By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com
We're about halfway through what could be one of the hottest summers on record and many lawns are looking baked, brown, and maybe a bit too long. Getting the grass green again might require a water bill to rival Sea World's, but keeping it trimmed requires only a reliable lawn mower. Prices for mowers can vary from as little as $100 to more than $1,000. Cheapism has done the research and found four low-cost models that are easy to start, maneuver, and maintain. Here are the top picks:
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- Black & Decker MM275The lightweight, easy-to-use Black & Decker MM275 (starting at $169) is best for smaller lawns. It's an electric model with a cord, so you can't stray farther than 100 feet from an outlet. The 18-inch blade can be adjusted to cut the grass at any one of six heights from 1 to 3.5 inches. This model claims legions of admirers who have posted positive reviews online.
- Toro 20371The gas-powered Toro 20371 (starting at $299) features a self-propelled drive system, powered by a 149 cc Kohler engine, and a 22-inch blade, so it requires fewer passes to finish the lawn. Many online reviewers are fans of the washout port, which lets you attach a hose for easy cleaning underneath. This mower has nine cutting positions ranging from 1 to 4 inches and large rear wheels for better maneuvering.
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- Scotts 2000-20The Scotts 2000-20 (starting at $105) is an eco-friendly reel mower with no motor, so there are no smelly fumes or gas tank to refill and no plug to switch between outlets. You certainly don't have to worry it will be difficult to start. The five 20-inch steel blades can be set to nine cutting heights between 1 and 3 inches. Reviewers like that it's simple and quiet and actually appreciate the opportunity to get a little exercise.
- Craftsman 37041On the flip side, the Craftsman 37041 (starting at $280) is a self-propelled gas mower that almost pulls users along with its 190 cc Briggs & Stratton engine. That combines with a 22-inch cutting deck to help minimize mowing time. Reviewers appreciate that this lawn mower is easy to assemble, start, and maneuver.
With the exception of the basic Scotts reel mower, the models on this list offer three options for disposal of grass clippings: bagging, mulching, and side discharge. Both gas mowers come with the bag included.
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When purchasing a new mower, be sure to take into account the size and topography of your lawn, as well as how much time and effort you're prepared to put into mowing. You don't want to buy a new lawn mower only to let it sit in the shed for the rest of the summer. Manual reel mowers and corded electric mowers suit small, flat yards without too many slopes to climb or landscaping to navigate. Gas mowers come with the added chore of fueling up and maintaining the engine. However, if you have a large, hilly lawn, a gas-powered machine is probably the best option.
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