Push Lawn Mower vs. Self-Propelled

lawn,grass image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com

Choosing the right type of mower requires analysing the size, grass type and surface characteristics of your lawn. The environmentally friendly push mower performs well on smaller lawns with soft grass, but requires more frequent mowing. Self-propelled mowers are effective at tackling thick, tall grass and hilly lawns, and they do the job quickly with little physical effort.

Push Mowers

Gas-powered and electric push mowers have mechanical parts that turn the blades while a human pushes the mower. A push-reel mower relies solely on human power and sharp blades with no extra parts. Most push mowers cut a 14- to 18-inch swath in grass up to 3 inches high. These mowers are used extensively on putting greens and Bermuda grass and work well on bent grass, zoysia, fescues, Kentucky bluegrass and rye grass.

Push Mower Advantages

Push mowers are quiet and popular with those who like to get a workout during yard work. Electric and push-reel mowers do not require oil or gas, making them the most environmentally sound choice since there are no emissions and no need to store fuel. With fewer parts, maintenance consists of sharpening the blades periodically. Push mowers generally are less expensive than self-propelled models and not as heavy.

Self-Propelled Mowers

A self-propelled lawnmower, whether gas-powered or electric, is a small machine with mechanical parts that moves itself. These mowers mow uphill, over rough terrain, and in areas of tall grass above 3 inches. A wide range of additional features is available, including bagging and mulching options, variable speeds, electric start and front or rear-wheel drive. Because the self-propelled mower can contain both mechanical and electric parts, regular tune-ups are required.

Advantages of Self-Propelled Mowers

These mowers require less effort and usually mow faster; some models offer speeds as high as 4mph. It is easier to mow uneven terrain and thick grass with a self-propelled mower and the swathes are generally more even in height than those from a push mower. Connecting a clipping bag or other attachment does not interfere with the performance or speed of a self-propelled mower.


According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a traditional gas-powered lawnmower produces as much air pollution as 43 new cars each being driven 12,000 miles. Each weekend, about 54 million Americans mow their lawns, using 800 million gallons of gas per year and producing tons of air pollutants including carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides. Push-reel and electric push mowers eliminate these hazards.

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