7 Best Lawn Mowers for Hills, Slopes and Steep Banks

Mowing a hilly lawn can be hard work, and not every mower is up to the challenge. Look no further for the best lawn mower for hills that can make mowing a breeze.  

This in-depth guide covers everything you need to know about the different types of lawnmowers for hills and steep banks, how to choose the best machine, what’s considered a hilly lawn, and a few other considerations. I’ve also included reviews for seven lawn mowers that I’ve personally put through their paces on residential hilly lawns.

Best Lawn Mowers for Hills and Slopes

If you’re in a hurry I have selected the three best lawn mowers for hills and slopes, for both gas, electric and robotic technologies. All of these mowers are designed to cope with serious inclines with self-propelled drive and good ground clearance.

Best Lawn Mowers for Hills and Slopes

Best Electric Mower

Ego Cordless 56V Lawn Mower 21″ Self Propelled

Well-made battery-powered rear-wheel drive mower with 80 mins of run time, plus a spare battery included.

Honda 21 In. Nexite Deck Self Propelled Lawn Mower

Best Gas Mower

Honda 21 In. Nexite Deck Self Propelled Lawn Mower

Well-built gas mower featuring a steel cutting deck and a Honda 200cc engine. Self-propelled to 4mph.

Husqvarna AUTOMOWER 115H

Best Robotic Mower

Husqvarna AUTOMOWER 115H

Auto-recharging lawnmower with Husqvarna professional installation included. Mows hills to 30° gradient

Types of Lawn Mowers for Hills

The best types of lawn mowers for hills include riding mowers, self-propelled mowers, walk-behind push mowers, and robotic mowers. 

Ride-on Mower

One of the easiest ways to mow hills is to do it in a ride-on mower. They can reduce the time it takes to mow and prevent you from becoming fatigued from pushing a lawnmower up hills. 

However, they’re not safe on slopes over 15°. It’s also important to note that not all riding lawn mowers are ideal for sloped and rough terrain. If the riding mower is too heavy or not well-balanced, there’s a higher risk of accidents

One type of riding lawn mower you may want to avoid for steep hills is a zero-turn mower. Their high center of gravity makes them less stable, and they aren’t safe on slopes of more than 10°. Their dual-transmission design also makes them difficult to control when going downhill. 

Self-Propelled Mower

If I’m going to push a mower up hills, you’d better believe I’m going to be choosing a self-propelled push mower to save my arms and back. You walk behind a self-propelled mower just like a regular push mower. However, the motor also turns all or some of the wheels to make pushing easier. 

One nice thing about self-propelled mowers is that you can control the lawnmower’s speed by how much you squeeze the speed control. Speed control allows you to slow down the mower when necessary. As a result, you won’t end up running downhill or pushing yourself too hard to get up steep hills.  

Another nice thing about using a self-propelled mower for hills is that the mower will turn off completely and stop moving when you release the speed control trigger or bar. So, if you slip or the speed of going downhill becomes overwhelming, you’re not at as big a risk for injury. 

Walk-Behind Push Mower

If self-propulsion up and down hills makes you nervous, you can provide all your own power to move your mower with a traditional walk-behind push mower.  

You’ll want a rear-wheel drive push mower to assist when you have difficulty controlling the mower, such as when it’s heading downhill. A smaller deck can also give you more control on hills.

It’s also important that you choose a lightweight mower so that you don’t have to strain as much to get it up steep slopes under your own power.

Robotic Mower

A robotic mower requires the least amount of physical exertion for you when mowing hills. Not all robotic mowers can manage steeply-sloped hills, especially cheaper ones. 

Some of the cheapest robotic lawnmowers can only handle a slope of 8.5°, but most can handle at least 14°. Other robotic mowers can handle slopes above 15°, even up to 25°.

When installing guide wires for your robotic lawnmower, it can help to route them across steep slopes. Laying them at an angle rather than directly up steep slopes can also help.

Choosing the Best Mower for Hills

When choosing the best mower for hills, you should consider lawn mower power, ground clearance and wheels, propulsion method, maneuverability and weight, and cutting width and height.

Lawn Mower Power

You’ll need to decide between a Lithium battery-powered, gas-powered, or electric corded lawnmower.

