The Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers in 2023 for Making Your Yard Work Easier
These lawn mowers drive themselves, taking the load off you in the process.
By Roy Berendsohn Published: Mar 21, 2023
One of the perks of the warm-weather season is getting to spend time outside. If you own your own home and have a yard, it’s very likely that in order to enjoy your outdoor space, you need to mow the lawn. The larger the yard, the more work it will be to maintain. If you have a lot of grass to cut, you’d be wise to consider a self-propelled lawn mower especially now that there are a ton of sales just in time for Memorial Day.
The primary difference between a standard push mower and a self-propelled mower is that the former moves when you push it, and the latter essentially moves itself with only your guidance. Once the engine is running, all you have to do is squeeze a handle or push a lever and the mower will start moving forward with you as you walk.
Turning the mower around is your job, but once you have your heading, just keep the drive handle squeezed and escort the mower down the path, no pushing necessary.
From Popular Mechanics
Self-propelled law mowers take power off the engine and route it via a belt to a pulley on the transmission and axle. When you move the drive control lever on the mower handle, you tension the belt, causing the pulley to turn, and this drives the transmission, moving the mower forward.
Move the drive control lever back and the tension is released, the pulley stops turning, and the mower stops moving forward. The belt-driven transmission is a time-tested design to power the mower and take the load off you in the process.
What to Consider
A mower is like many consumer products in that the more features a manufacturer adds, the more expensive it becomes. But a longer or more eye-catching list of features isn’t necessarily better. Sometimes less is more. Here are the most important to keep in mind.
Front-wheel drive mowers tend to be less expensive than rear-wheel drive units. They can be easier to turn because you don’t have to disengage the drive wheels to do so. Simply push down on the handlebar to raise the front wheels off the ground. However, their traction isn’t as strong on hills or when the bag is full, as there isn’t as much weight over the drive wheels.
Rear-wheel drive mowers do cost more and aren’t as easy to turn, as you do need to disengage the drive—but this isn’t too much of a hassle. Rear-wheel drive mowers shine on hills and inclines, and when the grass bag is full. In either scenario, weight is shifted rearward and over the drive wheels, which enables superior traction, thus making the self-propel more effective.
An engine as small as 125 cc can power a mower, but most are somewhere in the 140 cc to 190 cc range. A large engine helps when powering through tall, lush grass or in extreme conditions, such as with a side discharge chute in place and mowing tall weeds in a border area. Also, the extra torque provided by a larger engine can improve bagging when the going gets tough (tall, leaf-covered grass in the fall). But if you mow sensibly and pay attention to deck height—and especially if you don’t let your lawn get out of control—an engine between 140 and 160 cc has more than enough power to get the job done.
A mower can have all four wheels the same diameter (7 to 8 inches), or it may have rear wheels that range from 9.5 inches to 12 inches in diameter. Larger rear wheels help the mower roll more easily over bumpy ground.
With some mowers you can start the engine with the twist of a key or the press of a button. It’s a great option, but a luxury. Keep the mower engine tuned and use fresh fuel with stabilizer added to it, and you’ll never have trouble starting.
Any number of mechanisms can control a mower’s ground speed—a squeeze handle, a drive bar that you press forward, even a dial. There’s no single right answer here. Look at the design and think about how you like to work. For example, if more than one person will be using the mower (and not all of them are right-handed), a drive control like that on a Toro Personal Pace mower might be the answer. Just push down on the bar to make it go faster. Let up on the bar to slow down.
A mower that can bag, mulch, and side discharge is known as a three-function mower, the most versatile kind. Two-function mowers bag and mulch or mulch and side discharge.
Mowers will typically have one, two, or four levers to control the deck height. Single-lever adjustment is the easiest to use, but it requires more linkage, which adds weight and complexity. If, for some reason, you find yourself varying deck height frequently, it’s a good option. Otherwise, two or four levers work just fine.
Only Honda makes a gas-engine mower with a high-impact plastic deck (there are battery mowers that have plastic decks). Otherwise, mowers generally have a steel deck, and a few manufacturers—Toro, for one—offer a corrosion-resistant aluminum deck. An aluminum deck won’t rot the way a steel deck will, but you still need to keep it clean.
This is a hose fitting mounted on top of the mower’s deck. When you’re done mowing, hook up a hose and run the mower to power wash the underside of the deck. We’ve had mixed results with these, but they’re better than just letting a mass of dried grass clippings accumulate.
expensive mowers come with a more durable bag with more dust-blocking capability. If you bag a lot, especially leaves or other lawn debris in the fall, then you need a mower with a higher quality dust-blocking bag. Having said that, if you rarely bag, the standard one that comes with a mower will last you the life of the mower.
