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Choosing the Right Lawn Mower for Your Garden

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Which type of lawn mower is best for your garden? The advantages and disadvantages of Petrol, electric, manual, cylinder, hover and rotary mowers are explained.

Choosing the right lawn mower for your garden can be daunting: here are some guidelines to help you make your choice.  

Lawn mowers can be powered by petrol, electricity, battery or they can be manual. There are also different types of mower within each power source and this can be confusing.  We will look first of all at the different sources of power:

Petrol Lawn Mowers

The advantages of a petrol lawn mower are:

  • It has no cable. If your lawn is small, this won’t be significant but with a large garden you don’t want to be dragging hundreds of meters of cable backwards and forwards across your lawn.
  • This is also safer as you won’t run over your cable with the mower or forget to unplug it for maintenance.
  • Petrol mowers tend to be more powerful, again making them more effective for larger lawns.

Disadvantages of petrol mowers are:

  • They tend to be more expensive – a good quality make costs around $500.
  • They are noisy, heavy and more difficult to manoeuvre than other types.
  • You have the inconvenience (and increasing expense) of buying fuel.
  • They are the least environmentally friendly (noise and use of fuel).
  • They need more maintenance – annual servicing is highly recommended to ensure the spark plugs and air filters e.t.c. are cleaned and repaired if necessary.

Electric and Battery Lawn Mowers


  • Electric mowers are cheaper than petrol ones (about half the price).
  • They are quieter and lighter.
  • They need less maintenance.


  • They are less powerful and so are more suited to smaller lawns.
  • Electric mowers have a cable which can get in the way and has safety issues.

Reel mowers (Manual)

Reel mowers (sometimes called push lawn mowers) are the old-fashioned looking ones that don’t run on petrol or electricity. They’re the ones our grandparents used before electric and petrol mowers were invented. Their advantages are:

  • They are much kinder to the environment and for this reason they are becoming increasingly popular.
  • They are light and quiet
  • They are cheap to buy and to run (no fuel to buy)
  • They require little maintenance.

Their one disadvantage is that they do require more effort on the part of the person mowing, but this can be easily outweighed by the calories we will burn up in the process – maybe we can even cancel our gym membership!

Different types of mower

There are three main different mower types:

Motor Cylinder Mowers

These are the most popular mowers and come in three types of power source – petrol for large lawns, electric for smaller lawns and battery for very small lawns.  They contain a spiral blade which is wrapped around a cylinder; this then cuts against a fixed blade in a scissor action, resulting in an immaculate cut  They are popular because of the tidy, stripe-effect finish they give to the lawn but they tend to be the most expensive.

Rotary Mowers

These are also popular and come in petrol or electric powered, using a rotating blade; they don’t give as close a cut as cylinder mowers but they are quick and easy to use.  They are particularly effective on long and wet grass and they tend to be cheaper than Cylinder mowers.

Hover mowers

Electric hover mowers also have a rotating blade, but instead of being mounted on wheels, they ride on a cusion of air generated by the blade.  They are ideal for small gardens, being cheap, very light and easy to use.

There are many factors involved in choosing a mower including size of garden, cost, efficiency, ease of use and environmental impact. With so many different choices available, however, there is certainly a mower to suit every lawn.

For further information on lawn mowers, go to:




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Tana Blum

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