Do you love to garden, but you aren’t sure which lawn mower suits your purpose best?
It’s actually quite simple.
For me, gardening started as a hobby but soon turned into an integral part of my life. Now, I can tell you exactly what you need just by looking at your lawn or the way you do your gardening.
So, before you think of buying a lawn mower, ask yourself:
Do you want more power or do you like it the old-fashioned way?
Is your lawn too large for a corded mower, or is it quite small and has many bushes and narrow spaces?
Do you want to go green and opt for a mower that leaves less carbon footprint? Or do you need the power and freedom of a good gas lawn mower?
If you already have a lawn mower, then…
Are you dissatisfied with the cutting length?
Does it lack in any of the features you prefer in a mower, like mulching or bagging the debris?
Are you looking for a more cost-effective and efficient alternative that saves both on time and fuel?
Is your mower a battery-run one and fails to deliver what it had promised?
There are many considerations that you must check out before narrowing down on the right lawn mower.
But, of all the options, if you still want something handier like a walk-behind lawn mower, with different levels of automation and features, take a look at our Top 10 Lawn Mower Models.
With our list of the US’ 10 Best Walk-Behind Lawn Mowers, choosing the right one for your garden or lawn is easy peasy!
10 Best Mulching Lawn Mower Reviewed
1. GreenWorks 20-Inch 12 Amp Corded Lawn Mower 25022
If you are like me who likes energy-efficient and environment-friendly appliances, this is the right mulching lawn mower for you. Taking good care of our lawn not only makes our house look good, it also preserves the environment. While I had already switched to composting the grass clippings and being careful about how much water I spend on our lawn, it was only obvious that I would opt for a good, power-efficient electric lawn mower over the gas-powered ones. This way, I can ensure a substantial reduction in my carbon footprint and the overall impact my household has on the environment.
The Green Works 20-Inch 12 Amp Corded Lawn Mower 25022was a fantastic electric lawn mower that is easy on my pocket and offers an excellent cutting deck that is at par with the gas-powered lawnmowers.It can cut smaller lawns quickly and more efficiently. If you are an environment-friendly citizen, buying this lawnmower would be a smart move.
It is an easy to use, plug-in and push-button kind of appliance that has a 20-inch wide cutting deck that is usually not available within this price range in the market. It comes with some excellent features, setting it apart from the rest of the electric lawnmowers.
- Durable 20-Inch Steel Deck
- Powerful 12 Amp Motor
- 3 grass clippings management options – side discharge, a mulching kit, and a rear bag assembly
- Foldable Handles For Compact Storage
- 7 height adjustment options with a wide range that spans 1 1/2 to 3 3/4 inches
- Less noise, so mow your lawn without disturbing your neighbors at any time of the day
- It is corded, so you must be careful not to trip on the wire while mowing, and you may want to buy an extension cord to ensure proper coverage.
- Like most electric lawnmowers, it finds tall, tough grass difficult to mow.
2. GreenWorks 16-Inch 10 Amp Corded Lawn Mower 25142
This is my second choice. The compact and light-weight Greenworks25142 corded lawnmower is great for cutting grass and mulching the leaves, all in all to keep the lawn looking fresh and well-taken care of. With no gas emissions coming into play in this electric lawnmower, you can breathe easy while you mow, and so can your neighbors.
The GreenWorks 25142 is one of the best “under 300” lawnmowers available in the US market this year.Its assembling is quite simple and it is quick on start.Its powerful blades ensure a smooth cut and its rear bag immediately collects it to mulch. There is no mess from gas or oil. I have made a small list of defining features for you to compare:
- 2-in-1 mowing capabilities – side discharge and mulching
- 5-position single lever height adjustments can be very useful in cutting height from 5/8 inches to 2 25/8 inches, making it very ideally suited to all types of grass.