Battery-Powered Mower

When it comes to battery-powered mowers, the biggest disadvantage is that they will only go so far on a charge. To fix this problem get a mower with high battery storage, or purchase multiple battery cells. 

Batteries are classed by their compatibility with the mowers’ Voltage and the battery storage capacity. For example, a 40V mower will need a compatible 40V battery, of course when you purchase a mower with batteries they are naturally compatible. But if you buy additional units you need to make sure they are the right type. 

The battery storage capacity is classed in Amperes per Hour or Amp Hour (Ah). You will see something like 5.0Ah as the battery rating. This basically means the battery will discharge 5 Amps per hour. If your mower draws 5 Amps per hour, then the mower will run for around 60 minutes on a single charge. 

Battery-powered mowers will run out of power faster when you use them at full throttle. So if you are doing a lot of uphill pushing and running it full-blast, you will want to be getting a battery with a good storage capacity. Say, at least 5.0Ah.

However, battery-powered mowers have several advantages, such as not needing gas or oil and not needing spark plug or belt replacements. They are also quieter and don’t give off harmful emissions like gas-powered mowers. 

Gas-Powered Mower

Gas-powered mowers are usually more powerful than battery-powered motors, so a self-propelled gas mower can be even easier to use uphill. They also don’t require cords or batteries, which can be a pain to manage. 

However, they cost more money to run and need more maintenance since they need gas, oil, off-season fuel preservatives, servicing, and so on. They’re also a lot louder and give off carbon emissions.

Corded Electric Mower

Corded electric mowers can be a pain since you have to be ever-mindful of the cord location, not getting it wrapped around things, and if it will reach where you need to mow. It’s also not practical for lawns more than 8000 square feet.

However, if you have a small yard like a space off the back patio of a condo, a corded electric mower can be more convenient than gassing up a mower or charging a battery. 

Keep in mind that running a cord farther than 100 feet away from the electrical outlet can cause the power level of the mower to drop, which means that it won’t have as much power to get up hills.  

Ground Clearance and Wheels

You’ll want to look for a mower with higher ground clearance because mowers with low ground clearance don’t handle the steep transition angle between a flat and sloped surface. 

The size of your wheels can also give you more ground clearance, or you can just use a higher grass-cutting setting. 

High-wheel push mowers usually have 8-inch front wheels and 9- to 12-inch back wheels, while low-wheel mowers usually have 8-inch wheels on both the front and back. 

High-wheel mowers are best for mowing rough ground and on slopes. It’s much easier to push a mower uphill if the mower has larger rear wheels. Plus, it takes less effort to push it along level ground. The only negative is that they’re tougher to turn.

Method of Propulsion

If you decide on a self-propelled lawnmower, you can either choose from a front-propelled or rear-propelled version. Front-wheel-propelled mowers are great for a flat yard. However, if you have hills and inclines that you need to climb, you will need to get a rear-wheel-drive mower. 

You’ll appreciate the traction of a rear-wheel-drive when going uphill. 

Maneuverability and Weight

Front-wheel drive mowers are more maneuverable because it’s easy to pivot the mower on its back wheels when you want to change directions. 

Rear-wheel-drive mowers don’t have the maneuverability of front-wheel-drive mowers. However, rear-wheel drives are better for getting a mower up a hill. 

Zero-turn riding mowers have a turning radius that is practically zero, but you never want to use a zero-turn riding mower for mowing hills.

When looking for a lawnmower for hills, you want to go with a lightweight option. A lighter-weight push mower is easier to push up hills, and a lighter-weight riding mower is less likely to tip over. 

Cutting Width and Height

Having a mower with a wider cutting deck will mean that you can cover a larger area and won’t have to go up and down the hill as many times. So, I like to go for the widest cutting deck possible.

Mowing uphill increases the risk of lawn damage from blades cutting into the ground. When you mow up hills, you will want to adjust your height to its highest position to prevent getting the mower from turning over unexpectedly on a steep hill. Adjusting to maximum height will also prevent you from unnecessarily scalping an area. The higher you can adjust it, the better. 