Also called wide-area mowers, machines in this subgroup help homeowners better reconcile their need for more power and speed with the fact that they may not have enough storage for a tractor or zero-turn mower. A typical residential walk mower has a single-blade deck that cuts a swath from 20 to 22 inches wide. Wide-cut mowers (built for homeowner use) have either a single blade or, more typically, a pair of blades, cutting from 26 to 30 inches with each pass. Some of these are rated for light commercial use and have larger decks, in the 32-inch range, and engines that start at 223 cc and go up to about 337 cc.
Wide-cut mowers typically employ gear or hydrostatic drive transmissions, and they have top speeds of about 4 to 6 miles per hour. At their fastest, they move so quickly you have to trot to keep up with them. Needless to say, they’re overkill for small yards; only opt for one of these if you’ve got a significant plot of land that you need to keep tidy, but not one so large that you’d be better off going with a full-on riding mower.
How We Tested and Selected
We compiled this list based on Popular Mechanics mower testing and our knowledge of the lawn mower market at large. For our testing, we put mowers through the paces using our standard Popular Mechanics methodology: We cut turf grasses such as fescues and blue grass and rougher non-turf grasses like Timothy, clover, orchard grass, and wild oats, all in both normal and shin-deep heights. We mow uphill, downhill, and across the faces of hills. The maximum slope we cut is about 30 degrees.
That may not sound like much, but it’s about all you can do to stand on it, let alone push a mower up it or across it. We mow damp and wet grass to test general cutting performance and whether clippings accumulate on the tires. And we cut dry and dusty surfaces to see how well the bag filters under less-than-optimal conditions.
Honda HRN 216VKA
Honda HRN 216VKA
Honda mowers enjoy a sterling reputation. Having tested their walk and self-propelled mowers for the last 30 years, we feel confident that Honda’s entry level mower is a great choice for homeowners looking for power and durability. The HRN features a GCV 170 gas engine that’s built to withstand long hours of operation.
If you do your own maintenance (and most owners who buy this class of product do), you’ll appreciate the easily accessible spark plug and the fuel shutoff valve that enables better winter storage. Close the fuel shutoff and run the mower until it sputters to a halt. This will clear the carburetor of any gasoline, which will prevent the ethanol in it from disintegrating and causing running issues later on. Open the shutoff valve in the spring, add some fresh gasoline, and the mower should start easily.
All this maintenance stuff is great, but we can also tell you that our past test findings on other Hondas prove that their cut quality is outstanding for cleanliness. Sharp blades deliver a velvet-like finish. And their bagging ability is also quite good, in the same league with other well-bagging mowers from Toro.
In all, if you take mowing seriously, you should enjoy this Honda. If you have a little wiggle room in your budget, consider the Honda HRX, which features a mower powerful engine and a composite deck that won’t rust and is renowned for its durability.
One note is that Honda has announced that it will cease selling lawn mowers in the United States after this year—so if you’re considering buying one, best do it sooner rather than later.
Toro Recycler 60-Volt Max Lithium-Ion
Toro mowers have garnered more recommendations from us than any other brand for two reasons: build quality and cut quality. These were amply demonstrated in our testing as the Recycler turned in the best ratio of cut area per amp-hour of battery in the self-propelled category, while at the same time not skimping on cutting, mulching, or bagging quality.
We attribute this outstanding mower performance to three features, all upgrades to the previous version of this machine. First, the air vent at the front of the mower deck seems to improve mulching and bagging performance. Toro calls it Vortex technology, a design that increases air flow under the deck. This helps to stand the grass for a cleaner cut, which improves mulching performance, and also allows better airflow into the bag when collecting the clippings.
Next, the company’s redesigned “Atomic” blade configuration appears to assist the air flow and clipping movement. Finally, the three-phase, 60-volt motor is exceptionally efficient, resulting in a large cut area for a single battery.
Toro has maintained features that make this mower work: rear wheel drive, a one-piece deck that’s all steel (no plastic nose), 11-inch wheels to help it roll over roots and crevices, and the same fold-forward handle that was an industry breakthrough when it was introduced some years ago.
Ryobi 40-Volt Brushless Self-Propelled Mower
This is one of Ryobi’s top-of-the-line mowers, and it’s American-made construction is something we wish we saw more of. It delivers a tremendous cut area with its two 6-Ah batteries providing a total of 12-Ah of capacity, and its X-shaped blade leaves a pristine surface in its wake.
Ryobi estimates the design should provide 70 minutes of run time; we didn’t time our cut, but it strikes as plausible. Its rear-wheel drive and reasonably aggressive tire tread pattern provide good hill climbing and sidehill cutting performance, and its bagging on all surfaces (level, sidehill, and uphill) is also commendable.
Other ease-of-use features include an easily installed or removed bag that mounts and dismounts straight up and down through the handle; deck adjustment is quick and easy thanks to a single-level deck height adjustment. The straight edge deck is polypropylene; it will never rust and needs very little care other than basic cleaning.
