Welcome to another of my buyers guides. This one will focus on gas lawn mowers.
I received quite a few comments last summer from confused gardeners, asking what I’d recommend for this season. Many of these gardeners were long-time advocates of gasoline mowers, but were now being put off by increasing fuel costs, a lack of time they could devote to maintaining a gas mower, and social pressures about pollution etc.
It is true, you either love them or hate them. There are certainly some major advantages to owning a gas propelled mower. Having said that, it would be wrong of me not to mention some draw-backs.
In this guide, I hope to present a balanced approach to enable readers make an informed decision on whether to ‘crank start’ their lawn duties with gas, or to take a different route.
Best Gas Lawn Mower Reviews
In below, I reviewed 9 best gas lawn mowers of 2019, hope that you can be picked your best one based on your requirements.
The Husqvarna 7021P is another great gas powered lawn mower that packs quite a big punch. When we were testing this lawn mower, we were very pleased to find that it started with the first pull almost every time. It’s a bit heavy, but we didn’t have much trouble pushing around our yard. It’s cuts very well and it doesn’t expose you to as gassy fumes that many of the top mowers on the market do.
If the Lawn Boy 17732 was not a lawn mower, it probably could have contested for NASCAR. That’s right; this self-propelled mowing rig is actually quite powerful and handy. It has got a decent Kohler engine, quick soft start, excellent performance and loads of control. Plus, you won’t find another rear wheel drive mower in this price range that can do what it does. We were happy to give it a test drive, so check out our review.
Weighing just under 32 lbs. the Yard Machines 11A-B0S5700 packs in a 140cc engine with limited features but an assurance that it will start up on the first pull of the cord no matter how long it has been sitting in the shed. Yard Machines 140cc 21-Inch Gas Powered Push Mower, highly maneuverable and simple to use, get this if you have a small lawn.
Money isn’t everything where Poulan Pro is concerned and it certainly is not what makes the Poulan Pro PR450N20S such a steal. What makes this an excellent consideration is the fact that it is inexpensive and yet so reliable. If you love traditional mowers and the way they operate you will love this gas mower.
This Lawn Boy 17734 comes with many improvements of self-drive to mow your lawn. It’s powered by Kohler engine which has 3 years of warranty and also featured with grass catcher, electric start, etc. It has 21-inch cutting width which is standard for cutting grasses. This one is the best lighter gas mowers at present market contains weight 72 pounds. For being light, maneuver and self-driving, this one takes place in No.1 in my top 5 list. I will recommend this mower into anyone who wants a reliable one that can fulfills their mowing needs.
Husqvarna LC121P comes with adjustable 9 stage cutting height and 21-inch cutting width. It has the folding system that can help you to store easily. It’s reasonably priced with 2 years consumer warranty. This mower is powered by a 163cc engine which has 8 Inch front wheels and 11-inch rear wheels. It also featured with 3 in 1 cutting style such as – mulch, rear bag, and side discharge. Its fitted grass catcher is perfect for mulch. This is the top-rated gas-powered lawn mowers at amazon. I think this mower could give value to your money.
Lawn Boy 10736 is powered by GCV 160 OHC Honda engine which makes it very reliable. This is a light in weight, quite and easy to use mower. Its 11 inch rear wheels help you to mowing even in a rough lawn. It featured with Tri-Cut system for high quality cutting performance. For its different cutting system you can select bagging, mulching or side discharge option. It’s easy to use features, cutting performance, reliability and combination will value of your money. This mower has 2 years of warranty with 3 years of Tru-Start commitment to fix it free.
Poulan Pro PR500N21SH is the latest gas lawn mower powered by 500e Series 140cc engine with mulch and side discharge option. It comes with recoil start, CARB Compliant, 21 inch deck and 12 inch high rear wheels. This is a very light weight mower (35 pounds only) that makes it easy to mow. If you are looking for a cheap gas lawn mower then this is the best one undoubtedly and it’s a high rated top selling gas mowers into amazon and I will happily recommend you to purchase this one. Greatest features make it industry leading mower.
Lawn Boy 17730 is a gas mower which comes with reasonable price without decrease its performance. Its high wheel design is perfect for easy maneuvers even on your rough lawn. It is powered by Kohler engine (best in fuel efficiency) which has easily adjustable 2 stage cutting height that lets you to adjust cutting height from one side to another. The key features of this mower is XT6 OHV engine, 2 point cutting height, larger bag capacity, Tri-Cut system, 3-in-1 discharge ability, etc. Also it has 2 years worry free complete coverage warranty on its power, starting and parts.
