Buyers Guide To Lawn Mowers

If you own a lawn then it may be time for you to invest in a lawn mower.  Whether you’re an avid gardener, you’re a house proud individual who wants a stunning lawn, or you’re just sick of untidy grass clogging up your garden there is bound to be a lawn mower out there for you. You may think that buying a lawn mower is pretty straight forward, you may even be planning to just buy the first lawn mower you see, but it’s always a good idea to do some research first so you know that you are getting the most out of your money and that the lawn mower you have chosen is right for your personal circumstances. If you’re looking to buy a lawn mower but you’re not quite sure where to start then we are here to help. Read on for our buyers guide to lawn mowers!

Things To Consider

Before you choose your lawn mower you need to consider a few things so you have a clearer idea of what you need and what you’re looking for. Here are some things you should think about.

  • How big is your lawn or garden? Do you need a powerful lawn mower that can quickly clear a large garden, or do you just want a budget model to clean up a small area of grass?
  • Do you need a self-propelled mower? Some mowers have to be manually pushed around and they can be quite heavy and difficult to manoeuvre. Some mowers have adjustable, ergonomic handles which you can look out for, whereas other models can do a lot of the work by themselves.
  • What do you have in your garden? Do you live on a hill and need a model that can handle a slope? Do you have many trees, ponds or flower patches which you’ll need to work around?
  • How much storage space do you have? If you have a large shed size may not matter, but if size is an issue there are fold-able options available.

Now that you’ve had a moment to consider what kind of garden you have and what kind of features you’ll need your lawn mower to have let’s dive into our categories!

Cordless Battery Lawn Mowers

The obvious advantage of buying a cordless lawn mower is that there is no need to attach them to extension leads or keep them near a power socket. The drawback to battery powered options is that, depending on how large your garden is, the battery may not last for as long as you need it to and you may end up with an uneven lawn.  Cordless battery lawn mowers are fine for small to medium sized gardens, but are not ideal for larger areas.

Rotary Cutting Action

Most cordless lawnmowers operate by using rotatory cutting action. This involves a rotating blade which turns at a high speed parallel to the ground. The grass is slashed quickly and should result in an even, tidy lawn.

Battery Types

Good quality cordless lawn mowers tend to be powered by Lithium Ion batteries. These are popular because they stay charged for longer, they charge faster than other types of batteries and they don’t tend to be too heavy. Lithium Ion batteries are the typical industry choice and if possible you should opt for a lawn mower which uses them.

Some lawn mowers may use Nickel Metal Hydride batteries instead. These are less expensive and are normally found in cheaper models so they are worth considering if you are on a budget, but although they run efficiently they just don’t have the same benefits as Lithium Ion batteries do.

Running Times

When you’re looking to buy a cordless mower it’s a good idea to check the advertised running time so you know how long you’ll be able to mow the lawn for before it runs out of charge. The time stated has been calculated with ideal conditions in mind and the running time is likely to be effected by weather conditions as well as the size of the grass itself. It’s important to remember that something which sounds great on paper may not measure up in reality, so before you commit to a mower you should have a look around to see if you can find some customer reviews on the product. Customer reviews will reflect how well the mower performs in real life and you’ll get a better insight of what you can expect.

Charging Times

Before you commit to a specific lawn mower take a moment to check how long it will take the mower to charge from 0 to 100%. Many brands will also offer a quick charge option to boost the charge time. It is a good idea to check customer reviews for charging times as well as running times because you don’t want to mow half your lawn and then have to wait hours before you can finish the other side.

Battery vs Petrol

Battery operated lawn mowers have a distinct advantage over petrol operated devices because there are no polluting fumes or bad smells to worry about. Battery operated lawn mowers also tend to be quieter than petrol- powered options, and they tend to be cheaper too. Although you will have to replace your lawn mowers battery from time to time it is likely to be more cost effective (and more eco friendly) than having to buy petrol on a regular basis.

