Man in a store thinking about how to choose a lawn mower.

Top 4 Tips For How to Choose A Lawn Mower

8 minutes

A good lawn mower can make all the difference between an okay lawn and a great one. Don’t worry though, we’re going to help you figure out how to choose a lawn mower that’ll do just that.

How To Choose A Lawn Mower – What To Consider

Two different types of lawn mowers facing one another in a yard.

What makes a good lawn mower? Plenty, and we’re going to break it all down for you.

1. The Type Of Lawn Mower

There are quite a few different types of lawn mowers. Each has its benefits, so let’s get to them.

Riding Lawn Mowers VS Walk-Behind Lawn Mowers

First up, should you go with a riding lawn mower or a walk-behind lawn mower? That depends on how big your lawn is. There’s no certain area that requires one or the other, but there is an estimate.

If the area you have to mow is less than .25 acres (~1,011.71 square meters), then use a walk-behind lawn mower. If it’s bigger than .25 acres (1,011.71 square meters), use a riding lawn mower. For reference, 1 acre (~4,046.86 square meters) is slightly smaller than the size of an American football field, approximately 300 feet (91.44 m) by 160 feet (48.8 m).

Still, would you ever want to consider a walk-behind lawn mower for an area bigger than .25 acres (~1,011.71 square meters) or a riding lawn mower for an area that’s smaller? In some cases, yes.

If you don’t mind the job taking longer and putting in a little extra work, go with a walk-behind lawn mower for a bigger area. If you struggle with back pain or other issues, you might want to consider a riding lawn mower for a smaller area.

Lawn Tractors VS Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers

If you decide to get a riding lawn mower, you’ll need to decide between a lawn tractor and a zero-turn lawn mower. So, which one do you go with?

Lawn tractors are better for bigger yards since they have more power. They’re also good for dealing with hills.

Zero-turn lawn mowers are better for smaller yards that require lots of turns. They will not deal with uneven yards as well, but they do tend to be more expensive.

Push Lawn Mowers VS Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers

Going with a walk-behind lawn mower instead of a riding lawn mower? Great, now it’s time to decide if you want a push lawn mower or a self-propelled lawn mower. If you don’t know, push lawn mowers require you to move them whereas self-propelled lawn mowers just need you to steer them. So, why would you ever want a push lawn mower?

First of all, push lawn mowers are lighter than self-propelled lawn mowers and they cost less. They also work better for smaller areas and they’re simpler machines. That means they have less that will go wrong and need repair.

Self-propelled lawn mowers, on the other hand, will make larger areas much easier to handle. Also, they produce smoother cuts since they move at the same speed across the whole lawn. So, there are multiple things to consider for both of these types of lawn mowers.

Gas Lawn Mowers VS Electric Lawn Mowers

Another set of lawn mowers to consider is gas versus electric. Let’s start with the traditional model: gas.

Gas lawn mowers are usually more powerful than electric lawn mowers. They’re also typically built to be tougher too.

Electric lawn mowers, on the other hand, are quieter and have fewer maintenance needs. They’re usually also lighter in weight. Plus, they have fewer carbon emissions. So, depending on what you want, either a gas or electric lawn mower can suit your needs.

Corded Lawn Mowers VS Cordless Lawn Mowers

If you decide to go with an electric lawn mower, you’ll need to consider if you want to get a corded or a cordless one. In general, cordless lawn mowers are better, but if your yard is less than 100 feet in all directions, a corded lawn mower might work better since they won’t run out of power.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you’ll probably need more than one battery for your cordless lawn mower. Batteries also come with different run times as well.

2. Engine Size

There are all kinds of lawn mowers on the market, and there are all kinds of situations for which they’re needed. For example, a lawn mower with an engine cylinder of 140cc is enough to trim a small-sized lawn. Getting a lawn mower with a 190cc engine cylinder would be overkill. So, consider lawn mower performance when getting a lawn mower.

3. Comfort

Comfort goes beyond a walk-behind lawn mower versus a riding lawn mower. For example, if you’re considering a walk-behind lawn mower, look for one with a comfortable handle. As you’re probably well aware, mowing the lawn can take over an hour in some cases. An uncomfortable handle can make an already challenging experience even more so.

If you’re getting a walk-behind lawn mower, you’ll also want to check the height of the lawn mower handle. That, and you’ll want to check to see how smooth it cuts the grass too.

If you’re looking at riding lawn mowers, definitely look for ones with comfortable seats. Also, you may want to look into how easy they are to operate. This will be especially true if you’ve never used one before.

4. Drive Type

Ground-level closeup of a lawn mower from the rear and side.

Not all lawn mowers drive the same, just like cars. Let’s get into what makes them different.

Front-wheel Drive

These lawn mowers are moved forward by the front wheels. They’re best for flat lawns with lots of turns. They’re also cheaper than either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive lawn mowers.

Rear-Wheel Drive

Rear-wheel drive lawn mowers are moved forward by the rear wheels. They’re best for uneven, hilly lawns that don’t require a lot of turning. They’re more expensive than front-wheel lawn mowers.

All-Wheel Drive

All-wheel drive lawn mowers use all 4 wheels to move forward. They’re best for hilly lawns and are better than rear-wheel drive lawn mowers at turning, but not front-wheel drive lawn mowers. They also cost the most.

So, What Lawn Mower Should I Get?

Store associate helping a customer figure out how to choose a lawn mower.

There’s no one best lawn mower. It all depends on your situation. Let’s look at some examples.

Have a smaller yard but it’s hilly? You might consider a self-propelled lawn mower. Even though the yard is smaller, it can be exhausting to deal with all those hills.

Don’t want to make frequent trips to get gas, but also have a huge lawn to cut? You might want to consider an electric riding lawn mower.

In the end, our recommendation is to make a list of all the things you want in a lawn mower. Then make another list of all the things you need in a lawn mower. Compare the two against all the different lawn mowers out there until you find the one you both want and need.

How To Choose A Lawn Mower – Biggest Mistakes People Make

What are some mistakes most people make when it comes to how to choose a lawn mower? Cost, yard size, and how much they’ll have to mow.

1. Cost

The first mistake people make is worrying too much about the cost. Yes, it makes sense to get the best deal, but a cheap lawn mower can turn into a lot of costly repairs too. Look for lawn mowers that will cost an amount you’re comfortable with, but remember they’re something that will be with you for a long time. Sometimes it’s worth it to spend a little more in that case.

2. Yard Size

There’s no need to get a lawn mower that’s built for a lawn that’s bigger than yours. Although it’s tempting, they can cost more, require more fuel, and require more maintenance. It’s best to get a lawn mower that’s built for a yard your size.

3. How Much They’ll Have To Mow

Certain grasses grow faster. This can be even more true if you take care of your lawn with fertilizers and treatments. Keep this in mind, especially if you’re considering a push lawn mower.

4. How Much Time They Have To Mow

How much time do you have during the week to mow your lawn? It’s easy to think you have more or less time than you do. It might be worth it to sit down and think this out since certain lawn mowers will do the job faster than others.

In Conclusion: How To Choose A Lawn Mower

Getting a good lawn mower for your situation is an important purchase. Thankfully, when it comes to how to choose a lawn mower, you now have everything you need to make the best choice. We’re curious though, what are your needs and wants for a lawn mower? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Todd L Miles
Lawn Mowers Enthusiast
I started "Landscape and Lawns Care" to provide clients with lawn care with better service, better products and, most importantly, better ethics. My promise to every customer is to give the greenest grass possible while controlling weeds, insects, and diseases! The most important thing is that I strive to always do the right thing for you, your lawn and your wallet!