The best gas lawn mowers will offer you maximum control of your yard, with high-power push and self-propelled options available at reasonable prices. Although these are premium lawn mowers, in 2020 you can find plenty of reasonably priced gas mowers if you know where to look.
In our guide we feature both self-propelled and push lawn mowers. You can find a lot of push gas mowers for under $300, but you’ll usually pay more for self-propelled models. This is because self-propelled gas mowers leave you with much less resistance and make your job easier when trying to achieve that perfectly striped lawn. To find a Black Friday lawnmower deal you can check out our dedicated guide, and they also feature in our guide to the best Black Friday USA deals.
The best gas lawn mowers act as a perfect inbetween from regular electric lawn mowers and rider lawn mowers. They offer convenient dimensions for storage while still offering powerful mowing. The right gas lawn mower for you depends on the size of your yard and your budget. A wide cutting path will make easy work of large lawns, but will prove unwieldy in smaller spaces, so take account of blade length and width when choosing.
In terms of price, you can find gas lawn mowers for as little as $200. These lightweight models can pack a lot of power on a smaller frame. On the other end of the scale, some of the more premium models in our guide can cost up to $1000. If you have a larger lawn or you value a professional finish, this can be worth the investment. These models come with powerful engines, electric starts, and impressive warranties.
To find out the exact height you should cut your grass using a gas lawn mower, check out our feature on how to cut your lawn to the best height.
1. Honda HRX217HZA: Best gas lawn mower overall
We've chosen the Honda HRX217HZA as our best overall gas-powered mower because it's got all the features you'll ever need in a mower coupled with that fantastic Honda engine and build quality.
Let's start with the engine size. At 200cc it's the most powerful engine in our buying guide, matching the Honda HRX217VKA and just a whisper ahead of the Weibang WB537SCV-3IN1. You get twin blades with the Honda HRX217HZA too, and a 4-in-1 Versamow System, which means you can easily switch between mulching, bagging, discharging and leaf-shredding.
The difference between this model and the similarly named Honda HRX217VKA, also in our buying guide, is the addition of Roto Stop technology, which means you can stop the blades without stopping the engine, and Hydrostatic Cruise control for simple, precise control of the mower's speed.
You also get one of our favorite features, which is the electric key start, so there's no cord to pull. Just turn a key and the mower springs into life. In fact, it's hard to think of a feature of a lawnmower that you'd want and that you can't find here. The Honda HRX217HZA might be expensive, but if you pay a little more you get a mower that will last you a lifetime.
- Read our Honda HRX217HZA review
2. Toro 20333: Best gas lawn mower for large yards
The Toro 2033 is a great choice if you've got a particularly large back yard. The super-wide 22-inch blade means less time mowing and more grass collected as you do so. It's also got a blade stop system, so the blades can be stopped separately to the engine. This means you can keep the engine running, say if you need to move a branch out of the way of your cut, without having to pull the cord again to start it.
Unlike the twin-bladed Honda's in this group test, there's only one blade on the Toro, which means it can't cut the grass as finely for mulching, but it does offer a mulching feature and comes with a bag for collecting clippings.
Another nice addition is what Toro calls "Personal pace", for adjusting the speed of the mower to a pace that suits you. Some self-propelled mowers can go too fast to be comfortable to walk with, so it's a handy feature if you like to walk at your own speed. Or alternatively, you can up the speed and get a little work out while mowing your back yard.
Overall, this mower represents really good value for money, especially if you have a large area to cover. There are some seriously high-end features on offer here for a mid-range price tag.
- Read our Toro 20333 review
3. Honda HRX217VKA: Best self-propelled gas lawn mower
Honda lawnmowers are known for their great engines, and the HRX217VKA features a really powerful 200cc Honda engine.
The Honda HRX217VKA is self-propelled too, so it's easy to operate and moves forward with just the press of a single finger. There's also an auto choke, so you can be guaranteed a start on the first attempt even if you have to pull a cord.
The Honda HRX217VKA has twin blades, so you can ensure an amazing cut, and of course, it's got the Honda 4-in-1 Versamow feature set that enables bagging, mulching, discharging and leaf cutting. The twin blades ensure especially fine cuts for mulching.
