Push Mower vs Self-Propelled – Which one is the Best for You?

As a homeowner, the lawn is the key point of your home and is your pride. That’s why it’s very important to own the right lawn mower for your yard and one that fits your budget. The push mower and self-propelled mower work in different ways to ensure you achieve the perfect cut.

With so many different lawn mowers available in the market, it can be hard trying to choose which one is best for your lawn. Your lawn mowers play an important role in determining how effective and arduous this task will be. While a self-propelled mower has a transmission that drives the wheels, the push mower is manual and has no motorized capacity to drive.

Differences between a push mower and self-propelled

Mower model

Push mower



Uses your energy to propel it

Uses electricity, gas or batteries



Heavier because of the motor



A lit harder

Ease of transportation

Can be lifted with very little effort

Needs extra help to lift it or move it


Ideal for small flat lawns

Ideal for large lawns with hilly and uneven terrain

Push mower vs self-propelled. What makes them different?

  • Speed

A push mower will only go as fast as you push it because you use your energy to propel the wheels. The motor only spins the blades and it won’t go anywhere if you don’t push it. The manual reel mower has a long push handle and horizontal spinning blades, but don’t use any fuel source so you have to rely on your strength to move the mower across the turf. On the other hand, the self-propelled can use either electricity or gas for its power source and this reduces the amount of time you have to spend mowing your lawn. The electric model can be cordless or corded. The corded model provided constant power but is less flexible because you have to keep it connected to a power source. The cordless model uses a rechargeable battery that can provide up to an hour of use, but it doesn’t produce emissions. Most self-propelled mowers allow you to set a comfortable speed that can remain constant throughout even when you engage the mower’s drive.

  • Weight

A push mower is lighter which makes it easier to maneuver, but it also means you have to use more energy to move it because it’s nor equipped with a propelling motor. On the other side, the self-propelled mower has some extra weight because of the propulsion gearbox. The best part is that you don’t have to push it, you just use the front and rear drives to move the mower so you don’t feel the weight.

  • Clean cut

Except for the reel mower, both the self-propelled and push mowers have rotary cutting blades in their decks that are used to give your yard a clean cut. The gas-powered mower has more power needed to cut through thick grass while the electric model works better on well-trimmed lawns. The cutting blades of the walk-behind reel mower use the scissor-like action to easily cut through the grass while the high-powered rotating blades of the self-propelled mower uses the tearing action that cut grass efficiently but damages the foliage.

  • Extra effort

With the push mower, you have to do all the work since the motor only movers the cutting blades. Depending on your level of fitness, the lightweight of the push mower makes up for its lack of self-propulsion, but your strength is the driving force. However, the self-propelled carries the burden of pushing the mower across your lawn and you’re only responsible for steering the mower. You simply guide the mower where to go which is easy and comfortable.

Push mower

A push mower just like the name suggests means you have to push it to make it go anywhere. It uses a motor that only spins the blade, but you have to do all the work of steering it. This mower is light and less expensive than the self-propelled. You have more control when you’re mowing and you can easily maneuver around obstacles and objects in your yard and even move it in reverse without having to turn it off. Push mowers come in 3 types that include gas, electric, and battery mowers. The gas-powered mower has a very powerful motor that is very effective at cutting through any type of grass without straining the engine.

However, it’s an expensive and noisy machine. The electric mower uses an extension cable connected to a power source. It’s more efficient than the gas mower and operates silently. However, it might struggle to cut through robust grass types. The battery-powered is also powerful and efficient, but it packs some extra weight which can make it harder to maneuver and only provides an hour of runtime. Push mowers are great if you want some exercise and don’t mind the physical strain and are very easy to maintain. They’re suitable for small, flat lawns and don’t come with many extras.


  • Very affordable
  • It’s lightweight
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Has a simple construction


  • Requires a lot of effort to mow


Self-propelled mower work on a drive system that requires you to squeeze a bar on the handle to engage the mower. This is an excellent mower if you have a large lawn that is more than ½ an acre and hilly terrain. This mower comes in two types the front drive and rear drive. The front-drive mower is propelled by the front wheels and can make a 180 degree turn very smoothly. This makes it very easy to navigate around obstacles and other objects on your lawn. The front-wheel-drive is suitable for flat terrain since it can’t pull the necessary weight to maneuver a steep hill. The rear-wheel-drive is propelled by the back wheels which give it more traction so you can easily mow on hills and uneven terrain.

This self-propelled mower can be a bit difficult to maneuver if you’re a smaller person. When navigating around obstacles, you need to pivot to turn your mower. It has a more complicated internal mechanism to operate that makes it more expensive than the front wheel mower. A self-propelled mower weighs more than the push mower which makes it difficult to move it around, but if you need to move it you can use a ramp to load your mower on a truck. Most mowers have variable speeds s you only need to adjust to the speed that’s comfortable for you.


  • Suitable for mowing large lawns
  • Come with varying speeds
  • You use less effort to mow
  • Have different mowers fr different terrains


  • Very expensive
  • Heavy to move around


As you compare the push mower and the self-propelled, the most important thing is to choose the right mower for your lawn. A self-propelled mower is better if you don’t want to use much effort and if you have a large yard that has hilly and uneven terrain.


How long should a push mower last?

The average life expectancy of a lawnmower is 8-10 years with proper care and maintenance.

Can I pull a self-propelled mower backward?

Yes, you can but you have to disengage the self-propelled function first by releasing the drive lever.

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