What Is Considered a Hilly Lawn

A hilly lawn is really any lawn that has inclines, whether that’s areas with uneven terrain, mild slopes, or steep hills. 

Uneven Terrain

Uneven terrain often falls in the category of a hilly lawn. You’ll want to adjust the mower to be as high as possible and mow straight up and down over slopes in uneven terrain. This method avoids tip-overs and scalping your lawn at the top of a slope. 

Slope Gradient

Before you choose a mower, you will want to measure your slopes. Your mower’s label should provide the manufacturer’s recommendations on slope angle. If a label is missing, it’s best to assume it wouldn’t work well on a slope above 15°. 

You can use a clinometer, inclinometer, or a slope-measuring phone app to measure your slope. OSHA also has a left-slope indicator and right-slope indicator you can print out to measure your slope.

Steep Hills

OSHA indicates that not all slope degrees are safe for every type of mower, suggesting these guidelines that the National Park Service in North Carolina uses:

  • 0°-15°: push mowers, zero-turn mowers, riding mowers, and tractor mowers
  • 15°-22°: push mowers, specialized slope mowers, and tractor mowers

Reviews: Best Lawn Mowers for Hills and Slopes

Here are my seven favorite lawn mowers for hills. 

ego Cordless Lawn Mower
  • Type: Self-propelled push mower
  • Power: 56V Motor, 5.0Ah Battery x2
  • Drive: Rear Wheel
  • Cutting Width: 21-Inches
  • Cutting Height: 1.5 to 4-Inches
  • Weight: 82 Pounds
  • Warranty: 5 Years

Pros

  • Self-propelled with effortless height adjustment, side discharge, clipping bag included
  • Excellent 80 minutes run time with a backup battery
  • Folds down well for garage or shed storage
  • 9” rear-wheel drive, great for hills

Cons

  • Nothing of note

I like that the Ego Cordless 56V Lawn Mower contains two 56V batteries, which allows you to use one while you charge the other. However, the battery has 80 minutes of charge, so you may not need to switch it out. Battery charge time is just 60 minutes. 

The self-propulsion and larger back wheel make this lawnmower easier to push up hills. Plus, it’s easy to move the height up to 4 inches when you use it on an incline. It’s also effortless to adjust your speed from 0.9 to 3.1 MPH for inclines.

EGO Power+ 21" Self Propelled Mower

The front LED lights make it easier to mow at dusk. It also comes with a mower bag, rapid charger, mulching insert, and side discharge chute. 

Like most battery-powered yard tools, the 56V battery is interchangeable with a whole ecosystem of other Ego yard tools. So once you have a couple of battery cells you can expand your power tool range and just use the one set of batteries, saving you money on future power tool purchases. 

If you’re looking for a high-quality electric mower with outstanding performance then the Ego 56V mower is my first choice every time. It’s quiet, feature-packed, and extremely reliable. 

Honda 21 In. Nexite Deck Self Propelled Lawn Mower
  • Type: Self-propelled push mower
  • Power: Gas 200cc Honda Engine
  • Drive: Rear Wheel
  • Cutting Width: 21-Inches
  • Cutting Height: 0.75 to 4-Inches
  • Weight: 90 Pounds
  • Warranty: 5 Years

Pros

  • Self-propelled with lots of power from the Honda 200cc engine
  • Includes large grass bag and deck with mulching capabilities
  • Folds down well for storage in a garage or shed

Cons

  • Nothing other than the emissions of a gas mower

Mowing with the Honda 21-Inch Nexite Deck Self-Propelled Lawn Mower feels nearly effortless. It has a premium GCV200 engine with an 8.9 engine torque that provides the power to cut even the thickest grass. 

The handle has three adjustable positions to make going uphill easier. It also has seven cutting heights. Multiple heights allow you to find the perfect one for your incline so that you don’t end up with an uneven cutting job. The speed is also adjustable between 0 to 4 mph to make incline mowing easier.

The mower also comes with a 2.5-bushel grass bag to keep you from having to empty it as often.

If you prefer a gas-powered mower, then you won’t get much better than the Honda 21-Inch Next. Built like a tank, supreme engine quality and plenty of features are included with this mower kit. 