- Powerful 10 Amp motor provides tough cutting and mulching power
- 16 in. wide cutting path &7 inch rear and front wheels offer great maneuverability with a smaller cutting capacity for tighter areas
- Integrated cord lock helps prevents accidental cord disconnects
- 10 amp 120 volt motor provides maintenance-free and environment-friendly experience
- The 16″ wide cutting path is suitable for mowing only smaller yards
- Being an electric lawn mower, it doesn’t perform well in wet conditions
- Grass bag may seem a bit small, requiring frequent emptying
3. GreenWorks G-MAX 20-Inch 40V Twin Force Cordless Lawn Mower, 4.0 AH & 2.0 AH Batteries Included 25302
I must say that with the fast improvement in battery and electric motor technology, the cordless variants are quickly filling up the top slots in the lawnmower market as well. In fact, our testing of the GreenWorks G-Max mower only made us realize how good a cordless mower can be these days.
This batter-run variant from GreenWorks can offer up to 70 minutes of run time, which is at par with any good electric variant in the market.
- 40V Li-Ion battery system powers multiple tools for complete yard work system–includes one 4 Ah battery and one 2 Ah battery and charger
- Battery switching system, allowing back-up battery to kick in promptly when the first gets discharged, without interrupting during mowing
- Dual blades offer better cut quality, superior mulching and bagging capabilities
- 5-position single-lever height adjuster offers a cutting height range of 1-3/4″ to 3-3/8″
- G-Max gives off low vibration, hardly any noise when in use
- Offers up to 70 minutes of run time
- The machine is lightweight, yet quite powerful (40 V)
- Auto throttle is a little slow to respond
- Charger only charges one battery at a time
4. Earthwise 50214 14-Inch 8-Amp Side Discharge/Mulching Corded Electric Lawn Mower
The eco-friendly EarthWise 50214, manufactured by the American Lawn Company, is a high-quality, non-polluting machine. Powered by an 8-amp motor, it weighs a lean 36.4 pounds. Its 46” x 19” x 38” dimension makes it one of the smallest battery powered mowers currently in the market. These features offer convenient maneuverability for anyone who wants to operate it.
On testing its performance, Irealized that this is one durable mower that will last for years with minimal maintenance. So, thumbs up for that!
I’ve noticed that cutting through tall grass and weeds in wet grass is no big deal for this amazing mower. Even if the motor overheats, it still manages to get the work done smoothly. Besides, its small dimension also ensures you bust weeds from even the narrowest of crannies. I would also recommend it those who have small gardens.
- 14″ cutting width with single lever easy-change cutting height adjustment from 1.5″-4″; 5.5″ front and 6.5″ rear wheels for maneuverability
- 3,700 RPM with 2-in-1 side discharge and mulch option
- Powerful 8-Amp motor provides high efficiency at par with gas-operated mowers
- Great for overgrown grass and weed patches in tight spots
- Wide range of cutting heights enables better maneuverability for everyone
- Lightweight, easy to maneuver
- Durable plastic
- No bag
- Small wheels
- Power lessons after 30 minutes
5. GreenWorks 20-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower with Grass Catcher 25072
The Greenworks 25072 is a lightweight, manual push reel mower that offers quality performance over the long term, without needing any gas or electricity.I love that this mower is not only quite affordable, it also saves you a lot of money on fuel charges and maintenance. It is also designed for people with moderately sized yards, unlike most typical lots.
Besides, its 20-inch cutting deck places the GreenWorks 25072 at the higher end of the reel mowers. The blade reel has 5 durable cutting blades. However, they need to be sharpened regularly to ensure optimal mowing.
- Handle equipped with a cushion grip to offer comfortable handling.
- 2-in-1 mowing feature – mulching&rear discharge
- 9 position height adjustment offers a range of cutting height from 1.75 and 2.75 inches
- Rear grass catcher provided with the original machine, making dispose of or compost your clippings easy
- Lightweight & easily maneuverable
- 20-inch cutting deck offers more efficient mowing
- Affordable – under $100
- Can’t handle very tall grass or weed in tight corners
- Not good for people who like to leave a generous length of grass on their lawn, as its highest setting for the cutting reel is 2.75 inches
- Also unsuitable for uneven terrain
- The handle may have a comfortable grip, but isn’t quite that durable
6 .WORX WG782 14-Inch 24-Volt Cordless Lawn Mower with IntelliCut, Battery and Charger Included
Since IntelliCut technology-powered lawnmowers are gaining popularity in the market, it was only natural that we would feature it in our list, and WORX WG782 14-Inch 24-Volt Cordless Lawn Mower with IntelliCut was our choice in this category.
