Lawn care is an important thing for any homeowner to do over the spring and summer months. No one is going to tell you it’s a fun job, though. While some folks may enjoy the actual mowing, most of us simply feel the satisfaction of a job well done once the mower has been put away. And unless you are super comfortable with power tools, just operating and maintaining your lawn mower can be a chore. That’s why we have collected a list of the best electric start self propelled lawn mowers on the market. These machines make the work of mowing really easy and require very little maintenance to boot.
First, let’s break down what it means for a lawn mower to be electric start and self propelled.
Electric Start Mowers
Most gas powered mowers have a rip cord that must be pulled repeatedly with force and precision in order to start the engine. That can be challenging. An electric start motor, however, has a simple push button start, or else a key that you turn, much like a car. Whether the engine is ultimately powered by gas or electricity, this electric start function makes it much easier to get your mower fired up and ready to use.
Benefits of Electric Start
Most electric start lawn mowers are powered entirely by electricity, but not all of them. Some are gas powered with a simple electric start option. The main benefit of an electric start mower is that getting the tool up and running is way easier than if it needed to be primed, choked, and started with an unpredictable rip cord.
All-electric mowers are ideal for people who want to use the most environmentally friendly power tools they can. There is no exhaust because there’s no gasoline. All electric mowers start at the push of a button, which is way easier than pulling a starter cord over and over again.
Battery-powered or corded mowers also make much less noise and produce only minimal vibration during operation. That can make them much more comfortable to use. However, there are a few considerations that can make electric mowers tricky, and may steer you toward a gas-powered model with an electric start feature.
Challenges of Electric Mowers
Some things about electric mowers require a learning curve.
Managing the Power Cord
Some electric mowers use a power cord rather than a battery. If you choose a model that does, you’ll need a significant length of extension cord just to make it feasible to mow. Corded electric models are not recommended for large yards, because the safety standards indicate that you should never use more than 230 feet of cord. Using extension cords longer than 230 feet means that the power won’t arrive reliably at your machine. Even at that length, you’ll need to figure out how to drag and manage the cord. Running over it is a serious electrocution risk.
Less Power with Batteries
Some lawn mowers are entirely battery powered, and they have some advantages. No emissions and much quieter operation are just two of them. But there are some challenges as well. Obviously, batteries drain. Depending on how hard you make your battery-powered mower work, you may not be able to finish the whole yard on just one charge. It is smart to have a secondary battery charged to insert mid-mow.
But even if you are proactive about always having a battery charged and ready, you’ll find that battery-powered mowers just aren’t as powerful as gas-powered ones. They don’t do especially well in tall, dense, and weedy grass. However, if you are someone who keeps on top of their lawn and never lets it get out of control between mowings, a battery-powered model could be perfect for you.
About Hybrid Mowers
You could also consider a hybrid mower, with a gas-powered engine that is started electrically with the help of a smaller battery. You lose the environmental and sound pollution benefits of an electric mower, but gain power and distance. And, of course, you don’t have to struggle with that rip cord.
The one significant downside to this type of mower is that once the battery drains, you won’t be able to start your mower, even if it has plenty of gas. Some models have a secondary pull cord start option, but not many. You will need to stop and charge your battery, or replace it with a fresh one if you have it. This won’t be a regular problem, however, as most of these batteries provide somewhere around 75 starts between chargings.
Self propelled Lawn Mowers
Self propelled mowers save you a lot of energy while mowing because they contain a drive wheel that pulls the machine forward. That means you don’t need to bear any of the weight of the unit, but only hold on and steer it. Especially on hills or rolling terrain, this can make a huge difference. Even the most lightweight push mower can take a toll on your back.
Depending on the mower you choose, yours may feature propulsion of the front wheels, rear wheels, or all wheels. The best version for you depends on the type of yard you have. Front wheel drive is great for mostly flat lawn, while the best lawn mower for steep banks is rear wheel drive.
Rear wheel drive also allows the forward motion to continue when the mower is tipped on its back wheels to make a turn. All wheel drive offers the best of both worlds, but can be a bit costlier. It is worth it if mobility is an issue for you or if you need to mow several different types of landscape.
A self-propelled mower can’t take off from its operator and mow independently because the propulsion is engaged only when the user holds back a trigger bar. If you let go, the mower stops moving, though the engine may remain engaged. Still, it can be challenging to use a self propelled mower if it wants to move too fast for you. In this case, look for a model that offers variable speed settings.
Features of Electric Start Self-propelled Mowers
Like any mower, an electric start self propelled lawn mower will have certain features beyond the ability to cut grass. These are typically put in place to make using the tool easier and more comfortable. Potential extras that are nice to have on your mower include:
- Padded handles – minimize user fatigue by providing a comfortable grip and much less vibration in your hands and wrists
- Adjustable handle height – if multiple people will be using the mower, this can keep them all from having to stoop to mow
- Foldable handle – when storage is at a premium, choose a foldable mower that tucks away in a corner
- Multi-position collection bag – with varying types of landscaping, you may find that you sometimes want the bag on the back, and sometimes on the side
- Cup holder – who doesn’t appreciate having some cold water, or even a beer, available while working in the sun?
