The Best Lawn Mower (21 Use Cases)

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What is the best lawn mower? That is going to depend on your personal situation. There is not one lawn mower that is the best for everyone. Do you have a big or small yard? Is your yard made up of hilly terrain? Do you prefer gasoline or battery power? How big is your budget? And so on…

By Yard Size

One of the most important things to consider when shopping for a lawn mower is the size of your yard. While you may be able to get away with using a lawn mower that is a little large in a smaller yard, trying to use a small lawn mower to tackle a large yard can be very tiring.

Make sure that you consider the size of your yard as well as how far it stretches away from your home when choosing a lawn mower so that you can be sure to choose one that will best suit your needs. While it’s easy to get hung up on the size of your yard, the distance from your home is also important and is something that you need to consider.

Best Lawn Mower for Small Yards

Small yards can be difficult to mow correctly if you don’t choose the perfect lawn mower. This is because you can easily buy a lawn mower that is too big and will be almost impossible to maneuver in a tight space. Very small yards simply don’t have the room that a larger lawn mower needs to turn around.

Additionally, small yards tend to be closer to the home than larger yards are and won’t stretch as far away. This means that you can more easily use a battery-powered or even a corded electric lawn mower if you want. Another option is a reel lawn mower although, depending on the terrain, you may want a gas-powered lawn mower just to make the job as easy as possible.

Read more: Best Lawn Mowers For Small Yards

best lawn mower for small yards
Corded electric mowers can be a good option for small yards

Best Lawn Mower for Big Yards

Homeowners who have larger yards have a lot more freedom in the type of lawn mower that they choose but also need to be more careful about finding the right one for their needs. This is because trying to mow a larger yard with a lawn mower that’s fit for a small yard is frustrating and time-consuming.

Gas-powered and riding lawn mowers are a much better option for larger yards than smaller electronic models are. This is especially true if the lawn is large enough to turn around on a riding mower or extends a far distance from the home.

When choosing between a riding or a self-propelled lawn mower for a large yard, make sure to take into consideration the terrain. A lawn with hills or steep areas will have different needs than one that is primarily flat.

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best lawn mower for big yard
Zero turn mowers can be good for big yards

By Terrain Type

While it’s important to consider the size of your lawn when shopping for a lawn mower, the terrain that you have is just as important and also needs to be considered. Since the terrain of a lawn will play a huge role in how well a specific lawn mower is able to cut the grass, taking note of the terrain and any difficult areas is important.

Some common problems that people have when choosing a lawn mower for specific terrain is when they have lawns that have many different types of terrain. Homeowners who have both flat and steep areas in their yards will need to be exceptionally careful when shopping and take into consideration how the mowers they are considering will perform on both types of terrain.

Best Lawn Mower for Hills and Steep Slopes

Homeowners who have hills or steep areas in their yards need to be very careful when choosing a lawn mower so they don’t accidentally put themselves in danger when mowing. It’s very dangerous to try to use a walk-behind push mower as these can easily get away from the person mowing and roll down the hill.

Walk-behind self-propelled mowers are a better option, although users still have to be very careful when using them. While many people think that a riding mower is a good idea, they should never be used at steep angles as they can easily tip with someone on them.

The best way to determine which self-propelled mower is best is to consider how steep the areas in a yard are. Certain mowers will be able to handle steeper slopes than others, and by determining the slope of a lawn, homeowners can choose the right option for them.

Read more: Best Lawn Mower For Hills

Best Lawn Mower for Rough Terrain and Uneven Ground

The last thing that anyone will want to do is try to push a mower or use a self-propelled walk-behind mower on rough or uneven ground as this can be very difficult and time-consuming. Rather than falling into holes in the ground or kicking up rocks, it’s a much better idea to simply invest in a different kind of lawn mower.

Homeowners who are dead-set on having a self-propelled lawn mower need to make sure to invest in a mower that has oversized rear wheels. While these make it a little difficult to turn and navigate on grass, they work very well on uneven ground.

Another option is a riding mower with a large deck. While the ride may be a little bumpy, users won’t have to worry about having rocks kicked up at them while they are mowing.

