Best Self Propelled Lawn Mower Reviews & Buying Guide 2016
During spring and summer, which are known as growing seasons, you need to mow your lawn at least once a week. The good news is that you do not need to hire a local handyman to do the job for you. You can do it even on your own, as long as you have the best self-propelled lawn mower. With the latter, you will be able to trim your turf in no time, and most importantly, with minimal effort required.
Looking for a self-propelled lawn mower that can provide the best value for the money will not be a straightforward task. Given the abundance of the choices, you should be responsible enough to take a look at technical specifications and reviews from other people, making it easy to differentiate one from the other. If you are searching for the best, we are here to extend a helping hand. We will provide you with a quick buying advice to help you make the right decision.
Up To ¼ Acre
Up To 1/3 Acre
Up To ½ Acre
1 Acre And Up
Front-wheel drive (FWD)
Rear-wheel drive (RWD)
Top 5 Best Self Propelled Lawn Mower Reviews
9.5 /10Our Rating
Lawn-Boy 10732 Kohler XT6 OHV
8 /10Our Rating
9.5 /10Our Rating
Ego 21 in. 56-Volt Lithium-Ion
8.5 /10Our Rating
Black & Decker SPCM1936
8 /10Our Rating
Essential Factors to Consider
Buying a self-propelled mower is a wise decision since such units are easy to operate. They’re especially helpful for people who have health issues that would make standard mowers difficult to operate, or when you’re using the mower for steep hills. That said, there are many factors that you should consider when selecting a model, including the following ones:
Sound LevelOne big issue to consider is the amount of noise a self-propelled mower makes. An electric mower is much quieter than a petrol engine and transmission model. This could make it an excellent choice if you want to avoid disturbing your neighbors. On the other hand, it might not be an issue if you live in the countryside and the closest neighbor is far away.
There’s good news! You can find models that are relatively quiet. This is definitely a plus for people who want peace and quiet. However, keep in mind that all powered lawnmowers produce a certain amount of noise, so you could choose a reel mower if you want a 100% quiet mower. Another option is to choose self-propelled mowers that make less noise than other units.
FeaturesSelf-propelled mowers as with push mowers are available in a wide variety of features. For example, 3-in-1 cutting allows you for bagging, side-discharging, and mulcher for mulching, which provides different ways the mower cuts the grass. Another issue is cutting height adjustment, which can be critical during certain times of the year and types of grasses. There are many other features to consider including ergonomic designs, safety features, automatic speeds, and others. You can even add an electric start to a gas engine. It allows you to enjoy the power of a gas engine yet provides 1-touch start that’s much easier to operate than a pull start.
You should consider the fact that self-propelled mowers tend to require more maintenance than push mowers. That might cause you to choose the former. Why? It’s due in part to the clutch and belts that wear down over time. Another issue is that like all mowers they require blade maintenance. Yet another issue is that electric cordless battery operated mowers might need new batteries, but that’s usually only required after many years.
For all these reasons you should look for a long warranty, which can provide a big benefit. This will help to give you peace of mind about potential high costs of mower repair. Make sure to choose a mower that has at least a 2-year warranty, although it’s better if it’s good for 4 or 5 years. Otherwise you could end up with high maintenance costs.
If you’re mowing a flat lawn instead of hilly terrain then a self-propelled and push mower might produce the same results, although the former will provide easier operation. They are easy to use on even and angled terrain, which can make the work easier. When deciding whether or not to use a self-propelled mower you should consider how much ease-of-use you want to have and how large the lawn is.
How much is this going to cost me? There are units under $400, under $300, under $500, and deals to meet your budget. It’s a reasonable question to ask when shopping for any new product, including a self-propelled mower. Keep in mind that the maintenance costs of such units tend to be higher than push mowers, so buying a high-end mower will help to reduce the total cost of the unit. You should certainly consider what you’re getting for the value. For example, more bells and whistles or a more powerful engine will have a higher price tag but will provide other benefits in terms of saving time and energy, and make your mowing experience less challenging.
