Consumer Reports has tested more than 100 lawn mowers from companies like Craftsman, Toro, and Troy-Bilt on acres and acres of grassy fields in Fort Myers, Florida and has some recommendations so that you’ll get a great cut.
Most important is to consider the size of your property. If you have a larger property, that is it takes you more than half an hour to mow your lawn, then you should consider a self-propelled mower.
Consumer Reports says opt for a self-propelled mower with rear-wheel drive. Mowers with front-wheel drive have more trouble with hills. The wheels spin out. Some manufacturers are touting all-wheel-drive mowers. Though they do handle hills without glitches, there are drawbacks. First, you’re paying a little bit more for it. Secondly, it’s a little bit more complicated, so there’s more that can go wrong with it.
Mower speeds are another consideration. A single-speed mower such as the recommended Lawn-Boy 10734 costs $330 and is great for smaller yards. Its electric start makes it easier to get started.
However, mowers with two or more speeds let you adjust to conditions faster to cover more ground in larger areas and slower for better cutting in thicker grass. Some good choices are the rear-wheel-drive Troy-Bilt TB-360 for $370 from Lowe’s and the $400 Honda HRR2169VKA from Home Depot, also with rear-wheel drive.
Though self-propelled mowers are easier to handle, a gas push mower can save you money. Just remember you’ll be doing the pushing! Consumer Reports recommends the $250 Cub Cadet SC100 11A-A92J. Testers found it easier to maneuver than most push mowers. It also gives an excellent cut.