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There’s a real thrill in late spring when the sun is shining, and the grass has grown enough that it’s time to mow the lawn. You dust off your lawn mower and eagerly get going. Fast forward to summer, and you’re pretty tired of having to mow the lawn every week. If only there was something that could help make the job go a bit faster. With the best self-propelled lawn mower, you can say goodbye to tired arms and heat exhaustion. These machines will actually do most of the work for you: all you have to do is guide it along the path you need it to take.
There’s a lot to consider with your purchase of a self-propelled lawn mower. First is deciding if you want a corded, electric mower, or a cordless gas model. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. The width and height that your lawn mower can cut are equally important as you’ll want to make sure the product can manicure your lawn exactly how you want it to. Other features to consider are the weight of the machine and the warranty to cover any moving parts. We came up with the top 5 picks, and the GreenWorks MO40L02 turned out to be the best one.
Extra features: vertical storage; dual battery storage; 3-in-1 discharge
The GreenWorks MO40L02 is the only battery-powered self-propelled lawn mower on our list. Battery-powered tools are still a relatively new technology. Thanks to increased investments, it is now possible to get highly powerful batteries at a relatively low price. It’s important to remember to charge your battery before you need it so that you can get out and mow your lawn right when you want to. However, the GreenWorks MO40L02 is a step ahead as it actually has two batteries. You can keep one stored in the lawn mower and if you’re out in the yard, only half way done your mowing, you can quickly swap out the old battery for a new one.
There are seven positions of height adjustments, from 1.4 inches to 3.75 inches. This isn’t quite as impressive as other models on our list, but will still be able to meet your needs.
As for types of mowing, the GreenWorks MO40L02 has side discharge, mulching, and bagging capabilities. All this results in multiple options for grass disposal depending on your preferences and needs.
One of the best features of the GreenWorks MO40L02 is that it comes with a four-year limited warranty. This is beyond a doubt the best warranty on our list and really shows the manufacturer’s commitment to construction. All together the GreenWorks MO40L02 is a great budget product and is undoubtedly one of the best self-propelled lawn mowers under $300.
What do we love it for?
Excellent four-year warranty
Seven height positions for all types of grass cutting
Extra features: adjustable handle; 159cc OHV engine with front wheel drive
Troy-Bilt TB220 is the perfect self-propelled lawn mower for any home yard. It is gas-powered which means you never have to worry about recharging the battery. Add some fuel to the tank, and you can get straight to work, or rather, your lawn mower itself can get straight to work.
The cutting width is a standard 21 inches which makes for less back and forth work. You can adjust the height from between 1.25 inches and 3.75 inches, with six positions in total. This will allow you to cut the grass as short or as long as you wish. There is a dual-lever height adjustment which is very easy to use. As a bonus, there is a side mulch capability. It’s actually recommended to mulch your grass when possible, so this feature is a must-have with lawn mowers. The blades used have a TriAction system which ensures that grass is cut the first time you pass over it. There’s no going back and forth, wasting precious time on your weekend.
The self-powered wheels work well over even bumpy terrain. They offer control while moving and won’t veer off course unintentionally. All this lawn mower needs is a bit of guidance. Just let the mower take over. As for the handle, the comfort grip means you won’t have to strain any arm muscles maneuvering.
The only drawback some customers mentioned is its loud operation which is typical for gas-powered mowers, though.
One final bonus of the Troy-Bilt TB220 is that very little assembly is required. Simply take it out of the box, slip in the handle and you are good to go. All together it’s no wonder the Troy-Bilt TB220 is best self-propelled lawn mower on our list.
Extra features: adjustable handle; all-wheel drive
There’s a reason Husqvarna is one of the go-to brands of home machinery. As a company, they are dedicated to innovative, powerful designs, and the Husqvarna L221A is no exception. Gas-powered, you won’t have to worry about any cords getting in your way. The machine features all-wheel drive, which makes it one of the best self-propelled lawn mowers for hills. You can easily climb up or down the hill and its self-propelled motor, as well as its all-terrain wheels, will allow you to actually enjoy cutting the grass for a change.
The dual lever allows you to adjust between one and four inches, which is the best range out of all the products on our list. The handle is adjustable as well, which is great as not everyone is of equal height. An easy-to-adjust handle is also perfect if you share grass cutting duty with other members of the family.
