Choosing the best gas-powered lawn mower for 2019 was no easy feat. For a start, there are huge differences between different types of gas mowers and a load of fantastic mowers that would top the list if only they were for sale in the US. To make things a little easier and narrow down the field, I’ve put together my top picks for gas powered lawn mowers for small, medium, and larger gardens. Or, if you’d rather, for light, moderate, and heavy-duty home lawn maintenance.

For serious lawn mowing enthusiasts with a lot of ground to cover, the Honda HRX 217 HZA is my top pick, with its impressive functionality, incredibly powerful but efficient engine, and huge cutting deck.

For smaller lawns, your best bet is the Klippo Excellent, a push mower that packs a punch and meets the stringent emissions standards needed for Nordic EcoLabel certification. For a medium sized lawn or for those who need a self-propelling mower, the Stihl RM 248 T is my top pick, thanks to its marriage of power and relative affordability. Neither the Klippo Excellent nor the Stihl Rm 248 T are readily available for sale in the US, however, so you may want to go for the USA-made Snapper RP2185020 NINJA instead or consider an electric mower for small to medium sized gardens.

You’ll note that none of these mowers get more than a 2 or 3 Leaf Score. Why? Because they’re powered by fossil fuels and create a heck of a lot of noise pollution. For an eco-friendly and ear-friendly lawn mower, you’ll want to go for a rechargeable electric cordless mower. These mowers can be powered by clean energy and are just as powerful, in many cases, as gas engine mowers.

If a gas mower is a must, read on for more details on my top four mowers and why they made the cut.

Honda HRX 217 HZA

 

Power: 4.2 kW (at 3,600 rpm)

Cutting width/Deck size: 21 inch (53 cm)

Cutting height: 19-100 mm (0.75 inch to 4 inch) (7 step)

Grass collector: Yes

Weight: 40.3 kg (89 lbs.)

Control vibrations: Moderate

Measured mean value: n/a (loud, likely 90 dB or more)

Tank volume: 0.9 L (.24 gallons)

Fuel consumption (L/hour) at continuous rated output at 3,600 rpm: 1.4

Motor: GCV200 200cc OHC 4-stroke

Self-propelling: Yes

Adjustable handle: Yes (3 positions)

Multi-cut settings: Yes (Bag, Mulch, Rear-Discharge)

Price: $849

This super user-friendly gas mower is a great pick with if you want a relatively compact model but need a lot of power. The Honda HRX 217 HZA boasts a ton of functions, including Honda’s Roto-stop® system, allowing you to stop the blades while leaving the engine running, so you can move the mower or empty the grass bag with ease. The Versamow™ system allows you to switch between cutting and collecting and mulching using just a flick of the lever. You can mulch, bag, discharge, and shred leaves, or go for a combination of mulching and bagging.

The Honda HRX 217 has a super durable NeXite® composite plastic cutting deck that is corrosion resistant and will not become brittle when exposed to sunlight. The HRX’s 21-inch deck is high impact resistant, does not dent, rust, or corrode over time, and is considered so durable by Honda that it comes with a lifetime warranty!

The self-propulsion mechanism is easy to use, with paddles to set the speed. These paddles are within easy reach of both hands for most users, and you can adjust their position for even greater ergonomics. You can also adjust the handle to one of three heights using a wingnut. This model also has rear wheel drive, for easier maneuverability, and robust wheels with good grip.

Downsides of the Honda HRX 217

Now, for the downsides. The Honda HRX 217 is very heavy. A burdensome 39 kg, compared to just 27 kg for the Stihl and 29 kg for the Klippo. The self-propulsion function is a must then, without which most users will have a hard time moving the mower around. This in spite of the Honda’s plastic chassis. You’d think that the heaviness would make it hard to alter the cutting height, but a quick button press makes this super easy to adjust, with all seven steps marked clearly.

The weight of this mower is a bit perplexing, though, given that the engine is Honda’s GCV200, the lightest engine in its class. The Honda GCV200 weighs, on average, six percent less than the GCV190, but delivers more power and more torque—10 percent more as compared to their earlier GCV190 engine. The new engine is more streamlined and more compact than other engines in the same class, featuring the CycloFlow design, which strengthens turbulence in the cylinder and provides more stable combustion for ease of starting, greater resistance to lower quality fuel, and a smoother idle. This engine also has the anti-choke, auto-start system that uses a self-recharging electric battery and enables easy starts even in hot and cold weather.

