Lawn Mowers

Different Types of Lawn Mowers

Cutting your lawn correctly can make a huge difference to how healthy it looks and envious your neighbours are. To do this you need to choose the correct type of lawn mower for your size and shape garden. In this article we look at petrol lawn mower's, electric lawn mowers in both cylinder lawn mower and rotary lawn mower types. We shall also discuss hover mowers to see whether they really are a lot less bother.

Petrol Lawn Mowers
Electric Lawn Mowers
Cylinder lawn mowers
Rotary lawn mowers
Hover mowers
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Petrol Lawn Mowers Back to top

The key advantage of a petrol lawn mower is obvious and that is that it has no cable. Wow, the things you learn on the internet? The end. No, there's more. Generally speaking this is a big issue for people with large gardens who do not happen to have a few hundred metres of extension cable to drag back and forth (add infinitum) across their lawn. The other added bonus is that you do not have to replace this cable every 6 months after shredding it with your lawn mower. Another advantage is that they are powerful. If you have an area that occasionally gets out of hand or perhaps a meadow type area, then a petrol mower will usually breeze through the job (although as a young lad I remember lifting the front end of my petrol rotary lawn mower up and bringing it slowly down on the twitch in my next door neighbours garden else it would stall the lawn mower engine - now that garden got out of hand!).

There are disadvantages though. First is price in that a basic petrol lawn mower will set you back £80 (in sale as of 2011). A better model, say a Mountfield S461 PD 46cm Self-Propelled Petrol Rotary Mower will cost about £290 (again in sale 2011). Another disadvantage for me, and remember I am quite a sensitive chap, is the noise they make. I have enough noise in the house with the wife and kids running around screaming let alone a 4hp engine 1 metre from my ears. I suppose I could wear ear defenders - and maybe try them on when I cut the lawn as well.

Electric Lawn Mowers Back to top

The key advantage of an electric lawn mower for most people will be the price. A basic rotary electric lawn mower will cost you about half the price of a rotary petrol lawn mower, so say about £40-50. They are generally quieter and lighter to use and need less maintenance than a petrol lawn mower.

The key area they lack in, apart from the previously mentioned tether to the national grid, is power. A basic petrol lawn mower is at least 3hp, whilst an electric lawn mower is 1.5hp ( electric lawn mower engines are rated in watts where 1hp = 746 watts) going up to about 2 hp. Does it make a difference to the lawn cutting? Again depends on the size of the lawn, how regularly you cut it and the type of grass. In a small to medium garden you shouldn't have any problems with a standard electric lawn mower you would get from the DIY store. If you have a bigger garden then the cable won't stretch and you have to buy a petrol mower. So, its not a problem really then? (OR you could drag a petrol generator around the garden to plug the electric mower into?!)

Cylinder lawn mowers Back to top

A good cylinder lawn mower is the best type of lawn mower that you can buy to cut your lawn with. End of story really, as rotary can't compete. A good analogy is that a cylinder lawn mower is like having your hair cut at a hairdressers and a rotary mower is like having it clipped using a home barber kit. In case you don't know what a cylinder mower is, its like one of the old style mowers that folks used to have to push around before the invention of electricity and petrol. As the lawn mower goes forward, either pushed by you or under its own propulsion, a horizontally mounted cylinder rotates with a series of cutting blades on its surface trimming the grass to the desired height. The disadvantage is the cost. Whilst you can buy a push cylinder mower for less than £40, it is hard work. A basic electric cylinder mower will cost you closer £80 which will get you a grass collecting box and a roller behind the cutting blade, which should give you the stripes on your lawn you have always desired. Something a little bit more refined such as the classic Suffolk Punch will set you back over £450. But for that you get a piece of lawn mowing history and a 3 year parts warranty. OK, so your not bothered about the history bit, well its a good lawn mower.

Rotary lawn mowers Back to top

A rotary lawn mower cuts the grass using a rotating blade (I kid you not). This hacks the grass down and leaves a torn finish to the grass blade. Need that striped finish on your lawn, then you don't have to have a cylinder lawn mower to do it, a rotary lawn mower will do a good a job as long as it has a roller on the back. Rotary lawn mowers will give you a tidy finish that looks respectable and have the advantage that it will still easily cut your grass after the winter break when its a little too long. There are also available for less money than cylinder mowers, in both petrol and electric versions.

