Best Cheap Lawn Mowers

Our 2017 lineup of best cheap lawn mowers features gas and electric mowers, including a cordless, as well as self-propelled and reel mowers, all under $300.

What We Considered

To identify the best cheap push mowers, we chomped through expert and user reviews online. Expert reviewers from sites such as Popular Mechanics, Mowers Direct, and Consumer Reports generally cover more expensive lawn mowers, particularly in the gas segment. There is no shortage of lawn mower reviews, though, because retail sites such as Home Depot, Lowe's, Amazon, Walmart, and specialty vendors overflow with commentary about cheaper models posted by hundreds of consumers.  

We Looked At

Experts note that entry-level lawn mowers are at their best when users mow on a regular basis and don't let the grass get too long; user reviews corroborate that assessment. All of our recommended picks, as well as the self-propelled Honda HRR216K9VKA and manual Fiskars StaySharp Reel Max, earn high ratings in lawn mower reviews for cutting cleanly, quickly, and efficiently. Most operators say the push mowers on our list tackle weeds and heavy grass with aplomb -- unless the yard is wet. Owners of electric models and reel mowers report instances where they have had to go over the same spot more than once if the grass is very thick, although this slight glitch in performance doesn't seem to deter those who prefer to keep weight, noise, and emissions to a minimum.

Mowing efficiency is affected by the operator's speed but also by the width of the cutting deck on the mower. The wider the cutting path, the fewer passes needed to finish the job.

Electric mowers generally cut a slightly narrower path than gas-powered models. The cutting deck on the cordless Worx WG775 is a mere 14 inches, so operators must make more passes than they would with a wider deck. On the other hand, a mower with a slim cutting path is easier to steer around landscaping obstacles such as shrubs, trees, garden beds, and walkways. Budget-priced electric mowers usually have decks that measure 18 to 22 inches.

The decks on budget gas mowers usually fall between 14 and 22 inches, with the widest cutting swath most often found on self-propelled mowers. The larger the blade, the more difficult it is to push the mower, so it's no surprise that self-propelled models cut the widest path -- a few even cover 30 inches or more.

The best entry-level mowers singled out in this buying guide present few, if any, issues regarding handling. Even people who push one of these electric or gas lawn mowers up and down inclines have no problem with their weight or maneuverability. That said, a small cordless electric mower like the Worx WG775, which weighs just 32 pounds, is going to be easier to maneuver than a much larger gas mower like the 66-pound Husqvarna 7021P, especially with a full fuel tank.

The Honda HRR216K9VKA weighs 80 pounds, about 15 pounds more than any of the other models we researched, but self propulsion makes it easier to move along. Still, a few reviews on the Home Depot website note that pulling it backward requires more effort than expected.

Some consumers say they steer clear of gas engines to avoid the perceived challenge of starting one, but gone are the days when operators struggled to pull and pull and pull a recoil cord to rev up the machine. The current crop of gasoline engines, even at the cheaper end of the market, feature some type of quick start that sets the engine humming after one (at most two) good yank(s). Reviews of the models we researched report that the engines almost always start on the first pull. Electric mowers start right up with the push of a button.

Our Top Pick

GreenWorks 25022
Our Picks

A boon for consumers with small to mid-size yards who don't want the hassle of a gas mower, the corded electric GreenWorks 25022 exceeds the expectations of many who use it on a regular basis.

  • Very user-friendly, according to reviews.

  • Cuts evenly and deposits finely chopped clippings.

  • 7 cutting heights.

  • Produces no emissions, runs quietly.

  • Solid build quality, long 4-year warranty.

  • Learning curve with power cord.

  • Bag requires frequent emptying.

Cub Cadet SC 100

Users who have stepped down from heavier, pricier gas lawn mowers are well satisfied with the Cub Cadet SC 100. Time spent mowing is short, they say.

  • Rapid recoil start.

  • Lightweight and easy to push.

  • Wide deck with large wheels.

  • Cuts evenly, produces fine mulch, and plows through slightly overgrown grass.

  • Washout port.

  • 6 cutting heights.

