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Different Types of Lawn Mowers

Lawn mowers are an essential investment for ensuring a beautiful lawn. There are different types of lawn mowers and when shopping for the right lawn mower for your needs, it is important to consider the size and shape of your lawn, as these will determine what type of mower suits your lawn the best.

How To Choose The Right Lawn Mower For Your Yard


A general rule of thumb when choosing a lawn mower is to consider the size of your lawn. The bigger your lawn is, the larger you will want your mower to be to accommodate the size of your property.

Different Types of Lawn Mowers

Lawn mowing is very critical to keep your yard in top shape. If you’re having a hard time which type of mower is ideal for your backyard, or which brand you should go to, here are some helpful tips to get you going.

Let’s start by thinking about your lawn as a tennis court, a lawn that is roughly the size of a court will be considered medium, half the size of the court will be small and anything beyond that will be a large lawn.

Now that we know what size of lawn we are working with, let’s take a look at the different types of lawn mowers to choose from.

Push Lawn Mower

Push mowers are ideal for small yards of less than ¼ acre, or about half the size of a tennis court

Push mowers are ideal for small yards of less than ¼ acre, or about half the size of a tennis court. They are great, low-maintenance and reliable options if you don’t have a lot of yard to tend.

Some key features to highlight with push mowers are their versatility and convenience. Push lawn mowers, sometimes can serve as mulching mowers, often include mulch kits that help you groom your lawn by cutting grass clippings, lawn and leaf debris into finer smaller pieces that can then be used as natural, nutrient-rich fertilizer for your lawn.

Many push lawn mowers are also fitted with a folding handle that makes storage easy and convenient as it won’t take up too much space in your garage. As the name indicates, you do need to use your own strength to push it across the lawn.

It’s also worth mentioning that reel mowers would fall into this category as well. These are manual push mowers where the blades spin vertically rather than horizontally and have no engine.

They are the most inexpensive option, but definitely require some effort. If you have a very small urban lawn they might be the perfect option given their tiny size and ease of maintenance.

Walk-Behind Mowers

Lawn mower is a complex tool, so it is very important to use and maintain it correctly

For years, powered walk-behind lawn mowers have been dominating the list of the top options for mowers. These are two-stroke powered mowers that can serve you for years, provided adequate care is provided.

Usually, these walk-behind mowers come in 20”- 22” sizes. Before buying, make sure that you accurately measure your yard gate’s width or your shed door so you can easily maneuver your mower through.

Aside from the width, other key features you need to look on include:

Gas or Electric

While gas mowers offer more power and have longer run-time than the electric ones, these are quite messy and require a lot of maintenance than their electric counterparts.

Corded or Cordless Electric Mowers

They are more comfortable to operate and clean, but for the cordless versions, you need ample batteries to avoid running out of power in the middle of your mowing.

For the corded versions, your mowing is limited by the cord’s length and sometimes, these cords can cause trouble to mow around.

Here is our review on the best corded electric mowers on the market

Self-propelled or Pushed

If you go for a self-propelled mower, do you prefer two-wheel or all-wheel drive? The all-wheel-drive option gives you more power, especially when mowing inclined spaces.

However, they are heavier and difficult to maneuver. Self-propelled mowers help you get the mowing job faster with minimal effort.

Cutting Type 

Walk-behind lawn mowers have three different ways of grass clippings. Mulching—where the grass is finely cut and eventually broken down and provides nutrients into the soil; the side discharge—which throws the clippings back on the lawn; the bagging—which collects the grass clippings to a bag, and then disposes it with yard waste.

Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Woman using a lawn mower with mulching function

Advancements in technology and engineering have made traditional lawn mowers more convenient through the creation of self-propelled mowers. These mowers require no extra elbow grease on your end, so you can make quick work of larger or hilly yards.

Self-propelled lawn mowers have variable-speed systems that let you cut at a comfortable pace. You can choose front-wheel, rear-wheel and all-wheel drive transmissions so you can tackle any terrain with ease.

With a self-propelled lawn mower, the machine will cut the grass for you, propelled on its own, and all you have to do is guide it. Cutting decks tend to be a bit larger than the average push mower, but the more complex setup also entails more maintenance.

