Small lawn mowers are in demand because who wants to push a big heavy beast? The exception are self-propelled models, but even then, if you have a small plot of grass, a compact lawn mower is best.
I’m not that great at mowing lawns. I get it done, but it’s not perfect. My brother, on the other hand, makes mowing lawns a fine art creating the checkered “baseball diamond” look. It’s amazing. When growing up, my parents had an amazing, professional-looking lawn thanks to him.
If you’re looking
A. Push Reel Mowers
1. American Lawn Mower Push Reel Mower
For over a century, American Lawn Mower Company has supplied push reel small lawn mowers to the public. Their design philosophy hasn’t changed much in that time, lending this lawnmower a classic feel when in use. Of course, the company has made small adjustments over the years to bring their mowers up to modern standards.
The rotary blades offer a 14-inch cutting width and can cut grass to a length ranging from half an inch up to 1.75 inches. It’s fine for most lawns, though you wouldn’t want to use it on an overgrown mess of a yard. Being a push reel motor, it requires no fuel to run.
The reel contains four 4-inch blades, which slice and dice with satisfying precision. Each is made using a steel alloy too, so they’re sturdy enough to get through any rough patches in the garden.
At 42.5 inches tall, it doesn’t require too much bending over to get the job done. The 8.5-inch polymer wheels run smoothly over the grass too, plus the light 19-lb. frame ensures you don’t end up feeling like you have to lug it around.
- Sports a classic American design
- Wide cutting width, which you can make wider if you spend more money
- Feels as light as a feather and glides over grass easily
- Perfect for keeping a tended lawn well-maintained
- Not one of the best small lawn mowers for dealing with overgrown grass
- Blades may need adjusting to get them right
2. Fiskars 17 Inch Staysharp Push Reel Lawn
The big plastic base may make this look like a fuel-powered mower, but this is one of the better small lawn mowers for those who like to put a little more effort in. The cover also means it’s safer than many push reel small lawn mowers. It prevents little hands or paws from finding their way in between the blades.
Fiskars claim their mower is 30% easier to use than other push reel mowers, and it does glide over grass smoothly. The four wheels also lend it a greater stability, so pushing hard won’t cause the mower to jam in the grass. The InterDrive reel offers a high cutting range too, being capable of slicing up grass to lengths of between 1.5 and 3.5 inches.
That same system also prevents the blades from touching each other as they cut, which reduces friction and keeps the blades sharper for longer. It also has a large cutting width of 17 inches, so it takes less time to get the lawn into the right shape.
- Larger cutting with than most small lawn mowers
- InterDrive reel protects the blades and offers an efficient cut
- Plastic covering means you don’t have to worry about exposed blades
- The added bulk at the bottom means it struggles with little nooks and crannies
3. Earthwise 7 Blade Push Reel Mower
With its 16-inch width and seven blades, this is a mower for people who need to slice through the tough and bent grass. It works especially well on Bermuda, Zoysia, and St. Augustine grass, plus it deals with wet grass better than most small lawn mowers.
Though it carries the Earthwise branding, this is another mower from the American Lawn Mower company. As a result, it has a similar classic look to its original mower, though it’s a tad more imposing thanks to the extra blades. That does also mean there’s no cover over the blades, so it’s best not to use it when there are small children or animals around.
Weighing in at 26 pounds, it’s easy to maneuver and isn’t bad for getting into those pesky little corners. However, the seven-blade design does come with some downsides. If you’re looking for a mower that can handle regular, well-maintained grass, you may be better served by one of the company’s other small lawn mowers.
It stands at 47 inches tall, with a couple of curved handles coming away from the central stem. You can also adjust the reel, meaning it can cut grass to any length between a half inch and 2.5 inches long.
- Great at dealing with bent, non-traditional grass types
- Handles wet grass better than most push reel small lawn mowers
- Light enough to move around easily
- Exposed blades may present a danger to children
- There are better small lawn mowers for cutting regular grass
B. Walk Behind Power Lawn Mowers
1. Greenworks 16-Inch 10 Amp Corded Lawn Mower
Ideal for when you don’t want lawn cuttings cluttering up your freshly-mowed lawn, this mower has a handy bag at the rear that collects clippings as you go. What’s really impressive is that you can use that bag for rear discharge and mulching too.
It also has a 10-amp motor, which gives it more than enough power to slice through most types of grass. The cutting deck underneath the big cover has a 16-inch width, so it shouldn’t take too long to bring smaller lawns under control. It can also cut to several grass lengths, from the strangely specific five-eighths of an inch, up to two and five-eighths.
The handles fold over the base when you’re finished, so it’s easy to park it away in the corner of a storage shed. It’s rechargeable too, so you don’t have to worry about any stray cords getting caught in the blades. Just plug it in, give it some juice, and press the button on the handle to get it started.
Having said all of that, it does struggle with wet grass. You may not be able to use it to keep the lawn maintained if you have a lot of rain during the week.
- Folds in on itself to make it easier to store
- Rear bag catches grass clippings and can discharge when needed
- Blades have a 16-inch cutting width
- Heavier than many small lawn mowers at 37.5 pounds
- Occasionally pulls up small patches of tougher grass, rather than cutting
2. Sun Joe MJ401C 28-Volt Cordless Push Lawn Mower
With its 28-volt rechargeable battery, this mower doesn’t require a lot of maintenance and has no cords that might get in the way. Each charge gives it enough juice to cut a quarter-acre of land, which is more than enough for most lawns. There’s even a little indicator on an LED screen that tells you when you need to plug it back in again.
