Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower – 5 Models For All Budgets And Terrains

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Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower - 2023

Let no one tell you that lawn mowing is easy – it is not. It is even harder when using a push mower. But a self-propelled lawn mower can make things easier, especially if you cut your lawn weekly. 

Key Takeaways

  • There are four types of lawn mowers; front-wheel, rear-wheel, all-wheel drive mowers, or mower speed (single set and variable speed).
  • A self-propelled lawn mower drives itself forward, meaning you only need to control the direction.
  • Consider power, battery run time, cutting width/options, and maximum cutting height when buying a self-propelled lawn mower. 
  • John Deere, Honda, Toro, and Craftsman are among the best self-propelled lawn mower brands. 

The self-propelled mower self-propels forward, meaning you only need to guide where it moves. However, choosing the right one can be challenging as there are three types of self-propelled lawn mowers. You can choose between front-wheel, rear-wheel, all-wheel drive mowers, or mower speed (single set and variable speed) lawn mowers.  

Comparison of Top Brands

Below is a comparison of the top lawn mower brands:

  • Honda

Honda established itself as one of the best when it comes to self-propelled lawn mowers. Their mower‌s start quickly and are long-lasting. Besides, they are also easy and affordable to maintain. 

Honda self-propelled lawn mowers have a two-blade cutting system that significantly handles the blades and engine wear and tear. 

Honda models include HRX, HRS, HRC, and HRN lines. The HRX series has an average rating of 4.3, HRN series has a 4.0 rating, while HRS series has an average rating of 4.4. On the other hand, HRC series recorded the highest rating with HRC216HDA, in particular having a 5-star rating. 

However, Honda lawn mowers are generally more expensive than other brands, disadvantaging those on a budget. Their price ranges from $469.00 to $3570.00. 

Honda is the top self-propelled lawn mower brand because they produce long-lasting lawn mowers. Besides, they are easy to maintain. The positive online customer reviews and the higher ratings justify their quality.

  • John Deere

John Deere is one of the well-established lawn mowers brands. The company produces more reliable, self-propelled lawn mowers with a longer life than most competitors. Entry-line models can last five to ten years, while the higher-end series last even longer. This lawn mower can last up to 15 years with a well-maintenance plan.

According to Consumerreports, John Deere self-propelled lawn mowers had the following ratings. 2.7-star rating, build quality – 3.1, value for money – 3.3, ease of use – 3.7, cleaning and maintenance – 3.7, noise level – 3.4, safety, 3.9, and fuel efficiency – 3.6. 

John Deere JS46 is one of the most preferred models, which retails at $499.00. Other popular models include JS48, JS38, JS36, JS28, and JS 26.

  • Toro

Besides Honda and John Deere, Toro has also established itself as one of the most reputable brands for self-propelled lawn mowers. The company has a long history of manufacturing self-propelled lawn mowers (since 1948), making them stand out from competitors. 

Like Honda lawn mowers, Toro self-propelled lawn mowers are well-built and have a long life span. They are also easy to start. One of the outstanding features is the thick gauged steel construction and the Stratton engines. It is amazing that the mower won’t require an oil change throughout its life—cutting down on maintenance costs. 

Toro self-propelled lawn mowers had the following ratings. 3.3-star rating, build quality – 3.1, value for money – 2.2, ease of use – 2.3, cleaning and maintenance – 2.9, noise level – 3.5, safety, 3.5, fuel efficiency – 3.5.

The price of Toro self-propelled lawn mowers range from $153.00 to $3250.00.

Related: Electric vs Gas Lawn Mower – Which One Is Suitable For you?

Best 5 Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers – Summary

  1. Best Overall – Honda HRX217VLA 21″
  2. Best Entry-Level – BLACK+DECKER Gas-Powered FWD
  3. Best Electric – Kobalt Brushless
  4. Best for Hills and Rough Terrains – Greenworks Pro 80V
  5. Best for Large Acreage – Toro TimeMaster 30

How Do I Choose a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower?

Considered the following factors: 

  • Power

The power output of a self-propelled lawn mower directly affects the tool’s ability to carry out operations. For instance, more power ensures the mower’s blade has sufficient spinning force for cutting thick or wet grass. If you have an electric self-propelled lawn mower, ensure it has a more robust battery with a high voltage rating. However, if you have a gas self-propelled lawn mower, ensure it has a large engine with high CC calibration. 

