It’s probably the most important tool in your lawn care collection, and it usually represents the largest investment. When it comes to lawn mowers, there are several aspects we’ll examine to help take out some of the guess work. The following buyer’s guide will cover mower type and power type to help you pin point your best fit.
Do I Need a Riding Mower?
To ride, or not to ride. That is the question. If you answer “Yes” to any of the questions below, you should consider the energy-saving option of a riding mower:
1. Is your yard larger than ½ an acre?
2. Do physical limitations make it difficult to exert moderate energy for more than 30-45 minutes at a time?
3. Do you prefer not to exert moderate energy for more than 30-45 minutes at a time?
4. Do you often maintain more than one yard?
If you fall into the Riding Mower category, it’s a good idea to be familiar with the two kinds of riding mowers you have to choose from.
Battery-Powered (Cordless) Riding Mowers
Price Range: $2,500 - $2,600
The progress of battery technology has created a whole new category of riding mowers. The Electric Riding Mower is ideal for customers with larger yards (over ½ an acre), multiple yards, and physical limitations. Additionally, battery-operated mowers offer:
- An eco-friendly alternative to gasoline
- Lower cost-per-use: no need for gas and oil
- Lower maintenance: no gas engine components to maintain
- Quiet operation: mow anytime without disturbing the neighbors (built with headlights for evening operation)
- Standard Mulching and Bagging modes
Gas-Powered Riding Mowers
Price Range: $3,500 - $10,000
Depending on how many tasks you wish to accomplish with your riding mower, most homeowners will not need the farm-style or professional landscaper models. If your primary task is mowing, look for a gas-powered mower with a good sized deck and easy-to-adjust height options. For performing heavier-duty clean up, look for a gas-powered mower with a tow hook-up. This can help with clearing out large loads of debris and tree branches.
Do I Need a Push Mower?
If you answer “Yes” to any of the questions below, you should consider a walk-behind / push mower:
1. Is your yard 1/2 and acre or less?
2. Are you capable of exerting moderate energy?
3. Do you welcome the opportunity to exert moderate energy?
4. Do you usually maintain only one piece of property?
Battery-Powered (Cordless) Push Mowers
Price Range: Varies based on power/voltage options. See below.
18V - 24V Push Mowers
Price Range: $170 - $300 18V - 24V walk-behind mowers are ideal for very small yards, and close neighborhoods. They are very lightweight, easy to maneuver, and most models include mulching and bagging options. These are usually most economical of the cordless mowers, and the average run time is between 20-30 minutes. Extra batteries are available for longer run time requirements. TIP: Some manufacturers offer tool “families” that use the same battery in multiple tools. Look for mowers that are part of “families” to get more bang for your buck.
36V - 40V Push Mowers
Price Range: $200 - $400 36V - 40V walk-behind mowers are great for small to mid-sized yards. They offer the same quiet running and low-maintenance of an 18V unit, but they typically offer improved run time, and gas-like features. You can expect between 30-45 minutes of run time, and most brands also sell back-up batteries for larger jobs. Some mowers in this category include features you’d expect to find on gas-powered options, such as self-propulsion, and brushless motors for powerful performance. TIP: Tool “families” are common in this voltage range as well. Pick a mower whose battery works with other tools if you want to get the most out of your system.
56V - 60V Push Mowers
Price Range: $320 - $550 For the largest walk-behind options, 56V - 60V Mowers can operate for up to 60-minutes at a time depending on the battery’s Amp Hour rating. These mowers are a good option for extra large yards, and they have features that are comparable to gas-powered units. TIP: Look for kits that include the battery and charger if you are not already a battery-owner.
Corded Push Mowers
Price Range: $89 - $250 The most affordable alternative to traditional gas push mowers, corded (plug-in) units are great for very small yards. They are quiet to operate, and since they are powered by an extension cord, they start instantly, and require little to no maintenance. They’re exceptionally easy to store. TIP: Look for an option that includes bagging and mulching modes.
Gas-Powered Push Mowers
Price Range: $150 - $500 Unquestionably the widest selection of all the mower categories. If you’re loyal to traditional gas-powered equipment, there’s most likely a mower in this category that will meet your needs. With the added weight of a gas-powered engine, many users prefer self-propelled options. TIP: Avoid engine trouble down the road by either avoiding ethanol gasoline, or treating it with a fuel additive such as Ethanol Shield. This is as crucial a step as making sure the engine has oil. It’s that important!