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Husqvarna Automatic Lawn Mower Best-Selling Product in USA (2020 Year)

Husqvarna Automatic Lawn Mower Best-Selling Product in USA (2020 Year)
Husqvarna Automatic Lawn Mower Best-Selling Product in USA (2020 Year)

Advanced 4-wheeled robotic mower for larger & more complex grass areas. Suitable for medium sized areasup to 1/3 acre & can also handle slopes with an incline of 40%. smart technology adapts the amount of mowing to the lawns growth rate, enables spot mowing of a limited area of longer grass & guides the mower through narrow passages.

Husqvarna 315 Automatic Lawn Mower Review

Popular Mechanics performed a great gas-mower test in 2019, but only a few of their top-ranked mowers are still available. We found recent tests of three cordless Smart Automatic Lawn Mower at Mother Earth News, plus excellent in-depth reviews of robotic mowers at a retailer site, Bamalots.com. The Consumer’s Digest review of lawn mowers also covers electric as well as gas mowers, but doesn’t document any testing.

husqvarna automatic mowerWe supplemented these comparison reviews with reviews of specific lawn mowers, including manual reel mowers, by the landscaping guide at About.com, and from dozens of users reviewing mowers at Amazon.com, Epinions.com, and Abby’s Guide.com. These user reviews also give a good picture of how well specific mowers hold up over years of use. Experts say that most powered mowers last an average of five to seven years. Electric mowers (corded and cordless) are quieter and need less routine maintenance than gas mowers, but we found quite a few user complaints about difficulty getting parts and service for electric mowers.

Husqvarna 315 Automatic Lawn Mower
Advanced 4-wheeled robotic mower for larger & more complex grass areas. Suitable for medium sized areasup to 1/3 acre & can also handle slopes with an incline of 40%. smart technology adapts the amount of mowing to the lawns growth rate, enables spot mowing of a limited area of longer grass & guides the mower through narrow passages.
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Video Husqvarna 315 Automatic Lawn Mower

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The Best Smart Automatic Lawn Mower

Also covered in this report are manual reel mowers; reel mowers are inexpensive, need no power source and are earth-friendly. When kept sharpened and oiled they can last for decades. But reel mowers aren’t the best choice for a large or bumpy lawn, and you don’t have any options for bagging or mulching. Robotic mowers, also known as automatic mowers, are also gaining in popularity. Although they are very expensive, robotic mowers can be cost-competitive compared with paying a lawn service. Although users report these are a lot of fun to operate, they don’t often do the best job of actually mowing the lawn. Riding lawn mowers are covered in our separate report on lawn tractors.

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Specifications

Working Area: 0.37 Acres
Battery Type: Li-ion
Charging Time: 60 min
Sound Level: 58 dB(A)
Weight: 19.8 lbs
Dimensions: 9.8 x 24.8 x 20.1 INCH
Cut Width: 8.7 INCH
Cut Height: 0.8 – 2.4 INCH
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Types Of Lawn Mowers

Mowers vary in whether or not they can mulch, discharge, or bag the grass clippings. Experts say you can cut fertilizer needs by a third by mulching the clippings. Side-discharging also fertilizes the lawn, but leaves a messier appearance. Bagging eliminates this problem, but the bags get heavy, and emptying them makes extra work. Bagging is useful in the autumn, though, for collecting chopped-up leaves for a compost pile. Reviews say some mowers bag better than others.

husqvarna robotic mower

Husqvarna robotic mower

Most people are familiar with gas mowers, but there are several other types that have advantages and disadvantages.

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Self-propelled gas mowers

These mowers have powered wheels, so you don’t have to do all the pushing yourself. They are recommended for those with lawns up to about .5 acre. They come with a regular pull start or an electric start. Some have a blade override, which lets you stop the blade without cutting the motor. Along with fuel costs, gas mowers need regular cleaning and maintenance. At about 95 decibels, they are noisy enough that you should consider using hearing protection. Emissions are another concern; the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates that a typical gas mower emits as much air pollution per hour as eleven cars. You can minimize emissions by choosing a mower with a 4-stroke engine that meets the California Air Resources Board (CARB) emissions standards.

husqvarna autonomous mower

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Gas-powered push mowers

Recommended for lawns up to about one-third of an acre, push mowers take more muscle to operate, and they’re easiest to use if you have a flat lawn. Although push mowers can bag clippings, experts suggest using them in mulching or side-discharging mode so you’re not trying to push 30 or 40 pounds of bagged clippings along with the mower.

