As far as gardening is concerned, more often than not our biggest desire is a beautiful, leafy green lawn. To achieve this, it is important that you have the correct lawn mower to suit yours and your lawn’s needs. However, when faced with so many decisions when buying such as, Rotary or cylinder? Corded or cordless? Walk, ride or robot? How do we know what is right for us? We have gathered all the important information that we feel you need to know to ensure this buyers guide helps you to make the correct decision.
Only got 5 minutes?
With all the new types and models of lawn mowers on the market, choosing the correct one can be a difficult task. We recommend that you ensure you know the size of lawn you want the mower for, your physical needs/ wants and your budget before you look any further.
The most important decision you will need to make is choosing from the numerous types of machines.
Rotary or Cylinder?
Cylinder mowers have cylindrical blades at the front of the mower that rotate vertically to cut against another fixed blade at the bottom like scissors. This leaves a good finish but are best for flat lawns.
Rotary mowers have a single blade that rotates underneath the mower horizontally. They are better at cutting longer and rougher grass than cylinder motors.
Corded (around £120- £250)
- Corded electric lawn mowers are often the cheapest and lightest option.
- They are a good option for a family lawn and will cut for as long as needed with no need for fuel or charging.
- You are limited to the length of the cord, so you will often need an extension lead.
Cordless mowers- (around £350-£500)
- Allows you to cut anywhere you want without the restrictions of cables and extension leads.
- Easy to start and have all the benefits of an electric mower.
- A limited amount of time you can mow for
- More expensive than the corded
- Batteries that can take up to 6 hours to charge
- Replacement batteries can also be expensive.
Hover mowers- (around £75-£150)
- Hover just above the ground making them much easier to push around
- A much better choice for uneven ground and unusually shaped lawns
- Light and simple to use
- One of the more inexpensive mower.
- The hover mower is a type of corded electric mower, so again you will need to take into consideration the length of the cord.
Petrol mowers- (around £350-£550)
- Petrol-powered lawn mowers are one of the more powerful types of mower and are much faster at cutting
- Ideal for large lawns where a mains cable is not suitable.
- Easy to manoeuvre around large objects
- Suitable for long grass and uneven or sloping lawns.
- Much heavier than other
- Will need to re-fuel.
Ride-on mowers– (around £1000-£5000+)
- Makes cutting the grass much simpler if you have a large area of land to cover.
- Easily operated
- Avoid any physical exertion that comes with pushing a mower.
- Can provide a range of add-ons and accessories such as trailers and items that help spread grass-seed and plough snow.
- Come at a much higher price
- Need annual servicing
- Need re-fuelling
- Need a large, secure storage space.
Robot mowers (around £600- £1000+)
- It is self- sufficient. Once you have completed the initial set up, it does all the work for you.
- Has sensors that allow it to detect and move around obstacles and allowing you to programme things such as how long you would like your grass to be.
- Smaller than a regular mower, it is easier to handle and store.
- Initial programming and set up can be very difficult.
Once you have chosen a type of mower we recommend you take into consideration purchasing a mower with adjustable cutting lengths for the different seasons.
You will also need to look at the cutting width as choosing the incorrect blade width can affect the mowing. We recommend;
Small lawn: around 300mm width.
Medium lawn:around 350-400mm width.
Large lawn: 400mm+ cutting width.
What do I need to know about lawn mowers?
I am sure many of you have had the same lawn mower for a number of years. As with all machines, they do get run down and need replacing. However, if you have not bought a mower for a number of years, looking for a new lawn mower can be quite overwhelming and confusing. You may not realise just how many types of mower there now are on the market and therefore, do not fully understand their differences, pros and cons. This buyer’s guide is designed to support your decision but you must first know three things.
1. What is the size of your lawn?
Lawn mowers come with various cutting sizes and different types are suited to different sizes of lawn. So, ensure you know the size.
2. What are your physical needs/wants?
Lawn mowers can vary dramatically in how much effort is needed by the user. They range from heavy machines and those difficult to manoeuvre, to those that require little to no effort from the user at all.
3. What is your budget?
Types of lawn mower can range from around £75 to upwards of £5000, so make sure you have a price range in mind before setting your heart on a particular model.
Cylinder or Rotary?
This refers to how the blades move. Different types of mower will advertise they are either cylinder or rotary.
Cylinder mowers have cylindrical blades at the front of the mower that rotate vertically. They cut against another fixed blade at the bottom like scissors leaving a good finish, which makes them ideal for show lawns. These are best for flat lawns, are a feature of electric, petrol powered, and push motors.
Rotary mowers have a single blade that rotates underneath the mower horizontally. They are better at cutting longer and rougher grass than cylinder motors and are a feature of mains electric, rechargeable battery and petrol-powered mowers.
Types of lawn mower
We are not able to tell you the ‘best’ type of mower as different types will suit different lawns and people. Make sure you take into consideration the size and shape of your lawn as well as your physical needs when reading the descriptions.
