Best Self Propelled Lawn Mower 2016
Maintaining the yard can be very satisfying, but sometimes the task can seem daunting. Grass can have the strangest habit of growing out of control, despite your best efforts. Mowing the lawn can be time consuming for anyone with a fairly large lawn, and it can be exhausting at the best of times. With heat beaming down, and sweat dripping from your brow you may be searching for a new kind of mower. Self propelled lawn mowers are the answer to your prayers. Find out which one suits you best by reading our reviews.
These type of mowers are excellent for dealing with any grass types, most terrains, including slopes, and for most sizes of lawns. They are nearly effortless to mow with.
What is a self propelled lawn mower?
A self propelled lawn mower is similar to a push mower, except for one key component; a gear and clutch. The gear and clutch system allow the mowers to practically walk themselves, requiring no effort from you. They are commonly referred to as walkbehind mowers, because your only responsibility will be to guide and direct it as it cuts your lawn.
We have compiled detailed reviews for your convenience, and have included all of the information that you need to decide whether a self propelled lawn mower is for you. If you do decide that all of the factors meet your needs, you can scan the table below to find quick comparisons of models, or you can find out more with our detailed reviews at the bottom of the page.
This page is a full resource, and even gives you tips on maintenance. Purchasing a serious mower like this demands a critical attention, and some expert knowledge. We will help you find the best one for your needs.
|Cutting Width||Ratings||Price Range|
|Honda HRx217VYA||Gas||Honda 190cc RWD||0.75 - 4||21 in||4.7 out of 5 stars804 reviews||See Lowest Price|
|Honda HRR216K9VKA||Gas||Honda 160cc RWD||1.8 - 4||21 in||4.4 out of 5 stars1279 reviews||See Lowest Price|
|Toro Recycler 20353||Gas||Briggs & Stratton 163cc 4WD||1 - 4||22 in||4.3 out of 5 stars400 reviews||See Lowest Price|
|Toro Personal Pace Recycler 20332||Gas||Briggs & Stratton 190cc RWD||1 - 4||22 in||3.9 out of 5 stars2454 reviews||See Lowest Price|
|Black and Decker SPCM1936||Electric/|
|36 Volt Battery||1+||19 in||4.0 out of 5 stars856 reviews||See Lowest Price|
17732 Carb Compliant
|Gas||Kohler XT6 144cc||1.25 - 3.75||21 in||3.9 out of 5 stars236 reviews||See Lowest Price|
|Craftsman 37705||Gas||Briggs & Stratton 163cc FWD||1.25 - 3.75||21 in||4.0 out of 5 stars18 reviews||See Lowest Price|
|Swisher WB11524BS Predator Rough Cut Mower||Gas||11.5HP Briggs & Stratton||1.5+||24 in||4.7 out of 5 stars6 reviews||See Lowest Price|
|Toro Personal Pace 20333||Gas||Briggs & Stratton 190cc||1 - 4||22 in||4.2 out of 5 stars2342 reviews||See Lowest Price|
|Toro Personal Pace Timemaster||Gas||Briggs & Stratton 190cc||1 - 4||30 in||4.1 out of 5 stars842 reviews||See Lowest Price|
Factors to consider when buying
It is highly recommended that you consider the following factors to help you to know which mower is right for you, if indeed any. Knowing what your considerations are you will be able to make a more informed decision on your purchase. When you are familiar with the factors you will be ready to study the top rated lawn mowers for the best buy.
Size Of Lawn
How large is your yard? This is one of the first questions you should ask yourself when you are buying any lawnmower.
A very small yard may not even warrant a self propelled mower. A push mower, or even a reel mower may do the job in some instances, and may be a cheaper and more viable option.
If you have a medium to large size space, however, these type of mowers will become your ally in the battle against an everencroaching lawn.
For the largest of yards, a gas mower is a solid option. The electric mowers with cords might not have the range to deal with a large yard, unless you are willing to run acres of extension cable! Cordless mowers counter this problem somewhat, and have a greater range, but again may not last the length of the biggest yards without additional charge or extra batteries.
A push lawn mower may run nearly as easily on a very flat and easy lawn as a self propelled one. The latter excel on the ease that they bring on tough, uneven, and sloped terrain. They can be a joy compared to push mowers in this case. You need to decide whether you really want or need a self propelled system, and your terrain will be a big factor.
A wider mower makes for a wider cut. If you have a bigger lawn then you may want a wider mower. This is balanced against the additional bulk and weight that the larger lawn mowers bring. Storage may also be an issue.
Most mowers feature variable speed, which can easily be adjusted as you mow. Some even feature technology which adjusts the mowers speed to your walking pace constantly, making for even more ease. Maximum speeds tend to reach around 3-5KPH. You don't really need much more than this, unless you are planning on taking a jog while you mow!
