If you have a hilly lawn, you’ll know how difficult it can be to mow, especially if you’re using an old-fashioned mower. If you’ve never mowed a hill before, then this article is for you too as there is more than meets the eye when it comes to mowing a hill! The most important thing to consider is which is the best mower for hills.
When you come up against a hill, you need the correct equipment. If you don’t have a good mower for hills, the simple task of keeping your lawn neat and tidy will be much more cumbersome. Selecting the right machine is really important and this guide will tell you all you need to know when it comes to choosing your next mower.
Our 11 Best Mower For Hills – Detailed Reviews
01 GreenWorks 20-Inch 12 Amp 25022 (Our Top Corded Choice)
This corded mower came top of our list. When testing this product, we found that it was a really great mower that was powerful. It has a durable steel deck that is 20 inches and the wheels are 10 inches in diameter at the read and 7 inches at the front, making it super stable.
What’s more, you can position this mower to 7 different heights for different grass types and lengths. We found it really easy to adjust the blade height as there is just one lever. This has a manual drive system with a push-button start, which we thought worked well.
We tested this on a lawn around the size of 1/8 acre and found that it had enough power to mow the lawn even when there was the odd wayward branch. It was really easy to maneuver and also simple to switch between mulching and bagging. The top of the half uses easy-release brackets, which is great for storage.
In terms of price, this is on the lower end of the scale of the products in this guide, but it is good value for money.
- This mower comes with a 4-year warranty.
- It is fairly light and was easy to assemble.
- It is quiet and runs smoothly.
- You need to buy a separate extension lead that is compatible.
This is a great mower for hills and is fantastic if you have the right extension lead to go with it. We found it easy to use, pretty lightweight and were pleased with how it handled in testing. If you’re looking for a new corded mower for your hilly lawn, you can’t go wrong with this GreenWorks mower. What’s more, the 4-year warranty really seals the deal and gives buying confidence. You (and your hilly lawn) will love it!
02 Greenworks 16-Inch 40V 25322 (Our Top Cordless Choice)
If you’re after a cordless mower for the first time and don’t know what to go for, the GreenWorks 16-inch cordless mower is a good starting mower. It is easy to use and reliable for anything up to a medium-sized yard. It has a cutting deck that measures 16 inches, which makes it very maneuverable and there are 5 different heights for cutting.
What we loved about this was that there is no maintenance and you don’t have to mess with gas or pull cords. In terms of storage, this is very space-saving as the handle folds down. You can also transport this really easily and, because it is cordless, you can use it almost anywhere for up to ¾ of an hour.
Our testers liked this well-designed product that will stand the test of time. The grass catcher and mulcher are great additions. What’s brilliant is that you start it with the push of a button and then squeeze the bail – there is no tuning needed, no oil or gas, no air filter to maintain and it is so much lighter than its gas counterparts. It is quieter and has fewer vibrations too.
- It is a small, lightweight mower that is easy to store and carry.
- Its handle is well-balanced and comfortable.
- For safety, you need two hands to start it up but then it is simple to keep running.
- It is small, which means it will take longer to mow a large area.
With a battery life of around 45 minutes, you can get a lot out of this cordless mower. Our testers thought it was great for their hilly, medium-sized yard and was easy to maneuver around. If cordless is what you’re looking for, this mower is a great find and we think this is the best cordless mower for hills. Finally, the mulcher and grass catcher are great additions that you’ll be grateful for and wonder how you ever did without!
03 American Lawn Mower Company 50514 (Budget Pick)
For those of you on a budget or looking to get a really great deal on a mower, our Budget Buy is a real find! It is powerful with its 11-amp motor and is able to cut any type of grass. The motor is so powerful; you’ll will feel as though this is a gas mower.
Our testers liked how easy this was to use both in terms of mowing and changing the cutting height. What’s more, it is really comfortable and the height of the handle can be adjusted easily. If you need a compact mower or don’t have much space, this is ideal. It folds down and stores easily.
We liked the grass catcher bag on this mower because it has a level indicator that shows you when the bag is full. For added peace of mind, it comes with a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty. Due to its price, this is a popular model that sells well online. It also has a huge number of positive reviews online, which gives the buyer great peace of mind.
- This mower is easy to assemble.
