We will make it easy for you to choose your next push lawn mower when you see our reviews for the best walk-behind mowers of 2016. We know it’s hard to sort out the important details with all the noise from competing websites. Let us show you our top picks that will keep you within your budget so you get the best value for your money. Check out these three popular push lawn mowers below. When the sale comes along, you’ll know what you’ll want to buy!
Push mowers work best for small yards
Before we dive into the reviews, we wanted you to know that push mowers are a good choice if your yard is ¼-acre or less. That means under 11,000 square feet in size. They are easy to use if your lawn is mostly flat, unless you want a hard workout. After all, you’re the one moving these machines along. A half-acre yard with slopes will make you wish you’d bought a self-propelled mower instead.
Easy yard cleanup
We prefer mowers that reduce time spent cleaning up, so we chose three that can mulch, and two baggers. Mulching and bagging takes care of grass clippings and even leaves in the fall. You can leave the mulch on your lawn or bag it for composting for the garden.
Ease of use
We like push mowers that are straightforward to operate. Most of us prefer to not have to review the owner’s manual each week. We want to get out there and mow the lawn without having to fiddle with complicated gas and oil mixtures or remember to throttle down before making a turn. We chose these three mowers partly because they are very user-friendly.
The long-term cost of lawnmower ownership
Lawn mowers need maintenance, and this increases their cost above what you’ll pay to buy them. A gas mower may seem like the cheapest option until you consider the price of gas plus yearly tune-ups and more.
Sometimes the old-fashioned way will save you the most money. The Scotts reel mower is the least expensive to purchase and needs the least amount of upkeep. It can last for years without anything more than an occasional blade-sharpening and oiling.
The GreenWorks mower is next easiest to maintain and has the next most expensive price tag. It relies on electricity to operate, so its long-term cost depends in part on how much you pay for your utilities.
The gas-powered Lawn-Boy will need the most care over time and has the highest price out of these three mowers. Let’s review the following three lawn mowers from most to least expensive.
Now that we got this little bit of introduction out of the way, let’s look at push mowers that will fit your budget and help you keep your lawn looking great.
1.The Lawn-Boy 10730 Push Lawn Mower with the Kohler OHV Engine
You just never know when reading online reviews if you’re going to get an accurate idea about the product. Company plants may be posting positive comments while competitors do everything in their power to frighten you away. I can tell you right now that neither Lawn-Boy nor the other companies here pay us for positive reviews. We simply try to choose the best and describe them honestly for you.
One way we can tell if the manufacturer in question has a good product is how helpful their customer service is. For example, if you read the questions asked online about this Lawn-Boy mower, you’ll see that Lawn-Boy representatives respond quickly, even on third-party retailer sites. This gives us more confidence in their products and their ability to solve problems, should there be any.
It’s a breeze to mow, mulch, and bag on a budget
The gas-powered Lawn-Boy 10730 isn’t the top favorite among push mowers. Sites like Popular Mechanics prefer its brother machine, the self-propelled Lawn-Boy 10734. But we realize not everyone wants to spend that much for a mower. If you have a flat yard under a ¼-acre in size, and you don’t have physical limitations, you’ll find that a push mower works out well. Think of the exercise—pushing a mower burns more than 400 calories an hour!
Lawn Boy’s motto is “Easy to Handle, Hard to Beat.” This definitely applies to the 10730. They have put a lot of thoughtful design into their product. First off, the 11-inch rear wheels and the 7-inch front wheels make it easy to push through thick grass and over rough ground. You can adjust the cutting deck height to various levels, from 1-1/4-inch to 3-3/4-inches. (Yes, it requires you to move two separate steel levers to set it, but at least it’s not four levers like on some other brands’ models.)
We like this wide range of cutting heights simply because not everyone has the same kind of lawn and no one wants to scalp their grass unless they’re trying to recreate a putting green. We also like the wide 21” steel deck because it covers ground quickly. In 90° weather the faster the mowing goes, the better. The blade itself is 20.9” long, so it’s not al illusion–there’s not much space wasted under the deck.
The 10730 discharges to the side, or you can bag and mulch, too. The bag is a decent size and simple to remove for dumping. The mower does a good job of mulching both grass and leaves, and that helps a lot with yard cleanup. It handles well even with a full bag, perhaps due to the larger rear wheels.
The engine is a 4-cycle OHV made by Kohler. To translate, 4-cycle engines run with their oil and gas separate, which makes for a lot less mess than the old 2-cycle motors. OHV means less emissions, less noise, and better gas mileage. The mower holds ¼-gallon of gas at a time, which is enough to mow a small yard (1/4-acre or less) without stopping. If you happen to live in California, their laws require the even lower-emission model 17730. It’s exactly the same as the 10730 in every other way.
In case you’re concerned about the fact you have to pull the cord to start the 10730 mower, don’t worry. The pull handle for the cord is right within reach and easy to grab—it’s mounted high up near the handlebar. You don’t have to prime the mower first, either, so you won’t risk flooding the engine. Lawn-Boy guarantees that the 10730 will start on the first or second pull, or they will fix it for free during the first three years you own it.
There are a couple more features that make the 10730 even more user-friendly. It weighs only 61 pounds, so it’s not a beast if you need to tip it to clean it, or remove the blade for sharpening. We love that the handlebar is adjustable so it can be set just the right height for a variety of users.
Finally, beside the 3-year guarantee that it will start easily, Lawn-Boy offers a 2-year warranty against other defects. An advantage of owning a Lawn-Boy is that it is a nationally recognized brand with sales and service centers across the USA. Should you happen to need service, chances are that there is a certified mechanic located close to your home.