The bag that holds the grass clippings is of a nice size and will allow you to take more time in between emptying. If you have a larger yard this is an especially important feature. There is also a mulching feature, which previous users absolutely love. If you plan on leaving your grass clippings on your yard, then a superior mulching system is in order.
All in all, the Husqvarna L221 is perfect if you have a hilly or bumpy yard. Be sure to check the warranty when it arrives and pay attention to its end dates. Some users have commented that as the warranty was nearing its expiration date, some issues were had. It’s best to check the entire machine out and contact customer service should you have any issues.
Why did it make our list?
Perfect for hilly or bumpy terrain
One to four-inch height adjustability is very impressive
All-wheel drive results in a balanced ride
What is not ideal about it?
According to some customers, mechanical issues arose right before the warranty expired
Extra features: electric start; 3-in-1 discharge ability
For ease of use and plenty of options, take a look at the Lawn-Boy 17734. This gas-powered lawn mower offers a very unique warranty. Basically, the manufacturer guarantees that it will start on its own with either one or two pulls only. And, it will start like this for three years. That’s pretty impressive. We’re sure we’ve all been there – trying desperately to pull at a cord to start a machine and not having it be able to do it. Thankfully, the Lawn-Boy 17734 guarantees that this will not happen for several years in a row.
As for grass cutting options, you can choose from six height positions, between 1.25 inches and 3.75 inches high. This range is great and should meet all your needs.
While mowing the lawn with the Lawn-Boy 17734 there is the option of cutting the grass and storing it in a bag or mulching it and leaving it onto the yard. You can also choose between side or under discharge.
If you do choose to keep your trimmings in a bag, the bag for the Lawn-Boy 17734 is actually larger than other similar models offer. This means less time having to stop and empty your bag, which is a real bonus if you have a larger yard.
The mechanics of the Lawn-Boy 17734 are equally impressive. It is one of the best rear wheel drive self-propelled lawn mower which allows it to maneuver over rough terrain and even up steep hills. You won’t have to worry about breaking a sweat while cutting the grass anymore.
While all of this sounds too good to be true, there have been some issues with users receiving faulty parts. Be sure to use the warranty and report any defects immediately.
Extra features: 10-inch high rear wheels; in-built cup holder
For those that want a simple, ready-to-go lawn mower, there’s no better option than the Snapper P2185020E. The starting system is extremely easy. Just pull the cord and go.
The Snapper P2185020E is powered by rear-wheel drive which allows you to easily maneuver up any hill or over any bump. It is also easy to turn this self-propelled lawn mower, and you won’t damage any grass while making the turns.
What’s unique to the Snapper P218502E is its Hi VAC deck. Essentially, this deck works like a vacuum. It will cut the grass and then quickly suck up any grass clippings. The whole system is efficient and clean: you don’t have to worry about any large tufts of grass left behind.
There are three options for grass with the Snapper P2185020E. You can vacuum the trimmings into the bag, mulch them, or push them out the side discharge. This versatility means that no matter what you envisage for your yard, you can make it happen with this lawn mower.
Altogether there are seven height cutting options, which range from 1.25 inches to 4 inches. This is another demonstration of the versatility of the Snapper P2185020E.
The only thing holding the Snapper P2185020E back from a higher rating from us is that it does require a fair amount of assembly. Indeed, many users reported needing a fair amount of help. This is in contrast to other models on our list that are essentially ready out of the box. However, if you can muster a bit of DIY skills and conscript your neighbors into helping, then you’ll be able to get going and enjoy your next lawn mowing escapade.
Why are we impressed?
All-wheel drive great for bumpy terrain
Vacuum-like construction means no messy yard
Seven height options and the range is very versatile
What negatives must you be aware of?
Requires a lot of assembly
Things to Consider
Self-propelled lawn mowers are relatively new on the market, so it can be hard to decide which product will work for you. We’ve put together this buying guide to answer any more questions you may have, as well as to outline the features you should be looking for.
Advantages of a self-propelled lawn mower
The main advantage of a self-propelled lawn mower is simple. It is just easier to use. Instead of spending hours pushing a heavy machine back and forth over your grass, often under a hot sun, you can instead simply guide the lawn mower where you want it to go. Yes, you still need to walk behind the lawn mower, but there is very little energy exerted. For those that have health issues, are older, or just simply dislike cutting the grass, a self-propelled lawn mower is the way to go.
