Best Self Propelled Lawn Mower 2018- Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

best self propelled lawn mower

Maintaining the yard can be very satisfying, but sometimes the task can seem daunting without the best self propelled mower lawn mower. 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.

​Our reviews

​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.

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

huge 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.

Terrain

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.

Width

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.

Speed

speed of self propelled mower

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!

Weight

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?

Sound Level

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.

Pollution

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.

Features

features

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.

Warranty

5 year warranty

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.

Price

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

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

Electric

  • 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.

Gas

  • 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.

1. Honda HRX217K5VYA 187cc Gas 21 in. 4-in-1 Versamow System Lawn Mower with Roto-Stop and MicroCut Blades - Most Dependable

If there’s one thing they know, Honda knows motors. By investing in a Honda mower, your mower could be running just as beautifully in eight years as it is the day you buy it. With adjustable speed and a wide range of height adjustments, a walk with your mower can be as smooth as a ride in the car.

There are a few drawbacks to this Honda model, however. First, these top-of-the-line models don’t come cheap; in order to get something of this quality, you have to be willing to spend a little extra. The mower is also heavier than most, making it more difficult to operate for some users.

Honda HRX217K5VYA Review

Despite the cons, there are plenty of pros that come with this Honda mower. Twin blades cut clippings down ultra-fine, so regardless of whether you choose to use the attachable grass bagger or not, your lawn looks clean and well-kept without having to remove the clippings yourself. All the features are tool free and simple to operate. The engine is CARB compliant and the mower is made to stay rust free. When coupled with its reliable engine, it’s easy to see how this mower is here to stay.

If you’re looking for a long-term investment that will serve you well over many years, this Honda mower should work for you.

Pros

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    Dependable, powerful engine
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    Rust free design
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    Twin blades
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    Tool free
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    7 cutting height levels
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    Large capacity discharge bag
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    CARB compliant

Cons

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    Expensive
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    Heavy
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    You must adjust each wheel separately to change the cutting height.
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    Pretty loud - 100 decibels
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    No side discharge

2. Troy-Bilt TB270ES 159cc 21-Inch FWD Self-Propelled Mower with Electric Start – Easiest to Start

We feel that one of the biggest frustrations when it comes to mowing is just with getting most mowers started. Any experienced mower will know the frustration that comes with yanking a pull cord five or six times just to get a mower running. That’s why we recommend mowers with push starts instead, like this Troy-Bilt model.

While the push start engine on this Troy-Bilt mower is convenient, there are a few drawbacks to this model. First, the mower clocks in at 84 pounds, putting it on the heavier side when compared to other mowers. This model also requires the user to put oil in it during the mower’s setup, so it is not ready to go right out of the box. 

Troy-Bilt TB270ES Review

The Troy-Bilt TB270ES also comes with a few great benefits. In addition to the push start button, the mower can also be started by a pull cord in case the user prefers that method. There are four different speed settings and six different cutting settings, which allow you to customize your mower until you get an experience that you’re comfortable with.

Overall, this Troy-Bilt model functions as a great basic mower with the added benefit of a push start.

Pros

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    Push start and pull cord start
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    Customizable speed and cut settings
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    Dual Lever height adjustment
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    Mulching capabilities

Cons

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    Heavy
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    Additional setup required

3. Yard Machines 159cc 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower – Best Budget Mower

This Yard Machines mower is pretty easy to deal with, both in use and on your wallet. Homeowners on a budget and mowers in need of an easy-to-use, basic mower will find satisfaction with this model because of its low price and simple design.

As with anything, this Yard Machines model is not perfect. In order to be so cost-effective, the materials it’s made out of aren’t as long-lasting as other, more expensive mowers. This leads to a shorter shelf life overall for the mower. Due to the smaller size of the mower, it is recommended that this model only be used to mow small to medium sized yards, excluding anyone with a larger yard. There also is no option for a grass collector bag, so lawn clippings will have to be cleaned up manually after a user mows their lawn.

Yard Machines Review

Benefits of this Yard Machines mower start with its price. It’s always going to be cheaper than heavier duty models due to the lightweight material it is made of. For those on a budget, this can be a great option. Also, because it’s made of such light materials, users dealing with physical injuries or pain can still mow with ease. This model also holds a large gas tank, so you don’t have to stop halfway during a mow to fill up. Additionally, the front and back wheels are individually adjustable, giving the mower high clearance when needed.

Overall, if you’re in need of a mower for a low price, this Yard Machines model can easily get the job done.

