How Consumer Reports Chooses the Best Lawn Mowers for the Season

Choosing the best lawn mower for your yard can be tricky unless you know which type you need, like a mulcher, rider, or push-behind. Consumer Reports helps you narrow down your search by testing various models for you and letting you know which are the best lawn mowers according to their testing. How do they review their models, and which ones are their top picks for 2022?

Finding the right lawn mower for your yard

A walk behind push mower mowing tall grass with shot taken at ground level. Could be the best lawn mower.
Lawn mower | Getty Images

Choosing the right type of lawn mower boils down to the size of the yard you’ll be mowing. For a quarter of an acre or smaller, Consumer Reports recommends using a battery-operated push mower. These are great for keeping your lawn looking fresh without dealing with the maintenance of a gas-powered unit.

If you need to mow an area around half an acre, a gasoline push mower will work best, but some battery-operated ones can handle the amount of charge required to get the job done in one fell swoop. 

According to Consumer Reports, for the lawns more than half an acre, you’ll want to consider a riding mower, as they can cut the property in a fraction of the time it would take if you used a push-behind unit. If you have a lot of bushes and trees to mow around, a zero-turn mower will help you out tremendously. 

How Consumer Reports tests the lawn mowers, they review

To get you their test results in time for your spring shopping, Consumer Reports use land in Florida, where they go in late winter to test out various models. For their testing purposes, the reviewer planted 1,800 lbs of grass seed, mostly annual rye, in an area with 500,000 square feet of dense grass. 

They run models in three modes: mulching, bagging, and side-discharging, to see how each machine handles the task. To get a more accurate view of its performance, they take the unit over slopes, ditches, and level ground to see how each one takes on the different types of terrain. 

They take all the performance scores and add them with the predicted reliability ratings and owner satisfaction information gathered from surveys received from those who own the brands or models tested. 

The recent data collected came from 62,000 different mowers, which were purchased between the years 2011 and 2021. The total includes approximately 32,500 gas-powered mowers, 11,500 battery-operated push behind units, and 17,500 lawn tractors. 

Which mowers did Consumer Reports consider their top picks?

For the 2022 mowing season, Consumer Reports released their top picks for lawn machines. When it comes to the battery-operated units, they recommend Greenworks M080L421 and the Echo LM 2135. 

The John Deere X354 got the highest rating in the rider mower section. However, the Gravely ZT HD 48 991152 received the highest score in the zero-turn category. 

When it comes to lawn mowers and tractors, Consumer Reports has a handle on which ones perform well and offer plenty of value for your money. They can also tell you which ones just don’t make the grade, so you can save your cash and look for something better. 

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