Taking care of your lawn doesn’t need to be difficult, especially if your yard is only small. Less grass to mow, less time it’s going to take you. It’s not rocket science. However, I do see homeowners complaining about how long it takes to maintain a small lawn, and when I do, it always comes down to the same problem; they bought the wrong mower!
The best lawn mowers for small yards can be pulled out and put to use quickly, are small and agile enough to make it a piece of cake to maneuver around your yard, and quick and easy to store once you’re done.
We’ve picked out six models that fit the bill and profiled them for you below. So do yourself a favor. Buy yourself the right mower for the job, and thank us for it later.
The 6 Best Lawn Mowers for Small Yards (Our Picks)
1. Greenworks 25142 Corded Electric Mower
We like things to be easy. The easier, the better, right? Well, easy is a word that sums up this mower from Greenworks very well. It’s been designed with the small yard owner in mind, and you’ll soon see why. Its 16-inch cutting width is small enough to make maneuvering around small spaces comfortable, but still big enough to ensure you get the job done in good time. And the light weight of the mower also means the mower works with you, rather than against you!
It also boasts all of the essential features you’d want to see. Five different cutting heights, that are super simple to change, a foldable handle (it’s a nice padded one too!) which makes it compact to store, push-button starter mechanism (no more "arguments" with your mower) and a 2-in-1 functionality meaning you can either bag or mulch your clippings. Oh, and boy does it cut well. It won't scythe down three-foot grass, but it does more than fine for regular lawn maintenance.
The 25142 features a 10 amp electric motor that’s dependable and reasonably quiet when compared to gas-powered mowers. And you can plug it into any standard household outlet, (though make sure to use a heavy duty extension cord to avoid a drop in line voltage). All in all, this is a fine choice for small, uncomplicated mowing jobs.
Type: Corded Electric
Weight: 48 lbs
This mower from Greenworks offers everything you need to take care of a small yard. If you’ve had trouble pushing a mower around your yard in the past, you’ll think you’re in a dream when you get behind this one.
2. American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14
It might not look like a lean, mean grass cutting machine, but this manual mower from the American Lawn Mower Company is deceptively effective. And not only that, it’s really well suited to small yards. Why? Its size and shape for one. It doesn’t get any more maneuverable and easy to push along than this. Even if your yard is irregularly shaped and has lots of nooks and crannies to take care of, it’ll be a piece of cake with this mower. It’s also super simple to operate. You push, it cuts. That’s it. And I guarantee you’ll love the fact that you can pull it out in an instant and store it away just as fast once you’re done.
And I better not forget to mention that it’ll handle most grass types with ease, and its scissor-like cutting action leaves your lawn with a nice clean cut. Just take care that you’re grass doesn’t get too long in between cuts, as you will find it harder going (that applies to all manual mowers though really). Both setup and maintenance are minimal, there’s a variety of different cutting heights to suit the time of year and the type of grass you have, and you won’t have to put up with any damn noise.
At 14 inches the blades are not wide enough to handle the fairways at your local golf course, but that modest width is a big reason the 1204-14 is so maneuverable. The 8 1/2 inch polymer wheels keep this 20 pound mower moving along smoothly on all types of grass and you get yourself a nice little workout in the process. It’s lawn mowing the way it should be; simple, easy, quiet and effective.
Weight: 20 lbs
If you’re looking for a simple solution to maintaining a small yard and you don’t want it to cost you the earth, then you can’t go wrong with this one. It’s right up there with the best lawn mowers for small yards.
3. Greenworks 16-Inch 40V Cordless Lawn Mower
Another mower from Greenworks, but this time a cordless model and a great option should you dislike having to trail a cord behind you whilst you're working. Again, at 16-inches, it's the perfect size for a small yard, and the 60-minute runtime you get from the battery is more than enough. You'll be back inside with your feet up long before the charge runs out. You can choose to either mulch or bag your clippings, and changing the cutting height is a snip; you can move between 5 different heights with a single lever!