Weight

Cordless lawn mowers tend to weigh a bit more than their corded counterparts, and this is because they include a fairly large battery which can add to the total weight load. Most listings will display the lawn mowers weight and so it’s a good idea to check this before proceeding so you can make sure the lawn mower is light enough for you to comfortably operate and even lift if needs be.

Price

Cordless models tend to be more expensive than corded lawn mowers because the extra parts all cost money. You should be able to get a decent cordless lawn mower for £300 or less.

Warranty

Cordless lawn mowers are not the cheapest purchase in the world and the last thing you want is to spend time researching your lawn mower and fork out the money for it only to have it break on you within a short period of time. Warranties are always a good indication of quality because they show that the manufacturer has enough faith in the product to stick a warranty on it in the first place, because if the product was flimsy and badly made they would keep losing money to everyone who needed replacements and/or repairs. If your cordless lawn mower turns out to be faulty or is accidentally damaged then your warranty should cover you as long as it is still within the stated time frame.

Long Term Storage

Some cordless lawn mowers will require you to remove the battery if they are going to be left in storage for an extended period of time, e.g. for the winter months. Before you buy a cordless lawn mower it’s a good idea to double check this to make sure you are storing it properly.

Cordless Petrol Mowers

Petrol mowers are a popular choice because, as they are cordless and powered by petrol, you can use them anywhere in the garden without having to worry about long extension cables or power sockets. These mowers are ideal for larger spaces including medium and large size gardens because they run off petrol and so they last a lot longer. Petrol mowers are quite powerful as lawn mowers go and they are better at dealing with long/stubborn grass. The downside to these mowers is that they are noisier than their electric counterparts, they do require more maintenance and they tend to smell.

There are a few different types of cordless petrol lawn mowers and there are several things you’ll need to keep in mind in order to make an informed choice.

Rotary Petrol Mowers

Rotary lawn mowers are the most affordable and the most popular type of petrol lawn mower. Rotary mowers use a quickly rotating blade to slash your grass with and it should provide you with a quick and even result. These types of mowers are ideal at dealing with long grass and they tend to be more powerful than their electric counter parts, but they don’t give quite the same results as a cylinder petrol mower.

Cylinder Petrol Mowers

Cylinder petrol mowers offer an impressive, professional finish and as a result they are often used for professional use for things like bowling greens and public grounds. Cylinder mowers use a scissor like motion to cut grass effectively and neatly, but they are not ideal for longer grass because they often just end up flattening it rather then actually cutting it.

Hover Petrol Lawnmowers

Hover mowers use the same slashing technique as rotary mowers and so they deliver most of the same results, but they are not always as good at cutting long grass. Petrol Hover Lawnmowers include a fan and a ‘skirt’ function which both traps dirt and enables the lawn mower to float above the ground. This type of mower is great for uneven areas because it is far less likely to get stuck and it can go up slopes with a lot more ease. These mowers can go backwards, forwards, side to side and diagonally in a way that their floor bound counterparts cannot. The downside is that petrol hover mowers are less common than electrically powered hover mowers and so they tend to be more expensive.

Getting Started

Before you can mow your lawn you need to be able to turn the lawn mower on. Petrol mowers are stared in different ways and this tends to effect how easy the mower is to use and how expensive it is going to be.

  • Some petrol mowers use recoil start to start up the engine. Recoil start mowers will include a cord with a handle attached and the user must pull the cord quickly to tun the engine on. This type of start up requires a degree of physical strength that some people may find difficult.
  • Other mowers are started by an electric push button. This is a far easier way of turning your awn mower on, but the downside is that typically speaking the harder a lawn mower is to start the cheaper it is likely to be and vice versa.
  • Some mowers on the higher end of the cost spectrum are started by a key in the same way you would start your car ignition. These mowers are more secure because the user will need the key in order to use it, but they can also be very annoying if you happen to lose the key.

Fuel

Petrol mowers are powered by fuel. There are two fuel types to choose from.

