Lawn mower auto start. Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Electric Start
Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Electric Start
Do you dream of having a healthy, luscious lawn but dread the thought of pushing a heavy gas mower around it? Are you always looking for ways to make your life easier and more efficient? If so, then an electric start self-propelled gas lawn mower might just be exactly what you need.
This type of mower has become quite popular among homeowners who are ready to take their yard maintenance to the next level. Electric start models provide convenience and ease of use that simply can’t be beaten.
In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about the best electric start self-propelled gas lawn mowers on the market today from power output and features to warranties and budget considerations. So grab a cold beverage and settle in for all the information needed for finding your perfect outdoor companion.
What is Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower?
A self-propelled gas lawn mower is a type of lawn mowing machine that propels itself forward upon activation. It has an internal combustion engine, usually powered by gasoline, which powers the wheels of the mower and moves it over the grass to cut and trim it.
Self-propelled gas lawn mowers are equipped with multiple features to make them easier and more efficient to operate than traditional manual push mowers.
Best Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Electric Start Reviews 2023
EGO Power LM2142SP Lawn Mower
The best self-propelled gas lawn mower with an electric start comes from Ego Power, one of the renowned brands in the market. This electric start lawn mower offers a gas-like torque without producing much noise or annoying fumes.
As such, you can be sure that it is an environmentally friendly choice. You’ll be surprised at its outstanding high power and an extended run time of up to 80 minutes tailored to mowing the tallest and toughest of grasses. The list of enticing features that come with this lawn mower is endless but just to detail a few specs:
TORO 22″ (56cm) SMARTSTOW® Personal Pace Auto-Drive™ High Wheel Mower (21465) Vortex Technology
EGO Power understands too well that lawn owners have different preferences when it comes to grass-cutting height. For this reason, this battery-powered mower comes with a 6-position height adjustment to fit any preference.
If you expected an easy start with this model, you won’t be disappointed. There is an easy start push button that ensures the engine turns on and you can start cutting grass in no time. Besides, you can easily vary the speed to match your strides. You can access different functions including side discharge, mulching, or bagging.
- Extremely easy to use
- 6 adjustable cutting heights
- A 3-in-1 function where you can mulch, bag, or side discharge
- Low maintenance required
- This is a single-blade lawn mower and may not be appealing to lawn owners looking for at least two blades in a mower.
This power 21-inch mower delivers exceptional performance in all weather conditions. Thanks to the adjustable deck, you can easily switch between 6 different cutting heights to give your lush green turf the desired cut. If you have a large lawn that requires more than 45 minutes of run time to mow, you are good to go with this EGO Power product. Besides, the mower has a lightweight construction and folds easily to fit in a small storage area.
Greenworks Pro 40V MO80L410 Lawn Mower
Typically, brushless motors produce more energy compared to their counterparts. In this case, the Greenworks Pro 80V mower delivers gas-like performance to cut through the toughest of lawns. What’s more, a brushless motor produces less vibration and is quieter in operation.
There’s an option to side discharge, mulch, or bag your clippings. At times, you might realize that your lawn needs some natural fertilizer and opt for mulching; this helps your grass grow stronger and healthier thanks to the mulching feature. On the contrary, some lawn owners prefer to bag all the clippings and leave a clean and flawless look on the turf. Whichever your preference, Greenworks has got you covered.
If you are looking for a cordless lawn mower that will get your work done, Greenworks Pro 80V is your best bet. The fully charged 4.0 Ah battery provides you with enough power to mow for up to 45 minutes. Still, thanks to its cordless nature, you can easily work in your yard without any cord restrictions.
- East and fast to start – no pull start
- Can easily be stored vertically
- Quieter operation compared to gasoline-powered lawn mowers
- No exhaust fumes
- The battery’s runtime may go to less than 45 minutes, especially if your yard has tall and tough grass type.
- The battery lasts only for 2 years after which you have to purchase another.
If you want your medium-sized lawn looking pristine in no time, this Greenworks product is great. Above all, this mower saves you numerous trips to the gas station since there is no need for gasoline. And with that, comes a maintenance-free lawn care companion; no fuel checks, chords, or oil change.
PowerSmart 22-Inch Self-propelled Gas Lawn Mower
The PowerSmart 22-Inch self-propelled lawnmower has a 200cc gas-powered engine for clearing grass, and weeds and trimming overgrowth. Just like other PowerSmart products, this outdoor tool is a piece of high-quality equipment worth purchasing. Let’s check some of its features:
The 22-inch large steel mowing deck is ideal for big lawns. With this, you can work on larger lawns with minimal time spent. The durability of this material further ensures that the deck is long-lasting to serve you for long.
You’ll love the 5-position adjustable height positions which allow you to easily change the cutting height to your preference. Precisely, you can adjust the height settings between the range of 1.2 inches to 3.5 inches.
