If you have a large yard and don’t want to push your mower yourself or don’t have the need for a tractor, a self propelled lawn mower may be perfect for you.
Depending on the size of the lawn (anything up to 3/4 acre is perfect), the difficulty of the terrain and the physical condition of the operator, a self-propelled mower can remove the fatigue factor of mowing.
In This Article
Self Propelled Lawn Mowers:
- Honda HRR216K9VKA: best overall
self propelledmower that I researched, Honda mowers are best in class
- BLACK+DECKER 12A-A2SD736: highly rated, front wheel drive with 140cc engine – perfect mower for small to medium size yards
- Craftsman M215: powerful 159cc front wheel drive mower, auto choke, larger rear tires
- Troy-Bilt TB21TB260 XP SpaceSavr: store flat design saves space, 11″ rear wheels improve overall traction
- Toro Recycler Personal Pace 20353: best for recycling clippings, very trusted brand
- Snapper CP215520HV Commercial Series: most economical commercial series mower
- Lawn-Boy 17732: fantastic Kohler OHV motor, rear wheel drive system and
3 yearstart warranty
Self Propelled Lawn Mower Reviews
1) Honda HRR216K9VKA 3-in-1 Self-Propelled Mower
- Powerful mower starts right up with just one pull
- Six height settings are perfect for a variety of grass types and cutting requirements
- Mulches grass (and leaves) like a charm
- No washout port to simplify mower deck cleaning
- Slides a bit when mowing downhill
The Honda HRR216K9VKA self-propelled gas mower leads the pack with its sharp, micro-cut twin blades that are ideal for ultra-fine mulching and bagging.
It features a steel deck 6-position cutting-height adjustments of 1 1/8″ to 4″, a simple-to-start GCV160 engine, an auto choke, and 8″ ball bearing wheels.
If this model is within your budget, I highly recommend you consider it. In my opinion, it’s the best for most homeowners.
2) Troy-Bilt TB260 XP SpaceSavr™ Self-Propelled Mower
- Excellent cutting ability
- Unique design allows the mower to be stored flat under a workbench, etc.
- Easy to use self propelled system with front wheel drive control
- 11″ rear wheels provide added control and traction on hills and uneven ground
- More plastic parts than I would prefer to see for a mower of this quality
- Drive system is good, but I prefer the controls of other brands more
The Troy-Bilt TB260 XP features a 22″ Tri-Action cutting system that provides a one-pass clean cut and a 6-setting adjustable cutting range of 1.25″ to 3.75″.
Washout port makes cleaning the under deck simple and easy
Add that to its 3-in-1 mulch, rear, and side discharge capabilities, as well as its Troy-Bilt 149cc easy start engine. Built-in the USA with a 3 year manufactures warranty adds peace of mind.
3) Toro Recycler Personal Pace Self Propelled Mower
- 3-in-1 bag, side discharge, or mulch mower switches rapidly from mulcher to bagger in seconds simply by flipping its quick-change lever
- All wheel drive allows superior traction in every cutting condition
- Washout porch on deck underside allows user to clean easily by attaching the hose to the mower-deck
- Locking mechanism needs to be improved
- Self-propel mechanism disables too easily
The Toro 22″ variable speed self-propelled lawn mower uses a recycler cutting system with an atomic blade lift and front-throw chamber to suspend and recut grass clippings into a very fine mulch.
The all-wheel drive system provides awesome traction while keeping the deck level to ensure a proper cut and prevent gouging.
There’s no need to choke or prime the engine – it starts right up. It also sports a check-and-add feature which guarantees no oil changes will be necessary for the entire life of the engine.
4) Snapper 7800849 Commercial Lawn Mower
- 10″ rear wheels allow improved traction and better maneuverability on the hilliest of yards
- Blade break shuts off for safety reasons
- Good industrial mower and high-quality engine
- Expensive option compared to other models with similar features
- Some users experienced the welded on height adjusters occasionally breaking
The Snapper HI-VAC 3-N-1 Variable Speed Lawn Mower has a 21″ deck, 7-position height-of-cut, and a commercial series Honda 163cc GXV160 engine.
It features a smooth-turn differential, a 14-gauge
5) Husqvarna LC221FHE All Wheel Drive Hi-Wheel Mower
- Ergonomic and efficient mower features an easy-start engine and a powder-coated cutting deck
- Auto-walk all-wheel-drive self-propelled variable drive system operates by a simple squeeze of the handlebar trigger
- Starts up flawlessly
- Small gaps between the bagging system and mower let out dust and cut grass
- A bit difficult to pull backwards
The Husqvarna All-Wheel-Drive Mower features exclusive rear hi-wheel drive, a 190cc 4-cycle Honda gcv190 engine, and a steel 3-in-1 mower deck that provides the option to mulch, bag, or side discharge the grass.
Add to that 8″ front and 11″ rear ball-bearing weights, a height adjustable handle with 3 positions, user manual, and warranty.