The IntelliCut technology not only adds more precision, but also an increased range of power to this lawnmower’s motor. So, it is great for hard grass terrains.
What’s more, its mulching capacity is even better than many other electric mowers in the market, setting it apart from the rest to form its own special category in the lawn mowing market.
- 3-in-1 cutting for mulching, bagging, or rear discharge
- Cordless and push-button start
- Adjustable mowing height from 1.8 to 3.3 inches; 14-inch cutting width
- IntelliCut mowing technology adds torque while cutting tough grass
- Cuts up to 10,000 sqft on a single charge (Run Time: Up to 40 minutes)
- Handles very tall grass very easily
- Special mulching blade clips grass better than standard blades. Grass Bag Capacity : 0.85 Bushels
- Easy to replace and recharge batteries
- Unsuitable for large yards
- Batteries get discharged quite quickly, so overall not as cost effective as imagined
- Generally speaking, it takes more time to mow than wired mowers
7. Greenworks 21-Inch 40V Brushless Cordless Mower, Two 2.5 AH Batteries Included MO40L2512
Brushless motors are quite the rage in cordless power tools these days. It may make a mower a little pricey, like above $3oo, but it definitely makes it worth it!
This cordless lawnmower comes with a durable 21” steel cutting deck, allowing its owner to Mulch, Bag, or Side Discharge smoothly, and two 2.5 AH (40V)lithium batteries in the original package. However, I would only recommend it to those who have small yards. The original batteries aren’t equipped to handle the demand of medium to larger-seized lawns or gardens. You may have to fetch new ones to make the most out of the machine.
- The dual battery port design allows the owner to store one battery, while the other fuels the mower for uninterrupted cutting.
- Innovative Smart Cut technology automatically raises the blade speed to meet the power demands as and when needed.
- 7-position cutting heights
- Cordless, no gas or fumes
- Easy push-to-start feature
- No assembling required
- Battery run time: Up to 60 min
- Battery power isn’t adequate for a moderate-sized yards
- Not self-propelled for its size
8. Troy-Bilt 12AGA2M6766 21″ Self-Propelled Mower/Troy-Bilt TB270ES 159cc 21-Inch FWD Electric Start Self-Propelled Mower
This is one self-propelled mower that I had to try out, since this was the best rated self-propelled mower in the US. This comes equipped with an electric-start button for easy usage.Powered by a 159cc OHV drive-engine, the motor offers sufficient torque to mow even the thickest grass. I found its 21-inch steel deck to be quite durable.
- Dual lever height adjustment to six unique cutting settings, ranging from 1.25 to 3.75 inches
- Single-lever, variable speed drive control with 4 top speed settings for individualized comfort and control
- Adjustable loop handle for easy operation
- Its TriAction® cutting system provides you with a clean and even trim in just one pass, even while mulching
- Push-button electric start with auto-choke; self-propelled mower
- Comes equipped with a 1-quart fuel tank to enable the user to mulch for a long time without needing any refills
- Integrated with a 1.9 standard bushel capacity grass-bag that helps to collect the cut grass while mulching
- It actually lacks the FWD-feature,meaning it may not move efficiently in hilly-areas and under wet-environments.
9. Yard Machines 140cc 21-Inch Push Mower
Manufactured by Australian company MTD, this Yard Machines product can be rated as a competitively priced entry-level lawn mower.While it may be quite inexpensive, it packs quite the power.
I liked its neat design. It is lightweight and comfortable to walk around with.
This is, however, not for those of you who want a multi-functional machine. If you are game for a mower without a catcher bag, you can work with this.
