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What is a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower, and How Does it Work? Types and Tips Explained

 Are you tired of back-straining pain due to pushing heavy mowers? If you know what is a self-propelled lawn mower is and how it works to reduce your lawn-mowing stress and strain, the problem is solved.

That’s why I wrote this blog post with all of the details to explain what is a self-propelled lawn mower, and how it makes the daunting tasks of mowing a breeze. Let’s dive into the details of its working mechanism and discuss some tips for the safety and maintenance of a self-propelled lawnmower for optimal performance.

What is a self-propelled lawn mower?

What is a self-propelled lawn mower, and how does it work?

 The self-propelled lawn mower is a type of mower that can move forward on its own without the operator pushing it manually, just like a car with an automatic transmission, where your car moves when you press the accelerator. Similarly, when you engage the drive system, your mower moves forward without taking your energy. You need to focus on steering, controlling the height, and bingo.

It helps create a unique yard and patio outlook and provides a uniform cut across the entire lawn. 

The consistent results give your lawn greens a good health and appealing view. And if you want a versatile mower that can take care of residential and commercial landscaping, a self-propelled lawn mower is the best bet.

Types of Self-Propelled Mowers 

Here are some self-propelled mowers that can help you minimize your backache and get the job done effectively.

Gas-powered self-propelled mowers 

Gasoline-powered self-propelled mowers run on gasoline, which makes them more powerful and suitable for mowing large areas. They come in different sizes and have versatile features, such as cutting height adjustments and mulching capabilities.

Types of Gas-Powered Self-Propelled Mowers 

Gas-powered mowers can be either powered by two-stroke or four-stroke engines. There are differences in either of these tools, like lubrication, noise level, cost, weight, fuel efficiency, repair costs, environmental impact, and much more. The major difference in both is the piston cycle around the engine which is twice per cycle in the four-stroke and once in the two-stroke engine. 

Two-stroke MowersFour-stroke Mowers
They have small and lighter enginesTheir engines are comparatively large and heavy.
Comparatively affordable than 4 strokeMore expensive 
Need less maintenanceNeed proper maintenance
NoisyQuieter than 2 stroke
Less fuel efficientFuel-efficient
Not environment-friendlyFewer emissions
Require a special oil-gasoline mixture for fuelNo oil-gasoline mixture requirement

Electric self-propelled mowers 

 Electric self-propelled models are mower types that use electricity to start their motors and propel themselves forward. That means you don’t have to push the mower yourself and get your job done effortlessly.

One of the great things about electric models is that they are much better than gas-powered devices, which can be a real blessing if you live in a neighborhood where noise is a concern. In addition, they are also better for tree huggers due to no emissions.

Also Read: Best Electric Lawn Mowers for Your Garden

Corded electric mowers 

Corded mowers need electricity to run, so you need a power outlet to use these tools, which can limit their mobility somewhat. But the good news is that they are quieter, easy to start, and more eco-friendly than gas mowers.

Battery-powered mowers

Battery-powered or cordless self-propelled lawnmowers are the best option for anyone looking for a portable tool. Battery-powered mowers run on rechargeable batteries so that you can move around your yard freely without any hassle of a power source.

How Does a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Work?

The working mechanism of self-propelled mowers is simple; it uses a motor or engine to power the wheels or the cutting blade.  

  • The process starts when we operate the drive lever, which is attached to the transmission(consists of gears or belts that help control the speed) through a cable; a series of events take place to transfer power to the wheels.
  • Initially, the motor shaft turns the blade rotor hub, which contains a pulley.
  • This pulley, in turn, facilitates the blade rotor hub to steer the belt.
  • When the belt moves, it helps to move the second pulley connected to the box containing the drive gears.
  • Now the drive gears spin the wheel transmission shaft.
  • And then, the shaft turns the driving wheels by specific gears to provide the driving force.
  • The transmission allows power to blades to make them spin for cutting the grass.

How to operate a self-propelled lawn mower? 

Operating a self-propelled lawn mower is not rocket science. This is a step-by-step procedure explaining how does self-propelled lawnmowers work:

  1. First, familiarize yourself with the device’s controls and ensure you know well enough about your device: the basic parts, throttle, blade engagement switch, and self-propelled speed controls. 

2. Read the user manual thoroughly.

3. If there is a clipping bag, make sure it is empty.

4. Check the oil and gas levels. 

Self propelled lawn mower working

5. And adjust the cutting height according to your needs; you can do it by raising or lowering the wheels on the mower.

Working of self propelled lawn mowe

6. Now locate the Indian switch and turn the key to start the engine; if you own a gas model pulling the starter cord will be required instead.

Starting self propelled lawn mower

7. Now you need to engage the self-propel feature by pushing a button or pulling a lever(depending on the type of equipment); this will help the tool move forward without you having to push it. 