What we really like with these Honda mowers is that you get a generous 5-year warranty. Not that you'll need it as the user reviews rarely mention mechanical failure.
The HRX217VKA is a great choice for you if you want the majority of the features of the more expensive Honda HRX21HZA, but you want it for over $250 less and you can live without its blade stop technology, electric start, and hydrostatic cruise control.
- Read our Honda HRX217VKA review
4. Troy-Bilt TB160: Best mid-range gas lawn mower
If you're looking for an affordable gas-powered lawnmower then has all the basic function then the Troy-Bilt 160 is a great mower to consider. Of course, at a price like this you can't expect all the high-end features of something like the Honda HRX217HZA, so it's not self-propelled, and it certainly doesn't have an electric starter, but you do get a really solid 160cc Honda engine.
As well as the reliable engine the Troy-Bilt 160 comes with an Auto-Choke system which means that starting won't be a problem, even if you need to pull a cord.
The Troy-Bilt 160 does more than just basic grass cutting too. It has a 3 in 1 action, so you get a 1.9-bushel rear bag for normal grass cuttings, but also a mulch kit, and side discharge options with this mower. A specialized cutting blade ensures that mulched grass is finely cut and you'll get a great freshly-cut look for your lawn.
While it's not self-propelled Troy-Bilt has done as much as it can to make it easier to cut with this mower. For instance, the rear wheels are large, at 11-inches, so they'll help you over rough spots in your grass or hills, too.
Finally, adjusting the height of the cutting blade is easy, thanks to duel levers which give you 6 different height positions.
The Troy-Bilt TB160 has a number of really good features for its price point, and as one of the cheapest here, it's great value.
- Read our Troy-Bilt TB160 review
5. Cub Cadet SC100HW: Best gas lawn mower for mulching
Like the Troy-Bilt TB160, the Cub Cadet SC100HW is a classic walk-behind mower, but in the distinctive Cub Cadet yellow color, and with some really nice features hidden under the bonnet.
Cub Cadet makes a range of different mowers all the way up to more expensive models with an electric starter button, but this cheaper SC100HW is a pull-start model that has a Sure Start system that guarantees the mower will start in the first or second attempt every time. So, there's no priming or choke operation required when you start the mower, just one pull and you're done. All the user reviews we're read prove that it's a well-supported claim, and there's a healthy 3-year warranty to back it up too.
The key feature of the Cub Cadet SC100HW is that it has a blade that triple cuts your grass cuttings, making the perfect mulching mower. You get really fine cuttings that will replenish your lawn. So, if mulching is important to you then consider the Cub Cadet SC100HW as a nicely-priced option.
The SC100HW is also a model that's easy to keep clean thanks to a deck wash system that enables you to attach a hose to the mower and run it to keep the underside clean. That sure beats washing the underside manually.
Some customers report that the bag can be a bit messy, letting about 15% of the cuttings fall to the floor when you remove it, but that's a small niggle on what is otherwise a great lawnmower that's a strong contender in the sub-$300 space.
- Read our Cub Cadet SC100HW review
6. Troy-Bilt TB100: Best budget gas lawn mower
Mowing your yard can be an important part of your weekly exercise regimen, and if you feel like you need the exercise then it's probably best to stay away from self-propelled mowers. Push mowers are also much cheaper, and if you're shopping on a budget then the price-friendly Troy-Bilt TB100 could be all you need.
Visually it looks very similar to the TB160, which is also in this buying guide, but it has a less-powerful 140cc Briggs & Stratton engine.
Another difference between the TB160 and this model though is that there's no bagging option with this mower. You only get mulch and side discharge. So, your cuttings are going to stay on your lawn, which might not be good if you want that clean look to your garden.
As you'd expect for a lightweight mower like this, most of the parts are plastic, so durability may be an issue, but that also means it's easy to transport, which is handy if you need to lift it into a truck. There are lots of positive user reviews and people note that assembly is easy and requires no tools.
Also on the positive side, there are 6 cutting positions to choose from, with a lever to help you manually adjust between them. You've also got the large rear wheels to help you over the rough spots.
As a rough guide, if you're considering getting a smaller lawnmower like the Troy-Bilt TB100 you're looking at a yard size of under a 1/4 of an acre.