Toro TimeMaster 30 in. Briggs Stratton Personal Pace
Toro TimeMaster 30 in. Briggs Stratton Personal Pace
The Toro Timemaster 30-in. mower has been around for several years and has earned a reputation as a sturdy workhorse for homeowners who want to cut down on their mowing time. It’s also used by some professionals as well. A few years ago the Timemaster got a slightly more powerful Briggs and Stratton gas engine, so it should have no issues powering through most demanding mowing jobs.
The Timemaster is rear-wheel drive and features Toro’s Personal Pace drive system that’s used on many of its self-propelled mowers. This allows the mower to move at your speed by simply pushing down or releasing the handle, which is spring-tensioned.
With a 30-in. deck, Toro claims the Timemaster will help you reduce your mowing time by about 40% compared to using a standard-sized mower. You can mulch, back, or side discharge with the Timemaster, and the handlebar can be locked in a fully vertical position to reduce space consumption in storage.
If you have half an acre to a full acre of lawn to mow and prefer the experience of a walk-behind mower versus a tractor or zero-turn, the Timemaster is worth a look.
Craftsman mowers have been doing very well in our tests, so we can recommend this one because it’s so much like the many other of the brand’s models that we’ve tested. If you’re looking for a good blend of maneuverability and power, you’ll get it with this mower. Its front drive helps move it along and makes it easy to turn.
It’s important to note that front-drive mowers do lose some traction when running uphill, particularly with a full grass bag. But if your slope is less than 20 degrees, and you’re not bagging uphill, you’ll be fine. The side discharge will also help you handle tall grass. Adjust the two deck levers to bring the mower up to full height and have at the rough stuff.
The fact that this mower bags, mulches, and side discharges is a plus, enabling you to handle a wide range of mowing conditions, from early spring and late into the fall. Three-function mowers like this are our preference for that versatility.
Toro Super Recycler Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
This is a beauty of a mower, with a cast-aluminum deck and a smooth-running Briggs Stratton 163-cc engine. We tested the Honda engine-equipped version, and it was effective at both bagging and mulching, even in moist grass.
Equipped with rear-wheel drive and the Personal Pace system (the farther you push the drive bar, the faster the mower goes), it’s an effective hill climber and moderately effective on sidehill cutting. It has relatively small 7.5-inch tires on all four corners, which causes this Toro to bump up and down a bit on washboard surfaces. But the good news is that it’s equipped with a far higher quality tire than we’re used to seeing these days. We didn’t notice them pick up any grass on moist surfaces.
Other features we like include its forward-fold handle that has a built-in shock absorber that Toro calls a Flex Handle Suspension, and a high-quality grass bag that loads through the handle, from the top.
Are there special maintenance considerations with self-propelled mowers?
Yes. Both front- and rear-wheel drive mowers typically feature a drive belt, which can crack or wear out over time. Fortunately these belts are not difficult or particularly expensive to replace.
Secondly, you may have to replace the drive wheels occasionally. These wheels are driven with gears. there are typically teeth on the inside diameter of the drive wheel that line up with a gear on the axle. These teeth can wear out, especially if they are made of plastic. Higher-end mowers may feature drive wheels with a metal gear that meets the metal axle gear, which improves longevity of these components.
My lawnmower says I don’t ever have to change the oil, but just add oil when needed. Is this OK?
It’s not a good idea to never change the oil in your lawn mower. In a lawn mower, same as a car, oil degrades over time and is less effective at reducing heat and friction in metal components. Changing the oil in your lawn mower is easy to do and will significantly increase its service life. For most homeowners, changing the oil at the beginning or end of each mowing season should be sufficient, though there is certainly no harm in doing it more often.
Roy Berendsohn has worked for more than 25 years at Popular Mechanics, where he has written on carpentry, masonry, painting, plumbing, electrical, woodworking, blacksmithing, welding, lawn care, chainsaw use, and outdoor power equipment. When he’s not working on his own house, he volunteers with Sovereign Grace Church doing home repair for families in rural, suburban and urban locations throughout central and southern New Jersey.
TORO 30″ TimeMaster – Lawnmower Review
T his mower will trim your lawn maintenance time almost in half, along with impressing your whole neighborhood with a pristine yard. The Toro 30” TimeMaster offers a superior cut with a 30” wide deck and 2 Atomic blades that pulverize grass to a fine mulch. When offered to test this beautiful beast, it was accepted with great excitement and joy. We know not everyone enjoys yard work, but the great thing about the Toro 30” TimeMaster is that it’s suitable for whatever side of the fence you are on when it comes to mowing the lawn.
Since 1914 Toro has been providing high quality products to some very highly esteemed establishments, working with hosts of U.S. Open sites, the legendary St. Andrews Links, and even the Super Bowl. Toro knows a thing or two and is extremely well regarded in the lawn-care industry. The Toro TimeMaster is no exception to the long list of outstanding products they offer.
