Best lawnmower for your yard

FRESNO, Calif.

Mowing the lawn may not be your idea of fun. But it is to Peter Sawchuk. This year he tested more than 50 lawn mowers in consumer reports' biggest mower project ever.

"We tested three different kinds of mowers - gasoline-powered push, gasoline-powered self-propelled and electric mowers. For most lawns, the gasoline-powered, self-propelled mower is the best choice," Peter Sawchuk said.

Whichever mower you get, you want one that cuts grass evenly.

"We actually get down on our hands and knees to check the grass. An ideal cut looks just like a carpet," Sawchuk said.

And mowers that mulch shouldn't leave clumps of grass on the lawn.

Good features to look for include rear-wheel drive, which improves traction going uphill. And "infinite drive" is another helpful feature.

"Infinite drive allows you to vary your speed faster or slower without shifting," Sawchuk said.

And a washout port lets you attach a hose to the mower, which makes cleaning it a lot easier.

You also want a reliable mower. Consumer reports' survey of 34,000 subscribers who've bought a self-propelled mower in the last five years found a problem with ones from John Deere. About a quarter needed repairs.

When all the testing was done, consumer reports found several good choices; including this Toro Recycler it named a Best Buy.

"This Toro Recycler's got all the features you need. It's one of the more reliable brands of self-propelled mowers. And at $350, it's a real value," Sawchuk said.

Gas-powered push mowers are fine for smaller, flatter lawns and for trimming. A good one is the Husqvarna 6021P. It's a Consumer Reports Best Buy at $200. You can find it at Sears under the model number 38451.

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