6 Best Rated Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers
Self-propelled gas-powered lawn mowers are probably the most commonly used type of mower by homeowners in the United States. The reasons for that are obvious. They are one, if not the, most versatile mower one could have. They are great for large lawns, small lawns, hilly lawns, you name it. When the grass has grown longer than usual the self “driving” capabilities will help you a great deal propelling the mower through the tall grass.
We at ProGardenTips are great advocates for these types of mowers due to their aforementioned versatility. That is why we have made a selection of our 6 favorite models for sale right now. Our top favorites you can find just below. The full reviews of these and the 4 other models can be found further down the page. Make sure to read the buying guide as well, it has some important buying considerations described.
Taking care of your lawn is a task you need to ensure that you’re keeping up with. There are regular landscaping needs that are going to have to be tended to in order for your lawn to stay looking beautiful. Some people find the act of mowing their lawn to be a chore whereas others find it to be a fun and calming way to pass time. Whatever your feelings on mowing your yard are, the important thing to understand is that you need a good lawnmower to help you get the job done.
Whether you want to have a mower to help you get the mowing done faster or simply want something more comfortable to use, it’s a good idea to look into buying a self-propelled lawnmower. This will make the process of taking care of your lawn a lot easier. Not all self-propelled mowers are the same, though. There are various differences that you will want to understand before making your purchasing decision. Making use of this buying guide can help you to learn all of the most important facts about these mowers, allowing you to make the most informed purchasing decision possible.
- 6 Best Rated Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers
- How to Choose a Self-Propelled Lawnmower
- Width of the Mowing Deck
- Advantage of 4WD for Hills
- Two-Stroke vs. Four-Stroke (2-Cycle/4-Cycle)
- Do I Need Electric Start?
- Best High-End Self Propelled Lawn Mowers
- Best Low-Budget Self Propelled Lawn Mowers
- How Do Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers Work?
- Are Electric Self-Propelled Mowers Feasible?
How to Choose a Self-Propelled Lawnmower
You should choose a self-propelled lawnmower that will fit the needs of your property specifically. The best thing you can do is think about your needs before going out to buy your new mower. If you’re living in a small neighborhood with a modestly-sized yard, then an electric-powered self-propelled model might work perfectly for you. If you’re worried about your yard being too much of a task for an electric model to handle, then going with a gas-powered mower could be your best bet.
It’s also worth thinking about whether you’ll enjoy making use of the blade override feature that some of the top-notch mowers have been making use of. If you don’t want to have to restart your mower every time you release the handle, getting a model that has this feature will save you time and keep you from becoming frustrated. Thinking about the price range you want to stick with is important as well.
Thinking about these basics is essential; however, there are some other aspects of mowing that need to be considered before you come to an ultimate decision. Look at these factors that can help you to differentiate the perfect mower from an average one. You’ll be able to make a decision after perusing all of the information.
Width of the Mowing Deck
Looking at the width of the mowing deck for the lawnmower you’re thinking of buying is crucial. This will determine how many times you’re going to need to walk the length of your yard. Generally, you should buy a lawnmower that has at least an 18” cutting width. It’s a pretty standard length and should work just fine for normal neighborhood mowing.
If your yard is slightly larger than normal, then it might be good to buy a mower with a 21” cutting width. This can potentially save you a bit of time and it won’t be any harder to push because of the self-propelled nature of these mowers. What size is ideal for your yard will really be dependent on your situation. Just understand that this is something you’ll want to consider. It isn’t the decision that is likely going to make or break a purchase but it should factor into your thinking.
Advantage of 4WD for Hills
Buying a self-propelled mower is advantageous for a number of reasons. One of the best reasons to purchase one is that it makes mowing uphill so much more manageable. If your yard is particularly slanted in different areas, then you may want to look into getting a lawnmower that has 4WD capabilities. This can make an annoying part of your mowing experience turn into something you handle very easily.
When your mower has a 4WD function, it can make mowing those hills in your yard much simpler. You’ll be able to handle this section of your mowing duties with much more confidence. Without 4WD, it’s likely that you have to take mowing the hilly areas very slowly but by making use of the feature, you won’t really need to change your pace much at all. For those who have hilly yards, this feature will be one of the key factors you’ll need to think about when purchasing your new mower.
Two-Stroke vs. Four-Stroke (2-Cycle/4-Cycle)
The differences in the types of motors used in the lawnmowers are worth comparing as well. If you want something with a little more power, it would be smart to use the four-stroke engine models. It isn’t a matter of simply picking the most powerful engine and being done with it, though. There are other points you need to consider.