- It is really light.
- There is a safety auto off set up.
- It is easy to maneuver.
- The cord is a bit annoying sometimes, but this is the same as any corded mower.
- The grass catching bag do fills up quickly.
Overall, we were really impressed with this budget mower. It was way above what we expected for its price tag. It has lots of great features for a cheaper mower too and isn’t difficult to assemble – you expect more assembly to be required when you buy cheap but not in this case. So, if you have a hilly lawn but need to keep costs down go for the American Lawn Mower Company’s 14-inch 11-Amp corded mower.
04 BLACK+DECKER 3-in-1 Lawn Mower MTC220 (Best Mower for Steep Hills)
If you’re looking for something and have really steep hills, the Black + Decker 3-in-1 Lawn Mower is an excellent find. This can be a mower, trimmer and an edger and works well for yard sizes up to 750ft².
We found this to be easy to use. It has an automatic feed system so you can work continuously without having to stop. The power-drive transmission also prevents this from becoming bogged down so you don’t have to stop for any reason. The height of the deck is adjustable between 1.6 inches and 2.4 inches.
Since this is cordless, you have the freedom and versatility for those hilly sections of your hard. Its small footprint means that it is ideal for hard to reach areas too. We liked how this model comes with 2 20-volt Max lithium-ion batteries so you can use it for an extended period of time and you can be charging up one battery while using the other. This type of battery has a longer lifespan that other battery types. If you like this model but want a corded version, this is also available from Black + Decker.
Finally, this is a mower with an ergonomic and lightweight design. The handle position can also be adjusted, which is great for people of different heights.
- This is easy to change between the 3 different modes.
- It is really lightweight.
- It is smooth when changing direction.
- The batteries are great.
- The batteries take a long time to charge – around 5 hours.
A great mower for really steep hills! This is so versatile and it isn’t much more expensive than our Budget Option. We loved how easy it was to change between the three different modes. Yes, the batteries do take a long time to charge but you can buy a corded option or you can buy upgraded batteries that charge in a quicker time. Batteries aside, we found this a breeze on our hilly lawns.
05 Sun Joe MJ401E-PRO 14 inch 13 Amp Electric Lawn Mower (Eco-Friendly Choice)
For those who are looking for a more environmentally friendly lawn-cutting option, we rate this Sun Joe mower. Lots of people worry that eco-friendly machines aren’t as powerful, but this one has a 13-amp motor. This means it is able to deliver the same power as a gas-operated mower but using electricity.
Now, when you get this out of the box, it does feel a bit toy-like but don’t let that put you off. It assembles easily, all you need to do it attach the handle and the grass-collection bag. The collection bag is on the small size but is easy to empty. It is hard-topped too and so feels more sturdy.
In terms of deck-adjustability, there are 3 height positions, making it suitable for different types and lengths of grass. The cutting blade is made of steel and is 14-inches. In testing, we ended up abandoning the grass-collecting box as it is very small. In terms of cost, this is a decent model for its price and it isn’t much more expensive than our Budget Mower.
- The motor is powerful on different types of grass.
- It was very easy to assemble.
- It is a lot lighter than a gas mower and is easier to maneuver.
- It is well-made and durable.
- It has a padded handle.
- The grass catcher bag is really small and needs to be emptied frequently. It does work well without it though.
You don’t have to be an eco-warrior to make the switch to a more environmentally friendly mower model. The Sun Joe MJ401E is an excellent choice that cuts well and stops harmful gas emissions being put into the atmosphere at the same time. It is reasonably priced, does well in reviews and is a model that is popular for a variety of reasons. This is an excellent choice for environmentally-aware gardeners.
06 Top Push Mower: GreenWorks 27022
If you like the traditional push mower, we’ve found one we think you’ll like. This GreenWorks 14-inch corded mower is a great find that is really well priced. It has a 10-Amp motor and uses stainless steel tines that are great for cutting and stay sharp a very long time.
It also comes with a full replacement set of times so you get 18 included. This is a surprisingly effective mower for its size. In testing, we really liked how easy this was to maneuver. We didn’t like the loss of efficiency with the wing nut/debris catcher attached but removing it does mean you might get hit with small rocks etc.
