Self Propelled Lawn Mower Reviews

As their name implies a self-propelled lawn mower is essentially a push or walk-behind lawn mower that has a built-in self-propulsion system. They are incredibly popular with people who might have some minor mobility issues, as well as those who are looking for an inexpensive alternative to buying a riding lawn mower to tackle a medium-sized lawn.

Since they are so popular, it comes as no surprise that lawn mower manufacturers have flooded the marketplace with self-propelled lawn mowers or every size. Some are just a push mower model from their line with a self-propulsion system built into it. Others are their own creation engineered from the ground up to be sophisticated lawn care machines.

With such a crowded field to contend with, finding the best self-propelled lawn mower for you and your yard can be a challenge To truly find the best self-propelled lawn mower to meet your needs we will need to answer some important questions?

Just Show Me The Mowers

What Is A Self-Propelled Lawn Mower?

Most of the time a self-propelled lawn mower is a push mower engineered with an additional propulsion source. The propulsion system takes the effort out of your hands, leaving you responsible for maneuvering the lawn mower around your yard. Not only are they less effort, but they allow you to focus on your cutting path and other potential obstacles.

How Does A Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Work?

A walk-behind, self-propelled lawn mower is specially engineered with a separate small drive motor with its own independent transmission system. It diverts some of the power produced by the lawn mower’s gasoline or electric engine to drive either the front or rear wheels.

This also makes it possible for the manufacturer to install a heavier, stronger engine to make up for the power loss. This is why some of the best self-propelled lawn mowers are more than just a standard push mower with an additional propulsion system.

How To Use A Self-Propelled Lawn Mower?

With a self-propelled lawn mower, your only real job is to carefully steer it around trees and other landscaping features in your yard. Though front wheel and rear-wheel drive self-propelled lawn mowers can be used in slightly different ways. The one that is best for your lawn may depend on the landscaping, terrain, and characteristics of your yard.
With a rear-wheel-drive self-propelled lawn mower, you will enjoy significantly more traction. Especially if the mower has a large rear wheel which provides a superior mechanical advantage. This type of self-propelled mower tends to do a better job of tackling hills as well as bumpy, and uneven turf.

With a rear-wheel drive lawn mower if you need to stop or slow down you will need to adjust the speed or disengage the self-propulsion system. If you have a hilly or bumpy yard with a lot of complex landscaping features, you might want to prioritize a rear-wheel drive self-propelled lawn mower with a variable speed feature.

When it comes to a self-propelled lawn mower with front-wheel drive, you are sacrificing a little bit of traction and mechanical advantage for nimbleness. This type of lawn mower might be the best option if you have a lot of trees and landscaping features to dance around in your lawn. Another nice thing about a front-wheel-drive self-propelled lawn mower is that you can always tilt the mower back onto the rear wheels to stop it at a moment’s notice.

What Type Of Terrain Are Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers Good For?

Self-propelled lawn mowers tend to shine when tackling small hills and bumpy terrain. Especially rear-wheel drive systems with large rear wheels. The mechanical advantage of the large wheels and the superior traction really helps them climb hills and deal with bumpy turf better than a traditional push mower with small rear wheels.

Push Mower vs Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

With a standard push mower, you are the complete propulsion system while you steer the mower around your yard. If you have a large yard the effort can be exasperating. Most people will tell you that they don’t want to push a gasoline or electric lawn mower for a lawn that is more than half an acre.

With a self-propelled lawn mower, a small drive motor moves either the front or rear wheels. All you have to do is steer, and it does most of the work for you. Most people will tell you that this makes it reasonable to mow up to a full acre. Which makes it a great, affordable alternative to a riding lawn mower.

What To Consider When Buying A Self-Propelled Lawn Mower?

There are a few key features to consider when it comes to finding the best self-propelled lawn mower for your yard. This includes choosing things like:

  • Gasoline
  • Corded Electric
  • Cordless Battery Powered
  • Variable Speed
  • Hydrostatic Self-Propulsion System
  • Mulching, Bagging, Or Side Discharge

Is Gasoline Or Electric Better For A Self-Propelled Lawn Mower?

