BEST LAWN MOWERS
For the ultimate in fuss-free mowing, consider a cordless model. With no cables to tangle with and no smelly petrol fumes or tricky starting procedures, a cordless mower will do the job in literally half the time
Greenworks GD60LM46SP Self Propelled
Although appearance isn’t a reason to choose a lawnmower, Greenworks models always look a bit more appealing than the rest. Well, here’s a new model that screams ‘buy me’, and for more reasons than just the way it looks, which is frankly fantastic.
Aside from boasting a super durable long-life 46cm steel cutting deck that’s perfect for up to half an acre and possibly more, this exceedingly powerful Greenworks model is also equipped with variable-speed self propulsion, a long-life brushless motor, two 60v batteries, a charger, a mulching plug and side chute, and a 55-litre fabric grass collector. That’s a lot of gear for your wonga.
If you really hate pushing a mower up and down, then do yourself a favour and splash out on this model because it rocks on all fronts. The self propulsion speed is adjusted using a rocker throttle with two little icons on either side – a snail for a slow comfortable walking pace and a hare for what can only be described as a brisk march. In our test, it cut a swathe with effortless precision, never once bogging down, even when it hit a stretch of tall grass. The included mulching plug and clip-on side chute can be considered an extra bonus.
The Greenworks’ seven cutting heights (from 25mm to 80mm) are effortless to adjust using the large lever on its right and its two-way folding handlebar system is very well designed and capable of being used at three different height positions, including one low enough for someone under five feet tall. Having two batteries is another major plus that should provide up to 120 minutes of continuous mowing when using the slowest self-propulsion setting. Despite its size and weight (28kgs), it’s surprisingly easy to store without taking up too much space – simply fold up the handlebar assembly and store it in an upright position.
If you have a lawn in excess of 250 square metres and positively loathe mowing it, then this cool-looking, great value lawn barber could be just the ticket to get you off your arse and onto the turf.
Gtech Lawn Mower 2.0
This new replacement for the popular Gtech Falcon has been given a major overhaul and it’s a better product on so many fronts. For a mower with a modestly large 42cm cutting deck, it’s one of the lightest we’ve ever tested – so light you might think they’d forgotten to put a motor in it. It’s got a much better battery system, too: where the last model’s battery took five hours to charge, this one takes just 60 minutes for about 40 minutes of running time.
Unlike most lawn mowers, the Gtech 2.0 adopts a different type of blade. In fact it’s half a blade with a counterweight on the other end. Made from carbon steel, this new blade is said to be just as efficient while requiring less energy. All we know is that it cut our test lawn supremely well, and right to the edge of the border. Rather bizarrely, it also produced a completely different texture of cuttings that were much finer than any other mower we’ve ever tested. A shame it can’t mulch because those finer cuttings would be perfect to eject back into the lawn.
The motor’s worth a mention too, since it features automatic variable speed: in short to medium grass the blade rotates at a steady pace with little noise, but as soon as it feels the resistance of longer grass, it speeds up dramatically, cutting the offending fronds with effortless aplomb.
Noise level is another major consideration when purchasing any lawn mower. Where the outgoing Falcon made quite a din, this one emits a low, unobtrusive growl that sounds quite different to other models. We suspect it’s the half-blade because the mower vibrates a bit more than others, too, though not enough to spoil the party.
Gtech has completely refashioned the handlebar so it’s easier to store. Instead of a telescopic system (which we loved), this one folds twice and uses quick-release latches like most other manufacturers. The only real downside is that it can’t be adjusted for height and, as it stands, it feels almost too tall for this 5’6” lawnsmith.
Other welcome features include a fixed battery key that can’t be lost, a battery power indicator that is visible at all times and a large 50 litre grass collector that clips on and off with consummate ease.
If you have a small-to medium sized lawn and money is no object (at £500, this black beauty ain’t cheap), then slap your readies down on this one because and it’s one of the very best cordless mowers we’ve tested. It’s so unbelievably light and efficient that this writer can’t wait for the grass to grow so I can get out there and give it another whirl.
Greenworks’ diminutive 35cm model (G40LM35K2) is still the best budget-priced cordless mower on the market (review below) but if you want to step up a notch, then give this brand new 41cm version a whirl. It’s not as light as the smaller model (16kgs) and the motor’s noisier but the design and build are definite improvements.
This garden stylist’s 41cm cutting deck is perfect for medium to large lawns and features a one-touch cutting height button (six positions), a foldaway handle for easy storage and a mulching plug for those who like mulching much mulch. It also comes with two powerful 40-volt batteries, each capable of scything through 400m2 of sward on a single 60-minute charge. Oh, and it’s Lamborghini green, too, for added raciness.
