Finding the Best Push Mower for Unruly Lawns

You see it all the time. You’re pulling into your neighborhood and there’s that one house that never has a good-looking yard. There are weeds along the sidewalk, grass as high as dad socks, and dead leaves spreading like a pack of zombies. Unfortunately, there’s just not a lot you can do about it, other than protect your own yard from looking like it got caught up in the infestation. Sure, it’ll take a little work to defend from the hoard, but we’re here with an arsenal of options you can use to keep your yard looking pristine, healthy, and ready for cookouts. Maybe you can even invite that neighbor and let them experience the joy of taking pride in their lawn.

Here are our five favorite push mowers on the market right now.

GreenWorks 20-Inch 12 Amp Corded Electric Lawn Mower

This bad boy packs a punch without unpacking your wallet. Let’s start off with its tenacious 20-Inch steel deck and impressive 12 Amp motor.  You’re going to love the way it handles, because handling a mower has never been easier. Can we say “handles” one more time? Because these are foldable, making it ideal for compact storage. And while we’re keeping things easy, igniting this beast is done with the push of a button.

What’s probably the biggest selling point here, is the 3-in-1 disposal system of your clippings. It mulches. It bags. It side-discharges. You pick. It’s your lawn.

Wanna keep choosing? It’s got a 7-position height adjustment, offering a wide range of finished product for all grass types (1-1/2 to 3-3/4 inches). So if you’re the particular type, this makes it incredibly easy to carefully pick a height you’re happy to keep growing.

Key Features

  • 3-in-1 mulcher/bagger/side-discharger
  • 10-inch rear wheels and 7-inch front wheels
  • 20-inch steel deck
  • 7 different cutting heights ranging between 1-1/2-inches to 3-3/4-inches
  • Foldable handles for easy compact storage

Pros

  • Easy to start
  • Easy to handle
  • Easy to store
  • Multiple options for disposing trimmings

Cons

  • Wet grass may clog beneath the deck, possibly slowing down the blades
  • The motor is uncovered and may require regular cleaning

Our verdict:  We love the price and the wide-range of features, which overpower the occasional need for quick unclogs and cleanings.

GreenWorks 20-Inch 40V Twin Force Cordless Lawn Mower

Here we have something that’s going to help your personal environment look better, while also keeping your communal environment feeling better. This mower goes green, double-time, with a 40-volt battery system that’ll arm you with an hour-long charge to get the job done. While that’s definitely going to be the key factor to keep in mind if you’re working with more than a medium-sized yard, it’s absolutely the step you want to take if you’re ready to “cut the cord” and say goodbye to the air-polluting gas.

The Twin Force is also loaded with a 20-inch deck, dual blades for an upgrade in cutting quality, and a 2-in-1 mulching and bagging system. The only thing sharper than these blades, is how amazing your yard is going to look. We just wish they could the cost down a little, too.

Despite the heftier price tag (but no future costs for gas), you’re still getting a lot more extras, like a cutting range from 1-3/4-inches to 3-3/8-inches, an innovative smart technology that will adjust the power used from your battery based on the thickness of your grass, and a surprisingly low weight for a mower (coming in at just over 42 pounds), allowing for easy handling and maneuverability. And, of course, it’s a just a press of a button away from getting this started.

Key Features

  • Dual Blade System
  • Dual Battery Port
  • Hour-long run time
  • 20-inch deck
  • SMARTCUT Technology
  • Light-weight

Pros

  • Easy to start
  • Easy to handle
  • Eco-friendly
  • No gas costs

Cons

  • A bit on the pricey side
  • Thick and tall grass may drain your battery faster
  • If problems arise, customer service may be slow to respond

Our verdict:  We love how easy it handles, how much better for the environment it is, and the number of great features it offers, but the price tag is a little high for something that could possibly die before the job is done.

Honda 3-in-1 Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Mower

Our next option includes something the previous two have been lacking: self-propelling. Honda put quite the engine in this workhorse. With a 160cc GCV under the hood, this mower wants to get the job done and get you back inside for a cold one. However, if you’re not interested in winning the marathon of lawn-cutting, you have the ability to slow down with a variable-speed rear wheel drive. The only thing you have to do behind the wheel, is steer.

This next feature is either going to be your deal-maker or your deal-breaker. It’s got a 12-inch cutting deck. It may take a handful of extra strips up and down your yard to finish, but it also makes maneuvering around plants and other yard décor much easier. Plus, you’re not pushing this thing. You’re just along for the ride.

In addition to finishing your lawn in record time, you’re also going to have the ability to choose from six different height settings, give your hands a break with comforting foam grip handles, and have the most finely diced grass on the block with the micro cut twin blades.

