From rotaries to ride-ons, your lawn maintenance options explored
Lawnmowers are an essential tool for ensuring your lawn looks in pristine condition all year round. But with so many options to choose from and so much technical talk, finding the right one can be challenging.
That's why we're here to help. We'll take you through the different types available, the power sources on offer and all the features to look out for to make mowing your lawn as easy and simple as possible. So whether you have small patch of grass or a whole field to take care of, we've got the right mower for you.
Before you begin
How large is your garden?
While smaller spaces are better suited to compact, lightweight mowers that are easier on the wallet, larger gardens need a more durable and robust lawnmower that requires a bit more investment. Greater power is needed to get around these broader lawns quickly and easily. Similarly, there are a number of innovative features that will help make even the toughest mowing job simple so look out for these.
Where will you be storing it?
Before deciding on the size of your lawnmower, think about both access and storage. Do you need to pass through gates in order to mow your back and front gardens? If so, be sure to measure these in advance of buying to avoid snapping up a model too big to fit through the doors. The same is true of where you'll be storing your lawnmower – make sure you can get it into your shed or garage, as well as having enough space to keep it out of the way.
How close is your lawn to a power source?
A power source close to your lawn gives you more options when it comes to your choice of lawnmower. However, don’t fret if your garden is very large or your lawn away from the power source – we have a wide range of mowers to suit every situation and size of garden.
Let's go through your options.
There are many different types of lawnmowers, therefore it is important that you choose the product that you’re most comfortable with using.
The most versatile type of mower, rotary lawnmowers are able to cut any type of lawn, whether it's long and overgrown, or on a slope.
Choosing a rotary lawnmower gives you the most amount of choice when it comes to power sources, as they come in corded electric, battery and petrol options. They're the best choice for keeping a family garden well maintained, and are able to deal with longer grass if you don’t have the time to mow the lawn on a regular basis.
Our range of rotary lawnmowers:
- Have cutting widths that range from 320millimetres (mm) to 530mm
- Feature up to seven cutting heights
- Can collect up to 60 litres (L) of grass cuttings
- Weigh between 10.5 and 38.5 kilograms (kg)
- Are available powered by electricity, up to 1800 watts (W) or petrol, up to 190 cubic centimetres (cc) and 1L tank capacity
Hover mowers are ideal for uneven surfaces and irregular shaped gardens. They glide over the grass on a cushion of air, which raises the lawnmower from the lawn allowing the blade to cut the grass. Models with a grass box to collect and compact all the cuttings can only mow in straight lines, while those without are able to cut the grass in any direction.
These machines are light, manoeuvrable and a great budget option. They’re ideal for shorter, dry grass, and offer a neat cut.
Our range of hover lawnmowers:
- Have cutting widths that range from 280mm to 360mm
- Have four cutting heights
- Can collect between 20 and 30L of grass cuttings
- Weigh between 8.8 and 12kg
- Have power outputs from 1000 to 1800W
- Come with cords that range from 10 to 15 metres (m) long
- Come fully assembled
For those with a medium-sized lawn or larger, consider a ride-on lawnmower to cut your grass with minimal physical effort.
The smallest of ride-on mowers, lawn riders are easy to manoeuvre around flowers beds and other garden obstacles and can fit through standard garden gates.
They’re a more economic alternative to some of the larger walk-behind petrol lawnmowers, but with no pushing or walking required. Lawn riders have a larger cutting width than the largest walk behind lawnmowers, typically from 660 to 720mm, and combined with their faster forward speed and much larger grass collector means they'll cut your grass much more quickly that a walk-behind mower.
Lawn riders are suitable for lawns up to around three quarters of an acre in size (approximately 12 tennis courts). If your lawn has lots of slopes, is of undulating ground, or you like to mow when the grass is quite long, then a lawn tractor will be more suitable.
Our lawn rider:
- Has six cutting heights
- Can collect up to 150L of grass clippings
- Has a 196cc engine with 3.8L tank capacity
- Weighs 133kg
Lawn tractors have larger wheels, bigger cutting widths and more powerful engines than lawn riders. This makes them a top choice for the more challenging conditions found when maintaining very large areas, such as orchards or paddocks, as well as longer grass and rougher ground.
