With grass cutting season now in full swing, it’s time to consider a new lawnmower to replace that cranky old push along you’ve struggled with for so many years. Well you’ve come to the right place because we’ve called in a bevy of fine sward swallowers that’ll make your existing mower look positively prehistoric.
What’s the best size mower for my lawn?
The first thing to consider is the machine’s cutting width. If you have a small patch of grass no longer or wider than, say, 15 metres, then all you need is a small bodied mower with a cutting deck of around 33cm (13 inches).
From there on the sky’s the limit, with the largest models sporting cutting decks of 46cm and upwards. It stands to reason that the wider the cutting deck, the less time it will take to mow the lawn.
So, if you’re lucky enough to own a broad sward in excess of 600 square metres then you need to be looking at a mower with a cutting deck of at least 41cm.
Cylinder, rotary or hover?
Cylinder mowers have a rotary blade in the front and work using a scissor action to cut the grass. However, they’re not as popular as they once were though they still remain the best method for cutting lawns using the unpowered hand pushing method.
The rotary system is far and away the most popular system on today’s mowers. These models use a spinning blade beneath the mower that forces grass cuttings into a collection box or out the back of the mower with the aid of centrifugal force.
Rotary mowers are the best all-round option for the vast majority of cutting scenarios. They’re also good at cutting right to the edge. Another option is the good old hover mower – a Flymo innovation – but this style of lawnmower is only useful on small lawns without any lumps and bumps.
Cordless, petrol or electric?
In the past you had a choice of a push along, petrol or electric mower but now there’s a new upstart on the sod and it runs on battery power alone. For this writer’s money, battery-powered cordless mowers are de rigeur for fuss-free mowing.
There are no leads to get entangled with and no chance of being electrocuted or causing an alarming bang by cutting through a cable. From setting it up to cutting the lawn to putting it away, a cordless model will literally halve the time spent mowing – and that’s no exaggeration.
Also, most of today’s cordless mowers are easily as powerful as their electric and petrol counterparts. However, there are important things like running time to consider and whether or not the battery has enough charge to complete the task. Cordless mowers are also more expensive to buy than their electric counterparts.
If cord-free mowing isn’t up your garden path then consider an electric or petrol model. Electric mowers trail a cable behind them so one should always be mindful of where the cable is, especially when spinning round for another sweep.
The cable can also get snagged on plant pots, visible roots and edging stones so be prepared to adopt the good old skipping rope technique to free it. Nevertheless, electric mowers are more than powerful enough to tackle anything in their path and are a great option for small to medium sized lawns with an electricity supply within 10 metres.
If you have a large or extensive lawn in excess of around 600 square metres you should consider a petrol model which will go on running for as long as there’s unleaded fuel in the tank. Petrol mowers are the heaviest of all mower types and the most awkward to store when not in use.
They also need a lot of TLC including filter and, in some instances, oil changes. The best models use electric start but they’re pretty expensive, which means you’ll most likely end up with a pull start model, and anyone who has ever used one of those will know how frustrating it can be pull starting a petrol mower after it’s spent a whole winter tucked away in a shed. Nevertheless, petrol mowers are still the best bet for expansive lawns, ride-on mowers notwithstanding.
How often should I cut the grass?
You should ideally mow at least once a week. That way the lawn will stay in tip-top condition and weeds won’t get a chance to grow.
Also, keep in mind whether you want the grass cuttings to be collected in a grass box (all of the models reviewed here have one) or whether you’d prefer a mower with an added mulching plug. Mulching is where the cuttings are thrown back on to the lawn where they decompose, releasing all manner of high quality nutrients back into the turf.
We’ve tested these mowers on small and medium lawns to bring you the best of them.
We haven’t included ride-on mowers because the majority of house owners simply don’t need anything that large. We’ve also left robot mowers out of the equation because they’ve already been tested here.
This cordless sward stylist’s 41cm cutting deck is perfect for small to medium sized lawns and features a one-touch cutting height button (five positions from 25mm to 80mm), an easy to store 50-litre collection bag, a foldaway handle for easier storage and a mulching plug for those who like to mulch.
As with most cordless lawnmowers, you don’t get the 40v battery or charger with this model so figure in another £135 on top, unless you already happen to own another Greenworks power tool with a G-Max moniker.
This mower is a fabulous cutter. It’s not too heavy for long stints on the sod, the handlebar is comfy on the wrists, it’s relatively quiet and the huge, mesh collection bag holds loads of grass cuttings, which keeps trips to the compost heap to a minimum.
A single charge of its high-tech 40v battery provides enough power to mow up to 600 square metres of turf and the battery itself charges in less than an hour. Finally, for those who like colourful power tools, this one comes in delicious Lamborghini green for added raciness.
This small and very lightweight electric mower feels like a toy but it cuts grass to within an inch of its life, right up to the edge. The Bosch comes equipped with a 32cm cutting deck and 1,200-watt Powerdrive motor that tackles most lengths of grass with aplomb and has no problem negotiating even the lumpiest of terrain.
And because it weights just 6.8kg, it’s effortless to push and a doddle to carry. The plastic 31-litre grass container feels fragile and you’ll need to clip it together yourself, but it serves its purpose well and collects every last cutting, even when the container is approaching full.
Bosch gear is generally very reliable and this mower is no exception. However, a longer cable would be an advantage since we found it wasn’t quite long enough to cover our smaller 10 metre plot without using an extension cord.
Aside from that, and the generally flimsy build, this is an excellent entry-level electric mower that performs admirably and is very easy to use. We urge you to give it a try.
This deep orange hunk of Swedish splendour comes with Bluetooth connectivity and a twin battery facility for extra long running times; as soon as the mower’s battery management system detects a drop in charge in one battery, it automatically switches over to the other. Of course, you’ll have to pay extra for the batteries and charger (that’ll be £270 please) but a system like this can save a lot of time if you have a lawn – and storage area – large enough to accommodate it.
Despite its beefy weight (24kgs) and lack of self-propulsion (available on other models), the Huskie is remarkably easy to push thanks to the large wheels and ergonomic handlebar system.
Its motor is easily powerful enough to deal with even the coarsest of grasses (its height adjusts from 20 to 75mm), while its 47cm cutting deck and extra large 55 litre fabric grass bag mean fewer trips to the compost heap. Nab yourself one of these handsome cutting-edge sward swallowers and you’ll be back in the hammock faster than a squirrel up a tree.
British company Gtech produces a wide range of excellent cordless products that not only look fantastic but perform exceptionally well. At 16.95kgs, the smart-looking Gtech Falcon is quite a weighty thing but we found its extra large wheels and foam covered aluminium push handle made it really easy to manoeuvre.
This mower comes with a 43cm cutting deck, six easily adjustable cutting heights (a rather high 30mm to 80mm) and a large 40-litre mesh grass collector replete with a plastic flap that raises up to let you know when it’s full.
In our test, the Falcon cut the grass impeccably well and left no unsightly clumps in its wake. Granted, the motor is scare-the-pets noisy but it never bogged down in even the longest grass.
Putting it to bed was an equally simple process – just unlatch the handlebar and swivel it over to the front. The Falcon is one of only a handful of mowers to include a battery and charger as standard.
The 36-volt Li-ion battery powers the mower for up to 40 minutes (or 300 square metres) but it takes a whopping five hours to charge it. Also, the charging system is top heavy and easily knocked over by a passing cat. But all things considered, this is still a brilliant mower and one of the best lookers in this roundup.