Husqvarna AUTOMOWER 115H

Best Robotic Mower

Husqvarna AUTOMOWER 115H
  • Type: Robotic mower
  • Power: Cordless electric battery
  • Cutting Width: 16 inches
  • Cutting Height: 2-3.6-Inches
  • Weight: 20.7 pounds
  • Warranty: 2 years

Pros

  • Truly effortless automated mowing on slopes up to 30° gradient
  • Includes professional guide wire installation by Husqvarna
  • Very quiet when in use and works in the rain
  • Small enough to fit through tight spaces, where other mowers can’t reach

Cons

  • Premium price mower at $1,200, but this product does bring a whole load of advantages

The beauty of a robotic mower like the Husqvarna automower 115H is that it really takes zero effort on your part. The cost even includes installation from a Husqvarna professional. 

You can use an app to give your robotic mower a daily schedule so that you don’t have to remember to run it. It also has an automatic charging program when the battery reaches 20%. Plus, it keeps your grass looking perpetually great.

Automower® 115H Smart Robotic Lawn Mower That Mows By Itself | Husqvarna

These little beats will cruise up and down hills and slopes up to a 30° gradient. This mower also includes an anti-theft alarm and pin code. 

The Husqvarna automower cuts grass height from 2 to 3.6 inches and has course-tread wheels, making it great for hilly terrain. 

If you can afford a bit of modern-day luxury then the Husqvarna 115H robotic mower is a dream. At around $1,200 it is one of the more affordable products in this category.

Toro Flex Force 60V Lawn Mower Auto Drive.
  • Type: Self-propelled push mower
  • Power: 60V Motor, 6.0Ah Battery
  • Drive: Rear Wheel Drive
  • Cutting Width: 22-Inches
  • Cutting Height: 1 to 4-Inches
  • Weight: 83 Pounds
  • Warranty: 2 Years

Pros

  • Excellent steel cutting deck
  • 6.0Ah Battery gave me 40 minutes of Run Time, not bad. 
  • Rear Clippings Bag or Side Discharge
  • SmartStow storage feature

Cons

  • Mulched grass often left clumps with rear discharge

The self-propulsion and larger rear wheel of the Toro Flex Force 60V Lawn Mower make it easier to mow uphill. Plus, the 60V battery gives it more power than some other electric mowers, so you can cut ⅓ of an acre in 40 minutes or less from a single charge. 

It’s worth pointing out that this machine offers a single battery with the mower kit. 

What Is Toro Flex Force SmartStow Lawn Mower?- Ace Hardware

The main feature of this mower is the SmartStow feature which locks up the mower and allows a very neat wall mounting or vertical storage option. This is demonstrated in the video above. 

This is a very well-made machine, but on a like-for-like basis, I can’t say it stands up to the Ego 56V machine.

Husqvarna 24 HP 46" Deck Riding Mower TS 146X
  • Type: Ride on mower
  • Power: Gas
  • Cutting Width: 48 inches
  • Cutting Height: 1.5 to 4-Inches
  • Weight: 630 Pounds
  • Warranty: 10 Years

Pros

  • 48-inch cutting width
  • Long warranty
  • Cuts large yards faster
  • Smooth and comfortable ride

Cons

  • Sluggish going uphill

The Husqvarna 24 HP 46″ Deck Riding Mower is an excellent choice for hilly terrain. Its 48-inch cutting width allows you to cut twice as much at once than with a push mower. Thus, you only need to go up and down hills half as many times. 

I like that the controls for speed and direction are foot pedals to allow me to keep my hands on the wheel. The seat is also extra thick to make the ride more comfortable.  

The 24-hp Briggs and Stratton engine give it plenty of power for tough jobs. While it’s a little more sluggish going uphill, it still does the job.

Toro Lawn Mower 21inch Super Recycler Spin Stop Gas
  • Type: Self-propelled push mower
  • Power: Gas
  • Cutting Width: 21-Inches
  • Cutting Height: 1.25 to 4.25-Inches
  • Weight: 92 Pounds
  • Warranty: 5 Years

Pros

  • Larger rear wheel
  • Higher cutting height than most mowers
  • Ultra-fine mulch
  • Sturdy construction

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Carbon emissions

The Toro Super Recycler Lawn Mower is self-propelled and has a larger rear wheel with high traction and wide treads, which is highly maneuverable and requires less effort for pushing uphill. It also has a 4.25-inch cutting height, which is higher than most other mowers, making it great for uneven terrain and hills. 

