The question of push vs. riding mower is about which is the right tool for the job. Before you pick the best mower for your lawn, you need to understand the different types of mowers available and analyze your lawn.
While push mowers all share the same basic characteristic (you walk behind the device and push them), there are three distinct types.
- Manual-reel mowers are a series of blades that rotate as you push them along. These are the types of mowers you see in old 1950s sitcoms. The only energy source is you, making them environmentally friendly. These devices generally come without a bagging attachment and are really only appropriate for small lawns.
- Push mowers have motors that cause the blades to rotate, but require you to provide all of the energy to push the mower up and down your lawn. Push mowers have bagged attachments that gather up the clippings. These mowers are either gas or electric powered, can be very noisy and obviously provide more emissions than a manual-reel mower. Optimal for small- to medium-sized lawns.
- Self-propelled mowers have motors that power both the blades and the mower itself, so that you need to use less effort to push. They are also noisy, produce emissions and can bag the clippings. Self-propelled mowers are more expensive than push mowers.
Riding mowers are generally reserved for larger lawns and are considered more powerful than push mowers. The wider base of the riding mower allows you to cover more space as you move and you do not have to provide any effort to propel the mower. However, since it is a more powerful and heavier machine, riding mowers are more expensive to acquire and maintain. In general, these machines are for large yards.
While the size of your lawn is a big factor in choosing which is the best mower for you, it’s not the only element that you should consider before making a mowing purchase. The topography of your lawn, such as whether there are steep hills or gardens on your lawn, is also a serious consideration. Riding mowers tend to handle hills better than push mowers, but steep hills can increase the risk that a riding mower will tip over. A garden on your lawn might require sharp turns while mowing, which push mowers can handle better than riding mowers. Therefore you might need to acquire both a riding and push mower if you have a large, hilly, feature-filled lawn. The riding mower would be used for the bulk of the work, but then you would use the push mower to cover the areas that a riding mower cannot safely or effectively handle.