- A powerful engine for clearing all types of grasses
- Adjustable cutting heights to fit different preferences
- Provides a 3-in-1 feature for side discharge, mulching, and bagging
- Great large deck to get your work done faster
- Some of its parts are made of plastic which makes them easy to break off and thus might not last long.
- A bit heavy making it hard to lift from one place to another
Overall, this lawn mower is a great deal, the 200cc engine delivers the ideal power for the mower to operate, the mowing deck facilitates a large cutting area to cut down the time you need to mow large yards, and you have an option to adjust the cutting depth to 5 different positions. As such, purchasing this product guarantees you better lawn care.
RYOBI 40-Volt Brushless Lawn Mower
RYOBI 20 in. 40V lawn mower is a third-generation innovation of RYOBI tailored with a technology to deliver gas-like performance from start to finish. Note that Lithium-Ion batteries are ideal for reliable and eexhaust0-free operation in high-output machines.
The lawn mower gives you mulching and bagging options. In addition, if you prefer the side discharge function, you can get the side discharge accessory but you’ll have to purchase it separately. As for the cutting height, you are free to switch between 7 different positions.
- A cordless lawn mower that allows for easy maneuverability throughout the lawn without any restrictions unlike a corded model
- Easy to start
- Long battery life
If you are expecting a powerful, maintenance-free, lightweight, and quiet machine, you won’t be disappointed. The incredible lithium technology provides a new and enhanced way to remedy all the drawbacks that come with gas-powered lawnmowers.
EGO Power Select Cut LM2156SP Lawn Mower
The EGO power lawn mower ideally gives more power than exceeds any gasoline-powered mower. And, thanks to the select cut multi-blade cutting technology, you can use either of the three lower blades according to your preference.
The lawn mower provides a high cutting torque that exceeds that of gas for self-propulsion and turning of the blades. Besides, with the 56v battery fully charged, you can get up to 75 minutes of run time. This may however vary depending on the type and nature of grass to be mowed.
This lawn mower offers a customizable cutting performance that surpasses any gas mower. To be precise, it comes with three interchangeable lower blades; a mulching blade, an extended runtime blade, and the high lift bagging blade.
- Easy to operate
- High battery runtime
- Prolonged battery life
EGO is one of the biggest names in the market and its population continues to surge due to its advanced battery technology, great user experience, and groundbreaking innovations. With this self-propelled lawn mower, you can attest that all this is true.
PowerSmart DB2321SM Lawn Mower
Are you looking to get a self-propelled gas lawn mower at an affordable price, check out this PowerSmart walk-behind mower, it is no doubt worth spending on because It comes in handy with the following features:
With a 209cc engine, this PowerSmart lawn mower delivers high power for an unbeatable mowing performance. So, even when mowing the tallest and toughest of grasses, you’ll still get a smooth and uniform cut.
- Customizable grass-cutting heights tailored to meet your preference
- Delivers unbeatable power to work through all types of grasses
- Easy to maneuver through your lawn
- RWD to provide traction on hilly terrain
- The only drawback with this lawn mower is the plastic parts that can easily break off. Besides, many users complain that the collecting bag is not correctly stitched.
The powerful engine, strong blades, and customizable height setting ensure the mower works perfectly on your lawn. The rear-wheel drive provides traction for efficient mowing even on lawns with hills and ditches.
Greenworks Pro 80V MO80L410 Lawn Mower
This Greenworks lawn mower incorporates an innovative Smart cut technology where it senses grass and automatically adopts power for the best cut. Thanks to this feature, whether you are working on thin and soft grass or a tall, tough, and thatched lawn, the mower will use the ideal power.
With a single lever, you have access to a customizable height system where you can switch between 7 different positions.
- Effortless push-button starting
- Maintenance free
- It is a cordless lawn mower for ease in maneuverability and transit
- Easy and fast electric start- say goodbye to the annoying cord
- If you are using the bagging feature, emptying the grass clippings is a delaying and daunting task.
It is a cordless mower, meaning easy maneuverability with no distance restrictions. Being a battery-powered machine, it is virtually maintenance-free. All that said, this Greenworks product is worth the purchase.
Craftsman M105 Lawn Mower with Bagger
A 140 cc gas-powered engine ideal for small to medium-sized lawns. The mower comes with an auto choke and recoil system for an easy start, just pull to turn on the mower.
The mower has three capabilities including mulching, rear discharge, and side discharge. So, you can even decide to attach a bagger if you want a clan cut with no clippings lying around. On the other hand, mulching allows you to take nutrients back into the soil to make your lawn flourish.
