5 Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers of 2022 [Reviews]

Woman pushing a self-propelled lawn mower

With a self-propelled lawn mower, you can’t quite sit back and relax while you cut your grass, but the job will be much easier. Self-propelled mowers drive themselves forward, and all you have to do is guide them where you want them to go. 

But what should you look for when purchasing a self-propelled lawn mower? We compared dozens of mowers to pick our 5 best self-propelled lawn mowers based on power, battery run time, variable speed, cutting width, maximum cutting height, cutting options, and price. 

We have also included a buyers guide and FAQ that should help you make the right choice for you and your yard. 

Prices for self-propelled mowers range from under $300 to more than $800. We have included mowers in various price ranges in our ranking:

  • Under $400
  • Under $500
  • Over $700
  • Over $800 

5 Top Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers – Reviews

1. Best overall: Craftsman M215
2. Best bang for your buck: BLACK+DECKER gas-powered FWD mower
3. Best battery-powered: Kobalt brushless lithium-ion battery-powered mower
4. Best gas: Troy-Bilt TB210
5. Best premium option: EGO POWER+ LM2135SP

1. Best Overall: Craftsman M215

Craftsman’s M215 mower features a 159 cc engine that provides enough torque to breeze through grass and weeds, easy starting, a grass clippings mulching option, and the propulsion speed feature lets you adjust the self-propelled speed. 

Here are some highlights of the M215:

  • The engine’s automatic choke means you don’t need to worry about priming or when to open the choke valve yourself. Gas mowers are already difficult enough to deal with, after all. 
  • The self-propelled feature is front-wheel-drive (FWD), which makes turning and controlling the mower easy. You can adjust the propulsion speed to match your pace using the variable speed lever on the handle. So, you can mow at a comfortable walking speed or kick it up a notch, as this mower goes just about as fast as you could want it to on the higher settings. 
  • Good traction on slopes because the tires are large (8-inch in the front and 11-inch in the back) and have a high-quality zag treading.

Specifications

  • Power source: 159 cc OHV gas engine
  • Drive system: Front-wheel drive
  • Cutting width: 21 inches
  • Maximum cutting height: 3.75 inches
  • Price range: Under $400 
ProsCons
Variable speed control
3-in-1 discharging, mulching, and bagging for grass clippings
Adjustable cutting height with 6 positions for different grass types or times of the year
Auto-choke for easier operation
Does well on slopes
Starts easily
Has a hard time in very tall grass (8+ inches)
Collection bag for grass clippings is on the small side, and you may have to remove and empty it mid-mow
Some parts are made of plastic

Where to Buy

2. Best Bang for Your Buck: BLACK+DECKER gas-powered FWD mower

If you’re on a budget but you still want the convenience of a self-propelled mower, this simple but effective gas-powered model from BLACK+DECKER could be for you. 

In addition to being easy on your wallet, this mower is also easy to use. It’s lightweight and has front-wheel drive for maneuverability. It also starts on the first pull pretty much every time, which is great for a gas mower. 

But this mower has its limitations, too. The engine is pretty weak for a gas mower at 140 cc, so the mower sometimes struggles with tall grass. Plus, you can’t use the mower on slopes of 15 degrees or more, or else the engine oil will burn and cause a safety hazard. 

Specifications

  • Power source: 140 cc gas engine 
  • Drive system: Front-wheel drive
  • Cutting width: 21 inches
  • Maximum cutting height: 4 inches
  • Price range: Under $400
ProsCons
Affordable 
Easy to use for a gas mower
3-in-1 bagging, discharging, and mulching capabilities for grass clippings
Adjustable cutting height with 6 settings
High cutting height makes the mower good for tall grass types and uneven ground with bumps and ruts
Malfunctions if used on a slope
Not much power for a gas mower
No variable speed control 
The FWD mechanism is obtrusive and makes it hard for the mower to get close to obstacles
Some of the cables are too long and get in the way of the grass collection bag

Where to Buy

3. Best Battery-Powered: Kobalt Brushless Lithium-Ion Battery-Powered Mower

Want the power of a gas mower without the maintenance, loud noise, and fumes? This Kobalt mower is a great choice. The 80-volt battery drives the mower through tall and thick grass without stalling. And in the right conditions, this mower can run up to 80 minutes on a single charge, which is impressive compared to other cordless electric mowers.