Best Lawn Mower for Wet Grass

Some lawn mowers are better suited for cutting wet grass than others are. The best mower will have a high-speed feature that will allow the blades to run more quickly than normal so that they can easily slice through grass even when it is weighed down.

Another feature to look for is a lawn mower that has an adjustable deck as you will want to raise it up when cutting wet grass. This means that reel mowers aren’t a good option. Additionally, push mowers aren’t a good choice as it can be very difficult to get traction on wet grass when trying to push these larger pieces of equipment.

mowing wet grass

Best Lawn Mower for Golf Greens

Golf greens are going to require a close cut that is even and that will provide a smooth surface for golf balls to roll on. While you can use a rough-cut or riding lawn mower for other areas on a golf course, the green itself is going to need a lot more care.

Due to the smaller size of the green as well as the close cut that you will need, it’s a good idea to look for a lawn mower that will cut the grass without tearing it out. Home golf greens can easily be cut with a reel mower, which allows for a close cut without a lot of damage.

Commercial golf courses, on the other hand, may need something larger and with more power as there will be so many more greens to cut. In this case, a self-propelled gas mower is a better idea.

Source: John Deere

By Features

Certain lawn mowers will have different features that make them a better choice than others. While features won’t necessary be the final reason why you buy a particular lawn mower, they can make one model more attractive than other.

Once you have decided on the type of lawn mower that you want, considering the features that they offer will help you to narrow down your choices so that your yard will look its best and either be fertilized with grass clippings or not.

Best Lawn Mower for Mulching

Mulching lawn mowers aren’t just mowers that don’t have bags on them; they also have blades that will be able to cut the grass into smaller pieces so that they can decompose more quickly. These mowers will push the clippings down into the yard so that they won’t rest on top of the grass and can start decomposing right away.

While most people think of reel lawn mowers as the most popular option when shopping for a mulching lawn mower, there are actually other mowers that are a better choice. Riding lawn mowers can generally be used as mulching mowers, have very sharp blades, and are heavy enough to push the cut grass back down into the ground.

If you don’t have the space or need for a riding lawn mower, then a self-propelled walk-behind mower is a good idea. Generally, gas-powered models are going to be more powerful and will be able to cut the grass as small as you need it to be.

best lawn mower for mulching

Best Lawn Mower for Bagging

Bagging the grass at your home is a great way to enjoy a clean yard but using the wrong mower will make this really difficult. It’s a good idea to look for a lawn mower that has a very large bag as this will decrease the number of times that the bag has to be emptied.

Because grass clippings can get really heavy, especially when the grass is wet, it’s not a good idea to choose a push mower. It’s a much better option to choose a riding lawn mower or self-propelled lawn mower. Choosing between these two types of mowers is really easy once the terrain, size of the lawn, and turf type are taken into consideration.

By Turf Type

Different types of grass will benefit from different types of lawn mowers. It’s easy to assume that all grass will cut the same but this simply isn’t true. Grass may not only need to be cut at different heights but will also have a different durability. Very durable grass will be able to stand up to being cut better than softer grass will.

Knowing what type of grass you have in your lawn is important not only so you can care for it correctly and keep your yard looking its best but also so that you can invest in the right lawn mower for your needs. This is especially true with rough grasses that are very hard to cut and may not be efficiently cut by lightweight mowers.

Best Lawn Mower for Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass is an incredibly durable and tough grass, which makes it great for a busy yard but can make it difficult to cut. To make sure that Bermuda grass looks its best, it’s important to opt for a lawn mower that will cut through the grass without tearing it and that can have the blades lowered to one to two and a half inches.

Reel mowers are a great option as they can easily cut Bermuda grass closer to the ground, which will keep it looking its best. However, they don’t come with collection bags and will need to be sharpened on a regular basis so that the blades can handle the tough blades. Gas- or battery-powered self-propelled lawn mowers are a better option as they can easily handle the durable blades.

bermuda grass - Cynodon dactylon
Bermuda Grass

Best Lawn Mower for St Augustine Grass

St Augustine grass needs to be mowed on a regular basis in order to look its best so it’s important to choose a lawn mower that can be used frequently without problems. Additionally, this grass needs to be cut to a height of one to three inches and does very well when the cut blades are composted on the lawn.

