10 Best Mulching Lawn Mowers of 2021 [Reviews]

Blue push lawnmower sitting in front of uncut grass

What is a mulching lawn mower, and how can you find the best mulching lawn mower for your yard?

A mulching lawn mower cuts your grass and mulches the trimmings, saving you the effort of bagging your grass clippings, while also fertilizing your yard as you mow. The end result? Mulching lawn mowers help you keep your yard green and tidy. 

But what should you look for when shopping for a mulching lawn mower? There are lots of options, so we studied the field and ranked the 10 best mulching lawn mowers for homeowners.

Top 10 Best Mulching Mowers – Reviews

1. Craftsman M105

Craftsman M105 140cc 21-Inch 3-in-1 Gas Powered Push Lawn Mower with Bagger, 1-in

The Craftsman M105 is a 3-in-1 mulching mower finished at the top of the class with a 21-inch cutting width, making it ideal for mowing small to mid-sized lawns with ease.

Bonus points: This all-around top performer is reasonably priced so it won’t break the bank. 

Here are the details: The Craftsman M105 has settings for mulching, bagging, or side discharging clippings and a 140 cc Briggs and Stratton engine. It also has dual-lever height adjustment with six different heights (maximum cutting height of 3.75 inches). 

Specifications:  

  • Power source: Gas
  • Engine: 140 cc
  • Weight: 65 lbs.
  • Cutting width: 21 inches

Pros:

✓ 3-in-1 deck allows for easy transition from mulching, to side discharging, to bagging
✓ Durable Briggs and Stratton engine
✓ Folds for convenient storage

Cons:

✗ Some assembly required
✗ Not ideal for large yards

2. Pulsar PTG1221

Pulsar PTG1221 21" 173cc Gasoline Powered Walk Behind Push Mower with 7 Position Height Adjustment, White

The Pulsar PTG1221 combines strength, efficiency, and affordability. It has a powerful 173 cc 4-stroke engine that can tackle tough turf all year long. The 3-in-1, 21-inch cutting deck has options for mulching, rear discharge bagging, and side discharging of your grass trimmings.

With seven adjustable heights (up to 3.75 inches) you are set for any type of grass and even for those times when your lawn just needs a light trim.

Specifications:  

  • Power source: Gas
  • Engine: 173 cc
  • Weight: 77 lbs.
  • Cutting width: 21 inches

Pros

✓ 3-in-1 deck (mulching, side discharging, and bagging options)
✓ Powerful engine
✓ Single-lever height adjustment
✓ 10-inch rear wheels for increased maneuverability

Cons:

✗ Not self-propelled
✗ Some assembly required

3. Greenworks MO13B00

Greenworks 21-Inch 13 Amp Corded Electric Lawn Mower MO13B00

The affordable and electric Greenworks MO13B00 has everything you need to mulch your lawn quickly, quietly, and with convenient ease. Since this mower is electric, you don’t have to deal with the hassle of gas and oil, or worry about the fumes and emissions from a petrol-powered mower.

With 13 amps of power, this Greenworks mower can handle even the toughest grasses. It’s also one of the lightest units on our list at just 56 pounds.

Specifications:  

  • Power source: Electric
  • Electric power: 13 amps
  • Weight: 56 lbs.
  • Cutting width: 21 inches

Pros

✓ Electric motor is quiet and emissions-free
✓ 21-inch cutting width and 7 height positions
✓ Lightweight at just 56 pounds

Cons:

✗ Not cordless
✗ Some reviewers complain about a weak folding feature

4. Craftsman M215

Craftsman M215 159cc 21-Inch 3-in-1 High-Wheeled FWD Self-Propelled Gas Powered Lawn Mower with Bagger

The gas-powered Craftsman M215’s 159 cc engine has enough power for most lawns, and the auto choke feature makes for quick and easy startup. At 82 pounds, this mulching lawn mower is heavier than most units on our list, but it’s self-propelled with variable speed front-wheel drive to lighten the load.

Specifications:  

  • Power source: Gas
  • Engine: 159 cc
  • Weight: 82 lbs.
  • Cutting width: 21 inches

Pros

✓ Variable speed front-wheel drive
✓ 21-inch cutting width means more coverage with fewer passes
✓ 11-inch rear tires with zag tread make this mower easy to maneuver

Cons:

✗ Loud, hearing protection recommended
✗ Some assembly required

5. Troy-Bilt 12AVA2MR766

Troy-Bilt 12AVA2MR766 21 in. Self-Propelled 3-in-1 Front Wheel Drive Mower with 159cc OHV Troy-Bilt Engine

The American-made Troy-Bilt 12AVAMR766’s 159 cc OHV engine handle tough grass with ease. It has a TriAction cutting system that uses a front-mounted rake guard, symmetrical deck, and specialized blade for a consistently clean cut.

Bonus points: This mulching lawn mower has a deck wash adapter — just attach a garden hose to easily clean the inside of the deck between uses.

Specifications:  

  • Power source: Gas
  • Engine: 159 cc
  • Weight: 90 lbs.
  • Cutting width: 21 inches

Pros

✓ Variable speed front-wheel drive
✓ Deck wash adapter for easy cleaning
✓ Front-mounted rake guard for an even cut

Cons:

✗ Some reviewers complain of difficulty starting the mower.