Keep in mind one of the key benefits of self-propelled mowers is their convenience, which is certainly a plus if you have health issues or hilly lawns that could affect your mowing. On the other hand, they’re all around more expensive than push mowers. The bottom line is that you should definitely weigh the pros and cons of self-propelled mowers, as well as particular models. There’s no inherent right or wrong answer about whether or not a particular unit is ideal for you. Instead, you should consider your particular mowing needs and the value that self-propelled units can provide you. That will help to determine whether or not such units are worth the price.
Most self-propelled mowers can handle the majority of terrains and yards. That’s because they are built to cut any type of grass, and have the power to handle most mower situations. That said, rear wheel drive can be very practical for steep slopes, and can also make it easier to use the unit in uphill or downhill operation. Front wheel drive is ok for flat/mild slopes. However, when a yard has steep slopes you should certainly consider rear-wheel drive. It really depends on the type of mowing that you’re doing. There are also many other factors to consider when choosing a self-propelled mower.
If you have a large yard then you’ll need a more powerful self-propelled mower, and typically that involves a gas-powered mower. However, you could always use an electric-powered unit you can produce less pollution, which is a plus. So whether or not you’re looking for a “green” mower, selecting an electric self-propelled mower can allow you to produce less pollution when mowing a lawn.
WeightThe lawn mower’s weight could be an issue if you might have trouble moving the mower from its storage area before a session, and then back there when you’re done. A self-propelled mower can help to counter the weight of the device, which is definitely a plus. However, you should make sure that you can move and store the mower easily. Bigger and more powerful models will usually have a greater weight. That’s also true of models that have a lot of bells and whistles. The bottom line is you should decide whether you want to give up some lawnmower power in order to operate a model that’s more lightweight.
The majority of lawn mowers have a variable speed. This can be adjusted easily while you’re mowing. There are even some mowers that have tech for adjusting the mowers’ speed to your walking pace. This helps to provide more ease when mowing a lawn. The maximum speeds are usually 3-5 km/h. That’s usually enough speed so you don’t really need to find mowers that have a faster speed.
Size of Lawn
In certain situations it would be better to use a push mower or reel mower. That’s because it would be a more practical option and could even save you money. However, if you have to mow a medium or large lawn, a self-propelled mower can definitely be helpful.
A gas mower is an excellent option for big lawns. Meanwhile, electric mowers could become an issue for large yards to their electrical cords. Cordless mowers could be used, but might become a problem if you don’t have a big charging capacity or spare batteries.
A mower that’s wider will result in a wider cut of grass. This could make it a good choice if you have a wide lawn. It will help to counter the extra weight and bulkiness of bigger lawn mowers. Another issue is that wider mowers might be more difficult to store depending on the facilities that are available, so you should also keep that in mind.
Types of Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers
Do you need a lawn mower that is going to be used for hills or for a flat surface? Are you looking for one that is easy to use? Interested in a mower that is better for the environment? In choosing which one to pick, there are generally two categories that can be taken into account.
- Gas SELF-PROPELLED LAWN MOWER
- Electric Self-Propelled
This is the perfect choice if you are looking for a mower that can be used for hills. It si more powerful compared to its electric counterparts. They can work well with whatever terrains and the effort that is required on your end will be lesser. Most of them are powered by old-rope yanks, which need to be pulled to start the motor. If you want the best value for money, choose one that comes with mulching, bagging, and side discharge options.
Some of the advantages of using Gas Lawn Mower include:
- Powerful Performance: Compared to electric counterparts, gas-powered mowers are more powerful. Even if the grass is thick an even if you are mowing in an uphill area, its performance will not be compromised.
- Practical Price: Most of the gas-powered mowers available in the market are affordable, especially the ones with basic features.
- No Mobility Limitations: You can move and mow around the yard without being limited by a power cord.
- Long-lasting: It is also believed to be more durable compared to electric mowers.
However, some of its disadvantages include:
- Creates Loud Noise: One of the most common complaints about this lawn mower is the annoying noise that it creates as you mow.
