A push lawn mower, whether powered by gas, a battery, or an electric cord, lets you keep your lawn under control and looking its best. The best push lawn mowers are powerful enough to handle even thick grass while making clean cuts, are easy to push, and let you choose how to dispose of the grass clippings.
Noah James, a professional landscaper, and owner of Liberty Lawn Maintenance, says, "Powerful performance, ease of use, and environmental friendliness are all key considerations when it comes to selecting the right push lawnmower. For dependable results, find a mower with a well-balanced cutting blade made from heavy steel or aluminum. A good push mower should also have durable construction and advanced features such as ergonomic handlebars, thoughtfully placed switches, and convenient storage options."
He adds, "Depending on the size of your yard, you may want to look for a mower that offers different speed settings. And you should be able to adjust the blades for different lengths of grass. The wheels should have a good grip that won't leave small divots in the grass, while quieter motors will help you avoid disturbing neighbors by cutting noise to an absolute minimum."
We researched and tested numerous push mowers, evaluating maneuverability, durability, safety features, and noise level.
Greenworks 12 Amp 20-Inch 3-in-1 Corded Lawn Mower
Seven cutting height options
Handles long weeds well
Can bag, mulch, or side-discharge clippings
Feels heavy when turning
If you want a reliable lawn mower, look no further than the Greenworks 3-in-1 Electric Corded model. Based on our testing, the Greenworks lawn mower proved to be both efficient and effective, earning the top spot on this list. Despite the patchy condition of the grass, it cut down long, spindly weeds. And with seven easy-to-use cutting heights available, ranging from 1.5 inches to 3.75 inches, finding the perfect setting for the grass was a breeze. The mulching, side discharge, and bagging worked well, with only a few clippings escaping during the bag removal process.
Using the mower felt secure and reliable. To start the lawnmower, you'll need to press a button. This feature gave us peace of mind as it minimizes the risk of children accidentally starting it. The mower felt sturdy and was easy to operate, even over divots. While the lawn mower is pretty small, it was a little bulky to turn. Yet, we only needed one hand to push it, freeing up our other hand to hold the cord. We appreciate the cord retainer feature that keeps it from getting unplugged while mowing. However, we think that placing it at the top of the handle would have been more convenient as we still had to flip the cord to move it out of the way. We did appreciate how the handle conveniently folds for easy storage in a garage or small shed.
While a corded push mower might not be a convenient option for all users, with this model, you won't have to worry about a dead battery in the middle of mowing, and there won't be any unpleasant gas fumes or the need to change the oil. Plus, considering this mower's features and power, we think it's a great value. We also found this lawn mower to be incredibly simple to set up, with only 10 minutes of assembly time, and a few screws needed. It comes with a three-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: $217
Cutting Width: 20 inches | Weight: 52 pounds | Power Source: Corded | Clippings Options: Bag, mulch, side discharge
Best Overall, Cordless
RYOBI RY401110-Y 20-Inch 40-Volt Cordless Push Lawn Mower
Load-sensing technology adjusts to grass thickness
Handle folds for storage
Side-discharge chute sold separately
You'll get nearly the power of a gas mower but no smelly fumes with this Ryobi push mower that comes with a 40-volt, 6.0-Ah battery that runs for up to 48 minutes on a single charge. The cutting deck is 20 inches wide, and there are seven cutting levels ranging from 1.5 inches to 4 inches, so you can quickly and cleanly mow lawns up to 1/2 acre in size, whatever your type of lawn grass. The mower senses the thickness of the grass and automatically increases the power to handle dense patches, then dials it back a bit once you're in the clear, which helps extend the battery runtime. With 10-inch rear wheels and 8-inch front wheels, it's fairly easy to push the mower over slight slopes and uneven terrain.
This push mower comes with a bag for catching clippings, but you'll have to purchase a side-discharge chute separately if desired. You can also let the clippings mulch back into the lawn. The mower has an LED headlight, which is very helpful when mowing in the evening or early in the morning. The telescoping handle can be set to the height most comfortable for you while you mow and then folded down completely for convenient storage of the mower in your garage or shed.
Along with the battery, the mower comes with a charger that takes around four hours to recharge the battery fully. If you purchase a second battery or have other Ryobi batteries on hand, then you can take advantage of the mower's onboard battery storage compartment and swap out batteries when needed. The mower is covered by a five-year limited warranty and the battery by a three-year limited warranty.