6. Lawn-Boy 17734

Lawn-Boy 17734 21-Inch 6.5 Gross Torque Kohler Electric Start XTX OHV, 3-in-1 Discharge Self Propelled Lawn Mower

The Lawn-Boy 17734 offers smart mowing at an affordable price. Its Tri-Cut system creates an even cut and efficient mulching. Reviewers love the electric start feature that allows you to just turn the key and mow.

Bonus points: This mower comes with a 2-year warranty and a 3-year TruStart commitment that guarantees the mower will start with just one or two pulls or LawnBoy will fix it for free.

Specifications:  

  • Power source: Gas
  • Engine: 149 cc
  • Weight: 72 lbs.
  • Cutting width: 21 inches

Pros

✓ Self-propelled with rear-wheel drive
✓ Tri-Cut system creates an even cut and efficient mulching
✓ Large bag capacity

Cons:

✗ Height adjustment system can be difficult to use
✗ Rear-wheel drive system makes it difficult to pull in reverse

7. PowerSmart DB2322S

PowerSmart DB2322S 22" 3-in-1 196cc Gas Self Propelled Lawn Mower

The PowerSmart DB2322S 3-in-1 has a powerful 196 cc gas-fueled engine and the cutting deck is deep and domed for more effective mulching capabilities.

This PowerSmart mower is the heaviest mower on our list, but it has a self-propelling rear-wheel drive system to make movement easier. 

Specifications:  

  • Power source: Gas
  • Engine: 196 cc
  • Weight: 103 lbs.
  • Cutting width: 22 inches

Pros

✓ Self-propelled
✓ 22-inch cutting width means more coverage with fewer passes
✓ Powerful 196cc engine

Cons:

✗ Height adjustments are difficult
✗ Some reviewers complain of a porous rear bag that allows dust to move through

8. POWERWORKS MO60L513PW

POWERWORKS 60V 21-inch Brushless HP Mower, 5Ah Battery and Charger Included MO60L513PW

The battery-powered POWERWORKS MO60L513PW has a brushless electric motor that gives it all the power of a gas mower, but without the noise or fumes.

This mulching mower has a single-lever deck height adjustment system with seven positions, and the 60-volt lithium-ion battery gives you up to 70 minutes of clean and quiet run time.

Bonus points: The mower folds up and can be conveniently stored vertically.

Specifications:  

  • Power source: Battery
  • Battery power: 60 volts
  • Run time: up to 70 minutes
  • Weight: 78 lbs.
  • Cutting width: 21 inches

Pros

✓ Powerful 60V brushless motor
✓ 5.0 Ah battery and charger included
✓ Vertical storage

Cons:

✗ Larger yards will require an additional battery
✗ Some reviewers reported difficulty charging the battery

9. GreenWorks 2500502

Greenworks 19-Inch 40V Cordless Lawn Mower with Extra Blade, (1) 4Ah (1) 2Ah Batteries and Charger Included 2500502

The GreenWorks 2500502 is a lightweight heavyweight. What do we mean? At less than 43 pounds, this is the lightest mower on our top 10 list, yet it still packs a punch via a DigiPro brushless motor. This is the perfect quiet, easy-to-use option for small yards.

Bonus points: This battery-powered mower comes with a charger and two lithium-ion batteries that are compatible with other GreenWorks power tools. 

Specifications:  

  • Power source: Battery
  • Battery power: 40 volts
  • Run time: up to 60 minutes
  • Weight: 42.5 lbs.
  • Cutting width: 19 inches

Pros

✓ Includes 2 batteries (4.0 Ah and 2.0 Ah)
✓ 21-inch cutting width means more coverage with fewer passes
✓ 11-inch rear tires with zag tread make it easy to maneuver

Cons:

✗ 19-inch cutting width is smaller than similarly priced mowers
✗ Some reviewers complain that battery run time diminishes over time

10. EGO Power+ LM2100SP

EGO Power+ LM2100SP 21-Inch 56-Volt Cordless Self-Propelled Mower Battery and Charger Not Included

The EGO Power+ LM2100SP has a lot going for it. This versatile mulching lawn mower is lightweight and easy to use. With a 56V battery, it has the power to handle tough grass and a run time of up to 60 minutes.

Bonus points: LED lights, weather-resistant construction, adjustable self-propel speed, a 4-inch maximum cut height, and a 21-inch cutting width. It also folds up and stores vertically for convenience. 

Specifications:  

  • Power source: Battery
  • Battery power: 56V
  • Run time: up to 60 minutes
  • Weight: 67 lbs.
  • Cutting width: 21 inches

Pros

✓ Variable speed front-wheel drive
✓ LED lights for early morning and late afternoon mowing
✓ 7-position, 1-handed height adjustment lever

Cons:

✗ Battery and charger not included

Buyers Guide

How a mulching lawn mower works

Mulching lawn mowers lift up the cut grass clippings into the bell of the cutting deck and cut them multiple times before returning them to the ground so they can be absorbed into the soil. This requires a blade with multiple cutting edges and enough room in the cutting deck for clippings to circulate. 

