Recently I was commenting on redflagdeals.com about this topic and I thought it would be good to make this available on the blog, as many people are probably looking for tips this spring on which lawn mower to buy. When purchasing a consumer-grade push lawn mower from Canadian Tire, Wal-Mart, Costco, or some equivalent store there are a number of things that you want to look at:
1. The quality of the engine. I recommend any engine made by Honda or Briggs and Stratton that is 5.5hp and up.
2. The quality of the wheels. The wheels are one of the first things that break on all of my push mowers from the extensive use, and I use great push mowers. Make sure that they have the strength to last.
3. Check the thickness of the steel in the handle bars. The thinner steel is actually possible to bend on some of the cheaper mowers so I would avoid this.
4. The quality of your cutting deck. Check how thick the steel is. See if the painting has been done using electroplate technology (this should make the paint last a lot longer and prevent rusting.
5. If you want a good review of push mowers you can always check consumer report as well. Just because the mower you are looking to buy isn't rated though, doesn't mean it isn't a good mower.
I don't recommend getting a self-propelled mower unless you really need it because it is just one more thing that can break on a mower. Also, with most lawn mowers on the market these days being equipped with ball-bearing wheels they are easier to push, so if you can, I definitely recommend purchasing a push mower.