Ultimate Lawn Mower Buying Guide: High Performing Cuts

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man mowing his tall back lawn with a gas lawnmower


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Lawn & Garden


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A lawnmower is an essential piece of equipment for your house or any property you own. Grass grows very fast, and it takes a lot of work to cut it manually.

A lawn mower makes the job of cutting grass as effortless as it gets. Given the number of different kinds of lawnmowers available on the market, it might be difficult for a beginner to choose the right one.

There are two basic types of lawnmowers: walk mowers and riding mowers. You can understand from the name that one needs you to walk with it and the other lets you ride it.

There are also gas-operated, corded, cordless, ZTR, etc. types of lawnmowers, which I will get into the details in the rest of this article.

Lawn mower prices can be very confusing for someone new to it, as it can cost as low as $50 or as high as $10000.

To decide properly which one you need and how much you should spend, there are certain things you should know about, and I will discuss those essential fundamentals in this article.

So, let’s get right into it!

man mowing his tall back lawn with a gas lawnmower

Types Of Lawn Mowers

There are so many different types of lawn mowers, and I will discuss all of them. But all the different lawn mowers can be categorized into two main types; walk mowers and ride mowers.

From the name itself, you can understand that the walk mowers are the ones you need to walk with. On the other hand, you can drive mowers similar to a car.

Walk Mowers

Let’s talk about walk mowers first. Walk mowers mean you have to walk with them. That doesn’t necessarily mean you must push it with all your energy.

There are two main types of walking mowers; push mowers and self-propelled mowers.

man with a pushed gas lawnmower cutting his backyard grass in jeans

Push Mowers

Push mowers are the most common type of lawn mowers. You will see it all around the world.

In a push mower, you provide the drive power. Push mowers are available in various power sources like gas, electric, battery, corded, cordless, etc.

Remember that the power is only used for cutting grass, not to drive the mower. Push mowers have lots of advantages such as:

  • Push mowers are more economical
  • It makes you work physically, meaning more exercise
  • Push mowers are usually lightweight
  • They are low maintenance
  • Push mowers give you more control

Self-propelled Mowers

Self-propelled mowers use a power source to drive themselves. It means you won’t have to push the mower all the way through. Self-propelled mowers have buttons on the handle to control the speed. 

The user also has the control to completely disengage the driving system and use it like a push mower.

Self-propel mowers serve the purpose of both push and self-propelled mowers, meaning they are suitable for both large and small areas.

Here are some advantages of self-propelled mowers:

  • It requires less effort to use
  • Can mow lawns faster
  • Better for mowing hilly areas
  • Various engine models are available
man cleaning up yard on a riding lawnmower

Riding Mowers

Riding mowers are those you can ride, like a car. They are expensive, but every aspect of them is way better than traditional lawn mowers.

There is no competitor to riding mowers in terms of speed, efficiency, and covering large areas.

There are three basic types of riding mowers:

  • Lawn tractors
  • Rear engine ride mower
  • Zero-turn mower

Lawn Tractors

Lawn tractors are suitable for beginners. They are gas-powered and have a front-mounted engine. Lawn tractors look a lot like tractors, hence the name.

The engine is usually between 18 and 25 horsepower, a single-cylinder v-twin.

More expensive models feature electronic fuel injection. Base models of lawn tractors have level-operated gear transmissions.

Slightly advanced models pedal hydrostatic or continuously variable transmission or CVT. Lawn tractors have deck sizes from 42 inches to 54 inches.

If you want to know how much area the mower can cover, divide the deck size by 12. So, a 48-inch deck-size mower can cover a 4-acre area.

Lawn tractor mowers usually cost between $1200 to $3000.

Rear Engine Ride Mower

Rear-engine mowers have engines in the back, below the seat. Rear engine mowers are more affordable than other riding mowers and are compact with a deck size of 30 to 40 inches.

These mowers are better suited if you have a lawn too small for lawn tractors but too big for push mowers.

Rear-engine mowers usually have a single-cylinder engine at around 10 to 11 horsepower. The transmission system also varies.

Some models use disc drive transmission, while others use hydrostatic transmission. The price of rear-engine mowers is between $1000 to $2000.

