The difference between a self-propelled lawn mower and a push mower is that self-propelled lawn mowers use the power of the engine to turn the wheels. This effectively pushes the mower in a forward direction without you having to do the work.
The best self-propelled lawn mowers are perfect for hilly terrains and slopes. They’re also great for people who have back problems or are otherwise impaired. These lawn mowers make mowing your lawn easy and effortless when compared to push lawn mowers.
Conveniently, self-propelled lawn mowers are available with either an engine powered by gasoline or by batteries. Battery-powered lawn mowers are usually lighter and run much quieter than gasoline-powered machines. They are also much more environmentally friendly as they produce zero emissions or fumes.
In our buying guide, we discuss the various important features to consider when selecting a self-propelled mower. These include what powers the engine, how much adjustment you may want in the deck, and how the weights differ for different mowers.
If you’re in the market for a self-propelled lawn mower, we’re here to make your selection easier. Our team has reviewed the best self-propelled lawn mowers and identified their best features. This way, you can be assured that you’re buying the absolute best self-propelled lawn mower for your needs.
View the Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower, Below.
- Honda HRN216VKA 3-in-1 Propelled Lawn Mower
- Snapper 1687982 Walk Behind Self Propelled Mower
- Lawn-Boy 17732 Rear Wheel Drive Self Propelled Lawn Mower
- Toro 20339 Recycler 22 Self Propelled Mower
- Cub Cadet SC 300 3-In-1 Self-Propelled Mower
- Troy-Bilt TB230 Self Propelled Lawn Mower
- Ryobi RY401120-Y Walk Behind Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
- EGO Power+ LM2130SP 56-Volt Cordless Select Cut Mower
- Husqvarna LE221R Cordless Self-Propelled Walk-Behind Mower
- Greenworks 2506602 Self-Propelled Brushless Lawn Mower
1. Honda HRN216VKA 3-in-1 Propelled Lawn Mower
Best Overall Honda Self Propelled Gas Engine Walk Behind Mower
This Honda self-propelled lawn mower has a variable speed control to match you as you walk behind it. It allows you to adjust how the mower handles the clippings. You can choose from mulch, bag, or discharge. The self-propelled mower features a twin blade system to give you a superior cut and more compact clippings that are suitable for mulching.
Why We Liked It: This powerful self-propelled lawn mower is designed to handle even the toughest lawn. It's adjustable to 7 different deck heights. This means you can control how low you cut. And the best part is that the mower will match your walking speed as you walk behind it.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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2. Snapper 1687982 Walk Behind Self Propelled Mower
Best Overall Self Propelled Battery Mower
Do away with messy gasoline with this battery-ran self-propelled lawn mower. It's easier for you and better for the environment. The 1,200-watt brushless motor will give you plenty of power to mow through even the toughest lawn. And, because it doesn't use gas, you can stow it vertically to save space in your garage.
Why We Liked It: This battery mower runs quieter and cleaner and doesn't produce any carbon emissions. It utilizes 2 batteries. In fact, with just two 2.0 batteries, the mower can run for up to 90 minutes. Therefore, it's the best mower for the environment.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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3. Lawn-Boy 17732 Rear Wheel Drive Self Propelled Lawn Mower
Best Rear Wheel Drive Self Propelled Gas Engine Mower
This Lawn-Boy self-propelled lawn mower features a Kohler 149cc overhead valve engine. Lawn-Boy's Tru-Start commitment guarantees that the mower will start with 1 or 2 pulls.
Why We Liked It: This self-propelled lawn mower is guaranteed to start with minimum effort. It features a larger bag to hold all your clippings which means less emptying. You also get a full 2-year warranty from Lawn Boy.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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4. Toro 20339 Recycler 22 Self Propelled Mower
Best Mulching/Bagging And Discharge Self Propelled Mower
The Toro 20339 comes with a 163cc overhead valve gasoline-powered Briggs and Stratton engine. It's a front-wheel-drive self-propelled lawn mower with a 22-inch cutting width. The 11 inch back wheels ensure you have good traction even in tough terrain. Plus, it never requires an oil change. You just check the level and top up when needed. This is good for reducing your maintenance time.
Why We Liked It: This self-propelled lawn mower is easy to maneuver around tight spaces as the engine is focused on the front wheels. It includes a washout port to clean the underside of the mower deck easily. A good, clean deck improves cutting performance.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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5. Cub Cadet SC 300 3-In-1 Self-Propelled Mower
Best Self Propelled Mower For Wet Grass
This self-propelled lawn mower is powered by a 159cc Cub Cadet engine. The engine features IntelliPower technology. This means you'll get less resistance when mowing wet grass. The engine power is directed to the front wheels, and the self-propel drive system has six speeds. Starting the mower is easy; it has a recoil start and an auto choke.
