Those who have hilly yards are all too familiar with the difficulties that come with mowing the lawn. A self-propelling lawnmower suited for hills can take a lot of the hassle out of this necessary chore.
There are many good reasons to invest in a self-propelling mower. Pushing a lawnmower uphill and controlling it for the downhill portions can be great for strengthening your muscles, but can be dangerous without the right machine. As long as your yard has an incline of 15 degrees or less, you won’t have to spend a fortune to get one.
Push mowers are not suitable for hills unless you’re already a professional or are stronger than average for handling the slopes in your yard. They require that your hands perform the majority of the heavy work. This means that having steep hills to mow will leave you exhausted soon after beginning the task. As you can see, a self-propelled lawnmower is the logical solution.
These are not as strong as zero-turn mowers, but they do have engines powerful enough to propel the mower forward with almost no effort from you. When you are cutting longer grass on a slope, a small push will be enough. As soon as your mower gets going and builds some momentum, even uphill mowing is a breeze.
The Top Self-Propelled Lawnmowers for Hills
Each of the self-propelled machines on this list was selected for its usability, safety features, and intuitive functioning based on user reviews. As you will see, some are perfectly suitable for beginners, while others are a bit more advanced.
- Snapper P2185020E
- Troy-Bilt TB330 163cc
- Honda HRX217K5VKA
- Husqvarna 960430211
- Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro
If you aren’t very experienced with lawnmowers, starting with a model like this Snapper P2185020E could be the best way to start. It comes with a ready start system which means no choking and no priming; just pull on the motor and you’re ready to go.
This is made possible due to the professional series, Briggs & Stratton 850 engine. The included real-wheel drive on this mower helps with walk-behind traction as you mow, while the smooth-turn differential system makes for simple maneuverability while protecting your grass from damage.
“As walk-behind mowers go, its exceptionally powerful engine,” said Bob at Lawnmower Review, “ingeniously designed cutting system and seemingly unstoppable drive components allow it to handle daunting spreads of thick, tall grass one might ordinarily employ nothing less than a riding mower to manage.”
This variable speed motor comes with a 21-inch deck and an electric start option. The Hi VAC deck will chop and vacuum up clippings, leaving behind a clean result and a gorgeous lawn. This works in a similar way as a vacuum and creates suction by generating a lot of air. The mower has a 3-in-1 capability and works with mulch, a bag, or with side discharge for the clippings.
The height setting for cutting the grass can be easily changed with the simple adjustment handles, just choose from a range between 1.25 to 4 inches. This mower can easily power through even 10-inch grass without missing a beat (though you should employ the side discharge if you are cutting grass more than 6 inches in height).
Being able to control the speed of the self-propelling function and engine speed is very useful and you can easily cut through 3-inch grass using the lowest speed.
You can expect to own this mower for many years to come. The mower’s mulch feature comes with a plug that connects to the discharge grass catcher, but you can also purchase a mulching cover separately if you want to mow without attaching the catcher.
As with other powerful lawnmowers, you should plan to have to empty out the machine’s bag quite often as the mower picks up even tiny grass shreds and leaves your yard spotless.
Although this mower is without a doubt a high-quality machine, assembly may be a challenge on your own. Nearly every part except for the deck and blade needs to be assembled. The battery must have acid drained into it and you have to add oil yourself.
Being able to adjust speeds is important for mowing on hills, and the Troy-Bilt TB330 allows you to do just that. It’s more affordable than other options and has plenty of horsepower for getting up the difficult hills in your yard. It also comes with a decent-sized base for cutting and holds traction well.
“You will like the fact that cutting height adjustment is accomplished with a single lever,” said Lawnmower Garage. “Six cutting height settings are available, ranging from 1.25″ to 3.75″. Like others, this mower also needs regular cleaning and maintenance. However, features such as the integrated deck wash make it easier to clean.”
With the engine in this mower, you don’t have to change the oil, you only need to check it and add more periodically. For those who don’t want to deal with the mess of oil changes, this is helpful. The air-cooled, 4-stroke, single cylinder engine requires unleaded, regular gas to work and has a tank capacity of just over a quart. For best results, you should use 15oz SAE oil in it.
Another positive feature of this machine is its Ready Start system. Instead of providing electric starting or a choke starting feature, the model will come to life with just a small amount of effort from you. The fuel and air mixture is automatically adjusted. The engine can be expected to start quickly every time you need it.
Everyone has different conditions in their yards, so the controls that allow you to change the ground speed applied are a great feature on this mower. Choose between four different settings for speed. The mower isn’t the lightest choice out there and weighs 80 pounds. But even so, with the speed options, user-friendly design, and self-propelled feature, it’s easy to use.
The Troy-Bilt TB330 has a cutting width of 21 inches and measures 38 by 24 by 17.5 inches. Like other self-propelling mowers, this comes with three capabilities; side discharge, rear collection, and mulching. Some users may find that the rear bag, which holds 1.9 bushels, isn’t big enough. This definitely depends on the size of your yard, so take that into account.
This machine is most suitable for yards that are relatively even. Yards that have undulating, rough areas in them would be better off with a mower that has larger rear wheels, but this machine has four wheels of the same size.
If you don’t enjoy yard work and like to get it done as quickly as possible, the Honda HRX217K5VKA will aid you in that task.
Ideal for tackling all of the difficult hills in your yard, the cutting power and powerful engine of this machine will enable you to get your mowing done in record time.
“What really separates this mower from the pack is the Versamow feature, unique to Honda’s HRX line,” said Doug at The Sweet Home. “This lets you control the balance of clippings that you mulch and bag; you can dial in the ratio depending on conditions.”
