Bruce owns a small farm and loves to grill since his early childhood. He’s a professional cook, but hiking and enjoying the great outdoors is his no less favorite part of life.
Last updated: March 01, 2021
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A lawn mower is vital to keep your yard looking neat and tidy. However, keeping your lawn trimmed can be back-breaking work, but this is where a self-propelled mower can help.
Our team of researchers reviewed 15 self-propelled mowers to assess how they perform. We compiled a list of top picks and selected an editor’s choice, the Greenworks MO40L02. This model offers excellent features and a great build quality. However, we’ve also ranked other mowers at different price points to ensure a top pick for every budget.
Our researchers spent days evaluating the mowers. They looked at the types of engine and motor options, which influence how much power is available, but they also checked the cutting width and height, warranty and other crucial features. We’ve presented the findings in a basic overview table and a list of detailed reviews. We have also included a buying guide to assist you in finding the best self-propelled lawn mower.
The Greenworks MO40L02 may be the best self-propelled lawn mower under $400 and this is why we’ve made this model our editor’s choice. This is a very powerful mower considering that this is a battery powered electric mower. This also makes this lawn mower quiet and you can even have a conversation without shouting as you work. This lawnmower feels light as it drives over your lawn and it makes short work of small and large lawns alike.
This cordless self-propelled lawn mower has a 21” cutting deck with a two black setup. This makes the grass cutting more efficient and there are three waste disposal methods to choose from. The waste can be collected in a bag, it can be mulched or it can be deposited on the ground at the side of the lawn mower. The lawn mower is light even when it’s full and because the cutting deck is efficient it only takes a few stops to empty the bag.
The Greenworks MO40L02 has a very interesting dual battery storage design. If you need to mow a bigger lawn you can switch out batteries half way through for more power. This lawn mower can also be collapsed and folded making it 70% smaller than most other mowers and easier to store. When this lawn mower is collapsed the key features are protected and you can even store this unit alongside your other tools.
What we liked:
The 21” cutting deck is efficient
There are three ways to discharge waste
This is a cordless unit with a clever battery storage design
Users liked the collapsing feature for easier storage
What could be better:
Each of the single batteries has a run time of around 20 minutes
The Honda HRX217K5VKA is our premium pick and it may be the best self-propelled lawn mower under $500 on the market today. This excellent lawn mower uses the “Select Drive” system paired with a GCV200 engine and a 4-in-1 “Versamow System”. This feature allows the use of bag, mulch, discharge or even shred leaves using a single lawn mower.
This lawn mower has a NeXite cutting deck equipped with “MicroCut” twin blades. The Honda HRX217K5VKA has a five-year warranty and the cutting deck is supported with a limited lifetime warranty. The Select Drive system allows the user to adjust their speed from 0-4 mph. A “Clip Director” knob is an interesting feature that allows the user to choose how much grass they want to mulch or grass at once. This type of feature is also available on some other mowers but this requires expensive attachments.
What we liked:
Many users believe that this is the best Honda self-propelled lawn mower at this price point
The Select Drive feature is easy to use and you can mow at the ideal speed
The five-year warranty shows that Honda has confidence in this lawn mower
This lawn mower has a rust free and dent proof mowing deck with a lifetime warranty
What could be better:
Some users have mentioned that only a 20” cut is available
The Snapper SX21SPWM82K is a self-propelled electric lawn mower that runs on batteries. This mower is substantial and yet it’s much easier to move around when compared to a gas driven alternative. This is a powerful lawn mower with plenty of cutting power and it can even handle uneven surfaces. The battery management system takes every drop of power before switching to the second battery.
This lawnmower has a powerful 120-watt brushless motor, 8” front wheels and a formidable 21” cutting deck. The rear 10” wheels provide plenty of effortless roll over any ruts and bumps in the cutting surface. The frame is very sturdy and the entire lawn mower feels solid and sturdy. The operation is whisper quiet and the user can easily have a conversation when working.
