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There is no single type of lawn mower. Rather, there are several different types of lawn mowers. When it comes to shopping for the best lawn mower for your lawn care needs, that can make for an overwhelming situation. The good news is that understanding the most common types of lawn mowers can make choosing the best lawn mower for your needs a more manageable task.

Riding lawn mowers on display, riding lawn mowers are among the most common types of lawn mowers and are the best lawnmowers for big yards
Riding lawn mowers. | Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

The most common types of lawn mowers to consider

According to Consumer Reports, the most common types of lawn mowers include push lawn mowers, riding lawn mowers, zero-turn mowers, and rear-engine riders. As you might expect, each type of mower is designed to meet various lawn care needs. 

Take, for example, riding lawn mowers. Riding lawn mowers can reportedly cut two to three times faster than most push gas mowers. As Consumer Reports explains, that makes them a good option for cutting bigger lawns. On the other hand, zero-turn mowers are controlled using a pair of levers, making them both easier to navigate and best suited for yards with lots of trees and garden beds.

Rear-engine riders are also among the most common types of lawn mowers. These types of lawn mowers are typically less expensive than riding lawn mowers. However, according to Consumer Reports, they often don’t cut as well. They aren’t nearly as quick at getting the job done either.  

The difference between gas-powered and electric lawn mowers

Now, among the most common types of lawn mowers, you’re bound to come across both gas-powered and electric lawn mowers. While the differences might seem obvious, one is powered by gas, and the other isn’t, there’s a bit more to it than that. 

Take, for instance, gas-powered mowers. Because gas mowers are powered by, well, gas, they often offer more power than electric mowers do, The Spruce reports. For the same reason, gas-powered lawn mowers are typically better at cutting long grass. The downside to choosing a gas-powered lawn mower is they use gasoline and engine oil, can be pretty noisy, and require regular maintenance.

Electric lawn mowers offer their own perks, reports CNET. While a gas-powered mower can be as loud as a motorcycle, electric lawn mowers are typically only as loud as a washing machine. Electric lawn mowers are also easier to maneuver and, because they aren’t powered by gas, don’t require as much lawn mower maintenance. 

These are the best type of lawn mowers for small yards

For yards up to about a quarter of an acre, Consumer Reports recommends choosing a push mower. You might also consider a self-propelled push lawn mower. Although this type of mower is often more expensive, choosing a self-propelled lawn mower can make mowing your lawn an even easier task.

As for the best lawn mowers for small yards? Consumer Reports recommends a few different options. Among the best push lawn mowers are models like the Ryobi RY401200 ($480), the Honda HRN216PKA ($400), and the Toro Recycler 21332 ($269.)

Consider these types of lawn mowers for big yards

Consumer Reports recommends a wide-deck self-propelled mower or a rear-engine rider for yards about three-quarters of an acre or more. While a wide-deck self-propelled mower can save you time mowing your lawn, rear-engine riders are basically smaller riding lawn mowers that don’t use as much storage space.

As for Consumer Reports’ top-rated picks for these types of lawn mowers? Those include the Troy-Bilt TB WC28 ($800) and the Cub Cadet CC30e ($2,800.) The Troy-Bilt TB WC28 is a wide-deck self-propelled lawn mower, while the Cub Cadet CC30e is a rear-engine rider. 

How to choose the best lawn mower for your yard

Choosing the best lawn mower for your yard doesn’t have to be an impossible task. In fact, once you understand what the different types of lawn mowers actually are, choosing the best type of mower for your lawn isn’t all that difficult.