Gasoline and electric motors are the two predominant engine types you will find in a self-propelled lawn mower. The one that’s best for you will depend on the size and characteristics of your lawn.
With a gasoline self-propelled lawn mower, you tend to have a slightly more powerful self-propulsion system. Some of the engine’s power is diverted to either the front or rear wheels. Some of the more sophisticated self-propelled gasoline lawn mowers have a hydrostatic transmission system. This uses hydraulic technology for superior responsiveness to the drive wheels.

Electric self-propelled lawn mowers have a somewhat more limited range based on the power cord or the run time of the battery. With a cordless self-propelled lawn mower, a portion of the battery’s inherent charge is diverted to the self-propulsion system, which can reduce the run time. Though you can get around this with additional lithium-ion batteries. Some lawn mower manufacturers like Greenworks, Worx, and Makita make other power tools that use batteries which are interchangeable with many of their battery-powered self-propelled lawn mowers.

Is A Variable Speed Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Good?

With a variable speed self-propelled lawn mower you can quickly change speed by turning a dial or adjusting a lever. You can dial it down to carefully work around trees and other landscaping features in your yard. Then you can turn it up to high speed when you need to mow wide-open stretches of lawn. You can also set the speed to closely match your natural walking speed.

A variable speed feature is more beneficial in rear-wheel-drive models. That way you can dial down the speed to work around a tree or a flower bed at a moment’s notice. With a front-wheel drive self-propelled lawn mower, you can just tilt it to take the front wheels off the ground.

What Is A 2-in-1 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower?

A 2-in-1 self-propelled lawn mower comes setup for side discharge and can also be set up as a mulching mower bagging lawn mower. This is a great way to keep harvested grass clippings from drying out into thatch that can choke your turf.

What Is A 3-in-1 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower?

With a 3-in-1 self-propelled lawn mower, you can set it up for side discharge, mulching, or bagging. In some models, the mulching and the bagger can be used at the same time, or it can be set up as one or the other. When grass clippings are mulched before bagging, more clippings can be held in a single load. The tiny pieces of grass are also more likely to decompose quickly in your compost pile or garden.

How Big Of A Yard Can You Mow With A Self-Propelled Lawn Mower?

A self-propelled walk-behind lawn mower takes the propulsion part of the equation out of your hands. You are merely the navigator maneuvering it through the yard. With a corded electric self-propelled lawn mower, your range is limited to 50-feet or perhaps as much as a quarter of an acre. In theory, this means so long as you have enough fuel or battery charge that you can keep mowing just about any size yard.

Though most people will tell you that once you go beyond a full acre, the total time it takes to cut the lawn in a single mowing session is inconvenient. At that point, a riding lawn mower tends to be the preferred choice for lawns that are greater than 1-acre in size.

Is A Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Hard To Maintain?

The drive system of a self-propelled lawn mower rarely needs maintenance beyond the occasional lubrication of the wheels or other moving parts. If it has a gasoline lawn mower engine, you will need to take care of it like you would a gasoline-powered push mower.

What Is The Lightest Self-Propelled Lawn Mower?

Several lightweight self-propelled lawn mowers are worthy of your investment. While this is a constantly evolving niche, there are a few that seem to always rise to the top. This includes models like:
Greenworks MO80L410 Pro 21-Inch Cordless Brushless Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Craftsman M215 159cc 21-Inch 3-in-1 High-Wheeled FWD Self-Propelled Gas Powered Lawn Mower
Snapper XD 82V MAX Cordless Electric 21″ Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

What Is The Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower?

There are a few great self-propelled lawn mowers that rise to the top of the list. Each of them has it’s own strengths that give you a great chance to see a major return on your investment.

Several lawn mower manufacturers rise to the top of this sometimes crowded market niche. They do so backed by the power of superior build quality as well as sound engineering principles.

Craftsman

Craftsman is one of the strongest brand names in the lawn mower industry. They are known for superior build quality as well as supporting their lawn mower line with strong warranty protection programs. Many of their gasoline self-propelled mowers are engineered with special features like electric start assist or an automatic choking ignition system.

