Best gas lawn mowers 2019: great walk-behind mowers for the perfect lawn

Best Gas Lawn Mowers 2019 - Self-Propelled, Walk-Behind Mowers

You've come to the right place if you're looking for the best gas lawn mower. We've tested, rated and ranked ten of the top gas lawn mowers on the market today. 

How big is your lawn or garden? If you only have a small lawn that’s easily accessible from your house, you might prefer an electric lawn mower, but those models still struggle to rival the output and results produced by its gas-powered counterparts. On the other end of the scale, if you have a truly giant lawn or garden, where a regular push lawn mower just won’t cut it – literally – you’ll want to check out our guide to the best riding lawn mowers instead. 

But what's our top pick of gas lawn mowers? At the end of our evaluation, our top pick was the Honda HRX. Of all the lawn mowers we reviewed, it scored the best marks in our performance tests. This Honda mower 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. This saves you precious time, especially when you have a large lawn to maintain. 

ProductPriceOverall RatingPerformanceConveniencesDesignWarranty & SupportOverall Performance ScoreBlade Width (inches)Bag Capacity (bushels)Noise Level (decibel)Number of Cutting PositionsMinimum Cutting Height (inches)Maximum Cutting Height (inches)Self-PropulsionWheel Height AdjustmentHandle CushioningQuick-Wash PortMulchingElectric StartTotal Weight (pounds)Handle Height (inches)Engine SizeSide DischargeWarrantyPhone & Email SupportService Center LocatorDownloadable Manual
Honda HRX 217VKAView Deal5/5109.39.510100%212.598.273/44Variable Rear Wheel4 LeversFoam--9641190cc-5 Years
Honda HRR 216K9VKAView Deal4.5/59.39.59.59.590%212.498.561-1/84Variable Rear Wheel4 LeversFoam--8441160cc-3 Years
Poulan Pro PR675AWDView Deal4.5/58.510109.575%22299.591-2/154Variable All Wheel Drive4 LeversRubber-8942149cc2 Years
Toro Personal Pace 20374View Deal4.5/58.899.59.585%22297.8514Variable All Wheel Drive4 LeversNone8639159cc3 Years
Craftsman 37744View Deal4.5/598.39.39.390%211.99061-1/43-3/4Variable Front Wheel2 LeversNone9139163cc2 Years
Lawn-Boy 17734View Deal4.5/58.889.89.380%212.597.761-1/43-3/4Rear Wheel2 LeversNone-7239149cc2 Years
Troy-Bilt TB200View Deal4.5/58.38.39.39.375%211.994.661-1/43-3/4Front Wheel2 LeversNone-8537150cc2 Years

Best Overall

Honda HRX 217VKA

Reasons to Buy
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.
Reasons to Avoid
Very loud, at more than 90 decibels.
No electric start feature.
Heaviest lawn mower we evaluated.

If you’re looking for the best, the Honda HRX 217VKA 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, 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 trade-off 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, too. It has seven distinct cutting levels, ranging from 0.75 to 4 inches. This range represents both the highest and lowest cutting lengths among the lawn mowers we evaluated in our group test.

Read the full review

Best Value

Troy-Bilt TB200

Reasons to Buy
Costs a fraction of the other lawn mowers we reviewed.
Lightweight – only 85 pounds.
Excellent maneuverability.
Reasons to Avoid
No handle cushioning.
Relatively low clipping bag capacity, at 1.9 bushels.
Short warranty period of two years.

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 could be the answer. Although it doesn’t match the leading lawn mower in the gas-powered arena, 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.

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Easiest to Maintain

Craftsman 37744

Reasons to Buy
Least noisy lawn mower, at 85 decibels.
Has a quick-wash port for easy cleaning.
“Just Check and Add” technology makes maintenance easier.
Reasons to Avoid
A lot of dust escapes from clipping bag.
Narrow cutting height options and only two adjustment levers.
Relatively small 163cc engine.

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.

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Easiest to Maintain

Craftsman 37744

Reasons to Buy
Comparatively low noise production
Quick-wash port for easy cleaning
Just Check and Add technology makes maintenance easier
Reasons to Avoid
A lot of dust escapes from clipping bag
Narrow cutting height options and only two adjustment levers
Relatively low handle height

The Craftsman 37744 is one of the quietest lawn mowers we evaluated, emitting 90 decibels of sound, and it has nice features that make it easy to maintain.