Pros

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    Cost-effective
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    Lightweight
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    Dual lever height adjustment
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    Large gas tank
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    Side discharge
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    Mulching Capabilities

Cons

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    Cheaper materials
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    Made for smaller yards
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    No grass collector bag
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    No electric start

4. Greenworks PRO 21-Inch 80V Cordless Lawn Mower – Most Environmentally Friendly Mower

Traditionally, self-propelled mowers run on gas. However, as the world moves towards living “green,” new options have begun to surface, like this Greenworks mower that runs gas free.

First, there are a few drawbacks to this Greenworks model. The lithium ion battery that it runs on and its charger are not included when you purchase the mower, which means you have to spend a few additional bucks to get the whole package. These batteries also have a usage time of approximately 60 minutes, so if it takes you more than an hour to mow your yard, you either have to purchase additional backup batteries or be willing to wait for the battery to recharge.

Greenworks-GLM801600 Review

A huge benefit to using this Greenworks mower is, obviously, the use of electricity instead of gasoline. It’s better for the environment and saves you from having to purchase gasoline, which we love, especially when gas prices continue to rise. It’s also incredibly lightweight and has a reduced noise level in comparison to gas powered mowers, making it easier on your body to mow.


If you’re looking to invest in a new mower while reducing the size of your carbon footprint, this Greenworks mower might be for you. 

Pros

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    Environmentally friendly
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    Lightweight
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    Quiet
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    Mulch capability
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    Side discharge or rear bag capability
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    Push button start
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    No oil mixing
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    7 variable cutting heights
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    4 year warranty coverage

Cons

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    Additional battery costs
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    30 minutes battery charge time
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    4 AH battery runs for 1 hour
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    2 AH battery runs for 45 minutes

5. Greenworks 16-Inch 10 Amp Corded Lawn Mower 25142 – Best Corded Mower

Environmentally friendly mowers aren’t limited to battery powered ones. If you’re looking for a gas-free mower but don’t want to hassle with charging your mower, a corded lawn mower like this Greenworks model might be the answer you’ve been looking for.

Unfortunately, there are a few cons with this Greenworks corded mower. The deck is 16 inches wide, making it skinnier than most mowers. This means you may spend more time mowing your yard than you would with a larger mower. The mower also does not come with an extension cord, so depending on how large your yard is, you may need to supply a few of those yourself.

Greenworks 16inch Review

Despite those cons, this mower is lighter than most gas-powered ones at 37.5 pounds. It’s also quick to start since it’s electrical. You can adjust the height of the mower with just one hand, rather than struggling with the settings like you might on other mowers.

Corded mowers aren’t for everyone, but if you’re in the market for one, this Greenworks model could cover all your bases and is worth checking out.

Pros

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    Runs on electricity
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    Lightweight
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    Easily adjustable height

Cons

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    Extension cord not supplied
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    Small deck size

6. WORX WG794 28-volt Landroid Robotic Lawn Mower – Most Convenient Mower

If you’re like us, you’ve probably sat around and wished that someone would just mow your lawn for you. If you can relate to that struggle, you’re in luck with this model. The WORX WG794 is a robotic lawn mower, meaning it does all the work for you.

Before we get too carried away with the idea of never having to mow the lawn ourselves again, there are a few drawbacks to this mower. The most obvious con is that this mower is not cheap. Even though it can do a lot more than other mowers, it still may be out of most people’s budgets. The mower also requires a wire perimeter to be laid down before use, so it knows where to mow; this wire has the potential to be damaged or broken, and can’t cross over pavement to reach multiple patches of grass. 

Worx WG79 Review

There are many pros when it comes to using this WORX model, though. Obviously, it mows the lawn for you. It’s also powered by electricity, not gasoline, and will return to its home base automatically to recharge or take cover from rain. It’s also programmed to be able to handle narrow patches and navigate around obstacles with ease.

While this mower is out of the price point of most buyers, it could be a great option to splurge on that gives you more time to do what you’d like to do in the long run.

Pros

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    It does the work for you
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    Programmed to handle most lawns and situations
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    Electric

Cons

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    Expensive
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    Requires wire perimeter

7. Swisher WBRC11524 Predator – Most Powerful

Warning: this mower is not for the faint of heart. Those looking for a casual gardening experience should look elsewhere. If you need a mower that can handle rough terrain, thick, long grass, or large areas like fields, this Swisher model could be right for you.

There are a few cons; with this much power comes a bigger price tag. Get ready to spend big bucks if you want this Swisher model. This machine is also heavy, so if you’re using it to mow over hills, you may have some difficulty going downhill. We also caution owners of smaller lawns not to purchase this model; it’ll be much more power than you need.

