Keeping your lawn cut can be a big job, dragging your mower out dozens of times a year. To help you find mowers that are easier to use, Consumer Reports’ testers put their backs into it at the company’s Florida test site, mowing 18 acres of grass with more than 45 mowers.
The easiest to use is a self-propelled mower. It’ll get the job done faster, and it’ll save you energy. A self-propelled mower with variable speeds is good for speeding across flat sections of lawn and slowing down for tough grass.
One feature to avoid, says Consumer Reports, is big wheels. A popular misconception is that large wheels make it easier to mow. However, they’re moved further back on the mower, making it heavier to push down on every time you turn it.
After months of testing, Consumer Reports found several good choices. The $400 selfpropelled Honda HRR2169VKA is a Best Buy. The unique twin blades chop the grass into fine clippings that blend into the lawn when you mulch. And the Honda is also much more efficient at bagging. The clippings are smaller, so the bag will hold 4 or sometimes even 5 pounds more clippings than any other mower.
Another good choice is the $330 Troy-Bilt TB-320 12AVC35U. Like the Honda, it has rear-wheel drive, which helps on hills. Its single-lever height-adjuster makes it easy to change the cutting height, and you can attach your hose to easily rinse away built-up clippings.
Consumer Reports says a push gas mower is fine for small, flat yards. You’ll work a little harder, but that can save some money on a gym! Consumer Reports named several push gas mowers Best Buys, including the Craftsman model 37432 for $220.