The best lawn mower: Electric, manual and petrol

Rediscover the joy of mowing with our expert Buyer’s Guide

Man mowing the grass with a manual petrol lawnmower.

by Piper Huxley |

Regular mowing is essential to having the best-looking lawn around. And keeping it that way. Our advice is to mow at least once a week in spring and summer, and less regularly in autumn and winter. So, Geoff Hodge from Garden Answers has helped us pop together a guide to the best lawn mowers for your garden – to keep your grass in tip-top shape.

What types of lawnmowers are there?

A manual push-along cylinder mower might conjure up images of lazy, hazy British summers, but they’re not a quick or easy option - unless you have a tiny lawn.

Most lawns are best cut with a rotary blade. Most of these are rechargeable mowers and powered by lithium-ion batteries - offering the best solution. Not only are they light, but they are easy to manoeuvre. So, you don’t have the drawback of a trailing cable, and their motors don’t require any maintenance nor produce any emissions.

On battery lawnmowers, Geoff Hodge says: "As we get more used to charging battery-powered cars, battery lawnmowers will become an easy choice. What’s more, their batteries can often be shared among sister products in the same range."

Related: Best electric lawnmower to make cutting grass straightforward

What to look for in a lawnmower?

Deck Material - Strong, robust metal decks add to the overall weight. Non-metal decks, usually made from polypropylene, are lightweight, damage resistant and resilient

Comfort Handles - Soft, comfortable and height-adjustable handles make mowing easier on your back and hands, especially when cutting for a long time.

Carry Handles - Well-spaced carry handles make the machine balanced, lighter and easier to carry.

Blade Height Adjuster - This needs to be easy to adjust and offer a choice of cutting heights. Most lawns should be cut 2.5-4cm (1-1½in) high for much of the year.

Clippings Collection - Grass collectors cut down the time needed to look after the lawn. Larger collectors need emptying less regularly.

Grass Combs - Side grass combs help ensure neat results along edges, fences, and walls.

Rear Roller –This is needed if you want traditional lawn stripes. The heavier the machine and roller, the better the stripes.

Mulching Function - Some mowers cut the grass so finely, that you can leave the clippings where they fall.

Related: Robot lawnmowers worth investing in to make grass cutting easy

The best lawn mower UK 2022

The AdvancedRotak 36-650 is efficient, powerful and reliable with high surface coverage. Plus, it allows for high-quality cuts thanks to its powerful 36 V motor. Not only that but its sound system has been designed for a quieter sound while working. You'll have no run-ins with the neighbours over this one. Height-adjustable and with seven cutting levels, this lawn mower is top-notch - with ErgoSlide handles for a mow that it less strain on your arms and back.

Battery: 36V, 4Ah

Cutting Width: 40cm

Grass Collector Capacity: 50L

Cutting Heights: Seven; 2.5-8cm

Pros: Good battery life, folding handle

Cons: Cutting heights, gap between the small grass collection box

Customer Review: "Moved to a house with a fairly large lawn and didn’t want to continue with an electric cabled hover-type mower. Had this for a few weeks and it really is a delight to use. The lawn looks much better with a neatly trimmed finish. The ability to change the height of the cut so easily is an added bonus."

The Cobra MX3440V cordless Lithium-ion lawnmower allows you to get more done without the need for petrol or electrical cables. The MX3440V is hand-propelled and has a quality plastic deck and five cutting heights. The powerful motor makes light work of mowing, without the hassle of cables. It's never been easier to mow the lawn. Plus, this mower is supplied with a 40v 2.5Ah battery and quick charger.

Battery: 40V, 2.5Ah

Cutting Width: 34cm

Grass Collector Capacity: 35L

Cutting Heights: Five; 2.5-7.5cm

Pros: Decent Cutting Heights, Easy to Assemble

Cons: Some Problems with Battery, Fragile wheels

Customer Review: "I can cut my grass in half the time as I’m not having to stop and move the cord. The battery lasts long enough to cut my lawn and is quick to charge. The grass height lever is easy to move. The lowest setting is too low, you need a pristine flat lawn, with no lumps. The next one up works ok but leaves some daisies. It is very easy to manoeuvre around the garden, very light but a bit heavier to lift into my shed. I’m very pleased I bought this mower and would recommend it."

This Flymo mower utilises a powerful 40V battery to tackle your lawn with ease. Further, a 34cm cutting width and a cutting height range of 2.5-6cm mean it'll cut well, neat and tidy. Though the grass box is a little small, it is cordless and powerful. Equipped with dual lever handles, you're ensured flexibility and manoeuvrability.

