Best Gas Lawn Mowers of 2018

Noel Case ·
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

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.
View on EKTVKHC
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.
View on Lowes
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.
View on Craftsman

Product
Price
$639.00Amazon
$369.00CJ
$469.99Amazon
$356.56Amazon
$339.99CJ
$419.00-
$369.99CJ
$208.43Amazon
$269.00CJ
Overall Rating
9.7
9.5
9.4
9.4
9.1
9.1
8.8
8.8
8.6
Performance
10
9.3
9.3
8.5
9
8.8
9
8.8
8.3
Conveniences
9.3
10
9.5
10
8.8
9
8.3
8
8.3
Design
9.5
9.3
9.5
10
9.8
9.5
9.3
9.8
9.3
Warranty & Support
10
9.5
9.5
9.5
9.3
9.5
9.3
9.3
9.3
Overall Performance Score
100%
95%
90%
75%
85%
85%
90%
80%
75%
Blade Width (inches)
21
21
21
22
21
22
21
21
21
Bag Capacity (bushels)
2.5
1.9
2.4
2
1.9
2
1.9
2.5
1.9
Noise Level (decibel)
98.2
90
98.5
99.5
85
97.8
90
97.7
94.6
Number of Cutting Positions
7
6
6
9
6
5
6
6
6
Minimum Cutting Height (inches)
3/4
1-1/4
1-1/8
1-2/15
1-1/4
1
1-1/4
1-1/4
1-1/4
Maximum Cutting Height (inches)
4
3-3/4
4
4
3-3/4
4
3-3/4
3-3/4
3-3/4
Self-Propulsion
Variable Rear Wheel
Variable Rear Wheel
Variable Rear Wheel
Variable All Wheel Drive
Variable Front Wheel
Variable All Wheel Drive
Variable Front Wheel
Rear Wheel
Front Wheel
Wheel Height Adjustment
4 Levers
2 Levers
4 Levers
4 Levers
2 Levers
4 Levers
2 Levers
2 Levers
2 Levers
Handle Cushioning
Foam
Rubber
Foam
Rubber
None
None
None
None
None
Quick-Wash Port
-
-
-
Mulching
Electric Start
-
-
-
-
-
-
Total Weight (pounds)
96
95
84
89
84
86
91
72
85
Handle Height (inches)
41
43
41
42
39
39
39
39
37
Engine Size
190cc
159cc
160cc
149cc
163cc
159cc
163cc
149cc
150cc
Side Discharge
-
-
Warranty
5 Years
3 Years
3 Years
2 Years
2 Years
3 Years
2 Years
2 Years
2 Years
Phone & Email Support
Service Center Locator
Downloadable Manual
Best Overall

Honda HRX

It also has an efficient self-propulsion system that makes it easy to push across your lawn. Its 2.5-bushel, 3.1-cubic-foot clipping bag is the largest among its competitors. This means you won’t have to take as many breaks to empty the bag, but the tradeoff is the bag can get quite heavy.
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. 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 cutting lengths among 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.
$679.99EKTVKHC
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. 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, 2.4 cubic feet, 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.
$269.00Lowes
Best for Low-Noise

Craftsman

The Craftsman 37441 is the quietest lawn mower we evaluated, producing only 85 decibels of sound.
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.
$339.99Craftsman

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 grass-stained shoes. In order to complete our testing 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.

We also reached out to lawnmower professionals and businesses to tap into their expertise and further enhance the knowledge we gained from our online research and meticulous testing. One business owner we talked to was Matt Wilkinson of Wilkinson Supply, a company specializing in sales and services of lawn and garden equipment. Wilkinson said carburetor issues are the most common problem his shop deals with when it comes to repairing gas lawn mowers. To guard against this common problem, Wilkinson suggested using non-ethanol fuels and performing proper maintenance according to the owner’s manual. This involves regular maintenance like changing the oil regularly and making sure you have the right mix of fuels. The maintenance schedule in your mower’s manual will provide a list of parts that need to be cleaned and replaced after a given number of hours.  

How We Tested

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 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 our testing methodologies and had no influence on our results. 

We used each lawn mower to cut a standard 1/4-acre lawn, reasonably flat with a common breed of grass. 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 – for example, 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, etc.

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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