Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Reviews of 2017

Self-propelled lawn mowers – the type of push mowers that move the wheels forward for you so you don’t have to use too much effort in mowing your grass. Now, a lot of people simply lump these in with regular gas powered push mowers but I don’t do that. I think they belong in their own category. They usually cost more than regular mowers, are more complicated and there are certainly more things that can go wrong with them.

I have more to say about the topic in Questions & Answers section below. If you only need help with deciding which is the best self-propelled lawn mower you should buy this year then hop on to my Top List below:

The Top List
ProductDescriptionMy ScorePrice
My Choice
Honda HRR216K9VKA 3-in-1 Self-Propelled Gas Mower Review

Honda HRR216K9VKA 3-in-1 Self-Propelled Gas Mower Review

It's powerful, great at mulching and cutting and is easy to maintain and handle. To me, this is an excellent self-propelled gas lawn mower. I would definitely recommend it.

Read Users' reviews
Poulan Pro 961420127 22 HP 3-in-1 Self-Propelled Mower Review

Poulan Pro 961420127 22 HP 3-in-1 Self-Propelled Mower Review

It worked really well on hills and seemed to be a good quality mower. While it doesn't have a whole lot of power for mulching and tends to pull a little bit, it gets the job done.

Read Users' reviews
Husqvarna 961450023 3-in-1 Rear Wheel Drive 3-in-1 Mower Review

Husqvarna 961450023 3-in-1 Rear Wheel Drive 3-in-1 Mower Review

It's a good mower yet it seems like it would've been a great mower for hills if they had designed it a little bit better. Put this mower in the “it could've been a contender” category.

Read Users' reviews
Troy-Bilt TB330 3-in-1 Self-Propelled Mower with Rear Drive Review

Troy-Bilt TB330 3-in-1 Self-Propelled Mower with Rear Drive Review

Taking everything into consideration, it's a pretty decent all-around mower - a budget model that will eventually cut the grass but is not among the top mowers.

Read Users' reviews
Lawn Boy 10732 Kohler XT6 OHV Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower Review

Lawn Boy 10732 Kohler XT6 OHV Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower Review

It's good, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it for someone looking for a mower that will last a long time. It does do a pretty good job of cutting grass at the moment, though.

Read Users' reviews
Questions & Answers

What To Consider While Buying A Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

I have to admit that self-propelled mowers share a lot of similarities with other types of push mowers. Which means that you do have to factor in some of the very same things you do when buying the best self-propelled mower as you would buying a regular push mower.

In this guide, I’m not only going to tell you some of the key features to look for when doing your search for the best self-propelled lawn mower but I am also going to give you some tips and tricks on using and maintaining these machines. So let’s just jump right into the thick of things.

Should I Buy A Self Propelled Lawn Mower?

As I stated in my Push Mower Guide, yards which are good candidates for a self propelled lawn mower are the ones which are a half acre to an acre. So if you have a ¾ of an acre yard, then you’ll probably want to buy one of the mowers.

However, yard size is not the only way to determine whether or not you should buy one of these mowers. Other reasons to buy one of these mowers is because you have a hilly yard, you have problems pushing a conventional mower or simply because you want a little extra convenience. All of these are viable reasons for owning one of these machines.

What To Look For In A Self Propelled Lawn Mower

Okay, since self-propelled mowers come with a variety of different options, then let’s start with the ones that are the most important and work our way from there. Here are the features to consider when looking for the best self propelled lawn mower:

  • Single Speed Vs. Variable Speed Drives

    One of the first things you need to consider is whether you get a single speed mower or a variable speed mower. What’s the difference, you ask? Well, the difference is how much control you have over your mowing speed.

    A single speed drive is one offers one speed—a speed that the manufacturer to be the walking speed of the average person. And this speed is not one you can change. It’s the same, even if it’s maybe too fast or too slow for you.

    A variable speed drive is one that can be adjusted to suit a person’s needs. How much it can be adjusted depends on the options on the particular model. Some models give users a fair degree of control over the speed of the mower and some don’t.

  • Front Wheel Vs. Rear Wheel Vs. All Wheel Drive

    Another thing that needs to be considered is what kind of wheel drive system you’re looking for in the best self-propelled lawn mower and that will mainly depend on how you are going to use it, as well as how much you want to pay for the mower.

    Front wheel drives are less expensive than rear wheel drives and there’s a good reason for that. They have less traction than a rear wheel drive mower. Which makes them hard to propel forward, especially while you’re turning and have the front of the mower up in the air.