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Corded electric lawn mowers

These mowers offer easy starting and at 75 decibels, they are much quieter than a gas mower. Corded electric mowers also offer the lowest long-term cost, lightest weight, and least air pollution of any mower except manual reel mowers. The obvious downside is that you have to deal with the cord. In addition, most electric mowers cut an 18-inch wide path as opposed to the 21-inch paths on gas mowers, so you’ll need more passes to cut the same size lawn. A 12-amp corded mower is about as powerful as a 5.5-horsepower gas mower.

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Cordless electric lawn mowers

Though more expensive than a corded mower, a cordless lawn mower gives you more flexibility and range, since you aren’t tethered to a cord. Unfortunately, their lead-based batteries aren’t very environmentally friendly, and they need replacement every couple of years. As with corded mowers, some owners say it’s harder to find replacement parts and get repairs than with a more common gas mower.

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Manual reel mowers

An option for small lawns, and for those with no intention of bagging, these are about as quiet as you can get. Manual reel mowers need little maintenance, and owners say they are fun to use. They work best for small flat lawns.

Though expensive, robotic mowers require almost no human guidance. Prices start at about  (the better mowers cost at least ), and there’s a lot of setup involved, since you have to lay wire around the perimeter of your yard. We cover these mowers in our report on robotic lawn mowers. If your lawn is more than .5 acre, you might consider a riding mower; these are covered in our report on lawn tractors.

Husqvarna 315 Automatic Lawn Mower
Advanced 4-wheeled robotic mower for larger & more complex grass areas. Suitable for medium sized areasup to 1/3 acre & can also handle slopes with an incline of 40%. smart technology adapts the amount of mowing to the lawns growth rate, enables spot mowing of a limited area of longer grass & guides the mower through narrow passages.
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Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers

Self-propelled lawn mowers have become the most popular type of walk-behind mower. While they are still more expensive then push mowers, some budget models don’t cost much more than a push mower. Lawn-mower reviews recommend self-propelled models for hilly yards or lawns up to about half an acre. For most lawns larger than half an acre, you might prefer a riding mower, though you may need a walk-behind mower to use for trimming areas the riding mower can’t reach. (See our separate report on lawn tractors.)

Reviews usually rank Honda and Toro self-propelled mowers at the top, with Lawn-Boy, John Deere, Craftsman and Husqvarna mowers in the middle of the pack. MTD brands like Troy-Bilt, Bolens, Yard Machines and Yard-Man usually rank more toward the bottom, and have poorer repair records over the years.

If you often mow a lot of wet or tall grass that you don’t want to mulch, review say the very best lawn mowers for bagging are the Honda HRX mowers. You can use one lever to set the discharge at any point between full mulching and full bagging, so you can choose to bag just part of the clippings. Both professional and user reviews say this system works extremely well, and the HRX mowing deck, made of high-impact Xenon, carries a five-year warranty. The HRX217HXA has a recoil start; to get an electric start (which operates with a key) you have to move up to the top-of-the-line Honda HRX217HMA . Both have cruise control in addition to variable speed, and reviews say they bag extremely well. One drawback is that both users and experts have criticized the Honda HRX mowers for a handle that’s too long for most people. Even though the length is adjustable, it can still get in the way.

The Honda HRR216K3VXA  is the top-rated mower in Honda’s new HRR series. The Honda HRR mowers have a new slip-proof transmission and user-friendly design. Experts say the Honda HRR mowers are more comfortable and easier to maneuver then the more expensive Honda HRX series. The trade-off is that the HRR mowers don’t have the same sophisticated bagging options as the HRX mowers. The Honda HRR mowers also use just one lever to adjust the cutting height for both rear wheels, which carry the most weight. The handle swings up for easier bag emptying and mower storage. Mulching leaves requires a screen, but it’s very easy to insert between the mower and bag when needed.

All these Honda mowers carry a two-year warranty that extends to three years if you register it online. They also have a blade override system, which lets you stop the blade without cutting the motor — handy when you need to pause to empty the bag or move an obstruction.

