Self-propelled lawn mowers move forward on their own, saving you from having to manually push the unit—instead, you simply guide it around your yard. We researched and tested dozens of the top options on the market, evaluating maneuverability, value, noise level, and safety features.
Our best overall pick is the EGO Power+ Self-Propelled Electric Lawn Mower, which stands out for its adjustable speed, battery life, and ability to tackle tall, tough grass.
Here are the best self-propelled lawn mowers to make yard maintenance a breeze.
Best Overall: EGO LM2102SP POWER+ 21" Self-Propelled Mower
Variable speed self-propel
Handles tall grass well
Folds for compact storage
Most components are plastic
Who else recommends it? Good Housekeeping also picked the EGO Power+.
What do buyers say? 8,100+ Lowes reviewers rated this 5 stars.
The EGO Power+ Self-Propelled Electric Lawn Mower is one of the best options you can find in terms of value and performance. It's our favorite self-propelled mower, thanks to its variable speed self-propel feature—it can be adjusted to speeds from 0.9 to 3.1 miles per hour, matching your walking pace even as it cuts through tough grass.
We also appreciate this mower's impressive run time. It runs on a 56-volt battery, delivering up to 60 minutes of runtime per charge. It also charges back up extremely quickly—usually within an hour.
The mower has a 21-inch deck and weather-resistant construction, and it bags mulches, or side-discharges grass clippings into the included two-bushel collection bag. With its adjustable deck, you can choose from six cutting-height settings to find the perfect one for your lawn. And as a nice space-saving feature, it folds flat for easy storage.
Best Budget: BLACK+DECKER 12A-A2SD736 21-in 3-in-1 Gas Self Propelled Mower
Easy to assemble
Basic, straightforward design
3-in-1 grass handling
Wheels handle uneven terrain
This self-propelled gas mower from BLACK+DECKER is one of the most affordable options. It has a basic design with limited features, but it still gets the job done with its 21-inch cutting deck and 140cc engine.
The mower has six height settings that you can adjust using dual levers on the front wheels, and it mulches, bags, or side-discharges grass clippings as you mow. It has a traditional recoil start and a single-speed propulsion lever, and the eight-inch bar tread tires in the front and back handle uneven spots on your lawn.
Best Gas: Honda 21 in. NeXite Variable Speed 4-in-1 Gas Walk Behind Self Propelled Mower with Select Drive Control
4-in-1 grass handling
Twin blades for better mulching
Select drive control matches walking speed
Rear-wheel drive assists on hills
No side discharge
For a powerful mower that can handle thick, overgrown grass, you can’t go wrong with this self-propelled model from Honda. While most mowers only offer three cutting options, this four-in-one mower mulches, bags, rear discharges, or shreds leaves, and its dual blades help deliver finer clippings for superior mulching and bagging.
This variable-speed mower has a 21-inch deck and seven cutting heights, and it’s mounted on nine-inch ball-bearing wheels for improved maneuverability and smoother driving. It’s easy to adjust the speed of the mower to match your walking pace, and the handle can be adjusted into three positions for comfort. The mower comes with a 2.5-bushel grass collection bag, and the NeXite deck is protected by a limited lifetime warranty.
Best Wide-Cut: Toro TimeMaster 30 in. Walk-Behind Gas Self-Propelled Mower
30-inch cutting deck
Electric push-button start
Stops blades without shutting down
Built-in washout ports
Most walk-behind lawn mowers have cutting decks from 18 to 22 inches. But if you want to cut wider paths with each pass, this Toro TimeMaster Gas Mower has a large 30-inch deck. However, the tradeoff is the mower is almost twice as heavy as other self-propelled models.
In addition to its large cutting deck, this mower has a dual-force cutting system that results in finer mulch, and it bags, mulches, or side-discharges clippings. There are seven cutting heights, and you can adjust the pace of the self-propel system to match your walking speed. Plus, the mower has a safety stop feature that stops the blades but leaves the motor running, allowing you to move a stick or other debris out of the way.
Best for Hills: Greenworks PRO 21 in. 60V Battery Self-Propelled Walk-Behind Lawn Mower
Rear-wheel drive assists on hills
Batteries compatible with other Greenworks tools
Optional turbo setting
Only two handlebar positions
If you have a sloped yard, experts recommend looking for a mower that offers rear-wheel drive: “If you’re set on using a push mower on a hill, go for an option that has a rear- or four-wheel drive option,” says Ray Brosnan of Brosnan Property Solutions. The Greenworks PRO Self-Propelled Lawn Mower is a great choice for this application, as it boasts rear-wheel drive and a variable-speed self-propelled drive system. The mower features a 21-inch deck and a high-efficiency brushless motor, and it can run for up to 60 minutes on a single battery charge.
This walk-behind mower can mulch, side discharge, or bag your grass clippings, and there are seven cutting heights to choose from. An on-board battery indicator lets you know how much battery life is remaining, and there’s even a turbo setting that helps when picking up leaves or cutting through thick grass.
Best for Large Yards: Honda 21 in. Nexite Deck Hydrostatic Cruise Control Gas Walk Behind Self-Propelled Mower
Handles tall grass well
4-in-1 grass handling
Hydrostatic cruise control
Ball-bearing wheels offer smoother driving
You’ll cruise around your yard—literally—with this self-propelled Honda mower! It features hydrostatic cruise control that provides gradual speed adjustment to match your mowing conditions. The gas-powered motor is powered by a more powerful engine that can handle overgrown grass, and it also has a four-in-one system that allows you to bag, mulch, rear-discharge, or shred leaves.
