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About Self-Propelled Mowers
Unlike gas push lawn mowers, a self propelled mowing machine generates the power to mow and simultaneously propel itself over your yard. Isn´t that fantastic? For people with reduced mobility, properties with hilly, uneven lawns, this type of lawn mower is a godsend!
Self-propelled mowers drive themselves and all you need to do is chug along behind. Unlike conventional push mowers that generate power solely to drive the blades, self-propelled mowers instead distribute the power between the wheels and the blade arrangement. Unfortunately they can’t drive themselves so you still have to guide them in the right direction but at least, you don’t have to physically exert yourself anymore.
A self propelled mower instead of having a motor or engine with the shaft positioned vertically above the blades has an intermediary drive-train that in turn operates a gearbox allocating power to each wheel and releasing the rest to the blades. So basically, your average push mower now has brand new parts, a drivetrain and a gearbox, which turns it into a self propelled mower. Well, it is a bit more complicated than that, but we aren’t here to discuss the mechanics are we?
Features Available With Self Propelled Mowers
Blade Brake Clutch
Types Of Self Propelled Lawn Mowers
Now, just like with normal push mowers, you have two choices here. One is a beefy, bulky yet powerful gasoline driven mower and the other is a featherweight and nimble electric self propulsion lawn mower. I have to be honest here, unless you are a ‘cross-your-heart’ tree hugger, I find gasoline self-propelled systems more feature rich and useful than electric propulsion systems. After all, I can’t imagine battery powered cars ever really replacing today’s gasoline hungry cars! At least, not in our generation. Nevertheless, electric mowers too have their own unique advantages. Let’s take a closer look at both and evaluate them side by side.
Gas Driven Self Propelled Mowers
These mowers are the heaviest of all walk behind mowers but they come with plenty of features. The engine is usually a four stroke OHV (Over Head Valve) that delivers high torque and enough power to drive both the gearbox and the mower blades. However, you can also find two stroke engines that need a special mixture of fuel to oil added together. I prefer four stroke engines for their lower noise levels and better efficiency. These mowers usually come with either a single speed or variable speed transmission, all controlled via the handlebar. Regardless of the engine type and speed options, you do get a clutch and a brake lever. The brake lever helps stop the mower while the clutch disengages the blades stopping them cold while still distributing power to the wheels, which helps turn the mower around and reposition to start over again.
Benefits of a Petrol Mower
Lots of Power
You simply will never feel underpowered with a gas self-propelled mower. You might hate the noise and the weight, but when it comes to mowing your yard, you will love a gas mower.
Gas engines properly maintained, winterized and preserved last much longer than electric colleagues.
As long as you don’t run out of gasoline nothing stops you from mowing your yard. So, keep reserve gallons in your garden shed if you have a large yard.
Self driven mowers with a gasoline engine can handle lawns more than ½ acre area and they don’t have a problem navigating across uneven terrain.
Constistent Blade Speed
A gas mower always maintains the blade speed above a particular RPM (rotations per minute). So you never lose power to cut grass regardless of the height or type.
Limited by Fuel
If you run out of gasoline, your mower dies on you – it’s that simple, really. So, when you gradually leave your home to mow ahead, keep some extra tank with gasoline with you (keep out of sun!).
Type of Oil
Not every mower uses the same type oil or gasoline. So, read its instruction manual and use the correct type of oil or your mower won’t last long.
Needs Heavy Maintenance.
The first year you own a gasoline mower, it only needs winterization prior to winter. From the next year onwards, the gearbox, blades, drivetrain and other components will all need regular maintenance and the occasional repair.
Noise of the mower, hmmm. You love it or you hate it! If you thought push gasoline mowers were noisy wait till you hear a self propelled gasoline mower. They make more noise than the noisiest blenders! If your neighbors live nearby, the noise aspect might hold you back from purchasing a self-driven lawn mower. Anyway, you could opt for the most silent mower out of my selection of self-propelled lawn mower reviews.
Electric Self Propelled Lawn Mowers
These mowers are the lightest among all self propelled mowers but are limited in their torque output and also by design. You have the option of either opting for a battery operated version or corded version for almost all electric self propelled mower. Regardless of the power source, these mowers use an electric induction motor that drives a shaft rotating the drivetrain, which in turn generates the revolutions in the blades and wheels. An important thing to remember here is that the faster the mower moves, the less power is available to the blades since an electric motor cannot go beyond its specified power rating. So if your mower is rated 12 Amps then that is the maximum it always generates regardless of the speed. You do have the choice of going for single speed or variable speed transmission, brakes and clutch – all of these however cost you extra.
