By Susan Koeppen

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – To keep the grass in Paris trim this summer, the city is using sheep.

Apparently, they’re efficient and cheap, but if that option doesn’t work for you, Consumer Reports has some excellent lawnmower choices for you to chew on.

Keeping your lawn cut can be a big job by dragging your mower out dozens of times a year.

To help you find mowers that are easier to use, Consumer Reports’ testers mowed 18 acres of grass with more than 45 mowers.

The easiest to use were the self-propelled mowers.

“It’ll get the job done faster, and it’ll save you energy,” Peter Sawchuk with Consumer Reports said.

A self-propelled mower with variable speeds is good for speeding across flat sections of lawn, and slowing down for tough grass.

However, one feature to avoid is big wheels.

“A popular misconception is that large wheels make it easier to mow. However, they’re moved further back, making the mower heavier to push down on every time you go to turn the mower. Here’s the same-sized mower with the smaller regular wheels. And it’s much lighter to push down every time you turn,” Sawchuk said.

After months of testing, Consumer Reports found several good choices.

The $400 self-propelled Honda is a Best Buy.

The unique twin blades chop the grass into fine clippings that blend into the lawn when you mulch and it is also much more efficient at bagging.

“These clippings are smaller, so that this bag will hold four, sometimes even five pounds more clippings than any other mower,” Sawchuk said.

Another good choice is the $330 Troy-Bilt.

Like the Honda, it has rear-wheel drive, which helps on hills. And its single-lever height-adjuster makes it easy to change the cutting height.

You can even attach your hose to easily rinse away built-up clippings.

Consumer Reports said a push gas mower is fine for small, flat yards.

You’ll work a little harder, but that can save you some money on a gym.

Consumer Reports named several push gas mowers a Best Buy, including a Craftsman model for $220.


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