and its 21-inch deck has the brand’s TriAction cutting system, which means you can better groom your lawn by creating finely mulched clippings.
This push mower has 11-inch rear wheels for handling rough terrain and hills. It has fingertip height adjustment, making it easy to adjust the cutting height between 1-1/4 and 3-3/4 inches. The mower comes with a rear collection bag, mulch kit, and “Check, Don't Change Engine,” which eliminates the need for oil changes and makes maintenance significantly less time-consuming.
Best Overall, Electric: RYOBI 20 in. 40-Volt Brushless Lithium-Ion Cordless Battery Push Lawn Mower
Electric lawn mowers have several appealing benefits: quiet operation, eco-friendly design, and minimal maintenance. This model from RYOBI is one of the best money can buy. It has a 20-inch deck and is powered by a 40-volt lithium-ion battery that delivers up to 50 minutes of runtime per charge. It is an ideal tool to maintain up to 1/2 acre of property.
This electric push mower starts up with the push of a button. It offers a 7-position single point height adjustment from 1-1/2 to 4 inches. It has 3-in-1 mulching, bagging, side-discharge capabilities, and an easy-lift bagger that’s a breeze to empty. The powerful brushless motor delivers gas-like power. It has an on-board battery storage compartment so that you can switch out the battery mid-mow.
If you mow your lawn at night, the RYOBI mower has built-in LED headlights and a quiet operation that won’t disturb your neighbors. To stow it, a quick-release handle makes it collapsible for compact vertical storage.
Best Budget, Gas: Hyper Tough 20 in. Push Mower with Briggs and Stratton Engine
You can save some money with a Hyper Tough push mower. The unit is equipped with a 125cc Briggs and Stratton engine. It has a 20-inch deck that will make quick work of small yards.
It’s a budget option and doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of more expensive models but will still get the job done right. It offers a four-point, five-position height adjustment and a “Prime ‘N Pull” starting system that quickly gets it going. The mower can only side discharge clippings. Its handle folds it down for easy storage when not in use.
Best Budget, Electric: Sun Joe MJ401E 14 Inch 12 Amp Home Electric Corded Push Behind Lawn Mower
Despite its low price, the Sun Joe Push Lawn Mower is a top-rated option for anyone with a small yard. The corded push lawn mower has a compact 14-inch deck. It’s equipped with a variety of useful features, including a folding handle, detachable grass bag, adjustable cutting height, and more.
This corded mower runs on 120-volts of power and should be used with a 14-gauge extension cord. It performs best on flat or slightly sloped terrain. Its 29-pound lightweight design makes it a more accessible option for many users.
Best Corded: Greenworks 20 in. 3-in-1 12-Amp Electric Corded Lawn Mower
If you have a small yard—a 1/4 acre or less—you might prefer a Greenworks corded lawn mower. The electric corded model is significantly more affordable than many cordless or gas models. It works impeccably with a 20-inch deck and 12-amp motor. It can be used to mulch, side discharge, or collect bag grass clippings. It offers an impressive seven levels of height adjustment for the perfect cut every time.
This easy-to-operate cordless push mower has 10-inch rear wheels that provide superior handling on all terrain. Its integrated cord lock helps prevent your extension cord from accidentally coming loose in the middle of a job. The mower starts up with the push of a button and has fold-down handles for compact storage.
"I found this mower easy to use and efficient. It did everything I could want. The 12-amp motor isn’t too loud, and there was no smell as in gas models. Yet, it had enough power to effectively and evenly cut the grass and deal with whatever leaves were left on the lawn."—Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester
Best Cordless: EGO POWER+ 56-Volt Brushless Lithium Ion Push 20-in Cordless Electric Lawn Mower
Corded lawn mowers provide unlimited runtime, but they’re also more cumbersome to use. You constantly have to remain aware of your extension cord. Cordless models, such as the highly-rated EGO POWER+ Cordless Lawn Mower, are easier to operate. This model provides up to 60 minutes of cutting time using a lithium battery, which re-charges in 40 minutes.
