Best Lawn Mower for Mulching Leaves of 2020: Top 6 Picks

Last update: Oct 29, 2020

A lawn mower that chop up the grass clippings very finely and push them back into the lawn as mulch. The mulch adds nutrients back into the lawn. Mulching leaves mowers are designed with a high deck and are shaped so that the mulching blade spins leaves and grass more than once as it cuts them into small pieces.

In an organic lawn care environment, mulching makes perfect sense as the benefits are agronomic, financial, and environmental. We researched, experienced and picked all 6 Best Mowers for Mulching Leaves below:

Here are the best mowers for mulching leaves you can buy in 2020:

  • Best Overall: Sun Joe MJ403E Electric Lawn Mower
  • Best Value: Greenworks 25142 Corded Electric Lawn Mower
  • Best All-In-One Cordless: Greenworks MO80L410 Pro Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
  • Best Cordless: Greenworks 25302 Cordless Lawn Mower
  • Best Overall Gas-Power: Craftsman M105 3-in-1 Gas Powered Lawn Mower
  • Best Value Gas-Powered: Husqvarna 7021P Gas Powered 3-in-1 Lawn Mower
Top 6 Best Lawn Mower for Mulching Leaves
Best Overall
Sun Joe MJ403E Electric Lawn Mower
    Best Value Electric
    Greenworks 25142 Corded Electric Lawn Mower
      Best All-In-One Cordless
      Greenworks MO80L410 Pro Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
        Best Cordless
        Greenworks 25302 Cordless Lawn Mower
          Best Overall Gas-Powered
          Craftsman M105 3-in-1 Gas Powered Lawn Mower
            Best Value Gas-Powered
            Husqvarna 7021P Gas Powered 3-in-1 Lawn Mower

              Best Overall: Sun Joe MJ403E Electric Lawn Mower

              Sun Joe MJ403E Electric Lawn Mower
              Sun Joe MJ403E Electric Lawn Mower
              Pros
              • Offers great value for money
              • 7 height adjustment options
              • Powerful motor system
              Cons
              • The collection bag can be heavy
              • You need to push

              Even though it is not the self-propelled type, the 31.5 pounds weight makes it easy to move around even in steep surfaces. The deck size on Sun Joe MJ403E is about 17 inches which contributes to an impressive cutting speed level you'll experience when you buy this machine.

              To avoid the extra work of having to sweep the lawn after the main session, there is a 12-gallon collection bag that comes with Sun Joe MJ403E. when you finish mowing your lawn, detaching the bag for disposal is easy. However, there are some users that choose the mulching option and this machine even has a mulching function that creates natural fertilizers from the discarded grass.

              Among other interesting features, it comes with a 13-amp motor system by which this mower powerful enough to handle thick grasses in tough terrains, an overall leaf mulching mower.

              Sun Joe MJ403E Electric Lawn Mower Specifications
              Power typeCorded Electric - 13 Amp
              TypePush mower
              Cutting Width17 inches
              Cutting TypeFeatures a removable bag and mulch plug to allow for easy mowing or mulching.
              Cutting Heights0.98 to 2.87 inches using the 7-position height adjustment lever
              Assembled Product Weight31.5 lbs
              Verdict

              This Sun Joe mower is great for small to medium sized outdoor spaces because of its powerful motor and wide cutting size.

              Best Value: Greenworks 25142 Corded Electric Lawn Mower

              Greenworks 25142 Corded Electric Lawn Mower
              Greenworks 25142 Corded Electric Lawn Mower
              Pros
              • Because its lightweight, the push behind the operation is not difficult
              • Cuts and collects grass efficiently because of its bagging and mulching capabilities
              • Its incredible option for height adjustability makes it perfect for all types of grass
              • Budgeted for small yards.
              Cons
              • Small size & light
              • Small catcher bag that may require unload it frequently

              For such a small sized and lightweight lawn mower, this model actually performs a lot better than we expected especially when it comes to grass collection, overall power and dealing with tall grasses at the higher mow height settings

              This lawn mower is targeted at the residential market that can be used on a regular basis without being hassled. Among the lawn mower machines in the market, this lawn mower has at least 50 percent fewer vibration capacities in partnered with its noise-free operation.