- Emits Exhaust: Since it is powered by gas, it has emissions that could engender the environment.
- Requires Cord Pulling: Most of the models of gas mowers require owners to pull the crank manually before it can start. Newer models have push-start button, but they can be more expensive.
As the name implies, this type of lawn mower is powered by electricity. There are two types of electric mowers. The first one is a corded mower, which usually has 14 to 20-inch cord. The second type is the cordless mower, which is better in terms of flexibility as you can mow even without having to be near a source of electricity. It is powered by a battery and its functional life will depend on the specific brand that will be chosen.
Some of the advantages of using electric lawn mower include:
- Good for the Environment: One of the best things about electric mowers is that they do not use gasoline. Hence, there are no carbon emissions that could bring danger for the environment.
- Operates with Less Noise: This is when compared to the other type of lawn mower that will be discussed.
- Easy to Use: If you are the kind of person who does not want to deal with complications, this is going to be an excellent choice. There is no need for pulling and pumping. Electric mowers can be easily started with a quick press of a button.
However, it also comes with drawbacks, such as the following:
- Limited Mowing Area: This, however, will only be true if you opt for a corded model. The length of the cord will limit its coverage.
- Limited Mowing Time: On the other hand, if you opt for a cordless model that is powered by a battery, the time that it functions will also be limited depending on the life of the battery.
- Limited Capability: Another common complaint is that it works well only in small, flat areas and may be unreliable in taller and thicker grass.
- Higher Price Tag: More often than not, electric mowers are more expensive because they employ a more innovative technology.
Your search for the best self-propelled lawn mower is not going to be a straightforward task. The choices will be almost endless, with each brand making their respective claims of being the best. Nonetheless, this should not be a reason for you to be overwhelmed. You should exert effort and spare time to differentiate one option from the other.
If you do not know which one to pick, keep an eye on the four models that we have mentioned above. Take a look at reviews from other users, making it easier to weigh the pros and cons of the options. You should also look at the innovative features that are present. Pay attention to how it is constructed and make sure that it is going to have a long functional life. Find one that is versatile enough to be used in different terrains and different types or sizes of grass. Most importantly, it should be user-friendly. After all, no one has the energy to deal with a stubborn lawn mower.
Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Maintenance Tips
If you want a lawn mower that’s easy to operate, you should definitely consider a self-propelled mower. Differing from a push mower, there’s no need to use a lot of energy pushing it around a lawn and up/down a hill. It’s also a wise option if you have health issues that would make a standard mower difficult to operate.
Ease-of-operation is definitely one of the main benefits of self-propelled mowers. However, they also generally provide less power than push mowers, and especially cordless battery powered units. Another key drawback is that they require more maintenance. This means that you should try to take the right steps to keep your mower operating at the best possible level. The good news is that taking certain steps in maintaining the unit will make the device operate as efficiently as possible. Here are some helpful tips:
1. Read the owner’s manual before you key start up the mower
Even if you’ve owned self-propelled mowers in the past this is a critical step to take like reading a buying guide. If you use and maintain the unit properly it’s likely that the mower will last for several years. On the other hand, if you don’t take that step you could end up using/maintaining the mower improperly, which could cause a ton of expenses and problems that you probably want to avoid.
2. Make sure all moving parts have stopped before routine maintenance
That includes tasks such as inspecting, cleaning, and fixing. You should also unplug the spark plug ignition wire. Ground it against the mower’s engine to prevent the unit from starting unintentionally. While it’s important to maintain your self-propelled mower, it should be done as safely as possible in order to avoid problems.
3. Get major repairs from an official dealer
This is important instead of taking the unit to a third-party repair shop. Performing regular maintenance will help to prevent many types of issues that you might have to deal with in terms of your mower.
However, in the case that you’re unable to repair the unit, you should certainly contact an official dealer. This will help to ensure that it’s done properly. Usually there are web tools to help you find an official dealer in your area. They’ll have experienced technicians and expertise about different products. That will help to ensure that you can get all the parts and service from one location, instead of multiple ones.