WHY CHOOSE A GAS LAWN MOWER ?
The first thing you need to do is to consider the size and layout of your garden or yard. Generally speaking, the larger your garden, the more likely you are to choose a gas propelled mower.
With very large gardens, you are unlikely to choose a corded electric lawn mower – as the cord won’t stretch that far, or use a battery lawn mower as the charge could possibly drain before the mowing is complete.
Generally the features of lawn mowers are similar, irrespective of the method of power. However, there are some features that are particularly relevant for gas mowers.
For example, most gas mowers have a steel deck (body), unlike their electrically powered counterparts, which are increasingly made of plastic.
I have split out specific features in the sections below.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
A standard engine will cope very well on small, flat, lawns. The next step-up is an OHC (Overhead Cam) engine, which will be quieter and smoother to operate. However, if you have a larger garden, or a hilly terrain, then you should consider a more powerful OHV (overhead valve) engine.
Other than the comments above, do not get too hung up on engine torque. The higher the number does not necessarily relate to a better cutting performance. However it probably will guarantee more money draining from your wallet.
Recoil or Electric Start ?
Many people’s idea of a gas mower, is of someone desperately trying to crank start an engine over and over again, wiping sweat off their brow and hoping that the cord doesn’t snap. The times I’ve done that over the years.
However, I find that today’s crank starting (or recoil) engines are a lot more reliable now than in years gone by. Plus they usually fire up on the first pull…even after sitting in my garage all winter.
Even better is the electronic starter models – with a key, or the push of a starting button. You need to be aware though that electric starting gas mowers do need to have the small battery, that provides the ignition start, charged up periodically. These are not like automobile batteries that get recharged via the engine. Lawn mowers don’t work like that.
Either way, these are proving to be very reliable ‘first-time starters’.
Push or Self-Propel ?
Even with the lightest of engines, gas mowers are always going to be heavier than their electrically powered rivals.
This can be a problem if you have a lot of mowing to do, or have an undulating space to work in. I can tell you that pushing additional weight uphill for any length of time is not fun.
To compensate for this, many gas mowers come self-propelled. That means that the engine not only turns the blades, but also propels the wheels. This results in the unit moving forward under its own steam, at a gentle walking pace. You just need to steer it.
Front Wheel or Rear Wheel Drive ?
Generally speaking it is better to have a rear wheel drive mower. This means that the driving power is going to the wheels at the back of the lawn mower and therefore you will get better traction control. You should certainly consider this a better option if you have a hilly yard.
There are occasions when you will have the front wheels off the ground and if they are the ones with the power going to them (as in a front wheel drive mowers), then you immediately lose that power as soon as the wheels are airborne.
Set or Variable Speed ?
This is for self-propelled mowers. basically a set speed mower will do just that…. go at a set speed.
However, some may prefer the variable speed mowers. This can help adjust to your mowing conditions (i.e. longer grass, hills), or your own fitness levels.
Cylinder or Rotary ?
Gas mowers are available in cylinder and rotary formats. Each design has its own benefits, although the rotary models have increased their popularity in recent years and now command the bulk of the walk-behind mower market.
As with electric lawn mowers, cutting widths can vary. The wider the width, the less maneuverable your lawn mower will be, but the less mowing you will have to do.
Many gas lawn mowers favor the traditional independent wheel height settings. That is a height adjuster on each wheel. Although less efficient, these systems tend to be more robust than the more modern ‘one lever lifts all’ height adjusters. Having said that, I personally prefer the single height deck adjustment system.
Mulch, Side Discharge, or Grass Catcher ?
Gas mowers offer 3 types of grass discharge :
This is where the grass is chopped up very fine and left to ‘mulch’ in the grass – giving nutrients back to the soil. What you are looking for is clippings that are chopped as fine as possible and that will ‘melt’ into the grass so you can’t see them.
If the mower leaves the mulching in large clumps on your lawn then this is going to look unsightly and will not help the fertilization of your grass. Again, if this happens you will need to rake the mulch up.
In addition to the above, you need to be aware that if your lawn is infested with weeds, you could end up mulching weed seeds into your lawn…. and that will just spread their development.
What I have found over the years is that you are very unlikely to get a gas propelled mower that is excellent in all of the above types of cutting. Therefore, I’d strongly recommend that you buy a mower that has good capabilities in the type of cutting you do most. In other words, pick a mulcher with good customer reviews, if mulching is what you do most.
