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19 February 2013

Choosing a Lawnmower

One of the most expensive single purchases you will make for your garden is a lawnmower so it is advisable to look at the options before parting with your money.

The first decision is whether you want an electric or petrol-driven mower. I had a Black and Decker electric rotary mower which served me well for a number of years but when I moved to a house with a much larger garden I couldn't get a quarter of the way round before it stopped for a rest. The following guide gives an indication of what you might need.

For small lawns, up to 50 sq m, choose an electric lawnmower with a 30-33cm cutting width.
For medium lawns, up to 150sq m, you may prefer an electric lawnmower with a wider blade.
For larger lawns, up to about 250 sq m, a small petrol lawnmower would be suitable. I have used a Mountfield rotary petrol mower with a 16" blade for the last eleven years and was glad that I went for the self-propelled option, which cost a bit more but which was worth the expense.
For larger lawns choose a petrol lawnmower with an increased cutting width. Again I would advise purchasing the self-propelled version.
If you have an extra large lawn to look after, why not invest in a sit-on mower.

The advantages of an electric mower are

1) Cost - they are usually cheaper than petrol mowers.
2) Weight - they are much lighter than petrol mowers and can be hung on a garage or shed wall out of the way.
3) Manoeuverability - they are much easier to use than petrol mowers in tight spaces.

The advantages of a petrol mower are

1) No cable - you don't have to have a power supply nearby or trail cable which invariably gets in the way.
2) Cutting width - they are available in much wider versions than electric mowers and therefore save you time. They also come with larger grass boxes so don't need emptying so often.
3) Long grass - petrol rotary mowers are better at coping with long grass than electric mowers.

Electric mowers come in three types - rotary, cylinder and hover. I would suggest that the rotary mower is the best all-rounder while the cylinder mower will give the best cut on a well-kept lawn. Hover mowers are light and easy to handle but do not collect the grass cuttings so you either leave them on the grass or have to rake them up. Also as they don't have wheels they have to be carried or dragged from storage to the lawn.

Petrol mowers are available as rotary or cylinder types and the above comments apply again.

Of course you don't have to buy a powered lawnmower at all - you could opt for an old-fashioned human-powered cylinder mower, which you might find suitable if you have a small, flat lawn with well-kept grass, but which would be a struggle to use on longer rough grass.

I hope this guide has been useful and that you find a mower that suits you.
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