              Another key point is the fact that the handles can be folded down after use which is key for people with limited storage spaces and the wheels are large enough so that they can work well around tight corners and flower beds and the mulching plug is very easy to use also.

              Greenworks 25142 Corded Electric Lawn Mower Specifications
              Power typeCorded Electric - 10 Amp
              TypePush mower
              Cutting Width16 inches
              Cutting Type2-in-1 feature provides mulching and rear discharge capabilities
              Cutting Heights5 Position from 5/8" to 2-5/8" for all grass types
              Assembled Product Weight48 lbs
              Verdict

              If your lawn size is small and you're looking for the best value of your money. Greenworks 25142 is what you're looking for.

              Best All-In-One Cordless: Greenworks MO80L410 Pro Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

              Greenworks MO80L410 Pro Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
              Greenworks MO80L410 Pro Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
              Pros
              • Self-propelled rear wheel
              • Brushless motor - this is the way electric cars like the Tesla work.
              • 3-In-1 design allows you to mulch, rear bag, or side discharge
              Cons
              • Battery life can’t take on larger yards.

              Take an 80-volt motor and mount it on a three-function steel mower deck (bags, side discharge, and mulches) and you have this mower. The equipment is powered with 4Ah battery that runs up to 45 minutes on a single charge, ensuring you get your lawn work done in-time with minimum efforts.

              One of the advantages on Greenworks MO80L410 is its brushless motor, which operates very quietly, also provides the power you need. The cutting deck height can be adjusted to 7-positions, maintaining the grass height you desire. The lawn mower also features innovative Smart Cut technology that ensures adequate blade speeds depending on the gardening task it’s engaged in.

              It’s a self-propelled mower with variable speed control, single-lever height adjustment, and 10-inch wheels, sturdy 21″ steel deck lets you deal with massive spaces of grass temporarily and simply.

              Greenworks MO80L410 Pro Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Specifications
              Power typeCordless - provides up to 45 minutes run-time with fully charged 4Ah battery
              TypeSelf-propelled rear wheel drive can be easily adjusted to your stride
              Cutting Width21 inches
              Cutting Type3-In-1 design allows you to mulch, rear bag, or side discharge
              Cutting Heights3-1/4 inch to 1-3/8 inch
              Assembled Product Weight64.15 lbs
              Verdict

              Overall, the Greenworks MO80L410 Pro mower offers all the features that a high-end battery operated, self-propelled.

              Best Cordless: Greenworks 25302 Cordless Lawn Mower

              Greenworks 25302 Cordless Lawn Mower
              Greenworks 25302 Cordless Lawn Mower
              Pros
              • Lightweight
              • Incredible cutting quality
              • Lengthy battery life for a cordless electric mower
              Cons
              • Slows down against dense grasses
              • Cheap, borderline defective rubber grips and rear flap

              Greenworks breaks so much innovative ground with the 25302 Twin Force G-MAX. Dual high-capacity (4 Ah) and low-capacity (2 Ah) lithium-ion batteries feed the 40V system powering its twin motors to the tune of an admirable 70 minutes of mowing time. To break that down a bit further, the 4 Ah battery alone will power the featherweight 42.5-pound mower through a quarter-acre of moderate clipping with a full charge – a mostly unheard-of degree of endurance among battery-powered electric mowers.

              One of the most notable features of this machine is its wide cutting deck. The deck stares you at the face, and allows you to lawn more efficiently by drastically cutting down the number of passes needed to cover much ground. An adjustable lever allows you the option of choosing from 5 different cutting heights for a smooth and cleaner cut.

              Although, the mower comes with two oversized 10-inch wheels for easy maneuverability, be advised that it is not a self-propelling lawn mower. Thus the operator will have to exert a considerable amount of energy to get it around the lawn.

              Greenworks 25302 mower is worth the investment, but it’s not suitable for all operations. First and foremost, it’s not a self-propelled lawn mower, look to alternative self-propelled lawn mowers if you don’t have the strength to push it around or if the grass cut area is on a steep/hill. It is able to mulch your grasses while you mow, which contributes essential nutrients back to the lawn. You can also choose to make use of the rear bag to gather the clippings. There is an airflow tab seen on the bag which instructs you if the bag is already full, throwing out any hunch about when it will require emptying.