The weight of your lawn mower might be an issue if you think you might struggle to move your mower around between uses. The self-propelled design is supposed to make mowing the lawn easier, so make sure you will be able to carry and store it with as much ease. Larger mowers, and more powerful models, are likely to weigh more, as are models which include a lot of extra features. Do you want to sacrifice power and features for a lighter model?
Some mowers make less sound than others. The electric self-propelled lawn mower is a lot quieter than its gas engine counterpart. If you (or your neighbors!) are concerned with noise, then an electric mower is the number one choice. If you live in the middle of nowhere, or all your neighbors have a noisy mower, then it might be time to get even!
Some models are designed to be as quiet as possible and this will be a bonus for anyone who enjoys their peace. Of course all powered mowers make some type of noise, so if you want the truly peaceful mowing experience, you could always consider a reel mower.
If you have a large yard, or you need maximum power, or if you just love gas powered lawn mowers, then of course a petrol mower is your choice. If you can manage with an electric powered one then you will pollute the environment less, and your yard will not stink of lingering petrol fumes.
The self propelled lawn mowers which we have complied for you often boast a variety features. Some have 3-in-1 cutting; for bagging, mulching, and discharging. Cutting height adjustment might be important for you if you enjoy the precision of finely measured cut. There are many other features which each lawn mower could boast; safety features, automatic speed variance, ergonomic designs, wash ports, and so on. The electric start self-propelled lawn mower is a great addition to a gas engine, with a one-touch start that saves the ease of pulling the thrust.
Our reviews of each product will highlight the quirks of the different mowers.
Rear Wheel vs Front Wheel
To be honest all of the best self propelled lawn mowers are very capable of dealing with most terrains and most yards. They are built to cut through any grass type, and are powerful enough to deal with most situations. Having said that a rear wheel drive feature can be very handy for slopes, and can make uphill and downhill maneuvers even easier. Front wheel drive is more than adequate for flat and mild slopes, but rear wheel is recommended where your yard features dramatic slopes. It is not however, as crucial as you might think.
One potential downside to self propelled mowers, and a reason why you should consider all of the factors to decide whether they are right for you, is that they generally require more maintenance than push mowers. They feature a clutch and belts, which can wear and tear over time, as well as the usual blade maintenance that all mowers require to some extent. Cordless battery powered mowers may also need their batteries replacing, but usually this only occurs after many years of use.
All of this makes a healthy warranty a huge bonus when you buy a self propelled mower. Do not be scared of the maintenance. All of the best mowers featured here come with a two year warranty, and some even come with a whopping four years of comfort. You can purchase extra warranty time too if you want to be sure.
Whenever you make a purchase price is always a consideration. You want to get the most for your money, and you have to balance the quality of the product against the price that you are willing to pay. Where self propelled lawn mowers are concerned, our advice is not to skimp. We mentioned above the extra maintenance that the self propelled system can bring. High quality models from reputable brands are much more reliable than low cost, lesser quality products. It will cost more in maintenance later on if you try to cut corners now.
Generally, you are looking at paying around $100 more for a self propelled lawn mower than with a push mower of the same power. You should consider whether the ease of self propelled mower is worth the extra cost for you. For large lawns, for anyone who wants to mow without effort, and for those who can simply afford the luxury, the self propelled lawn mower is well worth the extra cost.
When to buy
- When you have a medium or large lawn.
- When you want to make easy work of mowing.
- When you want the power of self propelled engines.
- If you have difficulty pushing a mower.
- When you have a little extra money to fork out for the bonus of the self propelled feature.
- When a push mower simply won't do!
When not to buy
- When your lawn is too small to warrant it, especially gas mowers.
- When you would rather not spend money on gas or electricity.
- If you do not want noise or pollution, especially true of gas mowers.
- When a push mower would do you just as well.
- When you want the scissor like cut of a reel mower.
Types of Self Propelled Mowers
Self propelled mowers can be loosely broken down into two categories: gas and electric. Within these two categories there are a few more distinctions to make. One of the main decisions that will help you to choose the right mower for you, is what type of self propelled mower that you want. To help you along your way, here is a look at what is available to you, and how they compare to each other.
Electric mowers can be cordless or have cords. The ones with cords have an obvious disadvantage, if the cord bothers you, or if your lawn is too big to run a cable easily to a power source. It can be irritating dealing with the wire, but then again it is simple; you plug it in and you can mow away. It doesn't run out, and it is much cleaner and quieter than gas. The best self propelled electric lawn mowers easily have enough motor power to deal with most grass types, and terrains.
The cordless self propelled lawn mower is of course the option for anyone who can't stand the thought of a standard electric mower; a fair solution without the need to consume pricey gas. The drawback to the cordless, is the charge time and run time. Typically it takes several hours to get a full charge on the battery, and it lasts around 45 minutes to an hour depending on the model, and the thickness and toughness of the lawn. For a lawn of half an acre or so, the battery gives you plenty of time, but for larger lawns you might want to consider a gas model.