- 3 in-1 capabilities; side discharge, rear discharge, and mulching
- Dual-levers to fit any preference
- 2-years warranty
- Offers a good even cut
- The only thing that most users complain about is shipping problems, no specific disadvantage associated with the mower though.
Dealing with a small yard? Now you know which lawn mower you can tackle with. Because this option is for a small yard and it’s easy to go for this option any time.
Greenworks M-210-SP 40V Mower
This 40V 21-inch Greeworks tool is ideal for perfect outdoor spaces of up to half an acre. The battery system offers a high runtime to ensure you finish your mowing chores flawlessly. Besides, you can use multiple batteries, use one while charging the other.
With a single lever, you have access to 7 adjustable grass-cutting heights for the ideal cut in all environments. Additionally, a 3-in-1 design allows you to rear discharge, side discharge, or mulch the clippings.
Greenworks tools are known to provide powerful performance and long runtimes. As such, you can be sure that this product will not disappoint.
Snapper 1687914 Lawn Mower
Apart from the electric start function that gets your mower up and running in no time, you have access to a 21-inch deck with 3-in-1 capabilities where you can choose to discharge, mow or bag your clippings. On top of that, it comes with 7 adjustable cutting height positions.
Incorporated with Smart load sensing technology, this lawn mower can adjust to the ideal power requirement for any type of grass.
- Quiet mowing
- Offers a smooth and even cut
- Durable deck
- Easy push button start
- The self-propelled mechanism is not the best out there, you have to turn it off whenever you need to back up or turn.
If you need an electric start lawn mower to handle your flat backyard with efficient mowing power, here you are.
Things to Keep In Mind When Buying
Self-propelled gas lawnmowers with electric start are quite costly. As such, when it comes to purchasing such a mower, you need to ensure that your investment is worth it. In other words, you need to choose a high-quality lawn mower that will serve you over a long period. The key factors mentioned below will guide you to make the ideal choice.
If you own a large lawn then you’ll need a lawn mower with high engine power. Additionally, if you are a landscaper working on acres of land in a day, you must go for a mower with over 330cc engine power.
A strong engine facilitates enough turning force to the mower blades thus giving your grass a smooth and even cut. In short, when purchasing an electric start gas lawn mower. check for the engine power that is ideal for the size of your lawn.
Adjustable Grass Cutting Heights
Whether you are purchasing a new lawn mower or you are replacing an old one, it is vital to know whether your preferred mower allows you to customize your cutting to fit your outdoor aesthetic. It is no doubt that lawn owners have varied motives for trimming their lawn; others want to cut it very short while others prefer a medium cut.
Therefore, when you are picking your ideal mower, ensure that you go for a model that allows you to adjust the blades’ cutting heights. The grass-cutting heights vary from one model to the other – typically, you should seek a model with additional height selections.
A self-propelled gas lawn mower with an electric start is quite costly so before making your purchase, you need to ensure that you pick a quality product. In other words, ensure that your lawn mower is manufactured using high-quality material.
For instance, high-quality lawn mower blades will serve you for a long period before you need to replace them.
Size of The Mower’s Deck
When buying your electric star gas mower, you must consider the deck size. The lawn mower you pick will entirely depend on the size of your lawn, if you have a small lawn, a mower with a lower deck size is the best and if you have a large lawn, you require a mower with a higher deck size.
On the bright side, a mower with a lower deck size is easy to mow with and maneuver through narrow areas. But remember, a mower with a higher cutting deck will mow your lawn quicker than that with a lower deck.
Electrical Power Source
Electric start gas mowers come in two types, cordless and corded lawnmowers. A cordless lawn mower is powered by a battery. On the other hand, a corded lawn mower comes with a power cable that connects it to a wall outlet.
Corded lawnmowers run for long periods compared to their cordless counterparts. On the downside, however, the corded mowers are not good for transport. That is because the mower can only go as far as the power cord allows.
Cordless lawnmowers are more mobile thus allowing easy maneuverability when mowing. The only drawback is that the mowers don’t last long. Typically, most lawn mower batteries have a runtime of only 45 minutes.
If you are on the hunt for a mobile lawn mower, you should go for a cordless lawn mower. However, If you are looking for prolonged performance; that is more than 45 minutes, you should choose a corded lawn mower. Still, you should opt for a model with long power cables to improve maneuverability while mowing.
You should also consider the space available for storage. Remember that lawn care equipment needs proper storage to increase its longevity and ensure they are always in good condition. As such, if you have limited storage space, you should opt for a smaller model. Better still, some electric start lawnmowers have foldable handles making them more compact to occupy smaller storage spaces.
A general rule of thumb for an electric gas self-propelled lawn mower; the wider the wheels, the more traction. As such, if you are budgeting for a mower, it is wiser to go for a model with wide wheels especially if you are planning on mowing a hilly terrain.
