Tips for buying a new lawn mower

By | 05/08/2021
A Red Rotary Lawn Mower shown from the side

With all of the different makes, models, and types of lawn mowers for sale in the UK, it can be quite overwhelming to choose what to buy. In this guide, written in collaboration with, we explain how to choose the right lawn mower for your needs.

What types of lawn mowers would work for your needs?

When buying a lawn mower, the first thing to do is decide which type of mower would be suitable, given the size and shape of your lawn.

Rotary lawn mowers

A Budget Electric Rotary Lawn Mower
A budget electric (corded) rotary lawn mower

When you think of the term “lawn mower”, you probably imagine a rotary mower, as in the image above. If this is the type of lawn mower you’re looking at, the most important thing to consider is the size of your lawn.

  • For small lawns, you might like to consider a corded electric lawn mower, if you have a power outlet nearby, since they are cheap to buy and easy to use.
  • For small to medium-sized lawns, you might prefer a cordless electric mower, because you won’t be tethered to anything, and you won’t have to worry about mowing over a power cord.
  • For large lawns, a petrol lawn mower is often the best choice. Although they’re noisy, and sometimes produce quite a lot of fumes, petrol mowers are the most efficient option for large lawns. This isn’t just because of their power and size – it’s also because petrol mowers are often self-propelled, unlike most other types of rotary mowers, meaning you don’t have to do all of the work when pushing.

Other types of lawn mowers

A Manual Cylinder Push Lawn Mower
Manual cylinder lawn mower can give a really clean cut to a lawn, but can be difficult to use.

Apart from rotary lawn mowers, these days there are other types of mowers that you might want to consider. Each of these alternative types of lawn mowers has particular strengths in different areas.

  • Hover mowers, which are normally corded electric mowers, are very manoeuvrable. Rather than having wheels, they float around on a cushion of air, meaning you can mow side to side, as well as forwards and backwards. These types of mowers are good if you have a smaller lawn with lots of obstacles that are difficult to mow around.
  • Push mowers, as the name implies, must be pushed along – they don’t have a petrol or electric motor. These types of manual mowers are a very environmentally-friendly option, and are cheap to buy, although they obviously require a fair bit of effort to use. They’re best for small, flat lawns.
  • Robotic lawn mowers will mow your lawn automatically on a schedule that you define, before returning to a home base (sort of like a dog kennel) to recharge overnight. They come with a boundary wire that you must lay down to mark the edges of your lawn. Robotic mowers are very expensive, and can leave a bit of a mess. However, they can be a good choice if you’re time-poor, provided your lawn is relatively small.
  • Ride-on lawn mowers are extremely expensive, and are only worth it if you have acreage or a paddock.

It’s important to note, with each of these types of mowers, you won’t be able to mow stripes on your lawn, although some push mowers advertise the ability to do this. To mow great stripes, you’ll want a rotary lawn mower with a rear roller.

What size lawn mower do you need?

Red Rotary Lawn Mower
A red, petrol engine rotary lawn mower

Once you’ve chosen what type of lawn mower would work best for your lawn, the next thing to consider is what size you want your mower to be.

The size of a lawn mower is measured by its cutting width, which is the width of the blade.

The larger your lawn, the larger you’ll want to the mower to be, to make the mowing process more efficient. However, smaller lawn mowers are more manoeuvrable, so if you have a lot of obstacles in your garden, like trees or bushes that are difficult to mow around, it’s best to err on the side of getting a smaller lawn mower.

Here are some general guidelines for choosing what width of rotary mower to get, depending on the size of your lawn:

  • Up to 250m²: 28 to 35cm
  • 250-500m²: 36 to 40cm
  • 500-750m²: 41 to 45cm
  • 1000m²: 46cm or higher

What do you want to do with your grass clippings?

Most lawn mowers will either do one of three things with your grass clippings as you mow:

  • Collect them in a grass box or grass bag
  • Side discharge them
  • Mulch them

Some mowers give you the ability to switch between two or three of these options, but the majority of mowers are designed to collect your clippings as you mow.

If you plan to collect your grass clippings, it’s a good idea to look carefully at the size of the grass box you’re getting, by comparing it to the capacity of other lawn mowers that are a similar size. It can be quite annoying to have to empty the grass box mid-mow, because you’ll have to turn the mower off completely to do so, which is a bit of a hassle with petrol mowers in particular.

You might prefer to mulch your grass clippings, to help feed your lawn, and avoid the hassle of disposing of grass clippings. Just ensure that you mow the lawn regularly, and leave the cutting height quite high, to avoid introducing more clippings than your lawn can handle at any one time.

Other things to consider when choosing a lawn mower

Apart from whether you want a mower that can mow stripes, as we mentioned above, there are a few other important things to consider when choosing a lawn mower to buy.

  • What weight of lawn mower do you want? Two of the same type of mower with the same cutting width can have completely different weights. A heavier mower will feel more sturdy, but will be less manoeuvrable, and more difficult to store. It’s a matter of personal preference whether you prefer a sturdier or lighter-feeling lawn mower.
  • How often do you mow your lawn? This is important because it affects the range of cutting height settings that will be appropriate for your needs. If you like to mow the lawn on a regular basis, having a lower minimum cutting height of around 25-30mm might be useful. However, remember to always follow the one-third rule – never take off more than a third of the height of the grass with each cut – to avoid stressing out your lawn.
  • Does your lawn tend to have a lot of debris on it, and if so, can you rake it up before mowing? If there tends to be a lot of twigs on your lawn for example, it’s best to avoid push mowers or robotic mowers, as this can jam the blades quite easily. With a more powerful rotary mower, this type of debris isn’t such a worry.
Article contributed by Josh Thompson from
All images royalty free from

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2 thoughts on “Tips for buying a new lawn mower

  1. Scott

    Hi, can I scarily my lawn in April (Scotland) if morning temperature is 3 degrees celsius rising to 10 degrees during the day?


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