The 5 Best Gas Lawn Mowers for 2023
If you want power, a gas lawn mower will give you what you need. Here's a collection of eight top models to choose from.
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Best Budget Gas-Powered Push Lawn Mower
If you want a no-frills, affordable mower, consider the PowerSmart DB8621C Gas Lawn Mower. Its 21-in. cutting deck is suitable for small to mid-size yards, and its price suitable for just about any budget.
It does run heavy at 54 pounds and the rear wheels aren’t oversized, making turns and uneven terrain tougher to navigate. It can mulch or use a side discharge, although there’s no bagging option. It comes with a three-year warranty, especially nice on a budget mower.
- Works for small to mid-sized yards
- No bagging option for grass clippings
- Heavy weight can slow maneuverability
Best Gas-Powered Push Lawn Mower
Family Handyman came away impressed after testing the The Toro Timemaster 30, a 30-inch walk-behind, self-propelled lawn mower. It even earned the Family Handyman Approved seal. The 30-inch blade drastically reduces your mowing time, so this is a great pick for small and larger yards. The Personal Pace self-propelled system detects your preferred walking speed and adjust the mower’s speed accordingly. It also comes with a collection bag for grass clippings too.
- Large, 30-inch deck cuts more grass faster
- Works great on uneven terrain
Best Multi-Function Gas-Powered Riding Lawn Mower
When you need serious power for a big yard, look to a garden tractor like the Husqvarna TS 248XD Garden Tractor.
This gas-powered workhorse has a 23-hp Kawasaki V-Twin engine and a 48-in. cutting deck with a hose port clean-out for grass clippings. It also features a 15-in. seat back, anti-vibration system and cruise control to reduce fatigue. It also comes with a three-year warranty. Some riding lawn mowers require you to take your hands off the wheel, or at least one of them, to shift, but the hydrostatic transmission on this model lets you do that with your feet.
Optional accessories include a triple-bagger, mulcher and front scoop for moving anything, from snow and loose soil to debris and bags of mulch.
- Speed and power for larger yards
- Versatility thanks to the long list of optional accessories
- Handles well for a lawn tractor
- Could be too much mower for yards less than an acre in size
- There are some user reports of uneven cutting when turning at higher speeds
Best Gas-Powered Zero-Turn Lawn Mower
The Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 Gas Lawn Mower is a perfect example of a zero-turn mower geared toward a homeowner. It cuts large yards quickly and nimbly but lacks the features that make pro-level mowers so expensive.
The 50-in. cutting deck and 23-hp V-Twin Kawasaki engine work best for lawns one acre or more. The extra-high 18-in. seat back provides more support, making your mowing time more comfortable. Cub Cadet offers a collection of baggers and mulchers compatible with the Ultima ZT1.
- Zero-turn mower for residential users
- Comfortable and easy to use
- Works best for larger yards
- Some assembly required
Best Budget Gas-Powered Riding Lawn Mower
Generally speaking, a rear-engine riding lawn mower will cost significantly less money than other types of riding lawn mowers. This rear-engine mower from Craftsman is a simple yet durable mower. Best of all, it’s an affordable option when compared to other riding lawnmowers.
This single-cylinder engine mower features a 30-inch cutting deck that puts it closer in size to a wide push mower, allowing you to easily fit through gates and tight spaces. But for all that compact size, this mower can still tackle big yards; the manufacturer recommends it for up to 1 acre.
- Mid-back seat and soft-touch steering wheel
- 6-speed transmission and 18-inch turn radius
- LED headlights for nighttime visibility
- Manual transmission might require additional driving skills from operator
All prices and links were current as of publication.
Buying a Gas Lawn Mower
For all the advancements with electric mowers in recent years, there’s still nothing quite like the power and range of a gas-powered lawn mower.
A typical gas mower provides as much power as high-end electric mowers, without being tethered to a power cord or needing a recharge halfway through the job. Gas mowers also last a long time. With proper maintenance, many gas-powered mowers can see 10 to 20 years of service.
Like all technologies, they do have downsides — primarily noise, maintenance and fuel storage. But their power range and durability allows gas mowers to remain perennial bestsellers.