Hover mowers Back to top 

The basic cutting method for a hover lawn mower is the same as for a rotary lawn mower the difference here is in the design of the skirt that surrounds the cutting blade. The rotation of the blades creates a down draft and the escaping air lifts the whole of the lawn mower off the grass surface so that it floats a few cm above it. This can mean that it is very easy to push around the garden and, providing that you are not interested in getting stripes, means that you can mow the lawn from side to side if you wish. I currently own a hover mower, sold by Flymo in this case, and am very happy with it. It suits my medium size garden, is quiet, collects the grass, is easy to clean and empty and didn't cost that much (about £90 I think a few years ago). Hover mowers without any means of grass collection are very cheap starting from as little as £30!

(Updated 2011 - my wife chopped the cable up "big time" and as the replacements were hard to come by we went and bought a Bosch Rotak 320 electric rotary mower which is incredibly light, quite quiet and does a good job on the grass for our poor lawn at least.)

Scythe Back to top

This was how large country estates used to maintain their newly fashionable lawns that Capability Brown was laying (although not personally I suspect). Advantages with a scythe are that you can scare the daylights out of the neighbours by dressing up as the Grim Reaper whilst you cut the lawn. Disadvantages include cutting your legs off and having armed response units telling you to 'drop the weapon'.

Buy Lawn Mowers OnlineBack to top

You can buy lawn mowers from any decent home and garden centre on the high street. However you can often get much better deals if you buy lawn mowers online.  I have found that Amazon, if not always the cheapest (although often the case), are great at replacing faulty items without any fuss.

Lawn Mower Back to top 

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"Loved your humor, have'nt laughed like this in a great while. I just started a landscaping company in the state of MA U.S., I'm not sure why there are'nt more cylinder mowers being used, can't wait to introduce it in the area. Thanks so much for the good laugh :)"


"Hi - I have a small garden with overpowering brambles - i want a lawn mower that can mow the body down and poison to kill the root, advice pls any one - good mower to buy ? "


"thankyou!!! informative and humourous"


"very humorous and most informative"

james hill

"Very informative and nicely written, thank you. The injection of humour was an added bonus."


"Its my first time looking to purchase a Lawn Mower, I found your research very entertaining as well as informative. "

Garden Novice

"Would have been useful to have included Battery Lawn mowers as well to compare, also ease of use. Thank you"

Miss P Green

"Most of these comments are forged by the site owner.
Admin: Including this one..."


"I totally agreed what you said above in regards to rotary and cylinder. I just bought Gardena 380 Li and can't be happier. So now I have both cylinder and rotary types, and can see a clear difference in mowing quality. Rotary is nowhere near to cylinder for sure. I would highly recommend to those who don't want to compromise in terms of quality cut. Surely, quieter and environmental friendly is another advantage."


"My adult children are both supposed 'experts' on gardening and always try to tell me what to do. I now feel better prepared to argue the pros and cons of different lawnmowers........good thing since I will be the one paying out!! Thanks"

Informed retiree

"What a refreshing change. Brilliantly put together and very funny. I'm off to buy a push around cylinder mower tomorrow. Thanks for the advice. Dave"

David Wade

"excellent and amusing ! All the info I wanted to know including the authors preference which is always helpful, now off to look at the recommended links, again invaluable."

Mrs J Thomas

"Informative as well as humorous. Excellent!"

Mick Murray

"Hello thanks so much for the comprehensive and FUNNY info on lawnmowers. I've never owned one before so to get advice that makes me laugh out loud at the same time is a great start to my Saturday morning."


"Lawn Mowers Great site, gave me the information I required. Thanks "


"Cylinder Mowers. Penultimate line: did you mean "You're" not bothered, if not what is a "Not bothered" because I don't have one and feel deprived!"