    Rear wheel drives concentrate all their force in the rear wheels and therefore, get better traction for going up hills and while making turns. However, some models may be hard to control when the front end of the mower is lifted in anticipation of a turn.

    All wheel drives use all four wheels to give the mower the maximum amount of traction possible. While these models usually deliver the best performance on just about any type of terrain, they can be significantly more expensive that front wheel or rear wheel mowers.

  • Deck Size

    One of the reasons many people still choose gas powered self-propelled engines is because they have powerful enough engines to support a larger deck size—unlike electric and reel mowers. Which also means that some people like to run out and immediately buy the widest deck possible. However, just because a lawn mower has a wide cutting swath does not mean it’s the best mower for the job.

    Sure, a mower with a 24-inch deck will cut about 66% faster than a traditional 16-inch mower. That’s because the wider the cutting swath, the fewer passes you make and therefore, the faster your mowing goes. However, it also means that you need a bigger engine to power the motor and this bigger engine can make it harder to maneuver the mower. So it’s sort of a case of diminishing returns. If your mower is too big, then it’s harder to move around and therefore the additional deck size is counterproductive. The trick is to find a mower with a decent size deck width—something like 20 or 21-inches is usually sufficient for most yards. That way, it cuts a fairly wide swath without being too bulky.

  • Electric Start Or Pull-Start

    Basically, self-propelled mowers have two available starting options: electric and pull start (recoil). Sure, you can probably divide the electric category into other categories such as push button or key start but I don’t see the advantage in doing that so let’s just go with these two.

    Electric start engines can be started with either a key or a push button. They don’t require you having to constantly pull on a cord, which is great for some people. They come in either key or push button types.

    Pull start engines
    are like just about any other gas mower you may be familiar with. With these engines, you have to pull on a cord until it starts. A lot less convenient than electric start engines.

  • Blade Override

    The next thing to consider is whether you want a mower with a blade override. With traditional self-propelled mowers, the engine will turn off every single time you let go of the safety bail. If you have to pick up sticks or rocks from in front of the mower, the engine turns off. If you have to open the gate to push the mower through, the engine shuts off. This is inconvenient and can cost you time because when this happens you then have to restart the mower to continue.

    However, if you have a mower with a blade override system, then you don’t have to worry about restarting your mower because it has shut down for safety. No, this feature disengages the blades (so they aren’t spinning) so you can walk away from the mower. And it does it without having to turn off the engine. This will make it faster to cut you grass and probably save you some aggravation. However, it also usually adds significantly to the overall price of the mower.

  • Wheel Type

    Wheel type is another thing you might want to consider. Mowers come with a variety of different wheel options and self-propelled mowers are no exception to the rule. Let’s take a look at some of the options that may be available to you.

  • Rear Wheels

    With lawn mowers, you usually have a choice between three different types when deciding on rear wheels. You can have standard ones (about 8 inches), ones that are a little bit bigger (about 11 inches) and those that are big (say, around 17 inches). With rear wheels, the usual rule is that bigger wheels give you better traction on slopes and hills. Of course, this can depend on the tread of the wheel as well. I’ve used mowers with 8-inch wheels with a great tread pattern that outperformed 17-inch wheels with a basic tread pattern, so that is something to factor in as well.

  • Front Wheels

    Front wheels can come in a variety of different styles. There are basic ones, there are ones that swivel and there are ones that are a little bit bigger than standard. What type of wheel you choose depends on what you need the mower to handle. Swivel front wheels usually make the mower easier to maneuver around obstacles. Standard ones are good for standard cutting jobs and bigger wheels are good for yards that may be uneven or have a lot of obstacles.

  • Wash Ports

    While this is really more of an optional feature, I decided to go ahead and list it here because it makes the job of cleaning your mower so much easier. Wash ports are ports in which you can connect a hose so that you can clean the undercarriage of the mower. The fancy ones are snap-in and snap-out ones, but there are also some that screw in. You just hook them up and spray away all of the lawn debris. Like I said, this is an optional feature but it’s quite handy to keep your mower clean.

  • Bag, Side Discharge or Rear Discharge

    Another thing to think about is whether you want a mower that can bag lawn clippings, can discharge them from the side or ones that can rear discharge them. It’s really up to you which one you choose. Fortunately, more and more manufacturers are offering the option of a 3 in 1 mower which does all of these things at one time. These are the ideal ones to have.

  • Manual or Auto Choke

    This is the last item on my list because most modern self-propelled lawn mowers have auto choke systems. Which means that they don’t have to be primed and can start cold. However, there may be some manual choke mowers left on the market today. Obviously, the auto choke systems are easier to use and more convenient than the manual choke systems. But like I said, in a few years there probably won’t even be manual choke self-propelled lawn mowers on the market anyway.

