The traditional mower market is undergoing a quiet revolution, with innovations such as battery-operated models turning mowing into a neighbor-friendly pursuit.
Do you have a lawn that’s bigger than a tennis court? Are you fed up with struggling to push yours?
Have you been thinking about giving up on petrol? Or do you fancy having a striped lawn?
These are all reasons why you might find the cheapest mowers don’t work for you.
The mowers in the price band we tested here (£250-500) all have a cutting width over 40cm, but with a range of cutting finishes and power sources.
We tested best on ordinary garden lawns to find the best performers.
Here, we present the most noteworthy models.
Most of these models are petrol-driven: these are the most powerful and are the only sensible choice for extensive lawns or longer grass.
The drawbacks of petrol mowers are weight, noise, and the need for regular servicing.
Electric mowers over 40cm are suitable for tennis court-sized lawns
and are simple to use, but such a long cable is a dangerous hazard if cut or damaged.
Powerful battery mowers are fast appearing on the market and are becoming serious contenders for regularly mown lawns: this is the quietest type, easy to use, and long-lasting lithium-ion batteries.
Heavily discounted models are usually cheap for a reason – with parts no longer available or less durable construction.
One of the advantages of shopping at DIY stores over buying by phone or internet is that you may handle machines if they are already unpacked and displayed. (which is not always the case).
However, your new mower would be supplied boxed, so you’d have all the assembly to do.
With all of our trial mowers, it turned out to be very much a case of getting what you pay for, but choosing a mower with the right features for your grass can make a huge difference to the ease of getting the job done.
Buyers’ guide to features
Push versus self-propelled Self-propelled mowers require less effort and are the best choice for larger areas, long grass, or sloping sites.
However, I found that the better-quality push mowers were reasonably easy to use regularly mown lawns and gentle slopes.
Most mowers were single-speed, while several could be varied.
Engine and material quality Quality and robust construction are important when paying anything up to £500.
Often this was obvious when first looking at and handling the mower, which is why I recommend buying from dealers (see below). Look for strong deck materials, good-quality engines, and solidly made, easy-to-use controls.
Compare engine power of different models, especially if mowing large areas or long
grass, and note warranty length.
The ease of starting All petrol mowers in our trial was started with a pull cord.
Some were very easy; others took a fair bit of effort – something to consider if you have, say, arm or shoulder problems, but be aware that some models are available with key start.
Starting Electric and battery mowers was effortless: press in a button then depress a lever while in use.
Cutting and collecting
Consider the cutting options concerning your type and size of the lawn.
All our trial mowers cut by rotary action using one horizontal blade and have a grass collector for clippings.
To create a striped finish, choose a model with a rear roller. If collecting a lot of clippings, check the grass box capacity and ease of use.
An alternative is to ‘mulch’ or returns the finely chopped grass onto the lawn, a facility offered by most mowers and usually done by fitting a plug to redirect clippings.
Mulching works well on regularly mown lawns but isn’t effective on longer grass.
For cutting and dropping long grass – such as occasional cutting of wildflower meadows
– look for a model with easy rear or side discharge.
If you need to cut close to raised edges, make sure the wheels don’t protrude beyond the deck.
This may be an issue for the user or neighbors. All mowers have a noise rating in decibels (dB): most petrol models are rated between 96db and 98db (just above most motorcycles), electric and battery models are quieter.
Wear ear protection if you mow a lot.
Weight and storage
These become considerations when it comes to getting your mower to your lawn – whether this is an issue or not depends on the location and layout of your storage facility and garden.
Although the largest mowers tended to be heaviest, our featured models’ good design and self-propulsion made them easy to use and maneuver.
If your storage space is limited, check how much and how easily the handle folds down.
Hyundai HYM510SP 4-Stroke Petrol Lawn Mower 173CC Self Propelled 51cm/20 inch Cutting Width
- 🔵 Impressive Power: The HYM510SP Is Powered By A Hyundai 3.6 kW IC200VE 4 Stroke Petrol Engine With Recoil Start Giving You Reliable Power When You Need It Most
- 🔵Innovative Cutting: With A 51cm Cutting Width, The HYM510SP is The Perfect Choice For Medium To Large Sized Lawns.
- 🔵Quick Release Grass Collection Box: The Large 70L Grass Collection Box Means The Time Spent Emptying The Grass Is Hugely Reduced. Furthermore, The Quick Release Collection Box Allows You To Empty Your Grass Without Spillage – Easily.
- 🔵 Easy Height Adjustment: Forget Adjusting The Height On Individual Wheels Or Front And Back; the HYM510SP Allows You To Choose From 5 Different Heights of Cut By Using The Height Adjustment Lever (25-75mm)
- 🔵 Compact Design For Storage: For Easy Storing The Handles Can Fold Down Over The Lawn Mower Making Storage Compact, Ideal For The Garden Shed, Garage, or Transporting.
- 🔵 Covered by Hyundai 3 year platinum warranty for peace of mind.
Murray EQ500X – 18 Inch/46 cm Self-Propelled Petrol Lawnmower with Briggs & Stratton 575EX Series Engine Including Mulching Plug
- Reliable, powerful, and easy to start Briggs & Stratton 140cc 575EX Series petrol engine
- 18 inch/46 cm Durable steel deck for increased protection against damage and corrosion
- Centrally adjustable cutting height ranging from 28 mm to 92 mm in 6 positions
- 4-in-1 functionality: Bagging, rear, and side discharge and mulching
- Large 60 Litre grass catcher
- All Murray petrol lawnmowers are supported by the extensive network of Briggs and Stratton, and Murray authorized dealers
- This mower requires 0.5 Litre SAE30 4-stroke oil for the engine; not included in the box, please buy separately
- 2-year limited consumer warranty
Hyundai HYM80LI460SP 80V Lithium-Ion Cordless Battery Powered Self Propelled Lawn Mower 18” Cutting Width With Battery & Charge’
- 🔵 No Cables, No Petrol, No Pollution – charge the batteries, and you’re ready to go.
- 🔵 Powered by 2X Samsung 40v lithium-ion 2.5Ah battery, designed for 1000+ charges.
- 🔵 452mm Cutting width it’s ideal for cutting medium to large-sized lawns.
- 🔵 Durable steel chassis weighing just 29.8kg with adjustable cutting heights from 25mm to 75mm.
- 🔵 Covered by Hyundai UK 3 year warranty.