10 Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers | Gas and Electric

If you’re in the market for a new mower, you would be right to have a self-propelled model on your shopping list. Sure, they cost a few bucks more, but you get the payback each time you finish cutting and realize you can still stand up straight without grimacing

For any lawn over a quarter acre, the self-propulsion makes a big difference. But that is just one factor when making a big ticket purchase like this. You want to know what’s the run time, is it gas or electric? will it cope with damp grass? and will it produce a clean-cut lawn?

This article will provide these answers to help you find the best self-propelled lawnmower offering value for money and reliability.

Top Pick Self-Propelled Lawnmowers

If you are short on time and need to know which mowers are my top picks, here they are: the best gas and electric machines as well as the best product 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.

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Choosing A Self-Propelled Mower

There are a lot of features and specifications to take on board here. But knowing the facts to make an informed decision is critical to choosing the right machine. So let’s take a look at the information that really matters.

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 lawnmower with a good-sized cutting deck, a large gas tank, or a large capacity battery so you can finish your mowing on a single charge without the need to refuel or recharge.

You should also be realistic about the type of terrain you have in your backyard. A lightweight chassis is going to be easier to maneuver up and down hills, but it still needs enough power to drive it through the slope transition and up the gradient. 

If you have uneven terrain that is more bumpy, up and down, or otherwise challenging to mow over, a larger wheel size and adjustable cutting height could be helpful features.

Gas Vs Electric Self-Propelled Mower

Gas-powered machines offer plenty of power and a fuel tank that can be topped up at intervals, meaning you can mow pretty much continually until you are finished.

They will, however, also generally weigh more due to their heavy-duty construction. This additional robustness has the advantage of standing up to more abuse but can feel exhausting after a long day’s work.

The electric mower offers a clean, efficient energy source that has zero emission, low noise pollution, and a reliability advantage. Push the button and you can be sure your machine will start. No need for servicing, mixing fuel, or dealing with small engine problems.

Engine Power (hp) Vs Motor (V)

When it comes to power output, there is not a direct correlation between a gas engine’s horsepower rating and an electric motor’s voltage, making data comparison impossible. The more cynical amongst us might think manufacturers do this intentionally, as in practical field use, most users see a notable power advantage in gas mowers.

This power disparity is most apparent when the machine is asked to perform more demanding tasks, such as climbing a gradient or working through a wet or damp lawn, or even handling longer grass.

Lithium Battery Run Time (Ah)

The electric-powered mower draws its power from a lithium battery cell. The battery cells’ storage capacity is stated in Ah or amperes per hour.

Essentially, this is a measurement of how long the battery can power a device. If in our case a lawnmower draws 10 amps per hour, then a 5 Ah battery will last 30 minutes. In short the higher the Ah, the longer the mower will run on a single charge.

Depending on the speed and cutting height you work, an average lithium-ion battery will provide enough power for about an hour or half an acre. Generally, it’s a good idea to have multiple batteries in reserve as this allows you to continue working while your second batch of batteries recharges. Recharging a lithium battery from empty to fully charged will take about 100 minutes or less.

Mowing at faster speeds or lower cutting heights increases the draw on the motor, which means your 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.

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 Functions: Bag, Mulch, and Discharge

When I talk about 2-function for 3-in-1 function, I mean options to bag, mulch, or discharge grass clippings.

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 blade pushes the grass out through a port on the side of the deck. Some have a rear discharge instead of on the side.

There are two styles of bagging, rear bag, and side bag. This designation refers to the place on the mower where you attach a bag to catch grass cuttings if you want to. The rear bags usually offers a more generous collection capacity.

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 standard-quality clippings bag.

Self Propulsion Wheel Drive

There are several different options for wheel drive and wheel sizes that you should consider. I will cover each driving 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 crankshaft pulley. This feeds through an opening in the cutting deck and connects to the transmission pulley.

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

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 lawnmowers are a good choice for level ground. With power supplied to the front wheels, you can tip up and move easier than with rear-wheel drive. 

Rear Wheel Drive

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

All Wheel Drive

All-wheel drive provides power to all four wheels at once and offers 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 the 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 products 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, especially if you need to cut different lengths of grass frequently. Lawnmowers 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 manufacturing 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, a squeeze of the handle, or an adjustment dial, every self-propelled mower has some sort of speed control.

Which option your go for is a matter of personal preference, so take the time to research a few different products and try to select the one that you think looks right for you. For what it’s worth I prefer a mower that offers speed control via the handle, I find this a more ergonomic and convenient approach to speed control.

Electric Start or Pull Start

Gas engines use a pull cord to turn over the engine and get running. As long as you properly maintain your engine, a pull cord should start your engine without any trouble.