  • Bag seems small and doesn't catch all clippings; emptying is awkward

  • Scattered reports about disappointing durability

Lighter and narrower than most cordless electric mowers, the Worx WG775 is hard to resist for the right yard. Reviewers are pleasantly surprised at how well this model performs considering its size, weight, and mid-range level of power.

  • Nimble and compact, with a 14-inch cutting deck.

  • Well suited to tight spaces.

  • Lightweight, at 32 pounds.

  • Cordless.

  • Underpowered and too light for some users.

  • Battery runs out relatively quickly (run time listed at 30 minutes).

  • Plastic tires.

Husqvarna 7021P

Support for the gas-fueled Husqvarna 7021P is a tad muted, and an extra pass in some spots may be required, but plenty of users are well satisfied with this mower's features and performance.

  • Delivers a smooth cut on all types of grass, reviewers say.

  • Easy to push, with double ball-bearing wheels.

  • Fuel-efficient 160cc Honda engine.

  • Adjustable handle that folds for storage.

  • Some quibbles about build quality.

  • Scattered reports about a choppy engine.

  • Mediocre mulching.

An inexpensive, no-frills gas mower, the Yard Machines 11A-02SB700 just doesn't cut it. With so many models out there, shoppers can readily find one in the budget price range that offers more features and better performance.

  • Okay for small, flat yards.

  • Lightweight and easy to push.

  • Very attractive price.

  • Users must mow frequently for acceptable results.

  • Hard to start; may need to be restarted mid-mow.

  • Engine seems underpowered.

  • Wheels must be removed to adjust cutting height.

  • Side discharge only; no mulching or bagging.

  • Challenging assembly.

Other Products We Reviewed

Electric is the way to mow, judging by Black & Decker LM175 reviews. Although users have to get used to dealing with the power cord -- that is, keeping it out of the mower's path -- they say the advantages of this electric mower far outweigh any nuisance. On sites such as Home Depot, consumers note that they never have a problem starting the 6.5-amp motor. Compared with a gasoline engine, it's quiet, clean, efficient, and emissions-free.

At only 35 pounds, the Black & Decker LM175 (starting at $159) is easy to push around the yard, according to reviews, which is a good thing, because you need one hand to push the mower and the other to maneuver the cord. Many reviewers liken the experience to vacuuming the yard. There is no extension cord included, so that's an extra expense. Look for a 14- or 16-gauge cord that will reach all corners of the yard from an outdoor electrical outlet. The manufacturer recommends a radius of up to 100 feet.

The Black & Decker LM175 has six cutting heights, which range from 1 inch to 3.5 inches and are easily changed at the handle. Reviewers say this model powers through grass, even tall grass, as long as they use a high setting the first time and then go over it at a lower height. On Amazon, a reviewer with thick St. Augustine grass reports that this electric mower has no problem getting through it. As one consumer puts it in a review on the Walmart website, the Black & Decker LM175 makes an ideal tool for mowing a typical suburban lawn, but not so much for rehabilitating a derelict lot.

The cutting deck is 18 inches wide and made of a polymer resin, so it won't rust. The only grass disposal option is side discharge. Owners lament that a bag once sold separately has been discontinued; there is also no way to produce mulch. The side discharge seems to work well, however, and there are few reports of clumping. Consumers interested in the mulching option should look to the Black & Decker MM275 (starting at $174), which also has a more powerful 9-amp motor.

Countless reviews across multiple sites say the Black & Decker LM175 is easy to put together, even with sketchy diagrams and instructions. It comes with a two-year warranty, and several users report that it has lasted for years with proper maintenance.

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Worx WG782 Review

With a 14-inch cutting deck and a weight of only 32 pounds, the electric Worx WG782 (starting at $229) is not a powerful, heavy-duty lawn mower. For many users, though, that's part of the draw. People who have relatively small yards or very little room between landscaping features appreciate the narrow cutting deck. In Worx WG782 reviews on the Home Depot website, users express surprise at how well the mower works considering its small size.

This cordless electric mower is lighter and cheaper than most other battery-powered models. The manufacturer claims that the removable 24-volt battery will last through about a quarter of an acre of mowing before it needs charging, which takes about four to five hours. On the Walmart website, several reviewers mention that the battery lasts longer than they thought it would, and constant recharging proves unnecessary. The Worx WG782 is so easy to push and turn, users say, that mowing the lawn is like taking a walk.