The GCV200 has a larger fuel tank, meaning fewer spill opportunities. Maintenance is also a little easier with the GCV200 as Honda provide easy access to the spark plugs and oil drain.

Honda HRX 217 performance

As for performance, the Honda HRX 217 is a keen mulcher even at high speeds in long grass. The offset double blade design is unusual for a mower but seems to work exceptionally well. It’s best to collect clippings in the collector or use the mulch setting as the discharge likes to kick out clippings at the rear not to the side. Happily, this model has an in-built knob to switch between settings, instead of the typical plug used by most manufacturers and which tends to get lost. If you do use the collector, though, you may get a bit annoyed with its construction as the mesh and hard plastic make it difficult to clean.

Honda mowers have a reputation (as per Consumer Reports) for needing little repair and for excellent overall customer satisfaction. Still this mower has a 5-year warranty just in case. Honda are also known for going above and beyond the basic requirements for emissions standards for smaller engines. Honda have more than 45 years of experience making high performing mowers and the HRZ 217 is part of their core high performance range.

In summary, the Honda HRX 217 HZA is a great option if you’re looking for a compact, high performance, and super user-friendly gas-powered mower with self-propulsion for a larger garden.

 

Klippo Excellent – perfect for smaller lawns

 

Power: 2.8 kW (at 2,800 rpm)

Cutting width/Deck size: 48 cm

Cutting height: 30-60 mm

Grass collector: No

Weight: 29 kg (64 lbs.)

Control vibrations: low

Measured mean value: n/a

Tank volume: 1 L (0.26 gallons)

Motor: Briggs & Stratton 650EXI

Self-propelling: No

Adjustable handle: Yes

Multi-cut settings: Yes

Price: $663

The Klippo Excellent is a top pick for a gas powered lawn mower. This model is one of 7 Nordic Ecolabel lawn mowers from Klippo, all of which fulfill the most stringent emission requirements in the world. A Nordic Ecolabel Klippo lawn mower is a good choice if you want to protect the environment.

The Klippo Excellent is combining affordability with performance. It has a four-stroke engine that is part of the Briggs & Stratton 650EXi series that uses OHV technology for optimized performance, longer engine life and improved fuel economy.

The Klippo offers great performance, chomping through tall grass, damp grass, light brush, and more without issue. If you like to mow at a fast clip, the Klippo is a fine choice as it manages to cut and mulch even if you try running with the thing (which you shouldn’t, of course!). Many other mowers will need a second pass if you go over the ground too fast, but the Klippo keeps up, whatever your pace.

That said, the Klippo isn’t self-propelled, which is fairly uncommon for a gas mower this powerful and this price. Chances are, though, that you won’t even notice. This mower zips easily over flat lawns and even on slightly sloping lawns, but you might want to pick something else if your lawn has a lot of serious slopes.

One excellent feature of the Klippo is the option to angle the handle to the side. This allows you to cut close to shrubbery at the edge of your lawn without need to stand in the shrubbery yourself. The Klippo also has a solid build, with tough rubber wheels (instead of plastic), and a welded eye or the pull cord. If rubber wheels sound like a recipe for picking up grass, rest assured that the Klippo has some in-built way of keeping the wheels clean to stop them jamming up.

Klippo Excellent downsides

As for downsides, the Klippo is a bit… clunky. While the Klippo is a heck of a lot lighter (29 kg or 64 lbs.) than the Honda HRX 217, which weighs almost as much as me at a staggering 40 kg (89 lbs.), it isn’t quite so easy to adjust the height setting on the Klippo. That’s because you practically have to lift the mower to adjust the lever, while the Honda lets you do this with the touch of a button.

Like the Honda, though, the Klippo can fold up quite small, which makes it a bit easier to store than the Stihl. It also has an adjustable handle for ease of use whatever your height. This mower doesn’t have a side discharge or collector, but that’s not really a downside as the mower is so good at mulching that you’re unlikely to care.

And, I should mention, the other major downside to the Klippo series is that these mowers, which are made in Sweden, are only available via European retailers. If you’re in the US, you can buy a Klippo online here, or you could look for a used Klippo for sale where you live.

All in all, the Klippo is a well-designed, high quality build gas mower that can handle pretty much everything you can throw at it, unless you have a steep lawn and don’t fancy a workout. In which case, you might want to go for the more powerful Honda HRX 217 or the self-propelled Klippo Pro SH, which features a more powerful Honda GCV170 motor but still meets EcoLabel requirements.