  • Battery Run Time

The battery run time is a crucial consideration in battery-powered mowers. Batteries typically run self-propelled mowers for at least 30 minutes. However, some can run the mower for up to one hour with a single charge. However, the battery can drain faster if the grass is tall or thicker. 

  • Speed Options

You should know that self-propelled mowers can be single set or variable speed. The former has one-speed calibration that may be too slow or too fast for your pace. However, variable-speed mowers have more than a one-speed option. Thus, you can set your mower to match your pace, enhancing comfort and convenience. 

  • Cutting Width

Mowing efficiency is directly proportional to the cutting width or the size of the mowing deck. When mowing a lawn, time matters, and a bigger cutting width means less time spent walking and turning the machine around. While convenient for cutting grass, a large mowing deck might be challenging to transport and store in small spaces.

We recommend a lawn mower with 12 – 17 inches cutting width for a small garden of up to 300 square meters. However, for lawns between 300 and 600 square meters, we recommend a cutting width of 17 to 19 inches. Larger lawns above 600 square meters require a cutting width of 20 to 22 inches. 

  • Maximum Cutting Height

Most lawn mowers allow you to raise or lower the mowing deck, ensuring you cut grass at different levels. The best options have a high maximum cutting height with a wide range of options for different grass types. Consider this option if you have uneven ground. 

  • Cutting Options

The best self-propelled lawn mower features a 3-in-1 cutting deck. This design features a mulching blade, collection bag, and a discharge chute, allowing you to choose what to do with your grass clippings. 

  • Price

Price is a variant factor when selecting the best self-propelled lawn mower. You can opt for high-end premium mowers if you have the cash, but you can still get an affordable mower if you are on a budget. But no matter your selection, ensure you choose a lawn mower worth your cash. Note that gas lawn mowers are typically costlier than electric lawn mowers

The price for self-propelled lawn mowers ranges from $300.00 to $4,000.00. However, there are a few options retailing below $300.00. You can walk away with a Toro self-propelled lawn mower at $153.00.

  • Ease of Use

The idea behind a self-propelled lawn mower is to simplify work. With a transmission powering the drive wheels, the mower self-propels itself forward; thus, you won’t need to push it manually. The best self-propelled mower should have easy-to-use controls for easy maneuvering.

Best Overall Self-Propelled Lawn Mower (Best Value for Money)

Honda HRX217VLA 21″ Walk Behind Lawn Mower

Honda HRC216 Series Commercial Lawn Mower

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Honda is among the leading self-propelled leading brands. In particular, the Honda HRX217VLA 21″ Walk Behind Lawn Mower is a gas-powered self-propelled lawn mower with great power for efficiently cutting overgrown and thick grass.

The Honda HRX217VLA 21″ Walk Behind Lawn Mower is the best overall self-propelled lawn mower. Its 21 inches cutting deck ensures fast mowing on your 1 acre lawn, ensuring you finish it fast. Its micro-cut blades deliver a perfect cutting with adjustable heights. 

Specifications

  • Cutting Width: 21 inches
  • Engine power: 186cc
  • Operating Weight: 85 lbs
  • Operating mode: Automatic
  • Style: Electric
  • Material: NeXite

Pros

  • Strong, durable build 
  • It has a quiet operation 
  • Gas power is efficient on 1-acre lawn
  • Wide cutting width

Cons

  • It has a forced hand position in self-propel mode

Check the Honda HRX217VLA mower’s latest prices on Amazon.

Best Entry-Level Lawn Mower

BLACK+DECKER gas-powered FWD mower

BLACK+DECKER gas-powered FWD mower

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This lawn mower is simple but effective in mowing. The most amazing feature is its affordability. It is also lightweight and easy to use. It uses the front wheel to carry itself forward. Thus, it is ideal for grounds with many obstacles. 

However, it has a 140 cc engine, which may have insufficient power for intense mowing. Besides, you can’t use this mower on sloppy grounds.

While this lawn mower retails below $500.00, its 21 inches cutting width and 3-in-1 functionality provides the best value for money. Thus, it is the best self-propelled lawn mower below $500. 

