Self-Propelled Vs. Push Mower: Differences

Mowing the lawn can be a laborious task. For some, it Guideis something that they enjoy doing; for others, it is an annoying chore. If you are in the latter category and have been struggling to find a way to get your yard cut without having to do it yourself, then this article may provide you with some insight into which type of mower will best suit your needs!

Self-propelled mowers do precisely what you think they do: propel themselves forward. These lawnmowers have a transmission that powers the wheels. You need to walk behind it to guide it. However, you don’t have to push them very much because they move by themselves.

The two main types of walk-behind mowers are self-propelled and push. Push mowers are exactly what they sound like; lawn mowers that you need to manually move forward. Self-propelled mowers on the other hand don’t move forward until you engage the bail; that’s the bar on the end of the handle, that you need to squeeze as you mow. Pressing the bail signals the transmission to switch gears.

Overview of Self-Propelled Mowers

Self-propelled mowers do precisely what you think they do: propel themselves forward. These lawnmowers have a transmission that powers the wheels. You need to walk behind it to guide it. However, you don’t have to push them very much because they move by themselves.


Self-propelled mowers are better than push mowers for tall grass. The rotating blades tend to pull the machine forward as it cuts, so you don’t have to do much work. For tall and thick grass, they may be more effective because there is less resistance from pushing them in that type of terrain.


The speed of a self-propelled mower varies based on the mower. Less expensive self-propelled mowers are design to move at one speed. The speed is calibrated by the manufacturer at the most comfortable pace for the average user. 


Self-propelled mowers are very expensive. They can cost you anywhere from $300 to $500, and even higher than that if they come with additional features such as a mulching feature or bagger. There is also the issue of maintenance costs; self-propelled mower engines tend to be larger thus needing more maintenance.

Maintenance Requirements

Self-propelled mower engines tend to be larger thus needing more maintenance. You will need to check and change the oil after every few hours of use, as well as clean the air filter often. They also require less frequent sharpening because they don’t stop and start. However, they do require more frequent check-ups because if anything goes wrong you’ll need to take the machine in for repairs.


Most self-propelled mowers come with lots of safety features. They often have a bar that acts as a gas pedal so that the mower won’t run away from you. Often, you can choose the speed of the mower as well, allowing you to choose the perfect pace for yourself.


The below table shows a sampling of the weights of Self-Propelled Mower

Self-Propelled Mower

Honda HRS216VKA

71 lbs.

Cub Cadet SC300

90 lbs.

Husqvarna L121FH

80.6 lbs.

Troy-Bilt TB230

81 lbs.

Toro 20377

71 lbs.

Lawn Boy 17732

66 lbs.

Overall, there is an approximate 14 pound difference between the weights of the push mowers compared to the self-propelled mowers. 

Self-propelled advantages and disadvantages:

* Self-propelled lawn mowers are typically easier to push.

* They can be heavier, which makes them harder to maneuver in tight spaces or on uneven terrain.

Most Popular Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Toro 21382 21-inch Personal Pace Super Recycler Self-Propelled Mower

Good mulching starts with a deck design and airflow that keeps clippings up in the deck long enough for the blade to chop them into small pieces (s). The Toro 21-inch Personal Pace Super Recycler is our recommendation for the best self-propelled mulching lawnmower. A kicker mechanism under the deck combines with Toro’s mulching blade and clipping accelerators to give better mulching, building on the expertise of their Recycler mowers.

Aside from the mulching, the Honda GCV160 engine is one of the features we enjoy about the 21382 model. If you don’t mind a different engine, other variants in the range provide Spin-Stop, electric start, and SmartStow. The Toro Mower retails for $599.99.

EGO Power+ Select Cut Self-Propelled Mower

If you have a large yard, the EGO Power+ Select Cut can be a good option (model LM2135SP). This cordless walk-behind lawnmower is powered by a sophisticated lithium fuel-gauge battery that can cut grass for over an hour on a single charge.


Because of the brand’s Touch Drive Technology, it’s even more efficient than gas mowers and easy to manage. It also comes with a cutting system that has three interchangeable blades.

Kobalt 80-Volt Max Self-Propelled Electric Lawnmower

Every year, lithium batteries improve, and the Kobalt 80-Volt Max (model KMP 6080-06) didn’t waste any time incorporating new technology. A powerful 6.0 Ah battery powers this brushless lawnmower, which provides 80 minutes of cutting time on a fully charged battery.

The supplied charger makes charging between mowing sessions simple, and an icon shows how much battery capacity you have remaining. We particularly like that this mower has rear-wheel drive, seven cutting heights, adjustable speed control, and sensors that regulate the power and speed automatically depending on the grass conditions.

Honda 3-in-1 Variable Speed Gas Self Propelled Lawnmower

The Honda 3-in-1 Variable Speed Lawnmower (model HRN216VKA) cannot disappoint people who prefer gas-powered lawnmowers. It has a strong GCV170 engine and a temperature-controlling automatic choke. This self-propelled mower includes variable speed control, five handle settings, and seven cutting heights, as well as adapting to the speed of your step.

You may also shift between bagging, mulching, and discharging by sliding the clip director—no special accessories are required. Honda’s RotoStop system is also included. It’s a design that allows the blade to be stopped without shutting down the engine. You may now open gates, move litter, empty the bag, and traverse non-grass areas without needing to worry about the blades spinning or the motor restarting.

Troy-Bilt 140cc 550e Series 2-in-1 Gas - Self Propelled Lawn Mower

The Troy-Bilt TB200 is a reliable gas-powered grass cutter that comes at a reasonable price. This self-propelled lawnmower is strong and easy to manage, featuring a Prime ‘N Pull starter and a Stratton engine with single-speed front-wheel drive. It boasts a TriAction system that produces an even cut by combining a symmetrical deck, a rake guard, and a unique blade. The cutting height may also be readily adjusted using the handles on the side.

