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What is a Self-propelled Lawnmower?

For homeowners, a well-tended lawn is highly desirable. A nice trim after regular periods keeps the landscape neat and pleasing to the eye. While some homeowners are happy to work on their lawns with more simple machines such as push mowers, some lawn nerds like to invest in more advanced machines. People move to advanced lawn maintenance machinery for various reasons. Some use them to save time and effort if you have a large lawn, while others use them to take less physical energy. Whether you belong to the former class or the latter or have another reason, a self-propelled lawnmower will surely grab your attention.

What is a Self-propelled Lawnmower?

A self-propelled mower is a machine that will move in the forward direction without you having to push it. It uses a basic driveshaft to connect the wheels to the motor. When the self-propel option is engaged using a lever called ‘bail’ or ‘bail bar,’ the drive system is activated, using the engine power to propel the mower forward. In this way, a self-propulsion system reduces the effort that your arms would have to apply if the mower were a conservative push mower. A self-propelled mower cannot be pulled back unless the propulsion is disengaged or the spinning wheels are lifted. A self-propelled mower is further classified into several types, such as a front wheel, rear wheel, gas, electric self-propelled mower, etc.

Now that the basic definition of a self-propelled lawnmower is understood, let’s get into the details of its types and working.

Types of Self-propelled Mowers:

Self-propelled mowers are classified into different types based on wheels driven by the motor, the kind of fuel used for power, and some other criteria. Different types of mowers are best for various applications. Detailed information in this regard is given below:

● Front-wheel propelled Lawnmowers:

The front wheels propel this type of self-propelled mowers. These have the simplest mechanics of all the self-propelled mower types, which means maneuvering and maintenance are easier on front-wheel mowers.

With a front-wheel type mower, turning is easier because all you have to do is lift the front wheels a little to make a turn. 180-degrees turns on these mowers are very smooth.

Front-wheel mowers are best for flat terrains. This is because they cannot provide enough force to do mowing maneuvers on steep inclines.

● Rear Wheel propelled Lawnmowers:

Rear-wheel self-propel mowers provide propulsion at the rear wheels. They have much complicated internal mechanics as compared to front-wheel mowers. For this reason, they are more costly to buy and maintain.

During mowing, the rear-wheel mowers are more difficult to maneuver. Every time you need to make a turn, the rear wheels have to be pivoted or lifted. Maneuvering a rear-wheel mower is especially difficult for a smaller person.

Rear-wheel mowers have much larger propulsion power as compared to front-wheel mowers. When the rear wheels create the driving force, they can produce enough propulsion to move the mower’s entire weight forward. This property makes the rear-wheel mowers best for hilly terrains. So, if your property has a lot of steep inclines, your choice should be a rear-wheel mower.

● All-wheel propelled Lawnmowers:

All-wheel self-propel mowers are designed in a way that power is transferred to all wheels. For this reason, they are a great choice on rough and hilly terrains.

All-wheel mowers come in various pace settings.

● Electric self-propelled Lawnmowers:

The electric type self-propelled mowers use electricity to provide propulsion power. They can either be with a cord or cordless.

The electric mowers with a cord need to be plugged in during operation. On the other hand, a cordless mower does not need to be plugged in during use, but it requires charging between the mowing periods. Cordless electric lawnmowers provide different mowing types based on the make and model of the mower and the lawn’s size and condition. Generally, a cordless electric mower can provide up to 45 minutes of mowing time.

The electric type self-propelled mowers are best for smaller lawns that don’t require a lot of acceleration. Electric-type mowers are quiet and don’t produce any smoke. In a nutshell, they are clean devices. Another advantage associated with electric mowers is that they are easy to start.

● Gas self-propelled Lawnmowers:

These self-propel mowers use gas as fuel. These mowers are user friendly and don’t require a cord or charging in between mowing periods. Just top-up the fuel tank, and you are good to go.

Gas mowers are more affordable as compared to electric mowers and are better for bigger lawns. Furthermore, gas mowers have a longer service life as compared to electric mowers.

One of the disadvantages associated with gas mowers is that they produce noise and smoke. So, they are not as clean and environmentally friendly as the electric mowers.

Self-propelled Lawnmowers with Two-stroke and Four-stroke Engines:

Self-propelled mowers with gasoline engines come with either two-stroke or four-stroke engines.

