Every owner of a residence strives to get a lawn mower, which can keep a place trim and attractive. Self-propelled mowers are increasingly popular, and now there are so many brands that the choice is getting pretty tough. In this post, we are going to shed some light on what really makes a good lawn mower, outline some criteria of choice, show examples and give explanations. Finally, the article is aimed at helping a potential mower buyer to find a high-quality lawn mower for sale at a beneficial price-and-quality ratio.
What Makes a Good Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Here is some basic information on lawn mowers for sale:
It is all about what is really good for your lawn and you: how well it is going to work out for your type of lawn and how user-friendly it looks to you. Self-propelled lawn mowers have different drive systems: front-wheel, rear-wheel and all-wheel. Each type is appropriate for a particular type of service. For example, front-wheel mowers are great for even surfaces, while rear-wheel can handle rough ground as well, and are more suitable for those who collect clippings.
If the ground in your garden is uneven and bumpy and will force you to make too many turns, a front-wheel-driven mower is not the right option for you. Having to tilt the mower all the time or disengage the drive will result in a lot of inconveniences.
The size of wheels is another important criterion. For example, mowers with larger wheels are better for areas with uneven ground and tall grass. Vice versa, mowers with small wheels are OK with flat ground with short grass. Also, there are mowers with adjustable wheel heights. Please, check your ground and try to figure out how frequently you are going to have to adjust wheel height.
Mowers also differentiate according to cutting features: there are ones that combine three functions – mowing, mulching and bagging grass clippings. These are the most versatile and, consequently, expensive mowers. Two-in-one mowers can perform two of these functions in different combinations. In any event, a self-propelled mulching mower with a bagging or grass-discharging functions does several jobs simultaneously and can make your garden an attraction with ease and in less than a few minutes.
Please, note that new mowers do not use two-cycle engines anymore, because there are more effective and efficient, less noisy and eco-friendlier four-cycle ones. Now you do not need to do the guesswork of picking the right oil and gas ratio.
Why Use a Self-Propelled Mover?
Because they have lots of attractive options and features, such as:
- User-friendly extra parts and functions;
- Speed drive and pace are adjustable;
- You can pause the blades without stopping the engine;
- Adjustable handlebar;
- A deck-cleaning system.
Poulan is one of the most renowned manufacturers of high-quality mowers. Their mowers are notably user-friendly, efficient and reliable. There are good reasons to consider Poulan mowers all but perfect ones:
- Poulan self-propelled mowers are front-wheel driven and, therefore, more convenient and less cumbersome for your legs. These mowers are great for slightly sloped yards. They have only one speed, so be prepared to keep up with the pace.
- These mowers feature an advanced 174cc high-performance engine, which is quite reliable and has an auto-choke function. It does not have a choke valve and does not need to be primed. Although it does have a cord and takes one or two pulls to get the engine to rev. Given the fact the engine makes about 80% of the mower’s quality, buying a Poulan mower is a great investment. Just add to it 9 cutting heights, and you have a killer machine close at hand. Height adjustment takes a little work with the wheels.
- Poulan Pro mowers have tall wheels – about 8 inches (front wheels) and 11 inches (rear wheels) in diameter. High wheels make it easier to handle uneven terrains with tall grass. The body is 22″ wide, which enables operators to cover large areas pretty fast.
- These are three-in-one mowers, so you can use it to cut, mulch, bag/discharge clippings. This machine can do the work of a whole team of gardeners.
Along with Poulan, there are other attractive options, such as Husqvarna. They are recognizable for the bright orange color. Being powerful and effective, Husqvarna mowers are also versatile and customer-friendly and can be operated by every household owner:
Husqvarna mowers feature an engine, which outpowers those of Poulan mowers. The Honda 190cc 4-cycle OHV engine does not need to be primed and does not have a choke either. It is started by a cord, and it takes just one or two pulls to start it. Just use elbow grease from time to time. Another great plus of HU800AWDH mowers is a lever, with the help of which you can easily adjust height. There are 3 height options.
These mowers have adjustable handles and can be used by a group of people simultaneously. Each person can adjust a separate handle to his or her convenience. Also, you can control pace as you press in the bail handle and achieve even greater personalization.
Thanks to the 22-inch body width, a mower can manage quite a patch in one go. The front wheels are 8 inches in diameter, the rear ones are 12 inches. This configuration increases maneuverability and makes a mower suitable for all types of terrain and all grass levels. The HU800AWDH is an all-wheel-drive mower and, therefore, boasts excellent traction.
Husqvarna is a three-in-one mower too: you can use it to mulch, discharge and bag the grass, and do whatever you like to make your garden attractive.
This mower is reliable and customer-friendly. It outruns Poulan in many aspects, and we do recommend it. However, it should be noted that this one is a little more expensive.