This mower is actually a dethatcher – hiring one of these costs you slightly less than buying this model outright so if you’re looking for a push mower for your hilly hard and have considered hiring one, you should really consider this instead.
- It is easy to maneuver.
- It is lightweight.
- It is capable of lifting thatch without damaging any green blades.
- It does the job well.
- The tines do wear out but you can replace them.
- It is more time consuming because it doesn’t have a bagger.
We can safely say that this is the best mower for slopes of hills. In terms of design and style, it is traditional. Yes, you do have to replace the tines but since this is a corded mower, you aren’t spending money on gasoline so you are saving money there. This is also the 2nd cheapest model in our review, so if you don’t like the look of our Budget Choice, this is always a good second option.
07 Greenworks 20-Inch 40V Twin Force 25302
It’s no good buying a huge, ride-on John Deere mower if you have a yard that isn’t very big. This mower is the perfect choice for small hilly yards. It has two battery options – one 4 ampere-hour battery and a second at 2-ampere hours. It is a 40-volt system.
Even though this is for smaller yards, this has a large 20-inch deck, making it well balanced and easy to maneuver. The wheels at the front are 10 inches in diameter, while the rear are 7 inches.
We loved how innovative this mower is. It operates using smart cut technology meaning that it adjusts its power or its runtime depending on the thickness of the grass being cut. The cut itself is great too. The mower has two blades, which make the cut a better quality. This also has superior bagging and mulching capabilities.
Unlike other models in this review, there are five different height positions of this mower and these are changed with an easy-to-use single lever.
- The battery life is great
- It easy to start up
- The grass bagging option is easy
- The mower is easy to maneuver and is lightweight
- Adjusting the height is easy
- Apart from the electronics, the construction is entirely of plastic, which means that it squeaks and flexes
This is a good buy that gives you a great cut quality from a super light and really quiet mower. Unlike other models we tested, the batteries are great in this model and they also charge up really quickly. Since there is no gas or oil, this is easy to maintain and you don’t have to buy any supplies like gasoline or tines. Overall, this is a great mower for small yards that doesn’t cost the earth.
08 Greenworks MO80L410 Pro 80V
Our vote for the finest self-propelled mower goes to the GreenWorks MO80L410 Pro 80V. Our testers said this was a great mower that was quiet, easy to maneuver and produced a great cut. The deck is one of the larger ones in this guide at 21 inches. This means you can mow larger areas easily and quickly. The rear-wheel-drive means that it is great on sloping hills too. The motor itself is brushless, providing more torque. This also means that it is quieter and will last longer.
With this mower, you can choose how to dispose of your clippings. You can rear bag, side discharge or mulch. This bagger works well as the mower picks up almost every cutting. We really appreciated the Smart Cut Technology as this automatically increased the blade speed when the mower needed more power to give the best cut.
We were impressed with the run time and managed to get 45 minutes in one go with the battery fully charged. Finally, this has a vertical storage feature, which takes up much less space in your garage or storage shed.
- The mower runs really quietly
- The mulching function is very good
- Smart Technology means that the battery life can be saved when there is less resistance on the cutting blade
- Very little maintenance
- The knobs spin on and off too easily
Overall, we were really happy with this mower. The two batteries were plenty enough for what we needed and charged really quickly so you can use them back to back while one charges. Smart Technology is great and really helps to give more power when it is needed but also helps to save battery life when the grass isn’t difficult to cut. This is a great self-propelled mower that we really think you’ll love.
09 Honda HRX217K5VKA 187cc
If you’re wanting a gas-powered mower for your hills, we rate the Honda HRX217K5VKA 187cc. This mower can combine bagging and mulching too so you can do a bit of both if that’s what you want. Honda is obviously a well-known brand and you do pay more for this because of its name. That said, it is a quality mower that is worth the investment.
The mulching is really impressive and there was a lot of thought that went into the design of the bag. When it comes to maneuvering, this is easy to push. The handlebar and throttle are really comfortable to hold as well as push and we found it quite easy to forget that you’re holding them down.
In terms of storage, you can fold the handle which makes it much more compact for storing away.
Finally, this comes with an impressive 5-year warranty! So as well as buying a well-known and reputable brand, you have the peace of mind that you have a 5-year warranty to boot.