Battery: 40V, 2.6Ah

Cutting Width: 34cm

Grass Collector Capacity: 35L

Cutting Heights: Five; 2-6cm

Pros: Good value, stores well

Cons: Not as easy to clean underneath, small grass box

Customer Review: "I nearly went for the slightly more expensive one but decided on this one in the end. So glad I did, it stores really well and has saved me a massive amount of space in the shed. really easy to use and the cut on the garden was great. If you have limited space to store a mower, this is the one you want. Even if you have the space, its still really good."

This 48v cordless 36cm lawn mower from Greenworks is the perfect tool to keep your lawn trim in good shape. With a 2-in-1 Mulcher/Collector, your grass will surely be dealt with. Though the cutting width isn't as much as other models, it has five variable cutting heights and a completely cord-free operation. Plus, it runs off two 24V batteries for a decent run time - so it's great for larger lawns. Complete with folding handles, this lawnmower is a great choice.

Battery: Two 24V, 2Ah;

Cutting Width: 36cm

Grass Collector Capacity: 2-in-1 Mulcher/Collector

Cutting Heights: Five; 2.5-7cm

Pros: Easy to assemble, 2-in-1 mulcher/collector

Cons: Flimsy, cutting width

Customer Review: "This is a lovely little mower perfect for my small garden cuts with differing heights. The batteries are easy to put in and give plenty of time to get the job done. The delivery was very efficient and excellent service."

A self-propelled, petrol-operated lawn mower from Honda. Honda's lightweight, versatile and robust lawnmower feature Euro-5 compliant, four-stroke GCVx engines - which means they can be tolerant of low-quality fuels. Additionally, the Auto Choke system allows easier starting in challenging parts of the garden. This lawnmower is ideal for a garden that is Small/Medium - on lawns up to 800m². Not only that, but the deck type is lightweight for easy manoeuvrability/ However, Honda has made sure that the model is durable and resistant to corrosion and UV Rays.

To sum up, with a Single Speed, this lawnmower will self-propel for a tidy, trimmed lawn.

Battery: N/A, Petrol-Powered

Cutting Width: 41cm

Grass Collector Capacity: 42L

Cutting Heights: Six, 2-7.4cm

Pros: Starts Easily

Cons: Tricky to assemble, petrol causes emissions

Customer Review: "I have been a fan of Honda mowers for many years, my last Honda mower lasted 14 years! My new mower arrived today, a week early, and for which I was very grateful. I quickly unpacked it, checked the oil and filled it with petrol. I then set about putting the grass catcher together. This was a real pain but, eventually, I got there. My other whinge is that there is no handle on the grass catcher making it clumsy to take off and put on. Still, not a major problem. The mower started on the first pull and I was very pleased with the results. My thanks to the supplier for the speed with which my new mower was delivered and I look forward to many happy years of grass cutting."

This EGO 56V self-propelled mower is very impressive and comes with great reviews. EGO has decked out this mower with useful features. For example, it has an adjustable handle, a large grass box, seven cutting heights, variable automatic cutting speed and variable self-propelled speed control. What a great selection of features to make mowing your lawn easier. Plus, can also be stored on its end so takes up very little room.

Though it's a little on the pricey side, we think this is one of the better mowers on this list.

Battery: 56V; 5Ah

Cutting Width: 47cm

Grass Collector Capacity: 55L

Cutting Heights: Seven; 25-80cm

Pros: Adjustable Handle, Large Grass Box

Cons: Mostly plastic

Customer Review: "I wanted a mower that was easy to start - not temperamental like my petrol mower - easy to maintain and look after. I love everything about this mower, it is extremely well-made and is a very robust construction. My lawn is approx 300sq yds and I reckon I could have cut it twice over even with the self-propelled option engaged. The battery and charger claimed to be the best on the market, my experience would suggest it probably is both, in power 56v and 5ah, and fan cooled charger that charged it in about 40mins from fully discharged.

"It has all the useful features you would require such as an adjustable handle, large grass box, seven cutting heights, variable automatic cutting speed and variable self-propelled speed control. It can also be stored on its end so takes up very little room to store. I cannot express how impressed I am with this mower and haven’t hesitated in giving it five stars. If you are looking for a battery-powered mower that can do the job easily, then look no further; this is the mower for you."

Making light work of cutting the lawn, the Kärcher LMO 18-36 is a battery-powered lawn mower with a wide cutting path and a large - 45L - grass catcher box. If collecting the grass isn't what you're after, don't worry. This handy machine can distribute grass evenly to fertilise your lawn, chemical-free. Plus, it has a height-adjustable handle which makes things easier. Not only that but this cordless machine can be adjusted to four different heights and a 36cm cutting width for an accurate and clean cut. For added safety, a special key stops this machine from being used unintentionally and its folding design makes it easy to store for another time. To sum up, this is safe and handy.