The Worx WG782 offers less precision than the other models we researched, with three cutting heights ranging from 2 to 3.5 inches. Some reviewers mention that they would have liked a setting lower than 2 inches. This is a three-in-one mower with the option to mulch, collect cut grass in an included bag, or discharge grass clippings from the rear. The bag that comes with this relatively small mower is likewise on the small size, at 0.85 bushels. The upside, one reviewer points out, is that it's easier to dump the grass clippings, even if you have to do it more often. The handle and grass bag collapse and fold down on top of the mower for storage.

This cordless electric lawn mower has two modes of operation: "quiet," for keeping the noise to a minimum, and "power," which provides a boost in more difficult situations. The quiet setting is quiet enough that a reviewer says a neighbor heard nothing while she was using it. According to another review on the Home Depot site, one user who thought the mower looked like a kiddie toy was impressed it had the power to cut through weeds and mulch any pine cones or twigs that were lying around.

For many consumers, the Worx WG782 is an easy-to-use alternative to a heavy, noisy, high-maintenance gas mower. It excels at navigating tight spots in a small yard or doing detail work after a large lawn has been cut with a riding mower. The Worx WG782 comes with a two-year warranty.

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Murray M22500 Review

The Murray M22500 has an appealing price for a gas lawn mower (starting at $172), but online feedback is divided. Reviewers who are fond of this mower say it's easy to put together and push, and it cuts pretty well. On the other hand, it's made mostly of plastic that doesn't seem to stand up to everyday use. According to Murray M22500 reviews on the Walmart website, the oil and/or gas cap is the first piece to break off. Other problem areas: the pull cord and the part of the deck where the engine is mounted.

With a 140 cc Briggs & Stratton engine, this lawn mower does not have a huge amount of power, but for the price, users don't expect much. Murray's Prime 'N Pull E-Z Starting System is supposed to make starting a breeze, and most reviewers appreciate that they don't have to choke or prime the engine. However, several report persistent problems starting up the mower or report that it died after several uses. A few mention that the lawn mower pooped out after hitting a patch of rough (i.e., not pancake-flat) terrain with grass any taller than 4 inches. The high rear wheels, which measure 12 inches compared with 7 inches in the front, are designed to make it easy to maneuver on uneven ground. Some experts, though, say it's easier to handle a lawn mower and tilt it backward to turn around when all four wheels are the same size.

The Murray M22500 has a 22-inch deck and five settings to control the height of the cutting blade. The adjustment must be made on the wheels, whereas the cutting height on other mowers can be adjusted with a single lever on the handle. There are two methods of grass disposal: mulching and side discharge. Users simply put a cap on the cutting deck when they want to mulch the grass and remove it to discharge the grass out the side. No collection bag is included with this mower. There is also no wash-out port or hose attachment for cleaning underneath the deck.

Many reviewers are pleased with the job this mower does on small to medium-size yards -- as long as it starts and keeps working. The Murray M22500 comes with a limited two-year warranty.

Anyone game for a little outdoor exercise while attending to household chores will see the value in the Fiskars StaySharp Max reel mower. This model from the respected scissors brand is pricier than many other manual mowers but has a lot going for it.

  • Best for flat yards with grass that's not too thick.

  • Minimal effort required for a smooth, clean cut.

  • 8 cutting heights.

  • Front discharge keeps clippings off the operator's legs and creates mulch as the mower goes over the clippings again.

  • No emissions and no noise.

  • Hassle-free: no cord, no gas, no battery.

  • 5 blades designed to stay sharp permanently.

  • Users may need to mow frequently.

  • Weeds and tall grass can be a challenge.

  • Weighs 52 pounds and requires elbow grease to push.

  • Grass Catcher sold separately.

  • Less effective on shady lawns.

  • Expensive for a reel mower.

This corded electric mower receives overwhelmingly positive reviews for its light weight and easy operation. Some users take issue with having to manage the cord, but most reviewers prefer that to replacing a battery or dealing with gasoline.

