A lawn mower is an essential piece of garden equipment for most yards. It’s a long-term investment that could pay for itself in money saved on mowing services. This guide covers push and self-propelled mowers, as well as ride-ons and robots—read on to find out how to pick the best mower for your needs.
Push mowers—for small & medium-sized yards
Push mowers are the cheapest type of motorised mower and you have a choice between petrol and electric models. Electric mowers generally require less maintenance than petrol-powered ones and can be corded or battery powered. Corded models have a more limited range, but extension leads can be a solution. Battery-powered models are a more expensive option, but one advantage is that the battery can be used for other tools—you may want to check for compatibility before making a purchase. Ryobi, Stihl and Makita are all popular brands.
Petrol push mowers come with either two-stroke or four-stroke engines and pull-cord or electric starting mechanisms. Four-stroke models are quieter and push-button starting is easier. When it comes to brand choice, Victa lawn mowers are designed and assembled in Australia and have a reputation for their quality cut. Honda lawn mowers are known for being good value, fuss-free and reliable. Some Ryobi lawn mowers are designed in collaboration with Subaru. One of their stand-out petrol models is a four-stroke with an overhead cam (a more efficient engine) and mulcher.
Self-propelling mowers & ride-ons—for uphill battles & the big jobs
Self-propelling mowers are less manoeuvrable than push ones, but the big advantage is that they require less strength and energy to operate. They often have larger wheels, making them suitable for uneven terrains and larger properties. The Stihl lawn mower range includes both electric and petrol self-propelled models. Makita lawn mowers are also available with self-propulsion in both options.
Modern ride-on mowers are easier to operate than you might expect. The most common ride-ons are like mini tractors. High-end models have a zero-turn radius, which means they turn within their own footprint, with wheels operated by right and left bar controls rather than a steering wheel. These models are more efficient because they don’t have to make three-point turns at every bend.
Robots—there’s one for every chore
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a robot for every dreary chore? Robot lawn mowers are constantly improving in performance and coming down in price. They can be a little tricky to set up initially because they need perimeter wires to stop them from mowing your garden beds. Perimeter wires can be pegged on the ground or buried. High-end models are controlled by a smartphone app with anti-theft GPS tracking.
Robot lawn mowers are best suited to small areas, although some can mow for three to four hours, depending on the terrain and grass level. Smaller models are designed mainly for flat areas, whereas more powerful ones are not challenged by slopes. Swift makes economical robot lawn mowers. High-end options include Husqvarna’s Automower and Worx’s Landroid.