The best lawn mowers save you time and money in the long run. “By investing in a good machine and taking care of it, you’re less likely to have to pay for repairs, replacement parts or even replacing the whole thing after a few years,” says Peter Chaloner, managing director of powered lawn mower brand Cobra (opens in new tab).
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“Cheaper models often tend to break, or not give as good a cut and finish meaning you have to mow for longer and more often, and all to get worse results and a patchy lawn!”
So what should I look for in a lawn mower? Chaloner says there are a few key things. “First, consider lawn size as this will determine the type of mower you need. Also think about storage – anyone lacking space should look for a small and compact mower, or one that folds down.”
Larger lawns will need a large cutting deck but also a big grass bag for all the cuttings. Also ask yourself: What’s the terrain like? Is your lawn smooth with no obstacles? Or is it full of lumps, slopes, patios and flowerbeds to work around? “A hover mower is a great solution for gardens full of stuff, or if there’s a steep hill then a self-propelled mower will help you mow to the top with less effort. Also consider the power source and cutting finish you want.”
Best lawn mowers
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We’ve taken a deeper dive into the best lawnmowers available to buy and in stock now, looking into the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision before parting with your hard earned cash.
The best lawn mowers
The EGO Power+ 21” LM2102 regularly tops the list of the best electric lawn mowers (opens in new tab) and we can see why.
What the users say…
The EGO Power+ 21-inch LM2102 scores 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with 70% giving it the full five star ranking. Fans of the mower praised how quiet it is, with one user saying: “It’s a pleasure to use and our neighbor told me they don’t hear it at all”. Negative reviews cited issues with how heavy the machine is, and said it was difficult to turn in tight areas.
The mower offers a gas-level power thanks to its meaty 7.5V lithium battery, which you can interchange with other Ego products like their leaf or snow blower. In fact one of the biggest pulls of the EGO Power+ 21” LM2102 is the battery, which lasts for 60 minutes on a single charge. It also takes about the same time to recharge a fully depleted battery.
The mower is well designed and the lack of cord makes it easy to navigate obstacles in your yard. Plus, an electric mower is better for the environment and there’s no nasty gas odor blasting from the exhaust as you mow.
Another big win is how compact the mower is – it folds up and neatly stands on end for easy storage, which is great for anyone short on space. You also get LED headlights, battery level alerts, 3-in-1 bagging, mulching and discharging and a decent five-year warranty. It’s self propelling but can also be manually pushed.
The Honda HRX217HZA is an impressive walk-behind gas powered mower that really delivers for medium and large sized lawns.
What the users say…
The Honda HRX217HZA scored a 4.5 rating out of 5 on the Mowers Direct website. Fans of the mower praised how powerful it is, as well as how quiet it is despite the big engine. One said: “This lawn mower is better than sliced bread,” while another said: “The double blades really chop the grass into fine pieces”. Meanwhile, negative reviews cited issues with faulty parts, but these were quickly replaced under the warranty.
With its Hydrostatic Speed Control and Roto-Stop technology (that’s a blade stop system to you and me), we rank it as one of the best gas lawn mowers (opens in new tab) you can buy.
The deck has state-of-the-art twin blades to finely cut grass and it has a 4 in 1 system that bags, mulches, discharges and also shreds leaves. The 200cc engine makes it one of the most powerful mowers on the market, and we love the Cruise Control feature, which means you barely need to push the mower at all – simple fingertip pressure is enough to start it moving. The Honda HRX217HZA also has nine adjustable cutting heights.
Full review: Honda HRX217HZA (opens in new tab)
If you want a reliable, powerful lawn mower that makes light work of cutting grass, look no further than the John Deere S180.
What the users say…
The John Deere S180 scores 4.2 out of 5 stars on the John Deere website. Fans of the lawn mower praise how powerful it is, with one saying it: “Goes up hills like a champ. Never bogs down in tall grass.” Another reviewer said it feels very safe. Negative reviews cited issues with the tires being quite small and thin, while another user had problems with the belt breaking.
Designed for convenience and comfort, this riding lawn mower has several advanced features to take on even the most challenging lawns.
Under the hood there is a 24 horsepower V-twin engine that is powerful yet quiet. The John Deere S180 also comes with an operator presence system (OPS) that shuts off the engine if you get out of the seat. The cup holder is a nice touch so you can have a hot or cold beverage during your mow.
It has a big 54” deck (not designed to be stood on) so there’s a bit of a step up to get onto the mower, so this is one thing to consider if you have mobility issues. The S180 comes with a really comfortable weather-resistant seat with spring suspension and lumbar support, and you can adjust it forwards or backwards to fit your height/size. There are very few cons to this impressive machine, apart from the high price and it may be incompatible with certain accessories and parts.