- 8.75 ft-lb Gross Torque Briggs Stratton OHV – This engine delivers the performance and durability that Toro is known for.
- 30″ Mowing Deck – This mowing deck lets you handle large areas of grass quickly and easily, reducing mowing time by up to 40%.
- Dual-Force Cut – The twin blade cutting system and Toro Atomic blades cut grass into a super fine mulch for superior quality of cut and a healthy, rich lawn.
- Personal Pace Self-Propel System with Traction-Assist Handle – This intuitive technology automatically adjusts the mower’s pace to your walking speed. For more challenging areas with uneven terrain, the Traction-Assist Handle can help monitor your speed, and keep you mowing at a comfortable pace.
- Blade Stop System – Lets you start it once, then keep it running. Now you have the freedom to step away from the mower to move an obstacle or empty the grass bag without having to restart every time.
- Quick Stow Lever – The TimeMaster has two storage positions for easy compact storage and convenient handle height positions to insure a comfortable mowing experience for any operator.
- 2 Point Height-of-Cut – You can easily adjust the deck height at 2 points instead of the hassle of walking around the mower to adjust 4 different levers.
- Washout Port – Attach a hose to the mower deck to easily clean the under side of the deck.
- 3 Year Guaranteed-to-Start – Starts on one or two pulls for up to three years. See retailer for warranty details.
Let’s face it; this thing really is a remarkable beast. It has a 30” deck compared to that of a standard push mower which has 21″ to 24″, this is a lot wider than your granddads mower of the past, providing a much larger and better looking cutting area. The 190cc Briggs Stratton OHV engine and 2 Atomic blades sound like a symphony when engaged. Celebrating 100 years in 2014 it’s safe to say that Toro knows what they are doing. The 2 point height adjustment and Personal Pace Automatic Drive System make it easy to navigate any lawn. Options to mulch, bag, or use the side discharge provide many ways to maintain your lawn, and the easy connect washout port makes cleanup a breeze.
As a top of the line mower the Toro 30” TimeMaster isn’t lacking much. The easily adjustable handle allows the mower to fit a wide range of heights, not to mention only leaving a footprint the size of a standard mower when stowed in the garage.
Setup was so simple we thought we were forgetting something. A few cut zip ties here and tighten a couple knobs there, and it was ready for juice. Once you add the bottle of oil Toro provides to the reservoir and gas it up, the Toro 30” TimeMaster is ready to save you time and beautify your lawn. Toro also offers some great tips on fuel to keep your mower running for years to come.
Even though the engine comes sans choke, we have yet to pull more than once on the 190cc Briggs Stratton engine to get it purring. Changing from mulching, bagging, or using the side discharge can be done with ease. The bag comes in at almost double the size of those on standard mowers which means less emptying, but be careful as this does add much more weight at times. The blade override system is a great feature when coming across any obstacles you may need to move out of the way without having to restart the mower. No matter the bumps or hills the 2 Atomic blades along with the 2 point height adjustment system your lawn will have a perfect cut every time. The look and consistency of the freshly mowed grass still impresses us!
Toro’s Personal Pace Automatic Drive System makes maneuvering the machine a piece of cake. Never seeming to pull you along or having problems with inclines it tackles lawns like it should. One slight downfall is not having the option to mow without using the Personal Pace system, but the function and operation of the mower erases that from the mind. With such a large deck one might think the Toro TimeMaster might be somewhat difficult to handle around trees and shrubs, but the sleek, lightweight design disproves those thoughts quickly.
Coming in at 999.99 it isn’t your cheapest option but you get what you pay for. With over 100 years of experience when you buy Toro, you’re buying the best. Whether it’s the time you save or the compliments you receive from the pristine cut, the Toro 30” TimeMaster is well worth it. With the 3 year warranty and the name Toro, there is very little else to consider. Toro offers a wide variety of financing solutions to aid in the cost as well.
Buy Now: 999.99 or to learn more, go to: Toro.com
With the price tag it’s not your mower on a budget, but for larger yards and those looking to save time it is a great piece of equipment. Not to mention those larger strips in the grass do look pretty darn nice!
About The Author
As a partner in an accounting tax firm you won’t see much of Dan during the long winter months known as tax season. Those extensive hours are why the rest of the year he’s “that guy” smiling while mowing his lawn multiple times a week, or scrubbing the deck of his boat on the west coast of Michigan. After that he’ll be found enjoying an ice cold beer (or several) admiring his work while taking in yet another Detroit Tigers baseball game. It’s that love and experience for all things lawn care, boat life, and sports that he brings to BW as a valued contributor.
