Grass in your yard won’t stop growing? It sounds like you need a lawn mower. Lucky for you, we know a thing or two about the most popular walk-behind lawn mower types in America: the push mower and the self-propelled lawn mower.
Which one should you choose? The answer is easy: it all depends on your lawn (and you). Let's look at the similarities and differences between the two types of walk-behind lawn mowers to help you decide.
What is a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower?
Self-propelled mowers use electric or gas power to move forward (no pushing!). Though more expensive than push mowers, self-propelled lawn mowers are far less physically demanding.
With self-propelled lawn mowers, there are two categories to consider: front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive. The best mower choice ultimately depends on the size of your yard and budget.
If you have a flat yard, a front-wheel drive self-propelled mower may be a good choice due to its simple mechanics and lower cost. For yards with slopes or hills, a rear-wheel drive mower is more suitable as it provides more power.
Self-propelled mowers with rear-wheel drive have an advantage in tackling inclines and hills without slipping, as their weight is distributed towards the back. However, rear-wheel drive mowers are typically more expensive due to their complex construction.
What is a Push Mower?
Push lawn mowers (spoiler alert!) rely on you to manually push them forward or backward. Push mowers are perfect for yards that are ½ acre or smaller —unless you want to add lawn mowing to your workout routine! There are three types of push mowers: reel mowers, gas-powered push mowers and electric/battery-powered push mowers.
REEL PUSH MOWERS
If you're looking for an affordable and simple way to keep your lawn looking neat and tidy, you might consider a reel push mower. These mowers don't require any fuel, motors or belts -- simply push the mower forward to rotate the cylindrical blades/
While valued for their no-fuss simplicity, there’s a reason these manual push lawn mowers have mostly gone by the wayside. Mowing over hills, slopes, or thick grass varieties such as Zoysia, St. Augustine, and Bermuda can work up a quick sweat! Unless you have a flat, small yard (up to ⅓ acre) with fine grass, we suggest avoiding manual push mowers like the reel mower.
GAS PUSH MOWERS
Although they still require manual pushing to move, gas-powered mowers use fuel to power their cutting blades and motor. They are suitable for small yards with well-maintained grass, but tend to be heavier than electric mowers and produce smelly, harmful fumes.
ELECTRIC PUSH MOWERS
Electric mowers are becoming increasingly popular due to their lightweight, quiet, and emission-free operation, as well as their user-friendly features and advanced technology. Electric push mowers use corded or cordless battery power to operate the cutting blades and motor, resulting in a cleaner and more even cut.
Once viewed as less powerful than gas mowers, modern electric mowers now generate impressive grass-cutting power that can surpass their gas lawn mower counterparts!
What's the Difference Between Self-Propelled and Push Mowers?
There are pros and cons to both push mowers and self-propelled lawn mowers. Let's take a closer look at some of the significant factors you should consider:
Advantages: Affordable, easy to maintain, eco-friendly and doubles as exercise.
Disadvantages: Not as powerful, requires more effort from the user, struggles on hills and tall grass, variable speed depends on the user’s exertion.
Advantages: Saves time with a quicker and more effortless cut, tackles a variety of terrains and grass types; reduces the strain and fatigue on your body.
Disadvantages: More expensive and higher maintenance; heavier to maneuver.
Runtime and Grass Clippings
If you're in the market for a new lawn mower, runtime is one of the most crucial factors to consider. Battery-powered push mowers have a slightly longer runtime than self-propelled mowers because their batteries don’t use up energy to help move the mower. However, self-propelled mowers make for a smoother and more consistent mowing experience—leaving your lawn looking landscaper-level crisp.
Push mowers and self-propelled lawn mowers offer bagging, mulching and side-discharge options, giving you the flexibility to tackle grass clippings and customize your lawn mowing experience.
What Should I Choose: A Self-Propelled or Push Mower?
When choosing a lawn mower, it's important to think about your unique lawn care needs and personal preferences. Standard push mowers are affordable, easy to use on flat lawns, and environmentally friendly. However, they require more physical effort and may not be the best option for larger lawns or difficult terrain.
Alternatively, self-propelled models are effortless to operate, mow faster, and can easily handle different types of grass and uneven terrain for smaller and larger yards—though these benefits come with a higher price tag and more maintenance.
Pro tip: before purchasing a corded mower, note the location of your outlets and the length of the mower cord in proportion to the outer edges of your lawn (or invest in extension cords!).
The Best Walk-Behind Mower
So, what’s the best mower for you? This decision depends on lawn size, terrain, budget, and personal preference. Assess your needs and choose the type of lawn mower that best fits your lifestyle.
Whether you choose a self-propelled lawn mower or a push mower, Greenworks offers a variety of battery-powered push and self-propelled lawn mowers that fit all budgets and lawn sizes. And if you’re considering an upgrade from walk-behind lawn mowers or are upsizing to a larger yard, check out our versatile collection of Greenworks zero-turn and riding lawn mowers.