Toro Personal Pace mowers also get excellent reviews. These self-propelled mowers vary the speed according to the user’s walking speed, without needing to press any special levers or handles. While the Honda HRR mowers let you vary the mower’s speed with either the left or right thumb, the Toro Personal Pace mowers don’t require even that.

Reviews vary as to the particular 21-inch Toro Super Recycler model they recommend, but all are guaranteed to start on one or two pulls for five years, and all carry a five-year warranty. The Toro Super Recycler mowers maneuver, mulch and bag as well as the Honda HRR mowers, and side-discharge even better. Reviews highlight both the Toro Super Recycler 20055 , and the Super Recycler 20056. The latter adds a blade override system to keep the engine going when you make a brief stop. According to Consumers Digest and other reviews, the Toro 20056 does an excellent job of mulching. The top-of-the-line Toro 20058  includes the blade override and an electric start. Another top mower, the Toro 20057  has a recoil start and no blade override, but it does have a traction-assist handle — useful if you have a hilly yard. This handle is available as an extra option for the other Toro mowers.

The less expensive Toro Recycler 20070 lacks the blade override system, but has an electric start and the same Personal Pace system used on the more expensive Toro mowers. Two recent reviews recommend it as a great budget choice. For slightly less money, you can get the Toro Recycler 20017 , with a recoil starter guaranteed to start right away for the first two years. These mowers use a Tecumseh engine that was recalled in April, 2006 for fuel line repairs, but currently available mowers aren’t affected. The Toro Recycler mowers carry only a two-year warranty, but Toro mowers have a good repair record overall, and reviews recommend them as a budget choice.

If you have a flat lawn but lots of obstacles or bumps, reviews recommend a front-wheel drive mower like the 22-inch Craftsman 37606 =. You can bear down on the handle to lift the front wheels, and the extra-large 12-inch wheels are helpful over uneven terrain. The Craftsman 37606 mower uses the Briggs & Stratton Quantum engine that makes for easier starting (by eliminating manual choking and priming), plus a fuel cap that dispenses fuel stabilizer into the gasoline automatically. The Consumers Digest review is especially enthusiastic about these two features. Popular Mechanics’ review of an earlier self-propelled Craftsman found that the drive system didn’t work smoothly, but the more recent Consumers Digest review doesn’t comment either way.

Husqvarna 315 Automatic Lawn Mower
Advanced 4-wheeled robotic mower for larger & more complex grass areas. Suitable for medium sized areasup to 1/3 acre & can also handle slopes with an incline of 40%. smart technology adapts the amount of mowing to the lawns growth rate, enables spot mowing of a limited area of longer grass & guides the mower through narrow passages.

In general, reviews rank Craftsman, Lawn-Boy, John Deere, and Husqvarna self-propelled mowers more in the middle of the pack, but Craftsman mowers have a better than average repair record. Repair reports from users suggest that Lawn-Boy, Snapper and MTD-made mowers such as Bolens, Troy-Bilt, and Yard-Man may be less reliable. However, users at Amazon.com give the Lawn-Boy Insight 10686 mower a unanimous 5-star rating. (Other reviews say Lawn-Boy mowers handle well, but don’t mulch as well as Toro and Honda mowers.) Reviews also suggest avoiding mowers that bag only at the side instead of the rear, since this not only makes the mower harder to maneuver, but can make it tilt so the cut is uneven.

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Gas-powered push mowers

Push mowers are less expensive than self-propelled mowers, and if pushing a mower isn’t a problem for you health-wise, push mowers are recommended for lawns up to a third of an acre. In general, push mowers need fewer repairs than self-propelled mowers, which use more complicated drive systems.

The 21-inch Lawn-Boy Insight 10683  is praised in reviews for its even cutting and good handling. It’s easy to adjust the handle height, and the handle folds up for storage. If you end up needing to use a bag, it attaches easily with one hand. Users like the way the Lawn-Boy wheels are inset to allow the mower to trim closer to edges than most mowers. The Lawn-Boy has a two-year warranty, but historically, Lawn-Boy push mowers are more prone to breakdowns than Craftsman, Toro or Honda push mowers.

If you mow often enough that you can mow in mulching mode, less expensive mowers may be a good buy. When used in mulching mode, the 21-inch Craftsman 38886 works very well, though reviews say it bags poorly and can’t side-discharge clippings at all. The 12-inch rear wheels assist in going over bumpy terrain — a feature the About.com lawn mower review says is underrated. The Craftsman mower also has a new FreshStart fuel cap that dispenses fuel stabilizer automatically. Maximum cutting height is 3.5 inches, which reviews say is a bit short.

