Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
capitalhockey
Posts: 153
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:35 am

Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by capitalhockey »

I mowed my parents lawn when I was growing up (with no allowance!) and may have to do it again soon (they are getting too old for it). Their lawn is a about a .25 acre and pretty flat. I am hoping to get the job done fairly quickly so it doesn't take up a big part of my free time during the weekends.

Back in the day, I only used the regular manual push mower with gas. But I was told that there are now self-propelled lawn mower which helps reduce fatigue. These new models comes in front wheel or all-wheel drive options. The ones I saw are mostly gas but there were a few electrical ones (cord?).

I saw one at Costco for 399.99 for AWD gas model. Good price?

Anyone has one? Suggestions on which model (AWD?) and brands? Gas or electric? Overall, is it worth the higher price over the regular push mowers?

Thank you.
rj342
Posts: 726
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:21 pm

Re: Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by rj342 »

For gas powered I would just say make sure to get one with a Honda engine. There are Honda branded mowers, and also other brands that use a Honda engine -- if they do they will proudly let you know that.
ukwildcat
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 10:16 am

Re: Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by ukwildcat »

Do youself a big favor, buy a Honda lawnmower. I have bought various lawnmowers over a 45 year period. I currently own a house on approximate 1/3 acre subdivision lot. Too small for a riding lawn mower, a little too big for a push mower. Bought a self-propelled Honda mower with twin blade, love it!
Purchased from Home Depot for about $500. Local Honda lawnmower dealer does service work. I have blades sharpened by the local dealer. Change the oil and spark plugs myself, no problem.

The Honda lawnmower is essentially a mulching type mower. The twin Honda blades cuts the grass blades on top and the bottom. Occasionally I will use the bagger after mowing the grass is there are grass clippings left behind. The Honda engine starts easily and runs great.
random_walker_77
Posts: 1884
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 8:49 pm

Re: Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by random_walker_77 »

I have a sloped yard and had a gas self-propelled lawn mower, front-wheel drive. On a hill, it's really helpful. I could see it being really nice on a bigger yard. For a small yard, you're still doing all the wrangling for turns, so the amount of perceived savings might be a bit less if the yard is otherwise flat. In my case, I found that self-propelled really meant "power assisted" since I still needed to push a bit to ensure enough traction, otherwise it'd just spin its wheels without moving.

A couple years ago, my lawn mower died and I bought a small corded electric. To my surprise, the effort to push the much lighter electric up the hill was less than what I was using to assist the "self-propelled" gas mower.
Fire_Buckeye
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:47 am

Re: Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by Fire_Buckeye »

I went through the same process and spent weeks researching before upgrading from my reel mower to a self-propelled gas mower for my 0.2 acre lawn. +1 to everyone suggesting a Honda. Every top 5 list I looked at seemed to include the honda hrr216vka model due to its reasonable price point coupled with Honda reliability. Picked one up at Home Depot for ~$400 out the door about a month ago and have loved it in the short time owning it. The power and mulching capability are both top notch.
Andyrunner
Posts: 829
Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 9:14 am

Re: Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by Andyrunner »

As others said, Honda, but I'll also throw out Toro. My Toro is 17ish years old and won't die. The body is falling apart but the engine won't die.

I have never not used a self-propelled mower and I think I'd hate going with a push. Also if its generally flat, Id say front wheel would be fine. Also as far as electric battery, I personally want one, but until my Toro ties, I don't see that happening. One thing I'm looking forward to with an electric is mowing early or at dusk without loud noise.
BobStrauss
Posts: 174
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:08 pm

Re: Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by BobStrauss »

Battery operated electric mowers are probably the way to go for most people. No gas, less maintenance, super light, and very little noise. I had a Kobalt for five years and had no issue with the batteries, even though I mow weekly and for many months out of the year (I live in San Antonio).

Recently bought an Ego mower and I’m a big fan of their products. They have a push mower that’s light and easy to use for $399 at Home Depot, and a self-propelled model for $499. They come with a three year warranty on batteries and five year warranty on equipment. Their customer service has fantastic reviews.

Again, I strongly recommend battery operated for those who aren’t professionals. For those that question the power, I’ve had zero issues, and I have a real thick zoysiagrass lawn.
User avatar
Ben Mathew
Posts: 2107
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:41 am
Location: Seattle

Re: Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by Ben Mathew »

I've used both (self-propelled and non) and found self propelled to be a lot easier. I'm planning to switch to the Ego 21" self-propelled electric mower, which has gotten great reviews.
User avatar
TierArtz
Posts: 571
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:33 pm

Re: Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by TierArtz »

I've mowed my own lawn, and up to twenty or so from about 10 to 18, for the last 5o years. None of the mowers were self propelled. My current mower is a roughly $800 commercial grade Honda (HRC216PDA), and it does a fantastic job mulching approximately 1/2 acre of grass. I bet the residential grade cousin would be just fine. I went for the commercial grade, and opted out of a self-propelled model, to minimize the potential for mechanical problems. I never bag unless the weeds are out of control and I want to capture and dispose of seeds. As per others, Honda mowers use twin blades and that system allows excellent mulching. It will make carpets of leaves and all the organic debris blown from rock borders, driveways, and hedge trimming disappear (may take more than one pass for an optimum clean look).
JohnFiscal
Posts: 1057
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:28 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by JohnFiscal »

My Toro has run for 17-18 years in Houston and Florida...meaning pretty much year 'round (even twice a week in the spring). Has the Toro "GTS" engine (GTS = guaranteed to start on first or second pull), not the more expensive Briggs and Stratton. But the Toro engine has run fine and still starts mostly on first or second pop. The body is fine.

