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  • Honda HRN216VKA

  • Ego Power+ LM2135SP

  • How We Tested Lawn Mowers

  • What You Should Know About Lawn Mowers

  • Gasoline, Corded Electric, or Battery—Which Lawn Mower is Right for You?

  • Other Lawn Mowers We Tested

  • More Articles You Might Enjoy

Our Favorite Lawn Mowers of 2021

  1. Best Overall

    Honda HRN216VKA

    Pros

    • Powerful

    • Comfortable handling

    • Good for larger lawns

    Cons

    • Pricey

    Skip to the full review below
  2. Best Electric Lawn Mower

    Ego Power+ LM2135SP

    Pros

    • Environmentally friendly

    • Powerful

    • Comfortable handling

    Cons

    • Pricey

    • Battery limits operation time

    Skip to the full review below
A Honda HRN216VKA lawn mower is pushed across a green lawn.
Credit: Reviewed / Kevin Kavanaugh

The Honda HRN216VKA is the best lawn mower we've tested.

Best Overall
Honda HRN216VKA

After extensive testing, our overall pick for the best lawn mower is the Honda HRN216VKA, a 21-inch self-propelled gas mower. Honda has produced superior power equipment for many years and this mower, which operates with rear-wheel drive, is no exception. It can handle the toughest lawns with ease and won’t take up much room in the garage.

The set-up was easy and the mower started on the first pull. Its smooth running engine was quieter than the other gasoline mowers and it had more than enough power to cut and mulch the grass even while going uphill.

The Honda has a stacked and offset blade design that produces smaller clippings, which allows for better mulching and bagging. This means more efficient cutting and fewer stops to empty the bag. The bagging and mulching options can be easily and safely selected, once the mower is off, by using one lever on the mowing deck.

The innovative self-propel system is comfortable on the hands, provides adequate speed control, and can even be adjusted for those who are taller or shorter. Folding the handle for storage can be done quickly and the Honda even has a gas shut-off valve for off-season storage.

Pros

  • Powerful

  • Comfortable handling

  • Good for larger lawns

Cons

  • Pricey

An Ego Power+ electric lawn mower sits on a lawn.
Credit: Ego Power+

The Ego Power+ LM2135SP is the best electric lawn mower we've tested.

Best Electric Lawn Mower
Ego Power+ LM2135SP

Until a few years ago, those who preferred not to buy an internal combustion mower had little choice. But advanced battery technology has finally arrived and the benefits can readily be seen in the Ego Power+ LM2135SP, a 21-inch self-propelled electric mower. This cordless mower with a cutting width of 21 inches utilizes a 56-volt battery to power through up to 60 minutes of lawn cutting.

The Ego Power+ is powerful, comfortable, and a joy to use. Even though the battery only lasted about an hour, the mower performed extremely well mulching and driving itself uphill. It has plenty of torque and is capable of doing anything a gasoline-powered mower can do. It is clean, easy to use, and efficient.

The set-up on this mower was the easiest of the bunch. The handle slides and folds across the mower with ease, making storage a snap. Adjusting it to a personal height takes seconds.

A quick 50-minute charge on the battery and you’re ready to go. The battery charger even has a cooling fan that improves charging times and keeps the battery cool.

Like some of our other mowers, the Ego Power+ has twin blades that improve mulching and keep the trips to empty the bag to a minimum. Cutting height is achieved with one easy to access lever.

Operation is straightforward, and the composite deck makes the mower light and easy to maneuver around yard obstacles. Simply depress the power button, pull the green handle and the blades begin to spin. Dual buttons on the handle make engaging the self-propel feature safe and comfortable.

The Ego Power+ comes with LED headlights for convenience, and it was the only mower we tested that could propel itself when the blades were not spinning. This was a nice feature that eliminated pushing the mower back to the garage.

Pros

  • Environmentally friendly

  • Powerful

  • Comfortable handling

Cons

  • Pricey

  • Battery limits operation time

Related content

How We Tested Lawn Mowers

The Testers

Two testers stand with eight lawn mowers in a garage.
Credit: Reviewed / Kevin Kavanaugh

We spent the summer mowing a half-acre New England lawn, over and over again.

Kevin Kavanaugh is a retired public school teacher and a product tester for Reviewed. Kevin has been cutting lawns for just about 50 years. He has always been intrigued by all things mechanical, be it watches, power equipment, vintage bicycles, or classic cars.

Ray Lane is a retired supermarket store manager, avid golfer, and product tester for Reviewed. His lawn is the envy of Cumberland, Rhode Island, and he has used several push mowers over the years. At 82 years of age, his input on the mowers was critical, specifically when evaluating ease of starting, maneuverability, and safety.

