This article about buying a lawn mower was last updated in 2022.
Are you in the market for a new lawnmower but have absolutely no idea where to start?
We get you and are here to help.
Firstly you need to get educated around:
- Different types of lawn mowers
- Power options
- Lawn mower functions you should be aware of
- The right type of lawn mower for your lawn
- The easiest lawn mowers to operate
- Further questions to ask before buying a lawnmower
Remember, knowledge is power as a consumer, so don’t leave home without it!
Different types of lawn mowers
The push mower has come a long way. We now have robotic and powerful cordless mowers, mowers that are super quiet you can mow the lawn in the middle of the night, and mowers with drastically reduced polluting emissions. That said, there are three basic types of lawn mowers you should know about.
Cylinder lawn mowers have spinning cylindrical blades that cut grass against a fixed blade. They can be push operated, electric or petrol-powered. Great for lawns that are flat and even.
Source: Professional Lawnmower
Modern rotary mowers are engine-powered machines with spinning horizontal blades encased within a cover. The rotating blades cut the grass while the cover prevents objects and debris from flying around as you mow your lawn. Older rotary or reel mowers don’t have engines, your push/pull action makes the blades spin to cut grass.
Like its name, the hover mower hovers above the grass with its blades spinning under a flat cover. These are usually electric powered with rotary blades. Hover mowers work great if you have a small to medium-sized yard with uneven ground.
Petrol, electric and battery are three power options for lawn mowers, each with its pros and cons. The best option ultimately comes down to your needs, like the size of your lawn and how green you want mowing to be.
Petrol mowers pack a powerful punch and are excellent for large lawns. Petrol typically provides continuous power so you can mow your entire lawn without having to refill the tank. However, they are higher maintenance than electric mowers, and the pull cord start mechanism can be tricky to operate for some people.
A battery-operated mower is a greener alternative to petrol and electric mowers. It’s also easy to use and perfect if you need a good workout. Battery mowers are not as powerful as petrol mowers, but some newer models let you mow over 5,000 square feet of grass on one charge.
Electric mowers are easy to start, operate and maintain, but they tend to be less powerful than petrol mowers. You may need to recharge a cordless mower multiple times if you have a huge lawn. Opt for a corded mower if you don’t mind the cord trailing behind you as you cut the grass.
Lawn mower functions you should be aware of
Mowing/cutting width and height
The cutting width refers to how wide a swath of grass the mower can cut, while the cutting height refers to how high the grass is after you’ve cut it. The right width depends on the size of your lawn (wider for larger lawns), while height depends on the type of grass and your personal preference. Most mowers have adjustable cutting heights.
Mulching vs. bagging
Some models come with a mulching blade that turns grass clippings into mulch, a natural fertiliser that adds nutrients to your yard. Others have side or rear bag attachments that catch the clippings as you mow. Rear bag models are good for maneuvering around tight spaces.
Manual vs. self-propelled
Self-propelled mowers (petrol, battery or electric) don’t need to be pushed, just steered in the direction you want to go. This makes mowing an easy job even if you have a large lawn. Love a good workout? A manual, push mower is what you need.
The right type of lawn mower for your lawn
Matching the mower to the size of your lawn and the type of terrain you have are two of the top things to consider before buying.
IF YOU HAVE A LARGE LAWN
Blessed with a beautiful, large lawn but hate mowing? Get a petrol-powered riding mower or garden tractor. These are large machines with powerful engines that make quick work of wide, overgrown terrain. You can also add optional attachments like a leaf catcher–very handy in the autumn.
IF YOU HAVE A SMALL LAWN
For lawns that are smaller than 3/4 acres with fairly even terrain, a push mower is an affordable and low-maintenance option. If you want more horsepower or something that can go over hilly areas and around any object, consider a petrol or corded mower with a steering wheel and up to 42-inch cutting width.
The easiest lawn mowers to operate
Push mowers are a cinch to start, operate and lift–ideal for small lawns. They are also lightweight and require little maintenance besides regular cleaning. If you have a larger yard, consider a quiet, battery-powered cordless mower with large rear wheels for easy manoeuvrability. Newer models can hold a charge for half an hour to over an hour of mowing time. And you don’t have a cord that could get tangled on shrubbery and other objects. Also consider a zero-turn radius mower if your lawn has lots of obstacles.
Further questions to ask before buying a lawnmower
Have you decided on a lawn mower? Before going to the store and plunking down cash, here are other questions to ask:
- Are the controls easy to reach? Controls should be user-friendly and easy to reach.
- Is the mower easy to maintain? A petrol mower is fantastic if you don’t mind the maintenance and you need a powerful machine. For the rest of us, an electric/cordless mower that is easy to clean (or a low-maintenance push mower) is good enough especially if you have a tiny lawn.
- Is the mower easy to manoeuvre? Try it before you buy and make sure the mower is suited to the type of grass and terrain you have. A rear-wheel drive and large rear wheels are perfect for hilly areas.
- Do you need a manual or automatic transmission (for riding mowers)? An automatic transmission is best if you tend to stop and back up frequently during mowing sessions. The seat should also be comfortable.
- How’s the after-sales service? The store should be able to answer your questions and provide assistance quickly. Also check the website for your product and see how they deal with customer reviews and FAQ’s.