Black & Decker MM275 reviews on the Sears website highlight the ease of navigating this 38-pound machine around a small yard, as well as the cutting power of its 9-amp motor. One user credits this model with plowing through thick grass growing over a septic tank -- which proved too much of a challenge for a gas mower. In reviews on Amazon, users also tell of easy starts (no pull string to yank), good mulching, and the oomph to mow up small hills. The biggest drawback to this model, reviewers say, is also its strength; that is, electric power. Lots of users have something to say about the cord, and a few just couldn't deal with it. But those who master its management or chalk it up as a minor inconvenience are quite happy to be free of gas models and well satisfied with this machine.

The Black & Decker MM275 (starting at $174) features an 18-inch mowing deck made of polymer (no rust) with a side discharge (chute can be removed). The cutting height can be set to six positions ranging from 1 to 3.5 inches and a lever lets users adjust all the wheels at once. This mower can mulch as it mows; a bag for clippings is sold separately. The mower has a 100-foot range from an electrical outlet and is intended for plots smaller than a quarter of an acre. Buyers must purchase an extension cord separately.

The Black & Decker MM275 is an environmentally friendly option that finds favor with consumers who take on the chore of lawn maintenance. The 6.5-amp Black & Decker LM175 (starting at $159) is lighter, cheaper, and garners similarly positive reviews, although it has no mulching capability.

Honda HRR216K9VKA

Honda HRR216K9VKA Review

There's something of a learning curve with the self-propelled, gas-powered Honda HRR216K9VKA, but once you get the hang of it, users say, mowing almost seems like fun.

  • Self-propelled model with variable speed.

  • Plows through overgrown yards.

  • Excellent mulching, including tall grass.

  • Easy pull start and plenty of power.

  • Proven durability.

  • Small bag.

  • Some users struggle to control the speed.

  • Balky restart when the engine is warm.

  • Hard to pull backward, especially on an incline.

  • Costs more than a standard push mower.

Buying Guide

Choosing a Lawn Mower

The market for cheap lawn mowers is awash in options costing $300 or less, from manual reel mowers to electric lawn mowers to gas-powered models. Upmarket mowers are graced with more features and power, but our scrutiny of expert and user reviews showed that thrifty consumers who mow regularly can make do with less without sacrificing much in the way of cutting prowess, user friendliness, or durability.

Numerous brand names populate the lawn mower universe. These include GreenWorks, Cub Cadet, Husqvarna, Worx, Toro, Black & Decker, Craftsman, Lawn Boy, Sun Joe, Poulan, Weedeater, and Yard Machines. Most manufacturers produce a range of models that span the gap between entry-level and high-end professional-grade machines.

For the cleanest and smoothest cut, matching the equipment to the size and grade of the yard is critical, experts say. Manual reel mowers and electric mowers are best suited to relatively flat areas up to one-quarter of an acre (about 11,000 square feet). Gas-powered push mowers boast more oomph and are recommended for slightly larger yards, especially those with a few bumps. Consumers with even more ground to cover may want to spring for a riding mower, which is a different category of yard equipment. We confined our search for the best cheap lawn mowers to push mowers powered by electricity or gas and identified two worthy entries in each segment.

Electric Lawn Mowers.

For consumers with small, flat yards, an electric lawn mower is a quiet, lightweight, and environmentally friendly choice. Electric mowers draw power from a cord plugged into an outlet or from a rechargeable battery. Among electric mowers, our top pick is the corded GreenWorks 25022 (starting at $128) followed by the cordless Worx WG775 (starting at $195).

Corded electric mowers are generally cheaper than battery-powered mowers. Their range of movement across the grass, however, is limited by the length of the electric cord, which typically extends 100 feet. Managing the cord to prevent tangles can be tricky, and the cord may hamper the operator's ability to maneuver around obstacles. Some users of corded mowers say they feel as though they're vacuuming the lawn.

Cordless electric mowers allow more mowing flexibility but have their own quirks. The battery on budget electric lawn mowers can handle about one-quarter to one-third of an acre on a single charge, and most models come with a disclaimer stating that difficult cutting conditions will cause the charge to run down faster. Batteries last about five years before needing replacement. These power cells are heavy, and the difference in weight between a corded and a cordless mower with the same size deck can be 30 pounds or more. (One plus: Some cordless mowers use batteries that are interchangeable with other battery-powered tools that run on the same voltage.)

