We recommend self propelled lawn mowers over push mowers because they are just better in every way.
- Self propelled mowers are more enjoyable to use – You don’t break a sweat.
- Self propelled mowers make any terrain easier – Getting up hills (even with a full grass bag) and through thick grass is a cinch.
- Self propelled lawn mowers can become push mowers by not engaging the feature – If you want to burn more calories you can.
There are both electric and gas self propelled mowers that hit the sweet spot in price and quality.
We’ll show you those 6 best self propelled mowers below.
Here are the 2 winners – the single best electric and gas.
Have a look:
EGO Power+ LM2135SP Self Propelled Mower
- 21″ mowing deck
- Included 7.5 Ah lithium battery to allow mowing of basketball court (x2) sized lawn. Battery can last up to 45 minutes in very short thin grass but more like 25 minutes in thick grass
- Can recharge battery in 1 hour with included Rapid Charger
- Cordless and self propelled for ultimate ease of use
- Push button start, very quiet, zero maintenance, small and easy for storage, no fumes
Honda HRX217HYA Premium Self Propelled Mower
- 21″ mowing deck width
- Adjustable cruise control self propel speed to make the mower match your walk speed
- Honda performance, reliability and durability for many years of stress-free mowing
- Much more powerful 200cc Honda engine to make mowing tough terrain a cinch
- For the lawn enthusiast with all the bells and whistles
Before we show you the other best 4 – let’s do a bit of a breakdown – how to decide if you want a gas or electric self propelled lawn mower.
Buying Guide: Gas vs. Electric Self Propelled Lawn Mowers
Should You Get Gas or Electric?
When it comes to lawn mower performance all that matters is power. Power at the blades is what cuts thick grass. Not enough power and the blade stops rotating stalling the motor/engine on a gas or electric self propelled mower.
Small gas engines on lawn mowers are 5x more powerful than the small brushless motors on battery powered electric ones.
Let’s have a look at the physics.
How do we know what the horsepower of each mower is?
Self Propelled Gas:
- The manufacturer of the engine will provide the torque curve because as the speed (RPM) increases so does the power
- The best self propelled Honda mower uses a GCV200 engine with a horsepower of 5.6 at 3,600 rpm
- Honda HRX has power of 5.6 HP
Self Propelled Electric:
- You can use the battery specs along with runtime to find the power
- The #1 rated EGO has a 7.5 amp-hrs 56-volt battery
- That means it provides 7.5 amps of current for 1 hour at 56 volts under zero load
- P = IV. P = power (watts), I = current (amps), V = voltage (volts).
- If the battery dies after 25 minutes (it does) of mowing (which is about a 1/4 acre lawn → 2 basketball courts size) that means the electric motor was drawing 18 amps.
- Watts = 18 amps x 56 volts = 1,008 watts
- 1 horsepower = 746 watts
- EGO Power+ has power of 1.35 HP
- Note: Your house electric circuit is 120V and has 15 amp breakers. Peak continuous power from your house outlets is 120V x 12A = 1,500 Watts (1.93 HP). But a corded electric lawn mower motor is maybe 80% efficient = 1.5 HP.
There is no doubt even the lowest powered gas mowers will outperform the highest powered battery electric mowers.
The engineers of these cordless electrics have to maximize for power, price and usability. They could put a beefy $400 / 4 HP induction motor that weights 55 pounds but it wouldn’t sell so they can’t.
Gas powered will always win this category.
- Winner: Gas
When talking about residential use self propelled lawn mowers the cost of both electric and gas are similar. But you can more easily find cheap self propelled gas mowers compared to cordless ones.
How much do the self propelled electrics cost:
- Top of the range Makita self propelled mower with 2 batteries included costs close to $900.
- Top of the range EGO with 10Ah battery included costs $800.
- The lowest price for a self propelled electric is $400 from Greenworks.
How much do the self propelled gas mowers cost:
- Top of the range Honda is $1,000.
- Lower range self propelled Lawn Boy or Toro you can find for $250.
This one’s very close. But since you have the option to go much lower with a budget gas powered option it edges this category.
- Winner: Gas
You’ll need to do regular maintenance (once per year or more with more use) on your gas engine:
- Oil changes
- Air filter cleaning
- Spark plug change
- Winterizing it
- Troubleshooting if it doesn’t start or is smoking.
An electric engine needs zero maintenance. But you will still need to clean the deck and keep the blades sharp.
- Winner: Electric
A small engine on a gas lawn mower is much louder than a small brushless electric motor like used on self propelled electric mowers.
The gas mower is 95 dBA and the electric is 80 dBA.
It is recommended you start wearing hearing protection if you are operating equipment above 85 dBA every day.
Check out the chart to compare sound levels of other things.
