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How To Choose A Lawn Mower

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Written By: Mark Marino

a Massachusetts Core Applicator License holder and owner/operator of Lawn Phix,

Updated on


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Riding mowers, push mowers, and electric mowers – oh my!

With so many to choose from and plenty of features to consider, it can be difficult to settle on the right mower.

So, just how do you select the right lawn mower? That’s the focus of this post, and as you’ll find out as you read on, it largely comes down to weighing factors like lawn size, terrain, mower manufacturers, mower features, and – last but not least – your personal preference. Here’s a closer look at what you need to know before you purchase a new lawn mower:

How to Pick the Right Lawn Mower

While personal preference should be a factor in what type of lawn mower you select, there’s perhaps no bigger influencer than the type of yard you’re going to be cutting.

For instance, if you have a small lawn, walk-behind mowers, electric models and small gas-powered lawn mowers are probably a safe bet. But if you’re cutting a large lawn, or you have to cut through thick grass, then you’re likely going to want something that’s a little bit bigger and more powerful.

In this section, we’ll discuss how yard size and terrain should play a role in lawn mower selection. Here’s a closer look:

Small Yards

If you have a small yard, you don’t need to break the bank and select a lawn mower with all the bells and whistles on it. Push mowers are ideal for these types of yards, notably those that can either bag grass clippings or mulch clippings. It’s the most common type of mower that you’ll find among homeowners in subdivisions and average American neighborhoods. Push mowers are often either gas-powered or electric.

Large Yards

Larger lawns typically need more powerful equipment to get the job done. That’s where a John Deere tractor or other types of riding mowers can come in handy. Garden tractors and riding mowers permit users to either sit or stand as they cut the grass. They also can bag or mulch clippings, and some models even come with side discharge for grass clippings.


Have a large yard with uneven terrain? A zero-turn mower is likely to be your best bet. These mowers are powerful, versatile, and effective at cutting through wet grass, tall grass, and more, especially on hilly terrain and in areas with lots of trees. Their key is their front wheels, which help them turn on a dime.


If your lawn care involves cutting a smaller yard with lots of trees and other obstacles, a walk-behind mower is likely your best bet. These are a bit more flexible than a conventional push mower and tend to be compact and easy to store. They also don’t tend to lose traction as easy as other mowers, making them ideal for navigating such obstacles.

Flat Yards

Any type of mower should work well on a flat yard – just be sure to select a mower deck size, power and ground speed accordingly. For instance, if you have a flat larger yard, you’ll likely want a larger mower or garden tractor. A small flat yard and a push mower, walk behind mower or self-propelled machine should suffice.

Different Types of Lawn Mowers (And Selecting the Best One)

Not all lawn mowers are created equal. There are push lawn mowers, mowers with rear-wheel drive, self-propelled mowers, cordless lawn mowers, riding mower models, rear engine riding mower styles and more. In this section, we’ll break down the various different types of lawn mowers that you have to choose from. As we noted above, the type of yard that you’ll be cutting should dictate the type of mower you select. But so too should your personal preferences.

What’s the best mower for your situation? Weigh the information we included in the previous section with the basics of each mower type that we’ll discuss here.

No Engine Push Mower

These are engine-less, cordless mowers that are best utilized for a small yard. These mowers are generally very affordable due to their lack of an engine and other advanced components. They’re best used as a mulching mower for property owners that don’t mind putting a little bit of extra oomph into mowing their lawn. For this reason, they can also come with physical fitness benefits.

Reel Mowers

A reel mower tends to cut grass in a precise manner, similar to a pair of scissors. They’re often utilized in landscaping areas or around areas that require a high attention to detail. Today’s models are lightweight and very easy to maneuver to get that perfect cut.

Engine Powered Push Mower

Gas mowers are still among the most popular types that property owners purchase. And one of the reasons is because they are powerful, versatile and there are plenty of options to choose from – from a self propelled mower to a conventional gas powered push mower.

Make sure you choose wisely when it comes to selecting an engine powered push mower. Even how you start the engine – from a pull cord to an electric starter – is worthy of consideration when making your selection.

Zero Turn Mowers

Have a big, flat yard with a lot of trees, landscape boxes or other obstacles? A zero-turn mower is likely your best bet. These types of riding mowers can turn on a dime, and they’re extremely powerful. With a zero turn mower, you can make short work out of a big yard with lots of different obstacles in it.

Lawn Tractors

Lawn tractors are an affordable solution for mowing large lawns. They come in a variety of different mower deck sizes and can help you cut faster and more comfortably than using a push mower, for example. Another nice thing about lawn tractors is that they can be used for other purposes as well. For instance, you can hitch attachments to the back of them to help with hauling or other chores around your property.

Electric Mowers

Electric, or battery operated mowers, are starting to gain traction in the market, as plenty of manufacturers are now beginning to make and sell them. One of the things many users like about electric mowers is how quietly they operate, as they don’t run via an engine. Battery powered mowers are advanced enough now where a single charge is typically more than enough for a property owner to cut a small to mid-sized lawn.

Electric mowers can be either corded mowers or battery operated. While corded mowers tend to be more affordable, there’s the hassle of having to navigate the power cord as you mow your lawn – so they’re typically only best for very small lawns. Battery operated mowers tend to be more expensive, but they’re also more convenient.

Choosing a Lawn Mower FAQs

How do I choose a lawn mower?

Like we’ve said throughout this piece, selecting the right lawn mower should come down to a combination of yard size and type, and personal preferences.

What size lawnmower do I need?

Generally speaking, the larger your lawn, the larger your mower deck should be if you want to cut grass in an efficient manner. Technically speaking, you can cut your lawn – regardless of its size – with any type of lawn mower. But if you have a big yard and are using a small push mower, it’s going to take you a lot longer than if you were using a tractor or riding mower.

What is the most reliable brand of lawn mower?

There are many reputable brands – such as John Deere, Lawn Boy and Cub Cadet – that manufacture lawn mowers, tractors and outdoor equipment. With plenty of reputable brands, it all comes down to you finding a model that you like at a price that you’re comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to do your research before you settle on a new lawn mower purchase. The last thing you want is an unreliable mower with a bad blade brake clutch or an engine problem.

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Author's Note: this piece has been updated for accuracy since its first publication on
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Author: Mark Marino
My name is Mark Marino, and I am the founder, owner, and operator of Lawn Phix. With a passion for lawn care and turf nutrition for over a decade, I've dedicated countless hours to correcting soil and perfecting lawns. Today, my expertise, backed by formal courses at UMass Extension Pesticide Education, allows me to offer top-tier lawn care services and advice. I am a fully licensed and insured lawn care applicator in Massachusetts, specializing in comprehensive turf nutrition, weed control, and lawn pest control. My license number is AL-0053865. Contact me at [email protected] or +1 (508) 500-8402.

3 thoughts on “How To Choose A Lawn Mower”

  1. Thank you for explaining the different types of lawnmowers. I need a new mower since I just moved to a new home. I don’t know exactly what I need, but it would be a good idea to discuss my options with a lawnmower professional.

  2. Thanks for explaining the factors we need to consider when buying a lawnmower. My husband and I just bought our first home and need to get some equipment for yard care. I think it would be smart to consult with a dealer that can help us understand our options.

  3. Thanks for explaining the best lawnmowers for different yard types. My husband wants to buy a new lawnmower. I’ll help him choose one that is best for our yard.


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