Gas Lawn Mowers.

Gas mowers cost more than electric models upfront and over time, between maintenance expenses and refilling the gas tank. Still, more grass calls for a bigger, heavier, more powerful machine. The best cheap gas mower is the Cub Cadet SC 100 (starting at $249), with the Husqvarna 7021P (starting at $300) pulling up right behind. The Yard Machines 11A-02SB700 (starting at $149) is cheap enough, but user reviews carp about its design and overall usability.

For more square footage than a push mower is designed to handle, or where there are inclines or especially bumpy terrain, a self-propelled gas mower such as the Honda HRR216K9VKA (starting at $399) is a labor-saving but more expensive choice. This class of mower requires minimal effort and almost pulls the operator along.

Most entry-level gas mowers now feature a four-cycle engine that runs on straight 87-octane gasoline, which is a big advance over the old two-cycle engines that required a gas-oil mixture. Gas-powered engines are far noisier than electric motors and spew emissions. And they still rely on a recoil start while electric motors feature push-button starts.

Residents of California must consider regulations on carbon emissions when buying a gas-powered lawn mower. (A gas mower generates more than 10 times as much pollution per hour as a new car, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.) The equipment must meet requirements set by the California Air Resources Board. There are plenty of CARB-compliant models to choose among, including all the gas mowers mentioned in this buying guide except the Yard Machines 11A-02SB700.

Reel Mowers.

Reel mowers -- the old-fashioned style with a cylindrical blade -- are very quiet and emit no exhaust of any kind. They're relatively inexpensive and simple to assemble, maintain, and operate. On the other hand, mowing the lawn takes a lot longer, and heaving a reel mower across a large or hilly yard can be a bear. Twigs or debris lying around can jam the blades. And if the grass is too high, a reel mower just won't cut it. If the choice is between a reel mower and a gas or electric mower, just remember that the former requires 100 percent person power. The best non-motorized mower we found is the Fiskars StaySharp Max (starting at $199), which incorporates a unique cutting design and ergonomic features.

Expensive vs. Cheap Lawn Mowers.

Compared with budget mowers, pricier mowers have more power (higher voltage batteries for electric mowers and engines with more displacement in gas mowers). They often have more features, such as handlebars that adjust to more than two positions, zero-radius turning, all-wheel drive, longer warranties, and generally better build quality. But most American homes sit on lots no larger than a quarter of an acre, according to a Census Bureau survey, and most consumers don't need a heavy-duty, high-priced lawn mower or tractor. An affordable push mower is up to the chore.

Features Comparison

Sort by:
Review Score:
Product Title
Cheapism Ranking
Type
Cutting Path
Cutting Heights
Grass Disposal
Weight
Product Title
Cheapism Ranking
Type
Cutting Path
Cutting Heights
Grass Disposal
Weight

GreenWorks 25022

$128
Best
Corded electric
20 in.
1.5-3.75 in.
Side discharge, mulching, bagging
56 lbs.

Cub Cadet SC 100

$249
Best
Gas (159 cc)
21 in.
1.25-3.75 in.
Side discharge, mulching, bagging
63 lbs.

Worx WG775

$195
Good
Cordless electric
14 in.
2-3.5 in.
Rear discharge, mulching, bagging
32 lbs.

Husqvarna 7021P

$300
Good
Gas (160 cc)
21 in.
1.25-3.4 in.
Side discharge, mulching, bagging
66 lbs.

Yard Machines 11A-02SB700

$149
Think Twice
Gas (140 cc)
20 in.
1.25-3.75 in.
Side discharge only
48 lbs.

Honda HRR216K9VKA

$399
Mentioned
Gas, self-propelled (160 cc)
21 in.
1.125-4 in.
Rear discharge, mulching, bagging
80 lbs.

Fiskars StaySharp Max

$199
Mentioned
Reel
18 in.
1-4 in.
Front or rear discharge; grass catcher sold separately
52 lbs.