Toro’s Super Recycler cutting system with samurai-sharp blades creates ultra-fine mulch from your yard clippings. If you choose the bag your clippings, the commercial-grade bagging tunnel sends the clippings back farther so you don’t have to empty your bag as often.

I also like how sturdy the construction of this mower feels and how easy it is to steer.

Makita 36V LXT Cordless 21" Self Propelled Lawn Mower
  • Type: Self-propelled commercial push mower
  • Power: Cordless electric battery
  • Cutting Width: 21 inches
  • Cutting Height: 1.25 to 4 inches
  • Weight: 94 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years

Pros

  • Self-propelled
  • Has 10 cutting positions
  • Includes four batteries
  • Compatible with other Makita tools

Cons

  • Short battery life

The Makita 36V LXT Cordless 21″ Self Propelled Lawn Mower is a commercial-grade electric cutter. It uses two 18-volt batteries, but it can also run on four batteries to give it twice the run time.

Although it’s heavy, the wheels are well-balanced, so that you can still get it uphill. It’s also a rear-wheel-drive mower, which allows it to pull itself up steep slopes with no problem. 

This mower is also an excellent choice for uneven terrain because it has ten different cutting positions.

However, it takes four batteries to mow half an acre, so it’s probably best for smaller yards.

Other Feature Considerations

When making your final mower decision, you will also want to consider whether it has a collection bag, mulching capability, start mechanism, storage options, and price.

Collection Bag or Mulching

Lawns that are free of grass clippings not only look better, but they prevent people and animals from tracking grass clippings throughout your house. If that’s important to you, you should consider a mower with a collection bag. 

If you have a large lawn, collecting all the clippings may not be practical. So, you might want to look into a mulching lawnmower instead. A mulching mower chops up the grass multiple times before spitting it back onto the lawn. They’re especially good for taking care of leaves in the fall.

Start Mechanism

If the idea of having to yank the pull-cord multiple times to start up a gas mower fills you with dread, you’ll be happy to know that that’s not the only type available. Choosing a battery-powered or corded electric mower means that all you have to do is press a button to start. And ride-on lawnmowers usually start with a key, button, knob, or switch. 

Lawn Mower Storage

Before choosing a mower, you will need to think about your storage space. If you plan to store it in a garage, carport, or storage shed, check the measurements of your prospective space to ensure that the mower you want will fit. If you plan to store it outdoors, getting a mower cover can better protect it from the elements to improve its longevity.  

Price

Mowers range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. The warranty can help determine how long the manufacturer expects it to last. A cheap mower with a two-year warranty is a far better deal than an expensive mower with a two-year warranty. However, going cheap can also mean sacrificing quality, so do your homework.

Verdict: Best Lawn Mower for Hills

Now that you’ve seen my list of favorites from my own experience, you’re better equipped to make an educated decision.

I recommend that you look at the Ego Cordless 56V 21” Self-Propelled Lawn Mower when trying to find the best lawn mower for hills. The battery has 80 minutes of charge, it’s lightweight, and it’s easy it is to adjust the mower height for hilly areas. 

ego Cordless Lawn Mower_mini

Best Electric Mower

Ego Cordless 56V Lawn Mower 21″ Self Propelled

Well-made battery-powered rear-wheel drive mower with 80 mins of run time, plus a spare battery included.

Honda 21 In. Nexite Deck Self Propelled Lawn Mower

Best Gas Mower

Honda 21 In. Nexite Deck Self Propelled Lawn Mower

Well-built gas mower featuring a steel cutting deck and a Honda 200cc engine. Self-propelled to 4mph.

Husqvarna AUTOMOWER 115H

Best Robotic Mower

Husqvarna AUTOMOWER 115H

Auto-recharging lawnmower with Husqvarna professional installation included. Mows hills to 30° gradient

FAQs Lawn Mowers for Hills and Steep Banks

Here’s a question people often ask about mowing on steep hills.