- This has impressive mulching
- The bag has a good design
- It is comfortable to hold and push at the same time
- It is great for storing away
- You can choose to mulch or to bag without removing the bag
- To start it, you have to reach quite far down the handle, which is annoying.
Sometimes nothing beats a good gas mower so if you’re looking for a gas-powered mower, look no further. The Honda brand is great and the quality of its products also extends to its mowers. Yes, it’s a little heavy and tricky to adjust but the mulching and bagging are second to none and definitely make it a great purchase. It’s easy to push, comfortable to hold and easy to store too.
10 Ariens 915223 IKON-X 52″ 23hp Kawasaki FR691
When choosing a ride-on mower, you need to think of this as an investment, like you would a car. If its well-known brands that you’re looking for, Ariens is a great one with a fantastic reputation for making mowers as well as blowers and other products.
This mower is residential-grade but it is built so well and has a great Kawasaki engine that you could almost class it as a commercial-grade mower. Even with maximum engine speed, the torque remains.
This is the best riding mower for hills that are over 15 degrees, although you need to make sure you’re going downhill when cutting. It is a little rough and bumpy to ride but not too much to be off-putting.
For its price, this is a fantastic mower that is certainly going to speed up your mowing time. It is the most expensive mower on this list but that is to be expected from a ride-on mower.
- This is a great ride-on mower for hills.
- It is a mower well-known mower brand so you know you’re buying a quality product.
- It has a fantastic engine.
- It is expensive, but actually well priced for a ride-on mower.
This is a fantastic ride-on mower that almost has the feel of a commercial ride-on mower. It is an expensive mower but not overly expensive for what you get for your money and is well-priced for a ride-on mower. This has a great engine that you’ll love to ride around. This guide is about mowers for hills and, proving you mow downhill and not side-to-side, this is a very good ride-on for your hilly lawns.
11 Husqvarna Z254 Kohler Hydrostatic Zero-Turn Riding Mower
For a zero-turn mower for your hilly lawn, look no further than the Husqvarna Z254. This mower has a 26 horsepower Kohler engine which is really reliable and can go up to 6.5 miles per hour.
What’s more, the parking brake system is patent-pending – it automatically deactivates or activates when the levers that operate the steering are moved inwards or outwards. This is a great safety feature and is very practical. In terms of other technology, this uses air induction mowing, which means that it draws in air from both the bottom and the top of the deck. This means that the cut is much better.
What we liked the most is that this is a really durable product that we expect will last a considerable amount of time. The cutting deck itself is made from reinforced steel.
When we tested this, we were so impressed with how much power and speed it had as well as how well the grass was cut. The seat wasn’t the most comfortable but this wouldn’t put us off from buying this mower again.
- This is a very durable ztr mower.
- It is quick.
- It is powerful.
- The air-induction is fantastic.
- The parking brake system is great
- The seat isn’t the most comfortable.
Whether you’ve bought a mower like this before or you’re buying your first zero turn mower, you’ll be impressed with the Husqvarna Z254. It is durable, made to last and powerful. The patent-pending braking system is a show-stopper and really makes you feel safe when you’re using this mower. When you’re spending so much money, you expect a really great cut and this unit really delivers beyond expectations.
What Type of Mowers can be used for hills?
Push or walk-behind lawn mowers
These are the most traditional of mowers, they turn on and then you push them. These are really common and so there are many different types from the most basic of push mowers to self-propelled mowers for hills.
Riding or tractor mowers
These are useful for people who have a larger area to mow. They are large and have a powerful motor with lots of blades. You ride these instead of pushing them.
Zero-turn mowers are much larger than standard mowers and are only appropriate for large areas of grass. Usually, these aren’t ideal for steep slopes or hills, although it is possible to use one. Hence, the best hillside mowers do not fall into this category.
A self-propelled mower requires very little effort to move as the mower draws energy from its motor and powers the wheels. For flat lawns, front-wheel drive mowers are fine but for hills, you’ll need an all-wheel-drive mower.
Best Mower for Hills: Buying Guide
1. Motor/engine type
Choosing a mower with a stronger motor means that you will have ‘help’ pushing the mower up the hill and you will have more control when you come down a hill. The motor power is an important thing to consider when you are on rough terrain or mowing wet or tall grass too.