Unlike our top two picks, this mower features rear-wheel drive (RWD), which is the best drive system for mowing on hills. It also has variable speed, with low settings slow enough for seniors and other homeowners with limited mobility to follow comfortably but high settings fast enough to finish mowing the lawn in record time.

The mower does have some quirks you have to watch out for. One issue is that the self-propel mechanism doesn’t automatically turn off when you turn off the mower. If you forget to disengage the self-propel, the mower can keep going and bump into something. 

Another issue is that backing up the mower isn’t as easy as it could be. You have to release the self-propel switch and roll the mower forward before you can roll it backward because the wheels lock.  

Specifications

  • Power source: 80V 6.0 Ah lithium-ion battery
  • Battery run time: Up to 80 minutes
  • Drive system: Rear-wheel drive
  • Cutting width: 21 inches
  • Maximum cutting height: 3.75 inches
  • Price range: Over $700
ProsCons
Extra powerful for a battery-powered mower
Impressive battery run time
Brushless motor for less maintenance and better efficiency
Runs quietly 
Variable speed control
Adjustable cutting height with 7 positions
3-in-1 cutting deck design for discharging, mulching, or bagging
Expensive
Self-propel feature can be awkward to activate and deactivate
Can be hard to use in tight spaces because the self-propel doesn’t disengage when the mower shuts off
Misses some leaves when mulching in the fall

Where to Buy

4. Best Gas Self-Propelled Mower: Troy-Bilt TB210

Thanks to special features from Troy-Built, the TB210 is low-maintenance for a gas mower. 

The patented “Check, Don’t Change” engine saves time and money on oil changes because you don’t have to dispose of the old oil. Just check it and top it off when necessary. There’s also a built-in deck wash that makes cleaning the underside of the mower as easy as hooking up your garden hose. 

This model isn’t only easier to maintain than similar mowers. It also has a powerful engine and provides a high-quality cut thanks to its TriAction cutting system. The TriAction system includes a rake bumper that un-clumps grass before it’s cut and a special blade and symmetrical deck that ensure an even cut. 

Even though this option is a little more expensive than the other gas mowers on our list, you get these special features and reliable Troy-Bilt construction for the extra money. 

Specifications

  • Power source: 159 cc OHV gas engine
  • Drive system: Front-wheel drive
  • Cutting width: 21 inches
  • Maximum cutting height: 3.75 inches
  • Price range: Under $500
ProsCons
No full oil changes required
Clean, even cut every time
3-in-1 discharge, bag, or mulch option for grass clippings
6 cutting height adjustments
Only one speed setting
Can be difficult to turn in tight spaces
Controls are on the right side, so use may be awkward for left-handed people
Side discharge chute tends to pop off during use

Where to Buy

5. Best Premium Self-Propelled Mower: EGO POWER+ LM2135SP

If you’re willing to splurge on a high-end self-propelled mower, you might go for the LM2135SP model from EGO, one of the biggest names in battery-powered lawn equipment. The powerful 56-volt 7.5 Ah lithium-ion battery powers this mower for up to 60 minutes on one charge, depending on the slope of the land, the length of the grass, and other conditions.

The self-propel system on the LM2135SP is super easy to operate. You turn it on just by pressing a button on the handle, and you control the variable speed with a simple dial. Adjusting the cutting height is also easy, with a single lever you can operate with one hand.

Another special feature is that this mower comes with three different blades you can switch out depending on your needs for each mow:

  • Mulching blade
  • High-lift blade for superior performance when you want to bag grass clippings
  • Extended run time blade that uses less power from the motor so the battery lasts longer. 

There’s also a second upper blade that works with the interchangeable blades for finer cutting. 