6) Yard Machines 12A-A02J700 Self-Propelled Mower
- Large gas tank, no prime, no choke, and a high clearance
model has individually adjustable rear and front wheel drive sets Inexpensive
- Lightweight, simple to start, and handles extremely well on hills and difficult terrain
- Chute guard doesn’t stay on very well
- Has a tendency to suck up the detachable discharge chute
The Yard Machines 12A-A02J700 features dual-lever height adjustment, 8″ x 8″ smooth turning wheels, and is ideal for mowing smaller and medium-sized yards easily
7) Lawn-Boy 17732 Rear Wheel Drive Self Propelled Gas Lawn Mower
- Electric start by pushing a button
- Lightweight, powerful machine with excess power to mow through weeds and high grass
- Handles tall thick grass well and runs quietly
- Tire treads don’t provide much traction
- Full-speed self-propel speed is very fast and doesn’t appear to be adjustable
The Lawn-Boy Kohler XT6 OHV 21″ lawn mower features a high-quality rear-wheel drive system that provides superior control and traction on hilly land and a two-point height-of-cut system that permits a quick adjustment of heights.
It also has a larger bag capacity, a 3-in-1 discharge ability, and a 2-year “No-Worry” warranty.
Other choices involved in purchasing a self propelled motor are the cost, whether you want front, rear, or all wheel drives, the efficiency factor of the machine (how big is it’s engine?) and what special features it offers.
Are you looking for a mulcher, a bagger, or both? Would you prefer an electric start? Do you want a variable or adjustable speed? How about an adjustable handlebar, a deck washout feature, or a blade override?
Here are pages dedicated to specific types of mowers:
- Best Cordless Lawn Mower
- Best Electric Lawn Mower
- Best Push Mower
- Best Reel Lawn Mower
How I Rated The Mowers
I scoured the marketplace and read hundreds of reviews from Amazon.com, Home Depot, Lowes, eBay, and a number of other independent review sites to provide you with the very best choices in self-propelled lawn mowers anywhere.
Keeping in mind the mowers that received the best reviews overall, I then carefully considered each model individually.
- What are the pros and cons of each model?
- Does this mower have any unique features?
- What are its average ratings?
- How reliable is the mower?
- Does it have a warranty?
- A good instruction manual?
- Finally, how much does this mower cost?
- Do its performance and exceptional features warrant a higher price tag?
Read on to discover the relative merits and pros and cons of the best self-propelled mowers on the market today. Hopefully, my
Self-propelled gas mowers are more liable to break than push mowers since they have many more moving parts
Snapper mowers, on the other hand, have proven to be least reliable, with 34% of owners likely to experience a breakage problem in a 4-year period. Toro and Husqvarna mowers fall somewhere in the middle on reliability issues.
Depending on the size of your lawn, how thick your grass is, how fast you mow and how hilly your property is, you’ll want to consider the power of your mower.
Typically if you mow faster, have hills and thick grass, you’ll want a more powerful engine (160cc’s and up). Keep in mind, that a more powerful engine will also be less fuel efficient (in most cases), so there is no need to get something too powerful for your property.
Lawn mowers with adjustable speed settings will give you the extra oomph to go slower or faster, depending both on your physical condition as well as on the condition of the lawn.
You’ll need to use the right fuel for your gas mower. Instead of purchasing your gas at the pump, we recommend buying fuel that is ethanol-free and is available for both 2-cycle and 4-cycle engines. It will stay fresh, provide you with a dependable start, and won’t degrade like gas you buy at a pump.
A self-propelled lawn mower that also mulches, bags, or side discharges is a convenient and versatile piece of equipment indeed
All my recommended mowers have mulching capabilities connected to their 3-in-1 functions
Mulching mowers are specially designed to leave behind precisely shredded grass clippings to feed your lawn. These clippings are much preferable to larger clippings caught inside bags since those clippings tend to mat together readily and are much bulkier.
Bagging involves the collection of cut grass into a bag to be deposited later either into a compost bin or a trash bin, as opposed to mulching which leaves the cut grass clippings on the ground where they will slowly decompose over a period of time.
Proponents of bagging claim that a bagged lawn presents better curb appeal and a cleaner appearance since no stray clumps of grass are visible. Bagging is also the method of choice for times when the grass has been left too long without mowing.
All of the mowers reviewed here today provide an option for bagging. Unfortunately, bagging is not an environmentally friendly option. Fully 20% of all solid waste that is collected in the US each year is made up of grass clippings. Another startling statistic is that one acre of grass will yield approximately 3 tons of clippings annually, or about 260 bags every year!
I HIGHLY recommend you mulch your clippings as much as possible. It’s better for your lawn and the environment.
Self-propelled mowers work by the operator squeezing a bar on the handle to start up the mower, which subsequently moves forward all on its own
Choose a mower with adjustable speed settings so that you can go slow on some days and race along on others. You’ll get a more even cut with adjustable speed settings as well, because a one-speed self-propelled mower may be set too fast to be able to cut thicker or taller grass, or to mulch clippings evenly.
Ease of Use
If you’re looking for the easiest and most efficient way to cut your grass, there are a number of options to choose from.
The mowers on my list have simple-to-use controls plus a transmission to power the drive wheels, which makes these mowers faster and easier to use all around.
