Self Propelled Lawn Mower Basics

A self propelled lawn mower is a machine that uses an engine to move forward on its own. This makes it ideal for larger lawns and hilly slopes. When you use a self propelled lawn mower, all you have to do is guide it from behind. That is why these machines are also called walk behind lawn mowers. Some of the basics about self propelled lawn mowers are covered below.

Mode of Operation

Self propelled lawn mowers can operate on gas, electricity, battery and even solar power. Of all these options, gas powered versions are generally the loudest and are considered the least environmentally friendly. Battery powered versions limit the amount of continuous use you can put in, unless you invest in backup batteries. Solar powered versions offer the best option when it comes to energy conservation. They are also highly practical, considering the fact that most lawns are mowed in full light.

Available Variations

A self propelled lawn mower is available in several different varieties and capacities. Some of the factors you must take into consideration include blade width, starter type, fuel type, traction and suitability for hill mowing.

Ejection Types

Some self propelled lawn mowers discharge the collected grass clippings, leaves, weeds and twigs through the side, whereas other models discharge through the back. Both methods provide the same results and return the plant material back to the ground.

Mulching vs. Bagging

Self propelled lawn mowers with mulching capabilities convert the collect grass and other plant material to fine mulch, which is returned to the ground. This mulch acts as a natural fertilizer and improves the quality of grass over time. However, there is also the risk of returning weeds and their seeds back to the ground. Bagging is the process of collection of grass and plant material that is cut by the self propelled lawn mower. This technique reduces the chances of allergic reactions to the cuttings. It also eliminates the chances of weed propagation.

Front Wheel Drive vs. Rear Wheel Drive

Self propelled lawn mowers can be categorized into front wheel drive and rear wheel drive versions. Rear wheel versions are better for sloping areas, where they provide better grip and traction. Front wheel versions are easier to maneuver around a property that has many plants or shrubs in between.


Most self propelled lawn mowers have variable speeds. You can adjust the speed according to your pace or set it to a constant level that you are comfortable with. Most of these machines have levers or push handles that you can use to change the speed.

Benefits and Drawbacks

Self propelled lawn mowers greatly reduce the amount of effort that goes into lawn mowing. For larger properties or hilly slopes, these machines are great options to consider. You can save a lot of time and effort during the entire process. Some of the drawbacks include higher costs and more complex operation as compared to push mowers.