What is a self-propelled lawn mower, and how does it work? Types and tips explained
What is a self-propelled lawn mower, and how does it work? Types and tips explained
What is a self-propelled lawn mower, and how does it work? Types and tips explained
What is a self-propelled lawn mower, and how does it work? Types and tips explained

8. Your device is started now; you can begin mowing the straight line, keep a steady pace and allow the mower to do most of the work. Here are 5 tips to mow your lawn like a professional.

Operating self propelled lawn mower

9. When you have completed one row or need to turn around, disengage the self-propel feature and turn around manually. Then, reengage and continue the process until you are done.

10. Upon finishing your task, you can turn off the engine now and allow it to cool down before storing it. 

11. And remember to clean the mower and remove debris and grass clipping from the mower and wheels to keep it running smoothly and prevent corrosion.

Advantages of Self-Propelled Mowers

Self-propelled mowers are best if you want to avoid investing in professional landscaping services. These are available for lawns of all shapes and sizes in different price ranges. Especially if you own a flat yard with decorative flower beds or ornaments, then a front wheel self-propelled mower would be a great idea for you. Here are a few tangible worth buying benefits you can experience if you prefer a self-propelled mower over a push mower.

Ease of use and reduced physical effort 

Personally, what I like about the self-propelled mowers is that I don’t have to carry heavy push mowers. These tools are easy on the body and do not take much energy. No more back-straining mowing experience now. Moreover, it is a grade option for those who have hilly or uneven lawns.

The self-propelling feature is especially beneficial for those with a large yard, or is elderly, or who have limited physical abilities. Choosing a self-propelled lawn mower can reduce your workload because it is easy to use for teenagers as well if you’re training them to do home chores.

Enhanced maneuverability 

These machines are best to help you mow large lawns without fatigue. You don’t have to do tedious work while pruning your garden; focus on steering around obstacles like trees, shrubs, flower beds, etc., and let the mower do its magic.

With its larger cutting blades and powerful engine, thick grass cutting is no longer an issue. Due to self-propulsion and their lightweight, they are also easy to use and portable. So you can do more work with increased mowing efficiency. What more do you want from your mower, fellas?

Better traction and hill-climbing capabilities 

if you are not lucky enough to have a flat lawn, you must deal with steep or uneven hills around your property. In this scenario, a self-propelled mower offers you great value. They provide great traction due to their large, more rugged wheels on rough or uneven terrain, especially if you have a hilly lawn or one that is prone to dips and bumps.

Time and energy efficiency

Another thing that I like about these tools is that they save energy and time. As we all know, time is money, and things are changing so fast nowadays. The lawn mowers industry is also developing emerging technologies like robotic mowers and self-propelled mowers, which are equipped with the latest technologies to provide better performance in less time. 

Adaptability to various lawn conditions

The self-propelled lawn mower can deal with various lawn conditions like thick grass, steep inclines, uneven landscapes, etc. Self-propelled lawnmowers are ideal for large and Square lawns. There are many side options for the not-so-big properties, and you can choose which suits you better.

The self-drive mowers can be of two types: rear-wheel drive and front-wheel drive. Both options are best and work wherever you want to use them. The rear wheel drives are more suitable for incline yards and large properties, while the front wheel drives to medium to small lawns.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting 

Like other tools, lawnmowers need care and maintenance to keep them working appropriately. However, you don’t need to invest thousands, only a few dollars annually.

Here are a few routine practices to enhance your tool’s capability and lifespan.

  •  Don’t forget to clean up your tool after every use to prevent dust and debris build-up 
  •  Lubricate your instrument to avoid rusting or grinding 
  •  Regularly check your device for loose or worn-out parts and replace them as needed 
  •  Inspect your equipment thoroughly for electric connections, cords, and wires to find out signs of wear and tear 
  • Make sure you have tested your machine before use for proper functioning 
  • Must check fluid levels and fill if required 
  • Sharpen and balance the mower’s blade regularly 
  • Disconnect or change the spark plug 
  • Clean the catcher and the mowing deck 
  • Check the starter rope to see if it is brittle or broken; change it 
  • Check the carburetor and primer

Also Read: How To Clean A Riding Lawn Mower Deck? Separate Methods for With or Without Washing Port

Common issues related to mowers and how to resolve them?

  •  If the equipment does not start, check the power supply to see if it is connected properly. If the wire cable is faulty, change it.
  • If strange voices are coming from your mower, lubricate the moving parts or check if any parts are loose or worn out. 
  • Check the coolant level and cooling system if the lawn mower is overheating. Clean and replace the air filter.

When to seek professional help?

