10 Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers | Gas and Electric

If you need a new mower, a self-propelled lawn mower is a fantastic option. But with so many options available, how do you know which mower is right for you?

Don’t worry. I researched and tested a vast range of lawn mowers in order to assemble this list of the ten best self-propelled lawn mowers.

I also created a buyer’s guide that outlines the most important factors for choosing a lawn mower. 

So don’t be concerned if you’re not ready to make a decision yet. This article will provide the answers you need to find the best self-propelled lawn mower.

Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

If you are short on time and need to know which mowers are my top picks, here they are: the best gas mower, best electric mower, and best budget gas mower that offers a great bang for your buck.

Toro TimeMaster 30 in. 223 cc Gas Self-Propelled Mower

Best Gas Mower for Large Lawns

Toro TimeMaster 30 in Gas Mower

It is a powerful gas mower that is easy to handle considering its 30-inch width and dual-force cutting system.

EGO Power+ Select Cut 21-in 56 V Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Best Electric Mower

EGO Power+ 21-in 56V Self-Propelled Mower

Excellent performance and long-lasting power thanks to 10.0Ah 56V ARC Lithium Battery. 7 cutting heights 1.5 to 4.0-inches.

Honda 21-In 170cc Steel Deck Self Propelled 3-in-1 Lawn Mower

Best Budget Gas Mower

Honda 21-In 170cc 3-in-1 Lawn Mower

Five speeds, seven cutting heights, and its 3-in-1 mulch, bag, and discharge functions. Exceptional value for money.

Choosing A Self-Propelled Mower

There are a lot of features and specifications for lawn mowers. Knowing what they are and which ones are the most important to you can help make choosing a self-propelled lawn mower easier.

Lawn Size and Terrain

The size of your lawn might be the single most important thing to consider when buying a mower.

If you have a large yard, you want to find a self-propelled lawn mower with a big gas tank or large capacity battery so you can finish your mowing on a single charge without the need to refuel or recharge.

You should also analyze the terrain of your lawn before buying a lawn mower. For instance, a lightweight mower is going to be easier to maneuver up and down hills

On the other hand, if you have difficult terrain that is more bumpy, up and down, or otherwise challenging to mow over, larger wheel size and adjustable cutting height could be helpful features.

Gas Vs Electric Self-Propelled Mower

Before buying a self-propelled mower, the next decision is the fuel type.

Gas-powered self-propelled lawn mowers offer lots of power and a large fuel tank to get you through a big yard without stopping for refueling.

However, a heavy-duty gas lawn mower will weigh more and can be tiring to use for prolonged periods of time so keep that in mind.

On the other hand, an electric mower offers a clean, efficient energy source that might be cheaper in the long run, depending on gas prices in your area.

Electric self-propelled lawn mowers are easy to charge, which is excellent, but it does take longer for the battery to recharge compared to just needing to add more gas to the mower’s tank.

An electric mower can be an excellent choice for yards of around 1500 square feet or less.

Engine Power (hp) Vs Motor (V)

We can compare the horsepower of a gas engine to the volts of an electric motor. There is a wide range of engine or motor sizes and power options.

A gas engine is more robust, powerful, and the better option for large yards. But, a gas engine will require more maintenance than an electric mower. 

Gas engines can also be trickier to start than electric motors.

The best electric mowers require little maintenance and are easy to get going. They are also cheaper to run and quieter than gas engines.

However, electric motors offer less power and won’t work well for larger yards. Less power also means electric motors don’t do as well as gas engines when cutting through tall or wet grass.

Lithium Battery Run Time (Ah)

If you want an electric-powered mower that runs on a lithium battery, then a specification you will want to be aware of is the battery’s ampere-hour or Ah.

Essentially, this is a measurement of how long the battery can power the mower. The higher the Ah, the longer the mower will run on a single charge.

Depending on the speed and cutting height you operate the mower at, an average lithium-ion battery will power a mower for about an hour or half an acre. 

Faster speeds or lower cutting heights that increase the resistance the motor has to push through will mean the battery runs down faster.

Of course, these estimates are very generic, and your experience will depend on your lawn and the specific mower you use.

To recharge a lithium battery from empty to fully charged will take about 100 minutes or less.