Here is a brief video that demonstrates a mulching mower at work:

Gas vs. battery vs. corded mulching lawn mowers

Power is important when it comes to mulching. Keeping the clippings trapped in the cutting deck creates a need for more power to continuously chop through the swirl of grass. This means the power source of your mulching mower should be an important part of your decision-making process.

Gas-powered lawn mowers

Gas-powered mowers are traditionally considered the most powerful option, but it comes at a price. They are much louder, require more maintenance, can be difficult to start, and release pollutants that are both toxic and damaging to the environment.

There are plenty of electric models that can answer the call of duty for mulching. These come in both battery-powered (limited run time and need to recharge) and corded (require a long and durable extension cord) options.

You’ll also need to consider what sort of experience you are looking for when choosing your power source.

Gas-powered mowers get the job done, but they have “starting strain.” You’ll have to pull the recoil cord to start them and that doesn’t always happen on the first few tries.

Weather or other factors can make it very difficult to get your gas mower going. Not to mention the hassles that come with gas and oil machines.

Corded electric lawn mowers

Corded electric mowers are as easy as plug and play. Just grab your extension cord, hook up the mower, hit the start button, and you’re on your way to a freshly mowed yard.

The only downside is that you’ll be tethered to an outlet and might need to do some mid-mow switching to hit every corner of your yard. Don’t forget to avoid mowing over the cord.

Battery-powered mowers

Battery-operated mowers have an advantage: They offer the shortest time from storage to mow. Just insert the battery and go.

The problem with battery-powered mowers is that they don’t run for nearly as long as their gas and corded counterparts. Depending on the size of your yard, you may need two (or even three) batteries to finish the job. 

Batteries often can take hours to fully charge, so that means you will need to plan ahead to make sure you don’t run out of juice with a half-mown lawn.

Although batteries aren’t cheap, many of them are cross-compatible with other tools made by the same brand, which is nice for those who might be loyal to a particular power tool maker.

Push vs. self-propelled vs. riding mulching lawn mowers

How your mower moves and the overall mowing experience are other factors to consider. Here’s your choice: Push mower, self-propelled, or a riding mower. Each has its pros and cons.

Push lawn mowers

Push mowers are the simplest and most maneuverable option. You can move them around freely without worrying about variable speeds or accelerators. Just push or pull the mower where you want it to go. 

A downside of push mowers: The problem is that some push mowers can be heavy. If your yard has hills or is very big, pushing your mower can be a strenuous workout.

Self-propelled lawn mowers

Self-propelled mowers require a lot less muscle to mow your yard. Often referred to as “walk-behind” mowers, self-propelled grass cutters make mowing as easy as a walk in the park. Self-propelled mowers are more expensive than the push variety, and that ease-of-use comes at a cost of less maneuverability. 

Downsides of self-propelled mowers: Rear-wheel drive mowers can be difficult to pull backward, while front-wheel-drive mowers can have poor traction. They’re also known to burn battery life faster than push options.

Riding mowers

Riding mowers are the ease-of-mowing elite. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. They make great options for homeowners with multiple acres of land, especially since riding mowers also have a much larger cutting width.

Downsides of riding mowers: One problem with riding mowers is that they are bulky. Most won’t fit through a standard fence gate, and they need much more room for storage. They’re also more difficult to maneuver around in tight spaces.

Riding lawn mowers aren’t typically a great choice for those with small to medium-sized yards.

FAQs About Mulching Lawn Mowers

1. Is it better to mulch or bag your grass?

Mulching your grass clippings is the preferred method for a thick, healthy lawn. Mulched grass clippings act as a natural fertilizer, returning the nutrients in your trimmings to the soil beneath your grass.

Thick clumps of grass can cause unhealthy thatch so it’s important to use a mulching mower, or a mulching kit, and to keep your blade sharp.

2. What is the difference between a mulching mower and a regular mower?

Mulching mowers are designed to keep clippings inside the bell of the cutting deck. The mower blade typically sits lower in the bell and has multiple cutting edges to continuously cut clippings as they swirl around the bell.

Regular mowers lack these features and often discharge clippings out the side of the bell or into a rear bag after the first cut.

3. Can mulching mowers mulch leaves?

Yes, mulching mowers can mulch leaves as well as grass clippings. It can even be more beneficial to mulch leaves with grass since they compost faster together than they do on their own.

Conclusion

There are lots of options to choose from when selecting a mulching lawn mower. We evaluated options from Toro to Sun Joe to find the best of the best on the market.

Now that you’ve seen our list, you’ll be better equipped to pick the right mulching lawn mower for you and your yard.

And if all this research has convinced you that you’d rather relax than mulch your lawn, you can always leave it to the lawn care experts. They already have the perfect mulching lawn mower. Contact a lawn care professional near you and let them tackle the tall grass for you.

Main Photo Credit: Pixabay

LawnStarter participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. LawnStarter may earn revenue from products promoted in this article.

Ryan Plank

Ryan Plank

Ryan Plank is a freelance writer and journalist in Orlando, Florida. He studied at Florida State University and is an avid golfer.