Ryobi 20″ 40-Volt Lawn Mower. Mower Review | Busted Wallet May 25, 2015 […] this to be about the same or less effort than the reel mower. Busted Wallet Recently reviewed the Toro 30” Timemaster and that weighs in at 132lbs! On Rich’s lawn Rich and I took turns going back and forth with the […] Reply
Missy August 13, 2016 I owned 4 of these in less than a year. The first the engine wasn’t mounted properly so the engine vibrated so badly it made the oil cap come off, returned that one got a new one. After using the new one 3 times the plastic piece that stabilizes the cable to engage the blades snapped in 2, got a new one. The third one leaked oil and had bad seals, by the time I realized it 30 days was past and I had to have it repaired, 8 weeks later they tried to charge me 200 to clean the engine and replace the spark plug and air filter, which would not have needed replacing had the seals been good. I go to pick up the mower at the home depot store and again the plastic piece that stabilizes the cable to engage the blade is broken in half. Got a new mower. Used the new mower 2 times and 32 days later on the 3rd time the plastic piece that stabilizes the cable to engage the blade, again, snaps in half. Poor quality for a 1000 lawnmower. Needless to say, I did not get another Toro Timemaster, but opted for the 33″ cub cadet. I will say, the cut was good. The engine did not have enough power to cut longer grass even on the highest height setting when mulching. Bogged down and stalled all the time. Not to mention I was forced to take a Home depot Credit even though I paid cash for this hunk of junk. Reply
Greg Faulkner November 6, 2016 I’ve used one of these for two seasons now and have seen nothing close to the poor quality issues reported above. My experience, even after two years is as reported in this article; easy start, quick mowing, and It pulverizes grass. It’s sturdy and well built; easy to turn and operate and Personal Pace is fabulous, but keep in mind that this is a retail-grade mower; not professional grade and as such it is not built to withstand the abuse of being slung around on trailers and abused by a whole crew of laborers for hours per day. However, there are two design problems that cause minor issues with the TimeMaster 30 even for the retail customer. The main problem is that the blades do too good at mulching grass up into a paste in any of the three modes of cutting, because it cuts so well. So in order to mulch, the grass must be super dry, super thin, and not very high lest the deck will quickly clog up and the engine will bog down. In rear-bag mode, it’ll suck up every blade and quickly fill up even though it’s a big bag; and even in side-discharge mode, which works best of the three, in very thick grass the chute will sometimes clog, and then it quickly bogs down, as it is then trying to mulch. So one has to keep an eye on the discharge and swipe out by hand periodically in thick or tall grass even though it should be able to expel grass at the same rate as it cuts. Some reviews will state that this mower does not have enough engine power, but it’s got plenty of power. The real problem is that the deck can’t keep up with the cutting. The second problem is that the side chute comes off far too easily and it’s a hassle putting it back on, because the mulch plate automatically comes down when it falls off, and after June, it’s impossible to mulch. Reply
petros December 18, 2016 hi! i am interested in buying a new lawnmower and recently found this one. i have a few questions that hope can be awnserd….what oil does it take?is it good? is it reliable? thanks! Reply
Greg Faulkner March 4, 2017 I’m starting season three. Had a cable holder break under warranty the first year. Shop fixed it in one day. No trouble since. First time I started it, it took about 12 pulls. Since then, no more than 2. Usually one. Wheels and deck and handle are better quality than typical retail mowers but not to the level of commercial, but lighter than commercial. Treat it and maintain it reasonably, and it’s plenty reliable, durable and up to the task; very maneuverable and light for its size. Love the Personal pace, handle adjustments and handle quality is exemplary. Contrary to the review, the PP can be bypassed. Super-simple assembly. Uses regular 30 weight small engine oil SAE30 for all seasons. You will not find a 30″ plus mower anywhere near this simplified, compact, light, cheap and useful. Everything except as listed below is stellar regarding this mower. When grass starts getting thick in mid Summer, I can no longer mulch or bag, and in real thick grass, even in side-discharge mode, the deck chute will sometimes clog causing the engine to bog down. Going to replace blades this season with high lift. Some say this helps. The mower cuts through anything as long as the deck is not clumped up, but when that does happen, it does not cut well until one stops and cleans it out. Last year, this began to be a problem in July. It was a very wet Summer and so last year was particularly a problem using this mower in only my back yard. Oil change via turning mower on its side. I put the handle straight up and tilt the mower over letting the handle rest on the mulching plug and the oil filler over the top of my drain pan. Turn it back upright and refill. Easy as pie. Wash out the deck via the same tilting method. Gas and oil does not leak out with caps on. Side chute too easily comes off. Bagger fills up very quickly even though its rather large. Reply
Allen April 30, 2017 You make some good points about this mower Greg, it has its pro’s con’s like any of them. I have cut lawns for 15.years and it is very hard to find a mower above your normal commercial 21 or 22inch cut that you can walk behind that performs great if mulching, side discharge or catch and in dry or wet conditions. There’s no perfect 3 in 1 mower. Most of the performance issues encountered with this mower come when the grass is wet and more so if it’s a bit lush. For many it will work well if the cutting environment ticks all the boxes as it does a great job in a quick time. Being a pressed and not fabricatied deck the side discharge outlet is not a full depth opening to the ground and this is where wet or if even cutting tall dry grass can catch on the bottom metal bar then build up. The curved baffle in the deck also inhibits the flow of grass when side discharging. I use it on selected sites that are suitable to basically save time. It catches great and once you get use to the personal pace speed control, size and weight it is quite manoeuvreable.
