Self-driving cars may be on the cutting edge of technology, but self-propelled lawn mowers are well-established inhabitants of the garden shed. These convenient machines drive themselves forward when you squeeze the handlebar. With one motion, you eliminate the backbreaking work of forcing a push mower forward.
Most mowers today are self-propelled. However, not ever self-propelled lawn mower is created equal. There are definitely a few models that stand out. Read on to find out which they are, and get some useful information about what to look for and how to choose one for yourself.
Top 10 Self Propelled Lawn Mowers for 2019
There are a few brands whose self-propelled lawn mowers are almost all good choices. Honda, Toro, and Troy-Bilt are among the best. If you want a closer look at the top self-propelled lawn mowers on the market, check out this list of the 10 leaders for 2019.
1. Honda 4-in-1 Versamow Self-Propelled Lawn Mower–Best Premium Product
The Honda 4-in-1 self-propelled lawn mower offers a wide variety of features in addition to a variable-speed self-propulsion system. For added safety, the engine shuts off and the mower stops moving when the flywheel released.
It is considered a 4-in-1 mower because it canulch, bag, discharge, or leaf shred. It also offers you a 3-position handle for greater comfort, and a foldable handle that makes storage more compact.
This self-propelled lawn mower features a Nextite deck that is intended not to corrode and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. The mower itself comes with a 5-year warranty. It also has a 2.5 bushel bag for ample storage of grass clippings. A micro cut twin blade system also cuts grass 30 percent smaller.
Blade height can be set to 7 different heights, between .75 inches and 4 inches. An auto choke feature makes it easy to start on the firstborn second try.
The only downside to this self-propelled lawn mower is the relatively high cost.
- Variable speed
- Micro cut twin blades
- Variable blade height
- String warranties
- 4-in-1 mower
- Relatively expensive
2. Honda HRR216VKA (21″) 160cc 3-In-1 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower–Best Overall Product
This self-propelled lawn mower combines the power and reliability of a Honda engine with the convenience and safety of self-propulsion. The Smart Drive system allows you to select any speed between 0 and 4MPH while automatically shutting off when you let go of the lever.
In addition, this mower has six adjustable blade heights that allow you to cut your grass between 1 ⅛ inches long and 4 inches long. Its versatility also allows it to handle mulching, bagging, or simply discharging the cut grass. A 2.4 bushel bag offers plenty of storage capacity so you need to stop and empty the bag less often.
This self-propelled lawn mower also uses micro cut twin blades for a finer chop of the grass. Other features include a two-position handle that also folds down for more compact storage, a non slip handle grip, and a 12-gauge steel deck. It earns strong reviews for its ease of starting.
Things to watch out for with this mower include the fact that the twin blades can be difficult to sharpen.
- Variable speed
- Variable blade height
- Auto shut off
- Ease of start
- Blades can be difficult to sharpen
3. PowerSmart Gas Self-Propelled Mower–Best Product for Budget
This gas-powered, self-propelled lawn mower features rear wheel drive and maneuverability that allows it to make tight turns and handle uneven terrain. An adjustable handle makes it comfortable for people of all sizes to use.
This mower features a 20-inch wide cutting deck and the ability to mulch, bag, or side discharge the grass. Its dome is specially designed to improve its mulching ability. It receives strong reviews from customers for its ease of use.
This mower can cut at a variety of heights, from 1.18 inches to 3.15 inches. The one downside to this self-propelled lawn mower is the fact that it moves too quickly for some customers.
This self-propelled lawn mower has a relatively wide 22-inch mowing path for faster cutting. Its self-propelling abilities are driven by a 163 cc engine.
This self-propelled lawn mower also includes convenience features, like no change oil. It’s handle folds down for more compact storage. This mower is variable speed. Unfortunately, you can expect a front wheel drive, which could make going over uneven terrain or making turns more difficult.
This self-propelled lawn mower mulches as well as bags the grass. It generally starts easily, but may have difficulty starting if the gas is low.
- No change oil
- Variable speed
- Wide cutting path
- Front wheel drive
- May not start if gas is low
This self-propelled lawn mower from Troy-Bilt combines an ability to handle rough terrain with versatility. The self-propulsion also combines with an extremely lightweight design to earn consistent praise from reviewers for its ease of use.
This self-propelled lawn mower is a 3-in-1 machine, which means that it can bag (in a 1.9 bushel bag), mulch, or side discharge the grass. It also offers blade height choices between 1.25 inches and 3.75 inches. It’s tires are designed to provide traction in suboptimal yard conditions.
For a finer and more even cut, this self-propelled lawn mower uses a tri-cut system. For peace of mind, it offers a 2-year warranty.
Things to look out for with this machine is a lack of variable speed and a relatively small collection bag.
- Tire design for rough terrain
- 3-in-1 mulch, bag, discharge capability
- Tri-cut system
- 2-year warranty
- Lack of variable speed
- Relatively small collection bag
This Husqvarna self-propelled lawn mower is built to handle rough yards and conditions. A Honda engine provides reliable power, while all-wheel drive makes it easier to maneuver over hilly, steep, or muddy ground. It possesses a respectable 21-inch cutting width and a 15-gauge steel deck for durability.
This self-propelled lawn mower does not come with variable speed drive and can run slow. The bag is adequately sized. This machine does get strong reviews for its ability to handle sub optimal yard conditions and for its ability to mulch. In addition, the tire treads are specially designed for tough or hilly yards.
- Wide cutting width
- All-wheel drive
- Good mulcher
- Lack of variable speed drive
- May be shipped damaged
This Poulan self-propelled lawn mower is an electric push start mower. There is no cord to pull to make it simple for anyone to start. A powerful 174 cc engine is powered by a lithium ion battery that can go up to 75 starts before needing to be recharged.