Another thing that's nice is that there's virtually no set-up required – if you're not much of a DIYer (I'm definitely not), this is a godsend! Fold-down the handles, lock them into place, attach the grass catcher, and you're done. And to store it away, it's the same, but in reverse. There's also no messing around with gas cans, so you don’t smell like a gas station once you’re done, and it’s quiet. So quiet that you could mow early morning should you wish to and not have the neighbors round afterwards complaining! And on top of all that, it does a decent job too.
The Greenworks 16-Inch Cordless is also 40% lighter that comparable gas mowers. You also don’t have to worry about compromising your long-term health by sucking in carbon monoxide fumes while you mow. The motor also adjusts automatically when it encounters tougher turf. Not bad. Just remember: to get the most out of this mower don’t wait until your lawn is thick as a US Open rough before mowing.
Type: Cordless Electric
Weight: 37.5 lbs
Want the freedom of a gas mower, without all the awful smells and noise? This is the ideal solution. It’s very easy to start-up and push around – it borders on being enjoyable – and is well suited to regular mowing of a small yard.
4. American Lawn Mower Company 50514 14-Inch
The American Lawn Mower Company has a long history of producing some of the best manual reel mowers around, but they’ve now thrown their hat into the corded electric arena. And they’ve certainly not done their reputation any harm with the release of this mower. It’s VERY reasonably priced for what you get, and looks the part. Once you get it out of the box, it's very quick to set up (no tools required) – a couple of minutes, and you'll be ready to go. And you don't need to be a bodybuilder to carry this mower out onto the lawn either – it's nice and lightweight. This also helps to make it nice and easy to maneuver – so fear not if you’ve got a tricky garden layout or lots of obstacles.
At this price, I wouldn’t blame you if you doubted the cutting quality. But the 11-AMP motor and steel blade helps it to run through most things like a champ. It’ll even handle slightly overgrown grass – just don’t let things get too out of hand, otherwise you will see it start to struggle.
Some folks take a dim view of power mowers with plastic bodies, but in this case you won’t hear any complaints from me. The deck here is fashioned from high-strength, impact-resistant ABS plastic. So you’d have to try pretty hard to crack it. And when your neighbor’s steel-body mower is rusting out from under him, you get to say “I told you so”. Also, that lightweight body means mowing slopes isn’t going to be an awkward wrestling match.
Type: Corded Electric
Weight: 25.4 lbs
This mower is a great option if you’re looking for a step up from a manual reel mower, but you’re still on a limited budget and don’t want to spend a whole lot. It’s packed with nifty little features that elevate your lawn maintenance experience, but it still remembers to do its job well.
5. Sun Joe MJ401E-PRO 14 inch 13 Amp Electric
The Sun Joe MJ401E Pro might look a bit like a toy, but don’t let that fool you. Underneath its “cute” exterior, it’s equipped with the tools to slice through your grass and keep it looking nice and tidy. In fact, its 13 Amp motor is the most powerful of any of the corded electric models we’ve profiled on this page. Unlike manual mowers, it has no trouble going over twigs and other “light debris,” and it’s got enough power to get your lawn looking ship-shape in the event you do skip your mowing duties for a couple of weeks.
This model doesn’t mulch, but the capacity of the grass catcher is pretty good for a mower of this size, and that means fewer trips to the compost heap! One area in which this mower doesn’t do as well, is the number of cutting heights (only 3 vs. 5 on most other options), and that fact that there's no single lever system that allows you to change cutting heights in an instant; you have to change the cutting height on each wheel individually. But other than that, it's really easy to push, cleans up easy, and is a breeze to store away.
While the MJ401E doesn’t have the manly profile of the ALM 50514 we just looked at, this is a classic case of “don’t judge a book by its cover”. The MJ401E does an outstanding job on most lawns, doesn’t die on you when you’re halfway done like some battery-powered mowers can, and it’s so maneuverable you might never have to reach for your edger again.
Type: Corded Electric
Weight: 30 lbs
If you’re looking for a corded electric model with a bit of power, this is a good bet. With a 13 amp motor, it’s better equipped to handle overgrown lawns than competitors, yet still small enough to glide around tight corners and turns with ease.
6. Great States 304-14 14-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel
Another low budget option for your small yard maintenance. This model provides you with a 14” cutting width, weighs just 21 lbs – it won’t feel too much like hard work pushing it – and has 5 blades made of heat-treated alloy steel that cut your grass with a scissor-like action that is actually much healthier for your lawn than a rotary blade. Lots of flower beds or landscaping features to mow around? No problem with the Great States 304-14; you’ll be as agile as a tiger!
