Results of lawn mower, tractor, string trimmer, & leaf blower testing part of comprehensive guide to getting the best lawn ever—Plus, five ways to slice lawn-care bills
Yonkers, NY – In Consumer Reports’ tests of nearly 40 lawn mowers, models from Honda and Toro led the pack for getting most lawns back into shape after a brutal winter.
The full report on lawn mowers and lawn care, which also includes Ratings of tractors and riders, string trimmers, and the best leaf blowers—plus ways to save money on lawn care, and more—is featured in the May 2014 issue of Consumer Reports and at www.ConsumerReports.org.
“A great-looking lawn is easy if you have the right tools,” said Peter Sawchuk, test program leader for home improvement at Consumer Reports. “The best mowers and riding machines can help get a lawn back into shape in time for summer.”
In the self-propelled, gas-powered mower category – the type of mower most people buy – models from Honda and Toro earned Consumer Reports’ highest scores, including the Honda HRR2169VKA, $400.00, and the Toro 20381, $520.00, which were both CR Best Buys. The Cub Cadet SC100 11A-A92J, $250.00, also a CR Best Buy, topped the gas push-mower category and the Ego, LM2000, $500.00, earned the highest scores among the electric battery mowers tested.
While most lower-scoring lawn mowers Consumer Reports tested performed passably, several left ugly clumps in their wake, including two models from Earthwise (a plug-in mower and a self-propelled cordless) and a gas-push version from Murray.
Five Ways to Save on Lawn Care
In addition to putting the tools needed to keep a lawn looking its best to the test, Consumer Reports has outlined some simple fixes for the most common lawn problems, the do’s and don’ts of lawn fertilizers, and these five lawn-maintenance tips that will help save money:
- Add compost. This will improve soil and help eliminate pests and diseases, which means less money spent on fertilizer and water.
- Water wisely. Water established lawn thoroughly once a week (early morning is best) with about 1 inch of water; spread a few 1-inch deep empty tuna cans as a makeshift measuring device.
- Mulch, don’t bag. Grass clippings are a free source of slow-release fertilizer, so let the mower discharge the clippings back onto the grass while mowing; it can cut fertilizer costs—and reduce the need to water—by up to 30 percent.
- Try low-maintenance grass. Slow-growth, drought-resistant grass species save water, fertilizer and time; a local cooperative can help determine the right species for the climate.
- Maintain mowers and tractors. Sharp blades cut more quickly and cleanly, and along with basic engine maintenance, can reduce fuel costs by up to 25 percent. Dull blades also stress grass, making it more susceptible to disease.
The full report and Ratings of lawn mowers, tractors and riders, and string trimmers, plus a winners’ list of top-scoring leaf blowers, is featured in the 2014 May issue of Consumer Reports and at www.ConsumerReports.org.