Our Review of 6 of the Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers Available - Zacs Garden

Our Review of 6 of the Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers Available


IF YOUR HOUSE HAS ANY lawn around it all, one of the most important tools you can have in your garden shed, is a good lawn mower. If you are like me, you are probably old enough to remember the old “push” mower whose blades only turned as fast as you pushed the mower. Talk about making for long hot and sweaty summer days. Today, most of us are turning to Lawn self-propelled lawn mowers that take most of the hard work out of keeping our lawns under control.

The Basics

For this section, I am going to assume that you know that a self-propelled lawn mower uses a transmission or belt to connect the drive wheels to the engine. This makes it possible for you to simply walk behind the mower controlling the direction of travel without having to push the mower along. To engage the transmission, most self-propelled lawn mowers have a lever on the handle that you squeeze. Then the mower will move forward slowly under its own power.

Front-Wheel or Rear-Wheel Drive

lawn mower wheel

This is a big question for those who are buying a self-propelled lawn mower for the first time. If you are blessed with a nice flat yard, a front-wheel drive mower might be your best choice. But, if you have a yard with lots of ups and downs and lots of corners to navigate, you might find a front-wheel drive model harder to handle. Rear wheel drive mowers are a better choice as they tend to be easier to maneuver. Also note, that if you plan on bagging your trimmings, a Image courtesy Gardenlines rear-wheel drive makes a better option as the added weight is on the back wheels, adding more traction without affecting your ability to maneuver the mower around your yard.

Wheel Size

When it comes to wheels, you may have already noticed that mowers come with all sizes of wheel. Big ones, little one, and some in between. Those with smaller wheels are ideal for yards that are nice and flat. But if you have a yard with lots of bumps and uneven ground, you should consider buying a mower with larger wheels, they will make it much easier for you to maneuver around your yard.

Wheel Adjustment

lawn wheel adjustment

At the same time, you might want to consider how the wheel height adjustment is made. Some models use a lever at each wheel, others use a single lever that adjusts all four wheels at the same time. If you don't plan to make too many height adjustments, the style of adjuster may not matter. But on the other hand, if you have to constantly change heights as you mow your property, you may find the single-lever style makes a better choice.

Type of Blade

Today there are three different styles of cutting blade available for self-propelled lawn mowers. These are mowing, mulching, and bagging. Few mowers come with a straight mowing blade today as consumers tend to be more interested in combination blades. The best blades are those that combine all three features into a single blade. The mowers equipped with these blades have a bag on the back with a closeable flap and a removable plug on the side that a discharge chute can be attached to. If you leave the flap down and the plug in place, you have a mulching mower. If you have never used one before, you may find you fall in love with a mulching mower as it makes clean up a breeze and provides your lawn with much needed nutrition.

Power Source

Gone are the days of noisy two-stroke engines, mixing oil and gas, and endless stinky polluting exhaust fumes. Today's self-propelled lawn mowers come with your choice of four-stroke gasoline engines or cordless electric motors. While gasoline powered models may more powerful and a better choice for those with large lawns, smaller cordless models have their own uses. Today, you may find you have to check with your municipality and HOA as gasoline powered garden equipment is being banned in favor of electric (corded) and cordless equipment.

Options You Might Find Come In Handy

Just like buying a new car, when you set out to buy a new self-propelled lawn mower, there are many available options you might want to consider adding.

  • Adjustable Handle Bars – this way the height can be adjusted for a more comfortable fit.
  • Variable Drive – this way you can adjust the drive speed to suit your pace and the terrain.
  • Blade Override – this allows you to stop the blade without having to turn off the engine.
  • A Washout Port – many new mowers are coming with a deck washout port designed to make keeping the inside of the deck clean.

Our Pick for the Top 5 Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers

So now that you have an idea of what you should be looking for and thinking about in your search for a new self-propelled lawn mower, let's take a look at five of the top-rated models on the market.

Honda HRX

The Honda HRX offers an innovativedrives system Honda calls Smart Drive® designed to offer better overall speed control. With a twist of the dial you can adjust the speed from 0 to 4 mph. Along with this, you get electric start, micro-cut twin blades, and a Clip Director that lets you bag, mulch, shred leaves, or discharge. Honda is the only company to offer the NeXite® deck. The GCV190 187cc engine has more than enough power for most yards.

One of the most powerful enginesA little on the loud side
2.5-bushell clipping bagA little on the heavy side
Micro-cut blade provides a nice even cutControls can be a bit confusing

Troy-Bilt TB220

This Troy-Bilt self-propelled lawn mower features a 159cc OHV engine and front-wheel drive. The231-inch deck and lightweight design makes this mower an excellent choice for small and medium sized yards. The dual-lever design makes choosing one of the three heights for better mulching, bagging or side discharging. Comes with a 1.9-bushell clipping bag. The handle has been ergonomically comfortable for those long days of mowing.

Easy to assembleLow bag capacity of only 1.9 bushels
Lightweight, only 80 lbs.Lots of plastic parts
Easy speed adjustmentFront-wheel drive looses traction going up hills

Poulan Pro 961420127

Imagine buying a lawn mower from a company that offers you a guarantee that your mower will start within two pullsonf the starter rope.  This Poulan mower offers you mulch, bag, and discharge options.  The four height adjusters offer nine settings and the 22-inch cut is big enough for most lawns. Features 12 -inch wheels in the rear and 8-inch wheels up front, perfect for most mowing conditions. Powered by a 150cc Briggs & Stratton Auto Choke engine.

Powerful engineLowering mechanism must be fixed manually
Large wheels for better maneuverabilitySome quality control issues
3 in 1 cutting capabilities 

Husqvarna 961450023

Powered by a Honda 160cc 4cycle OHV engine, this self-propelled lawn mower from Husqvarna offers a 22-inch steel deck designed with side discharge, mulching, and bagging capability. The Auto walk drive system lets you control mowing speed. For smoother operation and durability both front and rear wheels ride on ball bearings. The handle has three positions allowing you to set the height to match your own. This mower offers Low-wheel, High-Wheel, and All-Wheel drive options.
Image courtesy Amazon

Auto choke makes for easy startingNoisy
Auto walk system offers exceptional tractionLots of plastic parts
Easy to maneuverThe wheels lock up when you pull it backwards

Lawn-Boy 17732

With so many mowers coming equipped with Briggs & Stratton or Honda motors, it's refreshing to see Lawn-Boy opting to go with a Kohler engine. This 149cc engine is so highly thought of that Lawn-Boy has a warranty that states if the mower doesn't start within two pulls, they will fix it for free. Like most self-propelled lawn mowers, this one offers side discharge, mulch, and bagging capabilities. There are only two height adjustments, which may not be enough for every yard.

Rear-wheel drive  Some issues with setup
Guaranteed easy startWill not cut very short grass
Large wheels offer better control & maneuverabilityHard to pull back

An Environmentally Friendly Option

One of the best things about this Greenworks self-propelled lawn mower is that it has a 19-inch steel cutting deck. Along with the standard three cutting options, this mower is designed to cover a large area in a short time, helping you to get the most out of the battery. The cool thing is that you get two batteries to extend your mowing time.

Eco-friendlyOnly for small to medium lawns
Long-life powerful lithium ion batteryWill not cut very short grass
Large wheels offer better control & maneuverabilityIssues with battery life

The Final Cut

I hope all of the information I have gathered together helps you make the right choice when you are ready to buy your next self-propelled mower. I am a firm believer in doing my homework before spending my money, so I hope that my research helps. If you like what you have read here, please let me know. If you know of anything you would like to see included, please contact me here.

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