A Final Look At Features

Well, those are all of the features that I can think of that can be found on self-propelled mowers. I’m sure that I probably missed one or two but overall, I think that these are really what you need to look for in one of these mowers. They are at least a good starting point.

Of course, Not every single one of the above features is going to be found on all mowers on the market today. You may have to make compromises and choose only the features you really need. What I mean is that while you’re looking at mowers you might realize that you can’t find a rear-drive one with big rear wheels and swivel front wheels that have an electric start and a manual choke. That’s okay. All I really wanted this list to do is make you aware of what some of your options may be. You can pick and choose what’s really important to you and your yard work.

Conclusion

Okay, that does it for me today. Hopefully, I have enlightened you on the wonderful world of self-propelled lawnmowers. I also hope that your journey with me was not only informative but also entertaining as well. If you liked this guide, then I encourage you to check out some of my other mower guides. I’ve written quite a few of them and they deal with such topics as riding mowers, electric ones and just about every other type of mower you can think of. Until I see you again, be safe out there and happy cutting!
My Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Reviews

I’m going to review the Honda HRR216K9VKA 3-in-1 Self-Propelled Gas Mower today. It’s a mower that I didn’t know a whole lot about before I began this review, but it’s one that surely had my attention by the time I was finished with it. Let’s see what this little baby can do, shall we?

The first thing that I noticed is that it was fairly easy to setup. While it wasn’t as easy to setup as some of its competitors, I was still able to have it up and running in a matter of minutes. I also liked the fact that the oil dipstick was easy to find and remove, so I was able to quickly put oil (and gas) into this lawnmower. The same thing can’t be said for some other mower models.

The next thing that impressed me was how easily it started. From a cold start, I was able to get this lawnmower started with just two pulls. That’s probably because it has an auto choke feature, which allows it to start from a cold start. Which is very convenient. Hopefully, this auto choke feature works as well down the road as it does when it’s fresh out of the box.

After I had it started, I then proceeded to cut my grass. While I thought that the Honda GCV160 engine had acceptable noise levels for a lawnmower, I know that some people have complained that it was kind of noisy to them. In my opinion, it doesn’t purr like a kitten but it isn’t loud either—especially when you consider that it is a gas powered lawn mower, so it’s not going to be that quiet.

I immediately began to mow my grass with the Honda HRR216K9VKA 3-in-1 Self-Propelled Gas Mower and began to experiment with the thumb-controlled variable speed controls. While I liked the ability to slow down the speed of the motor or speed it up, as I see fit, I don’t like where the controls are located. Using the thumb control for a period of time kind of made my thumb feel numb, probably due to the vibrations from the mower. I imagine that if I had to use it for a really long period of time, then it would be extremely annoying.

Another thing that I didn’t like about this rig was that the wheels were kind of small. This fact, combined with the rear-wheel drive, would occasionally make the mower pop a wheelie on one of the hills I had to mow. It’s not a constant problem, but it does happen every once in awhile and is worth mentioning.

However, I think those are the only negative impressions I had of this mower. As far as cutting the grass, I think that it did an exceptional job. That Honda engine really does a good job of propelling those twin blades. And speaking of the twin blades, I really like the fact that they cut the grass so fine, it basically is like increasing the size of the bag. Which is a plus for me because I always hate having to empty a mower’s bag. Even though I have to say that this mower’s bag was pretty easy to remove as well, so maybe I’ll have to rethink how much I hate bag changes.

Well, that does it for my review of the Honda HRR216K9VKA 3-in-1 Self-Propelled Gas Mower. Sure, it had small wheels and I didn’t like the controls for the variable speed control, but everything else worked very well. It handled my yard, even the hills, and pretty much simplified my yard work. This makes this mower something I’d definitely recommend.

9.2 Total Score
Bottom Line

It's powerful, great at mulching and cutting and is easy to maintain and handle. To me, this is an excellent self-propelled gas lawn mower. I would definitely recommend it.

Performance
10
Features
10
Ease of Use
9
Value
8
Quality
9
PROS
  • Easy to start
  • Twin blades make for finer clippings
  • Bag is easy to empty
  • Has an auto-choke
  • Self-propelled
  • Easy to store
CONS
  • Variable speed control button is awkward
  • Wheels are kind of small
  • Some people complain about engine noise
User Rating: No Ratings Yet!