That being said the convenience of an electric start mower is a very handy feature to include. There’s no physical effort required and it’s perhaps more reliable in cooler conditions or if you use your mower less frequently. An electric start on a mower is not a huge advantage, but I definitely like it as a little perk.

Storage and Size

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

Many manufacturers offer collapsible handles and the option to stand the mower on its end for a much slimmer profile. The Toro SmartSywo is a great example of a mower designed specifically with a storage solution in mind.

Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Reviews

I have used and tested each of the mowers listed in my review. Each machine was put through its paces across a 4-acre field, where I sectioned off 10 parallel strips of lawn to replicate a typical backyard. The main criteria I wanted to test included the actual run time, the quality of the cut, the ability of the mower to handle slightly damp lawns, the overall build quality, and finally how easy the mower is to control and operate.

Let’s take a look at ten of the best gas and electric options for self-propelled lawnmowers 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.


  • 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


  • 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.

It worked its way through the lawn test like a champ. It was the first mower I tested and the grass was slightly damp. The 30-inch deck sucked the clipping up into the bag without any issues and literally no signs of grass clumping or falling back onto the lawn surface. In terms of run time, this mower gave me 60 minutes, on a single tank, which is impressive given its size and weight.

On that point, Toro TimeMaster is clearly a larger mower compared to the 20 to 24-inch products also on the test, but it handled surprisingly well.

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 and left a beautiful crisp cut to the lawn. 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. Overall a fantastic mower for anyone looking to take on a large, but very effective mower.

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.


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


  • Slight time delay on speed adjustments

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, which frankly blew my mind.

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

On the test, it cut through the section of dampish grass very well. I would say for anyone looking for a professional finish, the Toro delivered a better result. But for ease of use, value for money, and just a great mower for residential lawns, the Ego is exceptional.

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.


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


  • 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, and 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.

It swallowed up clippings in the lawn test and dealt with the damp grass with no problem. The cutting height adjustment felt a bit flimsy, and it was a large unit when folded for storage. But in terms of value for money, it offers a great deal to be impressed with and I have no hesitation in recommending it.

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.


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


  • Speed controls can be finicky

A rare 4-in-1 option, this Honda gas mower will discharge, bag, and 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.


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


  • Disappointing battery life

An electric mower built on Toro’s Flex-Force battery system, this 22-inch mower provides enough power to mow a ½ acre of lawn on a single charge so this was around 40 minutes of run time. What this mower lacked in endurance, it made up for with great handling with its lightweight chassis and easy-to-turn upright handle. This mower is well suited to smaller yards where the nimble lightweight machine is an advantage.

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.

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.


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


  • Pull cord placement is not ideal

Honda’s commercial gas mowers aren’t just for professional landscapers. The HRC216 series is for anyone who wants a premium-built hardcore machine. It features hydrostatic transmission that makes the self-propelled movement smooth, the MicroCut twin blades produced a high-quality finish and it worked its way through the damp grass challenge like a pro.

The rugged design of this mower is up to the task of any residential chore and most commercial jobs too. Finally, Honda’s commercial GVX160 engine has been tested to be reliable and easy to start. I have not had the machine long enough to tell you about its reliability, but I have heard nothing but good reports from friends in the industry.

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.


  • 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


  • Weak spring steel on the lever

This range of electric mowers from Makita offers an easy-to-use option that has Makita’s build quality and reliability written all over it. In fact, I purchased this exact mower for my Father last year and it has been outstanding as a solid mower that is needed to work on residential lawns. It’s very well constructed and offers an excellent run time of 70 minutes.

There’s a lot of technology under the hood…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 the 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.


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


  • Engine not powerful enough for extra-tough jobs

An 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.

It performed well in the field test, comfortably handling the damp grass and running for 45 minutes. But this mower stands out for its clever fold-away design, making it a very compact machine to stow in your garage or even hang it on the wall.

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)


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


  • 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 ensure a clear view even if you need to mow after sunset.

It performed well in the grass-cutting test, but out of the electric mowers I tested, I would opt for the Ego Power+, based on its excellent run time and its ability to stand up to a bit more of a pounding than the DeWalt.

DeWalt 21 in. 20V Electric Self Propelled Mower 2x12 Ah
  • Type: Self-propelled
  • Power: 20-Volt 12.0Ah
  • Run Time: Up to 60-minutes 
  • Deck Size: 21 inches
  • Cutting Height: 1.5 inches to 4 inch
  • Wheel Drive: Rear-Wheel Drive 
  • Discharge: Side Discharge
  • Weight: 56.7 lbs.


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


  • 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 60 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 lawnmowers.