11 min. read
The lawn mower: as ubiquitous a staple of the American neighborhood as, well, the neighborhood itself! But how do you know when the right time to buy a new lawn mower is?
Whether you’re being cash-conscious, are hoping for deals on the latest model, or are running a lawn care business and need to keep your expenses low, knowing the best time to buy can save you a lot of money.
Market research for lawn mowers is extensive, but usually locked behind steep paywalls and complex marketing jargon. But we at BTTB have combed the data to find existing and emerging trends in the lawn mower market, to ensure that you get the absolute best deal when it’s time to buy.
In 1830, the British mechanic Edwin Budding filed a patent for the world’s first lawn mower, an invention intended to replace the scythe, and one that would forever transform the landscape of landscaping.
“Gentlemen will find using my machine an amusing … healthful exercise,” proclaimed Budding’s original patent application: and in the centuries since, he’s been proven right, time and time again.
"Gentlemen will find using my machine an amusing … healthful exercise." — Edwin Budding, lawn mower inventor
Just a hundred and seventy years later, the world’s first robotic lawn mowers would take to the fields, marking the dramatic transition of technology that our society has undergone in just two centuries.
Now, push-mowers based on Buddings’ classic design can be found working yards next-door to golf courses maintained by fleets of riding mowers. Classic mechanical push mowers and Wi-Fi enabled robotic lawn mowers maintain yards in the same neighborhood cul-de-sacs. A hundred and seventy years of mowing history is being experienced all at once across America.
Of course, with this vast range of mowing possibilities, it can be hard to know what the best mower to buy actually is, and when to buy them. That’s where your friends at Best Time to Buy have your back.
The truth about lawn mower discounts
Dealers generally have a minimal margin of profit on most lawn mowers of 2-7% (according to the Farm Equipment magazine) leading to far fewer discounts overall, and rare steep discounts, compared to other items on the market. With a car or a new computer, you might expect to grab some hefty discounts off the MSRP, but the price of lawn mowers remains relatively steady, especially with its increasing market size.
This makes purchasing your lawn mower at the right time even more important. There are certain times each year when the sales are sharper, and there are some tricks of the trade that can help you take advantage of consumer trends to nab yourself a steep discount.
One of the key things to look for with a new lawn mower is an accompanying deal offered by the retailer. This might be an extended service warranty, a free tank of gas, or free delivery right to your yard. Factoring in these secondary enhancements can help you make the best choice when buying a new lawn mower.
What are the big trends for lawn mowers this decade?
Sales trends for lawn mowers are relatively favorable, despite a dip during the early pandemic period. Even when factoring in considerations like COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine, the market is expected to climb globally between 2023-2030.
The COVID-19 pandemic created major shifts in the United States market regarding price and mower availability. All mower types saw a price rise of 10-21%, as supply chain issues, coupled with sudden rising demand, cut through tightened stock sizes.
Perhaps the largest growth sector by 2030 will be robotic mowers. Despite only being introduced commercially in 2000, robotic mowers have cornered an ever-larger section of the lawn mowing market. Further advances in AI and machine learning make these self-driving robotic lawn mowers more capable than ever every year.
The current data suggest that factors like an increase in laws and local ordinances regarding municipal sound levels will see a rise in both robotic and fully electric lawn mowers—and a corresponding decrease in sales for gas-powered lawn mowers. This is due to the much lower decibel output for electric mowers, which improves both community life and environmental impact. The environmental impact of gas-powered mowers is also of concern, and California will ban sales of new gas-powered mowers in 2024.
Considering these trends, it is likely that gas mowers will be forced to compete more intensely for a share of the market, which could lead to steeper discounts. Conversely, emerging brands in the robotic lawn mower sector will be looking for an extra edge and will likely continue to offer steep discounts at seasons traditionally associated with technology sales.
What is the worst time to buy a lawn mower?
Seasonally, late spring and summer are absolutely the worst times to purchase a lawn mower if you expect the best discount, though holidays like the 4th of July, Father’s Day, and Memorial Day conversely offer some consistent sales.
Purchasing a lawn mower in the winter has some serious drawbacks to consider as well, despite the potential for steep discounts. This is because available stock is likely to be low, limiting your buying choices significantly. But if you value price beyond mower features, winter may be your lawnmower-buying season.
November is a largely terrible time to shop for a new mower, as the sales available in the fall are likely to vanish, while closing sales due to the winter holidays have not yet gone into effect. This can be countered somewhat by Black Friday and Cyber Monday, though deals at this time are more likely for automated robotic lawn mowers than more traditional varieties.
What’s the best time of year to buy a mower?
Despite the short discounts generally available on lawn mowers, there are certain times of the year when buying a lawn mower is an excellent financial move. I’ve split these into two categories: the seasons and the holidays.
Best seasons to buy a new lawn mower
There are three seasons where buying a lawn mower is ideal for the discount-savvy buyer. Early to mid-spring, autumn, and December.
