Tiniest Shove: The 5 Best Push Lawnmowers

Aug 6, 2015

Category: Gear

The term “push lawnmower” seems simple enough, but it might leave you marginally confused. Most of us harken back to the rusty spiral machine that our parents had in our garage. While it claimed it could cut grass, it usually was only very good at forcing it to lay down when it got sick of you running these alleged mowers across them. Those vicious devices have now mostly been outlawed by the rules of the Geneva Convention. They can now only be used as punishment against children who have set something valuable on fire or have placed food items into expensive electronics.

Though the phrasing has changed, these old school mowers are still around. This is the umbrella term for self-propelled mowers, electric mowers, gas mowers, reel mowers, and really any other mower you don’t ride. Some will still burn gas like it’s 1985 and some still require that you put a little muscle into your yardwork. For those with tiny, small, or medium-sized yards, one of the 5 best push lawnmowers will fit your household and your budget.

Honda HRR216PKA 21 inch 3-In-1

Honda HRR216PKA 21″ 3-In-1

Best Self-Propelled: Walking is hard enough without having to push some infernal contraption in front of you. Well, let this take some of that strain off your hands. This Honda uses an advanced gearbox and clutch system that makes the movements smooth as ice as you go along, rather than rattling your teeth like other self-propelled push mowers. This has the finest cutting of any mower on this list thanks to the QuadraCut system Honda has in place which grinds up your cuttings into fine, nutrient-rich pieces which are better for your lawn.

The 160cc, 4-Cycle engine purrs like a dream, though it will be slightly louder than other options just due to the additional parts. It zips along at top speed and will finish the job both correctly and more quickly than anything else you could select. The 6 variable cutting heights work no matter what. 21 inches of cutting size, a flywheel blade brake to keep the engine revved even as you empty the bag, and the adjustable handle offer ease and comfort for all. [Purchase: $389]

Husqvarna 5521P 20 inch 3-in-1

Husqvarna 5521P 20″ 3-in-1

Best Man’s Mower: You might have a cute little Hyundai that you use to commute to and from work, but when you want something that you can really open up on the highway, you go for something with power. Maybe an old Firebird with the blower sticking out of the hood so that when you pull up to a stop light, everyone knows it’s game time. The 5521P is that Firebird. It’s a big, noisy, gas-powered machine with a Briggs & Strat motor that is clearly ready to take on any yard.

The rear wheels are a full foot in diameter while the front wheels are all-terrain 8 inchers so getting the mower over spotty landscapes is always a snap. The motor is a 140cc power hog that brings 5 1/2 torque blade power to your hacking and slashing through scrub and even troublesome Bermuda grass. It’s also a 3-in-1 so you can dish your clippings to the side, the rear, or just mulch like a madman. While it a beast, it’s still emissions tested so you burn less gas and are dumping minimum toxins into the air. [Purchase: $240]

Lawn Boy 10732 21 inch

Lawn Boy 10732 21″

Peace of Mind: When you register for wedding gifts, put this on your list. It’s ideal for homeowners on a budget and will just get your starter lawn going. It doesn’t have a lot of options or nonsense to bog it down so repairs and upkeep are rare. The wide deck makes cutting a breeze and limits the amount of time you have to spend under the blazing ball that cooks the Earth every day. The height settings are minimal, but it takes care of business.

Part of what makes this a good, cost-effective mower is the Lawn Boy Tru-Start guarantee. During the first three years you own it, if it doesn’t fire up on the first or second pull, Lawn Boy will fix it for free. The large tire base let’s you get around stubborn hills with ease and it even offers you the 3-in-1 option for the price of a standard mower. If you just want to peace of mind and a good starter option, no reason to go big. Save your pennies for that riding mower that you want (need). [Purchase: $239]

Fiskars StaySharp Max 6201 18 inch

Fiskars StaySharp Max 6201 18″

Best Manual: Is adding a motor too your mower going to cramp your style? Are you sick of paying for repairs to batteries, gearboxes, and the other bits that break down on your push lawnmower? Do you just fear technology and believe that it is a ploy by the government to steal your brainwaves? Good news, there is still a manual mower that is driven by man power. It uses an interesting drive system that makes it easy to push without minimizing efficiency and keeping all your force going toward the blades.

Unlike nearly every other lawnmower, the chute on this one throws clippings to the front, which seems like it would make it harder as you get bogged down in the leavings, but the StaySharp blades combined with the added pushing power make sure you don’t add strain but still get a close trim. You have the option of adding in a grass catcher if this doesn’t suit you. It bears a 1-4 inch height adjustment that actually works, unlike most manuals. Best of all, you can use it year after year without paying for blade sharpening and it will still go through twigs and tough grasses like a pro. [Purchase: $193]

Gardena 4025U

Gardena 4025U

Novelty Combo Pack: This is for the Eco-warrior that has everything. It combines both an electric lawnmower with a manual reel system that works equally well under either condition. It employs a surprisingly powerful 25-volt lithium battery along with razor sharp blades that makes short work of the average lawn. Battery charge can be tracked using an easy LED display, and frankly the whole thing just looks like something George Jetson would use.

While the innovation of combining electric power with a manual interface is curious, it won’t work for big jobs and doesn’t seamlessly integrate. As with hybrid cars, you get much more bang out of the battery than you would just using a standard electric mower. If you just can’t resist the allure of a fun and certainly worthwhile gizmo for your lawn and garden, give it a whirl. Just know it also will cut your bank account down to size. [Purchase: $434]

Greenworks 20 inch 3-in-1

Greenworks 20″ 3-in-1

Honorable Mention:We already did our breakdown of the best electric mowers, but this one bears repeating if you want something you can push around that is also good for the environment. The 1440-Watt motor with 12 amps of power don’t give you the weak, unacceptable cutting power you’ll get from most electrics. The large, wide-set wheels can help you get around obstacles. It’s a 3-in-1 so bagging, mulching, and side clipping removal is a breeze.

Greenworks has added their Smart Cut technology to help extend battery life for those times when you’re just doing a quick maintenance trim. It gives you as much torque as you need, then conserves power when you don’t. Average run time is about 70 minutes, and you can cover a lot of ground in that amount of time. [Purchase: $370]

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