As a final note, lithium batteries will slowly deteriorate over time. If you notice your battery running out of power sooner or that it takes longer and longer to charge the battery fully, that is a sign it is time to purchase a new battery for your mower.

2 or 3 Function: Bag, Mulch, and Discharge

When we talk about 2-function for 3-in-1 function mowers, what we are discussing is the options to bag, mulch, or discharge with a mower.

Many of the mowers that I tested and reviewed offer a combination of two or more of these features, and you should consider which ones you need for your yard.

Discharge is the term used to describe how the cut grass is expelled from the mower. Side discharge means the mower pushes the grass out through a port in the side of the deck. Some mowers have a rear discharge instead of on the side.

There are two styles of bagging mowers, rear bag or side bag. This designation refers to the place on the mower where you attach a bag to catch grass cuttings if you want to. Rear bag mowers usually offer a more generous collection capacity than side bag mowers.

Mulching mowers have curved blades and a circulating deck design that cuts the grass multiple times before it falls back onto the lawn. Since the mulching function cuts the grass so finely, there is little need for discharge when mulching, but you can discharge or use a bag if you prefer.

Clippings Bag Quality

The quality of the clipping bag might not seem important at first glance, but it is something you will want to consider.

High-quality bags offer better dust-catching quality which is essential if you will be collecting grass clippings or leaves in the fall.

If you are only going to use a bag occasionally, you should be okay with a more standard quality clippings bag.

Self Propulsion Wheel Drive

There are several different options for wheel drive and wheel sizes that you should consider before buying a self-propelled lawn mower. I will cover each drive method shortly. But first, let me quickly illustrate how the lawn mower self-propulsion works. In truth, it’s relatively simple. You have a rubber drive belt looped around the lawn mower crankshaft pulley. This feeds through an opening in the cutting deck and connects to the transmission pulley.

As the mower power is engaged and the blades turn, this drive train transfers power to the wheel axel.

drive belt under deck.
Crankshaft Drive Belt
lawn mower drive belt on axel
Drive Belt on Transmission Pulley

Credit: SearsParts

Front-Wheel Drive

Front-wheel drive lawn mowers are a good choice for level ground. With power supplied to the front wheels, you can tip up and move the mower more simply than with rear-wheel drive. 

Rear Wheel Drive

If you have a hilly yard or challenging terrain to navigate, a rear-wheel-drive lawn mower is the best choice. Rear-wheel drive gives the mower more traction at its center, making it easier to navigate over bumps, hills, or ruts.

All Wheel Drive

All-wheel drive mowers provide power to all four wheels at once and offer the best performance on hills and extra rough terrain. The trade-off for AWD mowers is that they are heavier, harder to turn, and more expensive than FWD or RWD mowers.

Wheel Size

Wheel size, including diameter and tread width, plays a big part in how a mower handles. RWD mower wheels are usually larger than FWD, between 7-inches and 12-inches. FWD wheels are normally around 6-inches to 9-inches.

Most tread widths sit in a range of 1.5-inches to 2-inches. Larger, wider wheels will have an easier time rolling over hilly, bumpy ground.

Cutting Deck Width

The width of a mower’s cutting deck is an essential factor that determines how much grass you can cut in a single pass. Larger decks mean it takes less time to finish cutting your grass.

All the mowers I have included in this article feature deck widths between 21-inches and 30-inches.

Cut Height Adjustment

Being able to adjust the height of your cutting is a handy feature on many mowers, especially if you need to cut different lengths of grass frequently. Lawn mowers can offer a wide range of cutting heights depending on the make and model. 

Deck Fabrication and Material

The three most common materials used for mower decks are steel, aluminum, and impact-resistant plastic.

Plastic is usually only found on battery-powered mowers, while most manufacturers use either steel or aluminum for electric and gas mowers.

Steel is the most commonly used material for decks. It is durable and rugged but can rust with time. Corrosion-resistant aluminum is lighter than steel and won’t rot but does require more frequent cleaning.

Speed Controls

Whether it’s a drive bar, squeeze the handle, or an adjustment dial, every self-propelled mower has some sort of speed control.

The best speed control is a matter of personal preference so take the time to research a few different mowers and try to select the one that you think looks right for you.

Electric Start or Pull Start

Gas mowers use a pull cord to turn over the engine and get the mower running. As long as you properly maintain your engine, a pull cord should start your mower with no trouble.