However, there is a superior quality that comes with this machine. The engine is made in the USA, if that’s a feature that’s important to you, and the machine is built with front and side deflectors to keep the user safe from flying debris. There is a handy reverse mode to help you back out of tough situations. This model also includes a hardened-steel blade that can cut through brush and saplings with no issue.

If you’ve got a tough job to take care of, this Swisher Predator could put an end to all your landscaping troubles.

Pros

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    Powerful on tough jobs
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    Made in the USA
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    Debris deflectors
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    Hardened-steel blade
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    Reverse mode

Cons

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    Expensive
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    Recommended only for large jobs
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    Heavy
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    Difficult to maneuver downhill

8. Toro Personal Pace Timemaster – Best Time Saver

Let’s face it; sometimes, mowing the lawn is just a chore. If you want to get it over with quickly, a lawn mower with a wide cutting width is going to do the job in a timely manner. If this is what you’re interested in, the Toro Timemaster might be a good fit for you.

This Toro model does have a smaller gas tank, so if you’re working with a very large area, you might have to stop to refill the tank once or twice. Since it does have a wider cut, some users may have more issues trying to maneuver it around narrow areas.

However, Toro lawn mowers are known for being, well built and dependable. This model, in addition to saving you time, is easy to adjust for your walking speed and desired grass length. The powerful engine is able to cut wet grass, grass on hills and high grass.

If you’ve got a wide space that you want to mow in a short amount of time, the Toro Timemaster could be a great tool to giving you some extra time to do what you’d like to do.

Pros

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    Wide cutting width
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    Powerful engine
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    Easily adjustable

Cons

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    Difficult to maneuver
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    Small gas tank

9. EGO Power+ Cordless Lawn Mower – Best Space Saver

If you’ve got limited space in your garage or shed, a collapsible, foldable mower might be just what you were looking for. Check out this EGO Power+ model; not only is it lightweight and runs on electricity, but it also folds up for compact, upright storage.

This model does have the drawback of only offering a 45-minute cut time, which is shorter than other popular electric mowers. This mower is recommended for residential jobs, so if you’re looking to use it on tougher, commercial jobs with rougher terrain, you may encounter problems with the mower shutting off during the job.

There are many things to love about this EGO model, though. It’s lightweight, coming in at 65.3 pounds, and can fold up easily for storage. It runs quietly and has an easy lever to adjust the height of the mower. The lithium ion batteries charge in only 30 minutes, and if you have other EGO tools, you can share batteries and accessories between them.

Overall, the main draw to this mower over other electric ones is that it folds flat for convenient storage in small places. 

Pros

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    Folds flat
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    Lightweight
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    Quick charge time
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    Compatible with other tools

Cons

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    Can’t handle tougher jobs
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    Short battery life

10. Husqvarna 961450021 – Best Value for the Price

If you’re looking for a mid-cost mower with dependable, basic features, we’ve got a suggestion for you. This gas-powered Husqvarna model comes equipped with a Honda engine and gets the job done right when you need it.

However, because this is a more basic model, grass clippings are left long on your lawn if you choose to mulch instead of using the clippings bag. It is also a heftier mower at 105 pounds, so those who struggle with heavy lifting won’t have as much ease in using it. 

There are several great features to this mower that makes it a great starter mower. It has adjustable height with the push of a lever. The powerful engine and all-wheel drive allow it to take on different types of terrain and tall grass. Varying speed settings also allow you to customize the mower’s pace to match yours.

While this mower isn’t at the top of the line, it is a great value. We would recommend this for someone looking for a mower without a ton of bells and whistles to get their grass cut well nearly every time.

Pros

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    Honda engine
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    All wheel drive
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    Adjustable speed and height settings

Cons

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    Heavy
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    Poor mulch performance

Conclusion

While we’ve looked at some great mowers, there is one that stands out above the rest. Our ultimate recommendation is the Honda HRX217K5VYA. To us, the most important part of a lawn mower is how dependable it is, and with a Honda engine, you’re not going to find something more reliable on the market. While the price point is slightly higher than other mowers, you’re going to save money in the long run by not having to bring it in for repairs every year. The twin blades in the mower also cut clippings down to a fine size, so there is less work with every mow in comparison to other models. All around, this Honda model is the clear stand out choice.

Self­ Propelled Mower Maintenance Tips

  • 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.

Gas:

  • 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:

I hope this guide has helped you find the best self propelled lawn mower for your needs.

If you enjoyed this article,  make sure to share it with your friends! I will keep this list up to date so you can always come back later if you decide to buy one later.​

For now, thanks for reading and leave your questions below!