Best Gas Lawn Mowers of 2018

Danny Chadwick ·
Updated
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We tested, rated and ranked 10 of the best lawn mowers on the market today. At the end of our evaluation, our top pick was the Honda HRX. Of all the mowers we reviewed, it scored the best marks in our performance tests. It has a variable self-propulsion system that you control with a simple flick of your thumb. It cuts a 21-inch path, which cuts down on the number of passes needed to cut your entire lawn. And it has a 2.5-bushel discharge bag, so you’ll have to empty your bag less often compared with other mowers.   

Best Overall

Honda HRX

The Honda HRX blew away the competition in nearly every aspect. It has the most powerful engine, largest bag capacity and longest warranty period. However, at 96 pounds, it’s the heaviest lawn mower we reviewed. It’s also the loudest, generating 96 decibels of sound.
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Best Value

Troy-Bilt

Don’t let this gas lawn mower’s price fool you; it’s a fine machine for a tight budget. Other lawnmowers cost between $400 and $600, but the Troy-Bilt TB200 is a relatively inexpensive $269.
Best for Low-Noise

Craftsman

Lawn mowers with powerful engines are quite loud, which may require you to wear earplugs The Craftsman 37441 creates only 85 decibels of sound, very quiet when compared with the rest of the models we reviewed.

Our Test Results

Product
Price
Overall Rating
9.7
9.5
9.4
9.4
9.4
9.1
9.1
8.8
Performance
10
9.3
9
9.3
8.5
9
8.8
9
Conveniences
9.3
10
9.8
9.5
10
8.8
9
8.3
Design
9.5
9.3
9.8
9.5
10
9.8
9.5
9.3
Warranty & Support
10
9.5
9.5
9.5
9.5
9.3
9.5
9.3
Side Discharge
N/A
N/A
Handle Height (inches)
41
43
38
41
42
39
39
39
Total Weight (pounds)
96
95
85.4
84
89
84
86
91
Engine Size
190cc
159cc
163cc
160cc
149cc
163cc
159cc
163cc
Wheel Height Adjustment
4 Levers
2 Levers
1 Lever
4 Levers
4 Levers
2 Levers
4 Levers
2 Levers
Self-Propulsion
Variable Rear Wheel
Variable Rear Wheel
Rear Wheel
Variable Rear Wheel
Variable All Wheel Drive
Variable Front Wheel
Variable All Wheel Drive
Variable Front Wheel
Mulching
Electric Start
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Handle Cushioning
Foam
Rubber
Foam
Foam
Rubber
None
None
None
Quick-Wash Port
N/A
N/A
Downloadable Manual
Warranty
5 Years
3 Years
3 Years
3 Years
2 Years
2 Years
3 Years
2 Years
Phone & Email Support
Service Center Locator
Number of Cutting Positions
7
6
6
6
9
6
5
6
Maximum Cutting Height (inches)
4
3-3/4
3-3/4
4
3-7/8
3-3/4
4
3-3/4
Overall Performance Score
100%
95%
95%
90%
75%
85%
85%
90%
Noise Level (decibel)
98.2
90
97.9
98.5
99.5
85
97.8
90
Blade Width (inches)
21
21
21
21
22
21
22
21
Bag Capacity (bushels)
2.5
1.9
1.9
2.4
1.8
1.9
2
1.9
Minimum Cutting Height (inches)
3/4
1-1/4
1-1/4
1-1/8
1-2/15
1-1/4
1
1-1/4
Best Overall

Honda HRX

If you’re looking for the best, the Honda HRX is a great choice. It has the most powerful engine of all the models we reviewed.
It also has an efficient self-propulsion system that makes it easy to push across your lawn. Its 2.5-bushel clipping bag means that you won’t have to take as many breaks to empty the bag. In our tests, the Honda HRX delivered a uniform cut, courtesy of its specialty MicroCut blades, which have four cutting surfaces. Most other gas-powered lawn mower blades have only two cutting surfaces. The Honda’s technology results in a finer cut, which reduces clumping and makes for easier cleanup. This lawn mower also has the largest clipping bag among its competitors. Its 2.5-bushel capacity means you don’t have to stop cutting to empty the bag as frequently, so you can get the chore done faster. However, the tradeoff is that the bag can get quite heavy. Cutting your grass to the precise length you want is easy with this gas lawn mower. It has seven distinct cutting levels, ranging from 0.75 to 4 inches. This represents both the highest and lowest cuts you can make among all the lawn mowers we evaluated.
Pros
  • Most powerful engine of all the lawn mowers we reviewed.
  • Clipping bag can hold up to 2.5-bushels of grass.
  • MicroCut blades produce an even, handsome cut.
Cons
  • Very loud, at more than 90 decibels.
  • No electric start feature.
  • Heaviest lawn mower we evaluated.
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Best Value