Specifications

  • Drive system: Front-wheel drive
  • Power source: 140 cc gas engine 
  • Maximum cutting height: 4 inches
  • Cutting width: 21 inches

Pros

  • Highly affordable
  • 3-in-1 functionality
  • Six-settings adjustable cutting height
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Unsuitable for sloppy grounds
  • No variable speed settings 

Check the BLACK+DECKER mower’s latest prices on Amazon.

Best Electric Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Kobalt Brushless Lithium-Ion Battery-Powered Mower

Kobalt Brushless Lithium-Ion Battery-Powered Mower

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The Kobalt Brushless Lithium-Ion Battery-Powered Mower is a rear-wheel drive mower with an 80-volt battery. Therefore, it has enough power to cut thick and tall grass efficiently. 

This mower is also a great deal in power efficiency. It can run up to 80 minutes without recharging. It also has variable speed settings, allowing calibration of the mower’s settings to match my pace. 

The 80V battery ensures high power for cutting thick, wet, and overgrown grass efficiently. With variable drive speed and 3-in-1 functionality—bag, mulch, and discharge, it is undoubtedly the best electric self-propelled lawn mower. 

Specifications

  • Drive system: Rear-wheel drive
  • Power source: Lithium-ion battery
  • Run time: 80 minutes
  • Maximum cutting height: 3.75 inches
  • Cutting width: 21 inches

Pros

  • High power
  • Quiet operation
  • 3-in-1 functionality
  • Variable speed settings

Cons

  • It is hard to use in tight spaces

Check the Kobalt Brushless Lithium-Ion Battery-Powered Mower’s latest prices on Amazon.

Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower for Hills and Rough Terrains

Greenworks Pro 80V 21″ Brushless Cordless Lawn Mower

Greenworks Pro 80V

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Greenworks Pro 80V 21″ Brushless Cordless Lawn Mower is an all-wheel drive self-propelled lawn mower. As mentioned earlier, all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive are best suited for hills and rough terrain. Therefore, Greenworks Pro 80V 21″ Brushless Cordless Lawn Mower being an all-wheel drive is the best option in the market for hilly lawn. 

The mower has two 2.0Ah Batteries with 80V voltage output enough to cut rough and overgrown grass. It can mow for about 60 minutes with a single charge. This mower also has 21 inches cutting width, ensuring you finish mowing your lawn in no time. 

Greenworks Pro 80V 21″ Brushless Cordless Lawn Mower is the best lawn mower for hills and rough terrain as it features an all-wheel drive ideal for hills and sloppy lawns. Besides, it has high versatility with five-position height adjustment and 3-in-1 functionality, allowing you to bag, mulch, and discharge. 

Specifications 

  • Drive system: all-wheel drive
  • Power source: two 2.0Ah Batteries
  • Run time: 60 minutes
  • Cutting width: 21 inches

Pros

  • Five-position height adjustment
  • 3-in-1 functionality
  • Maintenance-free
  • Wide cutting angle

Cons

  • While the product restricts against the use of water to clean it, it might be challenging to detach the grass built-up with a grass blower.

Check the Greenworks Pro 80V‘s latest prices on Amazon.

Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower for Large Acreage

Toro TimeMaster 30 In. 223 Cc Gas Mower

Toro TimeMaster 30 In. 223 Cc Gas Mower

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The best self-propelled lawn mower for large acreage is a gas-powered mower. In this category, my ideal choice is the Toro TimeMaster 30 In. 223 Cc Gas Mower. This lawn mower has a 223 cc engine, providing enough power for large-scale mowing. It also has a 30-inch cutting deck for efficient grass-cutting.

Specifications

  • Power Source: Gas
  • Run Time: 1 hour
  • Cutting Height: 1.25-inch to 4.25-inch
  • Deck Size: 30 inches
  • Weight: 140 lbs
  • Wheel Drive: Rear-Wheel Drive
  • Discharge: Side Discharge

Pros

  • Expansive deck size
  • High power
  • Has Toro automatic blades
  • It has a dual-force cutting system

Cons

  • It is heavy, making it difficult to transport

Check the Toro TimeMaster 30 In. 223 Cc Gas Mower’s latest prices on Toro.

Buyers Guide to Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers

The buyer’s guide for self-propelled lawn mowers is as follows:

  • Gas vs. Battery

Deciding between gas vs. battery-powered self-propelled lawn mowers depends on your priorities. Battery-powered self-propelled lawn mowers are cleaner and easy to maintain than gas lawn mowers. Besides, they have quieter operations, unlike gas power lawn mowers. 