- Read our Troy TB100 review
7. Weibang WB537SCV- 3IN1: Best gas lawn mower for reliability
You might not be aware of lawnmowers made in other countries, so let us introduce you to the Weibang WB537SCV- 3IN1. As you can see from the pictures, it's a serious professional mower, and if ruggedness and durability are top of your list when choosing a mower, you might want to consider it.
Let's start with the engine. The Weibang has a 196cc shaft-driven engine, which is some serious power under the hood. Belt drives occasionally get twigs stuck in them or suffer from other problems like slippage when wet. In contrast, this shaft-driven engine has a 3-speed gearbox that was specially created for this mower. Everything fits tight in the engine and forget hunting around for the gasoline cap because it is right on top and easy to access.
There are two separate speed (3 settings) and throttle controls, so you can turn the engine down when you're not really cutting, or to enable you to idle the engine at lower RPS before you shut it off.
The build quality is outstanding. The deck is made of steel, so it's tough and rugged. The wheels have double ball bearings. There's one lever wheel adjustment, which is really easy to use. But most of all the handle just feels solid when you use it and you hardly feel any vibration at all as you mow.
Quick-release handles mean the main mower handle folds fully down, making it easy to turn the machine upside down to clean or store in your garage.
The Weibang WB537SCV- 3IN1 ships without oil so you have to provide that yourself. Starting requires a pull cord, and you also need to use a choke. All things considered, the Weibang WB537SCV- 3IN1 is best suited for somebody who is experienced in using garden mowers, and is comfortable with different fuel types and appreciates the beauty of the solid build and high-quality engine. If that sounds like you, then you'll love this mower.
- Read our Weibang WB537SCV- 3IN1 review
What to look for when buying a gas lawn mower
Engine power: For regular gas-powered mowers the engine size determines the cutting power, but for self-propelled mowers, it almost goes without saying that the more powerful the engine the smoother your mow will be, especially if you need to go up and down bumps or hills. You should consider anything over 160cc engine as very powerful for a lawnmower.
Self-propulsion: the best gas lawnmowers 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, especially if you need to go uphill.
Mulching: more expensive lawnmowers give you the option to mulch or bag your grass cuttings as well as release them out of the side. Sometimes the condition of your lawn means it would benefit from mulching, so it’s nice to have the option.
Blade width: the width of the cutting blade determines how many passes it takes to mow your yard. A wider blade, like 22-inches, for example, means you spend less time pushing your lawnmower. It's a case of the bigger the better.
Noise level: all internal combustion engines make a lot of noise, but larger engines tend to be louder, so if that's going to be an issue for you then consider a mower with a smaller engine that produces less noise. For context, a quiet model would produce something like 85 decibels of sound.
Cutting height and positions: the best gas lawn mowers allow you to adjust the blade height using levers located on each wheel. Cheaper models tend to require manual adjustment with a screwdriver.
How to maintain a gas lawn mower
With a big purchase like a lawnmower you want something that’s going to last you a good few seasons, so a little bit of maintenance might be required over its lifetime. If you’re in this for the long haul then make sure you follow all the maintenance tips in the owners manual; things like cleaning the air filter, making sure it contains the right mix of fuels, changing the oil regularly, etc, but you might also want to think about how accessible the engine is when making your buying decision. Carburettor issues are the number one cause of a malfunction in a gas-powered lawnmower, or a spark plug may need changing, so how accessible the engine is can make a real difference.
Starting a gas-powered lawn mower
The standard way to start a gas-powered mower is with a pull-cord. More expensive mowers, however, come with auto choke technology which ensure it starts on the first or second attempt each time. Alternatively, some gas-powered lawnmowers come with an electric starter that just requires you to push a button or turn a key to get them going.
And before we forget - we'd really recommend non-ethanol fuel for a lawnmower if you care about the longevity of your engine. The black charr that forms from ethanol burning is seriously bad news for a small engine.
How much do gas-powered lawn mowers cost?
The price runs from about $160 up to $400 for an affordable or mid-range gas-powered push lawnmower, but higher-end self-propelled models can edge towards the $900 mark and beyond. At the lower end of the market the models are understandably basic, with very few features, but at the top end you get all sorts of wonders, like blade stop technology which will cut out the blades, but leave the motor running, so if you need to move a lump of wood out of the way you can do it without having to stop and restart the mower.