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Should you buy a cordless lawn mower?

In the market for a new lawn mower? Find out whether or not you should give cordless a go.

Should you buy a cordless lawn mower?

Cordless technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, so if you make the decision to switch to a battery-powered mower you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. 

Cordless mowers come in lots of different shapes and sizes, and you can spend anywhere from £100 up to well over £500. Spending more doesn’t mean you’ll end up with a better model though, and we’ve tested good and bad mowers at almost every price point.

With so many cordless options to choose from, and petrol and electric alternatives seeming to be in decline, should you be considering a battery-powered mower when you next upgrade? We’ve put together some more information to help you decide.

Head to our cordless lawn mower reviews to find out which models performed best in our in-depth lab tests.

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What to expect from a cordless mower

Cordless lawn mowers used to be designed with smaller, suburban gardens in mind, but recent developments mean they can now cover large areas of grass without needing to be charged during the mowing process.

Instead of messing around with temperamental pull cords, you simply pop the charged battery in the slot, press the ‘on’ button and you’re ready to go. You can often use the battery for your other garden machinery too, but just double-check that they’re compatible before you buy.

There’s no universal running time for cordless mowers, so this can vary from a measly ten minutes up to well over half an hour on a single charge. The ones with longer running times usually take a little longer to charge though, so it’s all about what’s best for you and your garden.

Head to our top five cordless lawn mowers for 2021 to see which models we recommend.

Cordless mowers vs petrol mowers

A major selling point of cordless mowers is that they are often far lighter than traditional petrol mowers. The lightest cordless model we’ve tested recently weighed in at a ridiculously light 4.7kg, and you can expect most cordless mowers to weigh less than 11-12kg.

At the other end of the scale, it’s rare to find a petrol mower lighter than 30kg, meaning they should always be lifted by two people and can be very difficult to manoeuvre unless they are self-propelled.

Cordless mowers are much quieter to use than petrol mowers too. Some cordless mowers are now as powerful as petrol ones so they can take on large lawns with ease.

In terms of accessories and abilities, there isn’t actually that much difference between petrol and cordless mowers. Regardless of the choice you make, you should still be able to find a model with a mulching feature, and you’ll have your pick of cutting widths too.

If you like the look of a neatly-striped lawn, you can also find both petrol and cordless mowers with rollers attached to the back for a freshly manicured look.

Still unsure on what to go for? Check out our guide on how to buy the best lawn mower for some handy hints and tips. 

Are cordless mowers better for the environment?

You’d be forgiven for presuming that steering clear of petrol mowers automatically means a reduction in your carbon footprint, however this may not always be the case.

While it’s true that cordless lawn mowers don’t emit any harmful fumes and contribute to higher levels of air pollution, they do still use electricity every time you charge the battery. As almost half of the UK’s energy is still produced by burning fossil fuels, this is still bad for the planet.

You also need to take into account how long the battery will last for, and whether or not it’s easy to replace. Some manufacturers guarantee that you won’t need to replace your battery until you’ve charged it a certain number of times, but this will also depend on how often you cut your grass.

However, if the battery is easily replaceable and the manufacturer of your mower will help you to safely dispose of the old one, it is likely still a more environmentally-friendly option than a petrol lawn mower.

Read more about Which?’s sustainability commitments, including what we’ve done so far to help promote environmentally-friendly products. 

Watch out for dodgy models

If you see a cordless mower selling at a ridiculously cheap price, chances are you’re going to be better off avoiding it. These will often be poorly-made models that won’t do a very good job in your back garden.

Even worse, if you forget to check the small print before purchasing, you could end up receiving the main body of the mower without a battery or charger. The price of individual batteries varies from one model to the next, so be careful you don’t end up with a nasty surprise.

It’s also unlikely that a cheap cordless mower will have a very long runtime, meaning you’ll probably find yourself stopping and starting more than you’d like if you’ve got a large lawn. This will also wear your battery life down much quicker.

For more information on the most reliable lawn mower brands, take a look at our guide on which lawn mower brand to buy in 2021.

Cordless mowers in our recent tests

We tested nine cordless mowers in our latest round of testing, ranging in price from £220 up to £550. Here’s a few we tested and some of the features they offer:

Hyundai HYM40LI330P, £220

This cheap cordless mower weighs in at just 11kg and is designed with larger lawns in mind. It has a cutting width of 33cm, making it a best suited to a medium-size lawn, and the grass-collection bag is designed to hold up to 30 litres of grass.

It comes with a 40V lithium-ion battery, which will gradually lose its charge over time, but you can buy replacements directly from Hyundai’s website.

Is this bargain cordless mower any good at cutting long, rough or wet grass? Read our full Hyundai HYM40LI330P review to find out how it fared in our rigorous lab tests.

Bosch UniversalRotak 36-550, £388

It’s on the bigger side for a cordless mower, but this Bosch model still only weighs 13.5kg. It has a cutting width of 38cm and you can adjust the cutting height from 2.5cm to 7cm in six different increments.

The 40-litre grass-collection box is about standard for a mower this size, and should allow you to get around your garden without running back and forth from the compost heap. The battery lasts for 24 minutes on a single charge.

Will this cordless mower make cutting the lawn a breeze? Read our Bosch UniversalRotak 36-550 review to discover how well it cuts different types of grass, as well as how easy it is to use.

Hayter Osprey 46 Cordless (with 6.0Ah battery), £550

This pricey cordless mower has a 46cm cutting width, making well suited to a larger back garden. It weighs 28kg, which is pretty heavy compared to other battery-powered models, but still lighter than most petrol alternatives.

It’s self-propelled, making it easier to push across your lawn, and there’s a built-in deck-wash attachment to keep it clean too. The handle height is fixed at 106cm, which is worth bearing in mind if you like to be able to adjust the handles to suit your height.

Is this cordless mower worth splashing out on, or will you wish you’d opted for a cheaper model? Find out how this pricey model performed by reading our Hayter Osprey 46 Cordless review

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