To get ratings and reviews of the latest models in early spring, our testers travel to Florida to perform late winter testing on grounds we maintain year round. We plant 1,800 pounds of grass seed (mostly annual rye, prized for its dense growth). We mow 500,000 square feet of grass in three modes: mulch, side discharge and bagging (we recover 3000 pounds of mowing in total). We cover flat turf, slopes and ditches to get a feel for each pattern. We also take a look at the convenience features of each model we review.
Each model’s overall score in CR mower reviews incorporates all of this performance data, along with the reliability and owner satisfaction ratings predicted from our member surveys. The surveys use data from more than 64,000 lawn mowers and tractors purchased by members between 2009 and 2019.
If you’re in the market for a new mower, the best place to start is our lawn mower and tractor buying guide. Then check out our detailed reviews of over 120 mowers and tractors.
CR members with digital access can read ratings and reviews of the top eight mowers in our rankings, including walk-behind and self-propelled mowers, zero-turn lawn tractors, and rear-engined ride-on mowers. These top picks are listed in order of ranking within each category and come from a range of brands including Ego, Honda, John Deere, Ryobi and Troy-Bilt.
We’ll update this list again, when we’re done testing new models in Spring 2021. For now, here are the best mowers on the market.