Greenworks G-MAX 40V 41cm (G40LM41K2X)
This striking self-propelled 40-volt cordless model is just the thing for the lazy owner of a broad sward who can’t be bothered with pushing a mower up and down all day long. Here you simply pull on the wire bar and it moves off, pulling you along – at a fairly brisk pace it must be said.
The Cobra has a wide 18-inch (46cm) cutting width, a nice big seven-stage cutting height lever that raises the mower from 25mm to 75mm, a usefully large 60-litre grass bag and the wherewithal to mulch till the cows come home.
It also has a charge indicator on the comfy handlebar that lets you know when you’re about to run out of power and, ingeniously, a storage bay for two batteries that automatically change over when the first one reaches depleted stage (expect around 30 minutes of cutting time when using the self-propulsion feature). At 29kgs, this mower’s quite a heavyweight, so perhaps avoid it if you have steps to negotiate.
FlyMo’s first cordless model has the narrowest cutting deck on this page (30cm) so definitely consider it if, like most townies, you have a titchy lawn. You shouldn’t have any problems storing it either since it’s not only the smallest folding mower we’ve come across but, at 9.9kgs, it’s the lightest, too. It even comes with a handle for easy lifting.
This writer shoved the convenient height-adjuster down a notch or two and gave the mower a spin in some three-inch grass. The little fella trundled straight through it, snipping here, snipping there without breaking into a sweat and doing a rather good job, despite leaving a few wheel marks in its wake. It also cut pretty close to the edge and was one of only a small handful of mowers quiet enough to not scare the neighbour’s rabbits.
The Mighti Mo’s 40-volt Li-Ion battery packs a powerful punch and will allegedly trim around 250m2 of lawn on a single two-hour charge. However, the plastic grass collector is relatively small (30 litres) so expect to make several trips to the compost heap.
FlyMo Mighti Mo 300Li
This green reaper is a veritable grass-consuming beef cake. It weighs almost as much as a petrol-driven machine but that’s hardly surprising given that it comes equipped with a gargantuan and rather fetching 7.5Ah, 56-volt Li-Ion battery that charges in around 45 minutes. It also features vari-speed self propulsion for effortless grass cutting; simply push on the rear bar and, presto, the mower moves off at a comfortable walking pace or, if you're a fit type, a spritely stroll. Bizarrely, this thing also has LED headlights for midnight mowing. As you do.
If you have a large lawn to mow and can’t be arsed with pushing a mower around, then this is the model for you. Its extra wide 50cm blade scythes through everything with extreme efficiency and it keeps on going for up to 35 minutes on a single charge. The huge grass collector, meanwhile, ensures fewer trips to the compost heap. Or you can fit the included mulching kit and have the finely-cut grass deposited out of the side and back onto the lawn; an efficient way to feed grass without the need for third-party fertilisers. The EGO folds up surprisingly small and can also be stored upright. Granted, it isn't cheap but it does the job exceedingly and is an ideal option for larger lawns. We like it. A lot.
Mountfield is a highly respected name in the horticultural world and this handsome and extremely well built rotary cutter is a case in point. For starters, it comes with two whopping 48v Lithium Ion batteries, providing enough charge to cover an impressive 300m2 or around an hour of continuous mowing. Each battery takes just over an hour to charge and can be used in other Mountfield Freedom48 products.
The 500-watt Princess produces a 38cm cut – good for medium-sized lawns – and comes equipped with a rear roller for creating stripes, a generous 40-litre grass collector, a mulching plug that directs nitrogen-rich grass cuttings back into the lawn and, get this, a push handle that can be adjusted for various heights. Rather usefully, the handle also folds in two making the whole package one of the smallest stowaway units in this roundup.
Mountfield Princess 38Li Freedom48
Needless to say, the Princess cut the test lawn impeccably well and even handled the longer jungle sections with aplomb. It was also freakishly quiet. Granted, the flimsy six-position cut height adjuster lever seems out of place on such a well-crafted unit, but that alone fails to prevent the Princess from gaining a Best Buy.
The top-selling, British-made Rotak doesn’t feel as solidly built as the Mountfield or GTech but it’s a doddle to push around and comes with an ergonomically-designed handle that is perfect for both righties and lefties. Our 37cm test model was effortless to use – it weighs just 13kgs – and kept on running for about 30 minutes from a single one-hour charge of its 36v Li-ion battery. It collected more cuttings than much of the competition and cut right to the edge of the lawn – wahey, no more grappling with a bloody strimmer. It does stripes too, though not brilliantly it must be said. A top buy for the well heeled.
Bosch Cordless Rotak 37 LI Ergoflex
At £200, the diminutive Greenworks – one of the smallest cordless mowers in this roundup – offers excellent value. It doesn’t weigh too much (around 14kgs) and it comes with a 35cm cutting deck (great for small lawns) a plastic lever for engaging the five cutting heights (20mm to 80mm), a small mesh grass collector and an interchangeable, high-performance 40v Li-ion battery that keeps the extraordinarily quiet motor running at full tilt right up to the last drop of juice. Expect a running time of around 35-40 minutes. The right-handed start lever is a bit of a faff to use but this mower performed remarkably well, collecting every last tuft of turf. Top budget buy.