4. Change the oil regularly
This is a given, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. It’s important to use high-end oil to prevent the engine from seizing up. First, verify that the engine is warm. This will provide a complete drainage and allow any impurities to drain out with the oil. The next step is to let the oil release into a bucket/recycled milk jug.
There are 3 ways to remove the oil. You can use a dipstick after tilting the mower, via the drain plug, and an oil-extraction gadget. There’s no right or wrong method, but you should use whichever one is most convenient for you. Replace the plug then add new oil to the engine. Finally, it’s critical to dispose of the used engine oil properly. Do that by placing it in a clean plastic container that’s covered with a tight-fighting lid. It’s important not to mix the oil with any other substances including paint and gas. Then take the container to a service station, recycling center, or other location that accepts used oil.
5. Change the air filter
Like a furnace, a lawnmower works better when clean air is flowing through it. It’s important to replace the air filter periodically due to the mowing you’ve been doing. Just remove the filter. Then clean the area around it, and install a new air filter. This is one of the easiest yet most effective steps for optimizing the operation of your mower.
6. Replace spark plugs each season
It’s important to take this step each mowing season. On average you should put in a fresh one every season. This will result in faster starts and improved fuel economy. However, it’s important to correctly gap the spark plug before you start the installation. This is an easy maintenance step you can take to ensure that your mower is working as effectively as possible. It proves that you don’t have to spend a small fortune to keep your mower working as effectively as it can.
7. Regularly clean the mower
Any machine with moving parts requires maintenance. Since the mower has had long-term grass exposure, this can cause wear and tear on the unit. That’s due to exposure to grass, leaves, dirt, twigs, and other items.
It starts with removing surface debris from the unit, which is easy to do. It can be blown or brushed off. Sometimes there’s a deck wash-out port that can be connected to a hose in order to flush out all the pieces of grass and other debris below the mower’s deck. If your unit doesn’t have that feature you can tilt the mower onto its side and then use water to rinse the deck. If you see any bits of pieces stuck in the mower blade always use a stick to get it out. Never use your hands as it could become dangerous.
8. Inspect the unit after hitting a foreign object
It’s important to take this step even if the mower keeps operating. The reason is that it could result in damage of the mower, which is certainly a situation you want to avoid. In this case you should first turn off the engine. Then disconnect the spark plug ignition wire. Next, ground it against the engine. Afterwards, inspect the mower carefully for any damage that might have occurred. If you find any damage repair the damage. Then start up the mower and operate it again. However, it’s critical to take all these steps to ensure that the operation of your self-propelled mower is optimized. Operating the mower when a foreign object is lodged underneath can cause a lot of damage to the unit.
9. Sharpen blades twice per season
This will help to ensure the blades work properly and your lawn looks healthy. On the other hand, mowing with a dull blade tears up the grass blades, which results in the grass being ragged, a weakened plant, and promoting disease. On the other hand, a sharp blade provides a clean cut. This helps to plant to heal over time, and allows it to recover faster. The process of sharpening the blade is a relatively simple process. In addition, a do-it-yourself fan can handle the task after doing a little research, or with the help of a lawn mower dealer in your neighborhood. Regardless of how it’s done it’s important that the blades get sharpened on a regular basis to provide maximum efficiency.
10. Check the blade/engine mounting balls
Examine them from time to time to ensure that the tightness is proper. You should also visually check the mower’s blade for damage. For example, check if it’s bent, cracked, or worn out. Make sure to only use the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) blade when changing the blade. If you use parts that aren’t OEM parts it could result in bad performance and even cause safety issues. Such parts have a lower price tag, but it’s not worthwhile if it compromises their function or safety.
11. Handle mower blades properly
Mower blades are quite sharp and can cut your hands. Thus, it’s important to always wear gloves when handling blades and wrap them. You should use extra care when servicing the blades as they’re particularly dangerous in that situation because you’re twisting and turning the item to perform maintenance.
Frequently Asked Questions
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