If the problem persists after performing the troubleshooting steps, it may be time to seek professional help. Also, seek professional assistance if you are uncomfortable with the equipment or need more expertise.

Proper storage and winterization 

Annual maintenance is essential to keep your tool ready to work and your lawn healthy and green. Because dull blades can cause uneven cuts, your grass may also be prone to infections. So before the peak of summer, you should follow these steps in winterizing lawnmowers.

  • if you cleaned the equipment thoroughly before storing it.
  • Add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel system, or drain all fluids and fuel from the machine.
  • Apply lubricant to all moving parts to prevent rusting.
  • Store the equipment in a dry and covered area to avoid exposure to moisture.
  • Ensure the equipment is winterized by removing all water from the system, replacing any antifreeze, and storing it in a warm and dry place. For a more detailed guide with pictures, head over to How to Winterize Your Lawn Mower in 10 Easy Steps?

Safety Tips for Using Self-Propelled Mowers 

Lawnmowers can be dangerous if not handled properly and cause foot injuries worldwide. According to many research sources, numerous Americans are injured due to lawnmowers annually. Here are some guidelines to prevent such accidents.

General safety guidelines 

  • Read the manufacturer manual carefully before use 
  • Don’t mow in dark 
  • Refrain from using the mower on steep slopes or uneven terrain.
  • Keep your hands and feet away from the blades at all times.
  • Keep bystanders and pets away from the mowing area.
  • Do not use the mower under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Protective gear and clothing 

  • Wear eye and hearing protection.
  • Wear sturdy, non-slip footwear.
  • Wear close-fitting clothing that does not get caught in the mower.
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands and ensure a proper grip on the mower.

Handling fuel, batteries, and electrical components safely 

  • Never refuel the mower while the engine is running or hot.
  • Use a funnel to prevent fuel spills.
  • Store fuel in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area.
  • Dispose of old batteries and electrical components properly and per local regulations.

Child and pet safety around mowers

  • Keep children and pets out of the mowing area.
  • Do not allow children under 16 to operate the mower.
  • Do not carry passengers on the mower.
  • Teach children about mower safety and the danger of playing near the mower.


If you want to own a healthy and beautiful lawn, the need for a self-propelled lawn mower is inevitable. They help you mow your property in less time and comes with many bells and whistle to add some twist to your mowing game. 

Choosing the right equipment for you is very important. And knowing what a self-propelled lawn mower is and how does it work is the most important of all. You need to know your equipment to use and maintain it. Proper maintenance is crucial to ensure your mower’s life span and optimal performance. Regular cleaning, oil changes, blade sharpening, and many other tips and tricks are just a few of the maintenance tasks that should be performed regularly. 

It is also important to practice responsible and safe mowing practices to prevent accidents and protect the environment. Never forget to wear appropriate protective gear such as goggles and ear protection, and be mindful of rocks, sticks, and other hazards on the lawn. Remember to turn off the engine before removing debris or adjusting the mower’s blade.

By responsible mowing habits, you can achieve a well-manicured lawn and ensure your mower lasts for years.


Which is better, a push or self-propelled lawn mower?

It is hard to say which is better because both have their benefits and flaws, so, It depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Push mowers are suitable for those who want to do some workouts in their backyard. And if you have enough upper body strength to do it easily. Moreover, if you’re on a budget, it is an ideal choice and good news for those who want tools with less maintenance because push mowers have fewer moving parts, and there is not much hassle to maintain.

 On the other hand, self-propelled lawnmowers move forward independently, making mowing easier and faster, especially on larger lawns or hills. They are good for those happy to invest in expensive tools and may require more maintenance due to their more complex design.

Are self-propelled mowers hard to turn?

Front-wheel self-propelled lawn mowers are easy to maneuver and can easily turn, but rear-wheel mowers are hard to turn around. The difficulty of turning the mower also depends on your strength and agility, as well as the construction and model of the mower. Likewise, the type of lawn( flat or inclined) you’re mowing and the anatomy of the grass bed also matter.

Who should buy a self-propelled lawn mower?

 A self-propelled mower is a great tool for homeowners having lawns to maintain, DIY enthusiasts, people who want to mow their lawn mowing without any fatigue and comfortably, besides people having an uneven or hilly lawn, physically not well enough to deal with heavy push mowers like these mowers to have them in their tool arsenal. And if you are a true naturalist and want to spend more time, mowing loves to invest in tools with some extra features like mulching, bagging, side discharge, etc.

Do both wheels turn on a self-propelled lawn mower?

 Yes, both wheels on a self-propelled lawn mower turn. They have a drive system that powers both the front and rear wheels. This system is typically activated by squeezing a lever on the handlebar, which engages the drive system and propels the mower forward. As a result, both wheels turn at the same speed allowing the mower to move in a straight line.

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