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A buyer's guide to lawnmowers

Choosing the right lawnmower will help make light work of keeping your lawn trim. Our buying guide will help you to select the lawnmower that's best for the style, shape and size of your lawn. Here are some guidelines to help you buy what's right for you.

Small gardens

If your garden is small you'll want a lawnmower that's:

  • Compact, light and easy to store
  • Easy to manoeuvre in tight spaces
  • Quick and easy to set up and put away

Large gardens

For large sized garden your lawnmower will need to be able to:

  • Allow a large area of lawn to be cut quickly without too much effort
  • Run a long distance away from a power source
  • Collect a large volume of grass before it needs emptying
  • Cope with uneven terrain

The table below gives an indication of where a certain type of lawnmower might suit your size of garden. Roughly speaking count the number of walking steps long and wide that your garden is, multiply the two together to get an idea of area. The general rule is the wider the cut of the lawnmower, the less time it will take to complete your lawn. It also runs true that the wider the cut the more power that you require.

Small - up to 250m2 (16x16m) Medium - up to 350m2 (19x19m) Large - up to 750m2 (27x27m) Extra large 750m2 and over
Push cylinder Most suitable Not suitable Not suitable Not suitable
  • Most suitable
  • Very suitable
  • Suitable
  • Not suitable
Electric cylinder Very suitable Suitable Not suitable Not suitable
Hover Very suitable Very suitable Suitable Not suitable
Electric rotary Suitable Most suitable Very suitable Suitable
Petrol rotary Not suitable Very suitable Most suitable Very suitable
Petrol cylinder Not suitable Suitable Very suitable Very suitable
Ride-on Not suitable Not suitable Suitable Most suitable
  • Hover lawnmowers

    Hover lawnmowers glide on a cushion of air, making them easy to manoeuvre and light to handle. They are ideal for small to medium gardens and for uneven or sloping lawns. They effortlessly sweeping round corners and under bushes.

    The cutting system is a horizontally rotating blade, which cuts the grass like a scythe, collecting or dropping clippings as it goes. Hover lawnmowers work best on shorter grass.

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  • Rotary lawnmowers

    Rotary lawnmowers are ideal for most lawns, including those with slightly longer grass, give a tidy finish and are easily adjustable to cut fine or long grass. Combined with a rear roller, they can give the classic stripes and come in a full variety of power sources.

    Generally mounted on wheels or a roller for mowing in a straight line, the cutting system is also a horizontal blade that can be configured with a collection bag, side or rear discharge, mulching or all of the above. A roller can achieve the classic striped lawn effect.

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  • Cylinder lawnmowers

    Cylinder lawnmowers are the answer when the best possible finish is required. They cut the grass in a scissor action, two blades passing by one another. Cylinders cut effectively on even ground and on frequently cut grass. All cylinders leave a striped effect.

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  • Corded electric

    The most popular type of lawnmower and relatively low in price. Easy to maintain, fairly light easy to use, these offer a good range and constant power.Your only limit is the length of your cable and extension lead, so for small to medium gardens they are perfect.

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  • Cordless electric

    These are ideal for small to medium sized lawns. Powerful and versatile, their rechargeable batteries offer freedom from the limits of cables and extension leads. For larger gardens models with multiple batteries are ideal as they allow you to have one on charge whilst the other is in use.

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  • Petrol

    These are ideal for medium and large areas and offer all the power you will ever need, plus the versatility that comes with having no wires. They have the range to tackle the largest mowing tasks. A petrol lawnmower can go anywhere as it's not tied to a power outlet, and it can also generally cope with longer grass due to the extra power. However petrol lawnmowers are noisy compared to other types of lawnmower and do require maintenance to keep them running for years.

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  • Hand

    These offer a fine cut and are ideal for small lawns. However as they use only manpower its often hard work! They're light weight and compact and therefore so easy to store in a garage, shed or even cupboard.

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Bag it, drop it or make it disappear?

B&Q recommend composting or recycling your clippings with the local authority, but which system is right for you?

  • Collection

    The most common type of grass management, where a bag, box or bucket is used to collect the clippings. Don't forget, you'll have to stop mowing to empty the box.

  • Discharge

    The clippings are discharged out the back or side of the lawnmower, and can be raked up with a grass rake or a powered lawn rake.

  • Mulching

    Some lawnmowers are able to chop grass clippings into very small size pieces which are discharged onto your lawn. These will compost more quickly than regular clippings and help to feed your lawn.

Bag it, drop it or make it disappear?

  • Always read the manufacturers instruction manual prior to use
  • DO NOT REMOVE safety devices or guards on switches
  • Pick up all debris (sticks, stones, garden toys etc) before each mowing
  • NEVER insert hands or feet into the lawnmower to remove grass or debris.Even with the motor turned off, the blade remains engaged
  • ALWAYS use a stick or broom handle to remove any obstruction
  • NEVER cut grass when it is wet or when the ground is damp
  • NEVER allow a child to operate the lawnmower at any time or be in the area to be mowed
  • NEVER allow passengers, other than the operator, on riding lawnmowers
  • Keep your lawnmower in good working order with sharp blades
  • Stop engine and disconnect spark plug wire before working on engine or blade
  • DO NOT DRINK alcohol before or while using your lawnmower
  • Wear protective boots, goggles, gloves and long trousers, never operate the lawnmower while barefoot
  • Tie back long hair
  • Be cautious when mowing hills or slopes, watch your footing
  • Be careful when working with petrol as it can be extremely explosive
  • Don't leave a running engine unattended
  • Refuel the engine only when it is shut off and cool
  • Operate the lawnmower at a safe speed of travel and always push the lawnmower rather than pull it toward you