The Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers for Yard Care
Don’t strain your back pushing a heavy mower across an overgrown lawn when you can opt for a self-propelled lawn mower to meet your yard-care needs.
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- BEST OVERALLGreenworks 40V 21" Brushless Self-Propelled Lawn MoweCheck Latest Price
- RUNNER-UPHusqvarna 967820592 LE221R Self-Propelled MowerCheck Latest Price
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCKLawn-Boy 17732 21-Inch Self Propelled Lawn MowerCheck Latest Price
A gruff handyman who turns his nose up at electric screwdrivers or prefers a handsaw over a circular saw might not think he needs a self-propelled lawn mower. However, for anyone who doesn’t want their lawn to appear uneven, their back to hurt, and their mower to have regular issues because it has been pushed at an ineffective speed, the self-propelled lawn mower is the next step toward a flawlessly kept yard.
The best self-propelled lawn mower features pace-keeping technology that allows you to walk at a comfortable pace so that you don’t get stuck running behind a speeding mower. These mowers should also have a variety of deck levels available for optimal cutting. The best feature goes with what their name indicates—these mowers propel themselves, allowing you to focus on steering.
The products below are some of the best available in their respective categories and would be beneficial additions to any tool shed.
- BEST OVERALL: Greenworks 40V 21″ Brushless Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
- RUNNER-UP: Husqvarna 967820592 LE221R Self-Propelled Mower
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Lawn-Boy 17732 21-Inch Self Propelled Lawn Mower
- UPGRADE PICK: Snapper XD 82V MAX Step Sense Cordless Lawn Mower
- QUIETEST PICK: Greenworks 21-Inch 40V Self-Propelled Cordless Mower
What to Consider When Buying a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Before choosing a new self-propelled lawn mower, purchasers should take a few minutes to educate themselves on a few of the essential features to consider and how grass type, lawn size, or usage determine the type of mower needed.
The power of a gasoline engine lists in a cubic centimeters (cc), and can help you find a mower that is suitable for your yard. Small engines, around 125 cc, are good for small yards with moderate yearly lawn growth. Average-sized engines, from 140 cc to 180 cc, are suitable for small to medium yards, and can handle moderate to heavy yearly lawn growth. Large engines exceeding 180 cc are best for bigger yards with heavy yearly lawn growth.
Similarly, battery-powered mowers measure their engine power in volts (V). Engine power for these self-propelled battery-powered lawn mowers ranges from 18V for small engines to 120V for very large engines. However, most of these lawn mowers run on between 40 and 80 volts, which is more than enough to handle the same tasks as a 140cc to 180cc engine.
Self-propelled lawn mowers have a variety of speed control options, including a squeeze handle, drive bar, dial, and even a pace-keeping system that automatically adjusts to your pace. Some mowers operate at only one speed, while others include several speed settings up to 4 mph. The speed controls and speed options will differ among self-propelled lawn mowers, and what is right for one person might not work best for the next.
Take a look at the mower’s speed control before purchasing to find one that works with your lawn-mowing style. For example, a squeeze bar is an excellent option for a self-propelled lawn mower that will be used by more than one person. This style moves the mower faster as the user squeezes the bar toward the handle, making it easier for left- or right-handed family members to mow easily.
Traditionally, lawn mowers have come with one of several cutting options, including bagging, mulching, and side-discharge. However, most self-propelled lawn mowers now come with two, or even three, cutting options in one machine.
- Single-option mowers are simple and straightforward, though they don’t provide the versatility to adapt to various lawn conditions, which is why most mowers now offer more than one option.
- 2-in-1 mowers offer two of the three available cutting options, including bagging, mulching, or side-discharging. They are more versatile than single-option mowers, but fall short of the options provided by a 3-in-1 mower.
- 3-in-1 mowers quickly are becoming the industry standard. As the name indicates, they allow users to choose from among bagging, mulching, or side-discharging with a single machine for more cutting versatility.
Although these mowers “push” themselves, buyers still might consider the mower’s weight. If the mower is only self-propelled while cutting, or if you need to lift the mower over concrete lips or into storage, you should think about its weight.
When lifting the mower for storage or across difficult terrain, a lighter machine lifts more easily. Self-propelled lawn mowers range from as light as 60 lbs to a heavier 100 lbs. Battery-powered mowers most often weigh less than gas-powered mowers and are a good option for those concerned about handling a heavy machine.
All power tools and yard equipment, including self-propelled lawn mowers, require some type of maintenance to ensure that they continue to work effectively and last as long as possible. In general, very little difference exists between the maintenance of a gas-powered mower versus a battery-powered one, except that one requires gas tank refills, and the other needs a battery that is charged up. Beyond this, all self-propelled lawn mowers require some ongoing maintenance to keep them working properly.
Common maintenance requirements for self-propelled lawn mowers include regular oil changes, washing to remove dirt and debris, inspecting the mower blades to ensure they are sharp and do not have nicks or cracks, refilling gas tanks, and regularly recharging and storing batteries.