Overview of Push Mowers

Push mowers are exactly what they sound like; lawn mowers that you need to manually move forward. They tend not to be as effective on thick grass, and they’re harder to use on hills. However, for flat surfaces and smaller homes with less grass to cut, these mowers are a cheaper alternative. They’re easier to maintain because there is no engine or transmission that you need to worry about; most push mower engines don’t even require oil changes!


Push mowers are very basic, but they work. You do have to push them, so how fast they go is entirely up to you. If you start wearing down halfway through, you’re going to take longer than you could otherwise. Of course, your physical condition has to do with this as well, as does the size of your yard. Some people can mow their whole yard without slowing, while others cannot.


The push mower will go as fast or as slow as the user is able to push it. In other words, the person operating the mower has complete control over the speed. 


Push mower engines don’t even require oil changes! They just need gas and an occasional sharpening. These lawnmowers can be bought for less than $100, sometimes as low as $50 or $60. They are also easier to repair because you won’t need a mechanic; there aren’t any complicated parts to maintain.

Maintenance Requirements

Push mower engines just need gas and an occasional sharpening; they don’t require oil changes like self-propelled ones do! They also tend not to be as effective on thick grass, but for flat surfaces and smaller homes with less grass these mowers are a cheaper alternative.


These mowers are relatively safe. The motorized options are going to be a bit less safe than other options. However, these days, most come equipped with plenty of safety features. When making your purchase, be sure to check for safety features.


The below table shows a sampling of the weights of Push Mower

Push Mower

Honda HRS216PKA

64 lbs.

Cub Cadet SC100HW

63 lbs.

Husqvarna LC121P

58.8 lbs.

Troy-Bilt TB115

68 lbs.

Toro 21320

59 lbs.

Lawn Boy 17730

62 lbs.

Push Mower Advantages and Disadvantages:

* Push Lawn Mowers are typically lighter than their Self Propelled counterparts. This makes them easier to maneuver in tight spaces or on uneven terrain. However, push mowers can be harder to use on hills.

* Push lawn mowers typically cost less than their self-propelling counterparts. However, it is important to note that many push mower models are designed for smaller yards or thinner grass. This means you may need more than one type of lawnmower depending on your yard size.

Most Popular Manual/Push Lawnmowers

The Best Manual or Push Lawnmowers 2021 The Fiskars StaySharp Plus

The ergonomic design elements of the Fiskars 362050 reel lawn mower, according to the manufacturer, make it 60 percent simpler to push across tiny lawns than comparable reel mowers. To tackle tough grasses, the upgraded blades have been built to produce twice the cutting power. It has a StaySharp feature that minimizes unintended contacts, which helps to reduce blade wear and tear.

This model handles grass discharge in a variety of ways, unlike other reel mowers that don’t have the option of side discharging grass clippings. Operators of this innovative reel mower may send grass clippings in three directions with the help of a reliable grass chute: forward and away from your feet, backward, and downwards. Because they have fixed wheels and blades, reel lawnmowers have a particular challenge of struggling to cut grasses close to blocked obstructions like a fence.

With the addition of inset wheels, this sophisticated model solves that difficulty. The inset wheels offer the necessary clearance for the blade to stretch the full length of the mower. Inset wheels can elevate this model above many of its competitors. It’s no surprise that it’s gotten a lot of hype, reviews, and higher-than-average star ratings in major online marketplaces. The wheels are small and offer significantly less traction and mobility when inserted, so this innovation comes at a cost.

The Best Manual/Push Lawnmowers 2021 Bosch AHM 38 G Manual Garden Lawn Mower

The Bosch AHM 38 G is our top selection since it is simple to use and requires relatively minimum assembly out of the box. It’s a wonderful, well-made mower that can be purchased for a very low price and gives a great cut. Having said that, it is not without flaws.

The grass collection box is about as handy as a chocolate teacup, spraying grass all over the place and only catching half of it. Unfortunately, with most push mowers, this is the case, so either allow the clippings to mulch or invest in a rake to clean up later. Another lawnmower, the Webb also appears to have variable outcomes, so if having lovely stripes is a priority, you may want to consider this.

When to choose a push lawn mower & self-propelled mower

When choosing between the two machines, it all comes down to what you need and want out of your machine! Self propelled lawn mowers are great for big yards, slopes and people who want a quick mow. Push lawn mowers provide an inexpensive way to cut the grass quickly on flatter surfaces.

When you’re working on a budget, push mowers are a great option. They’re also good for small yards, or if you have an unusual shaped yard that would be difficult to maneuver around with a self-propelled lawn mower.

Which is better, a self-propelled or push mower?

The better choice between a self-propelled and a push mower depends on what advantages you’re looking to leverage out of your landscaping machine. For some users, such as landscaping professionals, you might even want to own one of each type due to the diverse types of terrain you’re bound to come across in the course of your work.

Generally, self-propelled mowers are preferable if you desire speed, convenience, and efficient mowing over uneven or hilly terrain. Push mowers, on the other hand, are recommended if you own a small yard, or even if you’re concerned about the environmental effects of having a gas-powered, self-propelled mower within your property.

Type Of Yard
Best Mower

Small, Flat

Reel Mower

Small, Uneven

Push Mower (Gas or Electric)

Small, Hilly

Self-Propelled (rear wheel drive)

Medium, Flat

Self-Propelled (front wheel drive)

Medium, Hilly

Self Propelled (rear wheel drive)

Large, Flat

Self-Propelled (front wheel drive)

Large, Hilly

Self Propelled (rear wheel drive)


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