Garden Power & Hand Tools

Lawnmower Buying Guide

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What lawnmower power type is best?

The best power source depends on the type of garden you have. When selecting your lawnmower, there are a number of different power types to consider, which can make one type of mower a much better fit for your garden than another.

Cylinder lawnmowers

Cylinder mowers use a series of blades at the front of the machine that rotate against a fixed bottom blade. This blade type is perfect for level lawns and fine, short cuts such as those found in ornamental gardens. They’re available as electric, petrol-powered and hand-pushed models, and come with a variety of cutting widths. However, cylinder-mown lawns do need more regular upkeep to keep the grass looking great as you’ll need to sharpen the blades.

Rotary lawnmowers

Rotary are the most versatile type of mower as they’re able to cope with different types of lawn, such as rougher areas of grass or sloping banks. Rotary mowers use blades that rotate horizontally at the chosen cutting height and are available as either electric or petrol-driven models. Rotary lawnmowers especially benefit larger family gardens and are able to deal with longer grass for those who prefer to cut the lawn less regularly.

Hover lawnmowers

As the name suggests, hover mowers are rotary mowers that float on a cushion of air. They can be extremely lightweight to push, and this easy manoeuvrability makes them ideal if your garden features curved edges, borders or flower beds.

Cordless lawnmowers

Cordless mowers can be either petrol-powered or battery-powered. Both types have their own advantages so deciding which type of cordless lawnmower is the best fit for your garden can depend on your needs:

Are battery operated lawn mowers good? 

Battery lawnmowers are growing in popularity due to their performance improvements and lower costs of lithium-ion batteries.

How long does a cordless mower last? 

How long a cordless lawnmower battery lasts varies depending on the model. The recharging quality means easier maintenance than other types.

Is a cordless lawn mower powerful enough for my lawn?

Petrol lawnmowers offer a high performing engine and free mobility compared to corded models. They can also be self-propelled which adds additional power without the need for you to push them manually, making maintenance quicker and easier.

Choosing your lawnmower by power source

Another one of the key things to consider when buying a lawnmower is the power source. There are several different power sources to choose from, each with its own benefits.

Electric lawnmowers are motorised by a mains power source and therefore can be limited in reach. They are suited for small to medium sized gardens and do not require much maintenance. Extension cords can maximise their reach and they are generally light-weight and easy to manoeuvre around the garden. They should also only be used in dry climates to avoid damaging the system and should be stored in an enclosed location when not in use.

  • Ideal for small and medium size gardens
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Lightweight and easy to manoeuvre
  • Extension cable and RDC is recommended to extend reach from mains power and for safety

Cordless lawnmowers are becoming increasingly popular for the modern gardener due to their lack of cables or fuel. Using a powerful battery these lawnmowers can run for several hours before needing to be recharged. They are also lighter than petrol lawnmowers and require little maintenance. Battery lawnmowers do require some forward thinking as batteries can take a couple of hours to fully recharge and they should be stored in a dry place when not in use.

  • Ideal for small and medium size gardens
  • Battery powered and charged through mains
  • Lightweight and easy to manoeuvre
  • Free from cables with minimal maintenance
  • Higher voltage = higher power
  • Higher Ah = longer run time

Petrol lawnmowers pack the most power and are ideal for larger gardens or tricky terrain. These lawnmowers are generally heavier and can easily handle large slopes or uneven surfaces. They are also robust and hard-wearing but require more maintenance due to the need to purchase additional fuel and are louder than other types of lawnmowers.

  • Most powerful
  • Ideal for large size gardens and tricky terrain
  • A heavier weight machine makes it robust and hardwearing
  • Will require maintenance and fuel

Manual or push lawnmowers require no fuel or power source and are generally the best lawnmower for a small garden. They are also quiet and eco-friendly as well as being lightweight and easily stored but can struggle with rough terrain or large gardens.


Choosing your lawnmower by garden size

Deciding between an electric, petrol, or battery powered lawnmower really comes down to how big your lawn is and how often you like to maintain in. The chart below will give you an idea of what lawnmower is best for small, medium and large gardens.

Size of lawn sq m Power Cutting width
Small up to 100 electric/battery 300mm
Medium 100-250 electric/battery/petrol 350mm-400mm
Large 250 plus petrol 400mm plus


Smaller lawns

Electric mowers are best suited for smaller lawns as they’re lower in cost, easy to store and lightweight. They also require little maintenance or set-up – all you need to do is plug them in to start mowing.

Medium Lawns

Those with a medium sized lawn have the most choice. Electric mowers are light, quick and easy to use but limited in reach. Cordless battery-powered mowers are also quick and easy to use and have the added advantage of giving you freedom to mow without any cables. Petrol mowers give you the maximum power and run-time without a cable but can struggle with uneven surfaces.

Larger lawns

If you’ve got a larger lawn you’ll want a mower with a wide cutting width that is easy to push. Battery powered or petrol-powered mowers give you the freedom to move without a long extension cable. Self-propelled petrol mowers are available to make pushing ever easier.


Top tips when buying a lawnmower

  • Consider whether you want a self-propelled or a push mower – push models are cheaper, easy to maintain and perfect for small lawns, whereas a self-propelled mower is easier to handle and may even come with a variable speed control to suit your walking pace.
  • Another thing to consider is collection box capacity. A bigger collection box means you won’t need to stop as often to empty it, which is something worth considering if you’ve got a larger lawn. In contrast, a smaller collection box is easier to store and lighter.
  • If you want to create a stripe-effect lawn, choose a mower with a rear roller. As the mower cuts, the roller travels over the grass and flattens it in one direction.

And that’s our lawnmower buying guide. If you’re looking for more lawncare tips and advice, check out our other guides here



Writer and expert