A four-stroke engine has four strokes per cylinder cycle. The strokes are intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust. On the other hand, a two-stroke engine performs the job in just two strokes, namely compression and return strokes.

Two-stroke self-propel mowers are more affordable and easier to maneuver, but they require more maintenance than four-stroke mowers. Furthermore, a mix of unleaded gas and engine oil can be used in a two-stroke engine’s solitary chamber.

A four-stroke engine is heavier and expensive as compared to a two-stroke engine. It requires more effort with maneuvering. It uses unleaded gasoline. The four-stroke type is more durable than the two-stroke and has combined lubrication systems.

Buying Considerations and Choosing the Right Mower:

Certain factors should determine your choice of self-propelled mowers. Detailed information about these factors will help the choosing process easy for you.

● Speed:

Before buying a self-propelled lawnmower, you should keep in mind that certain speed ranges are better for certain terrains. It would be best if you chose the speed option that best matches the terrain of your lawn. For this, you can either ask the store for info or consult the manufacturer’s manual.

There are certain models of self-propelled lawn mowers that come with adjustable speed option. These mowers are better if you have a lawn with varying terrain, and you have to change speed based on the requirements of a particular terrain. Obviously, such mowers would be a little more expensive than ones with fixed speed settings.

● Cutting Width:

The choice of cutting width should depend on your yard’s size and the space available in your garage or shed. Owner with bigger yards should opt for mowers with wider cutting widths and vice versa. On the other hand, if you don’t have enough space in your garage, consider one with a smaller cutting width.

● Weight:

Although a self-propelled mower doesn’t require the user to push, heavier mowers are certainly difficult to maneuver. If you have problems maneuvering heavier mowers, you should opt for the lighter ones.

● Capacity:

Needless to say, capacity should be one of the primary considerations. For smaller lawns, go for mowers with lower capacities. On the other hand, go for heavy-duty mowers for bigger yards and ones with inclines and accelerations involved.

● Swivel Wheels:

Mowers with swivel wheels are easier to maneuver and can move around obstacles easily. So, if your yard has many trees or flower beds that require a lot of turning and going around, you should go for self-propelled mowers that come with swivel wheels.

● Electric and Cord:

The choice of electric or cord mower is a matter of your own convenience. A mower with an electric starter is easier to start. You need to push one button to start an electric mower.

On the other hand, a mower with a cord requires that you pull the cord to start. You might have to pull the cord many times.

● Price:

Price is most certainly a factor that needs to be considered before buying a self-propelled lawnmower. Self-propelled lawnmowers come in many types and models, each with a different price. So, it would help if you went for the one that best matches your need instead of going for a heavy-duty mower that your lawn doesn’t really need.

To make the best choice based on price, you should check products online and compare prices and features before going to the store to buy or before ordering online.

Self-propelled Mowers vs. Push Mowers:

If you have a large yard whose terrain is flat, a self-propelled mower is the better choice to save effort and time. Front-wheel type self-propelled mowers are a great choice for bigger flat yards with flower beds and trees because they are easier to maneuver.

Push mowers are a good choice for smaller yards; it doesn’t matter if the terrain is flat or rough. If you move your mower from one place to another a lot, a push mower is a better option because push mowers are lighter.

The table below will make the choosing process easier for you:

Yard Type
Best Choice
Flat small
Reel mower
Rough small
Push mower (Gas or electric)
Hilly small
Self-propelled (Rear-wheel type)
Flat medium
Self-propelled (Front-wheel type)
Hilly medium
Self-propelled (Rear-wheel type)
Flat large
Self-propelled (Front-wheel type)
Hilly large
Self-propelled (Rear-wheel type)

Related Questions:

● Is an electric self-propelled mower the right choice for a small flat lawn?

 Yes. For smaller lawns with flat terrain, an electric self-propelled mower is the better option. It will give you up to 45 minutes of mowing time if it is cordless. An electric mower’s added advantages are that it is easier to start and is quiet and clean to work with.

● Do all self-propelled gas mowers come with a recoil starter?

Not necessarily. Gas mowers come with electric starters too, which are easier to start.

Final Remarks:

To save time and effort on bigger lawns, self-propelled lawnmowers are a great choice. Since self-propelled mowers come in many types, you should consider your requirements to choose the right one for yourself. The information provided in this article will certainly help make the choosing process easier for you.