Skip to main content

HappySprout may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

What you should look for in a compact lawn mower

Choosing a new mower shouldn’t be a huge challenge, but sometimes the variety of factors you have to consider when making your decision can make the choice a bit murky. If you live on a smaller property, you’ve probably crossed riding mowers and other large machines off your list. For those who need a smaller machine, don’t stress – we’re here to help.

If you’re shopping for a compact mower, you’ll find several great options: Manual reel mowers, electric push mowers, and robotic mowers. Each of these mowers are optimized for a certain type of terrain, so keep reading to find which is best for your yard.

Related Videos
reel push mower
American Lawnmower Company/Amazon

For small, flat yards: Reel mowers

Reel mowers, like the Scott’s 16 in. Manual Walk Behind Push Reel Lawn Mower, have been around since the late 1800s and were the best thing around until gas mowers were invented a few generations later. These simple machines are human powered, so there’s no fuel or electricity to mess with. And, since there is no motor, they are super quiet — so no disturbing your neighbors early in the morning! 

As the mower is pushed across the lawn, the barrel-shaped blade assembly turns against a fixed edge, cutting the grass with a scissor-like effect. The finished cut looks outstanding. 

These mowers are extremely lightweight and have a slim profile that makes storage easy. The downside is that they may require more effort to operate than electric mowers. Also, sticks and debris can stop the blade, so you may need to clear your lawn of debris before mowing.

Sun Joe MJ400E 12-Amp, 13-inch Electric Lawn Mower 
Sun Joe/Amazon

For small to medium size yards: Electric mowers

Corded electric mowers, like the Sun Joe MJ400E, and cordless electric mini mowers look and operate much like their larger counterparts. Typical features of these machines include those found on larger models: Multiple height adjustments, rear bagger, foldable handle, extension cord retainer clips, and more. 

The blades on electric mowers need to be sharpened at least once per season, but otherwise, they are nearly maintenance-free. They clean up easily and require minimal storage space, which is especially convenient for those who store them inside the home. 

In the yard, electric mowers are easy to maneuver and navigate tight corridors with ease. They cut cleaner than a string trimmer can. Most are capable of either bagging or mulching grass clippings.

WORX WR140 Landroid Robotic Lawn Mower

For a hands-off approach: Robotic mowers

If you have a Roomba or similar robotic vacuum cleaner, you’ll love having a robotic mower. These little devices, like the WORX WR140 Landroid, use a variety of advanced technologies, including bluetooth, and Wi-Fi capabilities to maintain the grass at a consistent height by automatically mowing on a pre-programmed schedule. The bonus? Most can communicate via mobile app, meaning even less work for you.

These mowers use thin plastic or metal blades that must be changed every few weeks depending on the size of the property. They offer the convenience of “set and forget” scheduling, allowing you to spend weekends relaxing rather than cutting the grass. 

Robot mowers require an outdoor docking station to recharge, and a boundary wire must be installed at the perimeter of the property.  Robot mowers are available for properties up to an acre or larger.

While mini mowers might be somewhat unconventional compared with the vast selection of gas push mowers on the market, they offer comparable ability without the noise, exhaust, and weight. If you’re looking for a new mower, look no further than our favorites!

Editors' Recommendations

Focus on color: Bring some sunshine to your garden with these orange plants
Add color to your home with these orange garden plants
Potted marigolds

If you're looking for a way to add more color to your life and prep for the upcoming spring season, then a few warm, sunny orange plants might be just what you're after. From dark, burnt oranges to delicate pastels, orange flowers can match any aesthetic sense or style.

Plant them with red and yellow flowers to create a fiery gradient, or mix them with blue flowers for a lively arrangement. Whether it's creating a border of marigolds or hanging a charming goldfish plant inside, you have a wide range of options when it comes to incorporating orange into your space. For ideas on which plants to use, here are some of the most striking orange garden plants out there.

Read more
The truth about holly leaves – interesting facts you might not know
Fun facts about holly leaves to share with others
Groups of holly berries

Holly plants are popular winter plants, with their glossy, dark green leaves and bright red berries standing out against the whites and browns of snow and dormant plants. They’re native to North America and are a great winter food source for birds. Holly is easy to care for, but there are some things you may be surprised to know about this classic plant. Here are three facts about holly leaves you might not know.

Holly leaves tend to have more spikes lower to the ground
When they first grow, holly leaves are pretty uniform across the plant. However, once a few leaves are eaten (most commonly by deer), a neat genetic quirk of the holly plant reveals itself. The leaves that grow back to replace the eaten ones, as well as the surrounding leaves, grow more spikes. This helps protect the holly plant from being overeaten, but you can use this info to protect yourself as well!

Read more
These plants should be among the first you plant this year
Grow these plants to get a jump on gardening
Purple crocus flowers in the snow

It’s a new year, which means we’re about to enter a new growing season! If you’re planning out your first garden of the year, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the options. There are so many plants to choose from, and every year new hybrids and varieties are introduced to the market. If thinking of all those plants makes your head spin, don’t worry. You’re not alone. We’ve got some recommendations to help narrow things down to start your new year planting season off right.

Early-blooming flowers
Flowers that bloom early in spring or late in winter are great choices to plant. Due to their bloom time, they’re often cold resistant, and they can add a bright pop of color to break up the smooth whites and browns of winter. If you’re growing them from seed, it’s best to plant them in the fall. However, you can often find seedlings or mature plants in nurseries early in the year.

Read more