Having a lawn means having to mow your grass. To make this weekly necessity less of a chore, choose a lawnmower that best suits your needs and the ground you are mowing. If you are considering a walk-behind mower, there are two main types to choose from--self-propelled and push-type lawnmowers. Depending on your physical ability and the layout of your yard, either can work for you.
Push lawnmowers either have rear-wheel drive or no drive capability. Most push mowers rely on the user to provide the drive for the mower by pushing it forward. Self-propelled mowers can be either rear-wheel or front-wheel drive. Self-propelled mowers are driven by drive chains linked from the motor to an axle that turns the wheels. Self-propelled lawnmowers can move under their own power.
Push mowers can navigate slopes with varying success depending on user strength and slope of the land. Push mowers can be taken up or down slopes of nearly any depth. Self-propelled mowers cannot handle steep slopes because the motors and drives cannot handle the stress of climbing or descending these grades. Minor slopes can be mowed using either type of mower using a slow, steady pace.
Push-mower speed depends on the ability of the user to move the mower. These mowers have no gear drive as found in riding mowers or self-propelled mowers and therefore have no set speeds. Self-propelled mowers have speeds adjusted by gears, throttles and horsepower. A self-propelled mower moves faster on level and flat surfaces compared to rolling terrain, where a push mower mows the same rate on either grade of land.
Self-propelled mowers have a greater capacity to break loose and "run away" from the operator. Push mowers are harder to control over long mowing durations whereas self-propelled mowers run at an even pace regardless of the user's ability to move the machine. Push mowers are lighter weight compared to self-propelled versions and are easier to maneuver. Self-propelled mowers are geared to move forward and thereby are hard to pull backwards unlike conventional push mowers that can be pushed or pulled at will.
Push lawnmowers are cheaper than self-propelled mowers, mainly due to the additional gear and parts found on self-propelled types. As of August 2010, push mowers averaged around $200 while self-propelled mowers ranged from $500 up to $900.