How much should you spend on a lawn mower? Advice from the experts

This is exactly how much to spend on a new lawn mower

How much to spend on a lawn mower - a line of lawn mowers in a store
(Image credit: Getty Images / Fenton Roman)

Mowing season is back once again, and some of us may have gone into our sheds or garages to find that our once trusty lawn mower is now way past its best.

Lawn mowers can be eye-wateringly expensive. You'll often find mowers at ridiculous markups, and if you don't know what you're looking for, you can end up overspending by thousands of dollars.

As a product tester, I've examined dozens of the best lawn mowers over the years, so I know exactly how much you need to spend for a quality machine that doesn't hurt your bottom line. I have also spoken to a landscaping expert for his advice when you buy. So, if your lawn mower is beyond repair and you're in the market for a new one, this is how much should you spend on a new model.

How much should I spend on a gas mower?

You can buy a good gas mower for around $400. I've had good – if not great – results with mowers around this price. However, it's not what the experts recommend. 

I spoke to landscaping expert Bryan Clayton, who said 'If there’s one piece of advice I can drill into every homeowner, it's this: spend the money on a good piece of equipment, and it’ll be the last one you buy for a long, long time. It's not just about the upfront cost; it's about the long haul, the quality of the cut, and the sheer joy of using something that does the job right. 

The bottom line is that if you want the best, Bryan says 'you're looking at $1200 to $1500. It sounds steep, but these models will outlast cheaper ones by decades, and save you hours on your weekend chores with a professional-grade cut.'

This is especially true for Californians. Small gas motors (in California, small off-road engines, or SORE) are being phased out in 2024 as an anti-pollution measure. Whatever you think of this policy, if you want the benefits of a gas mower, I'd buy a high-end mower now so that you can get years of use. 

Bryan Clayton
Bryan Clayton

Bryan Clayton is a co-founder of GreenPal, an online platform that connects homeowners with local lawn care professionals. Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Bryan developed an early interest in entrepreneurship and started his first business at the age of 13, mowing lawns in his neighborhood.

How much should I spend on an electric mower?

Mowing a lawn with an EGO mower

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Electric mowers start at a lot lower than gas mowers. If you're working on a budget, these can save you a lot of money. I know firsthand that you can get by with a mower that costs no more than $100. 

However, I don't recommend it. I spent years wrangling with a cheap mower, and found that you have to spend a lot of time on maintenance. Thin steel lawnmower blades chip faster than higher-quality steel, so you need to keep on top of sharpening your blades much more often, increasing your workload. Cheap plastic corded mowers are much less robust, so if your mower catches on a rock or a stick, it's more likely to crack the plastic housing. It brings a little stress to your mowing; every rock or stick that kicks up against the mower could be the one that breaks it. 

Not only that, but the cheaper models lack the extra features of more expensive models. Above $400 you could be paying for gimmicks, but under $200 and you're missing out on mowers that mow right to the edge of a lawn, or mowers with mulching plugs. All in all, the experts recommend spending around $200 for a good mower. 

How much should I spend on a riding mower?

Riding mowers are the most expensive when it comes to price. I've seen some mediocre machines with high markups they don't deserve. Prices also vary hugely between the two main types of riding mowers. 

If you're on a budget, get a lawn tractor. These top out at about $3000, and I wouldn't pay much more than this for a tractor. The exception is if you have a lot of land – I'm talking three or four acres – and need a bigger machine, you're looking at more like $3000. For most homes, $2000 should ensure a reliable, sturdy riding mower.

However, prices take a big step up for zero-turn mowers. Unlike tractors, you can still find zero-turn riding mowers made almost entirely from steel, so they're pretty much indestructible. Bryan Clayton told me that 'for something that’ll make your neighbors green with envy and last you until retirement, consider dropping $3000 to $5000 on a zero-turn that can handle your lawn like a pro.'

How much should I spend on a robot mower?

With robot mowers, expect to spend about $1000. The cheapest I've seen is an entry-level Worx Landroid at Amazon, usually around $600, however, this mower does have a lot of drawbacks – it's slow, and inaccurate along the border wire. 

If you want a good mower, Bryan Clayton thinks that 'If you've got the budget and hate mowing, they might be worth the $1000 to $3000 investment, especially for the novelty and the time-saving aspect'. 

However, my advice is that you shouldn't spend too much on a robot vacuum The innovations in robotics that make these so attractive are also something of a drawback. You could drop $3000 on a brand-new robot mower only to find it completely outclassed by a new model within a year. I recommend the Husqvarna Automower 415X. It's simple but effective and comes at a fair price. 

For more advice on choosing the best mower for your yard, we compare robot mower vs push mower and riding mower vs push mower in our dedicated features.

Alex David
Head of eCommerce

As Head of eCommerce, Alex makes sure our readers find the right information to help them make the best purchase. After graduating from Cambridge University, Alex got his start in reviewing at the iconic Good Housekeeping Institute, testing a wide range of household products and appliances. He then moved to BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, assessing gardening tools, machinery, and wildlife products. Helping people find true quality and genuine value is a real passion.