A perfectly mowed lawn is a sight loved by everyone. Whether it is your front yard that provides the beautiful image of your home from the street or the backyard where you relax and have fun, good lawn care can enhance the aesthetics of your yard and provide fulfilling effects.
To achieve this, you will need a good mower, too. In this article, I will discuss whether a self-propelled lawn mower is the way to go or whether you should just stick with your push-mower for the best results. But first, is a self-propelled lawn mower worth it?
A self-propelled lawn mower is unequivocally worth the extra costs, especially if the area it will be used on is large and/or has hills or other steeps.
However, it isn’t always the best choice, or at least, not the most sensible one. In today’s article, I will discuss whether these machines are worth the extra money or are just a useless invention of the modern era. I will also go through some factors to consider if you do buy one and a couple of specific models which are worth the money. Read on for more!
Are Self-propelled Mowers Any Good?
Before discussing whether self-propelled mowers are any good or a waste of your hard-earned money, we should go through what I mean by self-propelled mowers.
Basically, your standard rotary mower (whether electric or gas-fueled) works via an engine that rotates the blades, creating an upward suction towards the grass while cutting it. Aside from this function, it doesn’t do much more, except maybe store the cut grass if it features a box or bag for this purpose.
Self-propelled mowers, on the other hand, not only do the same thing but also use the torque of the spinning motor to propel the machine forward, making movements a lot easier and reducing the workload of the person pushing the mower.
Just like standard push-mowers, these machines also come in a couple of different types, like electric ones, those that run on petrol or diesel, or perhaps, use batteries.
As previously mentioned, the major difference is that this rotary power is transmitted onto the wheels of the mower to make it move forward.
When starting your search for a mower, you will find rear-wheel self-propelled mowers, front-wheel mowers, and also some all-wheel mowers, although those are rarer.
Front-wheel-driven self-propelling lawn mowers are excellent for straight, even terrains since they are more easily tipped and turned in the desired direction than some other machines.
Rear-wheel-driven mowers are, however, better for terrains with hills or slopes since the rear-wheel-drive makes it easier for the machine to steadily climb a hill, as its weight is mostly placed on the rear wheel, providing more grip and easy maneuvering.
Four-wheel drive mowers are just great on all kinds of terrains, just like four-wheel-drive cars. The torque is often equally distributed between the front and rear axles, providing balanced and steady movements.
Which Is Better: Self-propelled or Push Mowers?
One might ask, and rightly so: Is a self-propelled mower really worth it? Indeed, such a mower can sometimes cost hundreds of dollars more than a standard push version, so what is in it?
Basically, for most people, it is a “luxury item.” Most people would purchase one if they had the money to spare and didn’t have to worry about the cost, so that they would get a product that makes their jobs easier.
For most people, getting a self-propelled lawn mower is not a necessity per se, but rather a tool to ease the work done, which in itself is already a great reason, seeing as there are many ways to exercise other than pushing a mower.
However, in certain cases, self-propelled lawn mowers can become a “necessity” for a standard user. In some cases, the extra push from the mower itself and the decreasing of the workload on the person might not only be fun or useful, but almost indispensable.
Basically, the two main scenarios in which this might happen are when one has a really large lawn to mow or has hills and slopes on the terrain they want to mow.
In the first case, it is simply much more economical, time-friendlier, and easier to mow a large lawn with a self-propelled mower than with a standard push mower. If you do happen to have a large yard, and especially if you are older or burdened by some medical condition that makes it hard for you to physically work for too long, a self-propelled mower is a necessity.
It makes all that pushing a lot easier and mowing faster, which means you will have more time for other activities and will not be nearly as tired although you will have accomplished the job.
In the other scenario, when there are hills, slopes, or uneven terrains on your property, it is quite obvious that self-propelled mowers win. A lawn mower that propels and pushes itself will indeed make mowing such an area so much easier. Again, for these places, such a machine turns into a “necessity” rather than a “luxury.”
Obviously, if you have a large garden with uneven terrain, it is absolutely life-saving to have a proper self-propelled mower as it will make the job 10 times easier.
However, in other situations, for example, when you have a small, even terrain, or enjoy the work and effort of pushing a mower, you aren’t missing out on much by going with a standard mower since it cuts grass the same way.
It might be unnecessary to cash out a larger amount of money for a machine that you maybe don’t need, or perhaps, even makes lawn mowing tougher of a job, seeing as it might be a fuss to maneuver a self-propelled mower in tight and small spaces.
What Should You Look for When Buying a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower?
It might seem like buying a lawnmower is a very straightforward act, however, you might run into some problems along the line if you don’t look into what type of machine you are looking for exactly to complete the tasks you have at hand.
There are a couple of things to pay attention to, so here is a concise self-propelled lawn mower buyer’s guide:
- Rear- vs. Front-Wheel Drive: As discussed before, rear-wheel-drive machines are better when you need more grip and traction. But due to their capacity, they are also somewhat more expensive. Make sure that your lawn is even, without bumps or slopes, which could hurt the efficacy of a front-wheel version. Otherwise, consider getting a somewhat more expensive rear-wheel-drive mower.
- Electric vs. Gas: If you don’t like using petrol and different types of machine oils, want to preserve the environment, or don’t like cranking a rope to start a generally loud engine, go with electric lawnmowers. They are just as good and are also generally lighter. However, if you like the old-fashioned, usually bulky yet powerful petrol versions, go for that one.
- One Speed vs. Adjustable Speed: Different speeds might work better for different tasks, terrains, and occasions. Thus, you might choose wisely by buying a variable/adjustable speed lawnmower, which you can adjust to your desired speed. Such a machine can help with even cutting and low work strain.
- Easy to wash: Ideally, look for a mower that can be easily washed. One of the best ways to do so is to look for mowers with cleaning ports, also known as wash-out ports. These are ports where you can attach your standard garden hose and flush out any trimmings and dirt, thus keeping your machine in great condition without a fuss.
What Are the Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers?
Below is a list of a couple of the best self-propelled lawn mowers available out there, so you can easily and quickly find the one that best fits your lawn.
- Greenworks 2 x 24V (48V) 21″ Brushless Self-Propelled Mower: This machine is one of the best self-propelled mowers on batteries available out there. It is a true beast, which does show in its price. However, it is worth the money. It is a reliable, rear-wheel-drive machine with up to 70 minutes of running time, adjustable height, and a combination of mulching and bagging functions amongst numerous other features.
- Craftsman M215 159cc 21-Inch 3-in-1 High-Wheeled FWD Self-Propelled Gas Powered Lawn Mower with Bagger: For the ones out there who like a good gas-powered self-propelled mower, the Craftsman M215 is one of the best options. It costs reasonably less than the aforementioned battery-run Greenworks while also being an incredibly efficient and powerful machine. Keep in mind that this is FWD, so perhaps not optimal for slopes and hills, but great for about everything else.
- PowerSmart Self Propelled Lawn Mower: The PowerSmart Self Propelled Lawn Mower is a great choice for a great budget mower that is self-propelled and can complete all basic lawn mowing tasks you could think of with ease.