Finance for lawn mowers

Buying a Lawn Mower and Tractor

Lawn Mowers & Tractors: How CR Tests Them

Our testers fly to Florida in late winter to perform tests on the grounds. Each year, we carefully prepare to provide you with ratings and evaluations of the latest models by early spring.

We used 1,800 pounds of grass seed to seed the ground (predominantly annual rye, prized for its dense growth).

Mulching, side-discharging, and bagging a total of 3,000 pounds of clippings were used to cut 500,000 square feet of grass in three modes.

To obtain a feel for each model, we mow flat lawns and hills. Every model we evaluate is also evaluated for its convenience features.

All of that performance data, as well as expected dependability and owner satisfaction scores from our most recent member surveys, are factored into the Overall Score for each model in CR’s mower evaluations.

The surveys use information from almost 78,000 lawnmowers and tractors purchased by members between 2010 and 2020.

Lawn Mowers and Tractors of Different Types


The best walk-behind or riding lawn mowers are available, from $170 for a gas push mower to $4,000 for lawn tractors and zero-turn mowers.

According to our studies, if you’re concerned about noise, keep in mind that gas mowers are substantially louder than their battery-powered equivalents.

Almost every gas-powered equipment we examined exceeded 85 decibels at the user’s ear, with only a handful being somewhat quieter. Hearing Everyone should use safety precautions.

Lawn Mowers With Batteries

The most excellent battery-powered electric mowers cut grass just as effectively as their gas equivalents, making them no longer second-class citizens.

Battery mowers come in the push and self-propelled models and use rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs.

They’re much easier to store and manage than gas mowers, but they’re better for smaller yards because of their shorter battery run times.

We discovered that battery mowers ran for 30 to 45 minutes on average, regardless of battery size. However, battery technology is advancing, and some of the best performers now have a run time of more than 60 minutes.

  • Most battery cutters cut a 20- to 21-inch swath, and their chargers may be used with other name-brand outdoor power instruments.
  • They also start at the push of a button, emit no pollution, and run more silently than gas vehicles. They don’t need oil changes or tune-ups regularly.

They only have a short operating time—usually around 13 acres. Battery-powered self-propelled versions take up to 20% of the battery charge to power the wheels, so unless you buy more significant or more batteries, you won’t be able to cut as much grass.

They’re also more expensive than gas models, though you’ll recover the difference over time.
Battery mowers need little maintenance aside from blade sharpening.

Lawn Mowers with Gas

Gas-powered mowers aren’t restricted by rechargeable batteries and can cut significantly bigger yards in a single pass.

They are available in the push and self-propelled models and are usually less expensive than their electric equivalents.

However, you may wind up spending more on gasoline and maintenance in the long term.

  • Gas mowers can cut a swath of 21 to 22 inches, handle long or heavy grass and weeds, and bag, side-discharge, or mulch clippings.
  • They’re also less costly and last a lot longer than battery-powered alternatives.
  • Gas mowers are loud (wear earplugs), emit pollutants, and require more regular maintenance.
  • Regular tune-ups, oil changes, and blade sharpening are all required for gas mowers.

Tractors for Grass

These gas-powered lawn mowers can mow two to three times quicker than traditional push mowers, making them ideal for more extensive lawns. Hydrostatic transmission models are easy to use and give a smooth ride.


The majority of models can cut a 42- to 48-inch swath (but wide-deck variants may cut 54 inches) or more in a single pass) and bag, mulch, or side-discharge cuttings.

Because they utilize a wheel, precisely like a vehicle, steering them is intuitive and straightforward. The most acceptable versions offer comfortable, high-backed chairs that make engaging the blades and adjusting the cutting height simple.


Bagging kits are additional and costly, which is one of the main reasons most tractor owners mow in the side-discharge mode.

Even today’s cleaner machines emit pollutants and take up a lot of storage space. On the other hand, Tractors have a greater turning radius and a lower peak speed than zero-turn mowers.

Regular tune-ups, oil changes, and blade sharpening are all required for gas mowers.

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What to Think About Before Buying

Push mowers

Self-propelled vs. pushed Push mowers are usually less expensive. Self-propelled versions use the engine (or motor in the case of electric models) to power the wheels, making them simpler to navigate if you have a big lawn or live on a sloped property.

All-wheel-drive has the highest traction on hills, followed by rear-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive, which is standard on most models, is still good for flat deliveries but isn’t ideal for bagging cuttings. As the bag fills, the front wheels may begin to lose traction.

Size of the yard To pick the ideal walk-behind mower, consider the size of your yard. Larger yards benefit from self-propelled gas mowers, while smaller yards benefit from electric or gas push mowers.

Check out our guide to figuring out which lawnmower is right for you.

Port for draining:

After each cut, you should clean the underbelly of your mower. When it’s time to remove the clippings beneath the mower deck, a washout port makes it easier: it takes a hose connection and eliminates the need to tip the machine.

The starter is powered by electricity:

This feature allows you to start the engine with a push of a button rather than tugging a pull rope on gas vehicles. This is where all electric lawn mowers start.

Handle that folds:

Models with folding or collapsible handles take much less storage space.

Storage that is on its side:

In a small garage, almost all electrics may be kept vertically. Some gas variants feature unique engine seals that allow them to be stored upright without fear of oil or gas seeping out.

Wheels that are all the same:

The rear wheels of certain mowers are more significant than those of others. They’re best avoided. Mowers with identical wheels were the simplest to operate in our tests.

The battery is replaceable:

String trimmers, leaf blowers, chainsaws, and even snow blowers are all being made using the same battery that drives lawnmowers.

You may save money by purchasing the second tool without a battery. Look for battery mower manufacturers that sell other high-rated, battery-compatible power equipment and offer this interchangeability.