4 Stroke Engines.  Most of the petrol lawnmowers you can buy today run off the same unleaded fuel which you would use for your car. These engines require oil for extra lubrication.

2 Stroke Engines. These engines run a little differently. The oil is either injected into the fuel / air mix or it can be added to the engine before it has been put into the mower. The oil is burned along with the fuel and plays a bigger role in the engine than it would with a 4 stroke option. These types of engines are efficient and lighter than their 4 stroke counterparts, but they do tend to be noisier and smellier as a result of the extra oil.

Auto Drive

Some petrol powered lawnmowers are self propelled, i.e. some of the engines power is used to move the wheels so it is a lot lighter and easier for you to move around. This is a good idea if the user suffers from mobility problems or if the lawnmower in question is particularly heavy.

Power

Your engines power is normally shown in horse power units. The higher the horse power is the more powerful and efficient your lawn mower will be.

Maintenance

Petrol lawn mowers do require more maintenance than other types because the oil will have to be checked regularly. You should set up a maintenance schedule and frequently change the oil, check on the spark plugs and give it a good clean semi regularly. You should also ideally clean the blades and underneath your lawn mower after every usage.

Mulching Lawn Mowers

If you want to mow the lawn and do your bit for the environment at the same time than a mulching lawn mower may be the right choice for you. Mulching mowers utilise a special blade to cut up your grass and leaves so it can turn them into a fine mulch. The mulch is then returned to the ground where it can decompose and enrich the soil with its nutrients. Mulch is a natural fertiliser and can provide you with an environmental friendly way of improving your lawn, it will also save you money because you won’t have to buy as much (if any) other fertilisers, and it takes care of all your grass clippings so you don’t have to try and dispose of them or store them in your garden.

This is a really good way of mowing your lawn without accidentally contributing to climate change and if you are trying to lower your carbon foot print then this is a good place to start. Before you buy a mulching lawn mower read on for our list of features and tips on choosing the right model for you.

Single Purpose Mulch Mower

If you want your mulching mower to be as efficient as possible then it is a good idea to buy a specifically designed mulch mower which comes with its own mulching deck. Some lawn mowers have a ‘mulching mode’ option, but they are not normally as good at recycling the grass because they don’t have the same equipment.

Traditional mulch mowers come with a cutting deck which utilises a vortex style design to make sure the grass is spun around and cut multiple times before it is transferred back to the soil. The mower then utilises positive downward pressure to force the mulched grass deep into the soil where it can be easily broken down and turned into nutrients.

Convertible

Some mulching mowers come with a side-discharge option or a bagging option. You can use the side- discharge when the grass is extra thick and lush because it will stop the mower from getting clocked up. Mowers that come with a bag can be useful in autumn because you can collect extra leaves to turn into mulch ready for any vegetables or flowers you may be growing.

Power

Most mowers measure their power in horse power units. Mulching mowers range from around 3.5 HP to over 6. If you want your mower to be efficient and thorough then it’s a good idea to select a mower which has 5 units of horsepower or above.

Cordless

Some mulching mowers are also electrically powered and cordless. Cordless mowers have the distinct advantage of not having to rely on power leads or sockets and so they tend to be a lot more convenient, but the downside is that they can run out of power quite quickly and may be heavier as a result of the included battery.  Electric/cordless mowers are great for medium or small size gardens, but they are not ideal for large areas.

Well Built

It goes without saying that you will want a sturdy well built lawn mower. You should avoid models which come with multiple plastic parts, are poorly painted and have bad reviews. Look for durable wheels, drive belts which are easily replaced, and multiple speed options.

Price

Mulching lawn mowers are not the cheapest purchase in the world and so you may be tempted to opt for the cheapest possible option, but I probably don’t need to tell you that that is a bad idea. With mulching mowers you tend to get what you pay for and there isn’t much point in saving money initially but ending up with a dud machine which doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. You should see your mulcher as an investment which will give you benefits over a long period of time, and so worth paying a bit more initially for a good quality model.