Top-tested lawn mowers

Maybe your lawn mower isn’t waking up from a long winter hibernation, or perhaps it’s finally time for an upgrade from gas to electric. 

Whatever the case, Consumer Reports’ experts worked all winter long so you’ll have their latest recommendations and reviews when you need them.

CR’s lawn mower experts escape the cold Northeast winters for sunny Florida, heading down to Florida in February while some people are still digging themselves out from snow.

Every mower goes through a series of tests, from how evenly the grass is trimmed to how easy the mowers are to operate. 

Testers use the mowers in all the cutting modes–side discharge, bagging, and mulching–to see how well they work and to make sure you’re getting what you pay for, whether it’s a traditional gas-powered mower or newer battery-powered mower. 

CR is seeing more battery-powered mowers coming on the market at a lower price but managing to compete in performance with some of the higher-priced ones.

The Greenworks MO80L421 self-propelled battery mower for $749 earns top scores for evenness, mulching, and handling. 

You’ll lose some bagging performance but save hundreds with the Green Machine GMSM6200 self-propelled battery mower for $449, which also offers very good mulching. 

If you’ve got a smaller lawn or aren’t as concerned with recharge times, consider the Skil PM4910-10 battery push mower for $249, which delivers excellent cutting performance and mulching. 

A final tip: CR says unless you need to bag your clippings, mulching is actually better for your lawn because the clippings deliver nutrients, which means you can use less fertilizer and save water, too. Plus, you won’t have to dispose of all those clippings. 

For larger lawns—more than half an acre—a riding mower may be a better option. 

But if your lawn is too big for a walk-behind but not quite large enough for a tractor, CR’s experts say a mower with an extra-wide cutting deck can help trim your grass and the time you spend cutting it. 

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