How To Use a Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower?
A self-propelled gas lawn mower is the easiest gadget to use:
Step 1: Ensure that the lawn mower has enough gasoline, you can check your mower’s manual for more information on this.
Step 2: If your mower has a bagging capability and you want to use the bagger to collect the grass clippings, ensure that the bag is empty and properly attached to the mower
Step 3: Roll your machine to the part of your yard where you want to start mowing
Step 4: Adjust the deck to the highest grass-cutting height
Step 5: flip the electric start button which will automatically start the engine. If your mower does not have an electric start, you’ll have to pull the cord or engage the choke.
Step 6: Set the throttle in a low position and adjust the grass cutter to your preferred height. Ensure you don’t set it too low since the blades can get caught on the grass or worse, this can damage your lawn
Step 7: Squeeze the tire’s bar to set your lawn mower in motion and voila! You are good to go. You can further adjust the speed settings to match your strides.
Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower – Common Benefits
A self-propelled gas lawn mower is a nice addition to your lawn equipment. Rather than using your energy to push the machine around your yard, they have a self-propel function that makes them move on their own.
- High power and strong motors to cut through large spaces of grass in lesser time. Typically, gas-powered lawnmowers are more powerful than battery-powered ones.
- Ideal for extended uneven terrain that would otherwise require you to use a lot of energy to push through.
- User-friendly, all you have to do is direct the mover around obstacles, your house, or at the edge of your turf.
- Self-propelled mowers offer a smooth and even cut. Remember that they are more powerful than battery-powered mowers, and as such get enough energy for torque and turning of the blades.
Gas Mower Vs Electric Mower
When it comes to installing an electric start function or purchasing a mower with an electric start, you might get confused when choosing between a gas and an electric-powered mower.
Remember that, while electric lawnmowers get their power from electricity, their gas counterparts are powered by gasoline.
Both electricity and gasoline have their benefits and drawbacks alike. So, when moving from pulling the cord to an electric start, the mower you choose to use is entirely your own choice and preference.
Frequently Asked Questions
While a self-propelled lawn mower helps you enjoy your mowing chores without sweat, starting the engine with a cord can still be a problem.
Tired of pulling the annoying cord to start your lawn mower’s engine? Some manufacturers design their engines in a way that you can be able to switch from a pull-start mower to an electric start.
If you are lucky enough, your manufacturer could even be offering the ideal kits to do it. You can either DIY or take your machine to the nearest repair shop but always ensure to go through the mower’s manual for more information.
Conclusion – Our Final Note
If you are shopping for the best self-propelled gas lawn mower with an electric start, be sure these options recommended here are top-notch. Whether you are looking for the best mower for small lawns, medium-sized lawns, large lawns, or commercial use, be sure you won’t miss your pick.
Better still, you can try out our top pick option, EGO Power LM2142SP Lawn Mower. With this cordless option, you can be sure to manoeuvre through your lawn easily without any restrictions on distance. Besides, nothing beats the fast and easy startup that comes with this machine. You only need to flip a button and voila! The engine is all set and running in mere seconds.
The 6 Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Michelle Ullman is a home decor expert and product reviewer for home and garden products. She has been writing about home decor for over 10 years for publications like BobVila.com and Better Homes Gardens, among others.
Barbara Gillette is a Master Gardener, herbalist, beekeeper, and journalist. She has 30 years of experience propagating and growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals.
Emily Estep is a plant biologist and journalist who has worked for a variety of online news and media outlets, writing about and editing topics including environmental science and houseplants.
If you dream of a lush, green lawn, but dread the maintenance involved in keeping it that way, then a self-propelled lawn mower can make your life easier. These mowers not only power the blades but also power the wheels to make your pushing requirements little more than guiding the machine across the grass.
Brock Ingham, gardener, landscaper, and founder of the website Bigger Garden, says, The main advantage of a self-propelled mower is that it requires less effort to operate than a push mower. This can be beneficial for people with large lawns or those who have difficulty pushing a mower due to physical limitations. Self-propelled mowers can also provide a more consistent cut, since the speed is controlled by the mower rather than the operator. Overall, a self-propelled lawn mower can make mowing easier and more efficient.
Henry Bravo, founder and editor-in-chief of SmartGardenHome.com, adds, Self-propelled lawnmowers are much easier to maneuver around obstacles, and they can handle uneven terrain without a problem. Plus, I can adjust the speed so I can mow quickly or at a slower, more leisurely pace. And I love that I can easily switch between mulching, side discharge, and bagging capabilities.
We bought and tested several self-propelled mowers, both gas and electric, and evaluated many others based on their power, the size of lawn they can handle, their options for handling grass clippings, their range of cutting heights, the easiness of using the mower, and their overall value.
