Cheap lawn mowers don't cut it in tests

Consumer Reports names best buys in lawn mowers

SAN ANTONIO – It’s hard to tell at the store which lawn mower will make quick work of your yard.

To help, Consumer Reports tested 81 gas-powered mowers to let consumers know what to consider and what to skip.

For starters, skip mowers that cost less than $200 -- they have mediocre cutting performance, Consumer Reports said.

If you’ve got a limited budget, check out the Husqvarna LC121P that's available at Lowe’s, a Consumer Reports Best Buy for $250. The mower handles easily and cuts very evenly. The mower is a very basic push mower, and you’ll need some muscle to move it. But it has the same deck and blades as more expensive Husqvarna mowers.

Toro mowers, which are available at Home Depot, have several options.

The $400 Toro Recycler Smart Stow is another Consumer Reports Best Buy. It’s self-propelled, with multiple speeds and very good cutting performance in all modes. Plus, it folds, so it can be stored standing up.

Hands down, the top performers regardless of price are Hondas, also available at Home Depot and at independent retailers. The $600 Honda HRX217 has multiple speeds, superlative cutting, and excellent handling. Plus, Consumer Reports surveys find Honda’s self-propelled gas mowers stand out for reliability.

If consumers get the urge to go green, Consumer Reports found some decent battery-powered cordless mowers. Several are made by Ego, but they’re expensive. The best, the Ego LM102SP self-propelled mower, costs $600.

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