Advantages of an Electric Model
No Need For Fuel
As long as you have juice in the batteries or a long enough cord, you can mow for as far as you want. Instead of fuel constraints with electric mowers you are limited only by the cord length or battery capacity.
If I were to compare the noise levels of an electric self driven mower to that of a gasoline variant, I would say it is as if someone suddenly put the television on mute.
Gasoline engines are large and bulky with plenty of metal parts, a major reason why gasoline mowers are so heavy. On the other hand electric no-push mowers have a small motor and at most a large battery, which together make only half the weight of a large gas engine.
The only things you ever have to worry with an electric mower is replacing the batteries on time, having a long enough cord and sharpening the blades periodically.
Electric mowers can be stored upright, horizontally, vertically – basically any which way you want. Lack of fluids in the mower helps make it easier to store. Besides, they don’t get affected by the environment nor lack of use.
A Few Downsides
Uneven Power Distribution
Because the motor has to continuously distribute power to both the blades and wheels, the blades often slow down under resistance from the grass cover. Hence, if you leave your lawn to grow wild, you may have to borrow your neighbor’s gas mower once or twice.
Either due to the cord length or by limitation of the battery size, you will eventually have to stop mowing. Hence, plan your purchase based on your yard size. Get longer extensions or purchase additional batteries with your mower to avoid this situation.
Battery Circle Life
Keep in mind that each battery has a limited number of times it can undergo charging and discharging before falling below 80% of its initial capacity. Usually given as a whole number such as 300 cycles.
Lost of Power Density
Not matter what battery your mower uses, in process of time the battery will lose its power density. You can read more about cordless mower batteries on my page dedicated to cordless electric mowers.
The most expensive of all walk-behind mowers is the electric self-propelled mower. Batteries cost a lot, so does a self-propulsion setup for electric motors. Together this makes for an expensive acquisition.
Why Choose a Self-Propelled Lawn Mower?
For starters, you work less and let the mower do more. There are plenty of advantages of a self propelled mower over push type mowers, but there are also a few disadvantages. Let me see if I can highlight the most important pros and cons.
- No Push Necessary – Something that I just can’t iterate enough. Self propulsion allows you to relax and just guide the mower around as it does the rest. With adjustable speed, you can charge it uphill, slow down on slopes and cruise over flats.
- Practically Makes The Mower Weightless – Since you won’t exert any force, the weight of the mower no longer has any meaning. Normal gasoline push mowers are heavy and a self propelled gasoline mower is even heavier but it feels so much lighter to use because of self-propulsion.
- Excellent With Slopes – A push mower becomes a pain moving uphill and a problem stopping it barreling downhill. A self-propelled mower on the other hand handles all kinds of terrain with absolute ease. The gearbox and brake do all the work for you.
- Even Children Can Use It – While I do not advise letting your kids in on the fun unattended, self-propelled mowers with the right set of safety features can be completely handed over to children under parental supervision
- Difficult to Raise and Clean Deck – Because of all the added weight, self-propelled mowers are heavier to tilt to the side and clean the deck. If you happen to be strapping lad or a hooded vigilante then this won’t pose a problem, but for most of us, the excess weight is a nuisance when maintaining the blades and cleaning the deck underside.
- Demands More Caution – While the drivetrain is enganged by a secondary handle near the top handle, one has to be extra cautious with self-driven mowers as they can be just as easily be left to their own devices, wreaking havoc to your lawn or worse, personal accidents. Keep your children and pets away from the mower!
- Not Always Easy to Handle – Some self-driven mowers start slow and need a little push to speed up, others have a more jerky initation. To each his own, but if you end up with the wrong type of self-propelled mower, it can be rather unfriendly at times.
- More Maintenance Needed – Because of all the extra components such as the gearbox, brake, clutch or drivetrain, you now have more lawn mower parts to take care of in the long run.
TOP 5 Best Self Propelled Lawn Mower Reviews
Welcome to heaven……if you like to mow without any effort or pushing, you´ve come to the right place! These self-propelled lawn mowers will do all the hard work for you: no pushing or dragging required! Getting all hot and thirsty is limited to your envious neigbhor! You only wish you would have know this before…..
It´s time to have a look at the Ultimate TOP 5 Self Propelled Lawn Mower of 2016.
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