Want more? It also bags and mulches.

However, it’s also pushing a $400 price tag, so just remember that rides ain’t free. Or at least cheap.

Key Features

  • 160cc Honda GCV engine with adjustable speeds
  • 12-inch cutting deck
  • Bags and mulches
  • 6 Height Settings
  • Comfortable foam grip handles

Pros

  • Incredible cutting capabilities
  • An engine that does the work for you
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Adjustable rear-wheel drive

Cons

  • Engine is a little louder than most, and can tough to start
  • Smaller cutting deck
  • Inclines can be trickier based on steepness

Our verdict: We love the ease of the navigation, the power of the self-propelled engine, and the ability to maneuver around yard obstacles, but the noise and the price are both a little higher than we were hoping.

Poulan Pro 21-inch 140cc Walk Behind 2-in-1 Mower

Another great option comes from Poulan, with a 140cc Briggs & Stratton engine. If you’re in the market for something almost as powerful as the previously mentioned Honda racehorse, but something almost equally as lightweight as the GreenWorks Electric Push Mower, then look no further. Granted, it’s still sixty pounds, but its compact in size and easily stored, while other gas engine mowers can push ninety pounds and prove a good deal bulkier. It may not be the prettiest horse in the race, but it’s a safe bet to win the competition, with a very reasonable price tag for a trunkful of features.

Let’s start with the 21-inch, 2-in-1 cutting deck. You’ll cover a lot of ground while evenly distributing your clippings, allowing for a smooth dose of nourishment to keep the foundation of your lawn growing thick and healthy. You’ll love how it smoothly mulches your clippings as it chugs along with you on your course, and with its easy-rolling high rear wheels and five feet-per-pound gross torque, you’ll conveniently tackle tall terrain while efficiently being able to steer through your paths with ease.

It also has a four-point adjustable cutting height, with a recoil starter, and is surprisingly a top-notch contender in fuel efficiency.

Key Features

  • 21-inch, 2-in-1 cutting deck
  • 2-1 mulching capabilities
  • Easy rolling high rear wheels
  • Four-point cutting height adjustment
  • Recoil starter

Pros

  • High rear wheels make all lawn types simple and easy to maneuver
  • Incredibly fuel efficient
  • Powerful and compact
  • A price tag that won’t break your bank

Cons

  • Engine roars quite loud
  • Not as eco-friendly as some other options on our list

Verdict: This is definitely a contender for our favorite, with the right amount of power, weight, and maneuverability you’re looking for, but if you like something more self-propelled and a little quieter, it may be best to keep shopping.

Husqvarna 3-in-1 Push Lawn Mower

For the finale, we’ll end with a bang; another powerhouse. While also armed with a 160cc Honda engine, this mower comes with a 21-inch cutting deck, so it’s got the power and the spread to get your lawn done fast, and with 11-inch high rear wheels, you’re going to have the ability to conquer whatever terrain you come across, but it just may be a little more tricky to get around plants and small trees the same way as Honda’s self-propelled mower listed previously.

You’ve also got the choice between five different height adjustments, a 3-in-1 grass management system for mulching, bagging, or side-discharging, and double ball bearings on the wheels to keep them effortlessly moving year after year. It’s also has the soft grip handle, recoil starter for easy ignition, and weighs in around 65 pounds, proving reliability as well as durability.

The price tag doesn’t hit too hard, especially for what you’re getting, although there have been some noted issues with the bagging system, but that all depends on what you’re looking to do with your trimmings.

Key Features

  • 21-inch cutting deck
  • 160cc Honda engine
  • Recoil starter
  • 3-in-1 grass management system
  • 11-inch high rear wheels with double ball bearings

Pros

  • Powerful, multiple-purpose mower
  • Comfortable soft grip handles
  • Height settings and large rear wheels cover all terrains
  • Doesn’t break your bank

Cons

  • Gas-powered, although not as loud as some others
  • Bagging system can be difficult to use

Verdict: As far as gas-powered push mowers go, this has a lot of bang for your buck, with a powerful motor, huge cutting deck, and the ability to cover all sorts of terrain, but it’s also not eco-friendly and may be difficult to bag your trimmings.

How we Chose the Best Push Mower Options

Firstly, and most importantly, when the time comes to purchase a new mower, you want to find the one that best compliments your lawn. We were on the hunt for something that could tackle a medium-sized yard (with some obstacles). If you’re just after a strip of grass along your sidewalk, or a patch of lawn around your driveway, any old push mower will do. But we’re looking for a partner to help guide us around this crazy little thing we call “lawn”.

