Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers in 2021

Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers
Image by Volok Hatiuk / Canva Photos

If you are getting tired of pushing your old lawn mower around, one of the best self-propelled lawn mowers might be for you. Instead of fighting to push your mower around your yard, a self-propelled mower will get you moving with less effort on your part and help to make yard work feel a little less like a chore. 

In our search for the best self-propelled lawn mowers, the Honda 3-in-1 Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Mower quickly cut out the competition and made its way to the top of our list. This rear-wheel-drive machine offers a ton of adjustable features and runs with a variable speed 170cc engine. Also, the reviews for this machine are extensive and highly favorable.

Our Top Picks: Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers

Here’s a quick glimpse of our favorite self-propelled lawn mowers on the market.

1. Honda 3-in-1 Self-Propelled Gas Mower with Auto Choke

The best self-propelled lawn mowers overall

Honda 3-in-1 Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Mower with Auto Choke

Brand: Honda | Deck Width: 21 Inches | Drive Type: Rear-Wheel Drive | Speed: Variable | Power Source: Gas | Cutting Height Range: 1.8-4 Inches | Price: 💰💰💰

This Honda lawn mower offers a variable speed that adjusts to meet your stride. You have the option of mulch, bagging, and discharging for your cut grass disposal. With two micro blades, the Honda will give you a fine cut on clippings making mulching and bagging easier. The handle is adjustable with two positions to provide a comfortable mowing experience. When finished, simply fold the handle up for compact storage. 

Beyond just being our overall favorite, this is probably the best self-propelled lawn mower under $500. It offers a ton of features that allow you to customize the trim to your yard. Even the cutting height is manually adjustable to seven positions so you can get your preferred cut every time.

  • It maneuvers well and gets good traction
  • It’s easy to switch between bagging and mulching
  • The height adjustments are marked and easy to read

  • Not good on wet grass
  • The level to power the mower is somewhat awkward to use

2. Greenworks Self-Propelled Cordless Lawn Mower

The best eco-friendly self-propelled lawn mowers

Greenworks Self-Propelled Cordless Lawn Mower

Brand: Greenworks | Deck Width: 21 Inches | Drive Type: Rear-Wheel Drive | Speed: Variable | Power Source: Battery | Cutting Height Range: 1.4-3.75 Inches| Price: 💰💰💰💰💰

If you’re looking for an electric mower but still want a self propeller, look no further. Battery advancements have made it so that electric mowers have enough juice to power self-propelled wheels as well! This one has a 3-in-1 cutting deck, seven cutting-height adjustments, and extra storage for a second backup battery. And, when it comes to weight, electric mowers are the way to go. If you’ve been searching for the best lightweight self-propelled lawn mower, this Greenworks model should be at the top of your list. 

  • It’s effortless to adjust the height
  • So much quieter than a gas mower
  • The vertical storage ability is a lifesaver

  • The battery is difficult to remove
  • Mulching sometimes leaves larger chunks

3. Troy-Bilt Check Don’t Change Oil Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

The best budget self-propelled lawn mowers

Troy-Bilt Check Dont Change Oil Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Brand: Troy-Bilt | Deck Width: 21 Inches | Drive Type: Front-Wheel Drive | Speed: Variable | Power Source: Gas | Cutting Height Range: 1.25-3.75 Inches | Price: 💰

With the 159cc motor and 21-inch blade base, you’ll be able to cruise through your mowing in no time. This particular model has a variable speed front-wheel drive. There are two settings for cut height and three options for dealing with the cut grass: mulching, bagging, and side discharging. The cutting height on this Troy-Bilt mower ranges from 1.25 to 3.75 inches. The specially designed motor on this mower eliminates the need to perform oil changes. All you’ll need to do is check the oil level before you mow and top it off when needed.

