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How to Choose the Right Lawnmower

Types of Push-behind Lawn Mowers
If your yard is on the small side, a push-behind mower might be just the thing.
If your yard is on the small side, a push-behind mower might be just the thing.

There are different types of push-behind lawn mowers. All come with advantages and disadvantages, which should be weighed according to your needs and budget.

A push-behind mower, also called a walk-behind mower, has an engine and takes a little muscle to maneuver, making it well-suited for small lawns that are relatively flat. Thanks to its simple design, there's little that can go wrong -- this type of lawn mower doesn't break down as often as others. Push-behind lawn mowers are available for about $150.

Another sensible option for this type of low-fuss yard is the reel mower. Since it has no engine, it's virtually problem-free, plus it's environmentally friendly, quiet and inexpensive to use and maintain. Reel mowers tend to cut closer than motorized models. Reel mowers are available between $100 and $200. Keep in mind, they're not good for expansive lawns or rolling terrain, unless you're prepared for a royal workout!

Electric mowers are also fitting for small areas but for another reason: They usually have an electric cord. Think of it like a vacuum cleaner -- plug it in, flip a switch and you're running. While electric mowers are relatively quiet and more environmentally friendly than gas mowers, they aren't equipped for deep cutting, so you have to mow more often. If yours has a cord, be careful, as mowing over it can be dangerous. You can avoid this hassle with cordless versions, which run on rechargeable batteries. Electric mowers are sold for approximately $200.

But what if your lawn is sloped or large? That's when a self-propelled mower might be in order. This kind comes with an engine, and some models have adjustable speeds that allow you to easily manage your pace if the ground is uneven. Due to safety regulations, all versions have a control level just inches away from the main handle that must be gripped for the engine to operate. Self-propelled mowers can run between $500 and $900.

Sure, self-propelled mowers can be great for large yards, but what if your lawn and garden is really massive? That's when you're ready for another level in lawn care: the riding lawn mower. Turn to the next page to learn your options.