The Poulan Pro 961420127 is a 22 HP 3-in-1 Self-Propelled Mower which has front-wheel drive, large 12-inch rear wheels and an auto-choke system for easy starting. The first thing I noticed when I received it was that it was very easy to assemble. All that was required was some minor assembly—basically, attaching the handles and cables and then assembling and attaching the grass catcher. I then added gas and oil, of course, and by the second pull, the engine was purring like a kitten, all thanks to its auto-choke system.

I then took it out for its maiden test drive. I really liked the fact that this mower was a 3-in-1; able to side discharge, bag or mulch the grass. However, while using it I felt like the bag was kind of small. It seems like I had to empty it a few time more than I was expecting.

As I continued to use the mower, there were some things that I really liked about it and some things I weren’t too pleased with. One of the things I really liked was that it did a great job cutting grass. When used on flat terrain, it really did a great job, although it did feel like it was dragging me at times. Unfortunately, it didn’t do that great a job on my hills. Front wheel mowers tend to have problems with hills and this one was no exception.

I also felt that this mower really lacked mulching power. I would often have to go over brush areas a few times over. This isn’t really a surprise, however. This mower only has a 150 cc engine and I’m used to 190 cc mowers.

When I was finished mowing, I did really appreciate the deck-cleaning system that allowed you to attached a garden hose to clean the blades. It worked very well and wish that more mowers had this feature.

All in all, I think the Poulan Pro 961420127 is a 22 HP 3-in-1 Self-Propelled Mower is a good mower. While it doesn’t have a whole lot of power for mulching and tends to pull a little bit, it gets the job done. It worked really well on hills and seemed to be a good quality mower.

9 Total Score
Bottom Line

It worked really well on hills and seemed to be a good quality mower. While it doesn't have a whole lot of power for mulching and tends to pull a little bit, it gets the job done.

Performance
9
Features
9
Ease of Use
9
Value
9
Quality
9
PROS
  • Easy to assemble
  • Easy start
  • Auto-choke
  • Self-propelled
  • Deck-cleaning system
CONS
  • Bag is kind of small
  • Front wheel drive pulls a bit
  • Lacks mulching power
User Rating: No Ratings Yet!

The Husqvarna 961450023 3-in-1 Rear Wheel Drive 3-in-1 Mower is a mower that comes equipped with a 160 cc Honda engine, a self-propelled rear wheel drive system, 11-inch rear and 8-inch front wheels and 22-inch blades. It also comes with a mower deck washout port where you can attach your garden hose to clean out the blades. While this mower only has a 160 cc mower, as opposed to the 190 cc mowers I often prefer, this mower did have a 22-inch cutting deck, so I was pretty anxious to see how it performed.

In under 10 minutes, I had this mower unboxed, assembled and ready to mow. After putting gasoline and oil in it, I noticed that it started up by the second pull—which is always a plus. The first thing I noticed is that the rear bag doesn’t fit as well as I think it should. While I was mowing, it tended to let some tiny debris out along the sides of it. Not sure if that was just a problem with my particular mower or if it was a design flaw.

The one thing I’d like to mention is that the rear propulsion system takes some getting used to and that’s from someone who has used quite a number of different mowers over the years. I found that this mower does a really good job at mowing grass on hills but that really wasn’t a big surprise since it was a rear-drive mower and many of them tend to excel cutting grass on hills. However, this mower really had a tendency for its back wheels to dig into the ground at times, which happened in a couple of spots during my mowing tests.

I do like the fact, however, that this mower does have larger back wheels designed to navigate tougher terrain. I also liked the deck cleaning system. And while it didn’t do as well as I would have liked mulching, it managed to do a great overall job on the grass.

Taking all things into consideration, I think the Husqvarna 961450023 3-in-1 Rear Wheel Drive 3-in-1 Mower is a good mower that could’ve been great with a few minor adjustments. It seems like it would’ve been a great mower for hills, if they had designed it a little bit better. Put this mower in the “it could’ve been a contender” category.

8.2 Total Score
Bottom Line

It's a good mower yet it seems like it would've been a great mower for hills if they had designed it a little bit better. Put this mower in the “it could've been a contender” category.

Performance
8
Features
9
Ease of Use
8
Value
8
Quality
8
PROS
  • Easy to assemble
  • Auto-choke
  • Self-propelled
  • Easy start
  • Deck-cleaning system
CONS
  • Rear wheels can dig in while turning
  • Lacks mulching power
  • Rear bag doesn't fit tightly
User Rating: No Ratings Yet!