The Tests

Two side-by-side images of a man pushing lawn mowers across a yard.
Credit: Reviewed / Kevin Kavanaugh

We tested lawn mowers on both flat land and hills to test maneuverability and power.

After ordering from retailers like Lowe’s and The Home Depot, we assembled each mower and took note of the ease of the set up and how quickly we could adjust the handle to our preference. We then added gasoline, a battery, or an electrical cord to get the mower ready. We evaluated at the ease of setting the cutting height, first testing a high cutting height and then a lower one.

We took each mower on a few passes of an uncut half-acre lawn, measuring approximately 22,000 square feet, noting how it cut at a high height and a lower height while we monitored both the bagging and mulching features. Then we took each mower up and down a grassy hill to see how they performed. Our final test was testing storage capability.

What You Should Know About Lawn Mowers

Eight lawn mowers sit on a green lawn.
Credit: Reviewed / Kevin Kavanaugh

Self-propelled lawn mowers can take some of the effort out of walk-behind mowing.

There are two basic types of walk-behind mowers: push and self-propelled.

The push type of mower is usually smaller, lighter, and easier to store. They are used primarily for smaller, more level lawns. They are perfect for cleaning up areas that larger riding lawn mowers may miss. They may be run by gasoline, cords, or battery.

Self-propelled lawn mowers usually have a larger cutting diameter and can move on their own through operator controls. These mowers can also be powered by gasoline, cords, or battery. Since they take the brunt of the pushing away, self-propelled mowers are perfect for larger lawns up to a half-acre, and they can easily handle hills and sloped lawns.

Gasoline, Corded Electric, or Battery—Which Lawn Mower is Right for You?

A hand pulls the green Ego Power+ lawn mower battery out of it's spot.
Credit: Reviewed / Kevin Kavanaugh

Battery-powered lawn mowers can be powerful and efficient.

Gasoline

Gasoline-powered lawnmowers have kept lawns manicured for decades. They are powerful, reliable, and affordable, and come with features such as self-propelled movement, mulching features, and self-cleaning availability. They are powerful enough for large lawn care jobs and can tackle any lawn from a quarter- to half-acre acre. Any lawn bigger than that would necessitate a riding mower.

But gas-powered mowers emit dangerous carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, require yearly maintenance, and require the storage of gasoline and oil. This may not be suitable for some consumers.

Corded Electric

Corded electric mowers have been around for years and were historically the choice of consumers who had smaller lawns and didn't need the more powerful gasoline mower. While powerful enough to get most cutting or trimming jobs done, the one obvious drawback to a corded mower is the electrical cord.

For any yard worthy of mowing, a long electrical extension cord is required to power the mower. This can be a minor annoyance, such as having to keep the cord free from getting tangled in trees and bushes, to a major annoyance when you drive over it and cut it into small pieces.

However, corded electric mowers require no gas, oil, or maintenance and, other than a blade sharpening from time to time, can perform reliably for years.

Battery

Battery-powered cars, power equipment, and tools have been around for a long time. The electric motors were strong and reliable enough, but the battery was not. Just a few years ago, an electric car could expect to go only 100 miles on a charge, and power tools and equipment didn't last long either. In the past few years, battery technology has improved by leaps and bounds.

Electric cars can expect hundreds of miles on a charge and power tools and equipment can last a full day. This lithium battery technology found its way to lawnmowers and it has created a viable option for those consumers who don't want gas and don't want a cord. These battery-powered mowers are powerful, efficient, lightweight, and green. Many now use brushless electric motors, which are more efficient, produce more torque, and are longer lasting than the older electric motors with brushes.


Other Lawn Mowers We Tested

Toro SmartStow Personal Pace Auto-Drive 21465

After testing both the Honda and Toro lawn mowers, we found it hard to name our favorite gas-powered model. It was that close. In the end, it all came down to how the mower felt during operation. Both mowers performed flawlessly through the tests, but the Honda maintained the edge.

The Toro has the largest cutting area at 22 inches, and is powerful and comfortable to use, thanks to its Personal Pace self-propel system. To engage the self-propel, simply push the lever forward a bit and the mower begins to move forward, push it a little more and the mower moves faster. After a couple of rows of cutting, you will see how easy it is to regulate speed. This system is not as intuitive as the Honda’s, but it still works quite well.

Another great feature: The Toro has Briggs and Stratton’s check-don’t-change oil system that never requires an oil change. Storage is also a snap as the handle folds down and the mower can be stored vertically.

Pros

  • Powerful

  • Comfortable handling

  • Easy to store

Cons

  • Pricey

  • Less intuitive speed control

Craftsman M140 CMXGMAM1125500

The Craftsman M140 lawn mower was a solid performer in each of our tests, but wasn’t an overall favorite due to its lack of self-propelled capabilities and weight distribution. On a level lawn this mower will get the job done, but on hills and around obstacles it was a bit more bulky than others we tested.