 

Stihl RM 248 T – a little extra help for medium-sized lawns

 

Power: 2.1 kW (at 2900 rpm)

Cutting width/Deck size: 46 cm

Cutting height: 25-75 mm (7 step)

Grass collector: 55 L

Weight: 27 kg (59.5 lbs.)

Control vibrations: Moderate

Measured mean value: 68.4 dB

Tank volume: 0.8 L

Motor: Briggs & Stratton 550EX OHVRS

Self-propelling: Yes

Adjustable handle: Yes

Multi-cut settings: No

Price: c$474

One of the most user-friendly gas-powered mowers, the Stihl RM 248T has an energy efficient Briggs & Stratton 550EX OHVRS motor and seven cutting height settings to perfect your lawn game. This mower features a ‘high lift blade’ that creates a strong air current in the housing, effectively making grass stand upright before cutting. This air current then efficiently carries the clippings into the catcher box, where a handy indicator light will tell you when the bag needs emptying.

The Stihl RM 248 T is self-propelling, unlike the Klippo Excellent, and a little lighter at 27 kg. This makes the Stihl RM 248T a great choice if you have a sloping lawn or need a little help moving the mower around.

Stihl RM 248T downsides

That said, you can’t reduce the speed on the Stihl, so the mower may outrun you if you like a more leisurely mow. If you can keep up, the Stihl makes for a very efficient mower. And, if you find the speed too fast, you can turn off the self-propelling function and still use the Stihl efficiently as it’s quite light, despite its metal chassis.

That lightness has advantages and disadvantages. The front end tends to lift if the collector bag is full, but the lightness makes for easier storage and maneuverability. Emptying the bag regularly will help prevent any issues.

As for build quality and ease of use, some users may find the soft-grip handle of the Stihl RM 248T too soft, but at least it’s easy to adjust the height using a single lever. This makes the Stihl a great choice for pretty much everyone with a normal sized garden who wants a gas mower.

All of this said, the Stihl doesn’t seem to be available for sale in the US currently, so you may be limited to looking for a secondhand model or opting for the similar performance Snapper (see below). For a more eco-friendly mowing option, an electric mower would be best, of course.

 

Snapper RP2185020 NINJA

 

Power: 2600 rpm

Cutting width/Deck size: 21 inch (53 cm)

Cutting height: 32-100 mm (1.25 inch to 4 inch) (7 step)

Grass collector: Yes

Weight: 37.4 kg (82.5 lbs.)

Control vibrations: Moderate

Measured mean value: n/a

Tank volume: 1 L (.26 gallons)

Motor: Briggs & Stratton 850 Professional Series OHV 4-stroke

Self-propelling: Yes

Adjustable handle: Yes

Multi-cut settings: No, mulch only (Bagging optional)

Price: $622

The Snapper RP2185020 NINJA is a self-propelled, gas-powered lawn mower made in the US. This mower can handle small to medium gardens, even when terrain is rough. With a Briggs & Stratton 850 Professional Series engine, this mower needs no priming or choking, just pull the cord and it jumps to life. That’s thanks to a magnetic electronic ignition system that’s maintenance-free. The engine’s cast iron sleeve also makes for some serious durability. And, if your engine doesn’t start in two pulls, you can have it repaired or replaced for free as part of the company’s guarantee.

Rear-wheel drive and a smooth turning action makes using this mower a breeze, including on hilly lawns and where obstacles necessitate tight turns. The back wheels are a beasty 10 inches while the front wheels measure 8 inches for maneuverability.

The self-propelling function offers variable speed and you can easily adjust the handle height to satisfy every user. The handle does feature a foam grip, which makes it more comfortable but could expose users to unwanted chemicals. My advice is to wear gloves, which will also further help reduce vibration injuries when using a gas-powered mower.

The Snapper Ninja has a 21-inch cutting deck with 7 height settings ranging from 1.25 inches to 4 inches, so if you like your grass cut super short, you’ll want to go for the Honda HRX 217 HZA instead.

The Ninja blades offer six cutting surfaces to mulch grass and the deck design blows it back onto the lawn. The cutting deck is made with stamped steel and the Ninja also features a solid steel front axle for durability.

The Snapper Ninja weighs 82.5 lbs., making it a lot heavier than the Klippo Excellent but a few pounds lighter than the Honda HRX 217.

All in all, the Snapper is a great gas-powered mower for the average yard, with more power than the Klippo, less power than the Honda, but a reliable engine with a quality guarantee.