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Is a Self-propelled Mower Right for You?

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

When you have a teenager to mow your hilly lawn, or love getting the exercise yourself, a push mower is all you need for the job. But if the mower seems to get heavier and heavier as the summer heat progresses, or if you have physical limitations, a self-propelled lawn mower may be your best option.

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Self-propelled, gas rotary mowers have powered wheels. If you choose one with sufficient horsepower, they work splendidly on hills and tough grass. The drive systems not only handle the weight of the mower, they schlep all the mulching or bagging gear, too. The mechanical override disengages the blades--if your model has one--and allows you to swap out or dump bags without turning off the engine.

Like most high-powered lawn gear, self-propelled mowers have noisy engines, requiring you to use ear protection. The large rear wheels on many self-propelled mowers make it easy work going up uneven slopes and help you cut even rows across the lawn. Many self-propelled models come with electric starter switches and transmissions allowing two or more operating speeds.

Evaluating Self-Propelled Mowers

Self-propelled mowers vary by onboard options and available horsepower. You'll find models ranging from 6.5 to more than 11 horsepower. Cutting widths also vary from 24- to 22-inch decks. You can pay as little or as much as you want, with mowers priced from $250 to $1,300.

Although some higher-end models have transmissions that adjust cutting speeds to your walking pace, if you are in poor physical shape, even a self-propelled mower may be a poor choice. You still have to walk fast enough to keep up with it. If that's the case, you're a solid candidate to engage a lawn service company or find a reliable teenager.



About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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