Which Mower do I need?

To answer this question one must consider the following:

The Lawn

  • How big is the lawn? Small: push-mower, electric or small petrol mower. Medium: Electric or petrol. Large: Petrol
  • Is it flat, or sloping? Consider power drive for larger areas or slopes.
  • Is it a simple shape, or are there many obstacles to mow around. Electric cable can be a nuisance around obstacles
  • How important is the surface finish? Cylinder for absolute perfection, rear roller rotary for a smooth striped finish, four wheeled rotary for a standard or rougher finish, Hover mowers where finish is not important, and for steep slopes
  • How accessible and how large is the mower storage area. A larger mower will cut the lawn more quickly, but will be heavier to manoeuvre to and from the lawn. A mains power point is needed for electric mowers, or for a battery charger

The Machine

  • Rotary: the blade rotates like a helicopter, and cuts like a scythe. They are available with four wheels, for rougher applications, and with a rear roller to give a smoother striped finish. Advantage: simplicity and robustness. Lower maintenance costs
  • Cylinder: the blades operate on the principle of a pair of scissors. They all have a roller for a smoother striped finish. Advantage: perfect finish, lower power required. Needs to be maintained and adjusted regularly.

The Power Source

  • Muscle power: Push type cylinder mowers are available. If you are energetic they are highly effective and inexpensive. Old machines are becoming more popular, and are readily repairable to cut as new.
  • Battery electric: Convenient for small areas that are cut regularly. Batteries treated with care and can be expected to last about five years.. More expensive and heavier than similar mains electric models.
  • Mains Electric: Plug it in and switch it on. Reasonably priced. Requires an accessible power point. The cable can be awkward if the lawn has many obstacles. Care is needed. Try Hayter. The most environmentally sound power option.
  • Petrol: Sufficient power for any lawn, including overgrown areas. Easy to start and reliable, if basic usage guidelines are followed. Electric start models are available and efficient. Try Hayter, ALKO or Lawnking.

Lawnmower care tips

Store the mower in a secure, dry place.

  • Always “walk the lawn” before mowing, to remove any potentially damaging stones or other articles. (Critical with cylinder mowers) Dust and stones can rapidly blunt mower blades. Paving slabs, builders debris and children’s toys can cause major damage. Have the mower checked after striking anything solid, for safety, and to prevent further damage due to vibration.
  • Clean off wet grass and empty the collector after use to prevent rust and corrosion due to acid attack. Oil cylinder mower blades to prevent rust.
  • Always disconnect the mains power supply or sparkplug lead before working on the mower, for your own safety.
  • Inspect the mains cable for damage. Replace damaged cables. Use a power breaker.
  • Petrol mowers: Check the oil level before use. Use clean fresh petrol. Petrol without stabiliser additive can deteriorate after six weeks, causing hard starting and poor performance. Refill fuel using a strainer equipped funnel. Where fitted (Honda engines) turn off the petrol tap after use. access underside of mower only by depressing the handlebars to the ground. Do not tip the machine sideways or forwards, or damage may result.
  • When folding the handlebars, be very careful not to damage the cables.
  • Have your mower serviced and sharpened annually, ideally at the end of the season.