Best Lawn Mowers

Most people have never mowed 700,000 square feet of grass or bagged 3,000 pounds of grass clipping. Consumer Reports' testers have in order to find the best lawn mower for your yard.

Peter Sawchuk of Consumer Reports tested more than 50 lawn mowers.

Sawchuk says, "We tested three different kinds of mowers-gasoline-powered push, gasoline-powered self-propelled, and electric mowers. For most lawns, the gasoline-powered, self-propelled mower is the best choice."

Whichever mower you get, you want one that cuts grass evenly.

Sawchuk says, "We actually get down on our hands and knees to check the grass. An ideal cut looks just like a carpet."

And mowers that mulch shouldn't leave clumps of grass on the lawn.

Good features to look for include rear-wheel drive, which improves traction going uphill. And "infinite drive" is another helpful feature.

Sawchuk says, "Infinite drive allows you to vary your speed faster or slower without shifting."

And a washout port lets you attach a hose to the mower, which makes cleaning it a lot easier.

You also want a reliable mower. Consumer Reports' survey of 34,000 subscribers who've bought a self-propelled mower in the last five years found a problem with ones from John Deere. About a quarter needed repairs.

When all the testing was done, Consumer Reports found several good choices, including the Toro Recycler 20332.

Sawchuk says, "This Toro Recycler's got all the features you need. It's one of the more reliable brands of self-propelled mowers. And at $350, it's a real value."

Gas-powered push mowers are fine for smaller, flatter lawns and for trimming.

A good one is the Husqvarna 6021P. It's a Consumer Reports Best Buy at $200. You can find it a Sears under the model number 38451.


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