- Features a 21-inch steel cuttingdeck and dual-lever height adjustmentto effectively handle small to medium-sized lawns
- Powered by a durable 140cc OHV engine
- Side discharge and mulching capability
- Standard ball control and recoil; spare parts easy to come by
- Four-cycle engine offers good power output and is also pretty quiet
- No catcher bag
- No mulching
- 7 x 11-inch wheels not ideal for maneuverability
10. American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower
I think this is the second push reel lawnmower that deserves to be on this list. Unlike the GreenWorks 20-Inch mower, this does not have 5, but 4 blades. One of the cheapest lawnmowers in the market, this is also one of the lesser-featured ones.
This is for those of you who are going back to the traditional manual reel lawn mowers, just because of nostalgia, or maybe they want the exercise or simple because their lawns are too small for a full-blown, mega-featured lawnmower.
American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 can get the job done just as quickly as any high-end mowers, without producing any emissions, and that too at a fraction of the cost you would end up spending on the multi-featured electric, gas or battery-powered land mowers. It’s inexpensive to buy, inexpensive in its upkeep.
- 14″ cutting width, 4-blade ball bearing reel, and 8.5″ composite wheels
- 3 spider reel assembly for easier operation
- Adjustable cutting height of 0.5″-1.75″ for a clean, scissor-like cut every time
- Blades are made of quality, heat-treated alloy steel for staying sharp for longer period
- Eco-friendly, inexpensive to buy &maintain, and runs very quietly
- Compact & lightweight
- Competitively priced
- Very small cutting reel width
- Not suited for tall, tough or wet grass
- Height options are limited
How to choose the right lawnmower?
Mowing and mulching your own lawn can be quite an enjoyable experience, but only if you have the right equipment. Here, I have tried to explain the key points you should remember while buying a new lawn mower for your yard or garden.
These are the considerations that I have looked into to choose the above Top 10 list.
Generally speaking, there are three types of lawn mowers available in the market, all of them efficient in cutting grass. The types are:
i) Walk-behind mowers (which is what we are dealing with in this article)
ii) Riding mowers
iii) Tow-behind mowers
The walk-behind mowers are the cheapest category among the three types and their speed depends on your pace of walking. These traditional lawn mowers can again be of 4 different varieties:
- Reel mowers, both manual and powered, including self-propelled
- Corded electric mowers
- Cordless or battery-powered electric mowers
- Gas-powered mowers
Most of these types of lawn mowers are the more eco-friendly types. So, let’s find out which type of lawn mower is best suited for you and what you should consider before buying them.
1. Reel mowers:
These mowers use blades that rotate like those of a paddle boat, pulling the grass into the mower so the cutter bar can clip it. This leaves the blades of grass fresh and green. Choosing the right reel mower depends on three basic details:
- Propulsion System:Here you have two choices: manual reel mower or a powered reel mower. This is the classic variety. It has no engine or motor – it is powered by force of body. While it needs more effort to use, it has some advantages. They are budget-friendly, emits hardly any noise or fumes, requires no fuel, electricity or battery power and no motor to operate. This means it is also a low-maintenance machine. But if you want a fine cut without the extra effort, there is the option of powered reel mowers.
- The number of blades:Depending on their blades, reel mowers are again available in three different styles – 4 blades, 5 blades and 7 blades. Your choice will depend on the type of grass you need to mow. For the bent, heavier variety like the Bermuda or StAugustine, get a seven-blade mower. However, for finer, thinner grass variety, such as fescue or Kentucky bluegrass, four-blade and five-blade variants of reel mowers are good enough.
- The mower’s width: All types of lawn mowers, including the reel ones, come in different widths – from14 to 20 inches. The wider the deck, the wider area you cover, hence faster you will mow your yard. But wider cutting decks also mean heavier machines.
- Reel Mower Accessories: What add-ons are provided by the model you are thinking to buy? Does it have rear bag to collect the grass? Does it also mulch? These too should be considered while selecting a reel mower.
