The 10 Best Push Lawn Mowers

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This wiki has been updated 35 times since it was first published in August of 2015. If you have a small or medium-sized yard and want to get some exercise while completing your landscaping projects, one of these push lawn mowers can give you a good workout while keeping your grass healthy and well manicured. We've included electric, gas-powered, and manual models with a variety of features to suit all kinds of terrain and specific requirements based on your yard. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Makita XML03PT1

2. GreenWorks 25022

3. Craftsman M105

Editor's Notes

June 22, 2020:

When it comes to manicuring a small or medium-sized yard, you don't always have to invest in a tractor or riding mower to get the job done. As powerful as these options are, our list of push lawn mowers includes models that offer plenty of features and maneuverability to tackle unkempt grass, tall weeds, and thick brush on your property.

We've added the Makita XML03PT1 for its Star Protection technology, which allows it to leverage real-time data exchanges with its batteries to prevent potential overloads. This model also offers a range of adjustable height settings, making it ideal for use on uneven terrain and yards with various types of overgrowth.

Also included are the GreenWorks 25022 and Greenworks 80V, the former of which has a push-button start and 20-inch cutting deck while the latter uses patented load-sensing technology to automatically adjust its operating speed based on the length of your grass.

The three-in-one design and pivoting handle on the Black and Decker MTC220 allow it to be used as an edger, lawn mower, and string trimmer.

If you need to get through a mowing job quickly, the gas-powered Craftsman M105 can cut through thick swaths of vegetation in a single pass, making it a good choice for areas that haven't received attention for long periods of time. Its deep treading also provides reliable traction, while keeping it stable when it's pushed uphill.

For the environmentally conscious gardener, we've included both the American 1204 and Fiskars StaySharp Max, the latter of which has a cutting system designed to minimize physical contact between its blades and reel for improved operating performance and longevity.

When working in tight spaces, the compact Sun Joe Pro makes it easy to dispose of over 10 gallons of yard clippings, thanks to its removable hard top collection bag.

Finally, we've added the Worx WG779 for its dial-based control over torque output, meaning you don't have to depend on the tool to make that decision for you. While automatic power options are definitely useful, I still appreciate the option of controlling my power tools manually in certain situations.

Special Honors

DR Field and Brush Pro XL30 Ideal for cutting thick field grass and tall overgrowth, the DR Pro Field and Brush Pro XL30 is equipped with a 20-horsepower V-twin engine and 30-inch pivoting mowing deck that is wide enough for effective clearing on large properties. Further setting this model apart are the independent disc brakes on each of its wheels, which allow for power steering; a built-in oil pump, for improved performance on hills; and extra-large tires with lugged treads for dependable traction on rough terrain.

4. Greenworks 80V

5. Black and Decker MTC220

6. Snapper XD

7. American 1204

8. Fiskars StaySharp Max

9. Sun Joe Pro

10. Worx WG779

Grooming The Grass With Manpowered Precision

The bed knife has a sharpened edge and a flat top surface that comes into contact with the rotating blades as the mower is pushed.

There is no denying the fact that proper lawn maintenance requires strategic planning and use of the right equipment to get the job done. Keeping grass healthy requires more than just ensuring it gets plenty of water. For example, varying your directional mowing pattern each time you cut is beneficial to the grass, as it helps prevent the formation of ruts due to soil compaction from the mower's wheels. Cutting only the top third section of each grass blade ensures its continued growth and ability to support a deeply-formed root system for longevity. If you're looking for a good workout that puts you in the driver's seat with respect to superior lawn care, then a push mower is an ideal solution.

A lawn mower is a machine equipped with one or several rotating blades designed to trim grass to a uniform height. Push mowers exemplify this definition with three available configurations: manual reel, electric, and gas-powered machines. The reel push mower features both a stationary bed knife and several rapidly-rotating, spiral-shaped cutting blades. These cutting blades are welded to supports and mounted to a shaft, forming a horizontally positioned cylinder right above the bed knife. The bed knife has a sharpened edge and a flat top surface that comes into contact with the rotating blades as the mower is pushed. Think of the cutting action between the bed knife and mower blades like a pair of scissors.