EGO Power Select Cut 56-Volt 21-Inch Self-Propelled Cordless Lawn Mower
- Variable-speed self-propel
- Generous battery runtime
- Fast recharging
- Folds for compact storage
Earning the top spot in our tests is a battery lawn mower that rivals the power of a gas mower but without the smelly fumes, the oil changes, or the frustrating pull cord. Instead, this self-propelled mower from EGO has a 56-volt, 7.5-Ah battery that provides up to 60 minutes of runtime on a single charge; that’s enough to mow most lawns up to a 0.5 acre and more than enough for our small yard. We put the mower to the test in early spring, mowing a lawn just out of winter dormancy that was patchy, wet, and ferny.
Other than attaching the bag, assembling the mower was easy. And a mere press of the button brought it roaring to life. This mower has a 21-inch cutting deck and a one-hand lever that adjusts the cutting heights through six different settings for grass heights of 1.5 to 4 inches. We found it very easy to adjust.
The lawn mower easily handles all common types of lawn grass, including tougher warm-season varieties like Bermudagrass, zoysia, and St. Augustine. A few buyers have complained that it struggles to lift overly tall grass high enough for an even cut. However, we found that it struggled a bit in the wet grass as well, becoming stuck at one point in a ferny patch. Aside from that, it delivers a precise and crisp cut that is sure to impress.
The speed of the mower is variable, so you can set it to match your stride from a leisurely 0.9 mph up to a brisk 3.1 mph. As this was our first time using a self-propelled mower, there was a bit of a learning curve. At first, it felt like the mower was pulling us along. However, we soon got the hang of it and appreciated the ease of adjusting the mower’s speed. We also liked the adjustable handle, which made it more comfortable to mow.
We found that the mower was easy to maneuver, even around obstacles or sharp turns. As the self-propelled function does most of the heavy work, this is also a great mower for yards with slopes. At nine inches in diameter, the mower’s wheels are fairly large, and it is rear-wheel drive, which also helps when mowing over rough terrain or hilly areas. You can dispose of the grass clippings in the included 2-bushel bag, discharge them to the side, or mulch them into fine clippings to quickly decompose them into healthful lawn nutrients. This mower even has a LED headlight, so you can mow early in the morning or at dusk to take advantage of mild temperatures.
Most of the mower’s construction is heavy-duty plastic for weather and rust resistance, but that might not be as durable as steel, although we felt it seemed quite sturdy. Once you finish mowing, the handle folds all the way down for easy storage. We really appreciated this feature, as the mower doesn’t take up as much room in the garage. This mower comes with a 56-volt battery and a fast charger that has the battery ready to go in just an hour.
How It Performed Long-Term
We are extremely satisfied with the performance of the lawn mower, particularly with how long the battery lasts. It can easily handle mowing the lawn three times without requiring a recharge. Even when it does need to be recharged, it only takes around 20 minutes. The mower is also highly effective when dealing with thick, tall grass and can even tackle 10 days of uncut grass without issue. Additionally, it can handle damp grass and leaves with ease. Initially, it took some time to become familiar with turning it on and utilizing the self-propel feature, but once we did, mowing the lawn became a breeze.
Price at time of publish: 549
Cutting Width: 21 inches | Power Source: Battery | Weight: 62.6 pounds | Grass Discard Options: Bag, mulch, side-discharge
The Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers in 2023 for Making Your Yard Work Easier
These lawn mowers drive themselves, taking the load off you in the process.
By Roy Berendsohn Published: Mar 21, 2023
One of the perks of the warm-weather season is getting to spend time outside. If you own your own home and have a yard, it’s very likely that in order to enjoy your outdoor space, you need to mow the lawn. The larger the yard, the more work it will be to maintain. If you have a lot of grass to cut, you’d be wise to consider a self-propelled lawn mower especially now that there are a ton of sales just in time for Memorial Day.
The primary difference between a standard push mower and a self-propelled mower is that the former moves when you push it, and the latter essentially moves itself with only your guidance. Once the engine is running, all you have to do is squeeze a handle or push a lever and the mower will start moving forward with you as you walk.
Turning the mower around is your job, but once you have your heading, just keep the drive handle squeezed and escort the mower down the path, no pushing necessary.
Self-propelled law mowers take power off the engine and route it via a belt to a pulley on the transmission and axle. When you move the drive control lever on the mower handle, you tension the belt, causing the pulley to turn, and this drives the transmission, moving the mower forward.
Move the drive control lever back and the tension is released, the pulley stops turning, and the mower stops moving forward. The belt-driven transmission is a time-tested design to power the mower and take the load off you in the process.
NEW Electric Start Mountfield Petrol Lawnmower
What to Consider
A mower is like many consumer products in that the more features a manufacturer adds, the more expensive it becomes. But a longer or more eye-catching list of features isn’t necessarily better. Sometimes less is more. Here are the most important to keep in mind.
