If you’re researching lawn mowers, you know there’s there is 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.
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.
Best Commercial Zero Turn Lawn Mower
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.
Powered by Vanguard big block EFI 36 – 38.5 HP commercial engines, Hustler Super Z 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 Super Z’s 60 – 72-inch VX4 decks are fabricated from 7-gauge steel. Raised and lowered using foot control, they have a range of 1 – 5.5 inches.
Hustler backs the Super Z series with a 3-year, unlimited hours/5-year, 500 hours warranty with 3,000 hours for the drive system. Visit or call your local Hustler dealer for pricing.
- Cub Cadet Pro Z 972 SD: Best zero turn lawn mower for hills
- eXmark Lazer Z X 96-Inch: Best zero turn mower for large areas
Best Residential Zero Turn Lawn Mower
Cub Cadet ZT3 60 Ultima Series ZT
Finding the best zero turn mower for residential use isn’t all that different from what commercial crews need. The big difference, of course, is that these mowers are used far fewer hours each week. You can find good entry-level models starting around $2500, but if you’re able to swing into the $4000 – $5000 bracket, you wind up with a much better experience.
We had a pretty tough time narrowing down this highly competitive field. Options from Toro’s Time Cutter and Titan series are strong contenders along with Ariens’ Apex series. However, it’s the ZT3 60 from Cub Cadet’s Ultima series that ultimately came out on top as our best residential zero turn lawn mower.
Cub Cadet starts with a Kawasaki 730V power plant rated at 24HP. While you can expect excellent cutting, speed is the trade-off. With a max speed of 7.5 MPH, it’s well under top commercial models and there are residential options that can give you a bit more.
However, that’s offset with dual Hydro-Gear hydrostatic rear-wheel transmissions that help you accelerate quickly and smoothly. Meanwhile, the generous 60-inch 11-gauge steel deck has a foot pedal for lifting and lowering to cover a cutting height range of 1 – 4.5 inches.
While you’re cutting, independent spring suspensions on the front casters help absorb bumps, and Cub Cadet includes a pretty nice adjustable seat for a residential ZT.
The ZT 3 60 is backed by a 3-year, unlimited hours warranty with limited lifetime coverage on the frame and deck shell.
- Toro Time Cutter 42-Inch 75740: Best budget zero turn lawn mower
Best Battery-Powered Zero Turn Lawn Mower
It appears this is the year battery power really hits its stride and there are three new models competing for the best battery-powered zero-turn lawn mower for homeowners. EGO and Greenworks both have 42-inch models and Ryobi is sporting a new 54-inch.
We’ll go into much more detail about all three of these mowers in another article. But for our purposes today, the EGO Z6 is our top pick. It uses the same 56V batteries that power other EGO lawn care tools and mows up to 2 acres with the 10.0Ah batteries that come in the kit. Add 2 more for a total of 6 and you can boost that runtime up to 3 acres.
Onboard charging is a big plus and it’s impressively fast-charging for the size batteries it has. In our experience so far, it’s a legitimate gas replacement.
- Greenworks Pro 60V 42-Inch Zero Turn Lawn Mower: Gas-minded feel to make transitioning to electric more natural
- Ryobi 48V HP 54-Inch Zero Turn Lawn Mower: Larger deck size to tackle larger lawns
Best Lawn Tractor
Husqvarna TS 248XD Lawn Tractor
Lawn tractors still dominate the entry-level ride-on mower class with price points that are typically lower than zero-turns and a less intimidating design for homeowners. As we considered the landscape, two mowers got our attention as real contenders for the best lawn tractor: Cub Cadet’s XT1 Enduro series and Husqvarna’s TS 200 series.
Husqvarna gets the nod with their mid-level TS 200 series line and we like the TS 248XD right at the $3000 price point. Powered by a 23 HP Kawasaki V-twin FR series engine, its dual pedal controls and electric push-button blade engagement are simple to learn and easy to use. Plus, you’ll be working from one of the most comfortable seats in this class.
The 48-inch ClearCut deck is fabricated from a more durable 10-gauge steel that’s designed to provide a lot of suction and pull grass up better to make your cut nice and even. The Tuff Torq transmission is a hydrostatic design and has an automatic differential.
As you’re looking at the premium side of the lawn tractor market, be sure to take a look at Husqvarna.
- Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series: Excellent value starting well under $2000
Best Battery-Powered Lawn Tractor
Greenworks Pro 60V Lawn Tractor
ZTs get most of the attention and there aren’t as many players in the electric lawn tractor category. However, it’s a very familiar design and a lot less intimidating for many folks.
That’s why Greenworks took the guts from their Pro 60V ZT and wrapped it into a 42-inch lawn tractor package. It runs on up to six batteries—the same ones that work with their other 60V tools. They also made the effort to make it feel similar to gas in its acceleration and movement but without the noise and emissions.
Overall, it’s the best transition from gas to a battery-powered lawn tractor we’ve used.
Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Honda’s flagship commercial mower continues to be our top pick. Sure, there are much less expensive options, but it’s the cutting power and cut quality of its twin-blade system, Honda GXV160 engine, and bulletproof durability that keep us coming back.
For more affordable options on the residential side, check out Honda’s GCV170-powered HRN lineup. From push to variable speed self-propelled and features such as RotoStop and electric start, there are four choices to fit your needs.
- Ybravo 25-Inch Commercial Lawn Mower: Excellent quality and strong engine for less-than-ideal cutting
EGO has consistently been at the top of our rankings in the battery mower sector. There’s more competition than there used to be, but EGO hasn’t been content to sit still and let others catch up.
Their top two self-propelled models are the Peak Power (the most powerful battery walk-behind we’ve tested) and the Select Cut. The Select Cut gets earns the win in our books thanks to its combination of power, included blade selection, and cut quality.
The big deal is that it’s a stacked blade system that, until this model, we’d only seen on gas models. EGO also packs it with blades optimized for mulching and general cutting—you get to decide which one you put on. Since both come in the box, you can try them both and decide which cut you like best.
- Greenworks Pro 60V 25-inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower: Greenworks’ commercial design in a residential mower
- Makita 18 X2 21-inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower XML08: Commercial design greatly improved over early models
- Ryobi 40V HP 21-inch CrossCut Self-Propelled Lawn Mower RY401150: Stacked blade design on the 40V HP platform
Best Push Lawn Mower
Toro 21-inch Honda Push Mower 21328
Ah, the push mower. It’s less expensive and there are few parts to worry about breaking down on you. With a good engine and wheel bearings, it might not be as easy as self-propelled, but it’s not all that bad.
Our top choices for the best push lawn mower had the same engine: Honda’s GCV160. It’s a reliable power plant that should last you many years with minimal maintenance and has more power than entry-level mowers.
Rising above the rest, Toro’s 21-inch Recycler push mower earned our top recommendation over Troy-Bilt’s TB 160. It comes ready to mulch and bag with a side discharge chute available separately if you’d like it.
While it doesn’t haven’t a ton of bells and whistles, it’s a solid all-around machine with an engine that’s primed for the long haul.
- Troy-Bilt 21-Inch Push Mower TB160
Best Electric Push Lawn Mower
Makita 18V X2 Push Lawn Mower XML07
Makita’s XLM07 is essentially the same as the XML08 that we enjoy using but without the self-propelled drive. Makita made huge improvements to this model compared to earlier versions to get it ready for commercial use.
It steel deck is ready to handle the high-hour use that commercial mowers get and the entire design is much more rigid. It needs two 18V batteries to run (it’s a 36V mower) and has room for four packs so you don’t have to go back to the trailer or garage as often.
Makita also dialed in a Quiet Mode for its brushless motor. When you’re trying to conserve runtime or keep the noise level down in lighter cutting conditions, it keeps the blade at a lower—and quieter—RPM.
- EGO 56V 21-Inch Push Lawn Mower LM2101: Outstanding value and excellent quality
- Greenworks Pro 60V 21-Inch Push Lawn Mower 2531802: Excellent choice for smaller lawns
Best Robotic Lawn Mower
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 yard up to roughly 0.9 acre 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 assist are built into the system. It’s not completely wire-free just yet, though Husqvarna is working on that.
The system starts at $5199 with professional installation.
- Worx Landroid: Solid budget option if you don’t mind self-installation
How We Make Our Best Lawn Mower Picks
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 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 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 you 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 set of batteries.
Price and Value
What you get for your money is another consideration for many people. Finding the right balance or performance, quality, and price is high on our list and how well each mower does it plays into our selections.
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