Acting as one of our hypothetical scissor blades, the sharpened edge of the mower's bed knife pushes against each blade of grass. In so doing, the bed knife positions the grass blades vertically as the mower passes over them. The machine's cutting blades act as the second half of our scissors, rotating in very close proximity to the bed knife's edge in order to complete the cut. The result is a clean, even-looking trim across the top of a lawn.

A push mower powered with an electric motor offers the benefit of a rechargeable internal battery for cordless operation.

The gas-powered push mower makes use of an internal combustion engine with a recoil starter to help power its cutting blades. Unlike the manual reel mower, many of these powered push-behind options make it easy to groom large, uneven areas of land without having to upgrade to something as big as a riding mower, as snazzy-looking as it is. Both electric and gas-powered mowers are often equipped with rotating horizontal blades at the base of their cutting decks. These blades are designed to trim large diameters of grass in a single pass.

One of the major benefits of a push mower is that the machine is usually designed not to tear or shred grass or other plants as it operates. Instead, the resulting cuts are both clean and conservative in nature, allowing the lawn to maintain its resiliency for continued growth and strengthening of its underground root system.

The Best Path For Mowing Your Green Highway

If you have a small yard with flat terrain, opt for a manual reel or electric-powered machine. Both are relatively quiet with fewer components to malfunction. They are also environmentally friendly. But don't ignore the convenience of a gas-powered push mower either. While fuel is required, this mower still comes in handy when greater cutting power is needed to stay ahead of thick brush and overgrowth.

The manual reel mower may also cause you fatigue when trying to cover large swaths of land.

The electric push mower isn't very practical for trimming large, hilly areas when forced to recharge its internal battery frequently. The manual reel mower may also cause you fatigue when trying to cover large swaths of land. The moral of the story here is to be aware of your environment and choose the mower that reaps the highest benefit at the lowest cost of convenience. If you take the gas-powered route, make note of the type of engine with which the machine is equipped. A two-stroke engine is lighter in weight, while the four-stroke engine is a bit more powerful and quiet.

Keep the mower's collection system for grass clippings in mind. Some mowers eject their clippings from the sides of their decks, while others have rear-mounted collection bags for mulch. A bag is useful when you plan to use freshly-cut grass shavings for other landscaping needs around your property.

The size and number of wheels should also be considered. For large and overgrown areas requiring constant attention, pick an option that includes four wheels to ensure easy maneuverability through thick brush and over uneven terrain.

Finally, make sure the handle is ergonomically-designed for comfort through extended use. This should be a consideration regardless of how your mower is powered.

A Brief History Of Push Mowers

The lawn mower was first invented in 1830 by English engineers Edwin Beard Budding and John Ferrabee as an easier alternative to the use of scythes on sports grounds and large residential gardens. The first machine was constructed from wrought iron and pushed from behind. The popularity of the lawn mower continued to increase through the 1860s. By 1868, the first United States patent for a reel-type push mower was granted to Connecticut manufacturer Amariah Hills, who later founded the Archimedean Lawn Mower Company in 1871.

The first U.S. gas-powered push mowers were manufactured in 1914 by the Ideal Power Mower Company, which was also responsible for introducing the first self-propelled riding lawn tractor in 1922.

More recent innovations since 2000 have included the robotic mower and high-efficiency cordless electric mowers with improved battery life and charging times.

Jeff Newburgh
Last updated by Jeff Newburgh

Jeff is a dedicated writer and communications professional from San Francisco with a bachelor of arts in anthropology from UC Berkeley. He began his career in computer consulting and later branched out into customer service. Jeff focuses on making complex topics easy to understand. With over 10 years' experience in research, his relentless curiosity fuels a love of writing and learning how things work, and has helped to build expertise in categories such as heavy-duty power tools and computer equipment. Jeff's passion for animals affords him a strong understanding of pet products, including dog houses, beds, and grain-free foods. When he's not writing, he prefers spending time with his family and three dogs, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.

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