Push or self-propelled lawn mowers are a great option for homeowners who have smooth lawn surfaces and who are willing to sharpen the blades on a yearly basis. These mowers are great for grass that is going to be above two and a half inches tall.

Reel mowers, however, are a better option for thick St Augustine grass that is going to be shorter than two inches as they aren’t great at cutting long blades. However, they are ideal for use on uneven lawns and will provide a smooth, uniform cut even when driven over lumps and divots in the ground.

st augustine grass shade and sun
St. Augustine grass

Best Lawn Mower for Zoysia Grass

In general, rotary mowers are not going to have the power to cut through thick, dense Zoysia grass without leaving a lot of damage behind them and causing thatch to grow. This means that reel lawn mowers are a much better job option but homeowners will want to opt for gas-powered mowers instead of push mowers as they will be stronger and better able to tackle the lawn.

Due to how durable Zoysia grass is, the blades will need to be sharpened on a regular basis, preferably about once a year, so that they are able to cut through the grass instead of simply ripping it. Bagging clippings and removing them will help to ensure that the lawn looks tidy.

zoysia grass - Zoysia japonica
Zoysia grass

Best Lawn Mower for Bahia grass

Due to how thick and tough the stalks on Bahia grass are, this type of grass can be very difficult to cut evenly and neatly without tearing it up and making the surface of the lawn look ragged. For this reason, homeowners need to make sure that they choose lawn mowers with durable, tough blades that can slice through the grass.

A slow mower speed, high blade speed, and sharp blades are the only way that you are going to be able to really cut through this type of grass without a lot of frustration. It’s also a good idea to cut the grass lower to the ground. For the best results, try a gas-powered riding or self-propelled mower that allows you to easily control the speed.

Another option in large fields is a tow-behind mower.

Bahia Grass - Paspalum notatum
Bahia Grass

Best Lawn Mower for Kikuyu Grass

This type of grass needs to be mowed very short, around one inch, so it’s important that the lawn mower has an adjustable deck that will easily cut the grass this short. Kikuyu grass is a creeping grass and spreads easily so it’s important that the deck of the mower is low enough to handle the grass.

Depending on the size of the lawn, a self-propelled walk-behind mower or a riding mower are both great options for cutting kikuyu grass. Since this grass is fairly durable, the blades need to be kept very sharp in order to have the best results. This type of grass can be cut with a battery-powered lawn mower but users will have to go slowly and be careful.

Kikuyu grass - Pennisetum clandestinum
Kikuyu grass

Best Lawn Mower for High/Tall Grass

High or tall grass that has gotten out of control will not be easily tamed with a push or walk-behind self-propelled mower no matter how powerful the gas engine is. Instead, riding lawn mowers, tow-behind mowers, or rough-cut mowers are a better option.

The type that you choose will depend on the size of the area to be cut as well as the condition of the terrain. Riding lawn mowers are a better option for small to medium-size lawns while tow-behind and rough-cut mowers are a good option for large, wide open spaces.

new lawn care mow often for good results

Best Lawn Mower for Thick Grass

Thick grass can be a nightmare to cut through and no battery or electric lawn mowers are going to be strong enough to handle this grass. Some gas-powered self-propelled or push mowers may be strong enough but the lawn will have to mowed on a regular basis to control new growth.

A better option is a zero-turn riding mower or tractor mower. Tow-behind lawn mowers are okay in larger areas but for a lawn to look its best and not be damaged by the mower itself, riding lawn mowers are preferable.

Other Criteria

There are other things to take into consideration when choosing a lawn mower. Some lawn mowers are better suited for use by certain groups of people such as the elderly, landscape business owners, or people who want to race their mowers. These considerations are generally secondary to the other features of a lawn mower.