Honda HRR216K9VKA 3-in-1
You have just read about mowers of two different brands using Honda engines. Now Honda has come up with its own machine – the Honda HRR216VKA 3-in-1 mower. Like all Honda products, this lawnmower boasts high efficiency, power and user-friendliness.
The machine features Honda GCV160 engine, which will come through hell and high water. Everyone knows that these engines are the most reliable and powerful ones. With such a machine in your garage, you can handle a lawn of any size, and the motor will run like clock for years. Featuring twin micro-blades, the machine can cut all sorts of grass without a hitch.
There is a number of adjustments, so you can make it maximally convenient for yourself. It has a set of speeds, so you can select a pace at your convenience.
Like all three-in-one mowers, this one mulches, discharges and bags clippings. Mulching is very effective thanks to the twin blades. Well-mulched grass spread over a lawn can become an excellent natural fertilizer.
This machine is a bit more compact than those described above. It is 21 inches wide, which is still enough to effectively handle a good patch per minute. It has standard wheels (both front and rear wheels are 8 inches in diameter), so this mower is less suitable for uneven terrains. The height is not adjustable either. Like many Honda products, this lawnmower has a 3-year warranty.
This killer mower does not feature a Honda motor. Instead, Lawn-Boy uses a high-profile Kohler engine, which is quite a name within the segment. Made by Toro, this mower will not let you down in any circumstances and will rev for years.
The Kohler XT6 149cc OHV is a very high-quality motor, as it is quick to start and is fairly powerful. It is not for nothing that Lawn-Boy owners say lots of good things about the engine. If the engine does not start after two pulls off the cord, there is a quick remedy. This sounds as brave as it is true. These mowers have no difficulty starting even after years of use.
The heights of the deck and blade are adjustable, and there are 2 settings. It should be noted that there is some negative feedback on the setup, as the front wheels may fail to lock. Not infrequently, this leads to ineffective mowing and can even lead to damage.
Lawn-Boy is a rear-driven lawnmower, which is another great pro. Therefore, the machine boasts better traction, and does the job better when moving uphill. This makes it a little hard to pull back. In other words, this mower is intended for forward movement.
This is another three-in-one gardener’s friend, as it is good at mulching, discharging and bagging grass clippings. Finally, the machine has no speed adjustment options, so you are going to have to be content with the pace it has.
Troy-Bilt TB330 self-propelled mower is rear-wheel-driven, and it outpowers and outperforms all the mowers described above by some margin.
Its engine is similar to that of the Poulan Pro, although it is a bit more powerful – the Brigs & Stratton 725Xi 163 cc. The mower is equipped with a stellar blade and a rake bumper, which together make up an excellent mulching unit. Thanks to the versatile structure, the machine can trim quite a patch without getting blocked. Troy-Bilt handles grass of any height and is good for various types of terrain.
This lawnmower is very convenient when you move uphill, because it is rear-wheel-driven and, therefore, boasts of excellent traction. Another great advantage is speed control, so you can adjust pace at your convenience.
The deck is also adjustable, so you can decide how tall or low the trimmed grass will be. The adjustment is performed with the help of the deck lever, which is very convenient and adjusts all four wheels. You do not need to address each wheel separately.
This is another three-in-one mower, i.e. you can set it to mulch, discharge and bag the clipped grass. Troy-Bilt comes with a mulching kit for you to adjust the intensity of mulching. The grass will be mulched into a thick mass, which will decompose faster and fertilize the soil in your lawn. The rake will help you trim grass properly and leave a much neater general appearance.
Maintenance and Care Tips
Whatever type of lawnmower you choose, you must keep it in shape and do your uttermost to prolong its life. All decent manufacturers provide instruction manuals with detailed descriptions and troubleshooting guides. A self-propelled mower is a complex device, and there is nothing to guarantee it will not break down when you least expect. There is a number of things you must do from time to time.
How Do I Sharpen Blades?
Many manufacturers advise household owners to buy new blades instead of sharpening the old ones. In fact, this can be a better option, especially if you have thick grass in your area and you have to use your mower intensely several times per season. In this situation, trying to sharpen old blades would be the waste of time and effort.
However, if you have reasons to believe that sharpening is a better option for you, you can do it with some simple tools like a metal file or a grinder. Before you start, please, disconnect the power cord (or battery) and the spark plug.
If you have a gas-powered lawnmower, be careful when tilting it. Make sure you are tilting it to the right side, so neither oil nor gas will get into the carburetor. Read the instruction manual and strictly follow all recommendations.
Please, take your time and be very careful: even a blunt blade can cut you badly. Use thick gloves. Remove the blade from the motor shaft using a wrench of an appropriate gauge.
Fix the blade on a balancer or on a pin by the hole in the middle. If it is not level, file the outweighing side. File it several times and check it on the balancer again. Keep doing this until it hangs level. Do not forget to file the other side, but make sure that the blade is level in the end. Use paper, a piece of grass or another material to check its sharpness.