2. Corded Electric Lawn Mowers:
These are ideal for small yards. They don’t require a lot of maintenance and you get to save money on gas. Since it requires no gas, it is also eco-friendly. The consideration before buying a corded electric lawn mower are:
- Decksize: Their deck width rangesfrom a 14-inch to a 20-inch cutting path. The wider the cutting path, the fewer trips you’ll need to make to mow your lawn, and the faster your work is done.But, that also means you have to shell out more upfront.
- Discharge system of grass clippings:You can choose to bag your grass clippings or leave them on the ground. Electric mowers with a 2-in-1 design allows you spread your clippings over your lawn in one of two ways–a side or rear-discharge chute to expellonger grass clippings or a mulching setting to cut clippings extra-fine and leave them below the mower as fertilizer. Some electric mowers that have a 3-in-1 configuration give you a third option; you can bag your clippings to keep your lawn looking neat and tidy. Usually, corded electric mowers are more efficient as mulching mowers, but being able to bag the unwanted debris does seem like an attraction option too.
- Extension cord length:This completely depends on your individual lawn and its distance from the nearest plug point (which would generally be your garage). If your lawn mower falls short to cover the entire lawn, you may want to buy an extension cord. But make sure the extension cord is no longer than 50 feet, of 12-14-guage thickness and UL listed and CSA certified for outdoor use. Your mower’s user manual will also have additional information on what you should do in such situations.
3. Cordless Lawn Mowers:
Cordless lawn mowers are simply battery-run mowers. The differentiating factors that will determine your choice in this case are:
- Mower Batteries:The biggest convenience of owning a cordless electric mower is that you don’t need to drag an extension cord around the yard. It provides you with the freedom of gas mowers without the fumes and the need for frequent refueling. Cordless mowers use either lithium-ion batteries or lead-acid batteries. Since, both types can produce a range of power (18 to 120 V), look for the one with the higher voltage, since that will ensure more cut grass. However, the difference between the two is that while lithium-ion batteries store more energy and hold a longer charge than rechargeable lead-acid batteries, lead-acid batteries are more corrosion- resistant.
- Push or Self-Propelled:You can choose between a push-style mower and a self-propelled cordless mower. A push-style cordless mower is more like the traditional push lawn mower, where your body provides the power. This is a more budget-friendly option among cordless mowers.
A self-propelled cordless mower’s rear wheels are powered by batteries to drive the mower forward or backwards. While operating the mower, all you’re required to do is to control its pace and direction. This makes for more effortless usage, but also costs more money.
- Mulching vs no mulching: A lot cordless electric mowers come with mulching and bagging options for the grass clippings that are being cut by the mower. You can choose to either mulch the clippings as fertilizer or bag the debris to be thrown away.
- Charge Time & Run Time:
4. Self-propelled Lawn Mowers:
With self-propelled ones, there are quite a few factors to consider before you purchase your mower.
- Front-Wheel vs. Rear-Wheel Drive: Front-wheel drive mowers are much cheaper than rear-wheel drive ones. If you have to move the mower forward, the wheels must be firmly planted on the ground. In case of uneven or hilly terrain, front-wheel drive models become useless as you may have to lift the front wheels to turn or when the wheels bounce up off the turf. But the rear wheels are always grounded, offering the operator with good traction control and maneuverability.
- Set vs Variable Speed: Self-propelled mowers with adjustable speed settings allow you the luxury of deciding your own pace. You may want to go faster or slower depending on the conditions of the lawn or on your physical condition. One speed setting doesn’t give you that option. Of course, the more features you want, the more you have to pay.
- Recoil vs Electric Start: Depending on the way you can start your self-propelled mower, there are two choices – recoil start and electric start. Recoil start mowers are the traditional, pull-rope style. You pull a cord that turns the engine on, and that, it turn, pushes the mower ahead. In case of electric start mowers, all you do is turn on a key or push a button to get the mower running.
- Wash-out Ports:How you maintain mower determines how long and how well it will perform. A wash-out port on your mower deck ensures better upkeep. Connect a garden hose to the port and turn it on and watch all the grass clippings from the inside the deck and blades getting cleaned.