2.The GreenWorks 25142 10-Amp Corded 16-Inch Lawn Mower
GreenWorks mowers are very popular these days as people look for cheaper ways to mow their lawn without polluting the environment. Paying less than 50 cents for electricity sure beats paying a couple dollars for gas every time you mow. Gas mowers cost more to maintain, too, needing regular tune-ups, and they pollute with emissions and leftover fuel and oil.
Of course, there’s always a downside to every mower. In this case it’s cord management. You’ll need to use an extension cord to operate the 25142 mower, which mean you need to plan ahead of time which path you’ll take and how you’ll deal with obstacles, like trees. At least there a cord retainer on the mower to keep it from coming unplugged unexpectedly. And the mower itself is just 16 inches wide, perfect for fitting into tight places. Be sure to check your extension cord for the correct wire gauge. The 25142 can use up to 150 feet of extension cord but it must be size 12 AWG.
This GreenWorks mower can mulch, or bag, but not both at the same time. The bag is simple to pop into place and remove, which is good because it’s a little small and it fills up quickly. But small is good because this is a very lightweight mower. If the bag gets overly heavy, the mower’s front end could lift.
We didn’t like that we had to insert the mulch plug in order to mulch. That’s just one more mower accessory we’re afraid to lose. The mulch discharges out the rear of the mower onto the lawn. You won’t have to worry about this mulcher creating thatch because the mulching feature itself works quite well. It grinds the grass into tiny bits that practically disappear among the blades of grass.
The 25142 has five cutting heights between 7/8” and 2-3/4,” so it works well for both warm and cool weather grasses. It will take care of centipede grass just as well as fescue. We love that the height adjusts with the use of just one cool-looking gearshift-like lever right on top of the deck. The deck itself is made of rugged plastic, and so it will certainly never rust!
We love that the mower starts with the push of a button; there’s no cord-pulling at all, unless you count the extension cord! We also love that the handlebar folds down for storage. The foam grip is a nice touch for when it’s too hot outside to touch metal.
The 25142 only weighs 37.5 pounds. Once you fold down the handlebar, you can grab the convenient built-in handle molded into the top of the deck, and put the mower right into the trunk of your car. You may not want to share that last bit of information unless you want people to volunteer you to mow their lawns too.
We wanted to point out that GreenWorks offers a 4-year limited warranty. That’s longer than most lawn mower manufacturers offer, and longer than either the Scotts or the Lawn-Boy featured here in this article. GreenWorks has well-written user manuals available in English, French, and Spanish.
3.Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower
Now we’re onto our final push mower review. When we say “push mower”, this time we really mean it! This one won’t cost you money to fuel up or power unless you count the calories you’re going to burn using it. You also won’t pollute the environment or wake up the neighbors.
Why would you consider an old-fashioned reel mower over gas or electric? The usual answers are that it doesn’t pollute with fumes or noise, and it makes for good exercise. We’re also thrilled that it’s also cheaper to buy, in some cases only half the price of a power mower. Did you know that it is kinder to your grass? You can get a neat, manicured look like you trimmed each blade with scissors…which is basically what you’ll be doing with one of these mowers.
The Scotts 2000-20 works like this: there is a bottom blade that you set at your preferred cutting height using one lever on each side of the reel. The other blades on the reel rotate against the fixed blade. It’s kind of like scissors closing and opening, and it makes a similar sound. The grass gets a neat clipping without the tearing and violence of a rotary power mower. You are much less likely to see your grass go brown at the tips as a result.
The Scotts 2000-20 is 20” wide, the same as the Lawn-Boy 10730, so you can make fewer passes to cover the yard. It has two ten-inch high wheels, and those make it a lot easier to push in taller grass. It also has two smaller stabilizing wheels to make it easier to handle.
You may find that you’ll need to borrow a power mower for the first cut if your yard has become a knee-high meadow, but the reel mower will keep it under control after that. There are nine available grass heights ranging from 1 to 3 inches tall. The fact that it has a max height of 3 inches makes it more useful than a lot of competing reel mowers that don’t have settings that reach that high. The Scotts 2000-20 will take good care of both warm and cool weather grasses.
A downside to using a reel mower is that there is no perfect solution to collect clippings. You’ll either have to leave them on the lawn or clean them up later. We like the fact that the Scotts mower automatically mulches the clippings, so they are small enough to leave on the grass. This will save you not just effort, but also money, since you won’t need to use as much fertilizer.
We like the ergonomic handlebar that has a nice foam grip so there’s no slipping with sweaty hands. We also appreciated the metal hood that covers the top of the blade reel. It keeps low-hanging branches from damage when mowing underneath them. The blades will need occasional sharpening but not nearly as much as the blade on a power mower—just every few seasons instead of every few weeks. Yes, you read that right. You won’t have to sharpen every year. That will save you a lot of money right there.
A couple of final details: The 2000-20 weighs 34 pounds, making it the lightest mower out of the three reviewed here. It takes up very little storage space. You can hang it on a wall of the garage out of the way. Scotts offers a 2-year limited warranty on it, but it will probably outlast that five times over.
If you’re curious about what owners think of their Scotts 2000-20, see how the reviews look at one major retailer’s site:
The final cut
We want you to get the best value for your money. When you purchase your push mower, be sure to consider the cost of maintaining it over the long term and not just the sticker price. Read more expert reviews about the best lawn mowers and garden tools at http://lawntoolsguide.com/.
*The prices in the articles (if mentioned) were current at the time of publication. To check the most current price of the product, simply click on the product links.