Price at time of publish: $399
Cutting Width: 20 inches | Weight: 56 pounds | Power Source: Battery | Clippings Options: Bag, mulch
Sun Joe MJ401E-P2 Electric Lawn Mower
Ideal for small lawns
Need a long extension cord
If you only have a small lawn to tend and don't want to spend a lot on a mower, then this reasonably priced electric mower we tested from Sun Joe is a great option. Assembly was a breeze, with only four main components to put together. We swiftly put together the mower in just 10 minutes before proceeding to test it out. Upon turning on the mower, we were pleasantly surprised by how quiet it was. Compared to gasoline-powered alternatives, this one can be started with the push of a button and produces no harmful emissions. Keep in mind that you will need an appropriate outdoor-rated extension cord—either a 50-foot 14-gauge or 100-foot 12-gauge. Those with large lawns may need to invest in a longer cord.
We were impressed by the mower's performance, as it was easy to turn and trimmed the grass evenly. The mower has a 14-inch cutting deck and three height adjustments ranging from 1.18 to 2.52 inches. The bagging feature worked well, although it didn't hold much (10.6 gallons), so it filled up quickly. If grass gets stuck in the mower, it automatically shuts off, which is a great safety feature. Restarting the mower was a breeze after removing the grass from under it.
The Sun Joe Electric Mower is an excellent choice for those on a tighter budget due to its low price and high quality. It's a safe, efficient, and simple lawn mower that anyone with a smaller yard can confidently use. To make storage convenient, the mower's handle can be folded down. Additionally, the mower is backed by a two-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: $99
Cutting Width: 14 inches | Weight: 34 pounds | Power Source: Corded | Clippings Options: Bag
Troy-Bilt TB110 21-Inch 2-in-1 Gas Push Lawn Mower
Delivers a clean, even cut
Easy to start
Large rear wheels offer improved handling
No side discharge
Requires periodic oil changes
Unlike many gas mowers, which require seemingly endless cord pulls to power up the machine, this one starts right up, thanks to Troy-Bilt's ReadyStart technology. And once started, the 140cc Briggs & Stratton engine has plenty of power to slice through even thick grass, leaving your lawn neatly groomed. This sturdy mower has a 21-inch cutting deck and six easily-adjusted cutting levels ranging from 1.25 inches to 3.75 inches, so whatever your type of lawn grass, you can cut it to the appropriate height. However, one downside is that, like many gas mowers, you need to change the oil periodically—use 10w-30 oil—and to do so, you'll need to tip the mower onto its side to let the old oil drain out before adding the new oil. There is no need to mix oil with gasoline, though.
Thanks to Troy-Bilt's TriAction cutting system, the mower gives an exceptionally clean cut to the grass and produces very fine clippings, which can either be mulched back into the lawn or collected in the included 1.9-bushel bag. There is no side-discharge option on this mower. Its 11-inch rear wheels allow the mower to move easily over even rough terrain and up or down gentle slopes on lawns up to 1/4 acre or so in size. It comes fully assembled and has a two-year limited warranty.
Price at time of publish: $399
Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 66 pounds | Power Source: Gas | Clippings Options: Bag, mulch
Best Reel Mower
American Lawn Mower Company 14-Inch Manual Reel Mower
Cuts grass up to 4 inches
Adjustable blade height
Might jam on a large stick
Can be tiring to use
There's no motor or battery in this mower; it's entirely powered by your own exertion in pushing it across your lawn. But if you have a small, flat lawn and want the ultimate in environmentally friendly lawn care, then it's hard to beat this reel mower. Unlike powered mowers, which have a single blade that spins on a horizontal axis, this reel mower has four blades that spin vertically, neatly snipping your grass with a scissor-like action that creates a very even cut. And there's almost no maintenance required; every few years, you'll need to sharpen the blades. That's it. It can occasionally get jammed on large sticks or other lawn debris, though, so it's best to be sure there aren't obstructions in your path while mowing.
The mower cuts a 14-inch swath of grass in a single pass. You can adjust the cutting height between 1 inch and 1.75 inches, but the mower won't perform well on grass that is taller than four inches. The polymer wheels are 8.5 inches in diameter and roll smoothly. The clippings will mulch into your lawn, but American Lawn Mower Company does sell a separate bag for this mower if you prefer to bag your clippings. While you'll get a bit of a workout using this mower, it does create a very fine cut, doesn't make much noise, and won't take up a lot of room in your garage or garden shed. It's very reasonably priced, as well.