What I really like about this Toro is the self drive mechanism, "Personal Pace". In my case this is rear drive, though I think there are front drive and all-wheel drive versions. This system is very simple and paces itself to my walking speed, or when stopped. A bar on the handle pushes "down" when I walk forward, which then engages the drive belt on a pulley. Stopping or walking back disengages the belt. Very simple and reliable. I like its "action' when I am mowing and I like its reliability. I have thought of getting a Honda but I'm not sure that I like the drive mechanism and the Toro just keeps going. At this point I just keep on running it.

I'm on my third set of replacement wheels (check out the wheels on a mower you might buy, some are really cheaply made like toys). I had to service the drive system last year but that was only replacing a v-belt; I could see then how simple/sophisticated/elegant it is. YouTube was my friend.

I used to bag but now I exclusively mulch. St Augustine grass is very bulky but the mulcher works fine for it.
Hoosier CPA
Posts: 362
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:43 pm

Re: Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by Hoosier CPA »

Don't buy a front wheel drive. They are not ineffective - as the front wheels bounce, they spin and loose traction.

For a 1/4 acre lot, don't loose sleep over this - any decent brand will be fine.
CoastalWinds
Posts: 1063
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:28 pm

Re: Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by CoastalWinds »

EGO self-propelled with lithium battery. Awesome mower.
User avatar
Michael Patrick
Posts: 266
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:25 am
Location: Madison, WI

Re: Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by Michael Patrick »

My Honda lawnmower has never failed to start on the first pull. I mowed my lawn for the first time this season last weekend, and even after sitting all winter it started on the first pull.

Mine is a rear-wheel powered model, and it helps on my lot which slopes at a pretty good angle.
Fire_Buckeye
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:47 am

Re: Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by Fire_Buckeye »

The consideration with a battery powered electric model needs to be longevity and battery replacement cost.
At this time, the consensus seems to be that EGO (and most other battery powered lawn mower batteries) have an average lifespan of 3-5 years, with a replacement cost of $200-300 for a new battery. Do you want to be paying the cost equivalent of a brand new lawn mower every 3-5 years when the lifespan of a well-maintained gas mower from a reputable brand ranges anywhere from 10-20+ years? This was the deciding factor for me in going with a gas powered model over an electric model.

Just something to consider.
Hockey10
Posts: 1031
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:20 pm
Location: Philadelphia suburbs

Re: Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by Hockey10 »

JohnFiscal wrote: Fri May 10, 2019 1:30 pm My Toro has run for 17-18 years in Houston and Florida...meaning pretty much year 'round (even twice a week in the spring). Has the Toro "GTS" engine (GTS = guaranteed to start on first or second pull), not the more expensive Briggs and Stratton. But the Toro engine has run fine and still starts mostly on first or second pop. The body is fine.

What I really like about this Toro is the self drive mechanism, "Personal Pace". In my case this is rear drive, though I think there are front drive and all-wheel drive versions. This system is very simple and paces itself to my walking speed, or when stopped. A bar on the handle pushes "down" when I walk forward, which then engages the drive belt on a pulley. Stopping or walking back disengages the belt. Very simple and reliable. I like its "action' when I am mowing and I like its reliability. I have thought of getting a Honda but I'm not sure that I like the drive mechanism and the Toro just keeps going. At this point I just keep on running it.

I'm on my third set of replacement wheels (check out the wheels on a mower you might buy, some are really cheaply made like toys). I had to service the drive system last year but that was only replacing a v-belt; I could see then how simple/sophisticated/elegant it is. YouTube was my friend.

I used to bag but now I exclusively mulch. St Augustine grass is very bulky but the mulcher works fine for it.
This sounds like the same exact mower I have. Mine is 15 years old and is still going strong. My lot is about 1/3 acre with a steep hill on one side. I highly recommend Toro.
ND Fan 1
Posts: 323
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:29 pm

Re: Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by ND Fan 1 »

I just done researching this topic and I went with the below Toro. The SmartStow technology allows it to be stowed vertically, and the gas won't leak into the engine. Pretty nifty design and saves a ton of space. It is front wheel drive but it also has large back wheels, makes it a bit easier for turn.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Toro-Recycl ... /205026227

It was pretty close between the Toro and the below Honda. The Toro was a bit cheaper, and being able to save space with the Toro is what led me ultimate to go with that one. Plus, I didn't like the feel of the Honda's self proplled handle, you use your thumbs to adjust the speed, and compared to the Toro where you just Squeeze the handle.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Honda-21-in ... /308769340
il0kin
Posts: 403
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:19 pm

Re: Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by il0kin »

Any mower with a Honda GCV 160 will work well. I’ve got a 6 year old Craftsman with that motor, the mower will break down far before the e fine. It is worth paying extra for self-propel (FWD is fine, AWD is overkill) and a dual blade system for a more consistent cut.
neilpilot
Posts: 4298
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:46 pm
Location: Memphis area

Re: Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by neilpilot »

I've found this thread informative; it may become useful if the mower I currently use ever quits. I bought my self propelled Honda in 1986 (not a misprint), and it's still going strong. I've done an annual oil change, and occasional blade, spark plug and air filter changes. Other than that, the only repair has been new rear drive wheel treads to replace those that wore out sometime in the last decade.
User avatar
Watty
Posts: 25475
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by Watty »

Pay a lot of attention to the blade width. Some of the electric ones are very narrow so it can take almost twice as long to mow the lawn since you have to make twice and many passes over the grass.

I would also get one that does mulching well(read the reviews to find out how well it mulches) I never have to rake the grass or deal with a bag.
furnace
Posts: 342
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 3:38 pm

Re: Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Post by furnace »

If your mower has problems starting due to ethanol gas, old age or whatever, you can go to ebay and buy a replacement carburetor for $15-$25. Easy swap and much cheaper than shop repair or buying new mower.
Post Reply