Traditionally, a gas-powered lawn mower’s internal combustion engine requires you to drain or change oil on a regular basis. However, the Craftsman 37744 has innovative Just Check and Add technology that eliminates the need to do so – you simply add new oil if it’s running low, which is very convenient.

This lawn mower is easy to push thanks to its variable front-wheel self-propulsion drive. It’s also easy to clean and maintain, with a quick-wash point to attach a hose to clean away debris that builds up in the undercarriage.

It lacks a handle cushion, so you will 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. The Craftsman 37744 also has an electric start button, which makes it easy to start.

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Best for Tough Lawns

Poulan Pro PR675AWD

Reasons to Buy
Well equipped for tough mowing tasks.
Reasons to Avoid
The bag is on the small side.

The Poulan Pro PR675AWD is a powerful, self-propelled gas lawn mower with nine cutting heights, which is more than any other gas mower in our reviews. This, along with its four-wheel-drive, variable speed functionality, gives you a great deal of flexibility when mowing over different types of terrain.

Having the ability to mow on a high cut setting is especially helpful over a tough patch of grass or uneven terrain. It has a wide 22-inch cutting path which will help you cut grass fast. This mower also adjusts height quickly with a lever that adjusts all four wheels at one time.

With the wheels adjusted together you are more lightly to get a clean, even cut. The side discharge is less prone to clogging. One drawback is the bag is only 1.8 bushels (2.2 cubic feet) which is on the low end when compared to others in our lineup, so you’ll have to empty it a few times when cutting large lawns.

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Biggest Bag Capacity

Lawn-Boy 17734

Reasons to Buy
It’s easy to use and you won’t have to empty the bag much.
Reasons to Avoid
The engine is on the small side.

The Lawn-Boy 17734 has an electric start function, which is an unusual feature for a gas lawnmower. There is also a pull cord in case the electric start isn’t working.

This is a lightweight, rear-wheel drive mower with generous 11-inch wheels on the front and back, which gives it stability over various terrain. It has an average 21-inch cutting path and a 149cc engine that is on the small side, which are two reasons it might be best suited for small to medium-sized lawns.

One of its best features is the large 2.5-bushel (3 cubic-foot) bag. This means you may not have to empty more than a couple times on a lawn of a quarter acre or so. Its unusual green color is a refreshing feature that sets it apart from the competition, too.

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How we found the best gas lawn mowers

A gas lawn mower is a big buying decision and there are a few things you need to keep in mind so you end up with the best gas lawn mower for your needs. You want a mower that’s powerful but easy to handle, push and steer. If the mower bag is too small, you’ll find yourself going back and forth for most of the day emptying it out instead of getting on with the job of making your grass look its best. A wide cutting path is also important, as it cuts down on the number of passes you need to make to finish the job, but if your lawn has narrow or bendy parts, a larger lawn mower might be too unwieldy for you. 

In our search for 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, using and cleaning every lawn mower we reviewed. This amounts to over 500 pounds of grass clippings, dozens of gallons of gasoline, and more than a few blisters and grass-stained shoes. 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.

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 informed our rating and ranking of the best gas-powered lawn mowers.  

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

We used each gas lawn mower to cut a standard 1/4-acre lawn that was 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. 

How to maintain a gas lawn mower

We 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 much do gas lawn mowers cost?

The least expensive gas lawn mowers run about $150, but to get good features you’ll start about a little higher at about $200. A fully equipped gas mower, with all the prime features can run up to $500 or $600. The mowers on our site are priced between $250 and $600. You can spend into the thousands but that would be for mowers with specialty features most people could probably live without. Electric mowers are priced comparably to gas mowers, but you do get more cutting power with a gas mower.  

What 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.

A great cheap gas Lawn mower option: Murray 11A-A2BF758

The Murray 21-inch gas push mower is a solid choice for a small- to medium-size lawn. Since this lawn mower lacks self-propulsion, it isn’t the best option if you have a hilly yard, but it’s a reliable mower for a flat lawn of half an acre or less.

With this Murray mower, you can discharge clippings into a bag that attaches to the back, or you can remove the bag and let cut grass discharge from the side. In addition, the mower has a mulch mode that returns nutrients back to the soil. This mower starts with a choke and a simple pull cord – there isn’t an easy-start feature. You can also adjust the cutting height to six positions using dual levers for the front and back wheels.

The Murray 11A-A2BF758 comes with a two-year warranty, which is standard, even for more expensive mowers. However, it’s missing extras like a wash port, which would let you attach a hose to clean the underside of the deck. With a price of less than $200, you can’t expect a lot of extras, but this lawn mower has the basic functionality most people need.

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