Push Mower vs Self-Propelled

Self propelled mower vs push

The life expectancy of a lawn mower is approximately 10 years. This is the reason why people who are considering purchasing a walk-behind mower should understand the differences between a push mower vs self-propelled. Selecting the right mower is essential to making your weekly mowing a less laborious task. 

Push Mower vs. Self-Propelled


The major difference between a push mower vs. a self-propelled mower is how they move.

A push mower moves by the operator manually pushing the mower. It is similar to a shopping cart where the person controls the speed and direction as they push. 

A self-propelled mower does not require the user to manually push. Rather, the mower is built with a drive system that spins the wheels mechanically. These spinning wheels advance the mower forward and the user walks to keep up with the pace of the mower. The user typically holds down a bar on the handle to allow the wheels to advance the mower forward and releases the bar to stop the wheels from spinning. 


The push mower will go as fast or as slow as the user is able to push it. In other words, the person operating the mower has complete control over the speed. 

The speed of a self-propelled mower varies based on the mower. Less expensive self-propelled mowers are design to move at one speed. The speed is calibrated by the manufacturer at the most comfortable pace for the average user. 

The more expensive self-propelled mowers are equipped with a variable speed drive. This means that the user has the ability to select between different speeds that the mower will operate. The speed selection is typically controlled by a lever or dial on the mower handle. For example, the Honda HRX217VKA is equipped with a dial that controls the speed of the mower from 0 to 4 mph.

The Cost

We looked up several lawn mower prices to give you an idea of the price differences between these two types of mowers. We used the top four listed push and self-propelled mowers from homedepot.com, lowes.com, amazon.com, walmart.com, and menards.com.

The average price of the push mowers was about $199 The average price of the self-propelled mowers was approximately $288. Based on this sample, there is an average of $89 between push and self-propelled mowers.  

Overall, a self-propelled lawn mower is a more intricate piece of equipment, therefore, it commands a higher price. 

Check out our article on the best self-propelled lawn mowers if you are considering buying a new mower. 


Generally, push mowers weigh less than self-propelled mowers because they lack the self-propelled mechanism and potentially other premium features that add to the weight (i.e. larger engines).

The below table shows a sampling of the weights of push mowers vs self-propelled. Overall, there is an approximate 14 pound difference between the weights of the push mowers compared to the self-propelled mowers. 

Push MowerWeightSelf-Propelled MowerWeight
Honda HRS216PKA64 lbs.Honda HRS216VKA71 lbs.
Cub Cadet SC100HW63 lbs.Cub Cadet SC30090 lbs.
Husqvarna LC121P58.8 lbs.Husqvarna L121FH80.6 lbs.
Troy-Bilt TB11568 lbs.Troy-Bilt TB23081 lbs.
Toro 2132059 lbs. Toro 2037771 lbs.
Lawn Boy 1773062 lbs.Lawn Boy 1773266 lbs.
Average62.47 lbs.Average76.6 lbs.

Keep in mind that bagging the grass clippings will add to the mowers weight as the bag fills. This typically is not a concern for users with a self-propelled lawn mower. However, it can be a concern for a push mower operator who may be challenged enough just by the labor put into pushing the mower. The extra weight of grass clipping may be problematic or a nuisance for some.   

Why Buy a Push Mower?

A push mower is suitable for a small, flat yard that is less than 1/4 acre. A lawn of this size is bearable for most people to manually push the mower without getting overly exhausted. Additionally, you will save a lot of money by purchasing a mower without the premium features that a self-employed mower is often equipped with. 

Why Buy a Self-Propelled Mower? 

Any lawn that is above a 1/4  acre can often be challenging to push mow. The drive assistance of a self-propelled lawn mower will make mowing a larger lawns more enjoyable and speed up the task. They are a particularly useful  mower for hilly lawns to provide traction and help with climbing.

You will pay more for a self-propelled mower, however, it is often worth it considering the length of time a lawn mower lasts. This can even be true for people with small yards who want to minimize the effort involved in mowing.

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