Front-wheel drive mowers tend to be less expensive than rear-wheel drive units. They can be easier to turn because you don’t have to disengage the drive wheels to do so. Simply push down on the handlebar to raise the front wheels off the ground. However, their traction isn’t as strong on hills or when the bag is full, as there isn’t as much weight over the drive wheels.
Rear-wheel drive mowers do cost more and aren’t as easy to turn, as you do need to disengage the drive—but this isn’t too much of a hassle. Rear-wheel drive mowers shine on hills and inclines, and when the grass bag is full. In either scenario, weight is shifted rearward and over the drive wheels, which enables superior traction, thus making the self-propel more effective.
An engine as small as 125 cc can power a mower, but most are somewhere in the 140 cc to 190 cc range. A large engine helps when powering through tall, lush grass or in extreme conditions, such as with a side discharge chute in place and mowing tall weeds in a border area. Also, the extra torque provided by a larger engine can improve bagging when the going gets tough (tall, leaf-covered grass in the fall). But if you mow sensibly and pay attention to deck height—and especially if you don’t let your lawn get out of control—an engine between 140 and 160 cc has more than enough power to get the job done.
A mower can have all four wheels the same diameter (7 to 8 inches), or it may have rear wheels that range from 9.5 inches to 12 inches in diameter. Larger rear wheels help the mower roll more easily over bumpy ground.
With some mowers you can start the engine with the twist of a key or the press of a button. It’s a great option, but a luxury. Keep the mower engine tuned and use fresh fuel with stabilizer added to it, and you’ll never have trouble starting.
Any number of mechanisms can control a mower’s ground speed—a squeeze handle, a drive bar that you press forward, even a dial. There’s no single right answer here. Look at the design and think about how you like to work. For example, if more than one person will be using the mower (and not all of them are right-handed), a drive control like that on a Toro Personal Pace mower might be the answer. Just push down on the bar to make it go faster. Let up on the bar to slow down.
A mower that can bag, mulch, and side discharge is known as a three-function mower, the most versatile kind. Two-function mowers bag and mulch or mulch and side discharge.
Mowers will typically have one, two, or four levers to control the deck height. Single-lever adjustment is the easiest to use, but it requires more linkage, which adds weight and complexity. If, for some reason, you find yourself varying deck height frequently, it’s a good option. Otherwise, two or four levers work just fine.
Only Honda makes a gas-engine mower with a high-impact plastic deck (there are battery mowers that have plastic decks). Otherwise, mowers generally have a steel deck, and a few manufacturers—Toro, for one—offer a corrosion-resistant aluminum deck. An aluminum deck won’t rot the way a steel deck will, but you still need to keep it clean.
This is a hose fitting mounted on top of the mower’s deck. When you’re done mowing, hook up a hose and run the mower to power wash the underside of the deck. We’ve had mixed results with these, but they’re better than just letting a mass of dried grass clippings accumulate.
expensive mowers come with a more durable bag with more dust-blocking capability. If you bag a lot, especially leaves or other lawn debris in the fall, then you need a mower with a higher quality dust-blocking bag. Having said that, if you rarely bag, the standard one that comes with a mower will last you the life of the mower.
Also called wide-area mowers, machines in this subgroup help homeowners better reconcile their need for more power and speed with the fact that they may not have enough storage for a tractor or zero-turn mower. A typical residential walk mower has a single-blade deck that cuts a swath from 20 to 22 inches wide. Wide-cut mowers (built for homeowner use) have either a single blade or, more typically, a pair of blades, cutting from 26 to 30 inches with each pass. Some of these are rated for light commercial use and have larger decks, in the 32-inch range, and engines that start at 223 cc and go up to about 337 cc.
Wide-cut mowers typically employ gear or hydrostatic drive transmissions, and they have top speeds of about 4 to 6 miles per hour. At their fastest, they move so quickly you have to trot to keep up with them. Needless to say, they’re overkill for small yards; only opt for one of these if you’ve got a significant plot of land that you need to keep tidy, but not one so large that you’d be better off going with a full-on riding mower.
How We Tested and Selected
We compiled this list based on Popular Mechanics mower testing and our knowledge of the lawn mower market at large. For our testing, we put mowers through the paces using our standard Popular Mechanics methodology: We cut turf grasses such as fescues and blue grass and rougher non-turf grasses like Timothy, clover, orchard grass, and wild oats, all in both normal and shin-deep heights. We mow uphill, downhill, and across the faces of hills. The maximum slope we cut is about 30 degrees.