  • Cuts well
  • Very affordable
  • Easy to assemble

  • The catch basket is on the smaller side
  • Some reviewers had issues with rusting decks

4. Craftsman 3-in-1 High-Wheeled Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

The best front-wheel drive self-propelled lawn mowers

Craftsman 3-in-1 High-Wheeled Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Brand: Craftsman | Deck Width: 21 Inches | Drive Type: Front-Wheel Drive | Speed: Variable | Power Source: Gas | Cutting Height Range: 1.25-3.75 Inches | Price: 💰💰

This self-propelled mower is ideal for those with a small or medium yard. The 159cc self-propelled engine has an electric start, auto choke, and a cutting width of 21 inches. You’ve got both mulching and side discharge availability with this guy, along with a collection bag attached to the rear of the mower. This model’s power resides in the front wheels, making it easy to maneuver around smaller yards and obstacles.

The cutting height adjusts from 1.25 inches to 3.75 inches, with six different cutting positions in this range for a fully customized cut. Both the front and rear wheels come with zag treading to help with traction. This mower is a first-rate machine from a reliable brand, and it’s one of the best Craftsman self-propelled lawn mowers available. 

  • It cuts tall and thick grass
  • The front-wheel drive helps with turning
  • The electric start is much easier than using a pull cord

  • It doesn’t get the best traction 
  • It seems to be a bit underpowered

5. RYOBI Cordless Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

The best electric self-propelled lawn mowers

RYOBI Cordless Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Brand: RYOBI | Deck Width: 20 Inches | Drive Type: Rear-Wheel Drive | Speed: Variable | Power Source: Battery | Cutting Height Range: 1.5-4 Inches | Price: 💰💰

Brushless motor, compact storage, Up to half an acre per charge, headlights

This is easily the top-rated self-propelled lawn mower that doesn’t rely on gas for power. This RYOBI machine comes with a 40-volt battery and charger that can mow up to half an acre on a single charge. You can choose to bag, mulch, or use the side discharger as you walk behind this quiet electric mower. It offers a seven-position adjustable cutting height, a brushless motor, headlights, and an adjustable handle that collapses for convenient storage.

  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • The headlights are a nice touch
  • It folds up nicely to save space in the garage

  • Not great for uneven terrain 
  • A fully charged battery doesn’t last long

6. Weibang Gas Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

The best self-propelled lawn mowers for hills

Weibang Gas Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Brand: Weibang | Deck Width: 21 Inches | Drive Type: Rear-Wheel Drive | Speed: Variable | Power Source: Gas | Cutting Height Range: .5-4 Inches | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰

This is one of the best rear-wheel-drive self-propelled lawn mowers available. Not only is this machine incredibly durable, but it’s also repeatedly praised for its ability to handle hills. It has a professional, 3-speed transmission and steel cutting deck that runs on a 196cc belt-driven engine. Beyond just being a robust climber, this mower handles all kinds of terrain and weather conditions. It also offers a single-lever height adjustment for convenience and an adjustable handle that folds for easy storage. 

  • Works for larger lawns
  • It doesn’t leave clumps of grass
  • Extremely powerful and gets through tall grass

  • Difficult to maneuver in tight spots 
  • The mower is heavy and hard to push manually

7. Husqvarna Self-Propelled Battery Lawn Mower

The best ergonomic handle self-propelled lawn mowers

Husqvarna Self-Propelled Battery Lawn Mower

Brand: Husqvarna | Deck Width: 21 Inches | Drive Type: Rear-Wheel Drive | Speed: Variable | Power Source: Battery | Cutting Height Range: 1-3 Inches | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰

Husqvarna is known for its quality robot lawn mowers, and this machine is no exception in terms of quality, but this isn’t a hands-off mower. It does require a person to operate it. Fortunately, the soft-grip handle makes mowing a comfortable and pleasant experience. This is the best Husqvarna self-propelled lawn mower at hand.

The 21-inch cutting width will cut your acreage quickly and smoothly. This mower also has a 3-in-1 cutting system letting you decide between bagging, side discharging, or mulching to dispose of your debris. When you finish mowing, just roll this lightweight machine back to your garage and store it vertically to save floor space.

