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Whether you’re mowing a postage stamp-sized lawn or an acre of grass, we’ll help you choose the best mower for you.
Backed by our independent, rigorous tests, our expert guide explains the pros and cons of cordless electric mowers, petrol lawn mowers and ride-on mowers. We also have the details on top features to consider when buying.
Before you part with your hard-earned money, consult our advice on selecting a cutting width, and how to get a striped finish on your lawn.
Our video below offers up some expert tips on how to choose the best lawn mower for your needs and budget.
Corded electric mowers are a good choice for a family lawn and typically cost between £120 and £150. These mowers are often the cheapest option and many will do a good job of cutting grass.
Corded electric lawn mowers will cut for as long as you need them to with no need to charge or buy fuel.
Pros of corded electric lawn mowers:
Cons of corded electric lawn mowers:
Hover mowers glide over the grass on a cushion of air, but many don't pick up the clippings so you'll have to rake them up.
A basic hover lawn mower will cost you around £75. For a larger machine with a collection box that can tackle damp or long grass, expect to pay around £150.
Pros of hover lawn mowers:
Cons of hover lawn mowers:
There are now cordless mowers that are as powerful as petrol models, typically costing between £350 and £500. Unlike corded electric lawn mowers, they’re not limited by a cable, so you can cut anywhere you want.
The battery running time will limit how long you can mow for. Some cordless mowers have a cutting time of more than 30 minutes, while others will run out of charge within 20 minutes.
The battery often makes these lawn mowers heavier than corded electric mowers, but they’re usually lighter than petrol mowers.
Pros of cordless lawn mowers:
Cons of cordless lawn mowers:
Petrol lawn mowers are powerful enough to tackle large lawns and suitable for bumpy or sloping ground.
You can get a good one between £350 and £550, but note that you'll need to have them serviced annually. Prices vary, but you can expect to pay around £75-£90 for a full service.
These lawn mowers tend to be heavy machines, weighing more than 30kg. Self-propelled models are easier to push.
Pros of petrol lawn mowers:
Cons of petrol lawn mowers:
Ride-on mowers allow you to attach accessories such as trailers, broadening their range of use.
These hefty mowers can tackle large lawns with ease, but be prepared to spend anything from £1,200 to more than £5,000. You'll also need to get your ride-on lawn mower serviced annually.
Pros of ride-on lawn mowers:
Cons of ride-on lawn mowers:
A robot mower isn't cheap, but it makes mowing hassle free. Once installed, it will mow your lawn with little input from you, cutting regularly and mulching clippings back into the lawn so there are no clippings to deal with. Use your robot mower during daylight to reduce the risk to wildlife.
Some models are capable of cutting lawns that are 5,500sq m and more, making them a great alternative to a ride-on or petrol lawn mower.
Robot lawn mowers usually start at around £600 and can go well into the thousands. Pricier robots will usually have more advanced features, like smartphone compatibility, weather monitoring and mapping.
Pros of robot lawn mowers:
Cons of robot lawn mowers:
One thing to consider before buying any type of lawn mower is how easy it will be to get replacement parts if you encounter any issues.
You can expect most mowers to last a decent amount of time (at least seven years or more) but that doesn't mean you'll never need spare blades, springs, or perhaps a replacement mower belt.
Most major mower retailers such as Bosch, Cobra, Flymo, Ryobi and Stihl offer spare parts for their lawn mowers, either directly from their website or through a third-party seller.
It's always worth checking on the availability of spare parts before you commit to a purchase, as you don't want a minor fault to end up in you replacing your entire mower because you can't get hold of a certain part.
With cordless mowers specifically you should check to make sure it's possible to buy replacement batteries separately. We don't give Best Buys to models where the batteries can't be replaced, so will never recommend a mower that's destined to have an unusually short lifespan.
A local-garden machinery specialist may be able to service and repair your mower, especially petrol models, so always check before you discard a mower that seems to be broken.
Our expert tests prove you don't need to spend big to get your hands on a Best Buy lawn mower. In fact, we've uncovered several Best Buy models under £250.
Often, if you spend more on a lawn mower you're paying for certain features rather than guaranteed better performance. These can include:
As is the case with most products, price is very rarely an indication of how 'good' your lawn mower actually is. There's no way of knowing for definite how well it will cut your grass until you put it to the test in your garden.
If you're trying to stick to a budget, though, don't feel like you need to fork out money you don't have to land yourself a reliable model.
At the start of the year and during dry weather, it’s a good idea to leave grass longer so it doesn’t get stressed. In summer, you’ll want to cut it shorter so it stays looking neat for longer.
Most lawn mowers let you adjust the height of the cut between a set range of heights. Make sure that the mower can cut the heights you require and check how easy it is to change the height. Some can be changed by simply moving a lever, while others require you to change the height of each individual wheel, or to add or remove spacers under the cutting blade.
This is mainly an issue for petrol lawn mowers, as electric mowers are easy to start. Some petrol mowers start by giving a sharp tug to a pull cord. This can require a fair bit of strength and isn’t easy for everyone.
For simpler starting, look for models we recommend; these usually have a push button or key start.
Some lawn mowers have a fixed-length handle, while others let you adjust it between a range of heights. Check that the mower height will be comfortable for you, especially if you’re taller or shorter than average. Some mowers can be hung up or stored vertically to reduce the amount of space they occupy.
Some mowers are easier than others to get close up to lawn edges and around obstacles. Features such as grass combs can help them achieve this. Being able to get close to edges reduces the amount of time you’ll spend afterwards trimming missed grass with a grass trimmer or shears.
Cutting width is the size of the lawn mower blade. The larger the blade, the more grass it will cut on each pass.
It's important to choose a mower with the right cutting width for the size of your lawn.
Too large a cutting width on a small lawn and you'll struggle to manoeuvre it in tight corners, while too small a cutting width on a large lawn, and you'll find it takes much longer to cut all the grass.
Most lawn mowers have a rotary blade (see image on left) which spins around on a central point under the mower, cutting the grass as it turns.
Cylinder mowers (see image on right) cut the grass like scissors, so leave a very good finish, which makes them ideal for manicured show lawns. They don't cope very well with long grass or bumpy lawns, though, and very few of the hand-push models collect the grass well. They're really designed to keep regularly cut, short grass looking very neat.
Petrol lawn mowers can be very heavy, making them hard work to push around when mowing. To reduce the amount of effort involved, look for a self-propelled model as these have an extra drive which will push the mower along.
Most lawn mowers won’t leave a striped finish. If you’re after this, you’ll need to look for a mower that has a roller, which will flatten the grass as you mow. Heavier mowers tend to leave the best stripes.