Lawnmower testers at Consumer Reports have a tough job. They leave the cold, New York winter to brave the six-acre test site in warm, sunny Florida. They do all that to help you pick the best mower or tractor for your yard in time for spring.
The first thing you really want to consider is how big your yard is but also whether you have any hills. And then, of course, you also have to decide whether you want a gas or electric model.
If your lawn’s on the smaller side, a quarter of an acre or less, a push mower should get the job done. The $250 Troy Bilt is very good if you prefer to mulch the grass. It left behind an evenly cut lawn and is easy to push, pull and turn.
To make mowing easier for larger sized lawns, a half acre to an acre, a self-propelled lawn mower is the way to go. The $600 EGO is the only self-propelled electric mower Consumer Reports recommends. The EGO will run for about an hour and that’s enough to mow about half an acre. After that, you’ll need to recharge it for about an hour.
Not ready to give up the gas? The $400 Toro Recycler SmartStow offers multiple speeds so you can power through thicker grass and adjust to different terrain.
If you’ve got an acre and then some or prefer to ride your mower, testers found some good starter options while testing tractors. The $1,900 John Deere D130 can cut and clip grass as evenly as some tractors that cost almost twice as much, and Consumer Reports surveys report above-average reliability for John Deere mowers.
For lawns with serious hills and bumpy terrain, Consumer Reports says to consider an all-wheel drive mower. It recommends the $550 Cub Cadet SC 700h. It cuts evenly in mulch, bag and side discharge modes plus the all-wheel drive can handle the hills.
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