Price at time of publish: $82
Cutting Width: 14 inches | Power Type: Manual | Weight: 19 pounds | Clippings Options: Mulch
Best for Thick Grass
Craftsman M110 140cc 21-inch Gas Push Lawn Mower
One-step start, no priming required
Includes grass collection bag and mulch kit
Requires periodic oil changes
With a 140cc Briggs & Stratton engine, this gas push mower from Craftsman is best for smaller lawns that are no more than 1/4 acre in size, but it easily handles even thick or tall grass. Unlike many other gas mowers, this one starts up easily, so you won't be yanking on the cord in frustration. The 21-inch cutting deck is wide enough to get the mowing down quickly, and there are six cutting height levels ranging from 1.25 inches to 3.75 inches. The sturdy wheels maneuver easily over rough terrain or slight slopes. You can set the mower to side discharge clippings, collect them in the included rear bag, or mulch them back into the lawn.
At 65 pounds, this isn't a light lawn mower, but it does handle easily. On the downside, this mower does require periodic oil changes, and you'll need to tip the mower onto its side to drain the old oil before adding fresh 10w-30 oil. As a general rule, the oil should be changed at least once each year. However, there is no need to mix oil with gas as the mower has a 4-stroke engine. A two-year warranty covers the mower.
Price at time of publish: $369
Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 65 pounds | Power Source: Gas | Clippings Options: Bag, mulch, side-discharge
Best for Small Yards
Worx WG779 Power Share 40-Volt 14-Inch Cordless Walk Behind Mower
Easy to see when collection bag is full
Batteries compatible with other WORX tools
No side discharge
This excellent mower from WORX comes with two 20-volt, 4.0-Ah batteries, both of which power the mower simultaneously for a total of 40 volts. That lets you mow up to 5,000 square feet on a single charge of the two batteries. The cutting deck is only 14 inches wide, so this mower is best for smaller yards, but you'll be able to easily maneuver the mower around tree trunks, flowerbeds, and other obstacles. There are six height adjustments ranging from 2.5 inches to 3.5 inches. And the mower has WORX's IntelliCut feature, which lets you up the power when tackling tough or thick grass, and then dial it back down again to conserve battery life.
At only 29 pounds, it's not tough to push this mower, even on slight slopes. You can mulch the grass clippings or collect them in the included 0.85-bushel bag, which has an indicator that lets you know when the bag is full. There is no side-discharge option, however. The mower's handle folds down for easy storage. Along with the two batteries, you get a dual-battery charger to charge both batteries together. The batteries can be used with any other WORX products. The mower is covered by a three-year warranty, and the batteries by a one-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: $300
Cutting Width: 14 inches | Weight: 29 pounds | Power Source: Battery | Clippings Options: Bag, mulch
Best Battery Powered
EGO Power+ LM2021 20-Inch 56-Volt Push Lawn Mower
Bags, mulches, or side-discharges clippings
Can struggle with wet grass
It's not inexpensive, but at up to a 60-minute runtime and a blazing 40-minute recharging time, this cordless mower from EGO has one of the best runtimes of any battery mower. Nor is it lacking in power; the included 56-volt, 5-Ah battery and high-efficiency brushless motor give this lawn mower plenty of oomph for handling tall or thick grass. It occasionally struggles a bit with wet grass, however. The cutting deck is 20 inches wide, and there are six height adjustments ranging from 1.2 inches to 4 inches. You'll also appreciate the bright LED headlights, which make it easier to mow at dusk or in the morning.
You can bag your clippings in the included grass catcher, which is very easy to lift for emptying, let them discharge to the side, or mulch them into the lawn. And when you are finished mowing, the mower's handle folds down so you can store it easily. The mower comes with a battery and charger. Like all EGO tools, the battery is compatible with any other EGO product. The warranty is good for five years.
Price at time of publish: $499
Cutting Width: 20 inches | Weight: 57.5 pounds | Power Source: Battery | Clippings Options: Bag, mulch, side discharge
Toro 21311 Recycler Gas 21-Inch Push Mower
Creates very fine clippings for mulch
Nine cutting heights
Performs well even on wet grass
Must register mower with Toro to receive the side-discharge chute
Unlike many other gas mowers, you never need to do an oil change on this one; just check the oil level and top it off when necessary. And you'll love the power of this mower, which has a 140cc Briggs & Stratton engine that easily handles thick or tall grass, even if wet. The mowing deck is 21 inches wide. There are nine cutting levels ranging from 1.25 inches to 3.75 inches; that's one of the widest cutting height ranges available and lets you closely adjust the cut to suit your lawn grass. Nor is it difficult to start; generally, it will roar to life with just one or two pulls of the cord.
