How to choose your new lawnmower

Nick Moyle and Rich Hood

With warmer weather not far away, for many people, the first priority is to get the lawn into shape. DIY stores will be doing brisk business with mower sales, but those looking to invest in a new lawnmower can find the choice on offer a bit baffling. To set you on the right track, here’s a handy guide…

Power options

Hand push mowers

This is the most environmentally friendly option, and one that will help to keep you fit as you cut. Hand mowers are a cheap choice and perfectly suited to people with a small, flat lawn.

We used them for years until our lawns became too full of obstacles—trees, overhanging borders and tight corners became hard to navigate meaning strimmers and shears were required to finish the job.

 

Electric mowers

Electric mowers are a clean, light and efficient choice for small to medium sized lawns. They need very little maintenance and can be whipped out of the shed, plugged in and whizzed round the garden for a quick trim.

Cords can be a bit of a nuisance, especially if your lawn is some distance from the power source, but rechargeable, cordless mowers are becoming increasingly available, although you’ll have to shell out a bit more and remember to charge it up before use.

Electric mowers lack the power for bigger, tougher tasks and shouldn’t be used on wet grass.

 

Petrol mowers

Petrol mowers cost more than their electric alternatives and need more regular maintenance, but if you’ve got a large lawn to look after, their extra power makes them a much better choice.

You’ll obviously need a supply of petrol to hand, but you can take a petrol mower anywhere without worrying about having access to an electricity supply.

 

Cutting options

Cylinder mowers

Cylinder mowers are ideal for people who wish to maintain the tidiest lawns through frequent cutting. They work by powering blades at the front of the machine which rotate past a fixed blade at the bottom of the mower, slicing through the grass like scissors.                      

The more blades they possess, the better job they’ll do of cutting. They’re much less suitable for long grass, uneven surfaces or in wet conditions.

 

Rotary mowers

Rotary mowers have one spinning blade underneath the mower’s body which rotates at such a high speed that it’s able to whip through the grass with a neat cut.

They’re much better at dealing with longer grass, will be able to take you right up to the edges of your lawn and often come with a roller for creating a striped effect.

 

Hover mowers

The hover mower is basically a rotary mower without wheels.

They’re extremely popular as they’re able to glide over uneven surfaces much more effectively than wheeled versions but, like a wayward shopping trolley, they can often take a bit more effort to keep under control meaning you’ll have sore arms at the end of a long mowing session.

 

Robot mowers

If you’re someone who struggles to summon the energy to mow the lawn at all, then robot mowers are a serious contender.

You simply charge them up and set them to do the job while you relax in the garden. As with all mowers they come in a range of power options for various sized lawns and some are better at nudging into awkward spaces than others, so check which features you require before investing.