Complete Buyers Guide for Backyard Lawn Mowers

If you haven’t seen my Take Back Your Yard post please go review it so you do not make the same mistake I made.  Being a new home-owner is hard, and expensive.  If you go cheap (as I previously did) then you will wind up spending more money on the proper tools you need.  You will also have the cheaper, non-used tools clogging up all your valuable square footage.   For the purposes of this article I will be NOT be covering any manual mowers.  The focus here is to provide you with an EASIER job, not necessarily a cheaper job, although cost is one of the factors here.  I also will not be reviewing any electric corded mowers.  While these may be powerful enough to get the job done, and very good mowers, I do not consider them very convenient, as you do have to have a cord that can reach your entire yard, along with also doing quite a bit of cord management while you mow, so as not to run over and cut your cord.  For our purposes then, we are looking at gas and electric battery mowers.

Please see directly below for my Quick-Pick of the top 3 backyard mowers.  For more information on why I picked these three, read the extended reviews below.

Greenworks 14" Electric

4/5
Greenworks 14 inch electric

Pros and Cons

  • Battery Lasts: 1 Hour
  • Quiet
  • No Winterizing
  • Price Range: $200
  • Misses blades of grass
  • Not Self-Propelled

EGO 21"
Electric

4/5
Ego 21 inch electric

Pros and Cons

  • Adjustable Height Handle
  • Bigger Blade
  • Quiet
  • No Winterizing
  • Price Range: $470
  • Not Self-Propelled

PowerSmart 21" Gas

4/5
PowerSmart 21 inch gas

Pros and Cons

  • Best for Tall\Tough Grass
  • Bigger Blade
  • No Recharge Needed
  • Price Range: $170
  • Noisy
  • Need to Winterize

More Details - Convenience

The biggest thing I have considered here is convenience.  I do not like mowing the yard.  I do not like the sun, or the outdoors.  I do not like a tall lawn.  It hides my yard, and critters from me, which makes me worry about letting my dog out, as I am not sure what he will bring back.  The mowers I have chosen are meant to be more convenient than not.  I want to spend as little time mowing as possible, but I still want to have a short manicured lawn.  

If you have a little extra to spend, the battery powered electric mower is much more convenient.  Electric mowers do not require any winterizing.  As long as you have a good stiff brush to wipe them down after use, that is the only real maintenance that is required (other than charging the battery).  For longer jobs, you may be required to have an extra battery on hand, or take a break in between to charge.  

Out of the two electric mowers listed above, you are really only constrained by cost.  If you want a low end electric, then you can purchase the Greenworks mower.  It has a smaller blade, and will require more time to complete your mowing, and may be the best fit for smaller lawns (or smaller budgets).  If you have the money though, and are really looking to shave some time off, then the EGO 21″ is the one to choose.  It has a larger blade, and more power, which means quicker completion.

More Details - Price

If you are on a really tight budget then you will want to pick up a gas mower (like the one recommended above).  This will allow you to get the grass cut in the least amount of time, while also not taking a big chunk out of your wallet.  Do not make the mistake I originally did, and buy a gas mower without the bag.  Having the bag will make your job much easier, as you will not have to worry about gathering all of the freshly cut grass.  Since the gas mower is the least expensive of the three, spend a little more money on one that comes with a bag, or buy the bag separately if it is not included.  A gas mower is the best choice for you if you have grass that grows really quickly, as it will handle taller grass easier.  It also handles the tougher types of grass easier.  The trade-off on the gas mower though is that you will have to winterize it.  This means that you will have to empty the fuel for the fall\winter season when the mower will be in storage.  You will need to dispose of any gasoline you use through spring and summer, and then buy more when spring comes around again.  You will also need to have oil on hand, as it is a gas motor and requires lubrication.  This too will have to be emptied before winter. 

Greenworks 14" Electric

The Greenworks 14″ Electric mower is a very good entry level tool for the smaller yard.  It comes with a battery and charger, and the battery lasts for about an hour on a full charge.  This should be able to move through your entire yard on one charge.  For slightly larger yards you may have to take a break and recharge your battery, or have a spare battery on hand so you can just swap and go.

I prefer the electric mowers over the gas mowers as you do not have to worry about having a gas container on hand.  The benefit of not having to smell the fumes during preparation or mowing more than make up for the difference in price.  When I add to that the level of noise electric mowers generate verses the same size gas mower, I saw even more of a benefit. Another great advantage to the electric mower in general is the maintenance.  When I am done in the summer, all I need is a good stiff brush to clean the mower.  I do not need to empty gas from the machine, or oil the parts.  

An issue I see with this machine is that occasionally it does miss blades of grass which means I sometimes have to mow over that spot again.  I believe this is due to the nature of the spin-down speed on the blades when the grass is thinner.  Again, since this machine is smaller and lighter, this is not so much an issue, as an inconvenience.

EGO 21" Electric

When I was ready to upgrade to a high quality electric yard tool, I could not do better than picking myself up an EGO.  This premium mower also does carry a premium price tag.  It does offer more convenience over the previous Greenworks model though.  

With the battery life lasting around 50 minutes, I thought I might be losing out here.  The difference in blade size though did make the job quicker to complete, so I was able to finish my small yard on the same amount of charge.  The larger the yard, the more you will benefit from the extra blade length.  

Another great advantage is the convenient adjustable height handle.  This is perfect for those of us that are a bit taller (like me) and make the mowing just a bit easier, as I was not hunched over as much.  It’s all about the little things.

Since the mower is a bit larger, the downside here is that the mower is not self-propelled.  On smaller yards this shouldn’t be an issue, but on slightly larger areas it may be better looking into a mower that has that feature.

PowerSmart 21" Gas​

I chose the PowerSmart 21 inch gas model for budget reasons.  When your main priority is low cost, then you will need to choose a gas mower.  

This mower has a 21 inch blade, and can make quick work of your small yard.  Once I start the mower it usually takes me about 10 minutes to mow my small yard.  For this size mower you may want to look into a self-propelled model for larger yards, but for my small yard, this wasn’t something I needed to consider.

The best thing I can say about this mower is that it does not need to be recharged.  Since the yard takes about 10 minutes if I mow weekly, then I don’t often have to worry about gas fill-up.  

When the end of summer nears though, you will have to worry about emptying the gas and oiling the spark plugs before storing it away for the winter. 

Gas mowers are noisy.  Gas mowers are dirty.  Gas mowers are smelly.  Gas mowers are inexpensive.  

Conclusion

Keeping your lawn short and neat is not an easy task.  When it comes to mowers you really do get what you pay for.   You can only ever really choose two from the following list.  Which depends on your lifestyle, so what will it be?

  • Inexpensive
  • Quick
  • Low Maintenance

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