Bill Holmes

"Well written, concise and enlightening"


"After reading your info. page on lawn mowers I was disappointed as it told me mostly what I already new. I would have liked more on your opinion on make of mower - best according to size +/or price. I was hoping for info re: a push button petrol mower - but nothing forthcoming - any hopes? "

Gill Jackson

"Brilliant advice AND witty, how much more could I ask for - you answered my questions on rotary v cylinder in a brief way, thanks! "


"Thank you, this was just the article I needed. Perfect and very funny. I'm going to go for a petrol - due to the length of my lawn - or a scythe - I like danger. "


"Found the advice really helpful and really enjoyed the writer's style! Thank you."


"Laughed out loud and informative too. If only more internet research was this much fun... "


"I'am looking for advice on what type of mower to use. Our garden isn't flat,infact it's VERY UNEVEN! The last people who owned it grew their own veg so u can imagine. Some information about lawn types would be very useful to me, whats the best one for very uneven ground? Thanks though for providing the info you have. Gavin, from bolton"

G. Smith

"LMAO - Fantastic - informative. Thanks you have put some good points forward for my consideration"


"Having a large, steep back garden and a small, flat front garden your article convinced me to buy a hover as the petrol mower I had previously was so heavy my thirteen year old son couldn't manage it. Now, with a lightweight hover mower he will have no excuses. Thanks for the information and cheering me up with the scythe paragraph (my son doesn't thank you!)"


"You can't cut your legs off with a scythe (only other people's or the dog's) due to the way it is held."


"thank you for making me laugh and giving me some useful advice"


"Your just what I need an expert on mowers, will you call over and cut my grass. Very informative article. "

carol swansea

"Thank you for such insight!! I didn't realise there was such a huge choice of mowers (yep, one of the ignorant ones). Your information has allowed me to make the right choice in selecting our new mower."

Mrs S Humphreys

"Very helpful in helping me choose. Thank you"


"Great advice... on the ear defenders. I think I'll buy some to wear around the house."

Tarique Naseem

"Message to Phill who noted your grammatical error with the apostrophe: - 'Rogue only has one u in it!'"


"Very useful - what about some info on the "new" cordless mowers, Bosch Rotak Li series for example"

Ed Michie

"Great article, very comprehensive, especially to one who has never bought a lawn mower before. I liked the bit about the sythe - had me laughing aloud. Thanks "


"Thanks, as an intelligent woman I found this made the differences very clear, unhindered by the usual male trying to blind female with unuseful science stuff."


"I enjoyed reading your good advice - got the info I needed and funny to boot."


"Hi, I use petrol driven rotary and cylinder and hover mowers at work. I glanced at this, whilst looking to buy a mower, to replace the flymo that my landlord provided - this had an electrical fault in the handle. Even if cheap to fix (doubt) don't trust it after the shock I got off it, Anyway with it being electric (most hover-mowers seem to be)there is that problem with the cables (drives me up the wall) - prefer petrol rotary mowers for that reason). Also found that when full it was almost to heavy to fly and NOT easy to move and when switched off & being taken out of garage etc, very awkward to shift with no wheels on. Also the grass-box is tiny - needs more stops to empty (can be combined with stops for moving cable). It's poss. to get petrol hover mowers but again they are expensive and noisy in comparison plus are not easy to move when not running and are tricky to start (unless there is a button/key start one now. Cordless battery flymo's don't seem to have 'taken off' and I suspect would have difficulty doing so with the extra weight of the battery - battery's don't provide power for long and also seem to require age's to charge. The good news is that hover mowers are THE thing for bank-sides / slopes. Right now I'm considering going back to basics by getting a good quality push cylinder-mower. If I had more money available + petrol use wasn't so bad for the environment, my shed was bigger and I had more time in the day so wasn't forced to mower when people may be in bed then I'd get a petrol driven, mulching rotary mower. "

G Hanson

"Nice and straight forward advice that even a 'non' gardener like me can understand - thank you"

Debs C

"Great advice and genuinely funny to read as well. I just want my grass cut as easy as possible and now I know what I want! Thanks again."


"Your spelling of the word "mowers" had a rougue apostrophe dropped in,ie "mower's""