First, keep in mind how these engines work. Two-stroke motors will give you one rotation for every explosion whereas four-stroke engines give two rotations. The four-stroke model is significantly more powerful but it does come with a few inconveniences when compared to its two-stroke cousin. The most apparent problem is the differences in how the two use fuel.
Two-stroke engines use a fuel that mixes oil together with it for the sake of lubrication. The four-stroke engines need to have the oil added in separately. This creates an extra step that is a little less convenient. Many don’t feel that this is much of a burden and you definitely do get used to adding in two separate things for your four-stroke mower.
Four-stroke mowers also cannot operate sideways or upside-down. You won’t generally be trying to do this while mowing your lawn but it’s important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t put a four-stroke model in a position where it will be sideways on a hill. It won’t work optimally but if you approach the hill straight, you shouldn’t have any issues.
The last thing you should know about the differences between these two engines is that the two-stroke models are generally lighter. This can be important to some people as they want to have the simplest mowing experience possible. The self-propelled aspect of the mowers should make it a bit of a moot point, though.
Do I Need Electric Start?
You need to ask yourself whether having an electric start option is important to you when choosing a mower. These electric start models can be so much easier to start than having to mess with pulling a cord. Many people have vowed to never go back to the older cord-style mowers after experiencing the simplicity of electric start. If you’re an individual who gets easily frustrated, it could be beneficial to get a mower that is easy to start.
There are a few different types of these electric start mechanisms. Some of them have you flip a switch to get your lawnmower going. There are others that have you turn a key. Which type your mower will wind up having is dependent on the brand and model that you choose.
Even with the electric start being easier to use, some people prefer to have the pull-cord models. There are issues that can pop up with the electric start models, such as the circuit breaker tripping. The pull-cord method is tried and true but it is definitely more cumbersome. Think about which you would prefer for your ultimate self-propelled lawnmower experience.
Best High-End Self Propelled Lawn Mowers
When you’re shopping for a new lawn mower, there are several options you can choose from. The first thing people usually take into consideration is their budget. What can you afford, and what are you willing to spend on a new lawn mower? If money is no object, or you’ve set aside enough to be able to afford the highest quality possible, then you may want something that is considered high end. If you are considering buying at this end of the spectrum, you may consider a self-propelled lawn mower as they tend to make the job a lot easier and is not as physically demanding.
Self-propelled lawn mowers can be especially helpful if you have sloping lawns, because you have to put in less effort to get the mower up the hill. All you have to do is set the speed and be there to make sure it continues going in the right direction. You also want to consider whether you want something that is rear wheel or all-wheel drive, which is going to depend on the land that needs to be mowed as well as your personal preference.
Husqvarna 961450023 HU700H - 160cc 22"
The Husqvarna self-propelled mower is made with a gcv160, 160cc 4-cycle OHV engine, which is made to be incredibly powerful and start easily every time. It has a 22-inch, 3-in-1 mower deck made from steel which allows you to choose whether you want to mulch, bag or use the side discharge to get rid of your clippings.
This machine is made with a rear wheel drive system that provides an auto-walk feature that allows you to choose the pace at which you want the mower to move. This is a great feature because not everyone walks at the same pace. A child running the mower might have more difficulty keeping up than an adult. This mower allows you to choose what’s most comfortable for you.
This mower is made with ball bearing wheels sized to 8 inches in the front and 11 inches in the rear, allowing for easier maneuvering as you work on all types of grassy terrain. It also has an adjustable handle, which will allow you to select the level that is most comfortable for you from three different levels.
This machine weighs 96 lbs, which is a little on the heavier side due to the fact that it is a heavy duty tool. This mower is made to be able to handle a lot with little effort, and it’s sure to do so.
Lawn-Boy 10732 Kohler XT6 OHV - 149cc 21"
This mower is made with a 21-inch deck and the ability to propel itself so that you don’t have to struggle with pushing it. It provides you the option of bagging, mulching or using the side discharge to do away with your clippings. It has rear-wheel drive and a Kohler 149cc Gross Torque/OHV engine that’s sure to get the job done. The rear-wheel-drive feature allows the mower to get better traction and therefore have more control while moving around on hilly terrain.
The Lawn-Boy mower also comes with a bag that is easy to empty, so you won’t have to worry about it being a struggle when the bag gets full. Another special feature of this mower is that it comes with a 3-year Tru-Start Commitment, which means that for the first three years of ownership, Lawn-Boy will be willing to fix the machine for free if it doesn’t start within two pulls at most. That in itself can provide a lot of comfort because you’ll know that if for some reason the mower becomes difficult to start or doesn’t start at all not long after buying it, it will be fixed without any added cost to you.