Ron H May 3, 2017 I’ve owned this mower for over three years and I’m pushing it to the curb today since I’ve just had enough of dealing with this major disappointment. Plus side: Its wide and starts easy. Down side: Large mower doesn’t handle slight uphill elevations, requiring a lot of effort for a self-propelled machine. Thick grass may stall the engine, even if I push at a snails pace, which doesn’t really save me any time over a 21-22″ mower. Any dampness results in the deck being clogged and requiring cleaning MIDWAY through mowing my lawn. Again, no time savings there either. Kill switch is junk. Reply
Tony Bartolucci May 13, 2017 Has anyone tried the new 2017 model? Curious if it solves some of these clogging problems. Reply
Bobby May 26, 2019 Start your own personal work out program and stop being lazy for incline position. if this mower his causing your disappointments then your personal life must really be in a crisis. Reply
Jim Wichert May 15, 2017 Generally speaking – I am happy with my TimeMaster. It does reduce mowing time and does a good job – yard looks good. I have had one issue – the gear box failed – which was a defect due to some parts not being hardened properly (no cost to fix). It took several weeks to get the fix done – so the yard was super long when I did get the mower back. It continues to start easy and all maintenance I can do myself. Blades are starting to look like they need replacement but I can get one more season out of them (4th year). Some advice as a person coming from a Super Recycler – you can’t mulch wet, tall grass the same way with a TimeMaster. Best fix – use the side discharge especially in wet spring mows – solves the clogging issue. I have used the bagger – it does a decent job – as good as the Super Recycler. Reply
Adrianne June 3, 2017 BEWARE THE SCHEMATICS ON THIS THING!! JUST got this a week and a half ago from a guy who bought it new 3 weeks before I got it from him, who didn’t like because for some reason when he turned the thing, it wreaked havoc on his back. He didn’t say, but looked like he had scoliosis. Anyway, can’t comment on using it for any real length of time, but so far so good. Only complaint is I hit something, and the threaded part that you hook the hose up to, to wash out the underside, snapped off. The other part that moves in and out (like a quick release garden hose thing) was still attached to the washout port elbow – just the part that you screw your hose into snapped off. Soooo, called customer service (Toro DOES NOT have a tech dept) to get a replacement. We are both looking at the schematics for the mower I have and it shows a threaded elbow that the part I need screws onto. Argued with her for 10 mins. that this thing is NOT threaded on, it just spins around. She and supervisor just kept insisting the part is threaded on. Got so frustrated finally called headquarters, stated my problem and asked for someone to talk to. Transferred me to a guy and, although he wasn’t in and I had to leave a message, to my surprise (and his credit) he called me back and said the part IS NOT threaded – it just pulls off. Get a pair of adjustable pliers, grab ahold and pull. Popped right off. Talked about WHY in the world do the schematics show a THREADED part when it’s not? Basically the comment was “Engineers. They don’t ever actually USE a product, they just design it.” Told him it’s absurd to show a threaded part that’s NOT, which is what caused the 10 min. argument with customer service and 3 people more than a half hour of trying to figure out how it screws off because that’s what the schematic shows. Got the part off and have now ordered 2 in case it happens again. Upshot, just beware that what the schematic shows may not be the case……………. Reply
Adrianne June 4, 2017 My comment is for the TimeMaster 30″ electric start Personal Pace lawnmower. Can’t tell if in giving my reply that it’s actually going to that particular mower, and not what it looks like – that my comment is going to be for the Ryobi 20 – which is not the mower I’m commenting on. Reply
Adrianne June 4, 2017 PS – this is for the new 2017 model of the TimeMaster 30″ Electric Start Personal Pace lawnmower. If the moderator can consolidate all my Комментарии и мнения владельцев into one that’d be great. Otherwise, I’m leaving 3 Комментарии и мнения владельцев, 2 for clarification…………. Reply
frandanco September 28, 2017 Adrianne, Sorry you had such a hard time getting this resolved. Please remember that the top part of this part IS threaded for the hose connection, and this is probably why it is listed as a threaded part, even though just part of it has threads. Of course, no lawnmower manufacturer would ever consider making threads in the deck of the lawnmower given they use all different types of material including some plastics, and then the thickness of the deck for that area would make them have to design the deck differently, which they would never do either. I have never seen a Toro lawn mower that worked great for most people and have read dozens of reviews of these newer ones having all kinds of issues. I have used very successfully Snapper mowers for over 20 years and never had any of the failures that I hear about with these new Toro mowers. And Snapper was probably the first mower to actually design the underside of the deck to really help vacuum up all the grass, and that early design has always been the best. It was called the Hi-Vac system. All the Toro mowers I have ever used for neighbors, etc., helping them with their own lawns, have to me, always, been junk in design and performance Good luck with your mower ! Reply