Reviews give several Yard-Man push mowers get good marks as budget choices when used in mulching mode, though they don’t cut as evenly as the Lawn-Boy above, or bag or side-discharge as well either. In addition, Yard-Man mowers have historically been more repair-prone than Craftsman mowers. The Yard-Man 435D or 11A-435a701  is the top budget mower in the Consumers Digest review. It bags, mulches, and side discharges, and carries a two-year warranty.

The Yard-Man 11A-439Q  gets good marks for handling. It bags, mulches, and side discharges, but one review says it doesn’t bag very well. The Yard-Man 589R  has high rear wheels, like the Craftsman mower above, and a user reviewing it at Amazon.com says it’s reliable and easy to start. It bags and mulches, but doesn’t side-discharge.

Reviews rank the Lawn-Boy Insight 10683  higher than the Craftsman 38886  or any of the Yard-Man mowers, but for more, you could get a budget self-propelled mower like the Toro Recycler 20070 . If your budget narrows the choice to the Craftsman 38886 or the Yard-Man brand, the Craftsman has a better reputation for durability. But a Yard-Man could be a good budget choice if you really need the side-discharging option.

Reviews usually don’t cover the more expensive Toro and Honda push mowers, but both companies make push mowers with good records for durability. While we found no reviews covering it, the Toro Super Recycler 20053 push mower  is guaranteed to start on the first or second pull for five years, and carries a full five-year warranty overall.

Electric lawn mowers
Like gas mowers, corded electric mowers use a rotary blade that slices horizontally across the grass. Bagging clippings is not their strong suit, but if you mow often enough, it’s better to leave the clippings to fertilize the lawn anyway. Experts rate corded electric mowers as approximately equivalent to a 5.5 horsepower gas engine, so they have roughly the same power. Of course, your lawn has to be small enough for you to reach all of it with a 100-foot cord. An electric mower shouldn’t be used in wet conditions at all, and even in dry weather, experts recommend using an outlet with a Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI).

Electric mowers vary in the way they guide the cord to keep it safely away from the blades. Most Black & Decker mowers fasten the cord on one side of the handle, so you have to flip the cord around when you turn at the end of a row. The 18-inch, 12-amp Black & Decker MM675  has a handle that flips front to back, so at the end of a row you just flip the handle instead of turning the mower around. The feature gets mixed reviews from users; some criticize the way it makes you mow over the last row’s clippings, making the work harder. There’s an optional side bag available for the Black & Decker, but side-bagging can make the mower tip to one side when the bag is full. Experts prefer rear-bagging – not an option on the Black & Decker mower.

Quite a few users posting at Amazon.com prefer the design of the 18-inch Yard Machines 18A-717-700. The 2006 version of this mower is the Yard Machines 18A-717-800 . Owners like its cord guide, which slides from one side to the other when you turn the mower around. Reviews like the handle adjustment better, too. The cord length on this mower is limited to 50 feet, however, and it can only mulch (with kit included) or side discharge, so bagging is never an option. The 19-inch Yard Machines 18A-407-000  or Yard Machines 18A-V17-800 are 12-amp mowers that can use a 100-foot cord; both can mulch or bag to the rear.

Husqvarna 315 Automatic Lawn Mower
Advanced 4-wheeled robotic mower for larger & more complex grass areas. Suitable for medium sized areasup to 1/3 acre & can also handle slopes with an incline of 40%. smart technology adapts the amount of mowing to the lawns growth rate, enables spot mowing of a limited area of longer grass & guides the mower through narrow passages.

To use a longer cord, you have go with a less powerful mower. The only mowers we found that are supposed to work with a 150-foot cord are the 8-amp, 13-inch Yard Machines electric mower, the Yard Machines 18A-C06-700 or Yard Machines YM136 . These similar mowers all have a hard plastic grass catcher in the rear. The maximum cutting height is only 2.5 inches, and the handle doesn’t fold back for storage. Despite the long cord option, users say it’s really only useful for a small area.

