Push Mower Buying Guide

How to Choose a Walk-Behind Mower

Now that spring is upon us, grass is growing faster every day. Whether you’re a homeowner or opening a lawn care business, cutting grass will soon be at least a weekly chore. There is a wide variety of lawnmowers, so it might be a little overwhelming. For anyone who can’t make up their mind, we have prepared a little guide and the top 11 push mowers to give some ideas about choosing the right mower so you don’t end up hacking away with the wrong tool.

Gas or Electric Mower?

There are two types of powered mowers: gas and electric. They are powerful tools with unique strengths and many standard features. Knowing the distinctive traits of each is very important to ensure that you will not have too much or too little power.

Gas Mower Features


Gas motors on lawnmowers typically have a displacement between 140cc and 190cc. Larger engines are more appropriate for thick, wet, or weedy grass but cost a little more than their smaller counterparts. There are also various engine types, such as side or overhead valves. Overhead valve engines are bigger, more powerful, quieter, smoother, and have better fuel economy. Side-valve engines are allergens, so they cost less and are used in more compact units.

Gas And Oil

Just like putting gas in your car, ensure you know how to add gas and oil to power the machine. They must be easy to use and effective at keeping debris out. Grass clippings can quickly ruin a motor if they enter the gas tank.

Air Filter

Good air filters prevent unwanted dirt and debris from getting into the motor and damaging it. Ensure the cover is easy to remove since checking and maintaining the filter must be done at a relative frequency as you own the equipment. More expensive mowers will have larger filters, making them ideal for dusty conditions. Less expensive mowers typically use a foam filter, which is usually fine for lighter-duty work.

Blade Brake and Clutch

For safety reasons, gas mowers turn off and stop the blade if the operator has to let go and step away for even just a moment. Some newer models, however, feature blade brakes and clutch systems that stop the blade but keep the motor running if the bail is released, letting the user walk away for a moment without having to pull the starter cord all over again. This is highly time-saving when sticks, toys, or other debris in the yard must be picked up while mowing.

Electric Mower Features

Cord or No Cord

Electric mowers can be corded or battery-powered, and each has strengths. Cordless models have more flexibility without being tethered to an outlet but are limited by battery life. Higher voltage batteries c push through higher resistance. There is a wide variety, starting at 20, 36, 40, and even up to 56 volts. Corded models can run as long as you need them to, but they require an extension cord, making them better in smaller lawns.

Minimal Maintenance and Noise

There will be no oil changes, new spark plugs, spilling gas, or forgetting to replace air filters. The primary repairs will just involve sharpening the blades. Without paying for gas, oil, spark plugs, and r pairs, the long-term savings will compensate for the higher price tag upfront.  

Light and Compact

Electric motors are much smaller and lighter than classic combustion engines, making them much safer to pick up and move around without getting hurt. Many models can fold in half and feature a second carrying handle on the front to make transporting them more accessible. Since they don’t have the risk of leaking fluid, they can be stored upright, which is almost nonexistent for gas models.

Green As Grass

No fossil fuels means heavily reduced carbon emissions and never worrying about oil changes.

Features of All Mowers

Clipping Disposal

What do you plan on doing with clippings as you work?

Mulching, side-discharge, or bagging are the three options on mowers, but not all feature them. A three-function mower has the best versatility, but not everyone might need it. Mulching returns nutrients to the soil, and bagging gives it a clean and polished appearance.

Washout Fitting

A washout nozzle allows you to connect a garden hose to the mower deck and wash accumulated grass clippings from under the deck. This feature on some mowers makes cleaning more convenient but unnecessary.

Front Caster Wheels

Caster wheels allow you to pivot a rear-drive mower on the back wheels. While most mowers have fixed-direction wheels, these rotate and allow greater precision in grass trimming. Still, they are complicated when height adjustment because the wheels must be moved independently rather than all at once.

Tall Rear Wheels

Taller wheels help the mower move more quickly through rough lawns and taller grass, but smaller wheels will still get the job done with a few more bumps.


Bail Lever

Mowers are pushed by force or have automated front or rear wheel drive. Manual push designs are better for small, flat lawns of less than 4000 square feet. Most electric mowers are push-driven, but Ego introduced self-propelled units a few years ago. Self-propelled lawnmowers are better for medium lawns. Rear-wheel drive mowers are the best when mowing on HLS since they have the most traction, while a front-wheel drive is ideal for flat lawns and offers more control.

Drive Control

Lever Drive

There are several methods to control the speed of self-propelled mowers. Bail arms are levers that are squeezed against the main handle. Some feature a thumb lever that is pushed to activate the drive, while others, such as the Toro Personal Pace series, allow the entire handle to be moved forward to increase or decrease speed based on the pressure placed on it.

Drive control determines the mower’s user comfort and maneuverability. For example, specific mower designs might be easier to control in corners or hills. Lever drive is good around trees and plants, and bail drive is best for wide-open areas.  

What to Consider Before Buying a Mower

Size and Slope Of Your Yard  

This will help you select a mower with front-wheel, rear-wheel, push-drive, or push-pull drive. A larger yard might also benefit from a gas engine, which doesn’t need lengthy extension cords and can be quickly filled if fuel runs low in the middle of the job. Meanwhile, smaller yards can easily be trimmed with an electric model.

Deck Material

Lawnmower decks can be made from steel, plastic, or composite materials. Steel is the heaviest duty and can withstand brutality, but it is heavy and prone to rusting. Plastic decks are very lightweight, making storage easy, but they can be brittle in cold weather and break the easiest. Composites are the strongest and lightest of the three options but have the highest price due to the materials used.

Weight and Storage  

Toro Smartstow Mower

With a few exceptions, gas mowers must always be stored flat on the floor, so they generally take up more space in the garage. They must be kept on the ground in case fluids leak and drip on anything below. Electric designs can be stored hanging up or standing vertically against a wall since they do not have oil and gas to drain out.  


It is essential to consider the setting in which you will be using it. If you are in a quiet neighborhood, an electric mower will not disturb the peace, while a gas engine is thunderous and will be heard from far away. The silence of electric mowers is also very safe, as you can listen to kids or animals playing nearby and ensure they remain at a safe distance.

In Conclusion

Now that you have a sense of which mowers are best suited for you take a look at the models we liked to find the perfect one. Whatever you choose will be a long-term investment, so take the time to figure out which will meet your needs. Don’t let your grass take control this summer, so ensure you get the right mower for the job, and always remember to do your best work.


  • Bethany Birchridge

    July 18, 2018 at 10:04 am

    I like how you mentioned that the type of mower you get should be compatible with the slope of your yard. I live on a hill, so I’ve been wondering which type of lawn mower would be best for my yard. These tips will really help my family and me out, so thank you for sharing them.

  • Levi Armstrong

    March 3, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    I find it helpful to know that electric mowers could be stored hanging up or standing vertically against a wall, making it an excellent choice for people who don’t have much space at home. My dad plans on buying a lawnmower for our home soon. Since we don’t have much storage space in our garage, I’ll suggest he gets an electric mower. Thanks for this.


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