Greenworks G-MAX 40V
This budget-priced green machine has a 34cm blade making it a decent choice for smaller gardens. However, while it did indeed cut our test patch right up to the edges, it also left it looking a bit unsightly in parts and the battery ran out of puff after just 18 minutes. On the plus side, it only took 70 minutes to charge. The Qualcast is a comfortable machine to use if you’re right handed but not much fun if you’re a southpaw since the single operation lever is positioned on the right. Given the choice, this writer would plump for the marginally more expensive Greenworks G-MAX above.
Qualcast 36V Li-ion
OTHER MOWING options
If you don't fancy forking out on an expensive model, have a large lawn or are simply too lazy to mow, try this tantalising smorgasbord of sward sorcerers
For the well-heeled horticulturalist who can’t be bothered with mowing the lawn, this one’s for you. Mind, you can’t just set this mini automaton down and let it loose. First you have to set its boundaries by laying a perimeter wire around the edge of the lawn. Once set up though, it’s simply a case of sitting back and relaxing while it automatically performs its random cutting task before returning to its base station for a quick recharge. Then it goes off again on another cutting spree. And so on. It’s an agonizingly slow process to watch, mind, but leave it to its own devices and you’ll eventually have a permanently manicured lawn without ever lifting a finger. The Flymo is good for lawns up to 400m2 and, reassuringly, it comes with an antitheft code that renders it useless to light-fingered tealeaves.
Flymo 1200R Robotic Lawnmower
If you have a lawn too large for a cordless or electric mower, consider a petrol-powered one like this hunk from Hayter. Petrol mowers are noisy, smelly and heavy, and you have to change the oil after the first five hours of use, followed by every successive season. You will also need to clean the air filter and change the spark plug from time to time. Oh, and you’ll need to have some spare unleaded petrol to hand too. Lots to do, then, before you’ve even hit the sod.
The Harrier has many plus points, not least the fact that it mows a lawn to near perfection while its 190cc Briggs & Stratton engine thunders on for ages on a single tank of unleaded. What’s more, because it’s so damn heavy (36kg) and comes with a massive rear roller, it lays a mean-looking stripe. The Harrier comes with a 41cm blade, a huge 53-litre fabric grass bag and the wherewithal to propel itself via the multi-speed Autodive system so you can mow one-handed while sipping a G&T.
Hayter Harrier Petrol 41 Autodrive VS
This electric mower is just the ticket for budget-conscious Lawnmower Man. Its 1400-watt motor rarely bogs down even in the most overgrown areas while its wide 38cm blade ensures fewer passes up and down the lawn. The Cobra comes equipped with a rear roller for tennis court stripes, a simple cutting height adjustment lever (from 2cm to 7.5cm), a 40-litre grass container and an articulated handle that folds into three for easy storage. If you don’t mind wrestling with a cable, have a smallish lawn and don’t fancy forking out on something you’ll only use about 20 times a year, then give this competent turf shearer a whirl.
A hover mower is only suitable for smooth, small lawns with no gnarly lumps and bumps. This 33cm Flymo model is ideal for small patches and, because it hovers on a pocket of air, you can literally swing it around when you get to the end of each strip. Its 26-litre grass box is ample and easy to disengage but you’ll need to remove the blade to fit or add plastic spacers if you want to change the cutting height. Also bear in mind that its maximum height setting is just 3.2cm which may be a shave too close for some types of grass.
Flymo Glider 330
Got half an acre of pasture? How about this comical-looking 244cc petrol-powered ride-on? The Mountfield is narrow enough for most garden gates and features electric key-start ignition, hydrostatic transmission for greater manoeuvrability and quicker acceleration, a huge 66cm cutting deck and a monstrous 150 litre grass box that can be emptied without getting off one’s arse. Extra design flourishes include easy lever access to its five cutting heights (30mm to 80mm) and a fuss-free cutter deck cleaning system that uses a hose attachment and a blast of water to purge the deck of sticky grass cuttings and the inevitable clump of doggy poos.
Mountfield 827H Compact Lawn Rider
If you have several acres of meadow to maintain, you need to make like Farmer Brown and invest in a high quality mini tractor – like this extraordinarily pricy green and yellow hunk from the Land Rover of farm machinery, John Deere. This beauty features a three-cylinder, high torque diesel engine, a differential lock for maximum traction, a 19-litre tank for lengthy mowing sessions, a choice of cutting decks (122cm and 152cm), headlights for midnight bush whacking and, best of all, four wheel steering for pulling Gs round the holly bush. Mustard.