Made by Black & Decker, the 12-amp, 19-inch Craftsman 37051  has a one-lever cutting-height adjustment that gets a lot of good comments in reviews. This mower also gets good reviews from users posting at Amazon.com and Epinions.com. The polymer deck carries a lifetime warranty. This 12-amp Craftsman electric mower is heavy (49 pounds), and reviews say that although it can bag to the rear, it doesn’t do this very well. Like most electric mowers, it’s better at mulching than bagging. The handle folds down for easier storage. Maximum cord length is 100 feet.

 

Owners complain about customer service, parts delays, and repair difficulties for both Black & Decker and Yard Machines electric mowers. Both brands carry two-year warranties, but that’s not much comfort if you’re waiting for a part. Owners actually recommend checking the availability of nearby repair service before buying an electric mower. More reviews favor the Black & Decker MM875 than any other model, so we’ve included it in Fast Answers.

Cordless lawn mowers
Though more expensive than a corded mower, a cordless lawn mower gives you more flexibility and range, since you aren’t tethered to a cord. However, most cordless mowers use lead-acid batteries, whose manufacture contributes as much to air pollution as do gas mowers; but the pollution happens at the battery factory instead of in your backyard. Proper battery disposal is important; they can be recycled like auto batteries. Batteries need replacement after a couple of years of use. Runtime ranges from about 45 minutes to an hour, enough for yards of about 1/3 acre. As with corded electric mowers, cordless mowers work best if you don’t let your grass get too high between mowing.

Reviews recommend the 24-volt 19-inch Black & Decker CMM1000, saying it outperforms the corded Black & Decker MM875 for even cutting. A review by the landscaping expert at About.com says it also does a good job mulching fall leaves. It’s similar in design to the corded Black & Decker mowers, with a polymer deck and one-lever cutting-height adjustment. At 76 pounds, this mower is no fun to push up hills, however. Owners at Amazon.com say it doesn’t have enough power to cope with thick St. Augustine grass, but they praise its overall comfort and low vibration. A major drawback noted in the Mother Earth News review is that the cutting height setting can slip after the mower hits a bump. Still, the review says this is a better choice than its two main competitors, the Neuton cordless and Sunlawn Brill Accumower ASM380.

The 14-inch Neuton Cordless Mower, which also uses a lead-acid battery, is the number one choice at Consumer Digest. At 48 pounds, it weighs less than the Black & Decker, but it also has a much narrower cutting path. The Neuton runs about an hour on a full charge. Height adjustment uses one lever, with a maximum cutting height of 3.5 inches, and handles are easy to retract for storage. There’s a six-month money-back trial period, plus a three-year warranty. A major drawback is that there have been three recent recalls (in 2002, 2004, and 2006) of Neuton cordless mowers for wiring problems that can cause the blade to keep moving after the mower has been turned off.

The 15-inch Sunlawn Brill Accumower  is actually a reel mower powered by a 24-volt NiCad battery with a runtime of only about 30 minutes. It weighs only 29 pounds, so if the battery runs down it can be pushed like an ordinary reel mower. Like the Neuton mower, the Sunlawn cordless mower can share a battery with a string trimmer. If you mow more than 3,000 square feet at a time, you might want the extra battery , but the mower is really intended for tiny areas. The Brill Accumower’s maximum cutting height is only 1.5 inches.

Sunlawn also makes the EM1  that has a maximum cutting height of 2.25 inches and weighs 35 pounds. We found no reviews yet for this new mower, but the manufacturer recommends it for all grass types on lawns up to 12,000 square feet (a little over a fourth of an acre), and says the battery can fully recharge in only six hours. Both Sunlawn cordless mowers have blades that can go five to eight years without sharpening, and carry two-year warranties.

The 40-amp Global Neighbor WhisperCut cuts with a quiet scissors action, and a sophisticated computer detects twigs and other debris so it won’t throw them. We found no reviews of this relatively new cordless mower, just information from a press release. Nor have we found any reviews of the 24-volt Task Force cordless mower, or the Sun Whisper mower , a Black & Decker mower fitted with solar panels. The solar panels are mounted directly on the mower, but an optional kit can place the solar panels on a garage or shed roof, so the mower recharges itself during storage. (See our Best Research section below for links to articles on how to adapt an electric mower to solar power.)