For more detailed information and for visual clarity, please, watch this video on Youtube.
How Do I Tune It Up?
If you have chosen a gas mower, be ready to invest a good amount of time in it. Gas mowers are ‘naughtier’ and require more complex care. There are routine procedures, which you are going to be engaged in on a regular basis, such as cleaning filters, replacing spark plugs, changing oil, draining and filling the gas tank, cleaning the carburetor, etc. If you cannot handle all this work, you can address your local service and have it done. If this is not good for you either, buy an electric mower.
When Should I Stop Mowing Immediately?
If your mower has suddenly become unusually noisy, or there are strange vibrations, turn it off immediately. Not unlikely, the blade or the motor shaft has been damaged. Disconnect the power cord, spark plug or battery. Check the blade. If you see damage, replace it. Launch the mower again. If the noise and/or vibration is still there, this may be a motor shaft issue. In this case, it will require professional help.
What If My Mower Is Not Starting?
Please, make sure you have inserted the key (if there is one). It is not uncommon for people to forget to insert the safety key. This applies to electric mowers.
If you have a self-charging mower, for example, Honda, and it has stayed idle throughout the winter, the battery could have gone down.
If you have a cordless mower and it is not starting, make sure the battery is charged.
If your gas mower is not starting, check the spark plug. It could have grown rust. Please, do not try to repair a bad plug. If it has changed color or grown rust, replace it with a new one (spark plugs are not expensive at all).
Some gas could have flooded the carburetor. Please, read the carburetor cleaning tips below. Also, you can read some info on how to rebuild it.
If the blade is not spinning evenly, not unlikely, you need to clean the carburetor. Also, check the blade for damage. If the engine is hitching, the air filter could have got clogged.
What If My Mower Won’t Move?
There are many reasons why mowers stop moving all of a sudden. Please, read the troubleshooting guide and follow its instructions.
If your Black & Decker SPCM1936 has glitched, most likely, the drive wheels have locked. This happens when a user pulls a mower backwards after turning off the drive wheel. Try pushing the mower forward to unlock the wheels.
Mower drives are doing the same work. Please, refer to the manual and check all wheels.
If there are no problems with the wheels, and it is quite a while since you have bought the mower, the drive belt could have worn down. Replace the belt.
General Maintenance Tips
Please, check the blade regularly and be sure that the wheels sit firmly and are not loose. To prevent rust, remove clippings and mud from your mower after every use.
If you have just purchased a brand-new mower, do not run the motor at full power right away. Check with what Briggs & Stratton experts say about it.
If there seems to be a problem with the self-propelled drive, refer to the How to Fix a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower” section. Self-propelled mowers tend to slow down after two or so years of use. If you have noticed a slow-down, adjust the throttle cable. There is an article on how to do that.
Keep Wheels Lubricated
Do not miss a chance to lubricate wheels when you need to. Put graphite on the wheel’s bushings. Also, you can use WD-40, but it is quite sticky and accumulates dirt and debris.
Other Maintenance Requirements
Cleaning and rebuilding the carburetor is something you can do yourself. You can read how to handle a carburetor in a manual provided by Honda. Also you can order replacement parts there.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do self-prop lawnmowers work?
A: The engine shaft spins the blade and rotates one or both axles, usually via a belt transmission.
Q: Why is it advisable to buy a self-propelled mower?
A: These mowers are very user-friendly, time- and energy-efficient. You do not need to push a heavy device on a hot summer day and sweat. Just launch it and watch it do its job.
Q: Should I buy gas, electric, or battery-powered lawnower?
A: It depends. If you have a small garden (1/3-acre or smaller), a simple battery-powered one will handle it. If you want an electric mower, make sure the cord is long enough to reach every corner of your lawn. A gas powered mower is great for large acreages.
Q: Which type of mower is better for a hilly terrain?
A: Definitely, a gas-powered one. We advise Poulan pro or Honda. Rough terrains take more energy, so battery-powered mowers run low on power pretty fast.
Q: Is buying a mower a good investment?
A: Yes, for those who are going to mow their own lawns. There are landscape services, and they charge different prices. Most of them are not so expensive. Now try to figure out how many times a month you are going to mow and multiply it by the price you’ll have to pay for a landscape service. If you live in a climate where you need to mow from April through October, a fully-featured top quality lawnmower will be just the right choice for you! If you take proper care, it will last for years. So it appears to be a highly effective investment, and it will pay back quite well.
Q: Do I need to buy a zero turn mower or a riding mower?
A: These types of mowers are popular among landscaping professionals, who have to handle very large areas on a regular basis. They are more expensive and hardly suited for residential lawns. Self-propelled mowers are categorized as “walk-behind” mowers, and they are much better suited for household purposes.