- Deck washout port – the inner workings of your mower need to be rinsed every so often, and this port allows you to attach a garden hose to make this job a breeze. Don’t rinse electric mowers, but rather wipe them down.
- Left-handed trigger switch – there are usually multiple bars or switches that need to be held and/or engaged during mowing. A left-handed configuration for these makes all the difference to lefty comfort
Ready to take a look at some affordable self propelled lawn mowers?
TOP 5 Best Electric Start Self Propelled Lawn Mower
1 Lawn-Boy 17734 21-Inch 6.5 Gross Torque Kohler Electric Start XTX OHV, 3-in-1 Discharge Self Propelled Lawn Mower
This Lawn-Boy mower fits in a category of key start self propelled lawn mowers. It features a gas-powered 149cc Kohler OHV engine, but it is CARB compliant, meaning that the emissions are low enough to meet all national clean air standards. You never need change the oil in this mower, either, but just check the level and top up as needed. The deck is constructed of sturdy steel, making this a tough, long lasting choice.
The mower has rear wheel drive to help you successfully navigate yards with varying terrain. You can precisely set your preferred cutting height by manipulating two levers placed along one side of the handle. The 21” cutting swath is ample and will help make short work of your mowing job.
It has a 3-in-1 discharge ability for the grass cuttings, allowing you to choose side discharge, rear bagging, or mulching. The collection bag is large and sturdy so that you shouldn’t need to empty it frequently in the middle of mowing. There is a variable speed function that can be engaged by holding the handlebar at different positions.
All in all, you can expect a superior cut and reliability with the Lawn-Boy. The manufacturer backs their products with a 2 year warranty overall, but will fix the starter for free if you have any issues with it for 3 years.
40.5 x 22.3 x 37.7 inches
2 year warranty
- Easy and reliable start
- Large collection bag
- Variable speed
- Side discharge chute arrives separately with registration of product
- Front axle can be difficult to snap into place initially
-Height adjustment levers not as sturdy as they could be
2 Mowox MNA152613 Zero-Turn Radius Self-Propelled Lawn Mower powered by Briggs & Stratton 725 InStart Series engine, 7.25 ft.-lbs. and 163cc
This Mowox mower is unusual on several counts, but that could be what makes it perfect for you. It is a hybrid model electric start gas lawn mower. When you start with a full charge, you can rely on about 75 starts before recharging is necessary. When you’re in a hurry, a short 10 minute charge will net you about 20 additional starts.
The engine is a 163cc Briggs & Stratton InStart Series that provides plenty of power. You never need to change the oil entirely, but may need to top it up occasionally. Unlike other mowers, an initial supply of oil in not included in the box. The portable lithium-ion battery does come with your purchase, as well as a charger.
What really makes this mower stand apart is the handling. It has rear wheel drive and only one wheel in the front for superior maneuverability. The front wheel can turn 360 degrees or be locked into place when straight cuts are important. That rotation, however, is what allows this machine to boast a zero turn radius – just swing around and head the other way, without need to adjust the mower further in order to meet up with your previous cutting track. The cutting swath is an ample 21”.
One downside is that this mower is not available for sale in California, which means that it is not CARB compliant for emissions. Several reviewers also complained that the assembly directions were limited and almost incomprehensible. This may be an ideal mower for people who can intuitively understand how to correctly route the cables and attach the handle and front wheel.
73 x 21 x 42 inches
2 year warranty
- Easy and reliable to start
- Makes tight turns with no need to lift front wheel
- 3-in-1 option for cuttings: collection bag, mulch, or side discharge
- Assembly instructions are limited
- Can bounce on uneven ground
- Higher emissions
3 Ryobi 20 in. 40-Volt Brushless Lithium-Ion Cordless Self-Propelled Walk Behind Mower with 5.0 Ah Battery and Charger Included
If you would prefer to skip the hassle, noise, and pollution of a gas engine, this Ryobi battery-powered model could be just the ticket. It runs on a 40-volt lithium ion battery, reaches toward the power of gas with its intelligent motor with load-sensing technology. The motor detects different terrains and types of vegetation and automatically adjusts the cutting speed in accordance. That can avoid having your mower bog down in tall grass, yet also preserves battery life when mowing easier terrain.
This mower is really easy to use. It offers a telescoping handle so that anyone in the family can use it comfortably. The one-push button start, 20” cutting swath, and 7 height settings all support getting a clean cut with minimal effort. You won’t feel much vibration as you go because the handle is padded for comfort. The whole mower then folds up for easy storage when you’re done.
A very attractive feature of battery-powered mowers is their quiet operation. With this Ryobi, you can mow in the early morning or late evening without frustrating the neighbors or hurting your ears. Unlike many other models, this mower even has headlights to navigate in dim conditions. As far as the grass clippings, you can mulch them or bag them with this lawn mower.
Ryobi 40-volt batteries are compatible with all Ryobi 40-volt power tools. You can have a whole range of lawn care equipment and run them all with just two batteries – a main and a spare. That will save you money on further purchases with Ryobi. This company offers a really nice 5 year warranty.