Battery: 18v; 5.0Ah

Cutting Width: 36cm

Grass Collector Capacity: 45L, Mulching Option

Cutting Heights: 30-70cm

Pros: Easy to Assemble

Cons: Battery & Charger May Not be Included

Customer Review: "I bought this after looking for a cordless mower. I was swayed by the Kärcher brand, having been pleased with previous products. The battery offer was also a nice attraction. The mower was easy to assemble. It is light and very easy to manoeuvre. My lawn area is about 185 sq m. I have been able to cut it three times on one charge of the battery. This was on the first use and the manual suggests battery life improves, so I am very happy with the performance. The cut was very good. Overall, I am very pleased with the purchase."

This Ryobi cordless lawnmower has a 33cm cutting path, which makes light work of Small/Medium lawns up to 100sqm. Additionally, the EasyEdge feature draws the grass into the path of the plate, which makes it a quicker job of it all as you're able to mow right up to fences and walls. So, there's no need for a grass trimmer! With plenty of height adjustment, this cordless option is free from the restrictions and dangers of a cable mower.

Battery: 18V, 4Ah

Cutting Width: 33cm

Grass Collector Capacity: 35L

Cutting Heights: Five, 2.5-6.5cm

Pros: Quiet, Lovely Cut

Cons: Too Lightweight

Customer Review: "This is a mower for small gardens: it is not a heavy-duty one for intensive or difficult cutting. But it is excellent at what it is designed for cutting small gardens with minimal effort. It is extremely light & easy to use: it may not be as efficient as a mains or petrol mower, but the ease of use of a cordless mower more than makes up for it. Just don't expect it to be as efficient. The 2.5ah battery only lasts for about 75 sqm: for grass larger than about 50 sqm you really need the 5.0ah battery, especially if the grass is longer than usual. When assembling, be careful: it is easy to assemble the arms the wrong way round."

Decked out with an Eco Mode, this Stihl model is a good option for someone who is environmentally conscious. Lightweight and easy to handle, this cordless mower is popular. With excellent power and performance, this model boasts a 33cm cutting width - great for smaller lawns. With a five-stage cutting height adjustment, this mower is determined to cut your grass neatly, accurately and with precision. Plus, we love the adjustable handle. Despite the grass box being a little on the smaller side, it's foldable and the entire system is easily stored away.

Battery: 36V, 2Ah

Cutting Width: 33cm

Grass Collector Capacity: 30L

Cutting Heights: Five; 2.5-6cm

Pros: Eco Mode

Cons: Small Grass Box, Smaller Lawns

Customer Review: "It is cordless - as advertised. It mows and collects grass very well with long battery life. Plus, the battery fits other Stihl products."

FAQs

What’s the difference between a push and a power mower?

Gardens expert Geoff Hodge says: "One recent development in the world of battery-powered lawnmowers is the introduction of self-propelled mowers – previously only available with top-of-the-range petrol models. Self-propulsion makes mowing easier and more manageable because the mower pulls itself along, reducing effort and fatigue.

"Self-propelled lawn mowers are perfect for larger lawns and slopes. You simply walk behind the mower to control its direction. Because power is needed for this, the batteries won’t last as long from a single charge as those used with an equivalent push mower."

What do I need to know about battery lawn mowers?

With battery power, you need to consider: the battery voltage (V) and amp hours (Ah).

Voltage - Higher voltage generally means greater power and performance, but the size and weight of the mower will impact this, too. Mowers with a higher voltage are better equipped to tackle long, wet grass.

Amp Hour - This is analogous to the size of a car’s fuel tank; the larger the amp hours, the longer the battery will last between charges. Higher Ah batteries can tackle larger lawns before becoming flat. For instance, a 2.5Ah battery should cut up to 400sq m (480sq yd) on a single charge. However, more amp hours do not equate to greater power output.

Lithium-ion batteries charge relatively quickly – in as little as 30-40 minutes. Depending on Ah size, they’ll run long enough on one charge to complete mowing. They can be recharged before they’re flat and don’t need to be fully charged before use. Plus, they won’t lose charge in the shed over winter.

Geoff also recommends buying a second battery "if you want to mow a large lawn in one session".

Some mowers come with two, while others offer super-fast chargers. Mowers with the latest sensory technology can sense the load on the motor and operate at the optimum level for each task, boosting power for long/damp grass and extending battery run time during lighter cutting tasks.

What is cutting width?

Broader mowers tend to offer greater cutting width. A larger mower, with wider cutting width, reduces the number of passes needed to mow the lawn but may be heavier to carry and more awkward to manoeuvre.

As a guide:

Small lawn (up to 250sq m/300sq yd): 30-35cm (12-14in) cut width.

Medium lawn (250-580sq m/300-700sq yd): 35-43cm (14-17in) cut width.

Large lawn (more than 580sq m/700sq yd): 43-55cm (17-22in) cut width.

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