Despite the hefty weight the Snapper SX21SPWM82K is very easy to use and maneuver around your lawn. This mower can be started with a single button press and the powerful motor starts instantly. The handle has an ergonomic design that can be folded down for easy vertical storage that saves almost 70% of the space required for a traditional lawn mower. This lawn mower weighs in at 90 lbs and it is a little heavier than many alternative electric mowers on the market.
What we liked:
Users like the smart rapid charging
The run time is a generous 45 minutes
This lawn mower is easy to store
What could be better:
The 90 lb weight might be too taxing for some users
The Worx WG779 is a popular cordless lawn mower, it’s powered by a pair of 20v lithium ion batteries that have a good running time. The 14” cutting blade is made from metal which makes it a robust alternative to many lawn mowers that have plastic blades. This may be the best self-propelled lawn mower for under 300 dollars. Around 360 cubic feet of grass can be cut in a single minute and the power is adjusted automatically as required. This produces a very smooth and even grass cutting experience on any kind of lawn.
This lawn mower has a pair of batteries that provide more power than you would find on a typical power tool. The batteries can be recharged fully in around 2 hours and they are easy to replace as needed. An eco-mode can be used to save battery power when cutting longer grass and the height can be adjusted to get the perfect cut. This feature is known as “Intellicut” and it helps to preserve your battery power for longer cutting sessions. The Worx powershare range uses interchangeable lithium ion batteries and the WG779 is part of this range.
The WG779 lawn mower is a light and well-designed self-propelled push lawn mower. With a weight of just 35.2 lbs virtually anyone can easily move this product around. A single pass is all that’s needed and mulching is simple.
What we liked:
Many users found this lawn mower to be light, quiet and easy to use
Eco-mode is the best setting to cut bigger lawns
What could be better:
One user mentioned that the turbo mode drains the battery very quickly
The Lawn-Boy 17732 may be the best self-propelled gas lawn mower at this price point. We have made this model our best budget pick because it offers a lot for a relatively low price. This is a rear drive mower which delivers plenty of traction and great control on uneven surfaces. The cutting width is a generous 21” and you can cut patterns on any settings. There is a 2-point height cuttin system and the machine can be started with 1-2 pulls.
This lawn mower is easy to handle, it’s an ideal self-propelled lawn mower for hill or incline use and on the flat. The engine is a Kohler XTX OHV engine that provides plenty of power
Interestingly, Lawn-Boy offers a unique guarantee known as the 3-year Tru-Start Commitment. The company guarantees that the mower will start with just one or two pulls. If this isn’t working, they will fix the mower for free. In addition, a full 2-year warranty is offered with this lawn mower.
What we liked:
One user described this as the best entry level lawn mower on the market
The user can choose between bagging, mulching and discharging
The “Tri-cut” cutting system is a light and durable cutting platform
What could be better:
One user mentioned that the mulching feature is not good
The front axle is secured with plastic fins that are less durable than the rest of the mower
Things to Consider
If you want to keep your lawn looking healthy and great, you need the right lawn mower. However, with the variety of mowers on the market, it can be tricky to find the right one. So, here we’ve compiled a buying guide with features to consider and answers to some frequently asked questions.
Features to consider when purchasing a self-propelled lawn mower
With so many mowers on the market, you may find it challenging to find the right one for your yard. So, here we’ll look at the important features to consider before you make your final purchase decision.
There are two motor choices, they are: electric or gas and each have their own pros and cons. An electric mower such as the Greenworks MO40L02 will be quieter but you may have a power cord and this can cause issues. A gas lawn mower is noisier, there can be fumes, but you have the freedom to move anywhere with any power cord issues. Many modern electric lawn mowers such as the Snapper SX21SPWM82K run on lithium ion batteries. They can be a viable alternative to a gas-powered mower but they have reduced running times.
Most modern lawn mowers have an engine in the 140-190cc range but some can have smaller 125cc engines. A large engine is better for pushing through taller grass and weeds making it a great choice for a commercial self-propelled lawn mower. The extra torque is very useful when bagging waste and if the terrain is uneven. However, if your lawn is under control, a larger engine is a luxury that you probably don’t need for day to day mowing. In most cases a lawn mower in the aforementioned range will be more than enough to get the lawn in great shape.