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Cub Cadet

Cub Cadet’s self-propelled lawn mowers appeal to suburban consumers as well as lawn care professionals who prioritize a high-quality lawn mower. Many of their entry-level self-propelled lawn mowers carry a slightly higher price tag. However, you are stilling getting a superior machine with the high-end build quality and thoughtful engineering at its roots.

EGO Power

This is a premium electric lawn mower brand that is well known for providing quality models. They focus on superior material selection, engineering, and manufacturing technology to maximize the value. They also tend to offer self-propelled lawn mowers with superior warranty coverage. If you are looking for a model with a strong chance of seeing a robust return on your investment, EGO is a great line to shop.

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Honda

Honda has an impressive reputation for offering high-quality lawn mowers, which includes several high-quality self-propelled gasoline lawn mowers. Honda makes it a point to build their lawn mowers to start easily, as well as run quietly. It’s also worth noting that most of their lawn mowers are backed by a superior warranty. While you might pay a little more in the brand name, you will see the value in the self-propelled lawn mower’s build quality and the overall life span.

Husqvarna

Husqvarna is one of the strongest international brands in the outdoor power tool industry. They are well known for their material build quality as well as strong engineering principles. Husqvarna’s lineup of self-propelled gasoline lawn mowers typically starts easily as well as being easy to maintain. They also make it a point to support many of their models with superior warranty coverage, to give you a good chance of seeing a robust return on your initial investment.

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Lawn Boy

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Greenworks

Greenworks is an electric power tool and lawn mower company with both battery-powered and corded electric self-propelled lawn mowers in their line. If you have a larger lawn and are thinking about getting a battery-powered self-propelled lawn mower, the Greenworks line uses many of the same batteries in their power tools and lawn mowers. If you happen to own multiple Greenworks tools, you might be able to extend the run time of their battery-powered self-propelled lawn mowers by interchanging batteries. This is one of the ways that they encourage brand loyalty.

Snapper

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Toro

Toro started out making a wide range of durable gasoline push mowers, but have since expanded their line to include some very well-designed and durable self-propelled lawn mowers. Their models are typically easy to start and many are engineered to be easy to maintain. Toro further makes a strong statement of build quality, by backing many of their self-propelled lawn mowers with superior warranty coverage. If there’s a minor complaint with Toro lawn mowers it’s that the overall weight of the heavy-duty construction can sometimes make them heavy. While this might be a factor in their push mower line, it’s not an issue with Toro’s self-propelled lawn mowers that veritably move.

Troy-Bilt

Troy-Bilt has spent decades building a strong reputation for durable lawn mowers, including self-propelled lawn mowers that hold their value. If there’s a minor complaint with their line it’s that they tend to be a little heavier than average due to the heavy-duty material build quality. Though their powerful self-propulsion system eliminates this concern, making their models strong enough to tackle hills and bumpy terrain with ease.

Yard Machines

This is another value brand that relies on manufacturing efficiency to help offer models with a relatively low price tag compared to the closest competition. Their lawn mowers have a reputation for being a little heavy, due to the heavy-duty materials they infuse into most of their models. While this might be a little bit of a mark against them in the push mower niche, it’s really a non-factor when it comes to their self-propelled lawn mowers as the propulsion system is truly doing all the hard work.

Other Great Brands

Conclusion

Self-propelled lawn mowers are very attractive for a wide range of people. Especially homeowners with a hilly lawn or rough, uneven turf. Individuals who have minor mobility issues also find self-propelled lawn mowers to be a preferable option.

If your lawn has a lot of complicated landscaping features, you might want to prioritize a self-propelled lawn mower with variable speed control. Not only can you slow it down and speed it up to meet the demands of where you are mowing, but you can set it closer to your natural walking speed. Rear wheel drive self-propelled lawn mowers are also very good at tackling hills. You might want to prioritize one with large rear drive wheels for superior traction. Especially if you have a bumpy, or hilly lawn.

Though you might want to also consider a front-wheel-drive self-propelled lawn mower handling tight turns. If you do end up getting into a tight spot, you can just lean back and tip the wheels off the ground to carefully dance around your landscaping.