Where this mower really shines is in its ability to reduce grass clippings into the finest mulch, which Toro calls "lawn vitamins." But if you prefer not to leave the clippings on your lawn, then you'll appreciate the included two-bushel bag. The mower can also side-discharge clippings, but to get the free side-discharge chute, you'll need to first register your mower with Toro, who will then mail you the chute. Thanks to the tractioned 10-inch rear wheels and 8-inch front wheels, the mower handles even rough terrain easily, and it's not difficult to push or maneuver. The mower comes with a three-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: $369
Cutting Width: 21 inches | Weight: 62 pounds | Power Source: Gas | Clippings Options: Bag, mulch, side discharge
We love Greenworks’ 16-Inch Corded Electric Lawn Mower. With its powerful 12-amp motor, this corded electric lawn mower eliminates the need for gas, oil, and the hassle of a dead battery in the middle of mowing. If you're on a tighter budget but still want a high-quality mower, we recommend the Sun Joe Electric Mower. You can keep your lawn looking great without disturbing the neighbors thanks to its small size, light weight, and quiet operation.
What to Look for in a Push Lawn Mower
There are four basic types of push mowers based on their power sources.
Gas mowers are fueled by gasoline. These are generally the most powerful push mowers, and as long as the tank has fuel, the mower will keep running without concern for losing power. On the downside, these mowers are noisy, they emit smelly fumes and pollutants, and they can be hard to start. The Craftsman M110 21-Inch Push Mower is an excellent gas mower.
Corded electric mowers are not as popular as they once were, but are still a good option for buyers who have small lawns and are looking for a bargain. These mowers must be plugged into an electrical outlet, meaning that you will need a long, outdoor-rated extension cord for power. Along with low cost, the pros of these mowers include that they do not emit any fumes, you don’t need to keep track of battery life, and they are relatively low maintenance. However, you’ll need to take care not to run over the extension cord while you mow. We recommend Greenwork’s 20-Inch Corded Push Mower.
Battery or cordless push mowers are powered by a battery. That means you don’t have to worry about an extension cord, and you won’t be bothered by fumes. However, even though battery technology is ever-improving, you can still expect only 30 minutes or so runtime on a single charge, although some more powerful mowers can run close to an hour before the battery runs down. While there are cordless mowers powered by an 18-volt battery, most use 40 volts or more. Our top pick, the Ryobi 20-Inch Push Mower, runs on a 40-volt battery.
Manual, or reel mowers, rely on your own muscle power to push the mower. These old-fashioned, environmentally friendly mowers have no motor or engine. However, they can do an exceptional job of neatly clipping lawn grass, as long as the grass isn’t too high or thick. These are generally very inexpensive but are suited only to small lawns, and they can be tiring to use. The 14-inch reel mower from American Lawn Mower Company is a great choice.
Some mowers, especially older models, have four wheels that are all the same size, generally between 6 and 8 inches in diameter. However, many mowers today, especially higher-end models, have typical 7- or 8-inch wheels in front but higher wheels in back. Often labeled as “high wheel” mowers, the rear wheels on these models are typically 10 to 12 inches in diameter.
The Troy-Bilt TB110 21-Inch Push Mower has 11-inch rear wheels, so it easily rolls over just about any lawn. Having the higher rear wheels lets the mower move more easily over rough terrain and makes pushing the mower uphill easier. Note that higher wheels do not mean that the mower's deck is higher; the mower deck should still sit just a few inches above the lawn.
The tread of your mower’s wheels is also a consideration. The more grooved and patterned the tread, the easier it will be to push the mower over wet grass, soft grass, or dirt.
The cutting deck of a lawn mower is the base that houses the spinning blade that cuts the grass, and the size of the cutting deck determines the width of the cutting path achieved by one pass of the mower. The most common cutting deck size for a push mower is between 20 and 21 inches, but you’ll find mowers with smaller decks and some larger ones. Keep in mind that the larger the cutting deck, the more energy you’ll need to exert to push the mower, and the more difficult it will be to maneuver around tree trunks and other obstacles.
Smaller mowers with decks that are less than 18 inches are good for small lawns or lawns that require considerable maneuvering between trees, flowerbeds, or other obstacles. The Sun Joe Electric Lawn Mower is a corded push mower with a 14-inch deck that is perfect for small yards.
