Choosing the right Lawnmower
Choosing the right lawnmower can seem daunting - but it needn’t be difficult if you follow this guide.
How large is your lawn?
The first thing to consider is the size of your garden. Is it small, medium, large or extra large? If we use a tennis court as a reference point, small gardens are around half a tennis court, medium up to three quarters and large up to one and a half. Extra large gardens are half an acre or more and a ride-on mower would be a more appropriate choice.
Depending on the size of your garden you may have a choice of power source. Mains electric mowers are quiet, lightweight and easy to use; they are ideal for smaller gardens. Cordless mowers are an increasingly popular choice and with advances in battery technology are now able to cut larger lawns. Petrol engine mowers are the most popular choice for larger areas as they are more powerful, are not restricted by a cable and can operate for long periods of time. Modern petrol engines are easy to start and on some you just have to turn a key.
Mowers with 4 wheels are highly manoeuvrable and give an excellent finish on all types of lawn. Many also have the option of fitting a mulching plug to mulch the grass clippings; this involves cutting the grass clippings into extra fine particles and recycling them back into the turf, this not only fertilises the lawn but also means you don’t have to keep stopping to empty the collector. Mulching isn’t actually magic, although it may feel like it, but it is a great feature saving you both time cutting your lawn and money buying lawn feed.
Nothing really finishes a fine lawn better than row after row of beautiful stripes. To achieve this classic striped finish you’ll need a machine with a rear roller. A rear roller also has the benefit of making cutting along lawn edges easier.
The wider the cutting width of the mower you use then the quicker you will cut your grass. For example, if your lawn is 20 metres wide then you will have to go up and down it around 38 times with a 53cm mower compared to 49 times with a 41cm mower. The 53cm mower will also have a larger grass collector, so unless you are mulching the grass, you will also have to stop less often to empty the grass collector. So the 53cm mower will be around 30% quicker to cut your grass. The larger mower will, however, be heavier and harder to turn and manoeuvre around obstacles as well as being more expensive.
To push or not to push?
Hand propelled machines have to be pushed to make them move forward, the motor or engine’s sole function is to drive the cutter blade. Self propelled models have a transmission so they require less effort to use; just engage the drive and the mower will move forward. Some self propelled models also have a variable speed control, so you can adjust the speed to best suit your own pace or the conditions.
The chassis, or cutter deck, may be made of polypropylene, steel with a powder coated paint finish, or hybrid galvanised steel/aluminium. It houses the blade and determines the working width, from 34cm to 53cm. Polypropylene is lightweight and maintenance free. Steel is more robust and hard wearing. Galvanised steel has a zinc coating to prevent rust. Aluminium does not rust but has to be forged rather than pressed and this can limit deck shape.