John April 12, 2018 Trying to sell mine now because it is too difficult to maneuver. I have a slight incline in my yard and after using the timemaster I am beat. Reply
PEWOH June 19, 2018 This is a great mower. The larger deck goes a long way to cut down on mow time (even for a push). Nice recap and rating. I’d even rate the design a bit higher! Reply
Trey February 25, 2020 So many mixed reviews on this mower. it’s stuff toro could easily fix too. Needs a bigger gas tank. Needs a fabricated or cast aluminum deck. Possibly a Honda engine. Im still on the fence on weather I’ll buy one or not. Reply
” (76.2 cm) TimeMaster (21199)
For homeowners with big yards and busy schedules, Toro’s TimeMaster covers more ground in far less time. The wide 76.2 cm mowing deck lets you handle large areas of grass quickly and easily, reducing mowing time by up to 40%^. The sleek, lightweight body easily circles trees and shrubs and it makes a big impact with a small footprint. It is equipped with a powerful 223 cc Briggs Stratton 1000 Pro Series OHV engine, a durable cast aluminum frame and heavy-duty steel deck. You can count on the TimeMaster to deliver the high performance and unmatched durability that Toro is known for.
^Time savings achieved via wider cutting path and enhanced travel speed capabilities of TimeMaster mower compared to a 53 cm Toro mower. Savings will vary due to mowing conditions.
Dual Force Cut
Twin blade cutting system and Atomic blades cut grass into a super fine mulch for superior quality of cut and a healthy, rich lawn.
The Quick-Stow handle allows you to position the handle upright for easy, compact storage.
This convenient safety feature stops the blade, but not the engine, so you can step away for a moment without having to restart the engine.
3 in 1 Cutting Mode Versatility
Choose from rear bagging, side discharge or recycling.
Personal Pace Automatic Drive System with Traction-Assist Handle
Toro’s exclusive Personal Pace technology automatically adjusts the mower’s pace to your walking speed. For more challenging areas with uneven terrain, the Traction-Assist Handle can help monitor your speed, and keep you mowing at a comfortable pace.
223 cc Briggs Stratton 1000 Pro Series OHV
76.2 cm Stamped Steel Deck with Twin, Timed Blades
Personal Pace with Traction-Assist, Rear Wheel Drive
2 point adjustment, 3.17. 10.8 cm
20.3 cm front / 25.4 cm rear
See your certified Toro dealer for full details on warranties.
Lawn Striping Kit
Attaches easily to most walk behind mowers and can be used with or without a bagger. Create everything from simple stripes to an eye-catching work of art. Available at your local certified Toro dealer.
Toro TimeMaster 30 Mower Review: 2023
The Toro TimeMaster 30-inch push mower is an absolute workhorse. This mower is one of the more expensive push mowers on the market, but there is a reason. I have reviewed a few Toro products, including their recycler mower and their TimeCutter zero-turn mower. My favorite thing about Toro is their FOCUS on quality and the user experience. This mower really does it all and I am excited to share it with you.
Why we review lawn tools
The reason we started this website in the first place was because we had so much trouble trying to find reasonable, understandable, honest reviews for lawn equipment. And it’s not cheap! After hours and hours of research, trying products and returning them, and messing up our yards – we started this site.
As people who had to learn the hard way, we want you to know exactly what you are signing up for before you purchase a piece of equipment. That’s why we are committed to providing honest, easy-to-understand reviews that mean something.
Self-propelled push mowers do exactly that – they creep along so that your pushing force is minimally needed. When you reach a hill or other incline, it will help provide additional thrust so that you are not having to lean in and haul the mower uphill. These mowers can be found in both electric and gas styles.
The downside with electric self-propelled mowers is that the mower burns through battery life when this functionality is on. While helpful, you may not be able to complete your yard in a single trip.
Toro’s TimeMaster 30 in mower features
Okay – this mower has some features I have never seen before in a push mower and I am excited to dive in. This thing offers some truly sweet, convenient and Smart engineering that separates it from all of its competition. Let’s get started.
Oh and check out our post about the best Toro mowers if you want to learn more.
The TimeMaster 30 inch mower boasts a Briggs Stratton 223cc OHV engine. For context, most push mowers range between 18 and 24 inches. This thing is big and means business. When you think about each pass you make in the yard, the TimeMaster can take an additional 10-12 inches and reduce the number of total passes. Hence, the name TimeMaster.