An excellent convenience of electric mowers is their push button or turn key ignition. There are none of the physical efforts of a pull-start engine. Electric start on a mower is not a huge advantage, but I definitely don’t mind it as a little perk of electric mowers.

Mower Storage Size

Storage space can quickly become a precious commodity in a garage or shed. If space is tight at your house, consider a mower capable of being stored in a more compact form.

Many manufacturers offer mowers with collapsible handles and the option to stand the mower on its end for a much slimmer profile. Storing a mower in tight spaces is much easier if you choose one with these features.

Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Reviews

Let’s take a look at ten of the best gas and electric options for self-propelled lawn mowers available on the market today.

1. Toro TimeMaster 30 in. 223 cc Gas Mower

Best Mower for Large Lawns

Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
  • Type: Self-propelled
  • Power: Gas
  • Run Time: 1 hour
  • Deck Size: 30 inches
  • Cutting Height: 1.25-inch to 4.25-inch
  • Wheel Drive: Rear-Wheel Drive
  • Discharge: Side Discharge
  • Weight: 140 lbs.

Pros:

  • The huge 30-inch cutting path is the largest walk-behind mower to date
  • Dual-force cutting system
  • High-power 10.00 ft-lb max gross torque
  • 15-inch Toro atomic blades

Cons:

  • Heavier due to its size. Despite it having good control

If I could only choose one gas lawn mower, it would be the Toro TimeMaster, thanks to its impressive 223cc engine and expansive 30-inch cutting deck.

Is The Toro TimeMaster 30" Lawn Mower the Right Choice for You?

The TimeMaster is a premium gas mower that uses Toro’s atomic blades and dual-force cutting system to cut or finely mulch grass easily. The wide deck helps cut down on the time it takes to mow, and the safety-stop system is useful when you want to stop the blades but not the engine.

EGO Power+ Select Cut 21-in 56 V Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
  • Type: Self-propelled push mower
  • Power: 10.0Ah 56V ARC
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Deck Size: 21 inches
  • Cutting Height: 1.5-inch to 4.5-inch
  • Wheel Drive: Rear-Wheel Drive
  • Discharge: Side Discharge
  • Weight: 68 lbs.

Pros:

  • Super fast 60-minute charge time
  • Select Cut Multi-Blade System
  • Variable speed range: .9 MPH-3.1 MPH

Cons:

  • Slight time delay on speed adjustments
EGO POWER+ 21" SELECT CUT™ MOWER WITH TOUCH DRIVE™ SELF-PROPELLED TECHNOLOGY Commercial

The best electric mower I tested was the Ego Power+ Select Cut. I am always concerned with the runtime of any electric mower I use, but this mower provides a long-lasting 75 minutes of cutting before it needs a recharge.

Adjusting the height was simple, and the mower cuts efficiently at any of the seven height choices. The mower weighs a little less than 70-lbs and is comfortable to navigate on flat and sloped surfaces.

Honda HRN 21-In 170cc Steel Deck Self Propelled 3-in-1 Lawn Mower
  • Type: Self-propelled
  • Power: Gas
  • Run Time: 0.3 gal fuel tank
  • Deck Size: 23 inches
  • Cutting Height: .75-inch to 3.5-inch
  • Wheel Drive: Rear-Wheel Drive
  • Discharge: Side Discharge
  • Weight: 82 lbs.

Pros:

  • Patented Honda Twin Blade MicroCut System
  • 7 different cutting heights
  • Efficient 9.9 ft-lb gross torque engine

Cons:

  • Height adjustment levers catch on obstructions
Honda HRN216VLA Lawn Mower

This 3-in-1 self-propelled gas mower from Honda is my budget pick, but don’t make the mistake of thinking you will have to sacrifice power or features with this mower.

This mower features a functional 170cc engine, seven cutting positions, 3-in-1 functions, and is comfortable to walk behind.

You also get five-speed settings, an auto choke, and Honda’s Twin Blade MicroCut System for efficient, effortless mowing.

Honda 21-In Nexite Deck Self Propelled Gas 4-in-1 Versamow
  • Type: Self-propelled
  • Power: Gas
  • Run Time: 2.5 gal fuel tank
  • Deck Size: 21 inches
  • Cutting Height: .75-inch to 4-inch
  • Wheel Drive: Rear-Wheel Drive
  • Discharge: Rear Discharge 
  • Weight: 93 lbs.