59 x 21.5 x 39 inches
5 year warranty
- Quiet operation
- Easy start and storage
- Battery life diminishes with time
- Charge lasts no more than 40 minutes; less if the grass is too tall
- Struggles in wet grass
4 Greenworks 21-Inch 40V Brushless Self-Propelled Mower, M-210-SP
Another highly reviewed battery-powered mower is this Greenworks model. It operates with nearly no noise on a 40V battery and fires up with a simple push button start. If you have a hilly yard, you will appreciate the rear wheel drive and solid traction offered by the Greenworks. The 21” cutting blades are housed in a sturdy steel deck.
Like other mowers on our list, you can mulch, rear bag, or side discharge the cuttings with this mower. Unlike other models, this Greenworks actually features a USB port in the battery compartment that allows you to charge electronic devices while you mow! It’s not something we ever thought of doing while mowing, but with the quiet operation of this mower, you probably could still hear your phone ring.
Another nice feature is that there is a secondary port that allows you to store your extra battery while mowing. This can be very handy if you ever need to change batteries mid-job. The manufacturer reports battery life at approximately 70 minutes in ideal conditions, but real life users suggest a standard of around 45 minutes of heavy duty work per charge.
Like Ryobi, Greenworks has a range of 40V tools, and you can use the batteries from your mower in any of them. Your purchase comes with a 4 year warranty on the mower itself, but only 2 years on the batteries.
62.2 x 21.5 x 42.2 inches
4 year warranty mower, 2 year warranty batteries
- Easy push button start
- Extra battery can store right on mower
- Battery interchangeable with over 50 other 40V Greenworks products
- Not ideal for weeds
- Battery life is around 40-45 minutes
- Can’t cut wet grass
5 Snapper XD 82V MAX Electric Cordless 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawnmower Kit with (2) 2.0 Batteries & (1) Rapid Charger, 1687914, SXD21SPWM82K
This Snapper XD battery-powered mower comes with 2 powerful 82V lithium ion batteries and a rapid charger. You can get up to 45 minutes of power from each battery, which should be enough to complete your yard without having to recharge. What’s even better is that the charger is a smart charger, meaning that it stops charging once the batteries have been completely refilled. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about leaving the batteries in place on the charger for long periods of time.
The mower is also equipped with load sensing technology that adjusts the power to the blades when conditions change. More power in dense vegetation means that the battery drains a bit faster, but not all battery-powered mowers are strong enough to get through high grass – this one is.
The rear wheel self propelled transmission offers variable speed. You get an easy push button start and 7 possible cutting heights that are controlled with just one lever. The 21” steel deck is relatively standard. Like other mowers on our list, you can also choose to rear bag, side discharge, or mulch your clippings.
The handle is padded for your comfort. Another nice feature of this and other battery powered mowers is that they can be stored vertically to save space. Gas mowers must remain upright or the oil is likely to dump into the engine. You get a very nice 5 year warranty with this mower.
44.5 x 21.5 x 19 inches
5 year warranty mower, 2 year warranty batteries
- Sturdy construction and impeccable cutting performance
- Power does not diminish as battery drains
- Very long warranty
- Charger only holds one battery at a time
- Need to stop self-propulsion to turn the mower
- Handle on collection bag may snap if you use it to bear the weight of a full bag
Troubleshooting Your Electric Lawn Mower
Electric lawn mowers in general require less maintenance than gas-powered ones. But they can still break down and need repair sometimes. Often, this is something you can do at home. Following are some steps to take if your electric mower has stopped working – before calling the repair shop.
Check the power supply to a corded model. It is easy to pull the plug enough to cut off power while mowing. Sometimes a particular outlet will get overloaded, and in this case, choosing a new outlet or resetting the current one (if it has a reset button) can help. Your extension cord might also have a reset button or switch.
Check for any flipped breakers or blown fuses. First test the outlet by plugging in a small lamp, and if it doesn’t work, head to the breaker box to see if anything is flipped. Often, all you have to do is push the breaker switch back to the on position.
Empty the collection bag. Sometimes an electric mower is designed not to start if the bag is full. This type of mower may also cut out during operation when the bag becomes full.
Child safety lock
Some electric mowers have a child safety feature that prevents kids from playing with the mower. It usually means that you have to press a specific button or depress a lever while starting the machine. Check to see if a protective feature has been accidentally engaged.
Blocked cutting blades
The problem could also lie with the cutting blades themselves. Electric mowers typically shut down and refuse to restart when the blades are held immobile by sticks, leaves, or other debris that has gotten caught up. Make sure that the battery is taken out or the cord unplugged before you work to remove the blockage. Never use your fingers around the blades - a wooden tool is a much safer option.
Maintaining the lawn is not really a fun job, but these easy-to-use mowers almost make it fun. With a struggle-free electric start and a drive wheel to propel them, you may feel like you’re just out for a nice stroll. However, after this stroll, you’ll have a beautifully cut lawn to enjoy however you like. We feel a picnic coming on…
With all the details we have provided about each of these 5 highly reviewed machines, all that is left is to choose the best electric start self propelled lawn mower for you. So which one will it be?