You can get engine sizes from 190 ccs to 800 ccs and there are motors that are gas-powered, fully electric or hybrid mowers. Hybrid and electric mowers are much more environmentally friendly.
Weight is a big factor to consider when choosing a mower. For hills, you better have a heavier mower as they won’t be likely to tip over on hills.
3. Mower dimensions
Consider the dimension of the mower in terms of where it will be stored in your house or yard. Some mowers can be folded, others are big and require a lot of storage space.
4. Yard size
The mower that you choose needs to be dependent on your yard size. If you have a large yard with a rear-engine mower, it will take you a long time to mow in comparison with a tractor mower.
5. Run time
When choosing a mower, think about how long you might need to use if for in one sitting, especially if it uses batteries of gasoline. Typically, gas motors or hybrids can only be used for an hour at a time.
6. Self-propel function
Mowers that are self-propelled are really easy to control and maneuver. Usually, these mowers have back wheels that run with the engine to help you go uphill.
7. The cut width
The cut width is how wide the mower cuts the grass in one pass. This number is proportional to the number of blades and therefore, the more it has the better.
8. Turning radius
Maneuvering is really important, whatever the terrain. On slopes, turning is more difficult. When choosing a mower, consider the space available for turning.
9. Cruise control
This enables you to choose a mowing speed and maintain it with very little effort required. It’s a great feature for large areas.
10. Engine horsepower (HP)
Horse Power refers to how powerful the engine is and how much power the mower’s components can access. Lawn mowers are more powerful than the brush cutters in terms of horse power and wattage.
11. Grass discharge options
There are different discharge options for mowers. Some discharge as you mow, others collect the grass and some can even mulch the grass for fertilizing.
12. Cutting height settings
Some mowers can have their cutting heights adjusted with levers, this is important if you are mowing on surfaces that are rough or uneven.
13. Blade length
This describes how long the blades are and the area that the mower will cut in one pass.
14. Corded or cordless
If a mower is corded, it is electric and therefore needs to be plugged in for use. These require long extension leads for larger lawns. Also, you need to be careful not to mow over the cable. Cordless mowers use gasoline or batteries that are rechargeable. These have fewer safety risks but can be inconvenient if you have a large area to cover.
15. Deck size and adjustability
The size of the mower’s deck determines how maneuverable it is on slopes and hills. Large deck sizes aren’t great for smaller areas. You should take a look at the shape and size of your lawn before choosing a mower.
16. Type of terrain
There are different mowers for different terrains and you should check out a model for the type of ground you are going to be mowing.
17. Wheel drive operation
There are two different wheel drive options: all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive. If your ground is muddy or bumpy, an all-wheel-drive model is what you need.
18. Width of blade deck
The blade deck width varies between models and is dependent on the breadth and length of your lawn. Small decks are great for compact lawns but if you have a large space, you need a large deck.
19. Center of gravity
If your mower has a high center of gravity, it will be more likely to flip over on hills. Mowers that have rear engines have lower centers of gravity whereas tractors have higher centers of gravity.
Each model has a different speed. Generally speaking, garden tractors have speeds in excess of 5 mph and ZRTs are usually 8 mph.
21. Ease of driving
Since mowing is already a challenge, when buying a mower for hills, you should consider its ease of use. Think about how easy it is to start up and maneuver. Nowadays, most mowers are easy to use, especially if you get one from a top brand. These are a way easier than using a brush cutter.
Since you won’t be buying a new mower every other year, you need some peace of mind when it comes to warranty. Warranties give you the reassurance that your investment is protected for a particular length of time.
Most of the best hillside mowers have a two-year warranty.
Hillside Mowing Safety Tips
- It can be dangerous to mow hills but you can do a lot to minimize the risk. If you’re really safety conscious, the safest mowers for hills are walk-behind, self-propelled mowers as you won’t be at risk of it rolling over.
- If you’re using a push mower, you should always be moving side to side as this is the safest way of attacking hills. When you’re using a ride-on mower, though, you must mow up hills and down them in one direction. If you’re working on a large hill or embankment, you might find that this is tedious but it really is the safest way to do things. Unless you have an extremely large yard, you really should go for a self-propelled mower with a rear-wheeled drive.
