If you’re researching lawn mowers, you know there’s a TON to choose from. While we’ve used a bunch, we haven’t walked behind or sat on every mower available. We’re bringing our picks for the best lawn mower models from our own experiences to the table. But keep in mind these are hotly debated, even in our own office, and not every yard or property is the same.
There’s also another wrench in the mix—Honda is exiting the market in September 2023, bringing to an end some of our favorite mowers along with some of the most popular in the country.
We know they aren’t the only good ones out there. So give the other folks reading this article a hand and tell us what the best lawn mower is and why in the comments below.
Table of Contents
- Best Ride-On
- Best Self-Propelled
- Best Push
- Best Electric
- Best Robotic
- Buying Guide
- Why You Can Trust Pro Tool Reviews
Best Ride-On Lawn Mower
Commercial Pick: Hustler Hyperdrive Series Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers
Commercial ZTs have to have it all: durability, cut quality, speed, and comfort are at the top of the list. Fail in any one of these and you’ll be back to the drawing board.
Hustler’s Super Z Hyperdrive series earns our top recommendation in a split decision with Scag’s Turf Tiger II and eXmark’s Lazer Z X series also earning high marks.
Powered by Vanguard big block EFI 35 – 40 HP commercial engines, Hustler Hyperdrive mowers cut great and have speeds up to 16 MPH. Hustler’s I3M seats are comfortable for those long summer days while the hydraulics and transmission systems help keep the mower’s operations smoother than most.
On the durability side, the Hyperdrive’s 60 – 72-inch VX4 decks are fabricated from 7-gauge steel. Raised and lowered using foot control, they have a cutting height range of 1 – 5.5 inches.
Hustler backs the Hyperdrive series with a 2-year, unlimited hours/5-year, 1200-hour warranty with 3,000 hours for the drive system. Visit or call your local Hustler dealer for pricing.
Residential Pick: Cub Cadet Ultima ZTX6 Series Zero-Turn Lawn Mower
The Ultima ZT series is a popular entry into Cub Cadet’s zero-turn lineup but it’s worth stepping up to the Ultima ZTX series if you’re looking for the best ride-on mower for homeowners. As a whole, the line fits in the Prosumer class that bridges the gap between pure residential models and higher-priced commercial models. Dialing it in even further, the Cub Cadet ZTX6 mowers get our official recommendation.
Available with a 54 or 60-inch deck, both options get their power from Kawasaki FX801 25.5HP commercial-grade engines. Cub Cadet’s Hydro-Gear ZT-3400 hydrostatic transmission system is also commercial-grade and offers forward speeds up to 9 MPH.
Where you see the mowers come back toward a residential focus is with a little less robust construction, including a 10-gauge reinforced steel deck. That said, with a 4 – 12-acre optimal property size rating, we’re not at all worried about its ability to hold up over time.
If you’re thinking you’d love a zero-turn in this class but lap bars aren’t your cup of tea, there’s now an Ultima ZTXS line that uses a steering wheel and Cub Cadet’s Synchro-Steer design.
Price: $8999.00 – $9299.00 ($10299.00 for the 60-inch ZTXS6)
Did you know Stihll now has zero-turn ride-on lawn mowers? Check out the details!
Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Commercial Pick: Exmark Commercial X-Series Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
As we bid adieu to Honda this year, the HRC series still gets two thumbs up from us while you can get them. From there, we turn to Exnark and its Commercial X line that complements its Lazer Z zero-turn mowers well. Some professionals will certainly turn to the higher-capacity 30-inch model, but we expect the 21-inch model will find its way onto more trailers.
Exmark wisely uses a Honda 163cc. GXV engine with a legendary reputation for reliability. It’s fed by a generous 1-gallon fuel tank and turns the blade at tip speeds up to 18,500 fpm. There’s also an option for a Kawasaki FJ180V engine if you’d like to step up to a 179cc engine.
The deck is 1/4-inch aluminum construction that keeps the weight down (112 pounds) while maintaining high durability. The deck is adjustable from 4.5 inches on the high side all the way down to 1 inch while the drive runs at speeds up to 4.2 MPH.
Price: Starts at $1799.00
Residential Pick: Toro Super Recycler Series 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Toro runs deep in the residential lawn mower sector and our favorite among them is the Super Recycler series. Getting the best of all the technology Toro has to offer, our top recommendation (model 21565) includes the Personal Pace drive system and the Smart Stow design that allows you to vertically store the mower even though it’s a gas model.
It uses a 163cc Briggs & Stratton engine that produces 7.25 ft-lbs of torque and just under 17,000 fpm blade tip speed.
Toro touts a commercial-grade construction on this model and includes a lighter aluminum deck rather than steel. In addition to that, you get outstanding cut quality, especially on the mulching side (you better with the name Super Recycler!). Wrapping it up, the Personal Pace drive system adjusts to your walking pace so there are no levers or dials to adjust.
Best Push Lawn Mower
Commercial Pick: Honda HRC-Series 21-Inch Push Lawn Mower
If you’re shopping for a legit push mower rather than a self-propelled one, your choices are very limited on the professional level. Our recommendation is to grab a Honda HRC216PDA while they’re still available. As part of the HRC line, you get the commercial-grade quality you need for a long service life.
The GSV160 commercial engine drives Honda’s MicroCut twin blades that create a better cut quality and handles overgrowth better than single-blade designs. The 3/4- to 4-inch height range is suitable for every lawn grass type.