Compact Riding Mower

For lawns that fall somewhere in the middle of small and large, we recommend a compact or mini riding mower. These machines deliver the same strength and durability as a more traditional lawn tractor but with a compact design.

This machine is the perfect choice for someone with a yard that is too big for a walk-behind mower, but doesn’t warrant the use of a full sized riding mower or residential zero-turn.

It will allow you to cut your lawn comfortably, faster, and can be conveniently stored in your garage or large shed once you’re done.

Riding Lawn Mower

Lawn tractors are popular and versatile riding mowers that are durable and versatile with added attachments

If your yard is definitely larger than a tennis court, heading up to the size of a football field or more, a riding lawn mower will make cutting grass feel like a walk in the park.

These are the right lawn mower for people who mow their lawns for more than two hours. These riding mowers come with rear-mounted motors to help you have a comfortable mowing experience. 

Lawn tractors are also significant upgrades because these machines have very powerful motor engines, and are equipped with hook up attachments like aerators, spreaders, or even snow throwers.

Riding mowers work like cars and can be operated with minimal effort and optimal comfort. Lawn tractors are popular and versatile riding mowers that are durable and versatile with added attachments like baggers, dump carts and spreaders that make riding lawn mowers year round machines.

Additionally, a riding lawn mower is a great option for homeowners with hilly yards. These machines feature bigger tires and better centers of gravity that will hold traction on those steep slopes and lead to a cleaner cut.

Major manufacturers will have a full lineup to choose from, for example Troy-Bilt offers lawn tractors ranging 36” to 54” cutting deck sizes.

Zero-Turn Lawn Mower

Zero-turn mower is a type of mower that allows you to maneuver around obstacles with ease and precision, and make very tight turns at the end of each pass.

If you have a large yard with many obstacles to mow around, a zero turn mower is one of the best devices to utilize. Zero-turn mowers reduce mowing time and allow you to maneuver around obstacles with ease and precision, and make very tight turns at the end of each pass.

Zero-turns can get close to obstacles, reducing the amount of time that you’ll spend on trimming later. On top of the smooth ride zero turns provide, the cushioned, high-back seats and foam grip lap bars provide extra comfort and support, so you can sit back and enjoy the ride.

Some manufacturers offer steering wheel zero-turn mowers for a more car-like driving experience as well. There are other less common mower options available as well that might make sense.

For instance, full professional landscaper grade machines might be best for the high end user with huge areas that need to be mowed.

Robot Lawn Mowers 

Robot lawn mower is the right lawn mower for people who don't have enough time to mow their lawn

At the other end of the spectrum, robot lawn mowers, similar to the popular robotic vacuum cleaners, are starting to make a place for themselves in the mower market. This type of mower is the right lawn mower for people who don't have enough time to mow their lawn or would rather to enjoy their weekends doing something else. 

Once the lawn is established, it will need mowing around 20 times per year to maintain optimum height. According to commercial lawn care specialist, JBL Services, your lawn needs to be mowed weekly in summer, every two weeks in spring and fall, and monthly in winter. 

Now Your Know the Different Types of Lawn Mowers to Choose From

Before buying a lawnmower, it helps to try as many options as you can. Make sure also that you select a manufacturer such as Briggs and Stratton parts, who provides the best services and proper care and maintenance for your backyard machine.

About the Author Pat Moreno

Pat is our gardening tool expert here at Sumo Gardener. Working for many years as a private and commercial landscaper, Pat has used almost every type of gardening tool there is. Along with a vast knowledge for types of plants and putting together an amazing looking and maintainable garden, Pat developed a passion for gardening tools as he found that using the right tools vastly improved the ease and outcome of any landscaping job he undertook. When spending hours, days or years using a particular tool, you want to make sure you’ve got the best one for the job, and Pat is the right guy to guide us to the best gardening tools.

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1 comment
Greta James says December 13, 2021

I have an acre of land but there are several trees on the property which makes mowing difficult. Thanks for the idea to get a zero-turn mower to help get around obstacles and spend less time trimming. I love my trees and think that this type of mower would be a great option so I can enjoy having them even on lawn mowing days.

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