Troy-Bilt

Not everyone can afford to buy the best lawn mower on the market. If you’re looking for a solid alternative to the most expensive machine, the Troy-Bilt TB200 might be the answer.
Although it ranked last in our evaluation, there are a lot of positive aspects to this machine. Chief among them is that it is extremely lightweight, only 85 pounds. When you activate its front-wheel self-propulsion system, you shouldn’t have any problems pushing this lawn mower across your grass. Additionally, the 21-inch cutting path on this lawn mower is just as wide as the highest-ranking models we reviewed. However, there are some trade-offs for the money you save. The most notable is the lack of a cushioned handle. The best lawn mowers we evaluated feature either a foam or rubber handle. You should keep in mind that you may rub your hands raw, or even get blisters, if you use this machine without wearing gloves. The clipping bag is also quite small, holding just 1.9-bushels of grass. If you have a larger lawn, expect to make several stops to empty the bag.
Pros
  • Costs a fraction of the other lawn mowers we reviewed.
  • Lightweight – only 85 pounds.
  • Excellent maneuverability.
Cons
  • No handle cushioning.
  • Relatively low clipping bag capacity, at 1.9 bushels.
  • Short warranty period of two years.
Best for Low-Noise

Craftsman

The Craftsman 37441 is the quietest lawn mower we evaluated, producing only 85 decibels of sound. You still won’t be able to hear much over the engine, but you won’t need to wear earplugs or risk disturbing your neighbors.
Traditionally, a gas-powered lawn mower’s internal combustion engine requires you to drain or change oil on a regular basis. This is not the case with the Craftsman 37441. It employs “Just Check and Add” technology that eliminates the need to change the oil. If you’re running low, just add more. Very convenient. At 84 pounds, this is the lightest lawn mower we evaluated. It also features a variable front-wheel self-propulsion drive, so it’s easy to push. It lacks a handle cushion, so you may want to wear gloves to avoid chafing and blisters. Still, it’s a very easy machine to maneuver, and it handles changes in speed very well.
Pros
  • Least noisy lawn mower, at 85 decibels.
  • Has a quick-wash port for easy cleaning.
  • “Just Check and Add” technology makes maintenance easier.
Cons
  • A lot of dust escapes from clipping bag.
  • Narrow cutting height options and only two adjustment levers.
  • Relatively small 163cc engine.

Why Trust Us?

In our evaluation of the best gas-powered lawn mowers, we gathered models from each of the leading brands and subjected them to a battery of tests. We spent more than 100 hours assembling, mowing with and cleaning every lawn mower we reviewed. This amounts to more than 500 pounds of grass clippings, dozens of gallons of gasoline and more than a few blisters and green-stained shoes. In order get our testing done in time for prime mowing season, our team of reviewers traveled more than 400 miles in the wintertime so they could test each mower on grass.


During the testing phase, our reviewers kept meticulous notes about each gas lawn mower’s performance, ease of handling, the consistency of each cut, and time required to complete the job. This experiential information was weighed against the hard numbers collected in our formal tests. These two sources informed our rating and ranking of the best gas-powered lawn mowers. 

We acquired each of the lawn mowers we reviewed either on loan from the manufacturer or purchasing them outright. Manufacturers were not made aware of and had no influence on our testing methodologies.  

How We Tested

We used each lawn mower we tested to cut a standard 1/4-acre lawn, reasonably flat with a common breed of grass such as Kentucky bluegrass. To qualify for our tests, the grass needed to have at least a week's growth, but not more than two weeks’ growth, and be free of debris and gravel.

We preferred lawns with some trees or shrubbery to negotiate. We did not test on lawns that had been watered within the last six hours. We mowed in the morning or early evening hours, since mowing at midday is not good for the health of the grass.

We assembled each mower according to manufacturer specification and noted any difficulties or nuances required in setup. We then set mowers to maximum cutting height and engaged side discharge. We mowed six full passes without self-propulsion, noting how the mower rolls along (i.e., excessive bouncing, how hard it is to push, whether it is difficult to turn at the end of the row, whether the side discharge gets blocked).

We then set each mower to minimum cutting height and mowed six new rows with self-propulsion (if featured) engaged, taking note of the same criteria listed above, as well as noting how often we had to stop to empty the bag. We also determined how long each mower would run on a tank of gas.

Key Features to Look for When Buying a Gas Lawn Mower

Blade Width
The width of the cutting blade determines how many passes it takes to mow your yard. A wide path means you spend less time pushing your lawn mower.

Bag Capacity
If you plan on bagging your grass clippings, consider how much each model can hold. A larger bag means you’ll have to stop less often to empty your clippings. The tradeoff is that it gets heavier to mow as the bag fills.

Noise Level
All internal combustion engines can produce a lot of noise. Larger engines with more power tend to be louder, so if that is an issue for you, consider a machine with a smaller engine that produces less noise. For context, the quietest model we tested produces 85 decibels of sound.

Cutting Height and Positions
The best gas lawn mowers allow you to adjust the height of your cut and make it easy to adjust with levers located on each wheel.

Self-Propulsion
The best gas lawn mowers come equipped with self-propulsion technology, which means the mower’s engine can turn the wheels, taking some of the strain off you. It won’t eliminate pushing, but it will make it more tolerable.

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