Rear Wheel Diameter
The rear wheel diameter can vary depending on the size of the mower and the terrain that it is equipped to handle. Some self-propelled lawn mowers have four wheels of equal size that frequently measure between seven and eight inches in diameter.
However, mowers that are better for bumpy ground and thick grass have larger rear wheels than front wheels, with rear-wheel diameters ranging from 8 inches to 12 inches. This wheel configuration is best if your yard has heavy lawn growth or very uneven ground.
When spending a significant amount on a lawn-care product, you want to be sure that you are getting a machine in which the manufacturer has confidence. A self-propelled lawn mower that the maker can guarantee helps buyers know that their investment will pay off.
A good lawn mower warranty will be easy to reference and will give clear information about the length of time that it covers the mower, the activities that owners can perform under the warranty, and the restrictions that can nullify that warranty. If a self-propelled lawn mower does not have a warranty, this should cause concern, especially when buyers put out hundreds of dollars for what is supposed to be a quality product.
Our Top Picks
These picks for self-propelled lawn mowers were chosen for their quality, price, and customer satisfaction.
1. BEST OVERALL: Greenworks 40V 21″ Brushless Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
The Greenworks 40V, 21-Inch Brushless Self-Propelled Lawn Mower, MO40L03, uses pace-keeping technology to increase or decrease the speed of the mower to match a user’s pace to prevent worrying about running to catch up or strolling slowly behind the machine. The 40V engine powers the 70-lb mower, which moves forward only when the user depresses the squeeze bar, eliminating concerns about the mower rolling away, an occurrence that might not be covered by the warranty.
The 8-inch front wheels and 10-inch rear wheels allow the self-propelled mower to handle most yards, and 3-in-1 cutting options offer the ability to mulch, bag, or side-discharge the cut grass. The deck of the mower sets to one of seven different height positions and Greenworks’ Smart Cut technology adjusts the power output of the mower to enhance power or increase battery run time, depending on the thickness of the grass.
2. RUNNER-UP: Husqvarna 967820592 LE221R Self-Propelled Mower
With a simple squeeze bar control, the Husqvarna 967820592 Self-Propelled Battery Lawn Mower effortlessly moves forward at a steady pace, using its nearly soundless 40V engine to tackle heavy yard growth. Husqvarna’s warranty supports the 70-lb self-propelled lawn mower, and it uses two batteries in the twin-bay system to provide extended run time.
The self-propelled lawn mower includes the option to choose between mulching, bagging, or side-discharging cut grass, and has 8-inch front wheels paired with 11-inch rear wheels for use on uneven or steeply-sloped terrain. With up to half an acre of cutting capacity before the batteries need recharging, this self-propelled lawn mower is ideal for tackling medium- to large-sized yards.
3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Lawn-Boy 17732 21-Inch Self Propelled Lawn Mower
The Lawn-Boy 17732 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower is a gas-powered option that uses small, 7-inch front wheels and slightly larger 8-inch rear wheels to glide over even ground. The 149 cc engine will provide more power than a battery-powered mower to cut through thick grass easily but at an affordable price point.
The self-propelled lawn mower has a simple squeeze bar for control and weighs only 66 lbs, making it a lightweight option despite being a gas-powered mower. The mower is backed by Lawn-Boy’s warranty and comes with three different cutting options for mulching, bagging, or side-discharging cut grass.
4. UPGRADE PICK: Snapper XD 82V MAX Step Sense Cordless Lawn Mower
The powerful 82-volt engine of the Snapper XD 82V Max Step Sense Lawn Mower comes at a premium price, but allows the mower to move through thick grass growth without slowing or stopping. Once cut, the mower can mulch, bag, or side-discharge the grass according to user needs or preferences.
The 72-lb self-propelled lawn mower has 8-inch front wheels and 10-inch rear wheels to move across bumpy ground without issue. It uses a squeeze bar and pace-keeping technology to automatically move forward at a pace that matches its user. The mower purchase includes two batteries and a rapid charger. Though the warranty is difficult to locate without purchasing the mower, it is included in the Operator’s Manual that accompanies the mower.
5. QUIETEST PICK: Greenworks 21-Inch 40V Self-Propelled Cordless Lawn Mower
The Greenworks 21-Inch, 40V Self-Propelled Lawn Mower uses a battery-powered engine to cut a lawn in near silence. One active battery sits in the live battery port and a second battery can ride along in the storage port for quick switching when the first battery runs out. The 67-lb self-propelled mower is covered by Greenworks’ warranty so buyers know they are getting a quality product.
The user controls this mower with a squeeze bar and can choose to mulch, bag, or side-discharge cut grass for optimal versatility. The 8-inch front wheels and 10-inch rear wheels make it easier to run the self-propelled lawn mower over bumpy or uneven ground and to avoid struggling to keep the blade from hitting the ground.