Zero Turn Mowers

Zero-turn mowers have engines in the back, similar to rear engine mowers. But the difference is that they have a better turning radius than lawn tractors and a better max speed.

ZTR lawn mowers use a pair of levers instead of a steering wheel to steer the machine.

The engine size of ZTR mowers is between 450 to 700 cc or more. The deck size of ZTR mowers ranges between 30 to 60 inches.

ZTR mowers are better in every aspect compared to lawn tractors and rear engine mowers, and naturally, the price is also higher.

A unit of ZTR mower can cost between $1500 to $6000.

Things To Consider When Buying A Lawn Mower

As a first-time buyer, there are many things to consider when buying a lawn mower. I will discuss it in two broad categories; walking mowers and riding mowers.

Let’s take a look at what you need to consider when buying a walk lawn mower:

Push Or Self-propelled

As I have already discussed, walk mowers can be either push or self-propelled. Push mowers are more affordable, whereas self-propelled mowers are more comfortable and offer more control. 

Self-propelled mowers can be front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive, each having its advantages.

If you have a limited budget and small area, go for push mowers. If money is not a problem, self-propelled mowers are the way to go.

Size Of The Lawn

As you can understand from the discussion above, whether you should go for push or self-propelled mowers depends mostly on the lawn size and your budget.

If your lawn is large, get a self-propelled mower. For smaller size yards, push mowers can do the job pretty well.

Wheels Size

You might have seen walk mowers with large rear wheels. Manufacturers do it for whatever reasons, but mowers with uniform wheels are easier to control.

Electric Start

Older mower models usually have a pull cord to start. However, the latest gas and electric models incorporate push button start.

Go for push-button start models as it’s effortless to start and operate the machine.

Handle Type

Walk mowers have either fixed or foldable handles. Foldable handle models are compact, take less space, and are easier to store.

Washout Port

You have to clean your mower from time to time and a washout port makes the job ten times easier.

The washout port accepts a hose connection and conveniently lets you clean beneath the mower deck.

Now let’s take a look at the things you need to consider when buying a riding mower :

Type And Size Of The Yard

Riding mowers are for bigger lawns and there are many types of riding mowers with a focus on making this choice according to your area.

For big spread-out areas, lawn tractors are preferable. For yards with sharp turns such as obstacle courses for training, zero turn mowers work the best.

Hour Meter

An hour meter shows how long the engine has been running. It can also help you tell when it’s time for an oil change or any other maintenance.

The latest models also allow the use of smartphone apps to check various statuses from a distance.

Fuel Checking

All ride mowers have a cutout that lets you check fuel levels. But the models that let you see fuel level from the seat are ideal.

Go for this if available.

Cruise Control

Cruise control in cars is a feature that lets you set your car speed at a specific level and lets you take your foot off the gas pedal.

It’s ideal if you are driving at a constant speed. Many ride mowers offer cruise control features.

It’s an excellent feature if you have long-shaped larger yards.

Seat Adjustability

As ride mowers are used for mowing bigger lawns, it takes a lot of time to mow the entire area completely.

So, an adjustable seat can be highly beneficial for your back, and you can work more comfortably.

Cup Holder

A cup holder lets you store your water flasks or bottles, soft drinks, energy drinks, etc., whatever you like.

If you are working under the hot sun, a mower with a cup holder will come as a blessing.

Lawn Mower Power Sources

Lawn mowers use various power sources such as electricity, battery, or gas. Let’s take a look at different power sources for lawn mowers and how they stack up against each other:

Gas Lawn Mowers

Gas-operated lawn mowers are very common and they are suitable for yards up to an acre.

Most gas mowers feature a pull start, but advanced models offer an electric push start eliminating the need for a pull cord.

However, you have to be cautious about gas mower fuel if you want the motor to last long. You have to use the fuel of the correct octane rating so always check the manufacturer’s user manual.

If you can’t find one, contact them directly.

Electric Lawn Mowers

Electric lawn mowers are becoming popular these days . The power of electric mowers is measured in watts.

The higher wattage means better efficiency. You have to connect the electric lawn mower to a power outlet so it’s slightly inconvenient as you will always need to look out for the cord.

Also, you need to have a power outlet nearby or use a power strip. Electric lawn mowers are also known as corded lawn mowers.

