Consumer Reports' Peter Sawchuk tests all kinds of lawn mowers. His lab? Acres and acres of grassy fields in Fort Meyers, Florida. He says there's a mower for every lawn. "Most important is to consider the size of your property. If you have a larger property, that is it takes you more than a half an hour to mow your lawn, then you should consider a self-propelled mower." Consumer Reports says opt for a self-propelled mower with rear-wheel drive.
Mowers with front-wheel drive have more trouble with hills. The wheels spin out. Some manufacturers are touting all-wheel-drive mowers. While they do handle hills without glitches, there are drawbacks.
Peter Sawchuk "First, you're paying a little bit more for it. Secondly, it's a little bit more complicated, so there's more than can go wrong with it." Mower speeds are another consideration.
A single speed like this recommended Lawn-Boy costs 330-dollars and is great for smaller yards. Its electric start makes it easier to start. However, mowers with two or more speeds let you adjust to conditions - faster to cover more ground in larger areas and slower for better cutting in thicker grass.
Some good choices - this rear-wheel-drive Troy-Bilt for 370-dollars from Lowe's and this 400-dollar Honda from Home Depot, also with rear-wheel drive.
Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.
All Consumer Reports Material Copyright ©2014 Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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