When it comes to grass clippings, lawn tractors offer two choices. Opt for a collecting tractor, which collects grass cuttings in a box, and side discharge tractors which discharge the grass clippings back onto the grass. Without the large collector at their rear, side discharge tractors are more compact, making them more manoeuvrable around trees and obstacles and easier to store in your shed or garage. Side discharge tractors are also very quick to use, as there's no need to stop and empty a grass collector and are often supplied with a mulching plug to cut the grass into extra fine particles.
Our lawn tractors:
- Have cutting widths up to 1020mm
- Have up to seven cutting heights
- Can collect up to 260L of grass clippings (not side discharge tractors)
- Come with an engine up to 452cc with a 6L tank capacity
- Weigh up to 221kg
The traditional style of lawnmower, the cylinder lawnmower doesn’t have a motor of any kind and is powered by being pushed forward to cut grass.
Also known as hand push or hand-propelled lawnmowers, they're ideal for short, fine grass and cut like scissors, leaving a clean, precise finish. This type is designed to be used regularly, as their lightweight frames don’t manage long grass or bumpy lawns well and their collection boxes tend to be on the smaller side.
Our cylinder lawnmowers:
- Have cutting widths from 300 to 450mm
- Have up to seven cutting heights
- Can collect up to 40L of grass clippings
- Weigh between 6.5 and 12.5kg
Designed to cut your grass for you so you don’t have to, automatic lawnmowers (also known as robotic lawnmowers) are a great choice for smaller and larger lawns.
The Bosch Indego 1000 can cut a lawn up to the size of 1000 square metres. During the first set up, use the touch pad controls to set up the lines of your garden and the LogiCut navigation maps out the most efficient way to mow it. Once set up, leave it to mow in clean, parallel lines. As well ensuring complete coverage, it’s 30% faster than robotic lawnmowers that have random navigation systems. And don’t worry about safety or it cutting into borders - it has tactile sensors that lift the blades if it comes near anything unexpected.
The Indego 1000 has a cutting width of 260mm and has 10 cutting heights ranging from 20 to 60mm. It's powered by a 32 volt (V) lithium-ion battery that has intelligent auto-charging.
After deciding which type of lawnmower bests suits your gardening needs, you then need to think about power. Choose from corded electric, cordless electric (battery-powered) or petrol.
Corded electric lawnmowers
Electric lawnmowers are ideal for most garden sizes as you can mow for as long as you like without worrying about topping up the fuel or recharging the battery – simply plug into the mains electric and off you go. They are easy to maintain and provide constant power. Think about where your electric power source is and therefore, how long a cable you’ll need.
Cordless electric lawnmowers
If you don’t have access to an outdoor power source, or have a larger garden where an extension cable simply won’t reach, then consider a cordless electric lawnmower. These lawnmowers are powerful and efficient machines, battery-powered to offer unrestricted mowing.
Cordless electric lawnmowers are portable and often come with a lithium-ion battery. These have no memory effect or self-discharge, so they won’t run out of power if not used for a while and are always ready to go. Look for brands that offer ranges of power tools all powered by the same battery, so you only need one battery to run them all, saving you money.
Petrol lawnmowers are best suited to tackle larger gardens and overgrown grass. They're similar to cordless battery lawnmowers as they are powerful, portable and offer unrestricted movement. Unlike with mains electric mowers, petrol lawnmowers don’t need to be near a power supply and there is no restrictive cable. They’ll keep going a lot longer than battery-powered models and tend to be more powerful than either of the electric motor options, and so work well in more difficult mowing conditions.
Petrol lawnmowers are often a lot heavier and louder than other models, and as they require petrol and oil, they come with additional ongoing fuel costs.
Traditional cylinder mowers are hand-powered, so don’t need electricity or petrol to work – they’re powered by you. The momentum you create when pushing them turns the blades, which cuts the grass. Due to the energy required to get them working, hand-operated lawnmowers are ideal for smaller gardens. But if you’re feeling fit, use them for a larger size space.
When choosing your lawnmower, look out for these features and technical specifications.
Measured in millimetres (mm).
As the name suggests, this basic feature allows you to choose different cutting heights for your grass to ensure a clean, precise cut. Also known as the cutting capacity, it offers you more freedom in deciding how often you want to mow your lawn. So, if you know you’re an infrequent mower, look for the options with the taller cutting heights.
Measured in millimetres (mm).
This is the width of the path cut through the grass. The larger the garden, the larger the cutting width of the lawnmower should be, as it will cut a bigger path and so take less time to mow the expanse of lawn. For lawns on the smaller size, choose a cutting width up to 320mm, and if your lawn's on the larger size, look for a cutting width of over 400mm.