Most self-propelled mowers have a speed-control lever that makes the mower move forward.
Why Buy a Self Propelled Mower?
There are many good reasons why you should purchase a self-propelled lawn mower:
- Cutting the grass is so much easier with a self-propelled model that it could allow you to mow your lawn instead of paying $30-$60 a week to have it cut for you.
- Many of us don’t have the desire or physical stamina to push a heavy lawnmower around for any length of time.
motors come equipped with both variable and single speeds. You can adjust speeds on the newer models by utilizing a speed control lever which lets the selfpropelled lawn mowermove forward. The only thing you’ll need to do is walk behind the mower and provide a little guidance on how it should move across the lawn.
- There are many options to choose and mowers that will suit every preference. Select a front-wheel, all-wheel, or rear-wheel drive mower. You’ll be delighted to learn just what a minimal amount of labor these mowers
entail. Self propelledmowers generally come with a large number of top-of-the-line features. Check out an automatic-choke recovery system or a sleek dual-lever specially made for height adjustment.
- Other features of the current crop of self-propelled lawnmowers are their affordability, their 3-in-1 discharge systems which give you a choice of whether you want to bag the grass, mulch the grass, or just let the grass shoot out the side, their larger bag capacity, and the availability of full warranties.
What to Look for in a Self Propelled Mower
A self-propelled mower should automatically turn the blade off every time you release the handle for safety reasons.
Some mowers also have what is called a blade override system that will automatically disengage a blade from spinning while at the same time allowing the engine to keep on running. You’ll be able to cut grass faster, and that will extend the engine’s life because it won’t have to stop and start every 2-3 minutes.
Choose the wheel size that is best for your property and for your motor. If the wheels on the mower are too small, they won’t be able to get around on those hilly or uneven areas, despite the fact that the machine has levers for elevating or lowering, since the weight of the mower will be pressing down the wheels
Types of Self Propelled Mowers
Self-propelled mowers can save you both energy and time. You’ll be able to cut through very thick grass without having to use extra effort since the mower is mechanically moved forward across areas with a slight upgrade and other challenging areas of your yard.
A single-speed model has been designed to accommodate a mid-range ground-speed that will satisfy most operators and most types of cutting conditions
Today’s self-propelled mowers can be used for mulching, bagging, or collecting clippings in a side bag. The majority of the machines reviewed today offer all 3 functions and are termed 3-in-1 mowers
Front Wheel Drive
Front-wheel drive mowers are the simplest to operate. They allow the user to turn the self-propelled mower by just tipping back the front wheels and then lifting the wheels off the ground
The wheels of a lawn mower need to be securely positioned on the ground to move forward. Rear wheels are grounded, but front-wheel drive wheels can’t lift the front of a machine when turning or whenever the mower wheels bounce off the turf for some reason.
Rear Wheel Drive
Rear-wheel drive gives the operator better traction when they have to mow across hilly slopes using a back-and-forth (as opposed to an up-and-down pattern). This is the safest method of grass cutting on hills.
Rear wheels on a mower are always grounded, and that guarantees exceptional maneuverability and traction control. If the property you are mowing is very hilly, you should always opt for a rear-wheel drive lawn mower.
I recommend rear wheel drive mowers for most applications.
All Wheel Drive
All-wheel drive mowers are available that claim to provide power and balance to all 4 wheels in uneven, hilly locations.
One negative is that all-wheel drive mowers are generally more expensive than both front-wheel and rear-wheel drive lawn mowers.
Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Models
There are many differences between a cheaper lawn mower and a more expensive model.
This list describes many of the differences you will find:
- More expensive models may feature a wash-out port located on the mower deck. This feature allows the user to simply hook a garden hose up to a port and start it. Like magic, you’ll be able to wash out all those clingy grass clippings from your blades and the inside of the deck and leave the lawn mower looking like new.
- More expensive mowers are more likely to have premium engines which will usually last longer than cheaper options and ought to start more reliably.
- Medium priced mowers typically are slightly harder to use, and you might notice a dip in your mower’s overall performance. These mowers frequently do not feature an electric start or even rear-wheel drive.
- The most expensive option in self-propelled mowers is an electric mower. Batteries can be quite costly. They do have several advantages, though. You won’t need fuel; their operation is virtually silent, they’re lightweight. They require less maintenance, and they are stored easily – upright, vertically, horizontally – the choice is yours. Disadvantages? You may experience uneven power distribution, you’ll only be able to go a limited distance, your battery will require charging, and over time it will lose power density.
Best Selling & Top Rated Brands
- Yard Machines
- Poulin Pro
- Cub Cadet
How Much Should I Expect to Pay?
The self-propelled lawnmowers in my list in price from around $300 to $800, with a median price tag of $500(ish).
Typically the more expensive models will be closer to commercial grade which will get you increased power and longer motor life.
After researching hundreds of models, my choice for the best self propelled lawn mower for most people is the Honda HRR216K9VKA.
Honda is known for its reliability and strong cutting performance. You can’t go wrong with this mower!