7 Best Lawn Mowers for Small Yards, According to a Lawn Expert

Updated: May 20, 2024

I recently bought a mower for my parents' tiny yard. Here is my list of mowers that fit perfectly on their small lawn.

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7 Best Lawn Mowers For Small YardsALEX K. FOR FAMILY HANDYMAN

Whether you like it or not, lawn mowers are a must-have item for every yard. Many folks move to homes that purposefully only require a little lawn work. Much to their chagrin, they still have to buy a small, inexpensive mower for a small portion of their yard.

My parents were in this situation after moving into their townhome a few years ago. As their favorite lawn mower reviewer, I was instantly called into action. Their lawn had a nice patch out front that was about 10 feet by 10 feet, with another area in the back that was similarly sized. I explored their options, including where they might store it, the fuel source they wanted, and their budget. Here is what we found.

Greenworks Pro 80v 21
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Best Overall

Greenworks Pro 80V 21-inch

Pros:

  • Versatile battery system
  • Self-propelled function
  • Durable metal cutting deck
  • Brushless motor

Cons:

  • On the larger side when it comes to small mowers

I love the Greenworks Pro 80V 21″ cordless mower because it provides serious power and reliability and is a great price. I tested this Greenworks mower in a YouTube video, comparing it to four other popular electric mowers. To my surprise, this mower won the battle. I picked this one as a top pick for the average American yard, but it is also highly compatible with small yards.

This one has all the elements of an excellent mower for small yards. The Greenworks 80V is not too big to be used in a small yard; it has a great battery system, folds easily for storage, and is relatively light—the best part—no maintenance, obnoxious noises, or smelling like gas.

Earthwise 18 Inch 5 Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower
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Best Budget

Earthwise 18-inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Wide cutting area

Cons:

  • Requires some upper body strength to operate

It is hard to beat the classic reel mower for a small lawn and a small budget. When I lived in a small house after college with some friends, we had a reel mower that we used on the lawn to save money on our rent (a deal we negotiated with the landlord). While it took some getting used to, it ended up providing a decent cut. Yes—I know it is the 21st century, but small lawns don’t need an overbearing, powerful machine to cut them quickly.

Earthwise has a tremendous 18-inch reel mower, one of the widest manual reel mowers in production. It has four wheels and is easy to stabilize and push along your lawn. At under 25 pounds, it can be picked up and transported just about anywhere by most people.

Makita 18 In. 18v Lxt Cordless Self Propelled Lawn Mower
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Best Narrow Cordless

Makita 18-inch 18V LXT Cordless Self Propelled Lawn Mower

Pros:

  • Battery compatibility with all Makita 18V tools
  • Quiet mode
  • Perfectly sized deck

Cons:

  • More expensive than other options

Hand tool lovers, eat your heart out. Makita is one of the leading manufacturers of hand power tools, and they also have a great lawn mower designed for smaller lawns. The Makita LXT 18-inch 18V mower comes in at the perfect cutting width for a smaller lawn and an excellent size for storage. Makita makes great lawn equipment and has batteries that can be used across any Makita 18V tool—lawn or otherwise.

I tested this one out personally and while I think it is a bit small for my lawn, it has many exciting features for a smaller mower. One that struck me was the Quiet Mode feature, which keeps the RPMs at a consistent lower speed, providing an even cut and making the mower much quieter. In addition to this feature, the mower also comes with a great dashboard with a self-propelled function, the ability to check battery life, and an excellent molded grip.

Husqvarna Automower 115h Robot Lawn Mower
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Best Robot

Husqvarna Automower 115H Robot Lawn Mower

Pros:

  • Self-charging
  • Works on its own timetable
  • Requires no maintenance
  • Inexpensive for a robot mower

Cons:

  • Initial setup is complicated

Robot mowers may sound like a wild idea, but hear me out. Most people downsize to a smaller piece of property to avoid doing lawn work. If you still have to go outside and mow every week, then doesn’t that ruin it? A robot mower is a great “set it and forget it” strategy for someone with a small lawn who doesn’t want to mow every week in the warm months.

The Husqvarna Automower 115H is one of the least expensive robot mowers and, frankly, one of the best performers. It is the perfect robot mower for small yards because what it lacks in bells and whistles, it makes up for in functionality. I tested it against two other inexpensive robot mowers, and it was faster, provided a cleaner cut, and easily overcame obstacles.