Best Lawn Mower for Stripes

There are a few features that you need to look for when choosing a lawn mower to cut stripes into your yard. While you can opt for either gas- or battery-powered lawn mowers, using a self-propelling mower will make this job a lot easier. Look for a mower with a wide cutting width for decreased cutting time while you’re working in the yard.

It’s also important that the lawn mower is very maneuverable so that it can be used around objects in the yard or around landscaping without a lot of difficulty. By choosing a lawn mower with multiple cutting heights, homeowners can make sure that they have the right height for their lawns and that the stripes really stand out, which is sure to make the lawn really pop.

Best Lawn Mower for Racing

Front-engine tractor lawn mowers are the best option for racing. Because you will need a lawn mower that you can ride on, you can’t use a self-propelled or push mower. While zero-turn lawn mowers are riding mowers, they are not the right option here.

For a racing mower, you need to make sure that you choose a gas-powered tractor lawn mower. These lawn mowers will have the strength and power that you need to turn them into great racing mowers. With smooth handling, the right wheels, and a durable axle, it’s easy to turn a tractor lawn mower into a racing mower.

Best Lawn Mower for Elderly/Senior Citizens

It’s a good idea to choose a lightweight lawn mower that will be easy to control when shopping for one for a senior citizen to use. While a riding mower may be tempting, these can be very difficult to control and often require more maintenance, which can be stressful and difficult for a person to complete on his or her own.

While gas-powered models do offer the power that is needed to cut a lawn, they can also require maintenance and tend to be very heavy. The best option is an electric or battery-powered self-propelled lawn mower. Robotic lawn mowers can be used as long as the owner is technologically savvy.

Since these don’t weigh nearly as much as gas-powered models and are easy to use, they are a good option for elderly homeowners who want to be able to take care of their lawns. Another option is reel mowers as they don’t require any kind of major maintenance, are very light, and also aren’t noisy.

Best Lawn Mower for Ditches

Because tractor lawn mowers are not safe to use on steep inclines, they are not a good option to use in ditches. Zero-turn mowers, push mowers, and self-propelled lawn mowers are much better options. Zero-turn mowers are generally safe to use in ditches as long as the users are really careful when riding on them.

Zero-turn mowers also have a larger deck and more power, making them a good option when a regular lawn mower simply isn’t large or powerful enough to get the job done. Push or self-propelled lawn mowers can also easily be used in a ditch. Because the grass in ditches tends to be thicker than lawn grass, opting for a gas-powered mower is a good idea.

For small ditches hover lawn mowers can do the job quite well. Otherwise turn to weed eaters / line trimmers. They can go places wheeled lawn mowers will never be able to go, depending on the physical fitness of the person handling the equipment of course.

Finally, tow-behind mowers can be used behind ATVs if the ditch is particularly large and long. Since ATVs are designed to handle rough terrain, they can easily handle a ditch. Additionally, while they are rougher on the ground and may tear it up, this is not as big a deal in a ditch as it would be on a lawn.

Best Lawn Mower for Landscape Business

Landscapers have to have lawn mowers that they can rely on. While a push mower may be fine for mowing one yard, mowing multiple yards with a push mower is exhausting, which is why most landscapers instead opt for self-propelled lawn mowers to use in smaller yards and riding lawn mowers for use in larger yards.

No matter the type of lawn mower used, it will likely be a gas-powered mower as they are more powerful and there isn’t any concern about the battery failing in the middle of mowing a client’s yard. While there are higher costs associated with gas-powered mowers, they are very reliable.

Additionally, since most clients will likely want their grass clippings bagged and mulched, landscapers need to make sure that they opt for mowers with this feature. This will ensure that there isn’t any cut grass left behind on the yard, which some people find unsightly.

Best Lawn Mower for the Money

The best lawn mower is going to be the one that is the right fit for the area where you have to mow. Smaller yards and ones with nice grass are going to need a different mower than open fields or ditches. Taking into consideration the size of the area you will mow, the terrain, what type of grass there is, and any features will help you shop.

Fuel type plays a huge role in choosing a lawn mower as gas-powered mowers are more powerful than battery or electric mowers are. Additionally, it’s important to consider not only how you pay for a new lawn mower but also where and how to store it.

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