This is the only mower we tested that has the cutting deck cleaning system. Simply attach a garden hose to the connection on the mower, start the mower, and turn the water on. The deck is instantly cleaned within seconds. It’s a nice feature for this affordable, but capable unit.

Pros

  • Affordable

  • Powerful

  • Self-cleaning

Cons

  • Heavy

  • No self-propelling feature

Ryobi RY401150

The 21-inch Ryobi RY401150 40-volt brushless mower set up quickly and easily right out of the box. It includes double blades and cuts clean and clear.

This mower comes with two batteries that can be installed in the top of the machine. One notable drawback is that only one battery powers the mower at a time—cut your grass for approximately 30 minutes and when the first battery is depleted, you stop and move a switch to engage the second battery. Ryobi says that the batteries will last for 70 minutes, but stopping to change batteries seems counterproductive.

Otherwise, the mower performed well and completed all of the tests. It has a one-lever height adjustment and is light enough to maneuver around obstacles. It has plenty of power and handled the hill with little strain.

While both the Ego Power+ and Ryobi were solid performers on the electric front, the Ryobi was let down by its self-propel controls. The controls are located under the bar, but the lever is vague and unresponsive. Because the lever is designed for thumbs only, you need to push the lever in an awkward manner to get the mower up to speed.

Pros

  • Environmentally friendly

  • Powerful

Cons

  • Battery design is inefficient

  • Vague propel response

Greenworks 25022

For a corded mower, the Greenworks 25022 lawn mower performed quite well. The mower set up was easy and once it was plugged in, it fired right up.

Of course, before you use the mower there is the issue of finding your extension cord, unravelling it, and finding a suitable outdoor plug. This took some time. But once plugged in, the mower took on the task with ease.

It has a powerful 12-amp electric motor that may not conquer the back 40, but is perfect for smaller yards and trimming duties. Not being self-propelled, it took some effort to push the lawn mower and cord uphill and then navigate a path back so as to not cut the cord.

It is capable of clean and even mowing, and its small size makes storage a breeze.

Pros

  • Environmentally friendly

  • Powerful

  • Efficient

Cons

  • Corded

  • Not self-propelled

Troy-Bilt TB130 XP

The 21-inch Troy-Bilt TB130 XP lawn mower was our least favorite of the gasoline mowers. Set-up took longer than any of the mowers and, for storage capabilities, the handle had to be reattached in two different sections of the mower.

The mower handle never gave us the confidence that we had it right, and it was too small for the weight of the mower. Once the handle was set, the mower started on the first pull.

The Troy-Bilt is not self-propelled and is a bit on the heavy side, so even pushing it along the level grass took some effort. The hill was something else, indeed.

The Troy-Bilt does make a nod to the environmentally conscious consumer with its check-don’t-change oil system. Instead of draining used oil and trying to find appropriate disposal stations, Troy-Bilt uses an innovative air cleaner system that traps dirt and keeps the oil clean. Just check, add, and cut. The mower performed well, but there are better ones available for the price.

Pros

  • Check-don't-change oil system

  • Powerful

Cons

  • Not comfortable to handle

  • Heavy

Sun Joe MJ401E

The 14-inch Sun Joe MJ401E lawn mower is the least expensive of our mowers at just $99, and it is the easiest to store. Its diminutive size makes it the perfect lawn mower for small yards and trimming duties. It’s light enough to pick up and move and it comes with an easy-to-use bagging system.

Still, this is not a lawn mower for cutting the typical suburban lawn, as its light weight, short wheel base, and small wheels make it a little unstable over roots and ruts.

Of all of the lawnmowers tested, the Sun Joe provided the most difficulty when it came time to adjust the height of the blades. The mower utilizes solid axles, front and rear, and the axles are located in a three-notch system under the mower. To change the height of the cut, you need to pull the spring-loaded axles from their positions and move them up or down. It’s a challenging exercise.

The Sun Joe is corded, so cutting area is limited. To its credit, it’s powerful enough when running, but the limited scope means you would have a hard time tackling an entire yard.

Pros

  • Environmentally friendly

  • Affordable

  • Easy to store

Cons

  • Corded

  • Difficult to adjust height

Meet the tester

Kevin Kavanaugh

Kevin Kavanaugh

Contributor

Kevin Kavanaugh is a retired public school teacher and a product tester for Reviewed. Kevin has been cutting lawns for just about 50 years. He has always been intrigued by all things mechanical, be it watches, power equipment, vintage bicycles, or classic cars.

See all of Kevin Kavanaugh's reviews

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