Is it Better to Use a Push Mower or a Riding Mower?


Shoppers for lawn mowers can find the range of types, sizes and abilities of various mowers overwhelming. This is especially true in determining whether a push or riding mower is the machine for your needs. Making the determination based upon use, features, price and maintenance requirements may help you choose the right mower for your needs.


Investigate the mower deck of riding mowers. Blade sizes range from 38 inches up to 56 inches in diameter. Look for a zero-turn riding mower to be most effective in areas with many obstructions or turns because it can turn without forward motion in tight areas. Examining the push mowers you will find blade sizes from 22 inches up to 36 inches in diameter. Riding mowers can handle attachments such as thatchers, plows, vacuums and carts. Look for push mowers to have less carbon emissions, especially with electric or reel-type mowers that work without fuel.


Determine the slope of the land as well as the width of space between obstacles such as buildings, trees and immobile objects. The smallest riding mowers require at least a 32-inch width between structures or objects to maneuver. Use a push mower for steady inclines or small areas under 1 acre. Use a riding mower when the mowing area is a large, flat open space. Urban areas are better suited for push mowers because of lot size. Riding mowers are better utilized in rural areas.


Push mowers have better ability to access corners or cut close to edges. Riding mowers have an advantage of speed and coverage over large areas. Use a riding mower if your physical movement is limited. Use a push mower if you want to minimize fuel costs. Use a riding mower if you're looking for less effort in operating the machine. Use a push mower if you are looking for simplicity of mechanisms and parts.


Riding mowers have more maintenance and higher cost compared to push mowers. Using riding mowers may still require a push mower to trim around edges and structures. Riding mowers have the potential to flip on steep inclines when mowing sideways. Push mowers can run out of power when used on large lots or long durations.


Expect riding mowers to have similar maintenance problems to automobiles. Push mowers have few, if any, mechanisms to maintain depending on the type. Both, however, require simple basic maintenance, such as changing the oil and spark plugs and sharpening mower blades. Use push mowers when minimal storage is available because of size. Use riding mowers when jobs require more than basic mowing.

Keywords: push lawnmower, riding lawn mower, walk-behind mmower, garden tractor

About this Author

Jack S. Waverly is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management. Waverly has been writing online content professionally since 2007 for various providers and websites.