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Cheap Lawn Mowers Buying Guide
With summer upon us, you may be in the market for a cheap lawn mower. If so, you've got plenty of options.
The best cheap mowers we found are the electric Black & Decker MM275 (starting at $162, Amazon) and the gas-powered Toro 20371 (starting at $299, Amazon), followed by the Scotts 2000-20 Classic Reel Mower (starting at $113, Amazon) and the Craftsman 37041 gas mower (starting at $266).The first thing experts recommend is to match the lawn mower to your lawn. For smaller yards -- less than half an acre -- a riding mower or lawn tractor would probably be overkill. Unmotorized blade-spinning reel mowers and cheap electric mowers are best suited for relatively flat areas no larger than about a quarter acre (approximately 11,000 square feet). Noisier and more powerful, but still cheap, gas mowers work well for larger yards, especially those with some ups and downs.
A consumer satisfaction study by J.D. Power and Associates shows that Honda and John Deere mowers top the chart but rank highest in price. (Note that frugal shoppers can find a variety of cheaper models that boast a Honda or the well-regarded Briggs & Stratton engine.) Toro and Snapper lawn mowers rank next in the study for performance, ease of use, durability, maintenance, and warranty, followed by Black & Decker, Husqvarna, Craftsman, Cub Cadet, and Lawn Boy. Yardman receives one of the top rankings in price but lowest in overall satisfaction, along with Poulan, Weedeater and Yard Machines. The cheapest lawn mower brands, like Poulan, Weedeater, and Yard Machines, also rank lowest in quality in the J.D. Power report.
Cheap lawn mowers cost less than pricier models because they're smaller and offer fewer frills (e.g., no discharge bag or, on gas-powered models, no key-start). On some, the components simply fall apart and the unit doesn't hold up. If you want a good cheap lawn mower, first decide how much effort you want to expend. A reel mower requires 100% manual power, for example, and a self-propelled mower requires storing gas and dealing with maintenance-hungry engines. Lawn mowers cost more when they produce finer mulch, include an electric start, and have a more robust engine that can cut tall, heavy grass. Thrifty homeowners can make do with less and still find a cheap lawn mower that meets their needs.
Each category of budget mower has its advantages and disadvantages when it comes to power, blade width, ability to handle a slope, cutting performance on various grass types, and ongoing maintenance. We discuss all this on the following pages. (Residents of California have to consider required carbon emissions laws when making their purchase and generally find a different selection of models to choose from.)
Best Cheap Lawn Mowers
Black & Decker MM275For a small yard, this corded electric mower receives overwhelmingly positive reviews for its lightweight 38 pounds and easy storage, start-up, and stopping. Some users take issue with having to manage the cord, but most reviewers prefer that to replacing a battery or dealing with gasoline. Six cutting heights, from 1 to 3.5 inches, can be adjusted for all wheels at once with one lever. The side bag attachment is sold separately. A 6.5 amp version is lighter and cheaper. Read more »
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Toro 20371The Toro brand lives up to its name with this gas-powered mower, which boasts a standard 22-inch cutting blade, a variable speed self-propelled drive system, 11-inch rear wheels, and a washout port for attaching a hose to clean underneath the decking. Users like the price, ease of use, and front-wheel drive. Read more »
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Good Cheap Lawn Mowers
Scotts 2000-20 Reel MowerThis noiseless reel mower provides a classic low-tech (as in, person-power) grass-cutting solution. It's easy to maintain and store, and cuts without tearing the grass. Like other reel mowers, the Scotts 2000-20 has a cutting gap (the space between the wheels and blade), so you may need to make more passes. This 20-inch model doesn't work as well on tall grass, but users find it sufficient and even desirable for small yards. Read more »
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Don't Bother Cheap Lawn Mowers
Despite having all the makings of a good mower, with its Honda engine and Husqvarna name, this one misses the mark. Several users report front springs flying off and others complain that the blade cuts into the outer decking when the handle is lifted to shift weight to the front wheels for pivoting.
Ariens 2-in-1 Review
Husqvarna 38450 Review
Scotts 2000-20 Reel Mower Review
Craftsman 37041 Review
Black & Decker MM275 Review
Toro 20371 Review
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