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Lawn Mower Buying Guide
Investing in a high-quality lawn mower is an important part of keeping your garden looking its best. Every lawn has different needs, so there are a lot of different factors to consider. There are petrol, electric, battery and cordless, and push mowers, all available in different sizes with their own benefits based on the size of your garden. There are big ride-on tractors for the largest lawns and manual hand push mowers for even the tiniest of gardens. This guide will help you find the best one for your garden. Shop all Lawn Mowers >>
Choose the right blade and rollers
Rotary Lawn Mowers
A rotary lawn mower has a single fast-spinning blade under the chassis that chops grass as it passes over. Although both blade types can be used on a variety of lawns, rotary blades are the most suitable for general use. The sharp blade and fast helicopter-style rotation makes this an effective method for cutting grasses of variable lengths on uneven terrain, and they are the best blades for big jobs. They allow for more versatility in design, so you will see a lot of innovations including hover, mulching, and robot models that use this blade type.
Cylinder Lawn Mowers
A cylinder mower is the tool of choice for the keen gardener seeking the perfect lawn. The cylinder is a horizontal barrel of exposed blades that rotates against a sharp fixed blade. This rolling of blades is characteristic of the most basic manual push mowers, but you will find large petrol-powered cylinder mowers that are perfectly capable of handling big lawns. Cylinder blades cut with the precision of scissors, so they give a uniform cut even at the short lengths desirable on sports pitches and smart front gardens. These mowers are only suitable for flat lawns and can have trouble on variable terrain or on long grass lengths.
Lawn Mowers with a Rear Roller
A lawn mower with a rear roller will flatten freshly mown grass evenly and give your lawn the signature striped look - a classic feature of British gardens. The roller also lets you cut right to the end of your garden for a precise edge. This makes rear rollers incredibly popular, and many mower types will have this as an option. Most cylinder mowers include a rear roller, and rotary models with a roller can achieve a similar effect. If you have a cylinder blade, you will need to cut the grass at least weekly or semi-weekly because these blades don't handle long grass as efficiently. If you plan to mow the lawn less often then you should use a rotary type.
Lawn mowers have four standard fuel types
Petrol Lawn Mowers
A petrol mower has the power and endurance to handle big lawns, and they come in a range of sizes suitable for almost any garden. Even smaller gardens can benefit because they don't have any cords to tie them down, but the powerful motor of petrol mowers really shines on large lawns. They are incredibly durable and can handle thick, tough grass with ease.
Electric Lawn Mowers
An electric lawn mower is best for small to medium sized gardens, and it is lightweight and easy to manoeuvre. They can typically be folded down for compact storage in the shed or garage. These energy-efficient options are easy to turn on and operate, and they don't make as much noise as a petrol engine. They come with a power cable that varies in length 10-15 metres, so if your garden is slightly longer then you may need an extension lead. They have enough power to manage medium-large gardens, but they can struggle on thicker grasses, requiring multiple passes or weekly mowing.
Battery and Cordless Lawn Mowers
Cordless mowers that are battery operated are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, and they combine the mobility of petrol with the clean energy and ease of use of electricity. Cordless mowers are light and compact, and the batteries can be easily removed to charge separately. Battery power is ideal for small to medium gardens where there is no power source available. These clean and efficient machines are becoming popular with professional and municipal landscapers as well due to their comparability to petrol with a clean energy standard.
Manual Lawn Mowers
A manual mower has the simplest design and is a great, inexpensive option for smaller gardens. They are lightweight because they have no engine or motor, and they are operated by hand push. They are easy to use and practically maintenance free, but we wouldn't recommend them for large gardens. Push mowers have a precision cylinder blade capable of maintaining a pristine garden, and some even have a rear roller for a striped grass finish.
Consider whether you need a propulsion system and a collection bag
A collection bag makes tidying up the garden easy. These are easy to remove for disposing of grass clippings, and most bag sizes will be adequate for small and medium lawns. If you have a bigger garden, make sure to buy a mower with a big collection bag, so you can avoid frequent trips to the garden waste bin or compost bin. Mowers without a bag will either blow grass clippings out of the side or cut the clippings into small pieces and push them into the grass as mulch. If your grass is a little longer, you may need to rake up the clippings afterwards, so your lawn will have a clean look.
Self-propulsion is a popular choice for walk-behind mowers because of how heavy petrol motors can be. Smaller models are not too hard to push, but they still require a bit of muscle, whereas self-propelled models are easy to manoeuvre around even the tightest corners. These come in a wide range of sizes suitable for small, medium, and large gardens. Electric mowers generally don't need a propulsion system, but there are some large self-propelled electric options available.Shop all self-propelled >>
Carefully choose a lawnmower with the right cutting height and width
Mowers will have different cutting widths and heights depending on what size and style you choose. You may be limited by garden size or available storage space, so there is no need to buy the biggest option. Generally, the bigger your garden, the bigger your mower should be. All of them come with variable cutting heights, so you can adjust them higher or lower depending on the look you want.
Rotary mowers typically range in heights 20-55mm but there are some capable of cutting as low as 10mm or as high as 75mm. Cylinder blades will be capable of much shorter cuts, typically ranging 5-25mm. Some can cut as low as 2-3mm, suitable only for the special varieties of grass used on professional golf greens and tennis courts. Cutting heights lower than 5-10mm would most likely scalp your garden grass and encourage moss growth, so take time to adjust the height of your lawn mower and make it compatible with your lawn.
Different styles of lawn mowers offer unique lawn care solutions
A four-wheeled mower has a rotary blade, and it can help disguise irregular gardens and give your lawn a more even look. They are designed to roll smoothly over variable terrain, and the rotary blade can be adjusted slightly higher to achieve a more uniform looking lawn. They can be powered with petrol, electricity, or batteries, depending on your needs.
A hover mower is incredibly popular for small gardens, and it is an ideal option for variable terrains. They hover or float easily over surfaces that wheels may find difficult. You should still exercise caution when pushing a hover mower around your garden and remove any obstacles like rocks that could damage the rotary blade. Most are electric because they are lighter and easier to glide, but there are some powerful petrol hover mowers available for tougher jobs.
A ride-on mower is the clear choice for the biggest gardens and for commercial jobs. The tractor lets you sit back in comfort while the powerful petrol engine does the work. Most sit-on mowers are too big for even medium-sized gardens, but a smaller one is a good choice for improved accessibility in large gardens.
A robot mower is designed to cut the lawn for you, and it is ideal for anyone with a small or medium garden who may have limited mobility. They are easy to install: simply set the perimeter around your garden and let your new robot do the rest of the work for you. They are capable of cutting lawns up to 1,000 square metres, and it will make its own way back to the docking station to charge up when its battery is running low.
Look for optional accessories to meet your garden's unique needs
Optional accessories are typically available that will help add the versatility you need. Several mowers will expel grass out of the side or collect grass clippings in a bag, but you can use a deflector plate or mulch plug to feed the clippings back into your lawn. Many cylinder mowers have a standard 6-blade cylinder, but you can replace these with an optional 10-blade cylinder for an expert finish. A trailed seat system and attachment roller for select professional mowers allow the driver to follow the path of the mower around any garden borders, flower patches, or other obstacles.Shop all lawn mower accessories >>
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