Specifications

  • Power source: 56V 7.5 Ah lithium-ion battery
  • Battery run time: Up to 60 minutes
  • Drive system: Rear-wheel drive
  • Cutting width: 21 inches
  • Maximum cutting height: 4 inches
  • Price range: Over $800 
ProsCons
Convenient controls
3 blades for diverse mowing needs
Brushless motor
High-quality battery delivers gas-like power and a long run time
Adjustable cutting deck with 7 heights and higher maximum height than usual
Variable speed control for self-propel feature
LED headlights give you the option to mow in the early morning or at night
Expensive
Not the best at picking up leaves when mulching in the fall 
Replacement EGO batteries are expensive compared to others in the industry
Backing up can be difficult 

Where to Buy

Buyers Guide to Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers

If you’ve never used a self-propelled lawn mower before, you might not know what features to look for when shopping. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. This guide will tell you all you need to know to choose the best self-propelled lawn mower for you.

Gas vs. battery-powered

In the past, only gas lawn mowers packed the power necessary to push themselves. But the batteries used to power lawn mowers have come a long way in recent years, and now some of the best self-propelled mowers you can buy are electric. 

Since you now have a choice between a gas or battery-powered self-propelled lawn mower, which kind should you choose? Let’s go over the pros and cons of gas vs. electric lawn mowers

Pros of gas Cons of gas 
More powerful than electric lawn mowers
Unlimited run time (as long as you don’t run out of gas)
Usually much cheaper than battery-powered
Replacement parts are usually cheaper and easier to find
Can cut wet or tall grass because of the high power
Lots of maintenance (oil changes, cleaning air filters, changing the spark plug, cleaning and replacing air filters, etc)
Fumes are irritating and bad for the environment
Loud (sometimes very loud) engines
Usually heavier than electric lawn mowers
Have to keep buying fuel 
Starting gas mowers is difficult (unless yours has an electric start)
Pros of battery-poweredCons of battery-powered
No oil changes, spark plugs, or gas engine-related maintenance
No harmful fumes
Quiet
Lighter than gas mowers
Easy push-button start
Limited battery run time, usually less than an hour 
Not as much power as gas for cutting thick, tall grass and weeds
Expensive, especially when it comes to self-propelled mowers

A gas lawn mower might be right for you if you have a large yard that takes longer than an hour to mow, you’re on a tight budget, or you regularly need to cut wet or overgrown grass.

A battery-powered lawn mower might be right for you if you need something light and easy to maneuver, you don’t want to deal with engine maintenance, you need to mow without disturbing your family or neighbors, or you want your lawn care to be more eco-friendly. 

Note: Pay attention when shopping to whether the battery and charger are sold separately, which would increase your upfront costs. The two battery-powered picks on our list come with a battery and charger.

Front-wheel vs. rear-wheel vs. all-wheel drive

Self-propelled mowers also differ in their drive systems. The drive system determines which wheels the motor spins to propel the mower. Each drive system causes a mower to handle differently, and each has pros and cons. 

Front-wheel drive (FWD): The mower’s two front wheels carry it forward. These mowers are easier to turn and maneuver around obstacles, but they don’t do well on slopes. FWD is usually the most affordable option.

Rear-wheel drive (RWD): The mower’s two back wheels carry it forward. RWD is great for difficult terrain with slopes, bumps, and ruts. However, these mowers are relatively difficult to maneuver in tight spaces, and backing them up to turn them around can be a pain. 

In mowers with all-wheel drive (AWD), the motor spins all four wheels to carry the mower forward. AWD mowers are the best kind for hills or uneven terrain because they offer better traction than either type of two-wheel drive mower. AWD mowers are the most expensive. 

Learn more about the different drive systems and which is best for you in this video from Consumer Reports:

How we chose the best self-propelled lawn mowers

To determine our top picks, we ranked several of the most popular and highly acclaimed self-propelled mowers on the market. These are the factors we ranked the mowers on, with an explanation of each one to help you understand what makes our picks the best. 