Cutting swath and height
The deck height should be controllable with either 1, 2 or even 4 levers. A single height adjustment is the most simple to use, but it needs more linkage and this can add significant complexity and weight.
If you find that you need to constantly adjust the deck height this can be a good option but most users will use 2-4 levers and this works well.
An electric start self-propelled lawn mower is very easy to use, simply push a button or twist a key and you’re ready to go. This is a fantastic option, but it’s not a common feature on every lawn mower. A budget gas power lawn mower such as the Lawn-Boy 17732 will have a pull to get the motor started. But, if you tune your lawnmower engine and use the correct fuel it’s likely that you won’t have any starting issues under normal operating conditions.
A zero turn or z turn riding lawn mower can be very helpful in tighter areas. This is a standard mower that has a tiny turning radius that’s pretty much zero and this makes turning easier. A zero-turn lawn mower usually drives quickly and it will be more expensive than a conventional riding mower of a similar size and specification. If you need a riding mower and you need a lot of maneuverability a zero-turn mower will be a worthwhile investment.
Many walk-behind self-propelled lawn mower machines have a single speed setting and others such as the Honda HRX217K5VKA can be adjusted at 0-4 mph. If you have a larger lawn you need a faster or variable speed lawn mower to cover the area in a reasonable amount of time. A smaller lawn only really needs a single speed lawn mower to get the job done in a reasonable amount of time.
There are many self-propelled lawn mowers that can be very noisy during normal operations. The worst culprits are gas powered mowers and they can be disturbing for your home and your neighbors. Most people don’t mind the noise of mowers for brief periods of time but if you have a larger area to cover the sound can get old fast. If the level of noise is an important factor in your choice of a new lawn mower there are electric mower models to meet your needs.
Look for a lithium ion powered model such as the Worx WG779 on our list. These types of lawn mowers are whisper quiet and you can mow your grass at any time without disturbing anyone.
The main attachment of any modern lawn mower is the bag that collects the waste as you mow your lawn. The more expensive models will typically have a very durable bag that may have dust blocking features. If you usually bag when using your lawn mower then you need this feature and this is especially true when dealing with leaves and other debris in the fall. If you don’t tend to use a bag or you tend to use a self-propelled mulching lawn mower the standard bag supplied with the mower would suffice.
Like any other product a lawn mower should have a solid manufacturer’s warranty in place to give the customer peace of mind. A longer warranty shows that the manufacturer is confident in their products. Some lawn mowers such as the Honda HRX217K5VKA may even have a separate warranty for the cutting. The cutting deck is a hard-working component and it can be vulnerable to damage in harsher mowing conditions.
A lawn mower is a fairly bulky item and it can take up a great deal of space in your garage or toolshed. A collapsible or folding lawn mower such as the Greenworks MO40L02 can be a real space saver. If you don’t have a lot of free storage space this could be a key feature that will make your lawn mower easier to store when you’re finished mowing.
Some modern lawn mowers have extra safety features to make the mowing process even safer. This could be an automatic shut-off that powers the mower down when the user takes their hand off the handle. This is a very useful feature because there are many visits to the emergency each year by self-propelled lawn mower users. Other gas-powered lawn mowers may have a fuel shut-off safety feature to minimize the chances of an accidental fire. If you have an electric lawn mower with a power cord make sure the cord is protected against damage if the mower runs over it.
Self-propelled mowers can take the hard work out of keeping your lawn neat and tidy. So, if you’re struggling to keep your yard in order, a self-propelled mower is well worth the investment.
As you can see, there are some great self-propelled mowers on the market. From the Snapper SX21SPWM82K with its generous run time and smart rapid charging to the Honda HRX217K5VKA offering excellent a 4-in-1 “Versamow System” and the reassurance of a lifetime warranty. However, the stand out as the best self-propelled lawn mower has to be our editor’s choice, the Greenworks MO40L02.
The Greenworks MO40L02 has a powerful motor yet it operates quite quietly. There is also a dual battery storage system, so you can easily switch out your batteries half way through mowing a larger lawn. The MO40L02 can also be folded and collapsed to make storage easier when not in use.