Don’t let the grass grow long and shaggy – get it trimmed with our pick of the top-tier mowers
If you’ve already started looking for the best lawn mower for your lawn, you’ll be well aware that there’s a dizzying number to choose from. Do you need a cylinder or rotary mower? Would you rather a hover or petrol-powered model? And most importantly of all, how on earth do you get those perfect Wembley-esque stripes?
To get you started, we’ve done our research and worked out all of the things that you’ll need to know before buying – whether that’s the key features to look out for, or just the pros and cons of all the different types of lawn mower, we explain everything in our handy buying guide below. If you already have an idea of what you’re after, you can scroll straight past and read our bite-sized reviews of the best lawn mowers you can buy right now.
Want to get full access to all the best deals available this Prime Day? Then you’ll need to be a Prime member. Sign up to a 30-day free trial to get access to all the best deals without needing to spend an extra penny.
Best lawn mower: At a glance
|Best all-round cordless mower
|Bosch UniversalRotak 36-550 (~£228)
|Check price at Amazon
|Best cordless mower for smaller gardens
|Worx WG730E (~£264)
|Check price at Amazon
|Best cordless mower for mid-sized gardens
|Cobra MX3440V (~£175)
|Check price at Chinnor Motors
|Best petrol mower for big gardens
|Honda Izy HRG 466 PK (~£449)
|Check price at Amazon
How to choose the best lawn mower for you
Does it matter how big or overgrown my lawn is?
It really does – not every lawn mower will cope with longer grass or larger lawns. The first and most important thing to consider before buying any lawn mower is the area you’re going to use it in and the type and length of grass you’re intending to cut.
Think of your lawn as a standard tennis court; if it’s roughly that size, it’s considered a medium-sized lawn. Any smaller, it’s a small lawn; any bigger, it’s a large lawn. And if you’re the kind of person who can’t be bothered to mow your lawn once a week, it pays to buy a lawn mower that will cope with longer grass – which we’ll discuss below.
READ NEXT: Best lawn mower for a small garden
What different types of lawn mower are there?
There are generally three different types of lawn mower, and each has their plus and minus points:
Cylinder mowers have cylindrical blades that rotate vertically at the front of the mower – they work by cutting against a bottom blade, which is fixed. These can give a great, close-cut finish, but they rely on a perfectly level lawn to give good results – they’re useless for bumpy lawns or longer grass.
Rotary mowers have a single blade that rotates horizontally underneath the main body of the mower. These will cope with longer grass and bumpier lawns, but they’re not capable of giving a consistent, super-short cut like cylinder mowers. These are the best option for most people.
Hover mowers also have rotary blades but work by creating a cushion of air between the mower and the lawn. That makes them ideal for awkward-shaped lawns as they can be manoeuvred left and right as well as backwards and forwards, and they’re easier to push up and down slopes, too.
Petrol, electric, cordless or push: which is best?
- Push mowers, or manual mowers, are well worth considering if you’ve got a small, flat patch of grass and you’re going to keep it nice and short. There’s no need to faff around with mains power, batteries or petrol, and you’ll get a little workout while you mow. You can get a fantastic close finish, but as soon as you hit lumps and bumps they’re a lot of work. Don’t even think about long grass or slopes.
- Electric mowers are powered straight from the mains and are generally better for small or medium lawns unless you want to shell out for a huge extension cable. Make sure you check how long the included cable is before buying, though, or you’ll need to spend extra on one that will let you reach every corner of your lawn. Note: don’t just use any old extension cable you have lying around – it needs to be rated to a high enough amperage for safety purposes, as lawn mowers can use upwards of 1.5kW when in full flow.
- Cordless mowers are getting cheaper and more popular, giving you much the same experience as an electric mower, only without the cable. This is a real advantage if you’ve got awkward areas of grass to cut, far away from any outlet. They can’t always match electric mowers for cutting power, which can cause problems with long or unruly grass, and you can only cut for around half an hour without a second battery or a recharge. Still, that’s a small price to pay for the convenience.
- Petrol mowers are the ideal pick for those of us with really big lawns. These often surpass their rivals for the quality and consistency of their cutting, and will cope much better with longer, more overgrown gardens without choking. They command a significant price premium, however, and you should bear in mind that their petrol engines will require servicing every year or so.
What other features should I look out for?
The cutting width is particularly important; the wider the area the mower can cut, the fewer passes you’ll need to get your lawn looking tidy. Some mowers are also better than others at cutting to the edge of the deck, which means that you can cut close to a fence, step, wall or greenhouse and not leave a massive strip of uncut grass. Some mowers will also feature a roller, which helps you get a neat, striped effect across your lawn.
Also check out how many height settings the mower has, and how easy it is to switch between them. On some mowers it might mean just moving a lever, while on others you may have to shift a gear or add a spacer to take the cutting height down.
One final important factor to consider is what will happen to your grass cuttings after they’ve been cut. Many mowers will come with a clippings bag or box, but make sure to compare the sizes between the models you’re thinking of buying. If you don’t have easy access to your compost bin or green wheelie bin (if your council provides one), bigger clipping bags will minimise the number of trips you’ll need to make back and forth.
Some mowers also include an optional mulching plug. With one of these, you can leave the clipping bag behind, and the mower will chop the cut grass into tiny fragments, which should decompose and spread their goodness into the ground. The light mulch also helps hold in extra moisture, which can be a real help to your lawn in the hottest, driest parts of summer.
How we test lawn mowers
We assemble each lawn mower we’re going to test, then put them to work on two different lawns. The first is a small, flat front lawn, roughly 6 x 4m, with reasonably well-kept grass and no major undulations. The second is a much larger sloping lawn with patches of rough and uneven grass. We look at how well the mower handles both lawns, how good it is at avoiding blockages, and how effective any mulching or grass-collecting features are. We check how easy it is to start the mower, adjust the handle, and change the cutting height. With the cordless mowers, we also time how long the battery lasts during mowing, while with self-powered mowers we’ll also look at how easy it is to change the speed and hit the brakes. Finally, we fold the mower away for storage, to see how compact and manageable it is when put away in a shed or garage.
READ NEXT: Best ride-on mowers to buy
The best lawn mowers you can buy in 2023
1. Bosch UniversalRotak 36-550: Best cordless mower
Price when reviewed: £228 | Check price at Amazon While not much bigger or even heavier than your average cordless mower, the Bosch UniversalRotak 36-550 wins on cutting power. With a 38cm deck, it can easily tackle medium-sized lawns, and while it’s fantastic on flat lawns and shorter grass, we found that it could also handle the kind of tricky slopes and longer grass that leave other cordless mowers floundering.
It’s the little things, though, that really sell this mower. The well-designed handle gives you a choice of hand positions and makes it easier to push around, and we love the one-click height adjustment, where you just press and hold a button on the top handle and lift the body up and down to change the cutting height. Bosch’s ProSilence motor technology makes it much easier on the ears than many rivals and, with a generous 40l grass box, you’re not forever stopping to empty out the clippings.
We also found that the 36V battery would comfortably last for up to 30 minutes of mowing, then take just over two hours to recharge. As a nice extra, its specially designed blade even collects and grinds up any leaves that have dropped on the grass. It’s an exceptional mid-range mower.
Key specs – Size: 105 x 40 x 135cm (HWD); Weight: 15kg; Height of cut: 2.5 – 7cm; Grass box capacity: 40l; Power: 36V 4Ah lithium-ion battery (charge time: 2hrs 5mins); Width of cut: 38cm
2. Bosch Rotak 34R: A brilliant all-rounder
Price when reviewed: £111 | Check price at AmazonThe Bosch Rotak 34R is a capable all-rounder that can take all but the biggest lawns in its stride. The R means you get an integrated roller, which will give you those all-important stripes. The 34cm cutting width is ideal for tackling small to medium-sized gardens, and you can adjust the cutting height from 2cm up to 7cm, to give you scope for anything from a tight crop of the lawn to that tricky first cut of the year.
Bosch’s normal trusty ergonomics make the Rotak comfortable to push and easy to manoeuvre, and it’s light enough to lug around with just one hand. Meanwhile, the grass box can hold 40l of clippings, so you won’t spend all your time running between the lawn and your compost bin. Plus, although 1,300W doesn’t seem like an enormous amount of power on paper, the 34R tackles areas of longer grass with ease, while the grass combs help it cut right to the edge of the deck. If you can cope with a cord, you won’t find a more effective and versatile mower at this price. If you have a smaller plot to mow, however, you could save a tenner by going for the similarly impressive Rotak 32R.
Key specs – Size: 62 x 41 x 38cm (HWD); Weight: 11.1kg; Height of cut: 2 – 7cm; Grass box capacity: 40l; Power: Mains, 1,300W; Width of cut: 34cm
3. Worx WG730E: Best cheap cordless mower for small gardens
Price when reviewed: £264 | Check price at AmazonThe WG730E sidesteps most of the compromises usually associated with small, inexpensive cordless mowers. It’s well-built and easy to assemble, while the brushless motor and 20V, 4.0A battery ensure that it’s got enough power to handle the tricky first cut of the year, providing you steer clear of really long, wet grass. It’s also quiet by cordless mower standards, and while it doesn’t fold down as neatly as some other mowers, it won’t take up much space in your shed or garage.
Its weakness is its battery life. You’re looking at around 20 minutes from a charge, then a wait of around two hours while the charge does its stuff. However, it’s compatible with other batteries from the Worx Powershare range, so you might be able to share spare batteries across a range of home and garden tools. If you have a small garden and you’re on a budget, this little wonder’s hard to beat.
Read our full Worx WG730E review
Key specs – Size: 105 x 35 x 125cm (HWD); Weight: 9.3kg; Height of cut: 3 – 7cm; Grass box capacity: 30l; Power: 20V 4Ah lithium-ion battery (charge time: 2hrs 5mins); Width of cut: 30cm
4. Karcher LMO 18-36: Best cordless mower for flat lawns
Price when reviewed: £280 | Check price at Amazon Don’t dismiss this cordless mower on the basis of its weedy-sounding 18V battery power; it’s a little on the heavy side, but it delivers an outstanding cut on flat lawns. It’s impressively solid with it, yet surprisingly easy to manoeuvre and comfortable to use. We’re particularly keen on the chunky height adjustment handle, allowing you to switch between four heights of cut. We wouldn’t recommend this mower for thick grass or steep slopes, where it choked a little on the tougher stuff, but it’s brilliant on the level.
The single 18V battery takes nearly two-and-a-half hours to charge and runs for around 24 minutes, which should give you more than enough time to mow a medium-sized lawn and fill up the 45l collection bag. However, if you don’t want to keep emptying the bag, you can fit the mulching plug provided and leave your tiny chopped-up clippings on the ground. The battery door has a nasty habit of snapping at your fingers, and the LCD readout is too dim to read, but otherwise, this is a brilliant cordless mower.
Key specs – Size: 130.9 x 40 x 104cm (HWD); Weight: 14.2kg; Height of cut: 2 – 7cm; Grass box capacity: 45l; Power: Lithium-ion battery (charge time: 2hrs 23mins); Width of cut: 36cm
5. Worx WG779E: A cracking compact cordless with scope for larger lawns
Price when reviewed: £250 | Check price at WorxThe WG779E is one of the cheapest cordless mowers around, but has the feel of a more expensive model, thanks to impressive, robust build quality and some clever safety features. It’s relatively light and easy to push around and folds up neatly for storage in your shed or garage. Yet, when you need a little extra power, Worx’s Intellicut technology gives a good crisp cut on both neat, well-kept lawns and tougher grass. It’s only when you hit long, wet grass that things go wrong, as the soggy clippings tend to clog the blade or the passage to the 30l collection bag. If you’ve let your lawn grow long, it’s best to give it a lighter trim first, then come back later for a proper crop.
You can get around 40 minutes of mowing time with two 4A batteries installed – after which you’re looking at a two hour wait while these recharge – but with the 2.5A batteries of the cheaper battery and charger bundles, like this package on sale through Amazon, you can expect around 25 minutes. That’s going to be fine for smaller lawns and most mid-sized plots. Our only real grumble is that the mechanism to change the cutting height can feel clunky, requiring both hands and a bit of effort to shift the lever and adjust the position. That aside, this is a great option if you can’t stretch to the Bosch or Karcher mowers – especially if you tend to keep your grass fairly short.
Key specs – Size: 105 x 42 x 131cm (HWD); Weight: 12.6kg; Height of cut: 2 – 7cm; Grass box capacity: 30l; Power: 2x 20V 2.5Ah/4Ahh li-ion batteries (charge time: 2 to 2.5 hours); Width of cut: 34cm
6. Cobra MX3440V: Best value mower for most gardens
Price when reviewed: £175 | Check price at Chinnor MotorsIt might look like a cheap and cheerful option, but the Cobra MX3440V has everything you need to take care of a small to medium-sized garden, with a 34cm deck, a 35l grass collector and cutting heights from 2.5 to 7.5cm. We found it gave a good, neat finish to smoother lawns while still tackling slopes and areas of thicker, wetter grass. It’s a seriously versatile mower, and not prone to jamming up like some low-cost cordless options. We only had to stop when the batteries ran out or the collection box was full.
It’s also hugely practical. Fold the handle down over the body with the aid of the quick release clips at every joint, and you can store it in a space smaller than a suitcase. The chunky wheels and compact shape are good for manoeuvrability, and the mechanism for changing the cutting height is the smoothest and easiest we’ve found at this price point. It’s also relatively quiet, and the 2.5Ah battery lasts for 30 to 45 minutes before it runs out of oomph. Even then, you’re good to go again after 75 to 80 minutes of charging. Looking for a hassle-free mower that won’t break the bank? This is the one to buy.
Key specs – Size: 107 x 38 x 123cm (HWD); Weight: 16.3kg; Height of cut: 2.5 – 7.5cm; Grass box capacity: 35l; Power: 40V 2.5Ah lithium-ion battery (charge time: 75 mins); Width of cut: 34cm
7. Einhell GC-HM 30 Manual Hand Push Lawnmower: Best manual lawn mower
Price when reviewed: £58 | Check price at AmazonIf you’re after a cheap, no-frills mower that’s as environmentally friendly as it gets, then this manual model from Einhell gets our pick. The 30cm-wide model is great for smaller gardens and this lightweight model makes cutting smaller lawns just that little bit easier. At just 7.5kg it’s easily the lightest on this list but still comes with a 16l grass collection box and adjustable cut heights between 1.5 and 4.2cm.
As it’s at the budget end of things, the build quality is naturally not as great as the other mowers on this list. Being a manual model, it also requires a fair bit of effort to get your lawn cut satisfactorily. However, if you don’t mind these minor quibbles then it’s a solid low-cost option, and perfect for cutting grass in awkward-to-reach areas.
Key specs – Size: 47 x 35cm; Weight: 7.5kg; Height of cut: 1.5 – 4.2cm; Grass box capacity: 16l; Power: Manual; Width of cut: 30cm
8. Honda Izy HRG 466 PK: Best petrol lawn mower for large lawns
Price when reviewed: £449 | Check price at AmazonIf your lawn’s a little larger, then you can’t go far wrong with this petrol-powered mower from Honda. It’s a little loud, at 94 decibels, but with a steel deck and a 46cm cutting width, the Izy combines rugged, long-lasting build with superb cutting ability. What’s more, the latest model incorporates Honda’s new GCVx145 engine, which makes it easier to start, easier to refuel and more forgiving of lower-quality fuels. That’s something you’ll be glad of if you’ve got a lot of grass to cut on a cold, damp morning later on in the year.
And you’ll always be glad you got it started. It’s the sort of mower that works as well on lumpy lawns with longer grass as it does on a pancake-flat show garden, even if the pressed steel deck and 31kg weight means it takes a little effort to keep it moving. Still, the Izy takes just about everything in its stride, and comes equipped with a whopping 50l cuttings box. It’s the perfect petrol mower for bigger gardens or light professional work.
Key specs – Size: 147 x 49.7 x 98cm; Weight: 31kg; Height of cut: 2 – 7.4cm; Grass box capacity: 50l; Power: Petrol (145cc Honda GCV145 engine); Width of cut: 46cm
9. Flymo EasiGlide Plus 330V: Best hover mower
Price when reviewed: £140 | Check price at AmazonFlymo’s hover mower is a great affordable option if you’ve got a small garden – and especially if you’ve got an uneven or sloping lawn. At just 8.4kg, it won’t strain your arms and it rides smoothly on a cushion of air as it sweeps across your lawn. The 33cm cutting width will help you tackle a small lawn in 15 to 20 minutes, and it will stretch to handle medium-sized lawns as well. The big plus with this one is its sheer convenience. The 20l integrated grass collector lifts out smoothly and leaves your lawn almost free of clippings. There are handy hooks on the handle to wrap the 10m cable, while the handle folds down across the body for easy storage.
You won’t get as neat and orderly a cut as you will with some rotary mowers, but you’ll be amazed how well the Flymo deals with rough grass, overgrown sections, rough ground and slopes. Whatever we threw at it, it kept on working until the grass box filled. It needs emptying fairly regularly to stop the weight making it drag along the ground, but that’s not a problem if you don’t have a massive area to mow. In fact, the only downside with this mower is that changing the cutting height involves unscrewing the blade with the bundled plastic spanner, then adding or removing spacers – a hassle you could probably do without. Otherwise, it’s nearly perfect.
Key specs – Size: 75 x 47 x 134cm (HWD); Weight: 8.4kg; Height of cut: 1 – 3cm; Grass box capacity: 20l; Power: 1,700W electric motor; Cable length: 10m; Width of cut: 33cm