This cordless mower has a 20-inch steel deck and a brushless mower that will make quick work of your unruly grass. It starts up quickly via a push button. It has a single-lever, six-position deck-height adjustment. The mower offers 3-in-1 mulching, bagging, and side discharge, and it comes with an easy-access grass bag for collecting the grass clippings.
Best Lightweight: WORX POWER SHARE 40-Volt 14 in. Cordless Walk Behind Mower
Certain push mowers can weigh 90 pounds (or more), making them challenging to push around your yard. If you’re looking for something lighter, this WORX cordless push mower weighs just 30 pounds, making it significantly easier for all users to manage.
The WORX mower has a 14-inch deck. It’s powered by two 20-volt batteries that allow you to mow around 1/8 acre per charge. There’s a battery indicator light that lets you know exactly how much power is left. The mower has a six-position height adjustment that can be changed with a single lever. Its 2-in-1 abilities let you mulch or bag grass clippings. Overall, the WORX Power Share Walk-Behind Mower is a small, beginner-friendly workhorse that’s ideal for smaller yards.
Best Self-Propelled: Honda 21 in. 3-in-1 Variable Speed Gas Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Self-propelled lawn mowers use power from the engine to turn the wheels, making them less physically taxing to operate, especially if you have hills in your yard. The Honda Self-Propelled Lawn Mower is one of the best options in this category, thanks to its powerful 170cc engine, variable speed control, and 3-in-1 system for mulching, bagging, and side discharge. It has a twin-blade design that provides smaller clippings for better mulching and bagging.
This self-propelled mower has a 21-inch deck. It has seven cutting heights that you can select via its dual-lever design. The smart drive system automatically matches your stride for more comfortable operation. The handle can be adjusted to five positions to suit your needs.
Best Reel: American Lawn Mower Company 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower
Reel lawn mowers require the most work out of any push mowers, but there are certain benefits to this style of manual tool. They’re inexpensive and require virtually no maintenance. If you have a small yard and want to keep costs down, the American Lawn Mower Company Reel Lawn Mower is a top-rated choice. It boasts a 14-inch four-blade reel that can tackle grass up to 4 inches tall. Its cutting height can be adjusted between 1/2 and 1-3/4 inches. Its blades are made from heat-treated alloy steel that stays sharp longer.
The Troy-Bilt 21 in. 159 cc Gas Walk Behind Push Mower (view at Walmart) is the best gas-operated push mower out there, thanks to its powerful motor and TriAction cutting system. For a battery-powered option that requires less maintenance, consider the RYOBI Cordless Battery Push Lawn Mower (view at Home Depot), which can run for about 50 minutes per charge.
What to Look for in a Push Lawn Mower
The most common types of lawn mowers are gas-powered, electric, and manual reel. Gas-powered mowers are often preferred for their convenience and power, but they tend to be noisy and not as environmentally friendly. Electric models, which can be corded or cordless, are quieter, have low emissions, and are just as reliable. However, they require charging and have limited run times. Reel models require a lot of physical effort but are suitable for tiny yards.
Push vs. self-propelled
Push lawn mowers are the standard, but you’ll need to exert more physical effort—especially if your lawn is hilly or uneven. If this is the case, a self-propelled model will be easier to maneuver. Single-speed, self-propelled lawn mowers move at a single pace, between 1 and 3 MPH. Variable-speed lawn mowers can be operated at more than one pace, depending on your preference.
Grass clippings can be expelled in three different ways: side discharge, bags, and mulching. Side-discharge models send grass clippings right back onto the grass, which is convenient but messy. Bags collect clippings, but emptying them is labor-intensive. Mulching models cut grass clippings into small pieces before spitting them back onto the grass. Some models are multifunctional.
Why Trust The Spruce?
As someone who grew up on a farm, Camryn Rabideau has been using all sorts of yard care tools since she was young. Using her firsthand knowledge, she’s written several lawn mower buying guides for The Spruce and tested out the Ryobi Electric Riding Mower with help from her father.