The machine comes with a 4-in-1 feature that lets you shred your grass and convert it to mulch to help your lawn stay healthier for longer. The mower speed can be altered easily when you rotate the adjustment dial, then use the included Select Drive control for comfortable and intuitive speed adjustment.
The amazing Versamow system by Honda lets you shred, discharge, bag, and mulch leaves. Or you can choose to bag and mulch at the same time with the Clip Director function.
This will allow you to choose the amount of grass being mulched or bagged without extra attachments or expensive tools. The Micro Cut, twin blade system (exclusive to Honda) uses four surfaces for cutting, resulting in superfine grass clippings, more clippings, and superior mulching. You will get the perfect cut and enjoy an easier bag-emptying experience.
The deck of the machine is made from impact-resistant materials that won’t corrode, rust, or dent as time goes on, making your mower far more durable. Powerful, fuel-efficient, and easy to start, the GCV190 engine will give you reliable and efficient service for years to come.
The HRX mower is noticeably better than the HRR model by Honda, so if you’re looking for an upgrade, this could be it. It has a far stronger engine, even when you’re using a lower height on the deck.
If you have a very large yard or plan to use your mower for areas beyond just your own property, you may require a bit more power. The Husqvarna 960430211 is a pedal tractor mower instead of a walk-behind machine.
Even if you have no experience with this type of product, this user-friendly design will work for your needs. However, if you aren’t experienced with these machines, make sure you’ve gotten plenty of practice before using them on hills.
“Husqvarna’s yard tractors offer premium performance with quality results,” said Jon at True Seconds. “Their small size makes them simple and easy to use and also require less storage space.”
This tractor offers a few notable features, including bagging, mulching, and side discharging. The machine offers a carpet-like, even mowing, distributes its clippings even over your lawn surface, and offers a reliable, balanced amount of clippings from the side chute. The auto transmission is fast, offering a maintenance-free operating experience.
The mower comes with a deck washing port that allows you to connect a hose to the deck’s underside and clean it off easily. It also has a spring-assisted, fender-mounted level on the deck for convenient, simple operation. This Husqvarna 960430211 machine has air induction technology that improves the deck’s airflow, leading to an even and consistent cut each and every time.
The tractor is fast, well-built, and has a great turning ratio, making it a great choice for your first riding lawnmower. Use it to help clean up leaves in the fall, for general yard maintenance, and more. The only drawbacks you may notice are that it doesn’t have an hour counter and that the seat isn’t as comfortable as other machines.
Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro
If you are dealing with an uneven yard that could use some heavy-duty mowing, the Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro could be the machine for the job. It’s a solid mower and offers the useful feature of mowing in reverse as well as offering ordinary forward mowing. This will save you a lot of time on yard work.
“The mower does it’s job and does it well,” said Timothy at Charles and Hudson. “The open backed seat is very comfortable and the controls are easy to manage. There’s an extra safety feature that must be engaged before the unit can be driven in reverse which will help prevent the hundreds of injuries each year to children.”
Not only is the reverse function handy, but it’s easy to turn off quickly when you get to a spot you don’t wish to mow. If you have a yard full of roots, you will appreciate that there’s a handle you can move to lower and raise the deck. As you ride the mower, just use this to quickly raise the mowing deck when you get to a tall root, then lower it back down once you’ve passed it.
Compared with other models, the reverse function on this machine is very easy to activate. The right side comes with two pedals; one to move the machine forward and another behind that one to move the machine backward with your heel. This system is very effective and simple, without any levels to mess with as you ride. The tractor is easy to maneuver and has a great turning radius.
The seat on the Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro is comfortable to sit in and easy to adjust. You’ll find a cup holder inside for your coffee or a cold water bottle on hot days. The hood is lightweight and made of plastic instead of metal.
Some will appreciate that it’s easier to lift, while others may wish it were made of metal instead. The machine body is made from sturdy metal and it doesn’t come with a front bumper, though you can order one separately.
The model comes with headlights in case you find yourself out working after dusk and a sturdy, high-quality cover you can order with it. This does cost quite a bit extra but is vented for mold prevention, which could be a necessary safety measure for those who live in humid climates.
Safety Tips for Mowing on Hills
Self-propelled and push mowers are best for beginners when it comes to mowing hills. Ride-on tractors are suitable for flat ground, if you’re a beginner, and can be used with hills after you’ve gained some more experience. This section will focus on walk-behind mowers and cover the best tips to observe when you’re mowing hilly areas:
- Go Downhill, when Possible: When you are mowing a hilly area, try to go downhill instead of uphill, whenever you can. This will help prevent the mower from rolling backward towards you which could be dangerous. When you must move to the side on an incline, make sure you are behind the machine instead of on the side and always keep your hands firmly placed on the handle.
- Stick with Dry Grass: If you’ve had rain in your area recently, wait until another day to mow. Dry grass will ensure that you get proper traction, making the mowing experience easier and less dangerous for you.
- Get to Know the Machine: Even if you have plenty of experience with mowers, always study the manual and unique features when you get a new one. Get familiar with the handling and controls of the mower before you attempt to mow any hills. This will minimize the risk of danger when you’re doing your yard work.
- Mower Settings: When you mow on slopes, adjust your machine to the highest cutting height it has so it doesn’t get caught on tough grass. If you have a machine with variable speeds, select the lowest before you start mowing. As you go, you can change this if needed.
- Protective Gear: Wearing the correct garments is necessary when you’re operating a self-propelling mower. A long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and heavy-duty shoes are a few of the items to put on before you go outside. You may also find gripping gloves helpful for maintaining control over your machine on the hills in your yard.
A self-propelling machine takes some of the hassle and inconvenience out of mowing your yard, but safety should always be considered. Observe the rules above and you will stay safe while you work.