Pros:

  • 4-in-1 functions: Discharge, bagging, mulching, or chopping leaves
  • Large fuel capacity
  • Extra-strong NeXite deck 

Cons:

  • Speed controls can be finicky

A rare 4-in-1 option, this Honda gas mower will discharge, bag, mulch, and is also specially designed for chopping leaves into fine pieces for a better spread.

Honda built this Versamow mower with a heavy-duty 21-inch NeXite and steel deck that is rust-resistant. The large fuel tank means fewer refills, while the forced-air cooled engine keeps the blades spinning for maximum performance on even the hottest summer days.

Toro 60v Flex-Force 22 in 60V Battery Lawn Mower
  • Type: Self-propelled
  • Power: 60-volt Flex force 6.0-Ah
  • Run Time: Up to 40 minutes
  • Deck Size: 22 inches 
  • Cutting height: 1-inch to 4-inch
  • Wheel Drive: Rear-Wheel Drive
  • Discharge: Side Discharge
  • Weight: 95 lbs.

Pros:

  • 9 cutting heights
  • Flex-Force battery works for the whole Toro Flex-Force product line
  • SmartStow design makes storage easy

Cons:

  • Disappointing battery life

An electric mower built on Toro’s Flex-Force battery system, this 22-inch mower provides enough power to cut up to a ½ acre of lawn. 

The Personal Pace cruise control system makes adjusting your speed simple, and an impressive nine different height options give you more choices than most other mowers.

Toro’s SmartStow storage design also makes storage a breeze since you can fold the handles down and store the mower upright for a surprisingly slim profile.

Honda Hydrostatic Self Propel 21” Commercial Lawn Mower
  • Type: Self-propelled
  • Power: Gas
  • Run Time: 0.37 gal fuel tank
  • Deck Size: 21 inches
  • Cutting Height: 0.75-inch to 4 inch
  • Wheel Drive: Shaft Drive
  • Discharge: Side Discharge
  • Weight: 127 lbs.

Pros:

  • Commercial-grade hydrostatic transmission 
  • Roto-Stop blade stop system
  • Large 2.5-bushel grass bag

Cons:

  • Pull cord placement is not ideal

Honda’s commercial gas mower isn’t just for professional landscapers. Anyone with a yard to mow will appreciate the hydrostatic transmission that makes the self-propelled movement smooth and offers speeds between 2-4 mph.

The rugged design of this mower is up to the task of any residential chore and most commercial jobs as well. Finally, Honda’s commercial GVX160 engine has been tested to be reliable and easy to start.

Makita 36V LXT Lawn Mower Self Propelled Commercial 21”
  • Type: Self-propelled
  • Power: (2) 18V 5.0Ah LXT
  • Run Time: Up to 2 miles
  • Deck Size: 22 inches
  • Cutting Height: 1.25 inch to 4 inch
  • Wheel Drive: Rear-Wheel Drive
  • Discharge: Side Discharge
  • Weight: 94 lbs.

Pros:

  • 4 battery system is suitable for up to 2 miles of non-stop cutting
  • Extreme Protection Technology for increased dust and water protection
  • Single lever height adjustment and 10 different positions

Cons:

  • Weak spring steel on the lever

This electric mower from Makita offers some cool options that might be interesting for tech-minded shoppers and lawncare enthusiasts alike.

A Star Protection Computer Control system protects the up to 4 5Ah LXT batteries and the electric motor from overheating, overloading, and over-discharging. The system also provides real-time data exchange between the tool and batteries.

A Quiet Mode option reduces the mower’s noise level, while the IPX4 weather-resistant construction and Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) protect against dust and water damage.

Toro SMARTSTOW 22 in 150cc Gas Self-Propelled Mower
  • Type: Self-propelled
  • Power: Gas
  • Run Time: 0.2 gal fuel tank
  • Deck Size: 22 inches
  • Cutting height: 1 inch to 4 inch
  • Wheel Drive: Rear-Wheel Drive
  • Discharge: Rear Discharge
  • Weight: 90 lbs.