Battery-powered lawn mowers are cheaper than gas-powered self-propelled lawn mowers. So you should consider it if you’re on a budget. Also, consider a gas lawn mower if you plan to use it on a larger yard that takes more than 60 minutes to mow.

  • Type of Mower

The drive system is what differentiates lawn mowers. The different types of drive systems are as follows: 

  1. Front-wheel drive (FWD): This mower the two front wheels carrying it forward. This design makes it easy to turn the mower and work on yards with many obstacles. However, they are not ideal on sloppy grounds.
  2. Rear-wheel drive (RWD): The two back wheels carry the mower forward. They are more suitable in sloppy terrains with many obstacles. However, they are challenging to work in tight spaces. 
  3. All-wheel drive (AWD): The motor powers all four wheels carrying the mower forward. They have better traction, making them ideal for sloppy and undulating terrain. However, they are more expensive than other types of mowers. 

  • Commercial vs. Residential

Commercial lawn mowers, also professional lawn mowers, have better components and powerful engines. Therefore, they are suitable for large-scale mowing. These mowers also last longer than residential lawn mowers. 

You don’t need a commercial self-propelled lawn mower if you plan to use it to mow your yard once every week. Here, a residential lawn mower is sufficient. Despite having a shorter life span than a commercial one, they can last up to five or ten years. 

How Homeowners/ Landscaping Professionals Are Using Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers

The growing landscaping industry, especially in Europe, has increased the demand for self-propelled lawn mowers. Landscapers, construction companies, and the European Community are restoring old houses and lawns, primarily relying on self-propelled lawn mowers. 

Besides, Solar City in Austria and The Science and Technical Pool in Paris, among other projects, need frequent landscaping services. And when it comes to lawn mowing and maintenance, the self-propelled lawn mower plays a significant role.

Related: Ultimate Review Of Best Self Propelled Lawn Mowers Of 2023

Self-propelled Mowers Maintenance Tips

The self-propelled mowers maintenance tips are as follows:

  • Clean the mower regularly. Remove grass and other debris from the undercarriage to ensure top performance.
  • Clean/replace the air filter. Cleaning the filter ensures the mower operates with high efficiency. If it is damaged, consider replacing it – follow the user manual. 
  • Be familiar with the owner’s manual. The manual should guide you on using and maintaining the mower without damaging it.
  • Drain the gasoline at the end of the season. Old gasoline can cause problems when starting your mower in Spring.
  • Remove the spark plug when maintaining the mower. This process enhances safety as the mower won’t start accidentally. 

Related: Ultimate Review Of Best Zero Turn Lawn Mowers Of 2023

Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower – 2023 FAQs

  • How Long Do Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers Last?

Self-propelled lawn mowers last up to five to ten years. However, the lifespan can vary depending on how well you maintain your lawn mower. 

  • Is It Wrong to Pull a Lawn Mower Backward?

No, it is not wrong to pull a lawn mower backward. You can pull it when turning it around or transporting it after mowing. However, you should deactivate the self-propel feature first. 

  • Can You Push a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower?

Yes, there’s no harm in pushing a lawn mower. To do so, disengage the self-propel feature first. However, you should note that self-propelled lawn mowers are heavier than push lawn mowers so that it can be a real hustle pushing it. 

  • Are Self-Propelled Mowers Worth It?

Yes, self-propelled mowers are worth it. Despite being expensive, these lawn mowers work much faster than push mowers – saving you time. In addition, they can cut through thick and overgrown grass without extra energy. 

  • What Brand of Lawn Mowers Is the Most Reliable?

The most reliable lawn mower brand is John Deere. It seems the old phrase: Nothing runs like a Deere is true. Of the self-propelled lawn mower brands we tested, John Deere emerged as the top reliable one with an excellent reliability rating. 

However, other lawn mower brands, followed closely by Husqvarna, Cub Cadet, and Simplicity, also get good predicted reliability ratings.

The Future of Lawn Care

Lawn care will keep improving with the advancement of technology, a reason why we now have self-propelled lawn mowers. 

If you find mowing your lawn challenging, it is time to try a self-propelled lawn mower. While an electric lawn mower is clean, quieter, and easy to maintain, a gas-powered mower is highly reliable for large lawns. 

Consider one from our list if you were ever going to acquire one.

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