- Winner: Electric
Since these are self propelled mowers the weights don’t matter when mowing – only when transporting them to the garage or shed for storage. The electrics with the batteries included are 65 – 80 lbs and the gas powered ones are 85 – 105 lbs.
The self propelled electrics are a bit more compact in dimension but there isn’t much difference. All mowers handlebars can be folded down overtop the mower for easier storage.
Where the electric lawn mowers take over this category is the fact they can be stored vertically up against a wall. Gas mowers must be stored on all 4 wheels so as not to flood the carb or air filter with gasoline.
Self propelled electric mowers are limited by their battery. The tougher the grass is the more amps the motor will draw – draining the battery faster. Engineers designing these mowers can keep adding batteries but there is a point where it isn’t feasible cost wise for the consumer.
Self propelled gas mowers have near 1 litre gas tanks to allow run-times of several hours. And if you have a small jerry can you can run it all day easy with only a few minutes downtime.
At the end of the day there is no debate with this one.
The gas engine is repairable and more durable. No question compared to a small brushless electric motor/battery powered combo.
With regular maintenance you can keep your Honda mower running great for 15+ years with ease. We have a Honda from 2001 we still use sometimes. It is a bit rusty and doesn’t run like our new HRX mowers but it still does the job 20 years later.
A battery electric mower will need new batteries every 5+ years and the brushless motor can’t be repaired and probably won’t be worth replacing when it comes time.
This category comes down to brand you buy.
Some Honda’s have 5 year warranty. Some have 3 year warranty.
Some electrics have 3 year warranty. Some have 5 years.
6 and half a dozen…
- 4 for gas
- 3 for electric
- 1 tie
Very close. Gas narrowly edges it. You’ll need to decide which factors are most important to you.
Your Lawn Specs Can Make The Decision For You
How Many Acres/Mow Time
The smaller your lawn the more electric will make sense.
In a perfect world it takes 100 mins to mow a 1 acre lawn with a 21″ self propelled mower.
- A football field is 1.1 acres (not including end zones)
- A basketball court is 1/9th of an acre (0.11 acres)
- A tennis court is 1/16th of an acre (0.05 acres)
The manufacturers of the self propelled electrics say the batteries last 50 minutes but in reality it depends on your lawn and grass. In our testing we can’t get the EGO Power+ 7.5Ah mower to last longer than 34 minutes. Our test lawn has quite a few turn arounds and pretty thick buffalo grass. But yeah it’s only a little bigger than a basketball court. The battery just lasts for the lawn.
A gas mower will last 4 hour or so on 1 tank of gas.
- Advice: If you have a basketball court size lawn or smaller get a self propelled electric. Anything bigger or if your lawn is thick and you let it grow then give a self propelled Honda a serious look.
If your small lawn has tough terrain that will put stress on the self propelled feature you’ll want to look at gas powered even for small lawns and even given gas mowers being 15% heavier. The self propelled mechanism pulls energy from the battery so the more hills the quicker the battery drains.
- Advice: More hills = gas better. If your lawn is flat and small an electric is a great option.
Type of Grass
Is your lawn overseeded with ryegrass and bluegrass?
Or is it a nice looking bermuda grass?
How often do you mow?
Do you keep the grass 1/2 inch to 1 inch in height?
All these factors come into play and self propelled electrics will do better mowing short grass compared with long, thick grass.
- Advice: The more you mow, the shorter your grass, the easier it will be for a battery electric to be the winning decision.
Location → Farm/Suburb/Off-grid?
A small suburb house with an average lawn may be fine with a cordless electric since it is quiet and has no fumes – your neighbors will appreciate you.
But an off-grid home relying on solar power to charge lawn mower batteries will not be ideal.
- Advice: Small suburban lot? Start with a self propelled cordless electric. You can always sell it used. Any farm or larger off-grid are you’ll want a self propelled gas mower.
3 Best Battery Electric Self Propelled Lawn Mower Reviews
Best Overall: EGO Power+
- Pros: The best self propelled cordless electric on the market is this EGO Power+ because it is the most powerful of its type. It uses a 56V, 5 – 10Ah battery (depending on your exact model) to give the blades close to 1.5Hp. Most of the other electrics are shy of 1Hp (despite boasting “gas power”).
- Cons: Even though this is best self propelled electric it still does not deal with thick, long grass well. You need to make 2 passes to get the mow done. And that’s with a sharp blade. When you’re dealing with batteries you really don’t want to stop halfway and wait for a charge.
- Bottom Line: If you keep your lawn short and mow often. And your lawn is smaller than a basketball court. Then this is a great mower since you have less noise, no fumes, it can be stored vertically against a wall and it requires no maintenance.
Simply put: The EGO Power+ is the best self propelled electric lawn mower on the market that we have used.