Pros:

  • Personal Pace Auto-Drive makes steering easy
  • Large rear wheels
  • Smooth, reliable start-up

Cons:

  • Engine not powerful enough for extra-tough jobs

Another option from Toro’s SmartStow product line, this mower is a gas-powered option that offers a modest 150cc engine and 22-inch cutting width that will work well for typical home lawn care needs.

This gas mower is easy to start, and at only 90-lbs, it is easy to handle. The Personal Pace Auto-Drive and large rear wheels make steering this self-propelled mower comfortable. And, with no knobs or levers, maneuvering this mower couldn’t be easier.

Milwaukee M18 21-in 18V Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
  • Type: Self-propelled
  • Power: M18V 12.0Ah
  • Run Time: up to 60 minutes
  • Deck Size: 21 inches 
  • Cutting height: 1 inch to 4 inch
  • Wheel Drive: Rear-Wheel Drive
  • Discharge: Side Discharge
  • Weight: 85 lbs. (with batteries)

Pros:

  • 2 REDLITHIUM Batteries provide 60 minutes of runtime
  • POWERSTATE motor exceeds the performance of a 200cc engine
  • Front and side LED headlights

Cons:

  • Awkward rear side discharge chute design

Milwaukee has a long history of producing some of the most reliable and rugged tools you can find, and their M18 electric self-propelled mower fits that description to perfection.

A double battery system uses 18V REDLITHIUM batteries to provide up to 60 minutes of runtime. The POWERSTATE motor is a brushless motor that offers performance that exceeds that of most 200cc gas engines.

This mower weighs 85 lbs, making it easy to guide and walk behind, while the front and side LED lights to ensure a clear view even if you need to mow after sunset.

DeWalt 21 in. 20V Electric Self Propelled Mower 2x12 Ah
  • Type: Self-propelled
  • Power: 20-Volt 12.0Ah
  • Run Time: Up to 70-minutes 
  • Deck Size: 21 inches
  • Cutting Height: 1.5 inch to 4 inch
  • Wheel Drive: Rear-Wheel Drive 
  • Discharge: Side Discharge
  • Weight: 56.7 lbs.

Pros:

  • Auto-sense technology increases RPMs for thicker grass
  • Convenient fold-over handle and comfortable lift handles
  • Dual 12Ah FlexVolt batteries, 70 minutes runtime 

Cons:

  • The lowest cutting height is 1.5 inches

DeWalt’s 21-inch 20V mower is an excellent option if you want an electric mower that will run for a long time on a single charge, up to 70 minutes.

It’s easy to store with a fold-up handle and two convenient lifting straps, and since it weighs only 56.7-lbs, you could even put it on a shelf if you wanted to.

Auto-sensing technology helps adjust RPMs for trouble spots where thicker grass might be growing, and the 11-inch rear wheels help keep the mower moving even on bumpy, uneven slopes.

Verdict: Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

There you have it—my favorite self-propelled mowers. Every mower on this list is a fantastic option, including my favorite premium gas mower, the Toro TimeMaster. With a 31-inch deck and 233cc engine, the Toro TimeMaster is an easy top pick.

Toro TimeMaster 30 in. 223 cc Gas Self-Propelled Mower

Best Gas Mower for Large Lawns

Toro TimeMaster 30 in Gas Mower

It is a powerful gas mower that is easy to handle considering its 30-inch width and dual-force cutting system.

EGO Power+ Select Cut 21-in 56 V Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Best Electric Mower

EGO Power+ 21-in 56 V Lawn Mower

Excellent performance and long-lasting power thanks to 10.0Ah 56V ARC Lithium Battery. 7 cutting heights 1.5 to 4.0-inches.

Honda 21-In 170cc Steel Deck Self Propelled 3-in-1 Lawn Mower

Best Budget Gas Mower

Honda 21-In 170cc Self-Propelled 3-in-1

Five speeds, seven cutting heights, and its 3-in-1 mulch, bag, and discharge functions. Exceptional value for money.

Or, if you prefer an electric mower, check out the EGO Power+ Select Cut. It provides 75 minutes of runtime and seven cutting heights for quick, efficient mowing.

If you need a mower but don’t want to break the bank, I recommend Honda’s 21-inch, 3-in-1 lawn mower. This Honda self-propelled mower offers lots of features for a low price.

FAQs Self-Propelled Mowers

Here is the answer to the number one most asked question I get about self-propelled versus push lawn mowers.