Push Mower or Riding Mower? How to Choose the Best Mower for Your Lawn

If you’re thinking about buying a lawn mower, the choices out there might seem overwhelming. Should you get a push mower? If so, should you go manual or automatic push mower? What about a riding mower? If you go for a riding mower, how big of a mower should you get? How powerful?

With so many options, the choice can feel like a confusing one to make. Investing in a mower is a big decision, so you want to make sure to get it right. This post examines some of the factors to consider while making your decision about what mower to buy.

How to Choose the Best Mower

When you want to buy a new mower, your choice can depend on a variety of factors including your property’s size, the terrain and grading, and your personal budget. In general a riding mower is best for “bigger” – bigger spaces, and bigger budgets – while a push mower is a good choice for smaller yards or less of a financial investment.

Benefits of a Riding Mower

Riding mowers are most often used by commercial lawn care providers or by homeowners with large, expansive yards and those who love to do-it-themselves. Riding mowers offer a lot of benefits including the following:

  • Speed 
  • Ability to cut wide paths
  • Ability to make quick turns

Riding mowers are of course less labor-intensive than push mowers, as you sit and the mower does some of the work for you. They can reach high speeds and cut large, wide areas efficiently. These mowers are also agile, able to make quick turns and cover a lot of ground. One variety, zero-turn mowers, even offer independent suspension that provides a close, professional type cut. 

Because of these factors, riding mowers are best suited for large lawns and commercial spaces. They also work best on flatter grades and lawns without any massive slopes or uneven terrain which could theoretically lead to the mower tipping over. Riding mowers are good on more “rugged” terrains however, including thick or damp grass, as they are large and heavy and can cut through it. They  won’t clog as easily as some other smaller mowers might, even after a rainfall or over debris.

Benefits of a Push Mower

Push mowers are smaller than riding mowers, and require a larger level of physical effort as their name implies. There are two main types of push mowers – manual and automatic. A manual mower will require the most physical effort. Sometimes, push mowers are used by lawn care services that have a fleet of machines to supplement the work done with riding mowers and best reach all the areas of the lawn. Here are some instances in which a walk-behind mower is the best: 

  • Small areas or lawns with twists and turns, lots of landscaping, or walkways
  • Steep areas
  • Homes as opposed to commercial spots
  • Smaller budgets, as the price point is lower

Walk-behind or push mowers are good because they are flexible, and better for small, tight spots. They can easily fit through gates or small openings, plus maneuver around areas with lots of landscaping or walkways. This is because they are easy to maneuver and physically smaller. Push mowers provide more mowing control, as you can maneuver more easily and precisely than in a larger machine. They are safer on steep terrains than riding mowers. 

So, How Do You Decide Which Mower is Right for You?

Ultimately, the decision on what mower to buy is a personal one. Be sure to consider factors above, with special attention to the size of your space, how intricate your lawn is, and your personal budget. For some who still aren’t sure if they want to invest the time or money in a mower, it may be easier to hire a professional lawn care service who has a variety of mowers and tools at their disposal.


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