- Blade Override:With most self-propelled lawn mowers, the engine automatically turns when you let go of the bail. This is safety feature, called the blade override system. It keeps the engine running, but disengages the blades. Apart from your safety, this also extends your engine life, as it doesn’t have to be turned on and off every few minutes to pick up a weed or a ball dropped by your kid.
- Swivel Wheels: Your yard can’t possibly be on a completely plain terrain. Plus, it will also have flower beds and trees to mow around. This means, you will have to frequently turn. But, most self-propelled mowers are built to move straight. Due to this, after a few months, the wheels start to wobble, and then ultimately the bolt comes loose and the wheel falls off. Nowadays, some mowers come fitted with swivel front wheels. These are designed for better maneuverability and to prevent the wheels from coming loose.
5. Gas-Powered Lawn Mowers:
With gas-powered lawn mowers, the considerations are quite simple. These are very convenient machines – no effort, no physical exertion, no back pain, and yet faster trimming. But the flip side is that you not only pay more to buy these powerful machines, you also have to bear the gas expenses to operate the mower. Besides, there are additional maintenance costs. And oh, there is the issue with the fumes that you and your neighbor, and gradually the entire earth, has to endure.
Some Common Factors:
- Budget: This point, although, applies to all types of mowers, have been individually discussed in the above sections.
- Owner Review: Before narrowing down on the mower of your choice, make sure to read up on some of the owner reviews online. A lot of people, both the happy and the unhappy customers, like to voice their experience. Read up. They will give you a general idea about the mower’s performance.
- Brand Performance: Brand image has always played the part of a psychological remote control for consumers through generations. It is always safe to go with the reputed brands. That way, even if there is an issue, you can be sure that the company, in order to protect their image, will make amends to replace your item or compensate you suitably.
Our Hunt For The Best Mulching Lawn Mowers
I have, very meticulously, gone through each and every model’s online ratings and tested them out individually to check for their performance. In order to create the top 10 list, I tested the performance of over1,000 mowers, selected from among the highest rated and most popular models from the biggest brands in the US.
Our tests were based on gauging the mowers’ performance against their competitive prices. I focused on how much a customer should shell out for the different features and configurations currently available in the US market against how high each company is charging its customers.
Besides, other definitive factors that came into play were of the particular features and how many of them were available in any individual model. These factors are:
- Height adjustments
- Deck width
- Noise factor
- Finer cut
- Comfort factors like grip of handle, effort needed to operate, pull cord, etc
- Wired or cordless
- Maintenance costs
- Fuel costs
- Ability to cut different kinds of grass
- Grass clippings management system
- Area of coverage
- Run time
- Additional accessories provided
- Additional accessories needed
- Eco-friendliness & carbon footprint
How to best maintain your mulching lawn mower
Now that you have purchased your new gardening gadget, you need to know how best to maintain it. If you don’t maintain your mower properly, you are most certainly sending it to its early death. You don’t need to be a mechanic to keep it in working condition.
Here are a few tips of taking care of your lawn mower:
- Read the owner’s manual properly. It has all the safety guidelines and information regarding its upkeep.
- Drain the gasoline at the end of the mowing season, in case you own a gas-powered mower. Old gasoline is one of the main culprits for a mower not working. It is important you emptied the container at the end of summer each year if you want to ensure your mower’s durability. Pour fresh gasoline at the beginning of every spring. Also check the oil regularly for floating debris or discoloration.
- Clean the undercarriage for residual grass stuck to it. It can clog the discharge chute and put unnecessary pressure on the motor (in case of motorized mowers). Don’tforget to disconnect the spark plug before you do to avoid any unwarranted accident.
- Sharpen the blades regularly.There is no point in having a mower and using up all the fuel, battery charge or electricity and over-working your motor. Blunt blades will pull and rip the blades of grass, instead of giving you a fine cut, leaving your lawn looking ugly and unkempt. A mower repair shop can do it for you.
- If all this is too much for you, take a trip to your nearest mower repair shop after the end of every summer and get a professional maintenance and repair work done.