That may not sound like much, but it’s about all you can do to stand on it, let alone push a mower up it or across it. We mow damp and wet grass to test general cutting performance and whether clippings accumulate on the tires. And we cut dry and dusty surfaces to see how well the bag filters under less-than-optimal conditions.
Honda HRN 216VKA
Honda mowers enjoy a sterling reputation. Having tested their walk and self-propelled mowers for the last 30 years, we feel confident that Honda’s entry level mower is a great choice for homeowners looking for power and durability. The HRN features a GCV 170 gas engine that’s built to withstand long hours of operation.
If you do your own maintenance (and most owners who buy this class of product do), you’ll appreciate the easily accessible spark plug and the fuel shutoff valve that enables better winter storage. Close the fuel shutoff and run the mower until it sputters to a halt. This will clear the carburetor of any gasoline, which will prevent the ethanol in it from disintegrating and causing running issues later on. Open the shutoff valve in the spring, add some fresh gasoline, and the mower should start easily.
All this maintenance stuff is great, but we can also tell you that our past test findings on other Hondas prove that their cut quality is outstanding for cleanliness. Sharp blades deliver a velvet-like finish. And their bagging ability is also quite good, in the same league with other well-bagging mowers from Toro.
In all, if you take mowing seriously, you should enjoy this Honda. If you have a little wiggle room in your budget, consider the Honda HRX, which features a mower powerful engine and a composite deck that won’t rust and is renowned for its durability.
One note is that Honda has announced that it will cease selling lawn mowers in the United States after this year—so if you’re considering buying one, best do it sooner rather than later.
Toro Recycler 60-Volt Max Lithium-Ion
Toro mowers have garnered more recommendations from us than any other brand for two reasons: build quality and cut quality. These were amply demonstrated in our testing as the Recycler turned in the best ratio of cut area per amp-hour of battery in the self-propelled category, while at the same time not skimping on cutting, mulching, or bagging quality.
We attribute this outstanding mower performance to three features, all upgrades to the previous version of this machine. First, the air vent at the front of the mower deck seems to improve mulching and bagging performance. Toro calls it Vortex technology, a design that increases air flow under the deck. This helps to stand the grass for a cleaner cut, which improves mulching performance, and also allows better airflow into the bag when collecting the clippings.
Next, the company’s redesigned “Atomic” blade configuration appears to assist the air flow and clipping movement. Finally, the three-phase, 60-volt motor is exceptionally efficient, resulting in a large cut area for a single battery.
Toro has maintained features that make this mower work: rear wheel drive, a one-piece deck that’s all steel (no plastic nose), 11-inch wheels to help it roll over roots and crevices, and the same fold-forward handle that was an industry breakthrough when it was introduced some years ago.
Ryobi 40-Volt Brushless Self-Propelled Mower
This is one of Ryobi’s top-of-the-line mowers, and it’s American-made construction is something we wish we saw more of. It delivers a tremendous cut area with its two 6-Ah batteries providing a total of 12-Ah of capacity, and its X-shaped blade leaves a pristine surface in its wake.
Ryobi estimates the design should provide 70 minutes of run time; we didn’t time our cut, but it strikes as plausible. Its rear-wheel drive and reasonably aggressive tire tread pattern provide good hill climbing and sidehill cutting performance, and its bagging on all surfaces (level, sidehill, and uphill) is also commendable.
Other ease-of-use features include an easily installed or removed bag that mounts and dismounts straight up and down through the handle; deck adjustment is quick and easy thanks to a single-level deck height adjustment. The straight edge deck is polypropylene; it will never rust and needs very little care other than basic cleaning.
Toro TimeMaster 30 in. Briggs Stratton Personal Pace
The Toro Timemaster 30-in. mower has been around for several years and has earned a reputation as a sturdy workhorse for homeowners who want to cut down on their mowing time. It’s also used by some professionals as well. A few years ago the Timemaster got a slightly more powerful Briggs and Stratton gas engine, so it should have no issues powering through most demanding mowing jobs.
The Timemaster is rear-wheel drive and features Toro’s Personal Pace drive system that’s used on many of its self-propelled mowers. This allows the mower to move at your speed by simply pushing down or releasing the handle, which is spring-tensioned.
With a 30-in. deck, Toro claims the Timemaster will help you reduce your mowing time by about 40% compared to using a standard-sized mower. You can mulch, back, or side discharge with the Timemaster, and the handlebar can be locked in a fully vertical position to reduce space consumption in storage.
If you have half an acre to a full acre of lawn to mow and prefer the experience of a walk-behind mower versus a tractor or zero-turn, the Timemaster is worth a look.
Craftsman mowers have been doing very well in our tests, so we can recommend this one because it’s so much like the many other of the brand’s models that we’ve tested. If you’re looking for a good blend of maneuverability and power, you’ll get it with this mower. Its front drive helps move it along and makes it easy to turn.