There are electric mowers with lower wattage that are suitable for smaller areas.

Battery Lawn Mowers

Battery-operated lawn mowers are the most popular nowadays as they are cordless. You can take it anywhere without worrying about the cord trailing behind you.

Battery lawn mowers are also quiet allowing completely silent operation. The voltage rating of battery mowers determines the performance output.

High battery capacity means higher runtime in general but your overall runtime will also depend on grass conditions as well.

Lawn Mower Accessories

Lawn mowers have lots of accessories to make cutting grass a pleasant experience. As a newbie, you are not likely to know about these accessories. The most common accessory is a bagging system.

The bag collects all the cut grass so that you won’t have to spend another hour or so collecting lawn debris.

If your lawn mower does not offer a bag, you can get one from any third party. Another common accessory is a sunshade. It protects users from sunlight.

Large lawn areas take a lot of time to mow. A sunshade can protect you from the sun’s scorching heat during long work periods.

As there are countless accessories available, not all of them may not fit your mower.

If you are looking to use specific accessories, consult with your manufacturers whether that specific model of mower has an appropriate hitch, connector, or whatever.

Riding mowers usually can accommodate more accessories compared to push mowers. Some riding mowers can even be used for snow plowing or tilling, with the right accessories.

Costs Of Lawn Mowers

There are wide varieties of lawn mowers so the price range will also be diverse. A manual push lawn mower can cost as low as $75.

On the other hand, a high-end professional-grade lawn mower can cost as much as a new car. For homeowners, that shouldn’t be a headache as lawn mowers for home usage are pretty affordable .

If you are looking to buy push lawn mowers, they can cost you around $300. The price depends on the model and type, this Makita is an excellent option at the price.

Self-propelled mowers obviously cost higher, but they also give you more comfort and cutting efficiency.

In the self-propelled mower category, the front wheel, rear wheel, and all-wheel drive cost variably. You can go for a basic push mower if you have a small yard.

Riding mowers cost way more than push mowers as they are more advanced. The price usually starts at around $1000 and can go as high as $6000 or more.

You can get lawn tractors for around $1500 and a zero-turn radius mower can cost around $3000. Rear engine mowers sit in the middle in the ride mower category. They cost around $2500.

As I have already discussed lawn mower accessories, you can understand the prices I just mentioned above can vary widely depending on the accessories and various options.

Also, these are just the base prices of various models. Many top-of-the-line units can cost double the base price or even more.

Lawn Mower Maintenance

You have to maintain your lawn mower properly if you want it to work properly and last a long time. Proper maintenance is the key to a longer lifespan and efficient performance.

If you are unsure about maintenance, check the user manual or talk with the local distributor.

Very common maintenance is sharpening mower blades annually. You’ll also have to clean the frame and the decks regularly.

This work will help prevent grass clippings and clogging from occurring. If you are using gas-powered mowers, there are some additional maintenance costs.

Gas-powered mowers need air filters, spark plugs, and other tune-up items to work in unison with gas engines.

You need to clean the filters regularly or change them if they become too worn out. Electric mowers require less maintenance, but they also need frequent cleaning.

If you are experienced with lawn mowers, you can do the maintenance yourself. If you are new to this, I suggest leaving it to the professionals.

Most lawn mower manufacturers have dedicated service centers should you experience issues and need repairs.

They offer free service after purchase for a specific period, maybe one year or so. After that, you have to pay for the service. However, the pricing is very reasonable.

Some service centers offer pick-up and delivery to make the maintenance as hassle-free as possible.

How Do Lawn Mower Prices Affect the Performance and Efficiency of the Machine?

When considering what to expect buying a lawn mower, it’s important to factor in the price and how it may impact performance and efficiency. While higher prices may indicate better features and durability, it’s essential to weigh the cost against the specific needs of your lawn and usage frequency.


Buying a lawn mower without knowledge can cost you a fortune because of the wide price range.

Also, you may not get the full potential of the money you pay because not all types are suitable for all types of yards. 

For example, a ZTR lawn mower has no use in a small suburban house or even bigger ones. Knowing the ins and outs of the specific types allows you to decide where your money will be best spent.

In this article, I have mentioned all the necessary things you need to know before you invest in a lawn mower. Good luck!