Gas Self Propelled Mowers
Gas mowers can offer a little more power than electric, but that is not generally what makes them a first choice for a lot of people. For anyone who has a larger lawn, and can not conveniently use an electric or cordless mower, a gas engine mower is the likely option.
The cheapest self propelled lawn mowers are not always the best, especially when it comes to the gas models; you need a quality model to make sure you don't end up battling to maintain your mower. Gas mowers require fuel to run, and the fuel can be expensive, and is also damaging to the environment compared to the electric mowers. Depending on your lawn type, you just might need one, and if you do you just might enjoy it!
Some gas mowers also include an electric start, which is a onetouch solution, and a much welcome break from revving a pullstring to start your mower.
Electric vs Gas
- Cheap to run
- Large areas can be inconvenient to mow
- Limited to smallmedium lawns
- Usually quieter
- Not that many high rated models on the market
- Battery can run out mid-mow, or cable can reach full range
- Can require maintenance. May need to replace battery.
- Quite expensive to buy fuel
- Can take on any size lawn
- No limits to terrain
- Not as quiet, but often more powerful
- Lots of buying options on the market
- No range, and no running out midmow (unless you neglect your fuel supplies!)
- Can require even more maintenance on engine, and care needed to treat fuel well.
The final decision is yours to make. If you have only a small or medium yard, and think that a 45 minute battery powered mower is enough, or a corded mower will extend the reach of your lawn, then the electric mower makes for the cheapest to run, the quietest, and the most environmentally friendly. If you have a larger terrain, or require some extra torque, then the gas powered self propelled mowers are the ones to go for.
Whatever type you decide to go for, we have full reviews of a variety of top rated self propelled lawn mowers, covering models from reputable brand names that you can trust. We give you the low down on all of the products, highlighting their features are limitations to help you discover the best self propelled lawn mower for you.
Self Propelled Lawn Mower Reviews
You have studied the table, you have weighed up the factors, and now you have come to the final hurdle; you have decided that you might be interested in purchasing a self propelled mower. Now, you can choose from our top self propelled lawn mower reviews and find the right mower for you.
The Honda HRX217VYA is top of the range for a reason. The price may seem steep, but the real worth of this machine is not noticed the first time it starts up, or when it starts again next week. It’s that cold morning 5 years from now that you’ll reflect on why you bought a Honda engine. When a company offers a 5 year warranty, they are very confident in their product. Add to this the range of innovative features on this twin-blade behemoth and it is clear you are still getting a lot for your money, Select Drive Control for intuitive, comfortable speed control being the most notable. Owners have also been very impressed with the quality of the mulch, which blends seamlessly into the turf often without being noticed. It is just as convenient to use the bag though, in fact all of the mower’s features are tool-free, so everything is very simple to operate. The cutting width is 21 inches, pretty average, however the height is adjustable from 4 inches all the way down to 3/4 inches. The engine is CARB compliant and the design is rust-resistant, so this really is the mower to last.
Really cannot be faulted in any way, an absolute beast of a mower that warrants its price tag and then some!
Rating: 4.6 stars based on 804 reviews.
Black and Decker SPCM1936
This is one of the most popular electric self propelled mowers on the market, and with good reason. It is reliable, cuts through most lawns with ease, and is capable of dealing with a 1/3 acre size lawn without recharge. The battery slips out and can be charged anywhere, and the SPCM1936 folds up into a compact size for easy storage. The 3in1 bag feature allows for mulching, bagging, or discharge, and the blades are well designed for a great cut. Being an electric mower it is also much quieter than its gas equivalent, and it is an eco friendly choice, boasting zero emissions. It may however, feature occasional problems, and struggle on some tough lawns. Comes with a 2 year limited warranty.
A first choice for a liberating cordless electric experience, great for small yards.
Rating: 4 stars based on 726 reviews.
Lawn Boy 17732 Carb Compliant
The Lawn Boy is a decent gas engine model which is fully CARB compliant, and suitable for use in California. Rear wheel drive add extra traction and control to the mower, and make it easier for use on slopes. The other notable feature is the Tri-cut system, which delivers a superior quality cut, but the 17732 doesn't stop there. It has a larger than usual bag for clipping, excellent mulching, easy height adjustment, and is built so well that it comes with a 2 year full warranty, and a 3 year Tru-start warranty. If you can't start the mower within two pulls, Lawn Boy will fix it for free.
The Lawn Boy 17732 model is also available as a push mower and electric start. Whichever you choose, this is a solid option, and a must for California residents.
