Consumer Reports finds best, worst mowers


Keeping your lawn cut can be a big job, especially when you're dragging your mower out dozens of times a year. To help you find mowers that are easier, Consumer Reports put many to the test to see whichs ones are a cut abouve the rest.

Consumer Reports' testers put their backs into it at the company's Florida test site, mowing 18 acres of grass with more than 45 mowers. The easiest to use are the self-propelled mowers.

"It'll get the job done faster and it'll save you energy," Consumer Reports' Peter Sawchuk said.

A self-propelled mower with variable-speeds is good for speeding across flat sections of lawn, and slowing down for tough grass. One feature to avoid is big wheels.

"A popular misconception is that large wheels make it easier to mow. However, they're moved further back, making the mower heavier to push down on every time you go to turn the mower. Here's the same-sized mower with the smaller regular wheels. And it's much lighter to push down every time you turn," Sawchuk said.

After months of testing, Consumer Reports found several good choices. It says the $400 self-propelled Honda is a best buy. The unique twin blades chop the grass into fine clippings that blend into the lawn when you mulch. And the Honda is also much more efficient at bagging.

"These clippings are smaller, so that this bag will hold four, sometimes even five pounds, more clippings than any other mower," Sawchuk said.

Another good choice is the $330 Troy-Bilt. Like the Honda, it has rear-wheel drive, which helps on hills. And its single-lever height-adjuster makes it easy to change the cutting height. And you can attach your hose to easily rinse away built-up clippings.

Consumer Reports says a push gas mower is fine for small, flat yards. You'll work a little harder, but that can save some money on a gym! Consumer Reports named several push gas mowers a best buy, including the Craftsman Model 37432 for $220.

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