10 Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers of 2024
Considering a self-propelled lawn mower? We'll cover what features to look for and list outstanding options in 10 categories.
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Buying a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Self-propelled lawn mowers are essentially push mowers with a drive system that adds forward momentum. While they can dramatically reduce the effort of mowing a lawn, they come with some trade-offs. Self-propelled mowers are heavier and more expensive than a standard push mower, and their additional parts mean more potential mechanical failures and maintenance costs.
Here are some factors to consider when shopping for a self-propelled lawn mower:
- Price: Expect to pay at least $300, with a maximum of around $1,400. Most homeowners end up in the $350 to $900 range. If you’re shopping around the holidays, make sure to take advantage of these lawn mower sales.
- Cutting deck: This is the shroud that houses the blades. A larger deck means it takes fewer passes to cut a lawn, beneficial for larger yards. But if you need to mow tight spots between bushes, or have a narrow gate, make sure the deck will fit. Most self-propelled mowers have a 21-in. cutting deck.
- Power source: Mowers are gas-powered, corded electric or cordless electric. Electric mowers have made huge gains in recent years, and now cordless self-propelled mowers are more common.
- Maintenance: All mowers need their blades sharpened every year or so, and grass clippings cleaned out frequently. Gas mowers require slightly more maintenance, things like oil filter and spark plug replacements. Mower maintenance can be a good DIY project, or you can bring it to a service center. Annual maintenance for a self-propelled mower runs around $125 to $170.
- Features: These tend to have more bells and whistles than other kinds of mowers. Look for large rear wheels, bagging options, simple-start motors and vibration dampening.
- Variable speed: A fixed-speed self-propelled drive isn’t ideal unless you find one that perfectly matches your walking speed. Look for a mower with multiple speed settings within easy reach so that you can adjust it to account for terrain. Some models match their speed to your walking pace automatically. This is particularly beneficial if you have a yard with irregular terrain or tight turns, where you’ll be speeding up and slowing down repeatedly.
- Drive type: Like cars, self-propelled mowers are available in front-wheel, rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is a good choice for uneven yard. Front-wheel drive is often the most affordable. Rear-wheel drive is better if you’ll use a bagging attachment, where the added weight shifts the center of balance toward the rear.
Best Budget Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
The Troy-Bilt TB210 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower is a no-frills mower for DIYers on a budget. It comes with front-wheel drive, options for mulching and side discharge, a 1.9-bushel bag to collect clippings and a hose attachment for easy deck clean out. It’s all covered by a two-year warranty.
Best Splurge Self-Propelled Mower
The Ego Power+ Model LM2156SP Self-Propelled Lawn Mower is pricier than most other mowers on this list, but also comes with more customization options. Many mowers offer mulching, discharge or bagging options, but most close off the discharge port to keep the clippings in the deck longer. This mower goes about it differently.
It has two blades, stacked one above the other. The top blade is fixed, but the bottom blade can be swapped out for ones designed for mulching, high-lift bagging or extended run time. The 56-volt battery runs up to 75 minutes to tackle larger yards. This rear wheel drive model comes with a five-year warranty.
Best Rear Wheel Drive Self-Propelled Mower
The well-built Troy-Bilt TB300XP Self-Propelled Lawn Mower comes at a reasonable price. Made in the U.S., it features rear-wheel drive, a hose port for cleaning out the deck, and options for mulching, side discharge and clipping collection (bag included). It’s all backed by a three-year limited warranty.
Best Front Wheel Drive Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Mowers in Toro’s Recycler line are well regarded for their balance of price and performance. The Toro 21442 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower costs slightly more than our budget pick, but offers a larger cutting deck (22 inches) and a powerful Briggs and Stratton engine.
We like the slightly larger rear wheels to aid in maneuvering corners and turns. Many front-wheel drive mowers have four wheels of the same size.
Best All Wheel Drive Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
For especially bumpy and uneven lawns, the Troy-Bilt TB400-XP Self-Propelled Lawn Mower is a great choice. It offers front-, rear- or all-wheel drive options as your conditions require. Choose between mulching, side discharge and bagging in an extra-large 2.3-bushel bagger. It’s all covered by the XP series three-year warranty.
Best Self-Propelled Mower for Easy Storage
The Toro Recycler 21466 SmartStow Self-Propelled Lawn Mower is our favorite for incredibly easy equipment storage. It’s certainly not the only mower that folds to store vertically, but this 22-in. mower is particularly well-designed.
The SmartStow line has been around for a few years, and these mowers fold into storage mode easier than many of their competitors. Plus, cordless models weigh less than comparably-sized gas mowers, without gas or oil to drip out when stored vertically. However, a self-propelled drive train adds a fair amount of weight, so you may opt to store it against a wall rather than hanging it.
This model uses Toro’s Personal Pace variable-speed drive, a nice feature for homeowners who want maximum control over their mow speed. One drawback: With an estimated cut time of up to 40 minutes, you’ll max out at around one-third of an acre before needing to recharge.
Best One-Touch Start Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Want the easy start of an electric mower without sacrificing the feel and power of gas? Then take a look at the Yard Force YF22ESSPV Self-Propelled Lawn Mower.
While this 21-in. mower runs on a traditional Briggs and Stratton gas engine, a rechargeable 20-volt battery powers the starter. That means no more yanking a starter cord. The self-propelled drive is variable speed, although it’s controlled by a lever rather than responding to your walking speed. It ships with a two-bushel bag for grass clippings.
Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower for Mulching
If you’d rather return some nutrients to your lawn by mulching grass clippings, then consider the Honda HRX217HYA Self-Propelled Lawn Mower. Honda bills this as a four-in-one mower thanks to its Versamow System. You’ll be able to mulch, bag, shred leaves or discharge, but only from the rear, which we’re not crazy about.
However, we like how the mower adjusts between bagging and mulching modes. And its MicroCut Twin Blades shred grass more finely than many competing models, making it easier for clippings to filter back to the ground. A lever mounted near the handle controls the rear-wheel drive variable speed.
Best Gas Self-Propelled Mower for Large Yards
If you don’t mind spending more for a quality mower, your best bet is a Toro TimeMaster Self-Propelled Lawn Mower. For that high price, you get a massive cutting deck and a powerful Briggs and Stratton motor.
The 30-in. deck makes this mower almost 50 percent wider than most other self-propelled models. That means you’ll be done mowing and back to enjoying your summer faster. Toro backs this mower with a three-year warranty.
Best Cordless Self-Propelled Lawn Mower for Large Yards
The Greenworks MO40L4413 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower is another great choice for a large lawn, albeit with a different approach than the TimeMaster’s large cutting deck. This 21-in mower uses two 40-volt batteries that don’t discharge simultaneously. When one is drawn down, the mower switches over to the other, resulting in longer run time.
Plus, this mower comes with options to mulch, side discharge or bag your clippings. And the batteries have USB ports, so you can charge your phone as you mow! The mower and battery are covered by three-year warranties.
All prices and links were current as of publication.