Manual reel mowers
Reel mowers are as quiet as you can get, and they don’t throw up any dust or debris as you mow. The newer reel mowers do a much better job than older models, not only for ease of pushing but for evenness of cut. If your lawn is in good shape, without a lot of tough weeds, and you’re willing to mow regularly, a reel mower is an option. They don’t work well on bumpy lawns or on long grass or weeds, however. The rule of thumb is that a push lawn mower is practical for flat lawns up to a quarter of an acre in size (about 11,000 square feet).

The best reel mower depends on the type of grass you have. Five-bladed reel mowers are designed for upright grasses like fescue, tall fescue, St. Augustine, rye, and similar types. For bent, creeping grasses like Bermuda, Zoysia, or Centipede, you need a seven-bladed reel mower.

The main professional reviews favor the five-bladed reel mowers that offer the highest maximum cutting height, saying that cutting grass too short can sometimes cause heat damage. Reviews recommend the 20-inch Scotts Green Classic (also sold as the Scotts 2000-20,) partly because it has a maximum cutting height of 3 inches. Its width is close to that of most rotary mowers, so you cover the ground as fast. Although it weighs about 30 pounds, reviews say it is relatively easy to push. The cutting height is easily adjusted using two levers, and there’s a shrub bar in the front to keep low-hanging bushes from getting caught in the blades. The blades normally need sharpening only every year or two, and a home sharpening kit is available. A mesh grass catcher is also available, but this accessory gets poor reviews at Amazon.com, where users say it doesn’t stay on securely or catch the grass well. However, users like the Green Classic mower itself, praising it for ease of use and even cutting.

The American Lawn Mower Company makes Scotts reel mowers, along with Great States and Craftsman reel mowers. The18-inch Craftsman 37619  is almost identical to the Scotts Green Classic, but it is two-inches narrower. A less expensive 5-bladed reel mower, the 16-inch Great States 415-16 , also called the American Lawn Mower 1415-16, uses a 1.75-inch roller behind the main 10-inch wheels instead of the extra 6-inch wheels, and adjusting the cutting height requires more work. The maximum cutting height is only 2.5 inches.

The main competitor to these mowers is the 15-inch German-made Brill Luxus 38. The maximum cutting height is only 1.8 inches, but users mostly love this 17-pound mower, raving about how easy it is to push. The light weight can be a mixed blessing because some users complain that the mower wheels tend to slide or drag instead of turn, causing a skip in the cutting. But the Brill Luxus has some other advantages. The flame-hardened steel blades don’t need sharpening for ten years, and it’s also reported to be the quietest reel mower available.

The similar 16-inch Sunlawn MM-1  weighs 25 pounds and has a 2.8-inch maximum cutting height, and it’s supposed to go seven to ten years without needing sharpening. It’s so new that we found no reviews of it.

If you have thicker bent grass like Bermuda, Zoysia, or Centipede, you need a seven-blade reel mower like the 16-inch American Lawn Mower 1705-16 . These tough grasses are healthiest when cut short, so this mower has a maximum cutting height of 2.25 inches. It weighs about 27 pounds. The Great States 705-16 mower is essentially the same; we’ve found that prices for the same reel mower vary a lot among retailers. The McLane 17-inch Push Reel Mower , tosses the clippings forward so they’re cut twice for finer mulching (or into an optional front grass catcher). One user posting at Amazon.com notes that it doesn’t handle really thick Bermuda grass very well. The American Lawn Mower 1705-16 gets better reviews.

Husqvarna 315 Automatic Lawn Mower
Advanced 4-wheeled robotic mower for larger & more complex grass areas. Suitable for medium sized areasup to 1/3 acre & can also handle slopes with an incline of 40%. smart technology adapts the amount of mowing to the lawns growth rate, enables spot mowing of a limited area of longer grass & guides the mower through narrow passages.
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Important Features: Lawn Mowers

The latest lawn mower reviews say that most current gas-powered mowers are easier to start than older mowers, and many have a high-dome design that helps cut the clippings into finer mulch. Reel mowers are also easier to use than older manual models. Experts suggest considering the following factors when buying a gas or electric lawn mower:

For gas mowers, horsepower and engine brand don’t make much difference. The latest reviews say that all the major brands (Honda, Tecumseh, and Briggs & Stratton) perform very well; just beware, for now, of Chinese engine brands, which don’t perform as well in reviews.