It’s important to note that front-drive mowers do lose some traction when running uphill, particularly with a full grass bag. But if your slope is less than 20 degrees, and you’re not bagging uphill, you’ll be fine. The side discharge will also help you handle tall grass. Adjust the two deck levers to bring the mower up to full height and have at the rough stuff.
The fact that this mower bags, mulches, and side discharges is a plus, enabling you to handle a wide range of mowing conditions, from early spring and late into the fall. Three-function mowers like this are our preference for that versatility.
Toro Super Recycler Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
This is a beauty of a mower, with a cast-aluminum deck and a smooth-running Briggs Stratton 163-cc engine. We tested the Honda engine-equipped version, and it was effective at both bagging and mulching, even in moist grass.
Equipped with rear-wheel drive and the Personal Pace system (the farther you push the drive bar, the faster the mower goes), it’s an effective hill climber and moderately effective on sidehill cutting. It has relatively small 7.5-inch tires on all four corners, which causes this Toro to bump up and down a bit on washboard surfaces. But the good news is that it’s equipped with a far higher quality tire than we’re used to seeing these days. We didn’t notice them pick up any grass on moist surfaces.
Other features we like include its forward-fold handle that has a built-in shock absorber that Toro calls a Flex Handle Suspension, and a high-quality grass bag that loads through the handle, from the top.
Are there special maintenance considerations with self-propelled mowers?
Yes. Both front- and rear-wheel drive mowers typically feature a drive belt, which can crack or wear out over time. Fortunately these belts are not difficult or particularly expensive to replace.
Secondly, you may have to replace the drive wheels occasionally. These wheels are driven with gears. there are typically teeth on the inside diameter of the drive wheel that line up with a gear on the axle. These teeth can wear out, especially if they are made of plastic. Higher-end mowers may feature drive wheels with a metal gear that meets the metal axle gear, which improves longevity of these components.
My lawnmower says I don’t ever have to change the oil, but just add oil when needed. Is this OK?
It’s not a good idea to never change the oil in your lawn mower. In a lawn mower, same as a car, oil degrades over time and is less effective at reducing heat and friction in metal components. Changing the oil in your lawn mower is easy to do and will significantly increase its service life. For most homeowners, changing the oil at the beginning or end of each mowing season should be sufficient, though there is certainly no harm in doing it more often.
Roy Berendsohn has worked for more than 25 years at Popular Mechanics, where he has written on carpentry, masonry, painting, plumbing, electrical, woodworking, blacksmithing, welding, lawn care, chainsaw use, and outdoor power equipment. When he’s not working on his own house, he volunteers with Sovereign Grace Church doing home repair for families in rural, suburban and urban locations throughout central and southern New Jersey.
Toro 22″ Personal Pace Auto-Drive Mower Electric Start (21464)
This product cannot be shipped. Local pick up is available. Delivery is available to specific zip codes. Please call or text 317-849-9500 with inquiries.
Toro Walk Power Mower
Toro 22″ Personal Pace Auto-Drive Mower (21464) builds on Toro’s Recycler Series with some of our favorite features including Personal Pace Auto-Drive System, powerful Briggs Stratton engine and Vortex Technology for improve cut quality. This model also features the convenience of electric start. Combined with The Mower Shop’s wide selection of maintenance kits, parts and accessories, Toro is a brand you can count on for years to come.
7.25 ft-lb Gross Torque Briggs Stratton® Exi 163cc
Personal Pace Auto-Drive, Rear-Wheel Drive, Electric Start
This mower combines the ease of Toro’s Personal Pace Auto-Drive system with a powerful Briggs Stratton engine. Customers love how this combination easily powers through tough lawns. The deck provides the option to collect grass clipping into the rear bag or finely mulch nutrients back onto your lawn.
From Toro’s description
A Mower That Adjusts to You – No knobs, no levers, no messing around. Grab the easy-to-steer handle and go with Personal Pace Auto-Drive.
Supercharged Cutting Machine – We’ve supercharged the Recycler Cutting System creating a performance boosting machine through Vortex Technology.
Super Bagger – Get the job done more easily than ever with our new Super Bagger, shaped for easier lifting, no-shake pouring and zero-hassle cleanup.
Feed Your Lawn – The ultra-fine clippings created by our Recycler Cutting System are Lawn Vitamins™, nourishing your grass.
Weight and Dimensions
No Hassle Returns
You may return parts and products for any reason within 30 days of the delivery date. All products must be unopened and returned in sellable condition. Return shipping including the purchase of shipping labels is the responsibility of the buyer. For your convenience, we offer the option to request a shipping label (the cost of shipping will be deducted from refund). The Mower Shop provides prepaid return shipping labels in the following cases: carrier damage, lost packages and incorrect items.