How to Choose A Lawnmower – That’s Right For Me
Buying a lawnmower can seem nice and easy and it can be if you ask yourself the right questions. It might seem like the right idea to just choose the cheapest, smallest or biggest mower you can find but this can backfire all too often. You pick a small, cheap machine then find that it takes you 2 hours to mow the lawn as it’s the size of Wembley. Or you’ve bought an expensive, large width mower with all the bells and whistles and it’s too heavy for you to handle and you don’t need all the gizmos you thought you did.
Take a few minutes and ask yourself some basic questions and you’ll pick the mower that’s right for you and your garden.
Small, medium or large? Do some basic measurements of your ground, you don’t need to be centimetre precise. Just an idea of square metres or feet whichever works for you. Some manufacturers work to tennis court size so there’s something to think about. This next bit is common sense really. The smaller the lawn the smaller cutting width lawn mower you’ll need. The width of the mower will determine how many trips up and down the lawn you’ll need to complete the cut. A narrow width lawnmower will be easier to handle around smaller lawn areas as it’ll have a tighter turning circle. The average size cutting width of lawnmowers is 18” / 46cm. This is the most popular size lawnmower and all manufacturers will produce a mower of this size. For larger lawns over approx. 500m2 look to buy a mower of at least this width. Don’t forget the width of the mower determines how many times you travel up and down the lawn to finish a cut.
Lawn / Grass Type
Some people like to have a beautiful, bowling green cut and finish on their grass where as others are just pleased with a basic, tidy cut. If your garden has lumps and bumps with uneven grass coverage you might find it very time consuming to aim for a perfectly flat lawn. What do you use your lawn for? Work?, Play ? Or just to look at? If your lawn gets a lot of use by yourself, family, children etc then you probably don’t want to spend hours mowing and edging it a week. If you start with a healthy lawn it will be easier on the upkeep. By looking after the soil and nourishing the grass you’ll be well on the way to a greener, lusher lawn. If you want a striped effect on the lawn go for a lawnmower with a rear roller. The best stripes are achieved if you have a flat lawn and choose a cylinder mower as these have both front and rear rollers. General grass cutting and mowing is done with a four wheel lawn mower. These machines will cope with most types of lawn and grass including uneven ground.
Engine, Electric Motor or Battery Powered
Professional and commercial users will traditionally choose a lawn mower with a petrol engine due to the freedom it offers when being used in different locations on a daily basis. It is impractical for a professional gardener visiting customers to ask to use their electricity supply to power a mower. Petrol engines are classed by their cc power and torque rating. The higher cc and torque an engine produces the more powerful the lawnmower is. CC stands for ‘cubic centimetres’ and has replaced the ‘horse power’ rating on engines as it’s more accurate. The higher the torque rating on a mower the more efficient the engine will be at cutting thicker and longer grass. Petrol lawn mowers will give you the freedom to work anywhere around your garden without being restricted by cables or electrical outlets. If you have easy access to an electrical socket and don’t want the hassle of keeping fuel then an electric lawnmower could be the way to go. Quiet and emission free an electric mower has been the preferred choice for suburban gardens for years. Let’s face it who wants to be woken by a noisy engine on a Sunday morning! In recent years the technology being used on cordless or battery powered mowers has come on in leaps and bounds. All the top brands are investing time and money on cordless garden machinery. The cordless lawn mower of today is a far cry from the under powered models of the past. Cordless models are now available with batteries up to 80v in size that will power a machine for hours. Lithium-ion has replaced the heavy old fashioned lead Ni-cad batteries. Lithium-ion technology has improved the performance and life span of these batteries. The advantage of cordless lawnmowers is that they are quiet, emission free, low cost and environmentally friendly.
It can look daunting going through the different sorts of lawnmower available and what they all do.
Here we’ve explained some of the terminology you’ll come across.
Hand-Propelled / Push. The mower has a motor or engine but not a drive. You will have to push the machine to some extent.
Self-Propelled / Autodrive. The mower has self-propulsion so all you need to do is guide it around the lawn. Suited to sloping and or larger lawns
Direct Collect. The clippings are collected into a grass collector and then emptied out.
Rear Discharge. Clippings are ejected from the rear of the mower directly onto the ground. Recommended for less formal, longer growth lawn areas
Side Discharge. Clippings are ejected to the side of the mower in a line alongside. Informal, long growth areas
Mulching. Clippings are cut into very tiny pieces then blown back onto the lawn. Low traffic lawns
Recoil / Manual Start. Hand pull to start the engine
Electric Start. Engine starts with a push button or key
Blade Brake Clutch (BBC). The blade stops turning but the engine stays on. Useful for moving over paths or drives between lawns and emptying a grass collector without having to turn the engine off each time.
Variable Speed. Travelling speed options on self-propelled mowers so you can work at your own pace.
A major consideration when you’re looking to buy anything including a new lawn mower will be the price. Have a budget in mind before you start looking as there are so many machines on the market you’ll need to narrower your search down. Using all the pointers above you could find your ideal mower at a lot less then you’d think. Internet companies like mowers-online can offer free delivery and extras with a machine so you’ll get more for your money.
Now you’ve sorted out the type of lawnmower you need and the budget you have you’ll want to look into the different makes available. Most lawnmowers will require an annual service to keep the warranty valid so do you have any local dealers servicing your chosen make. It won’t be any good buying a machine then finding that your nearest service dealer is 50 miles away. The dealer locator feature on a manufacturer website will give you a good idea of the closest. The manufacturer warranty means you can use any dealer in their national network for servicing or repairs. You can therefore feel confident when buying over the internet from a reputable company such as mowers-online with home delivery a quick and easy option.