- Don’t ever underestimate how dangerous rolling a ride-on can be – they can cause fatal accidents.
- To limit risks, you should always wear appropriate protective clothing and gear – don’t neglect your eyes and ears too. Also, check that your lawn is free from obstacles so that you don’t need to get off your mower when you are in the middle of mowing.
- Never allow passengers on a ride-on mower, this is not something that is a toy that children can have a ride on.
Tips for Mowing on a Steep Hill
Mowing steep hills means that you need to consider a lot of things before you begin. You should ensure that you are mowing in the right conditions. Avoid moving when its dark or the lighting is poor and don’t mow when the grass is wet and it is raining. Even a slope in the shade isn’t ideal because it could mean that you don’t see obstructions if your visibility is impaired.
Take steps to inspect the mowing area before you begin. You should look for obstructions such as rocks, sticks and toys. You should always plan your route too before you begin and think about escape routes should you need to have a way out if the brakes fail for example.
Mower Maintenance Tips
You should make sure you follow the maintenance guide for your mower to make the most of it. You can carry out maintenance at any point in the year but it is probably a good idea to carry out maintenance at the end of the mowing season to make sure that your mower is in tip-top condition before you store it away over the winter months. This will also mean that come springtime, you will be able to get moving with your mower straightaway without having to carry out any maintenance.
These are some of the things you should do each year:
- Change oil, if used
- Add fuel stabilizer, if gasoline is used
- Replace spark plugs
- Change the tires when needed
- Clean or replace air filters
- Sharpen and balance the mower blades
- Clean your mower
Before you choose your new mower, think about what you want to get out of it the most. Do you want something quick? More reliable? Lighter? Well designed? Before you decide, you’ll need to think about what factors will make an impact on the decision of which mower to buy. Using this best lawn mower for hills review and guide, you should be able to discover a new mower that will meet all of your lawn mowing needs.
We hope that this guide has been informative and has helped you to make that all-important decision in buying your new mower. Happy mowing!
1. Do zero turn mowers work well on hills?
These mowers use casters to allow you to move quickly but they can have issues with the steepest of hills.
2. How do you mow a steep hill?
- Make sure the grass is dry.
- Adjust the mower height as appropriate.
- With a push mower, move side to side.
- With a ride-on mower, move up and down.
3. Do reel mowers work on hills?
You need this type for small and level areas. Steep hills are more challenging but not impossible.
4. How do I measure the slope of my yard?
- Use a stake at the highest point.
- Place a stake every 8ft down the slope until the lowest point.
- Wrap a level length of string between each stake.
- Measure the total string length.
- Measure the distance from the ground on the lowest stake, keeping measurements in the same unit (e.g. replace feet with inches).
- Calculate the percentage by the rise by the run.
5. Can riding mower be dangerous on hills?
Yes. Hills need careful consideration to decide if using the mower is safe. Always refer to the handbook that comes with your mower.
6. Any extra features I should look out for in a ZTR mower?
Look for one with the highest horsepower you can afford as this will make a huge difference. Also, look at the size of the fuel tank to see if you will be able to carry out your task without having to stop to refuel.
7. How much time does a zero-turn radius mower save in comparison to a lawn tractor?
Using the right ZTM can actually reduce the time it takes to mow your lawn by 40%.
8. What is the best method to use riding mowers on hills?
Drive downhill or uphill but never sideways as your mower may flip over.
9. Do mowers require assembly or will they come ready to use?
Most arrive fully assembled apart from the grass collecting bad and the blade. Generally, installing the bag is simple but blades take some more detail and care. You will also need to pour in gasoline or charge up batteries.
10. Can we use push lawn mowers on sloppy hills?
Yes, but it will be a big effort.
11. Can I use push reel mower to cut wet grass?
Yes, these can usually cope with wet grass as well as dry.
12. Are self-propelled lawn mowers better than push mowers?
This depends on what you want. You might be perfectly happy to push your mower across your lawn.
13. What is the average speed of a self-propelled lawnmower?
This depends on the mower type, the terrain, the type of motor and the grass. As an estimation, they move at between 2 and 3 mph.
14. Do self-propelled lawn mowers have backward moving ability?
Yes, most do, although some require a manual back pull.