Make sure that the cutting width you choose can pass through the narrowest part of your lawn, such as between a gate or path, as well as fit into your garage or shed for storage.
Grass collection box
Collection capacity measured in litres (L).
Collection boxes ensure that all the grass clippings are collected immediately after cutting, so you don't have to manually collect them after the job is done. We recommend the largest capacity you can manage, as it'll mean fewer trips to the compost heap or green waste bin. Look for ones with a small window in the box, or are entirely transparent, so you can see how full it is as you mow.
Measured in kilograms (kg).
Heavier lawnmower models tend to be bigger in most ways, so will cut more at once than a lighter option. Larger mowers are heavier to push, as well as to turn and manoeuvre around obstacles, so do bear that it in mind if you have a lot of structures, plants or ornaments on or around your lawn, or if your garden is on a slope. Heavier machines are also more likely to leave track marks on the lawn, so be sure to consider this when choosing your lawnmower.
Measured in cubic centimetres (cc).
The bigger the number of cubic centimetres, the more powerful your petrol lawnmower will be. This is important when dealing with tougher conditions, so choose a larger engine if you’re going to be mowing tall and wet grass, or have a lot of weeds that you’ll be cutting down.
Measured in litres (L).
The larger the tank, the more petrol your lawnmower can store. This means that you can mow for longer without having to fill up – although a bigger cubic capacity means that your lawnmower will need more petrol to power it and this affects how quickly the fuel it’s used.
Ergonomic handles minimise discomfort when mowing as they reduce back and muscle strain – ideal for those who have larger gardens or heavier mowers. And if you’re looking for a lawn mower that's easier to store, choose one with foldable handles. Collapsing the handles will make your lawnmower more compact, and easier to place in corners.
To start an electric lawnmower, you simply have to pull a switch or push a button. However, petrol lawnmowers come in two different ignition types: recoil and electric.
Recoil ignition involves pulling a rope to start the petrol engine – just like you would a chainsaw. Electric ignition, on all of our ride-on options, requires a key to start your lawnmower as you would your car. Remember to keep the key safe or else you won’t be able to mow your lawn.
Create the classic striped lawn effect thanks to a lawnmower with a rear roller. This helps push the grass down into place to achieve the look, and helps flatten any unwanted lumps and bumps. A lawnmower with a rear roller is usually slightly heavier than one without.
Look for petrol lawnmowers and ride-on tractors with the facility to fit a mulching plug to mulch the grass clippings. Mulching involves cutting the grass clippings multiple times into extra fine particles that are then blown down into the lawn to decompose and return valuable nutrients back into the soil.
When collecting clippings, you’ll need to regularly empty the collector. However, with mulching lawnmowers there’s no reason to stop, so you can mow your lawn much more quickly - especially on larger lawns. Mulching also fertilises your lawn, adding enough nitrogen to keep your lawn as healthy as if you were using a bought fertiliser. It also saves you accumulating a grass waste as it’s immediately recycled back into the ground.
You might need
Now that you’ve selected your lawnmower, it’s time to make sure you have all the extras you’ll need to use, store and maintain it.
Like all gardening tasks it is important to keep yourself safe whilst using a lawnmower, so consider wearing protective gloves, goggles and sturdy shoes when mowing your lawn.
Blades and blade sharpeners
Sharp lawnmower blades are essential for safely mowing your lawn and getting a clean result. Every now and then, either replace your blades or remove and sharpen them.
Do you have somewhere to store your lawnmower? Keeping it out of the elements will help keep it safe and in great condition. Smaller lawnmowers may fit nicely in one of our storage chests, while larger models and ride-on options will need a shed, garage or workshop.
Check out our buyer's guide to sheds to explore your options.
Corded electric lawnmower accessories
Even with the longest cable, you may still want more length in order to move without restrictions. An external extension lead will give you a bit more room to manoeuvre. And a residual current device (RCD) is essential when using electricity outside – it immediately turns it off in case of faults, or if you run over the cable when mowing your lawn.
Cordless electric lawnmower accessories
Pick up a spare battery before you tackle the lawn so that you can keep on working without interruptions and delays.
Petrol lawnmower accessories
You’ll need a few extra things to run your petrol lawnmower. A petrol can to transport and store your fuel, a funnel for easy pouring and oil to protect the engine and keep it running smoothly.