The powerful Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 50 makes quick work of large lawns and practically dances around trees and flowerbeds with its impressive 23 horsepower and heavy-duty drive train.
What the users say…
The Cub Cadet ZT1 50 scores 4.5 stars on the Mowers Direct website, with positive reviews saying it has plenty of power, steers great and is very comfortable. One user said: “The three blades provide good coverage, so lawn mowing is a snap. This unit has good speed and is highly maneuverable – I now enjoy cutting the lawn and wish it would grow faster.” Negative reviews cited issues with the seat height, with one saying: “Seat height could be a little higher to help older people get up easier, and an hour meter would be helpful.”
With just one can of gas, the large 50” cutting deck (backed by a limited lifetime guarantee) can cut up to four acres.
It comes with 15 height settings, with a cutting range of 1-4.5”, as well as a Smart Jet deck washing machine that effectively removes stuck on grass or other debris. The Cub Cadet ZT1 50’s 726cc Kawasaki engine means you can enjoy a max forward speed of 7mph, and an impressive reverse speed of up to 3.5mph – super fast compared with rivals.
The riding lawnmower is also extremely comfortable with its 20” adjustable high back seat, and easily adjustable lap bars. There’s a lot to love about this machine, and you can read more about it in our full review.
Full review: Cub Cadet ZT1 50 (opens in new tab)
The Black + Decker BEMW472BH is an entry-level lawn mower for smaller lawns that has a unique bike handlebar design for ergonomic steering.
What the users say…
The Black + Decker BEMW472BH gets 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with 60% giving it the full five stars. Positive reviews praised the lawn mower for its long running motor and one said: “One of the reasons I got this one was due to the weight of the machine. I have a very bad back along with bad shoulders and hips. I can pick this up and take it up or down the five steps to our backyard. This is very lightweight and easy to use.” Negative reviews complained that the machine was quite cheap looking with a lot of plastic, while another said the bag was too small and “only catches a small amount of grass”.
It’s fast to set up, lightweight and the bike-style handles make it super easy to push. It’s also foldable so is a great choice for anyone short on space or with a small garage.
The 10-amp 15” electric mower has six adjustable cutting heights as well as safety features to prevent accidental starting. It’s cheap to run and while it’s not packed with features, it gets the job done efficiently and is made by a trusted brand that delivers. Our only real complaint is it’s a shame it doesn’t come with a retractable mechanism for your extension cord, because the hooks on the front that you have to keep wrapping and unwrapping the cord around are a bit inadequate and annoying.
Buying advice for the best lawn mowers
What to look for in a lawn mower
What should I look for in a lawn mower? Cobra’s managing director Chaloner says first think about budget, yard size, terrain and power source.
He says: “You can choose between gas, electric or cordless battery. Gas is a more traditional option but does require a trip to the gas station to fill up. Electric mowers are also popular but aren’t ideal for larger lawns where power may not be easily accessible. Cordless mowers are a very convenient solution – you can mow from the charge of a battery, so you don’t have to worry about electric cables or filling up with gas. They are also more environmentally friendly, and the battery could be transferred to be used in a range of hand tools like strimmers, leaf blowers and hedge trimmers.
“Another factor should be the cutting finish that you want. Many people strive for the classic striped finish. To achieve this you want to be looking for a cylinder or rear roller mower that will cut and press the lawn in the right direction to achieve the perfect stripes.”
Nick Grey, CEO for garden appliances firm Gtech (opens in new tab), has some advice, too. “When choosing a lawn mower, think about what your lawn is used for. If you have kids and pets, or your lawn gets lots of use, it will need to be hardwearing.
“Hardwearing lawns generally have thicker leaved grasses, which you cut no shorter than 50mm. If, however, you mainly like to look at your lawn then close cut fine-leaved grass and perfect stripes may well be your aim.
“The good news is you don’t have to reseed your lawn, how you care for it will ultimately determine the type of grass that will thrive. Most lawn mowers on sale are rotary – they have a helicopter type blade that spins horizontally over the lawn. The blade has aerofoil features which makes the grass stand up straight for cutting and then sweeps it into a bin for collection. These mowers are perfect for hardwearing lawns as they can cut long grass very evenly, tend to be wider so cut faster and are very low maintenance.
“Many rotary mowers are cordless and these tend to have the added safety of no 240v cable trailing around the blade, no need for gas and are generally quicker to use. The drawback of cordless is that you will need to cut larger lawns in two attempts while you recharge the battery. Gas and cordless mowers tend to be a bit more expensive, starting at around $165, while corded mowers range from $82. Gas mowers are becoming less popular due to the noise levels and mess.”