              Greenworks 25302 Cordless Lawn Mower Specifications
              Power typeCordless - includes one 4 Ampere hour battery and one 2 Ampere hour battery and charger , Voltage - 40 Volts
              TypePush mower
              Cutting Width20 inches
              Cutting Type2-in-1: Mulch or rear bag
              Cutting Heights1 3/8- 3 3/8” (3.5 - 8.5 cm)
              Assembled Product Weight42.5 lbs
              Verdict

              The GreenWorks 25302 rechargeable twin force mower is a great investment if you want a lightweight machine without the hassle of a cord.

              Best Overall Gas-Powered: Craftsman M105 3-in-1 Gas Powered Lawn Mower

              Craftsman M105 3-in-1 Gas Powered Lawn Mower
              Craftsman M105 3-in-1 Gas Powered Lawn Mower
              Pros
              • Auto choke feature
              • 3-In-1 capabilities: unit has side discharge, rear discharge, and mulching capabilities.
              Cons
              • Small sized engine
              • Small wheel size

              It has a set of 7 inches wheels in the front and 8 inches wheels in the back. This awesome combination ensures smooth movement of the Craftsman 105, making it suitable for a variety of terrains.

              Despite its small size, the 140 cc engine provides sufficient power capable of mowing your lawn to completion. The engine is also equipped with auto choke which ensures a quick start of the mower without any fuss.

              21-inch cutting deck Unlike other lawn mowers where you will have to go back and forth on a particular spot so that you can cut the grass. The Craftsman 105 has a 21-inch cutting deck that cuts the grass in one quick pass.

              This push lawn mower is equipped with both side & rear discharge & mulching capabilities.

              Craftsman’s handle can be collapsed after use while its rear wheels are 8 inches in diameter. Their surface is designed to keep any rugged operation in mind.

              Craftsman M105 3-in-1 Gas Powered Lawn Mower Specifications
              Power typeGas Powered - 140cc OHV Engine
              TypePush mower
              Cutting Width21 inches
              Cutting Type3-in-1 side discharge, rear discharge, and mulching capabilities
              Cutting Heights1.25 to 3.75 inches
              Assembled Product Weight65 lbs
              Verdict

              For those who looking for the best budgeted & small gas lawn mower, then the Craftsman is the ideal choice. Its build, engine size and the cutting deck were designed for a standard sized lawn. You will also enjoy using it thanks to the auto choke feature.

              Best Value Gas-Powered: Husqvarna 7021P Gas Powered 3-in-1 Lawn Mower

              Husqvarna 7021P Gas Powered 3-in-1 Lawn Mower
              Husqvarna 7021P Gas Powered 3-in-1 Lawn Mower
              Pros
              • High-spec Honda engine for a high-performance
              • 3-in-1 cutting system-mulch, rear bag, and side discharge.
              Cons
              • Not environmentally friendly

              The purpose of the Husqvarna 7021P lawnmower is to effortlessly cut and maintain your lawn, offering great results and high-performance finishes. This model is able to bag, mulch, and discharge through the side, depending upon what you want or need the product to do. A cutting width of 21-inches is achieved, covering wide areas, while the ability to adjust the height of the handle ensures that all users are able to comfortably use this model.

              Husqvarna 7021P 21-Inch also offers 9 cutting height positions with a soft-grip handle, double ball-bearing wheels, and folds for easy transport. This model is able to bag, mulch, and discharge through the side, depending upon what you want or need the product to do.

              The Husqvarna 7021P lawn mower weighs 66 lbs, with a 22.25-inch wheelbase, in addition to 8-inch front wheels and 12-inch rear wheels.