It’s not the most powerful of the small lawn mowers on this list, plus it only has a 14-inch cutting width. Despite that, it’s has a nice and bulky aesthetic, with thick plastic wheels to ensure it runs smoothly over the grass.
There’s a nice focus on safety here too, as the mower carries the ETL mark from Intertek. The base does a good job of covering the blades, plus it has a safety switch that you have to pull before it will start. This lowers the risk of adventurous children starting it up accidentally.
The rear bag can hold 10.6 gallons of clippings and slides off easily when you need to dispose of them. It weighs about 28 pounds and comes with a two-year warranty.
- Long warranty means you’re covered in the case of damage
- Meets Intertek’s safety standards
- Has a rear compartment that carries 10.6 gallons of clippings
- Runs for 25 minutes on a full charge
- You should look at other small lawn mowers if you have a large yard
- Blades seem to struggle with thick patches of grass
3. GreenWorks 20 in. Corded Electric Lawn Mower
The first thing you’ll notice about this mower is that it has a power cord. While that means you have to be a little more careful when mowing the lawn, it also ensures that the mower doesn’t run out of power halfway through the job.
GreenWorks lives up to its name too, as the mower has no carbon footprint. If you’re concerned about the environment, this may be one of the best small lawn mowers around.
It’s also among the most powerful, as its 120-volt battery and 20-inch blades can handle tough grass and larger lawns. You also have a choice of seven grass height settings, so you can mow your lawn just the way you like it.
The mower is a bit bulky at 56 pounds, so it’s not the best choice for getting into little corners and other small nooks. However, if you have a large, evenly-shaped lawn, there are few better small lawn mowers available for getting the job down quickly.
- Extremely energy efficient, to the point that it produces no carbon footprint
- Packs a lot of power into a relatively small frame
- Being corded means it won’t run out of power halfway through mowing
- You have to keep the cord in mind whenever you’re mowing
- Difficult to reattach the blades if you have to take them off for sharpening
4. Sun Joe 12-Amp Electric Lawn Mower
Another corded mower, this has a 12-amp motor that provides it with enough power to mow through the average lawn easily enough. The 14-inch blades mean it’s best suited to small and medium-sized lawns, plus being only 30 pounds makes it easier to maneuver into tight spaces. You can also adjust the blades to three height settings.
The steel blades offer plenty of precision, while the black storage compartment in the back catches grass clippings. That makes this a great choice for people who don’t want to have to spend ages cleaning up the aftermath of mowing their lawn.
If you need to cut longer grass, the discharge chute may be your best friend. It fires out the clippings to keep them away from the blades, so clogging shouldn’t be an issue. The mower also comes with clear instructions, so you’ll have it set up and ready to use in no time.
- Easy to set up
- Allows for precision mowing thanks to the small blades
- Low weight makes it easy to move around
- Has a discharge chute for when you need to mow long grass
- The motor may stall on bumpy ground
- Small wheels lower the turning circle
5. WORX 24V Cordless 14 in. Lawn Mower
A sleek mower, this has curves in all of the right places. Instead of going for one, big base, WORX has created a molded plastic cover that almost makes the mower look like the front end of a race car. There’s also a rear bag, which can catch clippings, mulch, or discharge depending on your needs.
The battery is particularly impressive, as you can remove it from the mower to charge it. That means there’s no dragging a heavy, 43-pound mower around just to charge it up. Once charged, the battery can slice through about 6,000 square feet of grass before it needs charging again.
The 14-inch blades mean this mower works best for small lawns or those with a lot of awkward little spaces. It also comes with a three-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.
- Looks the part with its sleek two-toned design
- Great for dealing with small lawns and tight spaces
- Removable battery makes charging easy
- Doesn’t handle wet grass well
- Have to adjust all four wheels if you want to change the cutting length
6. Cordless 36-Volt Black and Decker 19″ Electric Lawn Mower
One of the most powerful cordless small lawn mowers, this has a large cutting width of 19 inches. It has a removable battery too, so you can get several batteries and use them one after the other if you need to mow a large lawn. The charger comes with the mower and carries an Energy Star rating.
It has you covered if you want to change the cutting height too, as there’s a one-touch system that handles it for you. It’s a touch on the heavy side, coming in at 72 pounds, but it’s still pretty easy to move around. The rear bag also catches clippings as it mows.
Being battery-powered, it doesn’t emit toxic fumes while you use it. The mower also comes with a two-year limited warranty, which reinforces Black and Decker’s longstanding reputation for quality.
- One of the most powerful cordless small lawn mowers
- 19-inch blades make it a good choice for larger lawns
- One-touch height adjustment system
- Doesn’t handle tight corners or spaces well
- Leaves behind streaks of grass if you don’t overlap slightly while mowing
C. Robotic Lawn Mowers
Like vacuums, the robots have taken over lawn care. You can now choose from a wide variety of robotic lawn mowers that mow your lawn on its own. They’re probably the smallest lawn mowers you can buy.
There are a good number of models and brands to choose from. I’ve never tried one so I can’t speak to how well they work, but my wife’s family is from Sweden where they’re very popular.
You can check out a variety of robotic lawn mowers at Amazon.
Choosing between push reel and power is the first choice you have to make when looking at small lawn mowers. The former guarantees no fuel emissions, but require more work on your part. The latter make mowing easier, but you may have to deal with cords, fuel, or battery length.
Should you opt for a powered mower, avoid fuel-based ones if you’re even the slightest bit environmentally conscious. As for the choice between cordless and corded, it really depends on whether you prefer the need to recharge over having to avoid a cord while you mow.
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