The Troy-Bilt TB330 is a 3-in-1 mower with a rear self-propelled drive system, a 21-inch cutting deck, a 1.9-bushel rear bag, 8-inch front and back wheels, a 1.09-quart gas tank and a ReadyStart® System that is designed to make the mower start up without any problems. It also came with a 163 cc Briggs & Stratton engine. I’ve had experience with other Troy-Bilt mowers over the years and have always liked them, so I was looking forward to getting this mower set up and running. Here’s what I found out about it.

The first thing I want to mention is that this mower was pretty easy to assemble. Everything fit together nicely and I was up and running in about 5 minutes. Once I added fuel and gas, I set out to cut my yard—some of which is rather flat and some of which is kind of hilly. I started it on the first pull, which was nice and proceeded to cut my grass. I noticed that this mower did a fine job on the hills, although I do have to say that it doesn’t have the most powerful drive system I’ve ever used. It also did a pretty good job cutting the grass on the flat terrain, although I did notice that it didn’t do as good as a job as I thought it should’ve. While it mulched perfectly well, thanks to its specially designed blade, I had to go over one or two patches more than once. This mower could’ve also used larger back wheels for driving over rougher terrain.

However, there are also some things to like about this mower. For instance, it has a deck-cleaning system that makes cleaning the blades easier, it has a variable speed control that allows the user to set the pace of the mowing instead of the mower setting the pace for them and it had a nice sized rear bag that I didn’t have to empty quite so often. I also liked that it had six different grass height settings that ranged from 1.25 to 3.75-inches.

Taking everything into consideration, I felt that the Troy-Bilt TB330 3-in-1 Self-Propelled Mower with Rear-Drive Mower was a decent all-around mower that handled hills moderately better than it handled the level ground. But it’s also a mower that has its fair share of design flaws. For me, it’s a budget model that will eventually cut the grass, but is not among the top mowers.

8 Total Score
Bottom Line

Taking everything into consideration, it's a pretty decent all-around mower - a budget model that will eventually cut the grass but is not among the top mowers.

Performance
7
Features
8
Ease of Use
8
Value
8
Quality
9
PROS
  • Easy to assemble
  • Lightweight
  • Auto-choke
  • Self-propelled
  • Starts easily
  • Deck-cleaning system
CONS
  • Back wheels too small
  • Back wheels can dig in
  • Could cut grass better
  • Drive System wasn't too powerful
User Rating: No Ratings Yet!

The Lawn Boy 10732 Kohler XT6 OHV Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower is a mower with a 21-inch cutting path, an auto-choke system, and a 2-point “Height-of-Cut” System that allows you to change your cutting heights from just one side of the mower. It features a Kohler 149 cc engine that delivers approximately 6.5-foot pounds of gross torque. While it’s not the most powerful system I’ve reviewed, it does have the power to cut through many different types of grass.

One of the first things I noticed about this mower is that it was easy to assemble. I was up and running in no-time flat. I then added fuel and gas and was mowing within about 10 minutes or so. Using it on my lawn, I noticed that it did a fine job on both level plots of land but also on hills. It cut through just about anything I threw at it and thanks to its nice size bag, I was able to keep going for longer periods of time without having to empty the bag. However, I did notice that occasionally the blades would slow down due to excess grass build up and I had to manually clean it out—which is always a pain. I also noticed that this mower was quite a bit louder than a lot of the other mowers I’ve used. Not the loudest but still pretty loud.

And while this mower did do a good job mowing, it did have sort of a “cheap feel” to it. What I mean is that I noticed they used quite a bit of plastic in its construction and the deck feels kind of flimsy. It didn’t break down or anything while I used it, but I don’t know that I’d be too confident that it would last over the long haul. Like I said, I didn’t experience any problems with it but then again, I only used if for a couple of mowing sessions.

Overall, I expected a mower that was constructed better, especially since it wasn’t inexpensive. I’m not sure I’d recommend it for someone looking for a mower that will last a long time, but this mower does do a pretty good job of cutting grass at the moment. A few design changes and the  Lawn Boy 10732 Kohler XT6 OHV Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower could have been a good mower—too bad it didn’t become the kind of mower I imagine they designed it to be. It just has too many flaws and I can’t recommend it.

7.8 Total Score
Good

It's good, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it for someone looking for a mower that will last a long time. It does do a pretty good job of cutting grass at the moment, though.

Performance
8
Features
9
Ease of Use
8
Value
7
Quality
7
PROS
  • Easy to assemble
  • Auto-choke
  • Self-propelled
  • Starts easily
CONS
  • Too much plastic
  • Deck feels flimsy
  • Grass can buildup around blades
  • Can be loud
User Rating: No Ratings Yet!