              The engine is gas powered, it will be able to provide much more power to the lawn mower than an electric, battery powered engine can. It has a powerful, reliable 160cc engine. The engine is a Honda GCV. These engines are designed to be quieter than other combustion engines of the same size and still provide reliable power and performance

              Husqvarna 7021P Gas Powered 3-in-1 Lawn Mower Specifications
              Power typeGas-powered - 160cc Honda GVC160 engine, ideal for smaller yards - Fuel tank volume: 0.98 quart
              TypePush Mower
              Cutting Width21 inches
              Cutting Type3-in-1 cutting system-mulch, rear bag, and side discharge
              Cutting Heights1.5- to 3.5-inches
              Assembled Product Weight66 lbs
              Verdict

              A reasonable price to make it one of the best walk behind gas powered mowers in its class.

              FAQs

              1. What is mulching?

              What we do when we mulch our plants is we put a kind of a protective layer on the soil, reduce water evaporation, regulate soil temperature . This will not only keeps moisture to plants for longer but also suppress weeds from growing and slowly enriches the soil; allowing plants to thrive. Sometimes, mulching is simply for decoration.

              2. What are the types of mulching?

              There are two basic types of mulch: organic and inorganic.

              • Organic mulch is made from natural materials such as bark, wood, compost, leaves, grass clippings, straw, and sawdust. The main characteristic of organic mulch is it will decompose, you have to re-apply it every year.
              • Inorganic mulch includes rock, stone, lava rock, crusher dust, pulverized rubber, landscape fabrics, and other man-made materials. Some inorganic methods of mulching (like stone) can be used in designs.

              3. What is the best mulch to prevent weeds?

              The best mulch to prevent weeds is also the cheapest. Free materials that also benefit soil include compost, leaves, sawdust or wood chips, straw or grass clippings.

              4. When to mulch?

              The best time to mulch often is during the fall when the leaves are going to pile up.

              5. Are leaves good mulch?

              Absolutely yes, instead of raking and bagging leaves each fall, shred them and use them as mulch in your gardens. As they decompose, they also enrich your soil.

              The best way to make a mulch of leaves is to shred them. You can do this in a number of ways but let them dry first. Then, use a lawn mower to chop them into little pieces. Dried leaves as mulch break down more quickly and shred easily. You can also use leaves after the season that have been moist and developed into leaf mold. These are partially decomposed and can be worked into the soil.

              6. What lawn mower height for leaf mulching?

              Ideally, the leaves should be mulched down so that that they fall in between the grass blades and decompose in the lawn soil. The tip is the leaves should be no higher than the highest mower deck setting.

              The level of height you adjust depends on the weather, or rather the climate. If you have a lot of hot sunshine don’t cut it too short. If you have a lot of rain and not much sunshine cut it shorter. The rule of thumb for lawn mowing is to set your mower at 2" to 2 1/2" high and never cut more than 1/3 of the grass blade off at any one time.

              7. What is the difference between mulch and compost?

              Generally speaking, compost is organic stuff that has been decomposed. The easiest way to make compost is to pile up garden refuse, kitchen scraps and lawn clippings. Compost can also be added to the mixture in which you start new plants or seeds.

              Mulch is the layer of organic materials placed on the top of the soil as a protective cover. However, we don’t use compost as mulch; compost is full of nutrients that we want to get down in the soil to feed the plants through their roots while mulch protects it.

              Lawn Mower Buying Guide

              Firstly, you must understand your yard

              Think of your lawn as a tennis court. A full-size court would be a medium lawn, half the court or less would be a small lawn. Anything bigger is a large lawn.

              • Small lawn (up to 100 sq m): electric and cordless lawn mowers.
              • Medium lawn (100 – 250 sq m): electric, cordless and petrol lawn mowers.
              • Large lawn (250+ sq m): petrol lawn mowers.

              By Type

              • Push mower: ideal for flat small yard. It requires the user to push a motorized blade cutter with wheels across the lawn, it is more budgeted than the others.
              • Self-propelled mower: Mowers offer both front and rear wheel drive to better suit your yard. You simply just need to walk behind the it to control its path. If you feel like you spend way too much time mowing your yard with a push mower, a self-propelled mower could dramatically reduce the time spent on it. You may need to consider one more detail: is your yard flat or hilly? The difference could determine whether you choose rear-drive or front-drive self-propelled mower. A rear-drive self-propelled mower designed for hills pulls the rear wheels instead of the front wheels. A front-drive self-propelled version pulls the front wheels and works best on flat land.
              • A ride-on mower: may be a better choice for those with larger acreage, ff your lawn is larger than ¾ acres you may want to consider a ride-on one.

