Self-Propelled vs Push Lawn Mowers

There’s a lot of variety to choose from when it comes to lawn mowers. Despite their similar appearances, each lawn mower has its own unique benefits and disadvantages that depend on various factors that are included in each model. Whilst some of these variables lie in the way in which the lawn mower operates, other differences can be more stark. 

For instance, self-propelled lawn mowers and push mowers are both very different, whilst remaining similar in many ways.

Self-propelled lawn mowers and push mowers rely on different ways in order to mow your lawn. There are plenty of different factors to consider when deciding which one suits your needs more, including price, weight and considerations about your future mower’s general purpose and use.  

In order to compare the two, it’s important to understand what they both are and how they work. 

What are Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers?

Self-propelled mowers are not too dissimilar to any other lawn mower on the market in terms of looks. They feature a standard deck, a bag, and a regular handle like a majority of lawn mowers do. One of their biggest features, however, is the ease they offer the individuals using them, by propelling themselves forward whilst in use, preventing the need to be pushed. They do this by using an engine system which helps the lawn mower move forward slowly, without the need for human intervention. When in use, it’s still important to hold the handle and walk with the mower, in order to guide it. The main benefit of this type of lawn mower is the lack of manpower it requires to mow the lawn.

If self-propelled lawn mowers appeal to you, you can read more about what they are and their various advantages and disadvantages.

Benefits of Self-Propelled Mowers
  • Requires less manpower
  • Available with different features, speeds and power types
  • Can mow quickly, depending on the model’s speed
  • Requires a power source
  • Loud
  • Some models are fairly large

What are Push Lawn Mowers?

Push lawn mowers provide the foundation for what all other more advanced mowers are built from. As a result, push mowers don’t rely on additional features to help sell, they simply cut the lawn. Push mowers consist of a rotating blade on an axle, which rotates as the lawn mower’s wheels are pushed forward. Whilst these lawn mowers are the oldest type to continue to persist today, they have undergone some cosmetic changes in order to help them remain relevant. Most push mowers nowadays have catcher bags to safely store and transport discarded clippings, and as manufacturing has improved, the blades and cutting technique that these lawn mowers possess has also improved significantly. Also, due to their lighter weight, push mowers are the ideal type of lawn mower to use when mowing a new lawn for the first time.

Benefits of Push Lawn Mowers
  • Easy to use
  • Oftentimes quite compact and easy to store
  • Requires no power
  • Quiet
  • May require a lot of manpower and energy – especially pushing uphill
  • May not provide an even trim
  • Time consuming

Should I Use a Self-Propelled or Push Lawn Mower?

Self-propelled and push lawn mowers both have their own pros and cons relating to them. Which type of lawn mower you choose to use should be chosen based on your own circumstances and factors surrounding them. Whilst self-propelled lawn mowers are generally considered to be the more popular choice, it depends on the lawns and the people using them. Some people prefer to choose push lawn mowers as the labour used to mow the lawn using one can be used as part of an exercise routine. Make sure to consider these factors and your own circumstances when choosing your lawn mower. 

lawnmower cutting grass

Size of Lawn

The size of your lawn can help point you in the right direction. Typically, self-propelled lawn mowers are used best on lawns that are medium-to-large in size due to the benefit of them merely needing to be guided around the area. Push mowers are best reserved for small lawns, as most features on other lawn mowers exist to benefit medium and large lawns and are not necessary for small ones. 


The price of each lawn mower ranges dramatically depending on its features, size, and the type of power it uses. As a result, the average price of a lawn mower is just over $1000, but some can be bought for as cheaply as $100. Smaller yards or lawns that don’t require much maintenance are often able to be cared for using a small, cheap lawn mower such as a push mower, whilst larger yards may need something more substantial like a self-propelled one. 


The weight of your lawn mower can affect how easily it is pushed around the grass. Self-propelled mowers often negate this issue by being able to move forward on their own, whilst push mowers require that added effort in trying to move them.

Quality of Lawn

Your lawn’s quality can also be a determining factor in which lawn mower is best suited to your needs. For instance, self-propelled lawn mowers work best on flat lawns with little to no inclines or obstacles. This is because they are slightly hard to maneuver and will need to have additional force used when trying to move up an incline. Push mowers work better around obstacles, but are also unfit for incline usage due to the added exertion needed to push them up. Make sure to consider your lawn’s landscaping before purchasing a lawn mower.

Final Thoughts

The type of lawn mower you choose should be chosen based on your own circumstances and needs, as opposed to buying based on the features it may have and how flashy they are. Whilst push mowers are considered to be outdated by some, they offer various solutions to lawn mowing that other lawn mower types may lack. Self-propelling lawn mowers are much more ideal for those who want to relax whilst mowing the lawn, and they provide a way to leisurely stroll behind whilst the mower does most of the work. Depending on your own personal preferences, garden type and budget, you can think about each type of lawn mower and which one is best suited for your garden. 

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