Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

The Differences Between Push & Self-Propelled Mowers

By Lisa Larsen ; Updated September 21, 2017
Self-propelled and push mowers are different.
mower image by Tomasz Wojnarowicz from Fotolia.com

Many homeowners are willing to undertake the task of maintaining their own yards. For them the right type of lawnmower is of ultimate importance. However, there are several options to consider when it comes to selecting a lawnmower. Some mowers are self-propelled, meaning they literally propel themselves when a clutch is engaged. Other mowers require your muscle—you must push them yourself. Know the difference between a push mower and a self-propelled mower before making a purchase.


Self-propelled mowers are equipped with a clutch that, when engaged, propels the mower forward, reducing the amount of effort the operator must expend. A push mower does not contain a clutch. All movement, both forward and backward, is a result of the user pushing or pulling the machine.


It stands to reason that a self-propelled mower will cost more than a push mower. The difference between the two mowers, if they both have the same size of engine, was about $100, typically, in the late 2000s. A typical self-propelled 22-inch mower and a 190cc engine sold new for about $300 in 2010, whereas its push mower counterpart cost about $200.


It may be surprising to learn that push mowers are not as readily available as are self-propelled units. Most people prefer to let the mower do the hard work. They don’t want to struggle with their lawnmower. Self-propelled mowers are far more popular and can be found in plenty at any store selling mowers.

Yard Topography

For homeowners with large yards--those over a half-acre--or with hilly terrain, a self-propelled mower will make the job indescribably easier. If your yard is small and flat, there’s no need to spend the extra money for a self-propelled machine. A push mower will do just fine.


The self-propelled mower will require more maintenance due to the clutch and belts. Repairs will also be more expensive. Both machines, however, when serviced properly, kept clean, and stored in a dry place, should last for many years.


About the Author


Lisa Larsen has been a professional writer for over 18 years. She has written radio advertisement copy, research papers, SEO articles, magazine articles for "BIKE," "USA Today" and "Dirt Rag," newspaper articles for "Florida Today" and short stories published in "Glimmer Train" and "Lullwater Review," among others. She has a master's degree in education and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.