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Mowing options range from $100 manual-reel mowers to tractors that cost $4,000 or more. If you have a small, level yard, a manual-reel or electric walk-behind mower is probably fine. Gasoline-powered walk-behind mowers are appropriate for most lawns up to about a half-acre. For larger lawns, you might want the ease and speed of a lawn tractor.
Compared with cars, gasoline-powered lawn mowers produce a disproportionate amount of air pollution. While mowers are run far less than cars, federal emissions rules have made today's gas-powered mowers cleaner than older ones--something to consider if you're using an older mower.
Manual-reel mowers are still made by only a few companies. Major brands of electric mowers include Black & Decker and Craftsman (Sears)--a brand that also sells the most gasoline-powered walk-behind mowers.
Other less-expensive, mass-market brands include Poulan, Weed Eater, Yard Machines, and Yard-Man. Pricier brands traditionally sold at outdoor power-equipment dealers include Ariens, Bolens, Honda, Husqvarna, John Deere, Lawn-Boy, Poulan, Snapper, Toro, Troy-Bilt, and Yard Machines. Several of those brands are now available at large retailers, including Home Depot and Lowe's.
Which type is best for your lawn? Here are the basics about each to help you decide:
Manual-reel mowers. Pushing these simple mowers turns a series of curved blades that spin with the wheels. Reel mowers are quiet, …