The handle comes with a nice cushioned grip that is actually nice and comfortable to hold whilst going along, although the height of the handle may be a little too low if you’re quite tall, say over 6’. The storage footprint is another big plus with this mower. Not got a garage or shed? No problem – this one is small enough to store indoors if you have to!
If you have a small yard it can be hard to justify buying a power mower when something like the Great States 304-14 will do such an outstanding job. As we mentioned, the 304-14 floats effortlessly atop its 8 1/2 inch polymer wheels, and won’t have the neighbors cursing you under their breath because you awakened them from their Saturday afternoon nap. And for the environmentally aware homeowner it produces zero carbon emissions.
Weight: 21 lbs
You might look at this and think, "my grandpa used to have one of those," but hey, if it's not broken, don't fix it! This manual mower from Great States does a bang-up job for smaller yards, helps you save a few dollars AND helps you relive fond family memories.
If you’ve got a small lawn to take care of and you’re currently deciding which lawn mower to buy, you should choose carefully, as this decision will be the difference between many “enjoyable” Sunday afternoons (hey, mowing the lawn can actually be pretty therapeutic) and many “god, can’t I do it next week?!” kind of moments. We’re going to run through a few of the key factors that you should take into consideration when shopping for a new lawn mower for a small yard.
The logic here is quite simple. Choose a mower with too-big a cutting width, and it’ll make life difficult when trying to maneuver it around small spaces. Choose something too small, and the job will take you longer than it really ought to. We've presented you with several options with cutting ranges from 14 inches to 16 inches, which is right in the sweet spot for small yards. Go for 16 inches if the layout of your lawn is fairly uniform (a square or a rectangle), but if your yard is full of obstacles, you might want to go with a 14-inch model that will offer slightly better maneuverability.
- Manual – These "hand-powered" mowers are typically found on the lower end of the price spectrum, are very simple in design, and are perfect for anyone that can commit to mowing their lawn regularly. They tend to struggle on long or thick grass, but are highly mobile (great if you have lots of tight corners) and take up very little space when not in use.
- Corded Electric – Very popular for small yards, as they're not overly expensive but bring a bit more in terms of feature set. They're simple to operate, allow you to bag your clippings (so long Mr. Rake..), and are generally a bit more powerful. You will have to put up with that damn trailing lead though.
- Cordless Electric – You get all the benefits a corded mower offers, but you don't have to deal with that damn cord. Battery technology has come a long way in recent years, so both change and run times now are pretty good. Certainly adequate for smaller yards. This freedom comes at a cost though (doesn't it always?!), and they will set you back a little more than the other options.
Gas is really overkill for a small yard. All of the extra maintenance requirements and prep really isn’t worth the hassle if you only looking to take care of a small patch of grass. For that reason, we’ve only considered manual, corded electric and cordless electric models when putting together this guide. Here are a few things to think about for each option:
The amount of money you have available will obviously also impact the type of mower you end up buying. The advice we’d give here is pretty simple, and goes as follows:
- Cheap as Possible – If you’re looking to get your yard maintenance done as cheaply as possible, you can go wrong with one of the manual mowers we recommended above. They’re cheap to buy, cost nothing to run, and the only maintenance is a blade sharpening once a year or so.
- Mid-Range – The next level up in price gets you a corded electric mower. Bear in mind that you will also have the ongoing electricity costs to actually run your new mower, and unless your yard is super small and you have an outdoor power point, you’ll likely need to purchase a power cable too.
- Higher-Tier – Even if you’ve got the budget available, you should still look at the manual and corded electric models we’ve recommended to see if they’re a good fit. However, you should also check out the Greenworks Cordless model we mentioned above. It’s worth it just to not have to deal with that pesky lead!
How Much Storage Space?
One last thing we’d encourage you to consider is the amount of space you have for you mower when it’s not in use. If you have a garage or shed with plenty of space, then any of the mowers we’ve profiled above will be absolutely fine. If space is at a premium though, manual reel mowers offer the smallest storage footprint.
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