Choosing the Best Type of Lawn Mower for You

A Guide to Lawn Mower Designs, Types, and Who They’re Best For

Lawn care is a necessary evil if you want to achieve an envy-worthy yard, but with the right mower, the experience can be much more enjoyable. We’re going over the different types of lawn mowers so you can balance the pros and cons to choose the right one for your yard.

Exploring Different Types of Lawn Mowers

With so many types of lawn mowers, determining the best one for you can be tricky. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type, even with the most popular brands. Adding to that, everyone has their own preferences, which can affect which type will serve you best.

For starters, most lawn mowers fall into one of two categories: walk-behind mowers or riding mowers. Within these categories, many different types of mowers exist. If you want to leave the dirty work to automation, there are also robotic lawn mowers that make taking care of your yard even easier.

Push Lawn Mowers

For most people, a push mower is what comes to mind when they picture a lawn mower. Push mowers are mowers that the user pushes and operates manually, as opposed to self-propelled and riding mowers (more on those later). They can run on electricity (corded), gasoline, battery, or manual power.

Push Mower Pros

If you have a lawn that’s under 1/4-acre, a push mower is a great place to start looking. These machines are easy to use and cost much less than riding mowers.

Push mowers also make it easy to move obstacles out of your way, as opposed to riding mowers that require you to brake and dismount.

Here are some advantages of the different drive types of push lawn mowers:

Power SourceAdvantages
Reel push mower (manual)Easy to maintain and no power required
Gas-powered push mowerInexpensive, light, and highly portable
Electric-powered push mowerPlug-and-play ease
Battery-powered push mowerRequire no gas or cords, little to no maintenance, and many kits include multiple batteries

Cons of Push Lawn Mowers

There are also several drawbacks to push mowers. They’re smaller than riding mowers, so they’re not the best option for large lawns. Also, many push mowers can struggle to mow through thick grass, causing added fatigue for the user.

Here are some disadvantages of the different drive types of push lawn mowers:

Power SourceDisadvantages
Reel push mower (manual)Doesn’t mow over sticks, difficult to operate on uneven ground, unreliable in thick or tall grass
Gas-powered push mowerGas fumes can be bothersome and maintenance is required
Electric-powered push mowerYou have to be careful not to run over the cord, and you’re limited to mowing only as far as your cord reaches
Battery-powered push mowerLimited battery life and replacement batteries can be costly

Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers

Self-propelled mowers, like cars, can be front-wheel-drive (FWD), rear-wheel-drive (RWD), or all-wheel-drive (AWD). When you start them and put them in gear, these mowers propel themselves forward. This takes a lot of the load off of the user and makes for an easier mowing experience.

Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Pros

Self-propelled mowers can make mowing your lawn much easier compared to push mowers. They’re also more reliable on hills and slopes.

Here are the advantages of the three main types of self-propelled lawn mowers:

Drive TypeAdvantages
FWD self-propelled mowerGreat for small, level lawns and easier to steer than other self-propelled mower types
RWD self-propelled mowerHandle slopes and rough terrain better than other mowers
AWD self-propelled mowerMore speed and power compared to other walk-behind mowers

Cons of Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers

While they give you a boost in performance, self-propelled mowers are more expensive than push mowers. They’re also heavier, making them harder to transport if needed. On the same token, they don’t steer as handily as other mowers, so they’re not the best choice for small lawns.

Here are the disadvantages of the three main types of self-propelled lawn mowers:

Drive Type Disadvantages
FWD self-propelled mowerDifficult to maneuver on slopes
RWD self-propelled mowerHard to turn, and no reverse gear so you can’t mow backwards
AWD self-propelled mowerMore difficult to maneuver than RWD mowers

Riding Lawn Mowers

types of lawn mowers

If your lawn is more than 1/4 acre, a riding mower is the best choice for you. There are several types of mowers that fall into this category, including:

  • lawn tractors
  • zero-turn mowers
  • rear-engine mowers
  • stand-on mowers

Pros of Riding Lawn Mowers

There are many reasons to choose a riding lawn mower. For starters, they’re much more comfortable and convenient and they’ll save time and energy compared to walk-behind mowers. You can also use them with different attachments to take your lawn care to the next level.

Here are some of the advantages of the three main types of riding lawn mowers:

Type of Riding MowerAdvantages
Lawn tractorGreat for large lawns, less expensive than other riding mowers, and available in various transmission types
Zero-turn mowerTons of maneuverability and steering power, available in wide deck sizes to speed up mowing on large properties
Rear engine mowerIdeal for mid-sized lawns, less expensive than other riding mowers

Cons of Riding Lawn Mowers

If you’re looking for a mower within a small budget, riding mowers don’t usually fit the bill. On top of their initial cost, they require repairs and maintenance, which can be costly.

Here are the disadvantages of the three main types of riding lawn mowers:

Type of Riding MowerDisadvantages
Lawn tractorMore difficult to maneuver, especially around sharp corners
Zero-turn mowerMore expensive than other types of riding mowers
Rear engine mowerSmaller cutting width than other riding mowers

Robotic Lawn Mowers

Robotic mowers may seem like a thing of the future, but the first robotic mower was actually introduced in 1969, called the MowBot. It was a precursor to modern autonomous appliances like robotic vacuums.

Flash forward to today, and most robo-mowers operate using satellite location or boundary wire systems, making them accurate within 2-3 centimeters.

Pros of Robotic Lawn Mowers

Obviously, the main advantage of robotic lawn mowers is that they take care of the work without you needing to be present. They’re also quieter than gas mowers, cost less to operate, and leave your lawn looking neat and tidy.