This mower has a 21-inch deck with dual blades for superior mulching, and there are seven cutting height positions. The handle can be adjusted to three different heights for maximum comfort, and the unit’s large ball-bearing wheels deliver a smooth ride and improved turning. It comes with a 2.5-bushel grass collection bag, and the brand offers a five-year warranty on the mower.
Best for Small Yards: Kobalt 40-Volt Max Brushless 20-in Self-Propelled Cordless Electric Lawn Mower
Rear-wheel drive assists on hills
Stores vertically to save space
Relatively short runtime
The Kobalt Self-Propelled Electric Lawn Mower is a good choice for smaller yards, as it delivers up to 30 minutes of runtime per charge. This unit has a 20-inch deck, bags, mulches, or side-discharges grass clippings, and it has rear-wheel drive to help tackle hills and uneven terrain.
There are seven cutting heights controlled via a single lever, and the mower even offers cruise control for effortless mowing on straight paths. The handle can be adjusted into three positions, and the unit can be folded and stored vertically to save space. Plus, this mower uses the same 40-volt batteries as other Kobalt tools, making it useful for people who have purchased from the brand previously.
Best for Bagging: Toro 22 in. Recycler FWD Gas Self Propelled Lawn Mower with Super Bagger
Large rear-discharge opening collects more grass
Curved, ergonomic handle
Rear wheels handle uneven terrain
Front-wheel drive isn’t ideal for hills
If you mostly bag up your grass clippings while mowing, the Toro Recycler Self-Propelled Lawn Mower with Super Bagger ensures every last bit of debris is collected. It features a super-size collection bag, as well as a larger rear-discharge opening that collects more grass. The mower has a 22-inch deck, and Toro's patented Vortex Technology allows more air into the cutting chamber for extra-fine clippings.
This self-propelled mower has a curved, ergonomic handle with two height settings, and it mulches or side-discharges clippings in addition to bagging. There are nine cutting heights to choose from, and large back wheels offer greater traction and maneuverability on uneven terrain.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than the EGO POWER+ 21-in Self-Propelled Electric Lawn Mower. This top-rated model offers variable-speed self-propel, and it runs up to 60 minutes per charge. Plus, because it’s battery-powered, it’s eco-friendly and requires very limited maintenance. If you’re partial to gas mowers, the Honda 21 in. NeXite 4-in-1 Gas Self Propelled Mower is another solid choice—it also offers personal-pace speed control, as well as a unique setting for leaf shredding.
What to Look for in a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Before buying a self-propelled lawn mower, familiarize yourself with the various types; the two main categories are electric and gas-powered. Gas mowers usually have more force, and you don't have to worry about the battery dying. However, today's electric lawn mowers run on advanced lithium-ion batteries and can offer more than an hour of grass cutting before they need to be recharged.
Then, there are front-drive and rear-drive mowers. Front-drive models are best for flatter terrains and, generally, are easy to steer. Rear-drive grass cutters, on the other hand, have better traction and usually are best for hilly areas. Additionally, all lawn mowers have engines, which can vary in terms of power and efficiency.
Also consider the size of your yard. Because battery-operated mowers typically run for a little over an hour, a gas-powered model might be better if it takes you longer than that to mow your lawn. However, some options come with two batteries, allowing you to resume your mowing session when the first one runs out.
Gas and electric lawn mowers are suitable for small yards. That said, look for one that's easy to maneuver around tight corners, as less square footage usually means more turns.
Self-propelled lawn mowers often have multiple cutting options. Usually, you can choose between several grass-cutting heights. Also, many models allow you to set it to discharge, mulch, or bag your grass. Some even cut grass into super-fine pieces and then return the nutrient-rich clippings back into the ground to fertilize your lawn.
What is a self-propelled lawn mower?
A self-propelled lawn mower uses power from the motor to turn its wheels, allowing the machine to move forward on its own. When you depress the bar on the mower’s handle, the machine begins moving, and all you have to do is guide it.
What is the difference between a self-propelled lawn mower and a push mower?
Self-propelled and push lawn mowers are two common styles of walk-behind mowers, but push mowers require more operator effort. While self-propelled mowers use power to turn their wheels, you must physically push a push mower to move it around your yard. For this reason, it’s especially important to look at the mower’s weight when shopping for a push mower.
How long do self-propelled lawn mowers typically last?
With normal use and proper maintenance, most walk-behind mowers last eight to 10 years. However, many factors impact the lifespan of your machine, including its quality, whether it is gas or battery-powered, and the conditions you use it in.
Can a self-propelled lawn mower be pulled backwards?
No. Most self-propelled lawn mowers cannot be pulled backwards while the wheels are in motion. If you disengage the self-propelled mechanism by releasing the drive lever, the lawn mower can be pulled backwards manually by tipping it upwards and rolling it back. Some of the best self-propelled lawn mowers offer both forward and reverse functions.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance contributor for The Spruce. As someone who grew up on a 70-acre farm and owns a five-acre parcel, she’s no stranger to lawn mowers, and she’s written extensively on them. She’s also personally tested the RYOBI 38 in. 75 Ah Battery Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower.
While selecting lawn mowers for this list, she looked at factors such as their deck size, power source, special features, and warranty period. She also spoke with Ray Brosnan of Brosnan Property Solutions for tips on how to select the right lawn mower for your needs.