Paul has worked as a painter and decorator; lawn care manager; bookseller; and freelance writer. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.
In my experience, the best thing about electric start lawn mowers is that they enable you to achieve a mowing performance that is mess-free and efficient with reliable instant starting every time. I really don't miss having to use a manual pull to crank the motor, turning a key to switch on the engine is much easier and less strain.
In this article, I have included a range of models that will hopefully meet a range of tastes and budgets. It should be noted that overall, the range of models produced with electric start is much smaller than that for ones with a manual pull crank, so the options are more restricted.
My Top 3 Electric Start Lawn Mowers
Here are my selections in order of preference with a couple of pros for each. Note that all three of the models featured have a self-propelled feature.
- The Lawn-Boy 17734: Affordable Control
- The Craftsman M275: Versatile and Low Effort
- The Husqvarna LC221FHE: Durable and Efficient
I explain my choices and experiences in detail below.
1. The Lawn-Boy 17734: Affordable Control
With an excellent record of producing quality mowers going back to 1934, Lawn-Boy are leading manufacturer of quality machines and this model is no exception. The Lawn-Boy 17734 Kohler gives you everything you would want and expect as far as reliability and maneuverability go.
A great value machine and difficult to beat in its price range, the Kohler engine starts with a simple turn of a key.This machine also features Lawn-Boy's 2-point height-of-cut system enabling fast and simple adjustments to be made to cutting heights.
The rear wheel drive self-propel mechanism provides power for excellent traction and control. There is a large empty bag for ease and convenience.
21" steel deck; 72 lbs, rear wheel drive
Lightweight which allows for fast and simple adjustments and maneuverability; solid traction and control
Engine is on the small side
2. The Craftsman M275: Versatile and Low Effort
My favorite thing about the Craftsman M275 is perhaps the single lever squeezebox, which gives you a very smooth experience of effortless control. A dual lever enables the 6 height settings for adjustment of trimmings. It's not the most affordable mower out there, but you get what you pay for.
This mower is a very effective cutter and mulcher. Overall, it's well-designed and solidly built, it will last the average user many years of use, in my opinion. I had no issues with assembling it out of the box (apart from the bag, see below). It's a great starter, fires up every time without any fuss.
Perhaps the only thing that I found awkward was clipping the bag onto the metal form when I first tried. I ended up having to bend the clips first to make them more pliable and trimming off some of the plastic lip that was getting in the way. It shouldn't be that difficult!
Craftsman 159cc 21-Inch 3-in-1 High-Wheeled Self-Propelled FWD Gas Powered 86.80 lbs
The electric start and single lever squeezebox control make this a comfortable and easy mower to control.
Getting the bag to clip on can be very awkward the first time you do it.
3. The Husqvarna LC221FHE: Durable and Efficient
The Husqvarna features a powerful Briggs & Stratton W-26 EXI engine and easy start. It is a versatile and user-friendly machine. I love the front wheel drive, which means less energy exerted, which is important for us oldies. The high rear wheels increase the maneuverability of the mower around the yard.
The Husqvarna is simple to set up. Only the handle and electric start need fitting, which literally takes a few minutes. You just add the oil and gas, press the ignition, and you're fired up and going.
This durable, and efficient machine offers excellent value. I browsed what other users thought out of interest and wasn't surprised to see that it's highly-rated. I expect the powder coated 21-inch cutting deck to last a long time.
Briggs & Stratton W-26 EXI engine; 80 lbs; front wheel drive; 21" cutting deck; easy set-up
Versatile; user-friendly; solid maneuverability
Difficult to clean; may be too fast for some
Lawn Care & Design: How to Mow Like a Professional Landscaper!
7 General Mower Maintenance Tips!
- Read the manual. The company who built your mower know how best to maintain it. They want your mower to do well, so that you will buy another one from them when your current machine eventually wears out.
- Check the oil. As you would with a car or other motor vehicle, you should monitor the oil, checking that it is at the correct level and it hasn't become too old and dark, or got bits in it. To drain the oil, remove the plug underneath. Your owner's manual should tell you what is the correct type of oil to use.
- If your mower uses gasoline, make sure that you drain the fuel at the end of each mowing session. Old gas is a common cause of problems, including the mower not starting. Always use fresh gas in the Spring.
- Check the air filter for clogs. A dirty or clogged filter will put strain on the engine and increase fuel consumption. Air filters are usually easy to access and inexpensive to replace.
- Clean the undercarriage. Grass can easily clog up the discharge chute and clippings can get caught elsewhere. I would recommend that you remove spark plug first, however, as a safety measure. Then you should brush off as much grass as you can, before hosing the mower off.
- Replace the spark plug. As with the air filter, the spark plug is crucial to the proper function of the mower, easy to replace, and inexpensive. I would recommend changing your spark plug every year.
- Keep the blade sharp and the engine tuned up. A couple more things that will certainly help keep your mower operating efficiently are keeping the blades sharp and tuning. The blade gets dulled over time by encounters with rocks and sticks until it no longer gives a clean cut. You can sharpen the blades yourself but in many ways it is easier to have it done by a mower repair shop. It will cost you a small fee, but you can also have a tuneup at the same time.
7 Lawn Mowing Tips
- Each type of grass has an optimum height—find out yours.
- Don't scalp your lawn. This will weaken the grass and leave it more vulnerable to heat, cold, drought, and disease.
- Overgrown grass should be cut back in stages, a third at a time, with a few days recovery time in between.
- Generally speaking, you should never remove more than a third of a grass blade at any one time.
- Don't mow the grass when it's wet.
- Vary your mowing pattern each time.
- Ensure that your mower blades are sharp.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: My husband has mobility issues, and I am concerned that a self-propelled mower might cause him to stumble. What do you think?
Answer: Without meeting your husband and understanding his specific mobility issues, I can't give a definitive answer. However, self-propelled mowers are generally much easier to use than regular mowers for people with reduced mobility (as well as for any person tackling hilly or uneven lawns).
Question: Has the Husqvarna 961430115 HU725AWDE been discontinued?
Answer: Yes, it has. Husqvarna are no longer making this model. I would recommend considering the Husqvarna LC221FHE as an alternative.
Question: I have a small yard. Should I get a mower with a narrow or wide cutting deck?
Answer: Narrow cutting decks generally work better in small or complicated yards, as they are easier to turn sharply and maneuver around obstacles.
© 2014 Paul Goodman
MCalla on May 24, 2019:
Ok for the past couple times I’ve bought Craftsman Electric Starter and it never fails the Dam Battery always dies, I getting tired of Craftsman letting me down, I need the Electric Starter due to Torn Rotator Cuff, so I need a decent one any suggestions not too expensive but good that’s gonna last unlike Craftsman which I just got 2 and half years ago! Thanks
JeremyBrett on February 26, 2019:
I certainly agree with the Husqvaran selection! Purchasing a good and reliable mower is an investment, and it will pay for itself if you plan on doing all your own yard work. I followed along with this pdf that I ran across and with your article it could be helpful for anyone out shopping for mowers. https://www.powerequipmentwarehouse.com/pdf/CHOOSI...
Thanks for the well-written article.
Virginia Jones on July 02, 2018:
I'm looking to buy a gas grass mover with an elelctric start - The Lawnboy 10734
Black & Decker CM19362a
who sales and how much do they cost. I'm retired and can't afford a very expensive on
Raymond Hertz on October 05, 2017:
I am looking for an electric-start push mower that is NOT self-propelled. I have used self-propelled mowers in the past and consider them difficult to use, heavy, and definitely not worth the extra cost. Any ideas?
john on May 27, 2017:
too small-too expensive + it's a black and decker