Murray Mna152506 Lawn Mower
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Best Gas-Powered

Murray MNA152506 Lawn Mower

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to start
  • A reliable Briggs and Stratton engine

Cons:

  • Requires yearly maintenance

Gas-powered lawn mowers often have wider cutting decks and self-propelled drives, features that aren’t as valuable in a smaller yard. The Murray MNA152506 Lawn Mower features a 20-inch deck, about as narrow as a gas-powered push mower gets. It comes with a Briggs and Stratton engine and Murray’s proprietary “Prime ‘N Pull Start” to make getting going a little easier. Admittedly, it’s not as convenient as a true press-button start.

This model has a side discharge and a mulching option but doesn’t accept a bagger, so it’s better for those who mow frequently. It has a two-year limited warranty.

Craftsman 20v Max Cordless Electric Lawn Mower
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Best Compact

Craftsman 20V Max Cordless Electric Lawn Mower

Pros:

  • Compatible battery system with other Craftsman 20V batteries
  • Low profile
  • Easy to store

Cons:

  • Odd appearance

If you’re tight on storage space, look for a mower with vertical storage, like the Craftsman Double 20-volt Max Cordless Electric Lawn Mower.

This mower folds up and hangs on the wall, freeing up valuable floor space in a garage, shed or basement. It only weighs 35 pounds, almost one-third lighter than some of its competitors. Given its low-profile appearance, I had low expectations. To my surprise, this mower did a bang-up job in my yard and even knocked out some Crepe Myrtle sprouts that have plagued me and my mower for years.

This 20-in. Craftsman features two 20-volt batteries, which are compatible with more than 100 other 20-volt Craftsman tools. Unlike many other small yard mowers, it comes with a clippings collection bag and offers a three-year warranty.

Sun Joe Mj401e Electric Lawn Mower
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Best Corded

Sun Joe MJ401E Electric Lawn Mower

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • No battery or gas
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • Needs extension cord

This corded model is one of the most affordable electric mowers. The Sun Joe MJ401E Electric Lawn Mower features a 14-inch cutting deck to navigate the tight corners and narrow turns that come with smaller yards. The MJ401E has a 10.6-gallon clipping collection bag and a two-year warranty.

The Sun Joe MJ401E can pack some serious power despite its turtle-like appearance. It is super lightweight, extremely portable, and requires virtually no maintenance. Not to mention, it comes in at a fantastic price. If you have an extension cord long enough to reach your small yard, this mower is the best value you can have.

What to Look for When Buying a Lawn Mower for a Small Yard

When my parents and I sat down to review the criteria for buying a lawn mower, there were some key points I advised them to look at while shopping:

Fuel source: Gas, corded electric and battery are the primary options for a new lawn mower. My parents preferred battery-powered or corded electric mowers to avoid dealing with maintenance or buying gas.

Storage: My parents had a small one-car garage in their townhome that barely fit a car. They needed a mower that could be folded in half and stood on its side to fit inside the garage.

Cutting deck width: Look for a cutting deck under 22 inches, agile enough for small lawns.

Weight: Because my parents’ lawn was separated, they had to carry the mower through the house to get to the backyard, and they needed a lighter mower to do that.

Why You Should Trust Us

We have personally tested dozens, if not hundreds, of lawn mowers. From multiple robot mowers, push mowers, lawn tractors, and zero-turn mowers, we have put just about every mower on the market to the test.

As a former landscaper, I developed a unique love for lawn mowers after using them daily for years. With my deep love for lawn mowers, I became an absolute snob. Now, we spend our days testing lawn mowers, string trimmers, leaf blowers and more. Much of our time is spent using new mowers and comparing them to see which reigns supreme.

Sound like a crazy job? It is.

Finding the Right Mower for My Parents’ Small Lawn: My Testing Process

As ridiculous as it may have looked, I tested many of these mowers before letting my parents purchase one.

I recently completed an extensive test that includes some of the mowers from this article. I walked battery-powered lawn mowers with the self-propelled function on until they died. I also tested the smoothness and evenness of their cut quality, ran them in tall brush until they cut out, and tested their charge times.

I further tested my parents’ mowers’ weight and usability, how easily they can collapse for storage, and how much force it takes to knock one over once stored in the upright position.

If it seems like overkill—you’re right.

FAQ

What size lawn mower do I need for a small yard?

Look for a mower with a cutting deck between 14 and 20 inches for a small yard.

What size is considered a small lawn?

Small lawns are generally less than ¼ of an acre.