This mower also has a wide cutting deck, at 22 inches. It can handle bagging, mulching, and side discharging for greater convenience and has extra-large 11-inch wheels for greater maneuverability over rough terrain.
This mower only has front wheel drive, which could make handling and turning it more difficult. Electric mowers also tend to be less powerful than gas powered mowers.
- Extra-large wheels
- Push start
- Wide cutting deck
- Electric mower
- Front wheel drive
This Greenworks self-propelled lawn mower operates with a 40-volt lithium-ion battery and starts with the push of a button. While the run time on each battery is short (about 20 minutes), the mower can house two batteries at once. As a result, you can easily get twice the mow time without having to replace the batteries.
This self-propelled lawn mower has a wide 21-inch cutting deck and can bag, mulch, or side discharge grass. For compact storage, the handle folds down so the mower can be stored vertically.
The short run time is a downside in this mower. In addition, customers often find that the batteries are difficult to remove from the battery compartment.
- Push start
- Two-battery housing
- Compact storage
- Short run time
- Difficult battery access
9. Yard Machines Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
This self-propelled lawn mower is a gas-powered tool with the ability to both mulch and side discharge grass. Unlike many similar lawn mowers, this machine does not bag the grass, which can be an inconvenience for some customers.
This mower has a 21-inch wide deck, which is generally wide enough for small to medium sized yards. It has an adjustable handle but only goes at one speed. The blade height, however, can be adjusted between 1.25 and 3.75 inches. It has a 159 cc engine and comes with a 2-year warranty for peace of mind.
- Adjustable handle
- Adjustable blade height
- 2-year warranty
- No bag
- One speed
The Kohler Self-Propelled Lawn Mower from Lawn-Boy features rear wheel drive. As a result, it is easier to maneuver around rough or uneven ground.
In addition to its maneuverability, this gas-powered, self-propelled lawn mower has a satisfactorily wide 21-inch cutting deck.
One of the features that makes this self-propelled lawn mower stand out is the 3-year Tru-Start Commitment that guarantees the mower will start on the first or second pull for at least three years. In addition, the mower comes with a 2-year full coverage warranty.
This mower can handle grass in three ways: Mulching, bagging, or side discharging. The blades can be set at one of only two heights, which is less than many similar mowers, and the price is a little high for the features you get in this self-propelled lawn mower.
- 3-year Tru-Start Commitment
- Rear wheel drive
- Only two blade height options
- Price a little high for features
What Is a Self Propelled Lawn Mower?
As its name suggests, a self-propelled lawn mower is a lawn mower that drives itself. When the user activates the speed control lever (which is usually a bar under the handle), the transmission moves the drive wheels. As a result, the mower moves forward on its own. All the user has to do is continue compressing the lever and guide the mower around the yard.
The self-propelled lawn mower does not require the user to push it. As a result, these machines are great labor savers. You can purchase them with a number of features, including variable speeds, multiple options for mulching or bagging, and automatic choke recovery systems to make it easier to start them.
As an added bonus, many self-propelled lawn mowers will automatically stop moving and shut off when you release the lever. This safety feature helps prevent potentially serious accidents should you fall while using the mower or encounter a hazard such as a child running in front of your mower.
How to Choose a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Some features of a self-propelled lawn mower, like price, are a matter of personal preference. Others, however, really do offer an advantage when you are choosing the right mower for your lawn. Here are a few things to consider when selecting a self-propelled lawn mower.
Variable speed lets you choose how fast your mower goes. If you struggle physically or need to tackle particularly long grass, you can choose a slower speed, for example. Buying a variable speed self-propelled lawn mower, then, gives you flexibility and can deliver a more comfortable mowing experience.
Gas Vs. Electric Power
This is one of those categories that is a matter of personal preference. Gas-powered lawn mowers are more powerful, mow longer, and cost less upfront than do electric mowers. You also never need to worry about cords or recharging batteries. However, electric mowers are better for the environment and cost less over the long-term.
Recoil vs. Push Start
Starting a lawn mower has cost owners untold hours of frustration over the years. Now some self-propelled lawn mowers come with a push start instead. However, many mowers that use recoil start now come with features like auto choke that make it easier to start the engine with one or two pulls of the cord.
Rear Wheel Drive
Self-propelled lawn mowers usually come with either front wheel or rear wheel drive. Rear wheel drive is preferable, because the rear wheels are always on the ground. This means you always enjoy driving force even when turning or lifting the front wheels off the ground to navigate uneven terrain.
Blade Override System
Almost every self-propelled lawn mower will automatically stop the blades when you let go of the lever. However, they often stop the motor too. This means you have to restart the mower every time you pick up a stick or stone in the yard. A blade override system, however, will stop the blades but keep the mower running when you let go of the handle. This convenience feature costs more but might be worth it.
To help you learn more about self-propelled lawn mowers, here are a few commonly-asked questions.
Are self-propelled lawn mowers safe to use?
Self-propelled lawn mowers are very safe to use, thanks to their ability to turn off automatically when you let go of the handle.
What powers a self-propelled lawn mower?
A self-propelled lawn mower is powered by electricity (battery or cord) or gas. Gas provides more power, but electricity is more environmentally friendly and makes the mower easier to start.
What kind of maintenance do self-propelled lawn mowers require?
The maintenance for a self-propelled lawn mower will depend upon the mower. The mower you choose should come with instructions. However, basic steps such as changing the oil, keeping the mower full of gas, and cleaning the mower after every use will help you to get as much life as possible out of your machine.
Self-propelled lawn mowers offer you a way to easily maneuver your mower with less effort. The best ones give you a wide cutting deck, easy starts, variable speeds, variable blade heights, and more. When you are ready to invest in a convenient yard tool, check out our list of the top 10 self-propelled mowers on the market today.