Corded electric lawn mowers are often the cheapest and lightest option. They are a good option for a family lawn and will cut for as long as needed with no need for fuel or charging.
However, you are limited to the length of the cord, so you will often need an extension lead. Having both a cord and extension lead trailing behind you means you will need to take extra care not to cut through the lead with the mower and not to damage plants as you move around your garden.
Although more expensive than the corded, the cordless lawn mower allows you to cut anywhere you want without the restrictions of cables and extension leads. They are easy to start and have all the benefits of an electric mower.
One of the downsides to this type of mower is the limited amount of time you can mow for, with some models offering a time of 30 minutes whilst others only offering 20 minutes. Charging the batteries is also another time factor to consider as this can vary between 1 and 6 hours. Replacement batteries can also come at quite high costs and are not always included in the original price you pay for the mower.
Hover mowers, hover just above the ground making them much easier to push around and a much better choice for uneven ground and unusually shaped lawns. They are also light, simple to use and one of the more inexpensive mower.
The hover mower is a type of corded electric mower, so again you will need to take into consideration the length of the cord. Many models within this range also do not collect the grass clippings meaning you will need to rake the garden afterwards. They are also known, to not leave a great finish and are not the best to tackle long or damp grass.
Petrol-powered lawn mowers are one of the more powerful types of mower and are much faster at cutting, thus, making them ideal for large lawns where a mains cable is not suitable. They are easy to manoeuvre around large objects and due to their power, they are suitable for long grass and uneven or sloping lawns.
The cons to this type of machine is that it is much heavier and you will need to re-fuel. Some models can be difficult to start, so we recommend you look for a push button or key-start model. These types of mower also need an annual service.
If you have a large area of land to cover, a ride-on mower can make cutting the grass much simpler. They are easily operated, working like cars to avoid any physical exertion that comes with pushing a mower. Unlike other mowers, the ride-on mower can provide a range of add-ons and accessories such as trailers and items that help spread grass-seed and plough snow.
Unfortunately, these mowers do come at a much higher price, they need annual servicing, they need re-fuelling and you will need a large, secure storage space.
The main advantage to a robot mower is that it is self- sufficient. Once you have completed the initial set up, it does all the work for you leaving you time to relax or take care of other things. It has a number of high-tech features including sensors that allow it to detect and move around obstacles and allowing you to programme things such as how long you would like your grass to be. As it is smaller than a regular mower, it is easier to handle and store. Some models are even suitable for large gardens making it a great alternative to the ride on if you do not have the storage or want to lower the workload.
Although this mower is hassle-free, it does not come cheap. The installation of your programme of how and where you want it to cut can also be very tricky.
Prices can vary extensively but are usually dependent on the type of lawn mower you choose. Here is a quick guide to prices you may expect to pay for a good mower.
Corded-electric mowers- £120- £250
Cordless mowers- £350-£500
Hover mowers- £75-£150
Petrol mowers- £350-£550
Ride-on mowers– £1000-£5000+
Robot mowers- £600- £1000+
Other features to consider
The following four features are what we feel are just as important considerations as the type of mower you choose.
Cutting height adjustment
This refers to how high the grass will be once cut. If adjustable you simply move the blades up or down. This allows you to cut shorter in the summer and leave longer in the Autumn.
This allows you to mow right up to the edge of the lawn and can be used to add stripes to the lawn.
Cutting width refers to the size of the mowing blade. The larger the blade, the more grass it will cut with each blade increasing the speed in which the lawn is cut. Ensure you choose the correct size for your lawn as if you choose one too wide it can be difficult to manoeuvre around a small lawn, choose one too small for a large garden, and you can significantly increase your mowing time. Take a look at the guidelines below if you are unsure what size will suit your lawn.
Small lawn (less than 50 square metres):around 300mm width.
Medium lawn (between 50 and 150 square metres):around 350-400mm width.
Large lawn (More than 150 square metres): 400mm+ cutting width
Frequently Asked Questions
Self-propelled mowers have an extra drive to push the mower along, thus, reducing the amount of effort involved with pushing a mower, as they can be very heavy.
To get a striped lawn you will need a mower with a rear roller, usually found on rotary mowers. Essentially, you are flattening and bending the grass, which changes the angle light, reflects from it, making it appear a different colour. Once you have decided whether you want the m vertical or horizontal simply mow to the end in a straight line before turning back the other way. Heavier mowers tend to leave the best stripe.
Once you have the correct mower, it is important to keep to a good regime. One of the biggest mistakes made is ‘scalping’, this is when the grass is being cut too short making it weak. For normal lawns keep the grass around 5cm for lawns that are more of a display than have use, you cut up to 2.5cm. Ensure you remove grass clippings after use and fertilise in both spring and autumn. Spring mixtures encourage growth and autumn mixtures strengthen roots.