Lawn mowers have advanced significantly over the last ten years, with improved safety measures, engine technologies, drive systems, and mower deck engagement systems all hiking up the price, in addition to increases in labour costs and higher quality materials.
This article will guide you, the buyer, through the various options to choose from in order to help you identify the type of lawnmower you need, alongside the price you can afford. Since budget always influences choice, do include new and second-hand mowers in your search.
How do I decide what type of mower to buy?
First you need to decide whether to buy an electric or petrol mower. As a general rule, if you have anything other than a small lawn and can afford a petrol mower, get one. Electric mowers cost less and will suffice for a small garden, but a petrol mower will give you a cleaner cut without the hassle of dragging a power cord around.
What are the advantages of buying a petrol mower?
According to ‘Best In Grass’ product guide, the price of a petrol lawn mower starts at £150, so therefore they are the more expensive purchase option. In addition, you will need to cover the cost of the fuel, which roughly amounts to around £10-15 per year. You will also need to consider the maintenance costs, as a petrol mower will need an annual service.
On the plus side, petrol mowers are really simple machines and last forever, so looking out for a second-hand one in decent condition could save you a lot of money.
When should I choose an electric Mower?
If you have a small lawn, an electric mower will probably do just fine. Electric mowers are smaller, so cutting a large lawn with an electric mower would take you a very long time! Anything bigger than a medium-sized lawn will more than likely need a petrol mower to be able to cover the ground.
Electric mowers normally start from around £50. Again, take a look at second-hand options as they can often be picked up for a fraction of the cost of a new one.
Which mower gives a better cut?
You will generally get a better cut from a petrol mower and this cleaner cut will prevent any damage to the lawn. You also won’t have any issues with a power cord trailing behind you, so when you have a bigger lawn, it is much easier than using an electric mower. Although electric mowers will not give such a good quality cut, if you keep your blade sharp, you shouldn’t have too many issues.
Does cutting type matter?
Once you have picked your fuel type, your next option is to pick the type of cut you want – rotary or cylinder. In general, you will find that a cylinder mower gives a better cut, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best option for you!
Are cylinder mowers better?
The cylinder mower is designed to offer a close cut (anywhere from ¼ of an inch up to an inch), so this will be a good option if you are looking to maintain a shorter lawn such as an ornamental or sports lawn. On the other hand, the cylinder mowers do not cut long grass very well, so you will need to use a cylinder mower more regularly (maybe even twice a week in the summer) and they impractical in the Spring and Autumn when you want to keep your lawn longer.
Lastly, they are not cheap – the cost varies considerably and the prices can go well into the thousands!
When should I choose a rotary mower?
A rotary mower is a more common for the everyday gardener. The quality of the cut is not as impressive, but you will be able to cut the lawn as short as you need in the summer (around an inch or even lower) and still be able to do your first cut of the year when the grass is at its longest (potentially upwards of 2 inches).
This flexibility makes the rotary mower such a great option and it is much more affordable, with electric normally starting from £50 and petrol from £150.
What movement type do I need for my mower?
When purchasing a mower you also need to consider the three movement options: Hover, Wheeled, or Roller.
Why do hover mowers have a bad reputation?
A hover mower is electric and synonymous with the brand ‘Flymo’. They are best avoided as they are cumbersome and give a sub-standard finish.
Is it best to buy a wheeled mower?
A wheeled mower is available in both petrol and electric, and you really can’t go wrong with this type. They give a good cut and you can pick up an electric one for £50 or petrol for £150.
Why are roller mowers so expensive?
A mower with a roller will give you a professionally striped finish; the downside is the roller attachment makes them heavy and difficult to manoeuvre, and at £300+ they don’t come cheap!
Does a self-propulsion mower cost more?
Generally, the propulsion type does not affect the price of the mower, but be aware that self-propulsion is only available on a petrol mower, so you will be looking at £150+, but you can find low-end mowers at the bottom of the price bracket as well.
How do I know what size mower to buy?
Base this decision on the size of your lawn, i.e. if your lawn is small, opt for a smaller mower and if it is big, opt for a bigger one. If you pick a mower that is too big, it will be cumbersome and difficult to cut your lawn, and if you pick one that is too small, it will ages to mow. As a general note, electric mowers are smaller than petrol, but you will see variations in size for both options. Electric mowers are best used for smaller lawns.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.