Aside from that commitment, you’ll also get a 2-year full warranty to take care of any other problems that may occur. You’ll also get the benefit of a 2-point height of cut system that will allow you to decide what level you want to cut at easily.
Troy-Bilt TB450 XP - 175cc 21"
This Troy-Bilt mower is made with a 175cc Briggs and Stratton 775 Professional Series Standard recoil with ReadyStart engine that is made to be very powerful and to provide you with the option of a self-propelled four-wheel drive. That means you won’t have to struggle with pushing this machine around your yard by your strength alone. The mower will propel itself along so that all you need to do is keep control of it and make sure it’s moving in the right direction. It’s made with a 21-inch TriAction deck, which includes an integrated deck wash and height adjustment abilities provided by dual levers that allow you to make sure you get the right cut.
The ergo handle is also made with a comfort grip so that you can get the job done without any discomfort. The 8-inch tires are built to be able to withstand all terrain types so that you don’t have to struggle through your work when the road gets bumpy. This mower also comes with a 3-year limited warranty, made to keep you protected just in case any problems should occur during normal use.
The manufactures of this mower want to make sure you are fully satisfied and get the most possible use out of their product. If you’re looking for something that’s going to make mowing the lawn easier, this is a great choice.
Best Low-Budget Self Propelled Lawn Mowers
Some may think that getting a quality, self-propelled lawn mower on a budget is impossible, or at the very least, difficult. However, it’s actually relatively easy to find just the right self-propelled lawn mower, even on a budget. This section is going to help you with doing just that by providing some good information on three popular, budget-friendly self-propelled lawn mowers. These are going to provide the best of both worlds by being easy to use, reducing the amount of physical effort required to mow your lawn, and staying within your budget.
An important aspect to keep in mind is that in many cases, there will be some slight differences from the high-end mowers available. These kinds of differences can include a smaller deck size. If you have a small to medium sized yard, this may not be much of an issue to begin with. A smaller mower can mean it’s even easier to maneuver, which is great for users who have arthritis or other physical complications and still want to be able to mow their lawns without having to hire expensive professionals on a regular basis.
Troy-Bilt TB330 - 163cc 21"
This mower is made with a 163cc Briggs and Stratton engine and offers a 3-in-1 option to allow you to decide what you want to do with the clippings. You can choose to bag them if you prefer the look of a clean lawn, allow them to leave through a side chute to make things easy, or mulch them in order to allow the nutrients to get back into the soil and keep your lawn healthy. It comes with a 1.9-bushel bag, so if that’s your preference, you won’t have to worry about getting a bag separately.
This machine offers a single-lever variable speed drive control with four different top speed settings to allow for individualized control and comfort. The 21-inch deck is combined with a Tri-Action cutting system and integrated deck wash. It’s sure to be able to power through just about any job you throw at it. This mower is also made with 8-inch front and back wheels that are made to be able to get through any terrain.
It also comes with an ergometric handle to help keep you comfortable while you get your tasks done. It’s made to start reliably, and has a great speed control so you won’t have to worry too much about trying to keep up. Overall, this mower provides excellent value for the price.
Poulan Pro Briggs 550ex - 140cc 21"
The Poulan Pro mower is made with a 21-inch cutting deck and is designed to allow the mower to have an overall longer life while also being able to provide you with a lawn that looks like it was handled by a professional. With this mower, you’ll be able to choose whether you want to mulch, bag or discharge your clippings without needing any additional tools to change between the three.
The ReadyStart system makes getting your mower going a lot easier, as it has a sensor that is able to automatically sense the temperature of the engine and can adjust the amount of fuel it is delivering so that the machine starts easily every time.
The rear wheels on this mower are made to be able to handle any terrain while still providing easy maneuverability as you work. It’s also a more lightweight option that comes in at about 69 lbs., so it won’t be difficult to move around if you tend to struggle with the heavy-duty mowers.
Poulan Pro also offers a two-year limited warranty on this model, so any potential problems will be able to be handled more easily. It’s also important to keep in mind that like many other gas-powered lawn mowers, the Poulan Pro does require some maintenance before going into storage for the next season to keep it working well.
This Murray lawn mower is made with a 21-inch deck and a Briggs and Stratton 140cc OHV 550e series engine. It is made to start easily using the standard pull cord system and gives you the option to mulch, bag or discharge your clippings in accordance with your preferences. You’ll also be able to adjust the cutting height easily with a dual lever system and six different settings. This mower is especially great for small to medium-sized yards, ideally up to about a half-acre in size. It’s made to maneuver easily with 7-inch front wheels and slightly larger 8-inch rear wheels.
