Different Types of Lawn Mowers: Which Should You Use?

Types of Lawn Mowers
Image by Canva Photos

In the market for a new lawn mower but uncertain which type of lawn mower is the right choice for you? After all, how different could the types of mowers really be? It turns out, there are a lot of different types of mowers, and even more to consider when choosing the mower that’s right for you. We’re here to help. From classic push reel mowers to the robotic lawn mowers of the future, this is what you need to know.

1. Push Reel Lawn Mowers

Push Reel Lawn Mower cutting tall grass
Image by Canva Photos

The classic push reel lawn mower has been around since the early 19th century. Totally human powered, these are the most simple and straightforward of all the different types of lawn mowers, requiring no gas or electricity, just sweat equity and muscles.

When pushed from behind, simple gears inside these types of mowers spin up to eight spiraling blades that pass by a stationary blade at the rear of the mower. Working in tandem, these blades cut your grass. Push reel lawn mowers are more than adequate for small yards, and they do save money on fuel, not to mention carbon emissions. They’re also a great workout.

However, some with mobility issues find them difficult to use, and they aren’t very well-suited for rough, hilly, or uneven terrain.

2. Gas Powered Lawn Mowers

Red Gas Powered Lawn Mower In Yard
Image by Volok Hatiuk / Canva Photos

Self-propelled and otherwise, gas-powered lawn mowers are perhaps the most common kind of lawn mower. The self-propelled features of most models make them easier for all sorts of people to use, of all ages, and with all different kinds of physical abilities. 

They also offer more power than push reel mowers. They even typically have more power than an electric mower — corded or otherwise. Among other aspects of their construction, these mowers also have bigger wheels, making them the best choice for big yards or rough ground. The added power also makes them better-suited for overgrown vegetation. 

There are two different kinds of gas-powered lawn mowers: reel and rotary. However, rotary lawn mowers are somewhat more common since they’re less expensive than the reel variety. Gas-powered lawn mowers require fuel, which can be costly and produces carbon emissions that are harmful to the environment.

3. Electric Lawn Mowers: Corded and Cordless

Orange Electric Lawn Mower Cutting grass
Image by Andrii Borodai / Canva Photos

Somewhat less powerful than gas-powered lawn mowers, but usually providing more than enough juice for the average suburban lot, electric lawn mowers are made both battery-powered and corded. Corded lawn mowers are pretty affordable, but the fact that they’re tethered to a power cord means they’re only usable in a small space, which isn’t always practical. 

Offering more room to roam, cordless or battery-powered lawn mowers, on the other hand, are nearly just as powerful as their gasoline-guzzling cousins, and they start with the simple push of a button. The primary advantage of an electric mower is that no fuel is required. Even corded lawn mowers use a negligible amount of energy. This makes either kind of electric mower the best choice for the environment. 

4. Riding Lawn Mowers and Garden Tractors

Man on Orange Riding Lawn Mower
Image by Canva Photos

The next type of lawn mower is a riding lawn mower, sometimes called garden tractor, though there are some subtle differences. Most importantly, garden tractors are somewhere between a riding lawn mower and a tractor. They offer enough power and versatility for larger spaces. 

On the other hand, riding lawn mowers offer the comfort and convenience of mowing medium to large lots from the comfort of a seated position, and often with a bonus like a drink holder or even some shade!

More than anything, if you have a lot of acreage with hills or tight corners, a riding lawn mower can help, with many offering a zero-turn radius. Most are gas-powered, but some are electric, which is always a better choice for the environment. They’re also an excellent solution for seniors, or anyone with mobility issues.

5. Robot Lawn Mowers

Gray Robot Lawn Mower returning to Hub after mowing
Image by Natalia Bodrova / Canva Photos

You’ve heard of a robot vacuum cleaner, but have you heard of a robot lawn mower? Yes, you read that right. Robot lawn mowers let you kick back and sip some lemonade while they do all the hard work for you. 

Battery-powered, these lawn mowers can be scheduled and send an alert to your device if they should happen to get stuck, and otherwise are very precise. They’ll sense when they’ve approached the boundaries you’ve established, and even find their way back to the dock when it’s time to recharge. So if you have a small, flat lot, like the outdoor space in a condo complex, for example, it could be time to skip the mower altogether and let a robot do it!

What to Look For:

As well as the different types of lawn mowers, here are features to consider before choosing a lawn mower:

1

Mower Deck

Ranging from around 10” on up to 66” in a riding lawn mower or a garden tractor, the mower deck refers to how much area your mower will cover in a single pass — the smaller the deck, the more time it might take to more a given area. In comparison, a larger deck will get the job done most quickly. For these reasons, it’s important to factor in the size of your lot, lawn, or acreage before settling on a lawn mower.

2

Cutting Height

If you only mow your field a few times a year, you’ll need a mower with a pretty high cutting deck to handle the taller grass. If you have a small area or mow, if you mow frequently, or if you like your grass to be mowed high ‘n’ tight, a lower cutting height should suffice. Conveniently, most mowers offer an adjustable cutting height. 

3

Comfort

From mowing the yard while seated to other ergonomic features common in all different types of lawn mowers, comfort and ease of use play an essential part in your lawn mower buying decision. Don’t pick a mower you can’t use safely and comfortably, or due to a mobility issue or physical limitation, a mower you can’t use at all.

4

Price

The last point is cost. In addition to the initial cost of the mower, don’t forget fuel, oil, spark plugs, and general upkeep — all things that you’ll need to pay for to keep your mower running. 


Further Reading

Electric vs. Gas Lawn Mower
Electric vs. Gas Lawn Mowers: Which Is Better?
Best Riding Lawn Mowers
The 6 Best Riding Lawn Mowers
Best Robot Lawn mower
The 10 Best Robot Lawn Mowers
Best Battery Powered Mowers
7 Best Battery Powered Lawn Mowers
Best Riding Mowers for Hills
Best Riding Lawn Mower for Hills
Lawn Tractor vs Garden Tractor
Lawn Tractor vs. Garden Tractor: What’s Best for You?