  • It cuts evenly
  • It comes with two batteries
  • Lightweight and easy to use

  • Insufficient packaging 
  • The BioClip mulching blade isn’t included

8. Lawn-Boy Gross Torque Kohler Electric Start

The best electric start self-propelled lawn mowers

Lawn-Boy Gross Torque Kohler Electric Start

Brand: Lawn-Boy | Deck Width: 21 Inches | Drive Type: Rear-Wheel Drive | Speed: Variable | Power Source: Gas | Cutting Height Range: 1.25-3.75 Inches | Price: 💰💰

Electric start self-propelled lawn mowers still require gas to help power the propelled wheels, but it lowers the overall emissions tremendously. Lawn-Boy doesn’t sacrifice power by combining the electric and gas features. It has a 2-point height adjustment system that makes it easy to make quick changes based on your lawn’s needs. This Lawn-Boy model is an excellent choice if you want the best self-propelled lawn mower under $400. Overall, this is a powerful self-propelled lawn mower at a great price to get so many features. 

  • It’s good at mulching
  • Works on bumpy lawns
  • Very economical when it comes to gas use

  • The height adjustment can wear out
  • The grass catcher sometimes lets debris slip out

What to Look For

Man Choosing one of the Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers
Image by Sergey Ryzhov / Canva Photos

Knowing what you need from a mower will help you decide on the best model for your yard. Here are the main features you’ll want to consider before you buy.

  • Drive Type. Front-wheel, rear-wheel, or all-wheel-drive? If you have hills or rough terrain, go for rear-wheel or all-wheel drives. If your yard is flat, a front-wheel-drive might be a bit easier to maneuver around obstacles. 
  • Power Source. Gas or electric? Gas mowers are a powerful classic. However, electric mowers are advancing, and they don’t leave you smelling fumes or producing emissions. 
  • Cutting Height Range. Some models can go as low as half an inch while others leave grass as high as four inches — look for one that offers a height range you’ll enjoy.
  • Speed Style. Set or variable? The models with a set speed will probably be less expensive, but variable speed models adjust to both you and your yard’s needs.
  • Start Type. Pull-cord or electric start? Pull-cord models are the most common option in gas mowers, but the electric start makes things a bit easier.
  • Durability. Of course, you want to find a mower that will last. Look for high-quality construction with durable parts and a strong engine.
  • Ease of Use. Look for things like adjustable handles and wheels designed for maneuverability and traction. And, even with a self-propelled mower, finding a lightweight machine might make your job easier.

Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers vs. Other Types of Lawn Mowers

The best self-propelled lawn mowers are a step up from a push mower and a whole lot nicer. They have the same blades that spin and cut the grass, but they also have wheels with the power to move forward. Corded electric and gas models are out there, and you’ll even find some battery options. There’s also a range of options for dispelling the cut grass to best suit your yard.

How Self-Propelled Mowers Work

The energy from the motor in a typical mower goes to power the spinning of the blades. In a self-propelled mower, some of that energy also goes to the wheels. Some mowers are only going to transfer power to the front or back wheels. Others are going to transfer power to all four wheels. For the most traction on hills, an all-wheel-drive is the best choice. However, even the best AWD self-propelled lawn mowers tend to use up more power than other models. The second-best option for hills is a rear-wheel-drive. Front-wheel-drive is pretty standard on most models and will work well on flat terrain.

The Pros

You will find that the best-rated self-propelled lawn mowers will have a 20 to 22-inch mow path. This mowing width is on par with push mowers but huge compared to robotic lawn mowers. The best self-propelled lawn mowers will be able to tackle tall and thick grass. And most come with the options of bagging, mulching, or discharging your clippings from the side.

The Cons

Mowers that are all-wheel drive may be tough to maneuver around your garage when the motor is off. This is because the wheels connect to the transmission, so they will not turn freely when the motor is not engaged. Gas-powered motors are noisy and not environmentally friendly because they produce emissions. The battery-powered options will have reduced run-time because power is shared with the wheels.

Our Process

For this guide on the best self-propelled lawn mowers, our team spent 10 hours researching the most popular options from over 18 brands and manufacturers, big and small. We then read about one hundred user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each unit. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 10 self-propelled lawn mowers on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.

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