This mower also comes with a 2-year limited warranty made to provide assistance just in case something goes wrong with the mower during normal use. Its self-propulsion system is made to make the job easier for you, and is especially helpful when you have bumpy terrain or a yard that has an incline. It provides a lot of power for the price and is designed to make mowing your lawn easier. It’s made to be durable and handle just about any level of job.
While some customers have noted problems with parts breaking early into their ownership, most have come to enjoy and get a lot of good use out of this mower. Regardless, it’s always a good idea to have a full understanding of the warranty, just in case any problems arise. These warranties are made to protect you and your purchase, and help you to be able to get the most out of the money you’ve spent on a product.
How Do Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers Work?
As the name implies, these lawnmowers propel themselves forward while you’re mowing. This makes mowing the lawn feel a lot easier because you’re not having to exert yourself to push it through the yard. With self-propelled lawnmowers, it feels more as if you’re guiding the mower through the yard. You’ll still be getting some exercise walking around your yard but it is far less taxing than an older model without this feature.
In order to make your self-propelled lawnmower start moving, you will start it as you would any typical push mower. After you pull the cord or flip the electric start switch and get your engine going, you’re going to need to hold down a bar on the mower’s handle. Holding this bar down makes the lawnmower go forward so you can begin mowing. Whenever you release the bar, the lawnmower will stop.
It is designed in this fashion as a safety feature in many ways. Stopping the mower is very easy as letting go of the bar shuts it off swiftly. If you see an obstacle in front of you, such as a rock, you can let go of the handle and stop the mower before hitting it. Originally, this was a feature that you would mostly find on self-propelled mowers but even mowers without that sort of drive system have adopted it due to its convenience.
This is also much safer for you in case you trip or have another accident while you’re mowing. If you fall down while mowing, then you’re definitely going to release your grip on the bar. This will shut the mower off and you won’t be at a great risk of coming into contact with the lawnmower blades. When you have this type of feature to rely on, it’s easy to feel that mowing the lawn is as safe as it can be.
It should be noted that there is an exception to the rule for how self-propelled lawnmowers operate. Some of the more top-of-the-line models have a feature where the mower doesn’t completely shut down when you release the bar. There are those who find it annoying that the mower shuts off every time you release the bar. If you have to chase away a bee or move an object out of the mower’s path, it can be a bit of a nuisance having to restart it every time.
With these mowers, the blades of the mower will stop spinning and it will stop moving forward as soon as you release the bar. The mower itself will still be on, though, so you don’t have to fiddle with the ripcord again to resume mowing. If this feature appeals to you, then it would be prudent to look into buying a self-propelled lawnmower with a blade override system in place.
Are Electric Self-Propelled Mowers Feasible?
The most common self-propelled lawnmowers that you see are ones that use gas to operate. It’s also possible to buy electric models that do the same thing. If you’re the type of person who does a lot of your own yard work, you’re probably aware of the reputation that most electric tools have. Generally, they’re thought to be useful but lacking in power compared to the models that use gas.
When it comes to self-propelled lawnmowers, this is true as well. It isn’t as pronounced as it used to be, though. In the past, electric mowers were significantly less powerful than the gas models. In current times, this gap has been closed considerably. The best electric-powered self-propelled mowers on the market will absolutely be able to cut your lawn just fine.
If you’re living in a normal residential neighborhood, then buying an electric-powered mower can be a very sensible choice. It has some conveniences that you will enjoy when comparing it to the gas-powered models. You won’t feel the need to stop for gas in the middle of mowing when you can rely on an electric model. Not having to worry about keeping gas around is another benefit that many people quite like.
The issues with electric-powered mowers will come to light when trying to mow very tall grass. Sometimes you may find that they’re a little underpowered to handle such a heavy-duty job. In general, most people don’t let their grass get that high in a residential neighborhood. It would be an unusual situation so you’re likely fine to use an electric-powered lawnmower in your yard.
People who have very large properties also will not want to make use of electric-powered mowers most of the time. Larger pieces of land are more likely to need the increased power of the gas-powered models. Letting the grass grow higher in a field before cutting it down is much more common on these properties and you’ll want a powerful mower to cut it down when it’s time. Of course, most people who have large amounts of land would prefer to purchase a tractor for these purposes, keeping a self-propelled mower around only for detail work around the house.