This is where the grass clippings are thrown out of the side of the mower, via a chute. Here, they can be left on the grass, or raked up. Ideally, you want a side discharge mower that evenly distributes the clippings, and not just throws them out in large clumps.
You’ll also find that if the discharge chute is pointing in a downwards direction then you will end up with a long trail of clippings. Where this happens you will need to rake the clippings up.
Here a bag, or light-weight plastic box is, attached to the rear of the mower and the grass clippings are collected for disposal or composting.
Remember that you are looking for a bag that is large enough to not get in the way, but also to ensure that you have as few ’emptying trips’ to your compost heap as possible.
I’ve also been caught out with grass catchers that are not set at a good angle. This means that although the bag could potentially hold a lot of clippings, they tended to fall out (or back into the mower) before it was even half-full.
An important safety feature that’s included in many self-propel mowers is the additional rail by the handle of the lawn mower, which you have to grip during operation. As soon as you let go of this additional rail, then the lawn mower cuts out.
Whilst that is useful in times of an emergency, the disadvantage of this system is that every time you need to stop and let go of this rail – say to pick something up, or empty the grass catcher – then the mower will cut out. You then have to start it up again when you are ready to proceed.
From experience, I can tell you that this can get be a bit annoying. To combat this, you can get mowers with a blade over-ride system. This is also known as a blade break clutch. Although these mowers are more expensive, this will allow the blade to be dis-engaged from the motor, once the rail is released. That means that the engine continues to run, but you have the safety of the blade no-longer turning.
Swivel-wheel mowers help when you have lots of curved borders to negotiate, or lots of obstacles. As their name suggests, the front wheels spin (like a super-market trolley). They are fantastically easy to maneuver and great for tight spaces (see image to the right).
Tipping over a gas mower, to clean the underside, can lead to gasoline working its way into the air filter, and this can cause problems. Washout ports on a gas mower are an important feature, as they help you clean the mower without tipping it over.
To clean the underside of the mower, you simply attach a garden hose onto the port and turn on the hose. Then you fire up the engine and run it for a couple of minutes. This will obviously spin the blade, whilst the water cleans the underside of the mower’s deck.
Handle Bar Height Adjustment & Grips
This, for me is the most important part of any mower, but especially important for gas powered mowers.
I do suffer with the occasional back problem, so it is vital that I can get the height of the handle just right. You’d be surprised just how limited some brands are when it comes to height adjustment of the handle.
I also like to see the new ergonomic handles. This is where you can position your hands at a slight angle to each other, as opposed to being on a straight bar.
Finally, most mowers come with sponge, or foam, handle grips. This is vital on a gasoline mower, as the foam will absorb some of the vibrations pulsing up from the engine. Just make sure that the foam grips have a good shelf life, because some cheaper versions can fall apart with less than a season of use.
PROS AND CONS OF A GAS POWERED MOWER
- Are better suited for larger gardens and do not have the limits imposed by battery life or distance from an electrical power source
- Are usually more powerful and can therefore tackle longer, course, and also wet grass
- You won’t have to worry about tripping over cables
- You don’t have the potential hazard of electrocution as a result of cutting through the cable
- The decks are usually made of steel or aluminum – this is much more robust than the plastic bodies of electric mowers
- Gas mowers tend to be heavier than electric models – although some lighter models are available
- They tend to be less maneuverable and therefore not suited for smaller yards, or gardens with obstacles or curved edges
- There are more safety concerns regarding inflammable liquids and certainly gas lawn mowers shouldn’t be transported when pull of gas
- It’s not always easy to see when the mower needs re-fuelling
- Non self-propelled models can be too much like hard work
- Recoil models can sometimes be tricky to start – especially when left idle throughout the winter months – and for this reason are not suited for smaller framed people or the elderly
- Require more upkeep and are a little bit more difficult to clean if they don’t contain a washout port.
All mowers have risks attached to them. Many of the risks can be attributed to gas and electric mowers. However, I will focus mainly on gas mower safety considerations here.
- Always start off your mowing by clearing anything from your lawn. These can be things you might trip over, or things that you might run over with the mower (twigs or stones).
- Always wear protective eye-wear, as things can fly out from under the mower at great speed.
- Never smoke, or have a naked flame whilst using a gas lawn mower.
- Never mow with children or pets in the locality.
- Never run with your gas lawn mower.
- Keep feet and hands well clear from the blade.