Why We Liked It: This self-propelled lawn mower is easy to start and can handle wet grass. Plus, it's easy to maneuver in small areas, which makes it very easy to use. Grass clippings can be either bagged, mulched, or discharged. Discharged clippings are good to feed your lawn.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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6. Troy-Bilt TB230 Self Propelled Lawn Mower
Best Rear Bag Self Propelled Mower
This gas-powered self-propelled walk-behind lawn mower features a 21-inch cutting width with a 15 gauge steel deck. The variable speed self-propelled system is front-wheel-drive, which makes it easier to turn corners. Grass clipping options include bagged, mulched, as well as side discharge. The side discharge chute has a clip so you can attach it to the handle when you're not using it.
Why We Liked It: There's no need to change the oil in this mower. It just needs an occasional top-up. It's easy to start and maneuver, which makes it ideal to use even on hilly slopes.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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7. Ryobi RY401120-Y Walk Behind Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Best Self Propelled Mower For Those With A Variety Of Ryobi Tools
This battery-run self-propelled lawn mower will get the job done without you having to mess with gas and oil. It works with all 40 volt Ryobi batteries. This means that if you have other Ryobi tools or 40-volt batteries, you'll never run out of power for your mower. The Ryobi RY401120 features an intelligent brushless motor that automatically adjusts the power when needed to handle all terrains.
Why We Liked It: This battery-powered mower comes with a 5-year limited manufacturer's warranty. It even features LED headlights in case you have to mow in the dark. Because it uses a standard 40-volt Ryobi battery, you'll never run out of mowing power.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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8. EGO Power+ LM2130SP 56-Volt Cordless Select Cut Mower
Best Light Weight Self Propelled Battery Mower
This self-propelled lawn mower runs on two 56 volt 7.5 aH ARC Lithium batteries. Fully charged, the batteries should give you at least 60 minutes of run time. The self-propel speed is adjustable to suit your walking speed. It features a multi-blade system for better mowing than even gas-powered mowers.
Why We Liked It: This battery-powered lawn mower will have your lawn looking fantastic without producing any carbon emissions. It's easy to start with just the push of a button. Plus, there's no need to change the oil or top it up because it doesn't use any. It runs much quieter than a gas mower.Check Price on Amazon ➞
9. Husqvarna LE221R Cordless Self-Propelled Walk-Behind Mower
Best Heavy Duty Self Propelled Battery Mower
This self-propelled lawn mower uses a 40-volt battery and features an easy push-button start. It also comes with a 3-in-1 cutting system which means you can bag, mulch, or side discharge your clippings. It's the perfect mower for small and medium yards, especially if you have obstacles to mow around, as it's fairly easy to maneuver.
Why We Liked It: This battery mower runs quietly at only 89 dBA. You'll be able to mow your entire yard if you install 2 batteries at once. It features a steel deck and 11 inch rear wheels for easy maneuverability.Check Price on Amazon ➞
10. Greenworks 2506602 Self-Propelled Brushless Lawn Mower
Best Value Self Propelled Battery Mower
With this Greenworks self-propelled lawn mower, it's easy to "Go Green." Being battery-powered means that there are no emissions, and your mower requires no maintenance. The mower features a dual battery port with an automatic switch-over. This means you get a longer run time when you have 2 batteries installed.
Why We Liked It: This affordable battery mower will get your lawn mown relatively quietly, without any fumes. Using 2 batteries should allow you to mow a standard-sized yard on one charge. Plus, you won't have to worry about getting it serviced regularly.Check Price on Amazon ➞
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Best Self Propelled Lawn Mower Buying Guide
Before you take the leap and buy a self-propelled lawn mower to upgrade from your push lawn mower, there are certain things that you need to consider. These include the engine power, the power source, the height adjustments, and the ease of maneuverability.
Plus, you’ll also want to consider how much maintenance each model requires and determine whether this fits in with your lifestyle.
Consider the engine Power
Self-propelled lawn mowers come in a variety of engine sizes. Therefore, some are more powerful than others. Traditionally, a gas lawn mower will have more power than an electric one.
However, technology has come a long way in recent years, and now you can buy battery mowers that are just as powerful as gas ones. Plus, they’re much quieter and more environmentally friendly.
The power of a gas lawn mower is measured in cubic centimeters (cc). For a small yard, you’ll find a 125cc engine is quite adequate. If your yard is medium-sized, consider a 140cc engine to get the job done. However, for large yards, you might want to consider a unit with an engine size of 180cc.
Conversely, the power of a battery self-propelled mower is measured in volts. Battery mowers can range from 18 volts to 80 volts. However, the best self-propelled battery mowers for small to medium yards are around 40 volts.
Do You Want a Self Propelled Mower Powered by Gasoline or Batteries?
Nowadays, self-propelled lawn mowers powered by batteries are engineered much better and can do the job just as well as a gas-powered mower. They don’t produce any fumes or emissions, and they run much quieter than their gasoline counterparts.
However, if you’re a tried and true gas mower user, making the switch will take some getting used to. Remember, the machine will only run if the batteries have enough charge. This means that if you have a large yard, you may not be able to mow it entirely with just one charge, especially if you’ve let the grass grow too thick and lush.
Mowing through thick grass uses more battery power. However, if your lawn is always perfectly manicured, one battery charge should be sufficient to get you through in one go. You also have the option of purchasing additional batteries to swap over when you need them.
