Top Lawn Mowers

To keep the grass in Paris trim this summer, the city is using...sheep! Apparently they're efficient, and cheap. If that option doesn't work for you, Consumer Reports has some excellent lawn mower choices for you to chew on.

Keeping your lawn cut can be a big job, dragging your mower out dozens of times a year. To help you find mowers that are easier to use...

Consumer Reports' testers put their backs into it at the company's Florida test site, mowing 18 acres of grass with more than 45 mowers. The easiest to use-the self-propelled mowers.

Peter Sawchuk of Consumer Reports says, "It'll get the job done faster, and it'll save you energy."

A self-propelled mower with variable-speeds is good for speeding across flat sections of lawn, and slowing down for tough grass.

One feature to avoid...big wheels.

Sawchuk says, "A popular misconception is that large wheels make it easier to mow. However, they're moved further back, making the mower heavier to push down on every time you go to turn the mower. Here's the same-sized mower with the smaller regular wheels. And it's much lighter to push down every time you turn."

After months of testing, Consumer Reports found several good choices.

The 400-dollar self-propelled Honda HRR2169VKA is a Best Buy. The unique twin blades chop the grass into fine clippings that blend into the lawn when you mulch. And the Honda is also much more efficient at bagging.

Sawchuk says, "These clippings are smaller, so that this bag will hold four, sometimes even five pounds more clippings than any other mower."

Another good choice is the 330-dollar Troy-Bilt TB-320 12AVC35U. Like the Honda, it has rear-wheel drive, which helps on hills.

And its single-lever height-adjuster makes it easy to change the cutting height.

And check this out-you can attach your hose to easily rinse away built-up clipping.

Consumer Reports says a push gas mower is fine for small, flat yards. You'll work a little harder, but that can save some money on a gym!

Consumer Reports named several push gas mowers a Best Buy, including the Craftsman model 37432 for 220 dollars.

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