It is still nowhere near the power of our gas engine picks below but not everyone needs big power and noise.
EGO is a brand owned and made by tools giant Chervon. EGO only makes battery powered lawn & garden equipment for home use.
Their Power+ line of mowers consist of self propelled (x5 models) and push (x4 models). The differences between them all is battery size included and mower deck width.
We feel the best option is the best model: The 21″ LN2135-SP that comes with the 7.5Ah battery.
- If you’re already spending $500 / $600 on a mower then you might as well spend a bit more for a longer lasting battery. The EGO we link below has the longest lasting battery in the EGO lineup for mowers. EGO claims 50 minutes but that is perfect conditions and we can’t get it to last longer than 34 minutes during testing – still enough to mow 2ish basketball court sized lawn.
- Buying into the EGO Power+ lineup is a great start to building out your lawn equipment arsenal. They have best in class leaf blowers and string trimmers as well.
- As with most self propelled mowers the EGO has and adjustable speed from very slow to fast walking pace.
If you’re interested so far you might as well go check out all the specs and any current deals:
Runner-up: Makita XML07PT1
The second best overall self propelled cordless mower is this model from Makita.
We’ve been testing mowers since 2014 and can spot things we like and dislike within minutes. The Makita ticked many boxes…
…The self propelled Makita is a solid built machine and feels less ‘plastic’ than other competing mowers. It has a 14 gauge steel mower deck – just like most gas mowers – and it has capability to mulch, bag and side discharge.
If you already have Makita tools then:
- You know how well built and reliable they are
- You already have a ton of their 18V system batteries and can save money when buying this mower without batteries
In terms of the mowing quality we felt the EGO cut a bit better with the Makita still leaving some stragglers that needed a second pass. But honestly: this is expected from low powered battery electric mowers. Only gas powered mowers will not have this problem.
If like Makita then check out their best mower in further detail.
Best Budget Option: Ryobi RY401180
We love Ryobi products and think their self propelled mower is the best budget option for you.
In the test shop we have:
- Ryobi battery powered pressure washer
- Ryobi chainsaw
- Ryobi hammer drill
- Ryobi impact driver
- Ryobi self propelled mower
- And a bunch of different size batteries.
And have had no issues with any of them in the past 5 or so years.
Point being: Ryobi makes good tools and their mower is no different.
The Ryobi mower uses a 40V, 6Ah battery and has room for 2.
3 Best Gas Engine Self Propelled Lawn Mower Reviews
Best Overall: Honda HRX or HRN
Here’s our self propelled Honda HRX:
It’s a beast and easily our pick for the best walk behind gas mower.
It’s self propelled.
It’s got every bell and whistle available for a lawn mower.
It also costs $850 on a deal but is usually near $1,000.
You could always buy it used. But even then it will cost $500 because they hold their value so well.
The heart of the HRX is the Honda GCV200 small engine which deliver over 5.5 HP to the blade at 3,600 RPM. This is the most power in its class and enough to cut through even the toughest, neglected lawns.
For a lower model Honda check out their HRN style…
…Here’s our Honda HRN:
This is still the best lawn mower – self propelled or not – but more affordable than the above HRX. The only difference is a smaller Honda engine and a steel deck instead of the patented NeXite material Honda puts a lifetime guarantee on.
It’ll run you $500+ depending where you buy.
Best Budget Option: Lawn Boy or Toro
Toro owns and makes all Lawn Boy push and self propelled gas mowers. It is their budget offer to avoid cheapening their Toro brand.
So for our budget pick we would like to say get a cheap Toro – because we love Toro – but the Lawn Boys are even cheaper and made by Toro all the same.
The one to get is their most affordable self propelled mower with a Kohler engine (~$300).
The model number is 17732 and it has a 21″ steel deck with all the regular lawn mower features.
Max Performance Commercial Duty: Wright Velke
And just for fun.
Here’s the best-of-the-best self propelled walk behind mower.
This is out of reach for most of us – but let’s have a look.
The Wright Velke:
It’s $8,000+ and uses hydraulics to propel it forward and you just walk behind it.
It is the best mower on hills – by far.
When you start a lawn care business it should be your dream to one day own a hydro mower for your business.
Here’s a walk around video if you’re interested in hearing more details:
Or you can check it out further here.
The Bottom Line
Gas and battery electric have their pros and cons.
Gas is better overall because it has the power to tackle any mow and will have a longer life if looked after.
However, self propelled electrics are a joy to use because they are quieter, have no fumes and require near zero maintenance.
The electrics are pricey for what you get but the choice is up to you.
- Honda GCV200 small engine performance curves. Honda.com.
- The Truth About Electric Lawn Mower Horsepower. StevePake.com.
- Ryobi walk behind mowers. RyobiTools.com.