We want easy-handling and maneuverability, multiple height settings, an engine that’ll work harder than we will, multiple disposal options, and blades that will cut up our trimmings without cutting a hole in our savings.

A lot of the time, trusted brands are the way to go, but it’s never been easier than it is right now to find out everything you need to know about choosing the right mower than from reading the feedback and reviews from other consumers. The internet has so much to offer in this regard, and if you’re willing to put a fraction of the time into researching the right mower than you’ll actually spending mowing, then you’re going to save yourself a lot of time and hassle when it’s time to start your engine.

Things to Look For in Good Push Mowers

Power Source

You’ve got a few options when it comes to your power source when choosing the right mower. For an unlimited running time, you could always try a corded electric mower, but if you’ve ever been frustrated while vacuuming, either by having to plug and unplug as you go, or work in a constant state of worry over not running over your cord, then multiply that by the risk of blades and an expensive fix.

A gas motor is pretty much the standard power supply for lawncare, and will easily last the duration of each session, and sometimes multiple sessions. The biggest downside here would either be the noise from the motor, getting it started with a pull-cord, or the output of fuel emissions. However, these just kind of come with the territory (rimshot).

These days there is also a fine substitute in battery-powered mowers, which are much better for the environment, but can be less powerful than what you need, and can tend to run out of juice before the job is done.

Grass Management Systems

Another big factor would be the mower’s grass management system. Are you looking to mulch, side-discharge, or bag your trimmings? A mower with mulching capabilities will nourish your lawn while you work, saving you time while evenly fertilizing your lawn without leaving clumps of grass behind.

The side-discharge mower can still give you a pretty even spread of trimmings to help keeping your lawn healthy, but it does run the risk of leaving those large clumps of grass behind, which will either need to be raked up or left to the wind, which runs the risk of possibly damaging sections of your yard.

There’s also the bagging option, which collects everything you cut, and is easily trashed, and will leave your lawn looking the cleanest of all the options. It’s just important to find the right bagging system, as some tend to have problems working correctly, and can be more of a hassle than they’re worth.

Cutting Deck

Choosing the right spread that your blades will cover all comes down to lawn size. The larger the deck, the faster you’ll finish, but they can also be trickier to maneuver around obstacles, like plants, mailboxes, small trees, etc. A smaller deck may take a little longer to finish the main strips, but the maneuverability around obstacles will be much easier. The deck also has a lot to do with the weight of a mower, so keep this mind if you’ll be lifting the mower by yourself.

Lawnmower Maintenance Pointers

The two biggest challenges when it comes to the upkeep of your mower, are cleaning the carburetor and changing the blades.

Cleaning Your Carburetor

Some of the most helpful tips to keep in mind when cleaning your carburetor would be to make sure your fuel line has been turned off, and if it’s a corded mower, that it’s unplugged. Make sure you’ve parked your mower on a flat surface, laid out a towel or some old newspapers to set your carburetor on, and have a small bowl or safe place to store your nuts and bolts in so you don’t go crazy trying to put everything back together.

Once you’ve removed your carburetor, set it on your prepared area, spray down the surface area with carburetor cleaner, and ensure the cleaner reaches all the corner and crevices before wiping it down with a damp cloth. Just be sure that if there are any plastic parts on the carburetor that you used compressed air instead of a cleaner in order to prevent any chemicals from accidentally harming the materials or causing corrosion. If cleaner is used, make sure everything is dry before reassembling it back into place.

Changing Lawnmower Blades

When it comes to changing your blades, you’re going to be turning your mower over on its side, so make sure you’ve emptied all the gas, unplugged any cords (if there any), as well as unplug the spark plug (not absolutely necessary, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry). Take note of the positioning of the blades, sometimes just taking a quick pic with your phone is the easiest solution here, and then remove the mounting bolts and then the blades.

If you’re unsure of the exact blade type your mower has, it may be necessary to take one to your local hardware store to ensure you purchase the correct replacement. It could very well be that your manual has the information you need, and you’re able to go find the blades you need without having to start the process beforehand.

Reposition the new blades in the same way you captured them with your photographic evidence, and then refuel your mower and plug everything back in. If it’s a gas-powered mower, it’s recommended to wait at least one hour before restarting your mower so that the fuel can work its way back into the motor.

For more details on how to change your blades, please check out some further reading in our article How to Change Your Lawnmower Blades

Wrapping Things Up

Have you made your decision on what you need to keep your lawn looking great? Are you ready to inspire your neighbors to do the same? Do you have your path in mind for the most efficient use of your time? Then pull the trigger on getting yourself the right mower for you, pull the cord to get it started, and enjoy your visit to the cutting edge.

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