Gardening Guides

Push Mowers 101 & Definitive Buyer's Guide for a Great Lawn

Need to trim up a not very big lawn and keep it neat? A push mower is the simple and affordable solution to maintaining a lawn of average size without breaking a sweat or hiring someone else to do the work for you. In this definitive guide, we'll look at the best types of push mowers you can get and focus on the features that really matter.

The market is full of modern mowers with fancy features that promise to do all your work for you, but do you actually need one?

push mower
push mower

Why not try a traditional push mower which is much cheaper and, honestly, doesn’t require that much effort?

Push mowers are still around because they're useful. And as we both know, sometimes it's better to forget about the bells and whistles and focus on the core functionality that a product provides. 

So, without further ado, let's get on with our guide.

What Is a Push Mower?

If you’re thinking about the clunky contraptions you might have seen in old movies, you’re making a big confusion. A modern push mower is a sleek little machine you move around the garden to cut the grass.

Unlike gas-powered or electrical mowers, a push mower, also known as a reel mower, relies on you giving it a push to work. More than a push, actually.

You walk behind it and push it up and down the lawn making passes until the job is done. The blades of the machine cut the grass like a pair of scissors. Snip, snip, snip! 

small lawn push mower
small lawn push mower

Good to know: Push mowers work well on small to medium-sized lawns which are about 1/2 acre or less.

Push mowers are also known as walk-behind mowers. There are various types of push mowers and you need to compare them in order to get the best one that suits your needs.

Push Mowers Versus Self-Propelled Mowers

Still, why not a machine that does all the work? We say you don’t need a power rotary mower if your lawn or garden is less than half an acre.

You can deal with any area below this by using a push mower. If you’re in reasonable shape, you can have a well-manicured lawn in less than an hour!


Push mowers are less expensive than self-propelled mowers and you will have no extra costs to deal with to use them. No gas, no spark plugs to replace. Just give it a push and it will do the job with zero additional costs.

Some modern push mowers come with a stay-sharp feature for their blades so you can use your mower for 5 -10 years before you’ll need to replace the blades.

sharp push mower blades
sharp push mower blades

Still, you might want to sharpen them a bit before the season starts.


One major difference to consider is the way the blades work on the two models. On self-propelled mowers, the rotary blade moves something like a helicopter’s wings, tearing at the grass and shredding the grass.

This type of mowing makes your grass more vulnerable to bug attacks and disease, as the individual blades will take longer to heal.

A push mower cuts the grass with the precision of a pair of scissors, a clean cut that leaves your lawn looking great and allows the blades of grass to retain their moisture and heal quickly.


One aspect people often ignore is that a self-propelled mower doesn’t cut the grass any faster.

mower in action
mower in action

You still need to walk behind you to steer the wheels so taking care of your lawn will take the same time as when you push a vintage mechanical mower.


Oh, and push mowers don’t make any noise. You can mow your lawn early in the morning without waking up the kids or the neighbors.

Push Mower Features You Need to Consider

Before we look at some product recommendations, let’s have a look at the key features you need to consider when choosing the right push mower for you.

Swath (Mowing Deck)

The most important feature is the mowing deck or swath. The wider the deck is, the fewer passes back and forth you’ll need to do.

Important: On most push mowers, the deck width is between 14 and 18 inches. Self-propelled mowers have wider mowing decks, up to 50 inches, which makes them preferable for large gardens or lawns.

narrow push mower
narrow push mower

On the other hand, a push reel mower with a narrower deck is better if you have a garden with many flower beds.

That's because you can easily maneuver between the various plots without damaging the plants you spent so much time caring for.


Most push reel lawn mowers use a cutting system with five moving blades that push the grass against a stationary cutting blade.

You can find some smaller models with only 4 blades or you can go for a bigger model with up to nine blades.

push mower with four cutting blades
push mower with four cutting blades

However, any mower with 4-7 blades will do a great job for a small garden.

Adjustable Height

Check to see if the mower allows you to adjust the height of the blades. On most models, the cutting height is less than 3 inches, so you might not want to let your garden grow wild.

adjustable height in push mowers
adjustable height in push mowers

Tip: Mow your lawn regularly if you don’t want to struggle with tall grass.

Grass Spray

There are two basic directions cut grass can go--in front of the machine or backward, all over your shoes. Some models allow you to change the direction in which the glass flies. 

There’s absolutely no problem if the cut grass falls on the lawn as it makes for a great fertilizer.

push mower with grass catcher
push mower with grass catcher

However, some people prefer to collect in a bag. This is a good idea if you need mulch for your garden.

You can find various models that come with a grass catcher in front of the machine.


Take a look at the wheels on the machine and see how easily they move, especially if your garden is not perfectly flat. 

Push Mower Types

The best push mowers can cut grass smoothly. They are easy to use and maintain and cost-effective in the long run.

You got lots of choices today, but it's good to know what you want before you go shopping for push mowers.

Base your decision on your goal and how much money you are planning to spend on your mower.

push mowers
push mowers

Tip: In selecting the best push mower, always consider the size of your lawn. Also, consider the slopes as well as possible obstructions such as trees or flower beds.