Robo-mowers mow more frequently and leave the grass clippings for mulch, which can benefit your soil by adding nutrients back into your lawn. For seniors and people with disabilities, these mowers are a great option. They will even mow your lawn while you’re on vacation!

Cons of Robotic Lawn Mowers

Robotic mowers may sound like a dream come true, but that doesn’t mean they don’t come with their fair share of caveats.

These mowers have a high upfront cost, and you also need to keep your lawn free of obstacles like toys, pets, and furniture. Installation can be complicated, and they’re not ideal for lawns with hillsides or steep slopes.

These mowers work best on simple yards, and they’re not the best at trimming the edges of your yard, so some work may still be required on your part to keep your lawn manicured.

Cost Ranges of Different Types of Lawn Mowers

lawn mower cost

Most people have to stick to a budget when shopping for a lawn mower, but it’s important to note that less expensive can indicate subpar quality. The best lawn mower for you will be one that is the right balance between the pros and cons that fits into your budget.

Factors Influencing Cost

There are several factors that go into the cost of lawn mowers. Consider the following when you’re shopping for mowers:

Power sources

The least expensive models are corded electric, followed by gas-powered, and at the top-end, battery-powered mowers.

Cutting width

cutting width

Mower deck width is also something to consider when making your decision since it determines how quickly you can mower your lawn. Most walk-behind mowers range from 14 inches to 22 inches in width, while riding mowers generally fall in the range of 30 inches to 61 inches.

Fuel and battery capacity

A larger fuel tank or an extra battery will make it easier to mow your lawn, but it goes without saying that it will cost more.


Most riding mowers can travel at speeds of around 4 to 9 miles per hour, and sometimes faster, in the case of zero-turn mowers. However, you should note that going too fast can compromise the cut quality and lead to choppy grass.

For commercial landscapers, there are several different types of ZT lawn mowers that provide the high speeds you need to mow large properties.

Price Comparison of Lawn Mower Types

Here are the average price ranges for various types of lawn mowers. Consider the advantages, disadvantages, and price of each type of mower to choose the best one for your yard and lifestyle.

Push Lawn Mowers Price Range

Push mowers are one of the most popular choices for homeowners, and they also happen to be the most affordable type of lawn mower.

Type of Lawn MowerAverage CostPrice Range
Reel push mower (manual)$115$80 to $210
Gas-powered push mower$320$220 to $815
Electric-powered push mower$260$85 to $620
Battery-powered push mower$350$250 to $850

Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers Cost Range

The biggest factor that affects the cost of self-propelled mowers is their power source. SP mowers are powered by either gas, battery, or cord, but it takes a lot of energy to drive the wheels.

Type of Lawn MowerAverage CostPrice Range
Gas-powered SP mower$630$270 to $3,310
Corded electric SP mower$675$180 to $1,570
Battery-powered SP mower$700$400 to $1,200

Riding Lawn Mowers Price Range

Since there are several subcategories of riding mowers, there are many factors that affect the cost. These include deck size, transmission type, and brand. Having this many options makes it easier for people on tight budgets to find a riding mower within their price range.

Zero-turn MowerAverage CostPrice Range
Lawn tractor$3,500$2,000 to $5,500
Zero turn mower$5,000$3,000 to $7,500
Rear-engine mower$3,200$1,800 to $5,500

Robotic Lawn Mowers Cost Range

If you’re looking for a robotic mower for your lawn, consider the factors that influence the cost. For large yards, you need a mower with a long battery life, which will cost more money. However, if your budget allows, you can add extra features like edge-cutting, traction wheels for slopes, and extra charging stations for different zones in your yard.

Type of Lawn MowerAverage CostPrice Range
Robotic lawn mower$1,320$630 to $5,670

Additional Costs to Consider

There are other conditions to consider when comparing the prices of lawn mowers, such as:

  • Accessories and attachments
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Replacement parts and blades
  • Fuel and electricity costs
  • Storage solutions and protective covers

Choosing the Best Lawn Mower for Your Lawn and Needs

With all of that being laid out, you can see that there’s a lot that goes into choosing the best lawn mower for your yard. To find the best one for your needs, note the size of your lawn, the terrain of your yard, and your budget amount, balancing the pros and cons for each model you’re considering.

Another factor to consider is your lawn care requirements. For example, if you’re growing a clover lawn, you’re probably safe to veer on the lower end of the budget since you won’t have to mow every week. However, if you have thick St. Augustine grass, it’s a good idea not to skimp on equipment since it will be used heavily.

Types of Lawn Mowers FAQs

Which type of lawn mower is best for small yards?

For small yards, a battery-powered walk-behind mower will let you mow quickly and save on fuel costs.

What type of lawn mower is ideal for large properties or uneven terrain?

Riding mowers work best for large properties, but not on uneven terrain. For rough terrain, front-engine riding mowers are a good choice. However, on sloped areas and hills, you should use a walk-behind mower or string trimmer.

How do I maintain and care for my lawn mower?

sharpening lawn mower blades

Your maintenance needs will vary based on what type of lawn mower you have, but all mowers benefit from regular blade sharpening. Sharp blades help to ensure your lawn stays lush and green, while also giving you an even cut.

How often should I replace my lawn mower blades?

For most homeowners, replacing your blades once a year is sufficient. We also recommend to sharpen your blades around twice per season, or after around 25 hours of use.

Are battery-powered lawn mowers worth the investment?

Battery-powered lawn mowers are one of the most popular types of lawn mowers across the board. They’re simple to operate and require little maintenance, making them a worthwhile investment for most homeowners who want to go gas-free.

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