A solid gas mower with an ergonomic design and an alluring price tag. Favored by many review sites, although lacking customer reviews on amazon, we can vouch for this being a good value choice. Rating: 4.3 stars based on 3 reviews
Swisher WBRC11524 Predator
We are stepping things up a notch for a moment now, with the new Swisher Predator (model 2015). As you might have guessed, this is not for your casual gardener. This is a highly powerful beast capable of mowing through the toughest of terrain, such as clearing woodland paths, large fields, or ditches. It is not for a small lawn, and it is more specialized towards rough cuts. For that it serves its purpose like no other, and is unmatched when it comes to slamming through the tough undergrowth. It is also safety conscious and features a protector from the blade and from flying debris. Its powerful engine will give you a thrill too, whilst the handle bar controls give you maximum control over the mighty machine.
An absolute beast of a mower, specialized for dealing with rough cuts, and perfect for the job.
Rating: No ratings yet at the time of publishing but its predecessor earned 4.3 stars based on 13 reviews
Toro Personal Pace 20333
This is another self propelled lawn mower which is not short of features. It has a particular emphasis on mulching, with a recycle system that minces the grass into particularly fine and nutritious food for your lawn. Most lawn mowers have this function, but the Toro Personal Pace is designed for it. It is also designed with safety in mind, and has extra layers of protection, and a blade stop system which quickly stops them from spinning when the handle is released. When it needs a clean, you can simply attach a hose to the wash port for an easy rinse. The Toro is only let down by a couple of minor nuances: the inability to adjust the handle, and the inability to change the grass height with single lever adjustment. Overall, a great mower for small to medium lawns.
Designed with two things in mind; safety, and mulching. If this is what you are looking for then choose the Toro. Ratings: 4.1 stars based on 1774 reviews
Toro Personal Pace Timemaster
Toro are renowned for their high quality mowers, and the Timemaster is at the top of their range. As you might expect, this means features galore, as well as a quality if cut that you can't really expect to find in the lower end models. The Toro Personal Pace Timemaster is therefore most suited to large lawns, or for commercial use, and features a powerful 190cc Briggs & Stratton engine, a wide cutting width of 30 inches, and enough features to pack a punch in any situation. The personal pace system adjusts the speed to your walking pace as you cut, allowing you perfect control and ease of use.
You pay a lot more for a mower like this, but if you think you need it for a larger lawn then it is well worth it, and the Timemaster is one of the best on the market.
Absolutely jam packed with top quality features, fast, powerful, and suitable for larger lawns and commercial use. A top of the range mower that will last for years to come.
Ratings: 4.1 stars based on 605 reviews
Self Propelled Mower Maintenance Tips
Self propelled lawn mowers make up some of the best lawnmowers on the market, but unfortunately
they also need the most maintenance. Cogs, gears, clutches, belt drives, and engines, add to the usual
blade repair of a reel mower, or the simple engine of a push mower. This is why we have emphasized
purchasing a reputable model of mower from our reviews table. Many of the best self propelled
mowers from our list even come with extended warranties, so you can be comfortable forking out for
these awesome machines.
When serious maintenance work needs to be done, and your warranty no longer covers it, you can call out an expert to make the repairs, and if you are a DIY sort of person then spare parts are available for all lawnmowers which are still under manufacture. All of the mowers included in our list are still being made, and so spare parts and general maintenance should not be a problem. A little bit of TLC can keep your mower free of the need for repair for a much longer period of time:
- Always switch off the engine, or disconnect from the power, when making any repairs, or adjustments to your mower.
- Check the blades regularly for damage. If they are bent, cracked, or worn then they might need replacing. Rotary blades need replacing as often as once every two years. Keeping them sharp and well aligned can extend their lifespan.
- Keep all nuts and bolts tight. Check the engine, handles, chassis, and blades for tightness, and also keep the wheels well screwed on.
- Keep the sparkplug clean and check and replace your air filters regularly.
- Use only fuel and oil recommended by the manufacturer.
- Check the oil level before every use of your mower, and top it up if required.
- Store fuel well, in a cool, dark place for maximum lifespan. Keep it fresh.
- At the end of the mowing season, or before a long storage, you should drain the remaining fuel from your mower, and burn off the remaining dregs. This might also be a good time to change the oil, which needs to be done about once every 50 uses, or once a year, whichever comes first.
- Refill the fuel and check the oil levels at the start of the mowing season.
Self Propelled Mechanism
If you are encountering problems with the self propelled mechanism on your mower, then you could consider contacting a professional, or asking the manufacturer for advice. There are however, some simple checks you can do before you assume that you have a major problem on your hands:
- Check the cable that runs from your mower's handle to the transmission box. Make sure it hasn't been damaged by wear and tear, and make sure it is connected properly.
- Remove the cover of the transmission and check and remove debris, twigs, and grass.
- Clear the excess debris from wheels, and gears.
- Check the condition of the drive belt, and check that it is properly adjusted.
For detailed advice on how to fix a self propelled mower, see the video below: