Choosing a lawnmower
Before looking at the different types of mower, lets take a look at some of the features and specifications that apply to all types of mower.
If you have a large area of grass to cut this could be the most important factor in your buying decision, the wider the cutting width the quicker you will cut your lawn.
It can take quite a lot of strength to start a petrol mower, electric start does all the hard work for you. It’s worth bearing in mind that cord start mowers can get progressively more difficult to start as they age, so don’t test a cord start mower in the store and assume that it will always be that easy to start.
Lowest Cut Length
An important consideration if you want to achieve the classic clean short lawn, but if you are just trying to keep on top of a field, then this really doesn’t matter.
The size of the grass bag will reduce the time spent emptying the bag, but beware that while some mowers have larger bags because it is a good marketing feature, because of the design of the mower the bag may never get more than half full.
Grass Collect or Side Discharge
Some mowers will collect the grass clippings in a bag and some will discharge the grass out of the side – more expensive mowers will do both. Side discharge can be useful to quickly cut the lawn when it already short, and they will enable you to cut the grass much more quickly for the first cut of the year when it is very long, because you will not be repeatedly returning to your discharge point to empty the bag. Not all side discharge mowers are created equally cheaper mowers tend to spray out into unsightly piles, whilst more expensive models will cut the clippings into a fine powder before spraying into a thin layer. Many people will do an initial cut of long grass in side discharge mode to get the grass back under control, and then do another cut in grass collect mode a few days later when the clippings have dried to clean up the lawn.
Ride On Mower / Lawn Tractor – Petrol & Electric
Probably the most fun way to cut your lawn, and ride on mowers have the largest cutting width of all mower types, which reduces the time that it takes to cut your lawn. You can also get accessories to tow behind your ride on mower, such as a trailer, or lawn sweeper which will pick up all fallen leaves.
Walk Behind Push Along Mower – Petrol & Electric
These models are suited for smaller gardens, if the grass is kept short then it is not too hard to push the mower along, but if you have to tackle longer grass lengths then a self propelled model is preferred.
Walk Behind Self Propelled – Petrol & Electric
Self propelled mowers are obviously less labour intensive than the push along variety, there are 2 types fixed speed and variable speed. Expect to pay slightly more for variable speed which will make it easier to cut longer grass buy cutting more slowly. Self propelled mowers are a good choice for larger gardens with lots of trees and obstacles, which can be difficult to cut around with a large ride on mower.
Robotic – Electric
The choice of the lazy gardener! A robotic mower does all the cutting for you and prices have fallen massively in the last few years. A robotic mower will return to it’s charging station to charge when it detects that its battery is running low. Some models can be set to start cutting when you activate your burglar alarm, which ensures that they only cut when you or are not there. The robotic mower will return to the charging station when the alarm is deactivated, and resume cutting where it left off the next time the alarm is activated.
Rear roller mowers are for the perfectionist who wants to achieve a short bowling green style lawn with stripes that the heavy rear roller makes on the lawn. You can also buy a “striping kit” for a walk behind mower that does not have a rear roller, this is simply a heavy roller that clamps onto the back of your existing mower.
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