How to choose a lawnmower

You’re spoilt for choice at Action Equipment when it comes time to choose a new lawnmower. We’ll help guide you to the model that best suits your needs and fits your budget, but there are a few things you can consider to get you started before you visit one of our stores.

Petrol, battery or electric?

You may have assumed that only a petrol-powered mower would be able to deliver the features and reliability you need. While they certainly make up the majority of the mowers we sell, battery technology has advanced in leaps and bounds over the last few years, and are very much a realistic option for many households. Corded electric models are also available for smaller properties or for households who need a lightweight mower that’s easy to store and maintain, and don’t mind the minor inconvenience of dragging an extension cord behind them.

Battery models are offered as part of a suite of lawn and garden tools that share batteries and chargers across the range. So once you’ve purchased one battery and charger, they can be used with other equipment – reducing your costs. Batteries, of course, make no mess and are easy and cheap to recharge in your shed, garage or home.

Corded and battery mowers are much quieter than petrol mowers, and have zero emissions.

Petrol lawnmowers are powered mainly by Briggs & Stratton engines, although Honda use their own engines. The current engines are the result of decades of engineering excellence and refinement, and while different mower brands and models will use a variety of engines, they’re broadly very similar. However, different types of engine do suit different lawns:

The larger and more challenging your lawn’s terrain, the more powerful an engine you’ll need to achieve the best results. Engines with overhead cams (OHC) are more powerful and run more smoothly and quietly. For large or uneven lawns, overhead valve (OHV) engines are the most powerful, are easiest to start and more efficient overall.

All petrol models are now four-stroke, which are more reliable than two-stroke and don’t need you to mix and store fuel and oil. One consideration may be starting the mower: pull-starts are greatly improved and will remain easy to use with regular engine servicing, while other models have electric starters operated with a button or key.

Cutting width

Cutting width varies significantly between types and models of mower, and may be a deciding factor in your choice.

Corded electric mowers tend to be between 12” and 16” wide, which often suits the types of property where they’ll be used. Battery mowers will usually be around 16” wide, although some models with particularly powerful batteries are available up to 21”. Petrol mowers are available in widths from 18” to 22”.

Naturally, obstacles around your property such as the width of a gate or gap between flowerbeds will be something you need to consider when deciding the practical mower size, but bear in mind that a wider cut means doing fewer laps of the lawn than a narrower cut will require.

Cut, catch or mulch?

Catching will always give the nicest-looking finish, but you need to have some way of disposing of the clippings, and pausing mowing to empty your catcher will mean that mowing takes a little longer.

Mulching also gives a fantastic finish, without the need to dispose of clippings, but is only recommended in certain conditions. The tiny clippings are returned to the lawn to nourish new growth.

Discharging clippings – whether from the side or (more usually) the rear of the mower – is the fastest way to cut grass, but does leave long clippings. This method is ideal for taller or coarser grass and land that’s mowed less often.

Many mowers offered by Action Equipment can do two or even all three types of mowing, so we’ve got you covered – especially if you think different finishes will suit different parts of your property.

Push or self-propelled?

Consider whether you want a mower you push yourself, or one that’s self-propelled and merely needs you to steer.

If your lawn is sloped or hilly, you might consider a self-propelled mower. Self-propelled mowers generally have variable speed settings up to around 5km/h, and often feature a blade clutch or bail to temporarily disengage the blades while crossing paths, driveways or other non-lawn surfaces.

Other considerations

Care must be taken when mowing on slopes and hills. When using a lawnmower, always mow across the incline, and avoid pulling a mower towards your feet.

If you have a hedge or row of trees that overhang your lawn, a mower with a handle that can tilt to one side will enable you to run the mower up the length of the row without being constantly swatted by leaves and branches.

The batteries in battery-powered lawnmowers will generally last for between 30 minutes and an hour. This is probably ample for most lawns where a battery lawnmower is being considered.

Have you considered a robot?

If mowing your lawn is becoming too much of a chore, or you just don’t have the time, a robotic lawnmower may be the solution for you.

Husqvarna has been producing the Automower since 1995, and the latest models are true marvels. Rain, hail or shine, night and day, Automower will happily mow lawns up to 5000m2 while you do something else. All they need is an outdoor power supply for their charging dock, and wiring under the grass to mark the boundaries of your lawn. With a fully-customisable timer and other on-board controls as well as a comprehensive smartphone app, you’re in total control – without any of the effort.