If you’ve weighed the differences between electric vs. gas lawn mowers and decided on a gas-powered mower, here are some features to consider:
- Style: Gas lawn mowers come in push and riding models. Push models are best for yards about one-third to one-half of an acre. Blades can be rotary or reel. Rotary mowers spin flat blades horizontally, cutting the grass like a machete, while cylindrical reel mowers snip it like a scissors. Rotary mowers are better for tall grass and debris like sticks, while reel blades are the choice for short, clean, highly-maintained lawns.
- Engine: All new mowers sold in the U.S. are four-stroke engines, meaning the gas isn’t mixed with oil. (California recently passed a law phasing out the sale of gas-powered lawn equipment.)
- Deck width: The cutting deck holds the mower blades. A wider deck means fewer passes around the yard and less mowing time. But a deck that’s too wide can be problematic for smaller yards, or those with trees, bushes and other obstacles to navigate. Mowers with larger decks also need a bigger engine.
- Maintenance: There’s no way around this. Besides mower blade sharpening and cleaning out grass clippings, you’ll also have to deal with fuel, oil filters and annual tuneups. Luckily, most mowers are relatively DIY friendly, so if you’re comfortable working with small engines you can do most of the work yourself. If not, plenty of small-engine shops offer service.
- Features: Look for things like self-propelled drive on push mowers and vibration reduction on both styles. Self-propelled mowers can also be front-wheel, rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. Other features such as phone clips, cup holders, or easy-start options are nice to have. Whether they’re worth the additional price is up to you.
- Accessories: Most mowers, but not all, come with a bagging system. Many have other options as well. Riding mowers offer a range of accessories. If there’s a must-have for you, be sure that option is available for the mower you intend to buy.
- Price: Push mowers targeted at homeowners run from $200 to $800. Riding mowers range from $1,300 to $6,000. But there are plenty of models that fall outside even those broad ranges. No matter the size of your budget or your yard, there’s a mower out there that’s right for you.
What kind of gas should you use for your lawn mower?
Your mower requires clean, fresh unleaded gasoline with a minimum of 87 octane. Just take your approved gasoline storage can to the gas station with you can fill it up for your mower.
Most lawn mowers today are four-stroke engines, which means they require oil and gas separately. However, you might still have an older, two-stroke engine lawn mower, which requires a gasoline with oil mixed into it. The easiest way to tell is check the owner’s manual for your mower. If that’s not possible, a four-stroke engine will have a dipstick to check the oil and separate ports for oil and gas.
How to drain the gas from a mower
The easiest way to drain the gas from your lawn mower run the engine until the gas is gone. You can also siphon it out of the tank, or you can pour it out of the tank into a gas can (you’ll need a funnel and probably a second set of hands to help.
Where to get lawn mower gas
The gas station down the block, the same place you fill up your car, has what you need. For gas premixed with oil, you’ll want to get that from a hardware store.
Should you use ethanol free gas?
Mowers can handle gasoline with up to 10 percent ethanol, but it’s not recommended. Any mixture with a higher ration of ethanol should be avoided, like the E15 blend commonly sold at gas stations. Ethanol absorbs water at a higher rate than regular gas, which can negatively affect engine performance. It can also be corrosive to plastic, rubber and fiberglass parts.
Are gas lawn mowers going away?
Any engine powered by gasoline emits carbon and other pollutants into the atmosphere. The Environmental Protection Agency found that gas-powered lawn mowers account for five percent of the total air pollution in the United States.
For now, there’s no shortage of gas-powered equipment available. However, that’s starting to change. The state of California passed legislation in 2021 that will ban the sale of new gas-powered lawn equipment by 2024 (to help ease this transition, California has set aside $30 million for a rebate program to offset the cost of new zero-emission equipment.) Some cities are starting to implement no-mow days to help control air pollution. Honda announced last year that it will stop making gas-powered lawn mowers.
Do gas mowers last longer than electric mowers?
One key point in the gas vs. electric mower debate has to do with run time. A tank of gas will usually give an operator more running time than a single charge for an electric mower. And while early electric mowers were often less durable than their gas-powered counterparts, the industry is making big improvements to the products. In early 2023, John Deere announced its first electric riding lawn mower, a zero-turn model no less.