The only downside is the fuel tank. It only holds 32 ounces, so you’ll need to refill it more often.
Residential Pick: Honda HRN-Series 21-Inch Push Lawn Mower
One good turn deserves another, and of all the residential push mowers available, we suggest you grab a Honda HRN216PKA while you still can. The HRN series replaced the massively popular HRR series and s a step down from the premium HRX series. Between those two residential lines, this is the only push mower Honda makes specifically for homeowners.
It uses a Honda GCV170 engine rated at 167cc, so you get more power than the 140cc class that most of the push mower options use. An auto choke makes starting easier and it comes with everything you need whether you mulch, bag, or side discharge.
Best Electric Battery-Powered Lawn Mower
Commercial Pick: Milwaukee M18 Fuel 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Ever since Milwaukee made its first efforts into the world of outdoor power equipment, people have been asking… what about a lawn mower? While it took several more years, the final product was worth the wait.
Using two M18 batteries for a power source, Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel mower produced more blade torque than any other electric competitor and matched the output of a 200cc gas engine. Excellent cut characteristics wrapped into a legit commercial-grade package made it the cream of the crop from day 1. So far, no other mower has been able to overtake it for the title of best electric lawn mower for professional use.
Price: $1099.99 with two 12.0Ah batteries and dual port simultaneous rapid charger
Residential: EGO Select Cut XP 21-Inch Lawn Mower with Speed IQ
The evolution of EGO’s flagship mower is interesting. It started with the dual-battery Peak Power model that raised the bar of what lithium-ion is capable of. Then, we saw the first stacked-blade SelectCut options that improved cut quality and effectiveness in tall grass. The two technologies combined in the SelectCut XP. Now EGO adds Speed IQ to the mix.
Speed IQ is a self-propelled drive system that automatically adjusts to your pace. However, it’s not a spring-loaded set of handles like Toro uses on its Personal Pace models. Instead, there’s a sensor doing some serious engineering magic… and it works like a charm from our brief time with it at Equip Expo 2022 (formerly GIE).
Price: $999.00 with 12.0Ah battery and Turbo charger
Best Robotic Lawn Mower
Commercial Pick: Husqvarna CEORA Robotic Lawn Mower
Husqvarna runs deeper in the robotic lawn mower sector than any other brand and we’ve watched the technology get better and better as the years have passed. Moving into large-scale commercial mowing, we now see the Husqvarna CEORA take center stage.
The mower is capable of cutting up to 18 acres at a standard quality. However, you can also use it for sports fields where it can leave a professional cut on up to 6 acres per charge. Here’s the kicker—you don’t need wires. This model features Husqvarna’s Exact Positioning Operating System (EPOS) that combines a reference station and satellite technology to create a virtual boundary system.
Price: $32,829.94 starter kit
Residential Pick: Husqvarna Automower 435X AWD
Husqvarna consistently stays on the cutting edge of robotic lawn mower technology and they moved the bar higher (again) with the Automower 435X AWD. This futuristic-looking machine is specifically designed to be able to handle hills up to 35°.
This Automower works great for yards up to roughly 0.9 acres and the battery keeps it mowing for an hour and 40 minutes. Charging takes just 30 minutes before it’s off and running again.
Like most robotic mowers, the cut height is limited. Ranging from 1.2 to 2.8 inches, it’s not the best option for all grass species.
Smartphone connectivity and GPS assistance are built into the system. It’s not completely wire-free just yet, though Husqvarna is working on that.
Price: Starts at $5199.00 with professional installation ($3999.00 without professional installation)
How We Choose – Best Lawn Mower Buying Guide
Lawn mowers at the level we’re writing on make up a vast category, and we’re not going into all the fine details about all the classes we’re recommending—that would take a really long time to write (and might be terribly boring to read)! However, there are several things common to all mowers that we look for.
Some grass is easy to cut, others, not so much. The St. Augustine grass we have in central Florida grows particularly thick and we need enough power to cut through it while keeping the blade speed high enough to get the best cut quality the mower can offer.
When we talk about cut quality, we’re looking at a couple of things. First, we want to see how even the mower leaves the grass. The best lawn mowers make your yard look like a green field of carpet that rolls with the small hills.
Second, we check to see how small the blades chop grass for mulching and how much grass it leaves behind when we’re bagging. No matter which one you prefer, you want the lawn to look clean when you’re done.
Do you want your mower to last a season or multiple seasons? Some engines, such as Honda, are known for their multi-year reliability. On the residential side, Honda engines can last a decade!
Even though professionals repower or buy a completely new mower every 3 – 5 years, quality engines from Kawasaki, Vanguard, and others can keep those years of service trouble-free with regular maintenance.
The engine isn’t the only part of the mower you need to keep an eye on. Belt pulleys, height adjustments, wheels, and much more need to stand up to the kind of hours you’re going to put on the mower. That’s very different for someone who mows once a week and a professional crew that covers 20 lawns a day.
Lawn Size Suitability
You’re not going to use an 18-inch lawn mower to maintain a 3-acre property. At least, you shouldn’t be. But those mowers are great for smaller city lawns. We always take into account the best lawn size for each mower. Part of that is the deck, and part of it is how efficiently it uses a tank of gas or a set of batteries.
Price and Value
What you get for your money is another consideration for many people. Finding the right balance of performance, quality, and price is high on our list, and what each mower offers for the price plays into our selections.
Why You Can Trust Pro Tool Reviews
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