Gas Push Mowers

Gas-powered mowers are an excellent choice for bigger lawns (about 1/2 acre). These are more powerful than electric mowers.

gas push mower
gas push mower

Also, you don't have to worry about any constraints related to the power cord or battery charge.

Usually, you need to pull a cord in order to start this type of mower and you must also use the appropriate fuel for it.

[amazon bestseller="gas push mower" items="3"]

However, if you have a bigger lawn with a hilly portion, you may want to consider using a self-propelled mower to save yourself a lot of effort.

You can either use a front-wheel drive, a rear-wheel-drive, or an all-wheel drive. FWD mowers are fitting for flat terrain. RWD mowers are best for hilly terrain while AWD mowers are excellent for both flat and hilly lawns.

Electric Push Mowers

Electric push mowers are perfect for flat lawns that are 1/3 acre or less. They're quieter and can give you a cleaner result than gas-powered mowers. They can be corded or cordless.

electric push mower
electric push mower


Cordless electric mowers use rechargeable batteries for great mobility. Charging time differs depending on the battery and the charger. Investing in a quality brand can save you from a lot of hassle in the long run.

[amazon bestseller="cordless electric push mower" items="3"]


Corded electric mowers do not need any recharging, however, the power cord can limit your mowing area. They tend to be more affordable than cordless models.

[amazon bestseller="corded electric push mower" items="3"]

Reel Push Mowers (Manual)

Reel or manual mowers are great for small, flat lawns. They don't require gasoline, batteries, or power cords. They are based on a relatively simple mechanism that's been around for quite some time.

reel push mower
reel push mower

Since they have a smaller cutting width, they usually require more time and effort. They work just like a pair of scissors and give you a cleaner cut.

Important: This mower is also quieter and does not generate emissions. This makes it the most environmentally-friendly option.

However, it's not the best when cutting taller grass. Regardless of what type of push mower you choose to buy, keep in mind that cleaning and care are important for longevity and excellent performance.

[amazon bestseller="manual push mower" items="3"]

How to Choose the Best Push Mower for You

Before making your final decision, be sure to know your exact requirements and choose the push mower that can meet them. Here are the important things you need to consider.

push reel mower
push reel mower
  • Verify the weight of the mower and be sure that it is capable of cutting the grass effectively.
  • Examine the height adjustment to make sure it can cut grass of any length. If there is no adjustment, choose a model that suits your lawn-cutting habits.
  • Check if it is environmentally-friendly. Even if you have to pay some extra money for a more environmentally-friendly option, wouldn't that make an important difference?
  • Check the noise level. This is often overlooked, but at the end of the day it can make a big difference, especially if you like mowing the grass on weekends just when your neighbors want to relax. Noise can be unhealthy!
  • Make sure it's user friendly. All push mowers are in theory user friendly, but in actual practice, some are easier to start and maintain than others. Read reviews by people who already have the model you consider getting.
  • Choose a reliable dealer so you get a proper warranty and avoid hassle if you ever need to send it in for repairs. Good quality push mowers don't require repairs often, but just to be sure.

Push Mower Commonly Asked Questions

When it comes to push mowers, we hear quite a lot of questions. We've gathered together the most frequent ones and thought it would be helpful to answer them.

What is the best push mower?

A perfectly good push reel mower for a small garden is one with a 16 inches swath, and a 4-7 blade cutting system. You can also look at the handles to see if they feel comfortable as you’ll be spending some time holding on to them. Learn more about push mower features.

Are push lawn mowers any good?

Yes, push lawn mowers do a pretty good job. The only real difference between push reel and self-propelled mowers is who supplies the force needed to push the machine forward--you or the engine. A bit of exercise every week won’t hurt, right? Push mowers are better for your grass too, as they cut the grass in a clean move without tearing it as the self-propelled models do.

What is the cheapest push mower?

If you do some research, you can find basic push mower models for as little as $70. Keep in mind it’s a one-off investment. Once you buy it, you don't have much maintenance to worry about except putting in more gas or changing the batteries if you get a gas or electric model respectively.

How much does a push mower cost?

While the most affordable models on the market are around $70, you can find bestselling push mowers at around $200. These come with reversible grass catchers and blade height adjustment of up to 4 inches, allowing you to deal effectively with taller, unruly grass. 

Are You Ready to Work Out a Good Sweat?

Alright, that’s a joke! Using a push mower to maintain a lawn or garden is not really hard work, especially if you get an electric or gas mower.

If you don’t get much exercise during the week, mowing the lawn with a traditional machine is great to keep you in shape.

When considering what sort of mower to buy, keep in mind that some push mowers generate zero pollution and they're just great for the environment!

push mower in the garden
push mower in the garden

What can be more natural than you pushing a lawn mower around on a nice Saturday morning? Maybe just standing there after the work is done and admiring the freshly cut grass.

Last but not least, remember that you can make your yard look more appealing by adding some wooden benches. Not to mention that they'll come in handy if you don't have all that much experience pushing a mower around!

If you enjoyed this buying guide--and we hope you did!--why don't you check some of our other buying guides? They'll help you discover quite a few useful products for your garden or lawn. Until next post!

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