In the early spring, manufacturers start shipping their latest models to retailers ahead of the new growing season. By March, vendors will be fully stocked with their new supplies. This means that older models on the floor will be more likely to feature discounts. But some manufacturers offer seasonal discounts between March and May to intentionally capture your attention.
Early Fall (Autumn)
The best deals for lawn mowers emerge during the autumn, when there is still likely to be a reasonable range of stock available, but when retailers start offering clearance sales to make way for fall and winter equipment. Buying late in the year means that you’ll have fewer choices regarding model and features, but you’ll be able to snap up what there is for a better price.
December is the best time to buy a new lawn mower for those looking for the steepest possible discount, and who don’t have any interest in the “latest and greatest” models. Specifically, the best deals at this time will appear in large box stores, such as Home Depot and Lowes, where their limited floor space needs to be shifted to holiday stock.
Buying a mower during this time may mean settling for a returned and repaired mower, or a floor model, but it may also lead to the steepest discounts.
BTTB Protip: Many gas powered lawn mowers get returned to stores due to apparent defects. However, many of these “defects” are due to old gas being put into the tank by the new user! The team at the store cleans the system and the mower is likely to be good as new, but because of its “returned and repaired” status, the price will be steeply discounted.
Best holidays to buy a new lawn mower
Memorial Day Weekend
Retailers will try to capture the interest of buyers at the end of spring with extra deals, and many seasonal manufacturer deals may still be in place as well, offering an additional discount.
Capitalizing on a popularized gender divide that promotes the assumption that men are the primary lawn-mowers of the house, this holiday presents the opportunity to grab some reasonable discounts. This makes it one of the rare times during the summer where deals can be had.
4th of July Weekend
The Fourth of July promotions are not likely to be large for lawn mowers, but it does provide another chance for any type of summer discount.
Labor Day Weekend
Heralding the first shift in the year from summer to autumn, retailers may compete to offer early close-out deals, hoping to use the holiday’s momentum to shift more products.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday
While not a great time for higher quality models or riding mowers, cheap lawn mowers and robotic lawn mowers frequently see 10-30% discounts over this weekend.
Best time to buy a lawn mower: by type
While dealers offer the best discount seasonally, certain types of mower can experience better discounts at specific times of year. Seasonal variation is less likely to effect zero-turn mowers, for instance, while robotic lawn mowers might see an extra price-drop on traditional “tech-related” holidays.
The best time to buy a push/self-propelled mower
These are the most common types of lawn mower and make up the bulk of lawn mower sales in the United States. While steep discounts frequently appear on mowers from unknown brands, discounts on recognized brands ebb and flow seasonally.
If you want a discount on the latest model, buy in the early to mid-spring. If you want the best deal on an older model (and don’t mind shopping around), buy your new mower in the fall–when the stock is getting cleared.
The best time to buy a riding lawn mower
Deals for this type of lawn mower are rarer, but follow the same trends as push and self-propelled lawn mowers. Far more likely than large discounts are deals for free tanks of gas, free delivery, exchange programs, and free extended service periods from the retailer.
The best deals from large suppliers are likely to come in the spring, when stocks and demand are both high, and when manufacturers are more likely to have seasonal discounts in place. The best deals from small retailers come in the fall, when they need to make room in their limited floor space for fall items.
The best time to buy a zero-turn lawn mower
Deals for this type of lawn mower are rarer, but not unheard of. Zero-turn lawn mowers are expensive specialty items that are less likely to go on sale throughout the year. The best time to purchase one of these is during the early spring, when manufacturer discounts are likely to be in effect.
Purchase your zero-turn mower from a small, local retailer, and ask directly about a discount (even if one isn’t listed).
The best time to buy a robotic lawn mower
Robotic lawn mowers follow the same general trends as other mowers, based on the season. However, robotic lawn mowers are a rising market item right now, and deals on many models are likely to experience higher average discounts between 2022-2030.
This is because manufacturers of new robotic mower brands are competing among one another and against established brands of classic mowers. Because of their “tech factor,” you can also find larger deals on this type of mower during events like Amazon Prime Day and Cyber Monday.
Lawn mowers are a seasonal product, with the best deals on the latest models available in the early spring, while older and cheaper models will see heavy discounts in the fall.
Extensive research indicates that the market for robotic and eclectic lawn mowers is expected to climb until 2030 as the older gas mowers are phased out, or banned for environmental concerns. This will lead to steeper competition between older and newer mower technologies–robotic lawn mowers, in particular, are likely to see steeper discounts with more regularity.
Finally, while holiday deals can be enticing, most will offer only meager discounts in the 5-10% price range. If you want the best possible deal, aim for Memorial Day and Labor Day to capitalize on the combination of holiday deal and seasonal discount.
And, finally: don’t forget to ask at the store about discounts, even if they aren’t openly offered. Manufacturer discounts may be available, and retailers might offer hidden perks, even if they aren’t displayed up front.