Not only does this have a 30 inch cutting area (which features 2 blades vs 1 big blade), but it also has a recycler system. As I mentioned in my review of the Toro Recycler mower, Toro has thought through how to have an even healthier yard. For those of us that go bagless, Toro has a patented “Lawn Vitamin” product that takes your grass clippings and grinds them into ultra-fine vitamins for your yard. I am a huge proponent of this feature.
The Spin-stop feature found on the Toro TimeMaster 30 inch
The fact that I did not know this feature existed until now shows just how small my mind is. Have you ever gotten annoyed by having to stop mowing to move things in your yard? The worst part is having to restart the mower each time you want to move a stick out of the way. Well, Toro thought of how annoying that was and created a safety stop.
The safety stop feature means that you can stop the mower from moving and step away from your mower. When you step away the blades stop spinning, meaning you do not have to worry about any danger from leaving it unattended. When you come back to the mower to start mowing again, the blades will start back up and you can continue the job. I do not know how I ever lived without this.
Usability and the self-propelled function
There has rarely been a more usable push mower. The beautiful thing about this gas powered self-propel mower is that you have total control. The TimeMaster features what it calls “Personal Pace”, which means that you can adjust the speed at which the self-propelled motor runs.
While this is nice for going at your own pace, it’s super helpful for when you get near garden beds or other structures. Changing the pace gives you more maneuverability to trim around the edges of structures and need to be more agile. This is particularly important when you have a mower that is as large as the Toro TimeMaster 30 inch.
Maintenance: not really required
Something neat that Toro does with their push mowers is a deck wash-out system. They have a nozzle that you can hook your hose up to, and it does the rest. There are grooves inside of the steel deck that allow for water to run through them and knock off any clumps or fine clippings.
Toro also realizes that changing the oil in your mower is not how you like to spend your weekends. That is why they created the “no oil change” mower. Yep – you just do not change the oil. I guess it just burns off or something, but you just have to simply refill it when you see it getting low. No mess or spills.
Toro always backs their mowers up with a serious warranty. This one is a 3 year full warranty, not just an engine warranty. They also have a three year guaranteed to start warranty. These are both remarkable warranties that speak to the confidence in the mowers’ ability to run for a long time.
I love that this mower is easy to store as well. One of my concerns with a mower of this size is that it will take up a ton of room in our garage. This thing folds up so that it really only take up about 30 inches of garage space.
Toro TimeMaster 30 push mower cost
The Toro TimeMaster 30 costs somewhere between 1,750 and 2,000 depending on where you buy it.
Our overall review: The Toro TimeMaster 30 inch mower
We really like this mower for bermudagrass because it has a super wide deck, is easy to use, and bags a ton of clippings.
Toro Timemaster Personal Pace Petrol Lawn Mower
Best Price Guaranteed
If you find a lower price on the Toro Timemaster Personal Pace Petrol Lawn Mower we will beat the difference by 20%. Learn more.
Free Assembly Premium Handover
We’ll unbox, assemble and tune your Toro Timemaster Personal Pace Petrol Lawn Mower ready for use, plus show you how it works. Learn more.
Extra Savings with Click n Collect
Simply choose to pickup your Toro Timemaster Personal Pace Petrol Lawn Mower at one of our five Sydney stores to unlock extra discounts. Learn more.
Free Fast Delivery
We dispatch orders fast and offer free shipping on orders over 750 to Sydney metro addresses. Learn more.
30″ (76.2 cm) Pressed Steel Deck
Features a large cutting deck with twin timed blades, this mower is ideal for lawns up to 1000 square metre with cutting height of 31mm. 108mm.
Personal Pace Auto-Drive /h3>
3 in 1 Cutting Mode
Dual Force Cut
The twin blade cutting system and atomic blades cut grass into a super fine mulch for superior quality of cut and a healthy, rich lawn.
This Toro Timemaster petrol lawnmower comes loaded with features that reduce the time and effort required to get the job done. Toro has designed this mower to cover large areas quickly, featuring a whopping 76.2 cm cutting deck that reduces mowing time and finished large areas professionally. Its compact, lightweight body easily maneuvers obstacles as well as handles any nooks and crannies your garden has.
It’s powered by a 223cc Briggs Stratton 1000 Pro Series OHV engine. This lawn mower has more than enough juice to handle your lawn effortlessly. The exclusive Personal Pace automatic drive system results in an effortless mowing experience, with minimum hassle and maximum agility. The 2 Point Height-of-Cut feature helps easily adjust the deck height at 2 points for quick customization of your mowing height.
Furthermore, the Blade Stop System feature conveniently stops the blade, but not the engine, so you can briefly step away without having to restart the engine. Have peace of mind, as Toro stands behind its products with a full warranty, not just limited coverage.