Features to consider when choosing a self-propelled lawn mower
Not all self-propelled lawn mowers are created the same, so it’s important to understand their individual features. We’ve created a list of the most important aspects you’ll want to know before you make your selection.
Motor power source
There are two main motor power sources: gas and batteries. Gas motors (like seen in the Troy-Bilt TB220) allow the machine to be powerful and effective. Gas, on the other hand, will emit carbon into the atmosphere, and the whole mower will operate rather loudly. Battery-powered models, like the GreenWorks MO40L02, are much more environment-friendly, lightweight, and quiet, however, not that practical for large terrains covered with tough stuff that needs to be cut.
The larger the cutting width, the less time it will take you to mow your lawn. For our purposes, all of the self-propelled lawn mowers on our list have a cutting width of 21 inches, which is fairly standard.
Height adjustments/number of height positions
Sometimes you want a really close cut on your grass. Other times you will want to let it be a bit longer. The height adjustment of your lawn mower will help you with this. The Husqvarna L221A has the best height adjustment span, at between one and four inches.
Grass discharge options
Another option that you will want to have with your self-propelled lawn mower is to decide between mulching your grass or not. Mulching cuts the grass up into very small pieces and then leaves it on your lawn. This is often recommended as is allows the grass to disintegrate naturally and add more depth to your yard. It also solves the problem of figuring out what to do with the grass clippings. All of the products listed allow for this feature.
The dimensions of a self-propelled lawn mower refer to just how large it is. Most self-propelled lawn mowers are around 40 inches x 20 inches x 35 inches. Also, it’s important to check if the mower has a foldable handle and allows for vertical storage. This way keeping your tool away from weather conditions will be a breeze even if your storage space is limited. The GreenWorks MO40L02, for example, boasts the handy vertical storage feature.
A self-propelled lawn mower will be a bit heavier than your regular lawn mower. This is because there are more mechanical parts to it. However, the good news is you won’t really be pushing it, so the weight is only an issue as you maneuver the lawn mower from the garage to the yard.
Self-propelled lawn mowers have a lot of internal parts, so a warranty is significant. The warranties of the lawn mowers on our list vary, from a two-year limited warranty on the Troy-Bilt TB220 to a four-year limited warranty on the GreenWorks MO40L02.
An electric start makes is much easier to start your mower. Simply use a key to turn on the motor, as you would with a car. The Lawn-Boy 17734 from our list has this function. It is a great feature if you’re tired of having to pull a gas motor and desperately hope that it will catch.
Lawn mowers are mechanical investments so finding a good home for them is important. Above all else, be sure to store your lawn mower somewhere that is a cool, dry place. Any exposure to moisture and rust can quickly lead to damage. The garage or shed is the best place for a lawn mower. In between uses in the summer, be sure to park your lawn mower away. At the end of the mowing season, remove the battery, if yours has one, and store it in a dry place, away from paint cans. Removing the battery can help lengthen the lifespan of it. Also, give your mower a good cleaning to remove any built-up debris. The cleaner your mower is when you store it, the longer it will last.
No, self-propelled lawn mowers aren’t noisy, but they can be a bit louder than regular push lawn mowers. Regular mowers average between 50 and 80 decibels, while self-propelled lawn mowers are somewhere between 60 and 90 decibels. If you are at all worried about noise, it’s always recommended to use personal protective gear. Even standard sounds can cause damage when heard repetitively.
All of the self-propelled lawn mowers on our list are great, and choosing the right one will be specific to your needs.
The GreenWorks MO40L02 is a surprisingly productive find. It works well, has several height options, and boasts the best warranty out of all the products on our list.
For the lawn mower that is the easiest to assemble, go with the Troy-Bilt TB220. It is durable, sturdy, and very efficient. This lawn mower boasts raving reviews and recommendations.
The Husqvarna L221A has the best mulching system so if you plan on exclusively mulching your grass clippings, this is definitely the way to go.
So, if you’re tired of pushing around a heavy lawn mower, join the future and let a machine do the heavy lifting for you.