Choosing the right size Lawn mower

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We are often asked how to define exactly what size of lawnmower is required for each individual lawn, but like so many things it is a far from exact science. Every garden differs in complexity, and whilst some of us enjoy the relativity tranquility of mowing the lawn, others hate it and wish the job to be finished as quickly as possible.

Decide first on electric or petrol power?

Electric is instant, reliable and ideal for smaller areas typical of modern estate houses, but the cable can be tiresome on larger areas. You must also be conscious always of the danger of cutting the cable, which is why a circuit breaker is always essential.

Petrol is generally a quicker option, because petrol power is so much greater, and the grass box capacity of most petrol mowers is massive compared to electrics. For some the need to start the engine, buy and store petrol etc may be off putting, but an electric start petrol model may help.

If considering weight as a factor remember that most petrol machines are available with a self propelling option. This means that the operator only has to steer.  Very few electrics are self drive.

The other aspect to consider with weight is that although hover type machines can be light in use they generally have to be picked or dragged when switched off. Most 4 wheel machines are therefore easier to manage to and from the shed.

As a rule of thumb electric machines tend to go up to 35cm about 14" cuts, and petrol models from 40cm (15") to 56 cm (22").

Having decided on petrol or electric as a power source it is now down to size.

If you have had a mchine before then this is easier - simply go larger, smaller or stay the same depending on how well the last one coped. If not try and beg or borrow from a neighbour.

In our experience most people are happiest spending between 20 minutes and 1 hour each week mowing the lawn. If you can borrow a machine then mow the lawn and see how long it takes.

The difference between a 42cm and 46cm mower may seem marginal, but generally the larger the mower the larger the collector, and this is where the time is saved. If the collector is 20% bigger this means you stop 20% less often.

Finally budget is probably the most important factor, but remeber as with everything you get what you pay for. A big cheap mower is likely to be compromised in some aspect if it is less expensive than a machine costing half its size.

Typically steel body machines are cheaper, but they will corrode, and can literally rust away in as little as 5 or 6 years if not cared for. Aluminium bodies, and ABS derivatives are generally much longer lasting.

Other features are sometimes harder to spot, but features like bearing wheels, electric start, self drive, blade clutches and single lever adjustment are all added to offer user comfort or longevity and they cost anything from a few extra pounds to a feww hundred.

Still unsure? Ask the retailer for advice, and we or they will i am sure be more than willing to walk you through the choices.

Cylinder or rotary?

Ride on or walk behind?

Mulch or collect?

Please see our other guides.

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