Power issues are the most common faults across all lawn mower types, with cordless-mower batteries failing to hold charge, electric mowers suffering electrical failures and petrol-mower engines failing to turn over.
Problems with handle controls breaking are also common with around 10% of reported issues across all mower types – all of which could render your lawn mower unusable until it's fixed.
Knowing which brands develop the most faults and how quickly is vital when buying a new lawn mower. That’s why each year we ask more than 2,000 Which? members to tell us whether they're happy, or have experienced problems, with their lawn mowers in our unique reliability and customer satisfaction survey.
Our survey data takes into account the reported fault rates, the severity of these faults and the speed with which they occurred. In our latest analysis, we've looked at the performance of the biggest manufacturers – including Cobra, Flymo, Gtech, Honda, John Deere – and have calculated a reliability rating and customer score for each, so you know which brands to choose and which to avoid.
We’ve found huge differences between how satisfied owners are with their lawn mowers.
The table below summarises our latest reliability results. Brands are ranked by their customer score, which relates to whether their customers would recommend that brand. The higher the percentage score for reliability, the fewer the problems reported.
The data is based on a survey conducted with 2,656 Which? members in January 2020. We gathered feedback from 2,656 lawn mower owners on the percentage that remained fault-free after six years and the estimated lifetime in years of each brand and type of lawnmower - cordless, electric or petrol. (-) Brands with insufficient sample sizes not included and the results from corded, cordless and petrol hedge trimmers are combined.
|Brand (cordless, electric or petrol)||Customer satisfaction score||Reliability score||Percentage faulty free after six years||Estimated lifespan in years|
There is some variation among lawn mower types as to the time they last. On average, a cordless mower will last 9.1 years, an electric mower 8.9 years and a petrol mower 11 years. That's according to the experience of Which? members who told us how long they kept their previous appliance from a brand, before they had to replace it, either due to a fault or because it wasn’t working as well as when they first bought it.
As you can see from the results in the table, there’s a big difference between how long the best and the worst lawn mower brands last.
Although each type of lawn mower is very different in terms of the mechanics that make them run, the most common issues owners of all types of lawn mowers face relate to power outages.
These can be caused by Li-ion batteries in cordless mowers struggling to retain a charge, or by key elements of the engines in electric and petrol mowers rusting or wearing away over time. Moist or cold storage environments can often exacerbate or accelerate these problems.
Thankfully, in most cases these issues are solvable, either by replacing the battery (in the case of cordless mowers) or by having your mower serviced.
You might expect cheaper lawn mower brands to have the lowest ratings for reliability, but our survey shows that this isn’t always the case.
The cheapest electric lawn mower brand, on average, in fact scored the highest for reliability and the most expensive brand came bottom of the list for petrol mowers. This proves you don’t always need to pay the highest price for the most reliable lawn mower.
Our data takes into account minor, major and catastrophic faults:
We look at the brands in more detail, including the number of Best Buys it’s received and the average score of its lawn mowers in our reviews.
Know which lawn mower brand you want? Use the links to go straight to our reviews and find your ideal model:
Which? has a wealth of information on the UK’s favourite garden product brands. Every two years, we ask Which? members to tell us about the garden products they own - from how likely they would be to recommend a brand, to how reliable the products are once you get them home. This year, almost 5,000 members told us about more than 11,000 products. We calculate a brand's reliability and its customer score based on the results of our bi-annual survey.
Our reliability surveys, combined with our extensive lab tests, mean we can recommend the best lawn mower you should buy.
This data is crucial for our testing, too. If a brand falls far below the category average, we take away the manufacturer’s Best Buy recommendations and won’t recommend any of its products unless a marked improvement in reliability is shown.