  • Power: The more power that goes into spinning a mower’s blade, the better the mower will be at cutting through thick, tall, or wet grass. In gas mowers, a larger engine (measured in cc) means more power. In electric, a stronger battery (measured in volts) means more power. 
  • Battery run time: For battery-powered mowers, we also considered the battery’s run time, which is how long the mower can run on one battery without stopping to charge. Most batteries can power a mower for around 30 to 60 minutes, but it depends on the conditions. If the grass is harder to cut or you’re using the self-propel feature a lot, the mower will use more juice and drain the battery faster. 
  • Variable speed: Some self-propelled mowers have different speed options, so you can set the mower to match your personal pace. With single-speed mowers, you run the risk of the mower going too fast for you to comfortably keep up with it or too slow for you to mow the lawn as efficiently as you want to.
  • Cutting width: Cutting width is the size of the mowing deck, which determines how much grass you can cut in one pass. A larger cutting width lets you mow the lawn faster, with less walking and turning the mower around. However, a large mowing deck can be difficult to maneuver in tight spots and takes up more storage space. 
  • Maximum cutting height: Most lawn mowers, including all the ones featured in our top picks, let you raise and lower the mowing deck so you can cut your grass to different heights as needed. Mowers with a higher maximum cutting height give you more options for a wider variety of grass types. A higher mowing deck is better for uneven ground with bumps and ruts, as well. 
  • Cutting options: Look for a mower with a 3-in-1 cutting deck that gives you options for what to do with your grass clippings. A 3-in-1 mower features a mulching blade, a discharge chute, and a collection bag. All the mowers in our top picks are 3-in-1.
  • Price: We wanted to find mowers that were both high-quality and affordable for the average homeowner. That’s why the price is an important ranking factor in our algorithm. Note that gas mowers are usually hundreds of dollars cheaper than the typical battery-powered mower. Also important to know: You’ll always pay more for a self-propelled mower than a comparable manual push mower. 

The table below shows the weight of each factor in our ranking algorithm.

Ranking factorRanking weight for gas mowersRanking weight for battery-powered mowers
Power15%15%
Battery run timeN/A15%
Variable speed20%15%
Cutting width20%15%
Maximum cutting height10%10%
Cutting options15%10%
Price20%20%

FAQ About Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers

1. How long do self-propelled lawn mowers last?

There’s no reason a self-propelled lawn mower shouldn’t last just as long as any other mower. You should expect a quality mower to serve you for 5 to 10 years. The better you are about maintaining your mower, the longer it will last. 

2. Is it bad to pull a lawn mower backward?

It’s fine to pull a lawn mower backward to turn it around or transport it across the lawn. Just make sure you deactivate the self-propel feature first, as it drives the wheels forward. 

3. Can you just push a self-propelled mower?

Yes, you can push a self-propelled lawn mower manually if you so choose. Simply disengage the self-propel feature using the lever, bar, button, or whatever mechanism your mower uses. But beware: Self-propelled mowers are usually heavier than others and may prove difficult to push.

4. How do you maintain a self-propelled mower?

You maintain a self-propelled mower the same way you would maintain a regular push mower. 

Proper lawn mower maintenance includes:

Sharpen the mower blade any time you notice your grass looks rough and torn after mowing. The blades will usually need sharpening every 20 to 25 hours of use. 

Clean the underside of the mower to remove caked-on mud, grass clippings, and other debris. You should clean the mowing deck at least twice a year, but you may need to clean more frequently if you use the mower a lot. 

Winterize your mower every year before putting it away for winter. Drain the gas or add a fuel stabilizer to winterize a gas mower. For a battery-powered mower, all you have to do is remove the batteries. 

Change the engine oil in a gas mower at least once a year, or about every 50 hours of use. 

Change the spark plug in a gas mower once a year, or about every 25 hours of use. 

Change the air filter in a gas mower every three months. 

Propel Your Lawn Care into the Future

The future of lawn care, like many other industries, improves ease-of-use and convenience. That’s why we now have self-propelled lawn mowers, which literally take the weight of mowing off your back (and your arms). 

If you dread cutting your grass because of the physical strain, maybe it’s time to do yourself a favor and try a self-propelled mower. Trust us, your aching body will thank you. You can start your shopping process by checking out our 5 best self-propelled lawn mowers. 

Is mowing the lawn more work than you want to do, even with the help of a self-propelled mower? Here’s an even easier solution: Hire one of Lawn Love’s local lawn care professionals at the click of a button. 

Lawn Love participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. Lawn Love may earn revenue from products promoted in this article.

Main Photo Credit: iStock photo with text overlay

Jordan Ardoin

Jordan Ardoin is a writer and indoor plant enthusiast hailing from Florida. In her spare time, she enjoys chasing her two cats around the house and trying to keep her houseplants alive.