"It'll get the job done faster," Peter Sawchuk says, adding, "it'll save you energy."
A self-propelled mower with variable-speeds is good for speeding across flat sections of lawn, and slowing down for tough grass. However, there is one feature to avoid: Big wheels.
"A popular misconception is that large wheels make it easier to mow. However, they're moved further back, making the mower heavier to push down on every time you go to turn the mower," Sawchuk says. "The same-sized mower with the smaller, regular wheels... it's much lighter to push down every time you turn."
After months of testing, Consumer Reports found several good choices. The $400 self-propelled Honda is a Best Buy. The unique twin blades chop the grass into fine clippings that blend into the lawn when you mulch. The Honda is also much more efficient at bagging.
"These clippings are smaller, so that this bag will hold four, sometimes even five pounds more clippings than any other mower," Sawchuk says.
Another good choice: A $330 Troy-Bilt. Like the Honda, it has rear-wheel drive, which helps on hills. Its single-lever height-adjuster makes it easy to change the cutting height. Also, you can attach your hose to easily rinse away built-up clippings.
Consumer Reports says a push gas mower is fine for small, flat yards. You'll work a little harder, but that can save some money on a gym!
Consumer Reports named several push gas mowers a Best Buy, including the Craftsman model 37432 for $220.