The other advantage of a battery self-propelled mower is that it requires virtually no maintenance. There’s no oil to change and no carburetor to clean. All you need to do is check the blades to ensure they’re still sharp and have no nicks.
On the flip side, some of the gas-powered self-propelled lawn mowers we reviewed are designed so that they never need an oil change. They just need you to check the oil level and top up when it’s low.
Ultimately, the choice of whether you invest in a gas self-propelled mower or a self-propelled battery mower is entirely up to you.
Determine How Much You Want to Adjust the Height of the Blades
If you pride yourself on a perfectly manicured lawn and spend every weekend making sure it looks just right, you won’t need to change your cutting height much at all.
However, for most people, this is just not the case. Over winter, most lawns tend to slow down their growth. But then spring comes along, and with it, a sudden burst of growth. When this happens, you’ll need to adjust the height of the blades a bit higher so that you don’t scalp the grass.
A lot of self-propelled mowers have 2 levers for different cutting heights: one for the front and one for the back. It’s a good idea to set the front height one notch higher than the back if you’re bagging your clippings.
However, adjusting two levers constantly can be quite cumbersome. For this reason, a single deck height lever may be better for you.
Also, be aware that a lot of these levers have plastic housings, so the constant adjustment will weaken the plastic. That’s primarily why most gasoline mowers have two levers. This helps to take the strain off the one.
Consider the Rear Wheel Diameter for Easier Maneuverability
Some self-propelled mowers will have both front and rear wheels that are the same diameter. However, if you have tight spaces and obstacles to maneuver around, then self-propelled mowers with larger diameter rear wheels would be more suitable.
This is also the case if your lawn has a slope. Larger diameter rear wheels will give you more traction.
Consider the Cutting Options
All of the self-propelled mowers that we’ve reviewed offer 3-in-1 cutting options. This means you have the choice of whether you bag, mulch, or discharge your clippings.
If you constantly want to discharge your clippings back onto the lawn to feed it, consider a self-propelled mower with a side discharge.
Is the Weight of Your Self Propelled Mower Important?
Although self-propelled mowers push themselves forward, you still might want to consider the weight of the mower. If you have hilly terrain, you may want a lighter unit.
Similarly, ease of storage might also be a consideration. You don’t want to be constantly lifting a heavy mower to get it into your garage or over garden edging.
Generally, you’ll find that battery-powered mowers weigh much less than those powered by gasoline.
Another thing to consider is how you want to store your self-propelled mower. Do you have limited storage space in your garage? Or, maybe you have a lawn locker to store all your garden tools.
If this is the case, consider a self-propelled mower that you can store upright. Self-propelled mowers that are run on batteries can most definitely be stored this way as there’s no gas or oil to leak out. Most have handles that simply fold down for easy storage.
However, you might be surprised to learn that there are even some gasoline-powered mowers that you can store upright. Our reviews above will tell you which self-propelled lawn mowers have this capacity.
Rear Wheel Drive or Front Wheel Drive?
So, what’s the difference between rear-wheel drive and front-wheel drive mowers? Front-wheel drive mowers are better suited to flat lawns and are easier to turn. They are also less expensive than rear-wheel drive mowers.
Rear-wheel drive mowers are better suited to hilly terrain. These are generally more expensive but have more traction on slopes. The engine adds more power to the rear wheels to pull the mower up any incline.
Do You Prefer Electric Start or Recoil Start?
Obviously, you’ll want a self-propelled mower that’s easy to start. An electric start might be a good option. You’ll find that all battery-run mowers will have an easy-to-use electric start. This normally requires you to push a button and hold down a lever on the handle to start the mower.
On the other hand, all the best self-propelled lawn mowers powered by gasoline have a recoil start. In this case, consider the ones that have an auto choke, as this will help to make starting your mower much easier.
Adjusting the Speed of the Self Propelled Drive System
Most self-propelled lawn mowers have some type of lever to adjust the mower’s speed to match your own pace as you walk behind it.
Some mowers have a variable speed lever that you pull, while others have a button that you push with your thumb. Others have a push bar on the handle. With a lot of self-propelled mowers, you have to hold the lever constantly to keep the speed you want.
Consider the kind of lever that would be more comfortable for you. For instance, if you’re left-handed and the speed control lever is on the right, you might find this uncomfortable after a few minutes.
Choosing the best self-propelled lawn mower for your yard requires a little research. Luckily, we’ve done some of the work for you and have reviewed 10 different models. These include both those powered by gasoline and by batteries.
All you have to do is decide which is better for your needs. Most self-propelled mowers offer a variable speed control to match your pace. This means that they are easy to use for everyone.
Our top picks all have a 3-in-1 cutting system that allows you to bag, mulch, or discharge your clippings as you cut the grass around your property. Discharging your clippings is great for your lawn; the clippings feed the grass as they break down over time.
So, if you’re ready to upgrade from your old push mower, check out our suggestions and get the best self-propelled lawn mower for your needs.
Did you know?
The first-ever lawn mower was invented in 1830 by Edwin Budding in England. A British patent for his design was granted on 31st August 1830 and was considered a superior alternative to the scythe, being predominantly used to cut the grass at sports grounds.