Grass Disposal Options
There are three basic options for handling the grass clippings that accumulate as you mow. Some mowers have all three options, while others only have one or two of them.
Side discharge means the mower simply shoots the clippings out of a chute on the mower’s side and back onto the lawn. You can then either rake up the clippings or leave them in place. Keep in mind that leaving large clippings on the lawn can smother the grass, however.
Mulching the clippings means the mower blades chop the clippings into very fine pieces before dropping them back onto the lawn from underneath the mower’s deck. These finely-cut clippings decompose much faster than unmulched clippings, so they won’t smother your lawn and provide valuable nutrients to the grass as they decompose.
Bagged mowers have a rear bag that catches the clippings as they are cut. You then lift the bag off the mower and empty it once you’re finished working.
The EGO Power+ LM2021 20-inch push mower includes all three clippings options.
What’s the difference between a push mower and a self-propelled lawn mower?
A push mower's engine or motor merely powers the cutting blade; it is not connected to the mower wheels. That means you are required to supply the pushing power yourself to keep the mower moving across your lawn.
A self-propelled mower, however, uses its engine or motor to power the blade and the wheels, meaning that the mower moves forward on its own power, leaving you to basically just steer. Self-propelled mowers are easier to use, especially when mowing up hills, but you'll pay much more for these mowers. Still, it might be worth it if you have a very large or very hilly yard.
How long do most push mowers last?
If properly cared for, a good push mower can last you a decade or longer. However, to achieve that goal, you need to carry out regular maintenance, which can include oil changes and filter changes on gas mowers, periodic blade sharpening, removal of caked-on grass and mud from the mower’s deck, and storage of the mower in a spot where it isn’t subjected to weather extremes. You should also take care not to mow over rocks or large sticks, which can damage the mower’s blades, deck, or motor.
As a rule of thumb, gas mowers tend to last longer than battery mowers.
What time of year are lawn mowers the cheapest?
Like other seasonal outdoor products, lawnmowers go on sale at big home improvement centers at various times of the year. Often, you’ll find mowers on sale in the early spring as home improvement centers try to tempt buyers who are just starting to get back into their lawn care routines. But you’ll often also find sales during the late fall, when lawns are starting to go dormant in many parts of the country, and stores look to reduce inventory so as not to have to store it over the off-season.
The big summer holidays of Independence Day, Father’s Day, and Memorial Day are also good times to purchase a mower, as most home improvement centers will have them on sale at those times.
What is the difference between rotary and reel mowers?
A rotary mower has a motor or engine that is powered by gas, a battery, or by an electric cord. These powered mowers usually have a single blade that spins very rapidly on a horizontal plane inside the mower’s cutting deck. The spinning of the blade creates a slight lift in the grass, which is then cut by the blade.
Reel mowers, also called manual mowers, do not have a motor or engine. Their only source of power is your own exertions in pushing them across your lawn. Reel mowers usually have three or more blades that spin vertically around a central axis. They cut the grass in a scissoring motion as they are pushed, which gives a very clean cut to the lawn.
When choosing between a rotary and a reel mower, you’ll want to consider the size of your lawn, your own physical strength, and endurance, the amount of time you have to devote to lawn care, your budget, and your desire to be more or less “green” in your lifestyle. Rotary mowers are more expensive than reel mowers, require less effort to use, and get the mowing accomplished faster. Reel mowers are best for small lawns only and can be tiring to use, but they are relatively inexpensive and are the most environmentally friendly option.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Michelle Ullman, who is a writer specializing in home and garden products. She has been a commerce writer for The Spruce since 2020, covering a wide range of home improvement products, including power and hand tools, painting supplies, landscaping tools, and tool organizers.
To choose the best push lawn mowers for this article, she evaluated dozens of mowers based on power, range of cutting heights, ability to mow over uneven terrain or handle thick grass, options for disposing of grass clippings, and overall value. She also considered feedback from customers, both positive and negative, as well as product reviews on home improvement and lawn care websites.
She also received extensive, helpful input from Noah James, a professional landscaper and owner of Liberty Lawn Maintenance.
This article was updated by Daniela Galvez, a Senior Commerce Editor for The Spruce specializing in home improvement, gardening, and lifestyle. For this roundup, she reviewed testing results to select the best push models that performed best.
What is The Spruce Approved?
Here at The Spruce, we want to ensure that we fully stand behind every product we recommend and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all of these products ourselves, though occasionally, we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut.