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Lawn Mower Buying Guide

There are a number of features that nearly all mowers have in common – hopefully, this little lawn mower buying guide will help you make the decision that is right for you and your garden.

Powered By : How does the lawn mower move across the lawn? Is it Push Powered – which is a nice way of saying that you do the hard work. Or, is it Self-Propelled? A petrol lawn mower that is Self-Propelled sees the engine connected to a the rear wheels (or roller) which drives them forward at an easy-going speed – usually around 2.5 mph – without any need for you to push yourself. Naturally, a Self-Propelled petrol lawn mower requires more engine power than a Push Powered mower.

Rear Roller : Has the lawn mower got a Rear Roller or not? Whether it’s self-propelled or not, a Rear Roller will neatly flatten the grass once the cutting blades have down their work and contributes towards creating that classic striped lawn that we all imagine our lawn will look like.

McCulloch M40-450C

Cutting Width : The Cutting Width describes the size of the blade and consequently the width of grass that will be cut in one rotation. The greater the width, the more grass will be cut at any one time. To imagine this – say we have a 10 meter (1000cm) wide lawn. A petrol lawn mower with a 40cm Cutting Width would require 25 straight lines to cut fully, while a mower with a 50cm Cutting Width, would require only 20 which means mowing the lawn takes 20% less time (and effort). There is a price for this though : A wider Cutting Width means the mower is having to do more work and so a larger engine is usually required. The minimum cutting width should be about 40cm like what the McCulloch M40-450C has on board.

Cutting Height : This describes the height to which you can cut the grass on your lawn. Cutting to just one height at all times and on all lawns isn’t necessarily the best thing to do if you want a healthy lawn. For instance, you should cut at different heights throughout the spring and summer depending on the temperature and the amount of rain that’s falling. A wider range of Cutting Heights describes how well a particular mower will perform this task.

Height Settings : Linked to Cutting Height above – this indicates the number of different settings that you can make between the Cutting Heights that are specified. The more Height Settings that are available the more precision in the cut you will have and the more control you will have over your lawn.

Grass Box Size : The size of the collection box that captures your clippings. The larger the grass box your petrol lawn mower has the more grass can be cut before you need to stop and empty it. Ideally, and depending on how often you cut your grass, a larger grass box is needed the larger your lawn. A larger collection capacity, like the huge 70 litre grassbox on the back of the Mountfield SP555, means you could avoid having to stop half way through your mowing to empty, so try and buy a mower with a grass box suited to the size of the lawn you will be cutting.

Engine : Finally, we come to the engine. Is more power always best? In a nutshell, yes. The power an engine has the better the cutting blades will cut, certainly with longer grass. In addition, consider the Cutting Width of your mower – the more the blades need to cut in one rotation, the more power will be needed. The more resistance against the blades (whether from longer grass or the wider Cutting Width) the more strain on the engine and you’ll want more grunt to call upon. Also, if you’re looking at a Self-Propelled petrol lawn mower, the engine will also drive the back wheels and so will need a bit more power than a standard Push Powered mower.

There are a few other considerations you could take into account such as the weight of the mower and the efficiency of the engine, but on the whole, the features mentioned above is the main information any lawn mower buying guide needs to include. Yes, get into the nitty details if you’re torn between two mowers – but for the sake of simplicity, the above should see you through.

Updated: April 15, 2014 — 7:44 pm