              By Gas or electric:

              • Gas mowers have longer run-time and offer more power than electric, but they can be messy and require more maintenance than their electric counterparts.
              • Electric mowers can be corded or cordless and are much cleaner to operate than gas, but unless you have two batteries (for cordless), there is always a chance you could run out of juice. Of course, with a corded model you're limited by the length of your cord, which can be a nuisance to mow around.

              By cutting type

              • Side-Discharge mower: Some of the stuff we cut just can't be mulched. Using side discharging and a block off plate because it is more versatile. A side discharge mower can mow in nearly all conditions, fast mowing & high quality cut. But, the clipping discharge to outside, so it will fit for a large area.
              • Mulching mower: which cuts the clippings into very fine pieces which break down and release nutrients back into the soil. Mulching is preferred in tight area with some specific conditions (the lawn is not too wet and not too long), it can provide nutrients to the lawn but it will reduced mowing speeds and can have issues if not monitored.
              • Bagging mower: which collects clippings into a bag which is disposed of with yard waste. Bagging can mow in nearly all conditions, completely removes all debris, fast mowing & high quality cut. But, you must dispose of clippings.

              Popular Brands of Lawn Mower

              Craftsman: is one of the market leaders in mower and tractor sales. Many models in the Craftsman line are made by Husqvarna; others are made by MTD. Craftsman lawn tractors run the price spectrum from gear-drive models priced at about $1,000 to fully featured, hydrostatic-drive units that cost more than $2,000. Most Craftsman lawn tractors feature Briggs & Stratton engines, and the 42-inch-deck models are among the most popular. The majority of Craftsman walk-behind mowers are gas-powered, but the company also offers corded and battery-powered electric models.

              Husqvarna: makes mowers, tractors, and zero-turn-radius riders for the consumer and the commercial market. Husqvarna has a large dealer base, and Lowe's and Sears carry the brand. Husqvarna lawn tractors are fully featured and have deck widths in the widely sold 42- to 54-inch range. Most models have hydrostatic-drive systems and Briggs & Stratton engines.

              Greenworks Tools is the leader in battery-powered outdoor power tools for DIY-consumers and landscaping professionals. The company distributes Greenworks-branded and private label products, as well as products for an extensive network of Original Equipment Manufacturers. With a robust line of Greenworks-branded products including 24-volt, 40-volt, 60-volt, 80-volt, and commercial-grade 82-volt battery-powered outdoor power equipment, a full line of corded equipment, and reel mowers, Greenworks offers the right tool for every job.

              Sun Joe® specialize in designing and developing high-quality, innovative, and affordable outdoor tools to keep your home looking beautiful throughout the year, whether the snow is falling or the sun is shining. Founded in 2004, the Snow Joe® company launched with one tool in its product lineup: an easy-to-use, electric snow shovel for under $100 dubbed the “Snow Joe”. Today, our expansive line of outdoor power equipment, which includes manual, cordless, and electric tools such as lawn mowers, trimmers, tillers, and snow blowers, aims to simplify your yard routine to make it quick and easy to get your outdoor chores done. Our focus is on designing high-quality outdoor tools that are affordable, because we believe that high craftsmanship does not have to come with high prices.

              Earthwise is made from American Lawn Mower Company which is a family business that started in 1895 to manufacture push mowers. The Earthwise brand, with the slogan “The Clean Air Choice,” and the Yardwise brand, with the slogan “For the Perfect Lawn” were created in 2008 to tout the company’s new, Earth-friendly products.

              Conclusion

              Shredding leaves with a mulching mower will save homeowners time and money. Mulching is faster and far easier on the back than raking. Mulched leaves keep the soil warmer in winter and cooler in summer and the nutrients provided by mulching reduce the amount and expense of fertilizer need to achieve green-up in the spring. So choose your best lawn mower for mulching leaves is the first thing to make your yard beautiful.


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