Some mowers minimize trimming. Lawn-Boy mowers earn praise for the way the wheels are set in, allowing you to mow close to an edge. At the other extreme, reel mowers leave about a six-inch edge to be trimmed.

Rear-bagging mowers are more convenient and easier to maneuver than side-bagging mowers. Reviews say some mowers are much better at bagging than others. The bagging option is especially useful in the fall, for chopping up leaves for the compost pile.

An electric starter is also convenient. The latest reviews say that most lawn mowers start more easily than ever, but you may still prefer an electric start, especially if pulling a recoil card strains your hands or arm. You do have to keep a battery charged, so some electric-start mowers also have a recoil start as a backup in case the battery runs down.

A blade brake override adds convenience. Federal law requires that a powered mower shut off the blades as soon as the handle has been released. Most mowers fulfill this by shutting off the engine, but that can be inconvenient if you just want to stop for a moment to empty the bag or move something out of the way. A blade-brake override stops the blades, but keeps the motor running.

The best self-propelled mowers have variable speed or several speeds. This is not only more comfortable, but can make for a more even cut, since a mower with only one speed may go too quickly to cut tall or tough grass evenly.

For cordless mowers, lithium batteries are best, followed by NiMH, but most use lead-acid batteries.Lead-acid batteries pollute the air during manufacture, and cause additional pollution if they’re not recycled with care. NiCad batteries have cadmium, so they should be recycled carefully too. Right now the only lithium-powered mower we found is robotic (addressed in our other report on robotic mowers).

Be aware of safety factors. Corded mowers should be used with a ground fault interrupter (GFI) on the cord or outlet to prevent shock or fire resulting from mixing water with electricity. Gas mowers require hearing protection and precautions to prevent sparks and fire. Any powered mower can throw rocks or other debris at high speed, so alertness is needed. Robotic mowers have the best safety record so far, and reel mowers are also considered safe. Register your mower so you’ll be alerted right away in case of a recall.

Consider environmental factors. Reel mowers have no environmental impact. Corded electric mowers are next least polluting overall, followed by lithium-powered or NiMH-powered cordless mowers. Gas mowers cause the most noise and air pollution, while gasoline spills can pollute the groundwater. If you choose a gasoline engine, look for one with overhead camshafts (OHC) or valves (OHV), which generate less pollution than older style engines.

When it comes to manual reel mowers, there are some other considerations:

  • Reel mowers stir up dust and debris the least, so they’re best for allergy sufferers, and they have the most fitness benefits. You’ll end up with a lot of trimming, however, since reel mowers can’t get very close to edges.
  • Look for a reel mower suited to your type of grass. Choose a 7-bladed reel mower for tough grasses like Bermuda, or a 5-bladed reel mower for fescue and other upright grasses. Tough grasses require a more powerful electric mower, too, or a gas mower.
  • Be sure the maximum cutting height suits your grass and climate. In a hot, dry climate you may need to let the lawn grow higher to conserve moisture. While most electric and gas mowers can cut grass as high as 4 inches, some reel mowers limit the height to less than 2. Some experts say that cutting your grass too short can damage your lawn.
  • Even users who love their reel mowers say twigs get stuck in the blades, so if you have a lot of trees in the yard, you might be happier with a power mower. Electric and gas mowers can usually handle twigs and pinecones, but a side-discharging mower can turn them into dangerous flying objects.

One factor that professional reviews don’t mention, but that pops up as decisive in some user reviews, is how well a mower handles lawn edges. For example, users like the Lawn-Boy mowers for the way they’re designed to mow close to an edge. The wheels on reel mowers keep them well away from a raised edge, but users praise the way reel mowers can mow right over landscaping elements like woodchips because they don’t blow the chips or draw them up into the mower. And the Honda HRX series comes in for some criticism because its Xenon deck can be damaged by concrete curbings, though an optional metal side guard can solve the problem.

10 Total Score
Husqvarna Automatic Lawn Mower

Husqvarna Robotic Mower

Excellent cutting and edging performance.
10
Slick mobile app.
10
Includes Bluetooth, cellular, and GPS radios.
10
PROS
  • Excellent cutting and edging performance.
  • Slick mobile app.
  • Includes Bluetooth, cellular, and GPS radios.
  • Quiet.
CONS
  • Expensive.
  • Installation costs extra.
  • No rain sensor.
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