A high-quality lawn mower is essential for gardens of all sizes. Cutting your lawn regularly will keep it lush and healthy, giving you a beautiful outdoor space throughout the year. There are many types of lawn mowers available, from ride-on mowers, to hover mowers and robot mowers.
In this guide from Sims Garden Machinery, an expert lawn mower supplier with decades of experience, we’ll look through the commonly available lawn mower designs, covering the power options, and whether to opt for a mulching mower. We’ll then make some lawn mower recommendations for both commercial and private gardens of various sizes.
The Different Types of Ride-on Lawn Mowers Available
Lawn mowers can be split into three basic categories, ride-on lawn mowers, walk-behind mowers, and robotic mowers. A ride-on lawn mower is a larger model with a built-in seat, more often used for bigger gardens or commercial gardening projects.
Ride-on Lawn Mowers
A regular ride-on lawn mower can come in several designs, including solid lawn tractors, and other models with their mowing equipment called a cutting deck, installed out-front. Ride-on lawn mowers can offer a fast and effortless cutting experience, perfect for larger gardens, commercial parks, and sports areas. They come with a higher price tag than walk-behind mowers, making them unsuitable for smaller gardens or limited budgets.
Zero Turn Mower
A premium ride-on lawn mower design, zero-turn mowers are designed to precisely cut around corners and objects. This means they can at once effectively cover large areas much like a traditional ride-on mower, and also that they can also be used in more delicate spaces, easily manoeuvring around things like trees or garden features. A zero-turn mower will be a professional product, coming with a high price tag.
The Different Types of Walk-Behind Mowers Available
The more traditional type of lawn mower design is a walk-behind model, which can come in a variety of designs.
Probably the most popular type of lawn mower, rotary mowers have a single horizontal blade that cuts through grass by rotating at a high speed. Rotary mowers are popular because of their ease of use, ease of cleaning, and ease of repair. Compared to a cylinder mower they will not offer as accurate or consistent of a cut, but for most gardeners, they will be perfectly acceptable.
Cylinder mowers, sometimes called reel mowers, have a rotating cylindrical head of blades, which will cut grass against a fixed blade. They work on flat lawns, with less effective results on uneven ground. Cylinder mowers are also unsuitable for use with tall grass, making regular mowing a must. Maintenance of a cylinder mower will be of the utmost importance, as its blades can chew rather than cut the grass if dulled. They are often used by professionals or those looking to invest time in lawn care in order to make the most beautiful garden they can. One of the key benefits of using a reel mower is that you can create lines in your lawn, giving it the traditional striped look. Cylinder mowers offer a neat, low cut, but may not be suitable for every homeowner.
For something really traditional, push mowers are available, where you’ll manually push through your lawn, the cylindrical blades turning with wheel movement. Push mowers do bring some benefits with them, as their size and movement allow them to work around obstacles easily. A push mower is also lightweight, making it easier to transport. The major drawback of a push mower is the high levels of effort needed to mow, making them suitable for small gardens only. If looking to avoid emissions, cut costs, or get some great exercise, then a push mower could be the option for you.
Hover mowers float on a cushion of air, affording them fantastic manoeuvrability, whether on slopes or around trees. For gardens with uneven ground, hover mowers can offer a quick, easy mowing experience, and are priced at the lower end of the powered spectrum. A potential drawback of hover models is that they can struggle with larger or more unkempt lawns, meaning you would have to stick to a regular mowing schedule.
Robot lawn mowers are designed to take the hassle out of mowing your lawn, fully cutting your lawn with no effort on your part. To achieve this, you’ll have to use a boundary wire or a barrier to allow your mower to know the edges of your lawn. They can then be allowed to precisely cut the entirety of your garden, often working well with uneven ground and obstacles. Robot mowers come with inbuilt safety options, meaning you won’t need to worry about leaving them unaccompanied. These models are more expensive than a traditional lawn mower, but can save you time, whilst giving your lawn an accurate cut.
With the exception of push mowers, all mowers will be powered in some way, with petrol, corded, and battery-powered options available. These types of lawn mower bring their own positives and negatives for personal and commercial gardening projects.
Petrol Powered Lawn Mowers
These lawn mowers will have a petrol-powered engine driving them. The benefits of petrol are that you can continually mow even the largest garden providing you have suitable reserves. The main drawback of petrol-powered motors is the noise levels they create. Particularly noticeable within residential areas, a petrol lawn mower will be considerably louder than other models. The other drawback is the cost of petrol will be higher than the cost of electricity.
Electric Powered Lawn Mowers
For smaller private gardens, electric corded lawn mowers can be a great entry-level choice. As long as your garden can be entirely reached by a power cord, then you’ll be able to cover the entire lawn in one go. Therein lies the drawback of electric corded lawn mowers, for larger or unusually shaped gardens they may be unsuitable. For gardens of a limited size, electric corded lawn mowers can be a great option. They also have the benefit of being quieter than a petrol model.
Battery Powered Lawn Mowers
A battery-powered lawn mower boasts the same benefits as electric mowers but without a cord. They will use a rechargeable battery, allowing you to charge it between uses. A drawback of battery-powered lawn mowers is that the charge time can be limited. For larger gardens or commercial use, there is a possibility that the battery may not be powerful enough to fully cover your garden. Over time, the batteries will also need to be replaced, which can be costly.
The Different Types of Lawn Mower Blades Explained
There are several different types of lawn mower blades available, with standard designs for rotary and cylinder models, alongside other more specialist options.
A cylinder lawn mower blade, sometimes called a reel blade, will be used within a cylinder mower model. This will be several spiralled blades rotating on an axis, with a stationary knife cutting grass against the blades, much like scissors.
Standard lawn mower blades are used within most rotary lawn mowers, offering solid cutting edges for a side discharge.
Low Lift Blades
Low lift blades are used within rotary lawn mowers, suitable for use within sandy soil gardens, as they don’t produce enough suction to pull up dust. These blades are quieter and possess long term durability compared to standard designs. However, they do not suck debris into bagging if that is required.
High Lift Blades
The opposite of low lift, high lift lawn mower blades are designed with a high level of suction, expertly pulling up grass, cutting it, and bagging it if needed. These will be unsuitable for sandy terrains, as sucked in dust will quickly wear a lawn mower out.
Mulching blades feature a more complex design, built to cut grass into small pieces for redistribution in your garden. They don’t offer the same level of suction and can have issues with dense grass, but if you’re looking for mulching then a mulching lawn mower blade is needed.
A gator blade is a type of blade used for mulching. Compared to traditional mulching blades, a gator blade provides high lift, helping to draw up glass and give a clean cut. They offer superior performance compared to traditional mulching blades, but tend to come with a higher price tag.
To Mulch or Not to Mulch?
When shopping for a lawn mower, you’ll have the option to get either a side discharge model or a mulching mower. Side discharge mowers deposit all grass they cut, either into a bag on the lawn mower, or back onto your lawn. Mulching mowers however can recycle grass clippings, finely re-cutting grass that has already been cut before depositing it back into your garden. Mulch can provide benefits to your lawn, as it is rich in nutrients.
Cutting long grass with a mulching mower can cause some issues, depositing larger pieces of grass back onto your lawn. Lots of contemporary mulching mowers can either mulch or side discharge into a bag, allowing you to mulch in spring and summer and compost grass clippings at wetter times of the year.
The Best Lawn Mowers For Uneven Ground
When looking for a lawn mower that can be used on uneven ground, there are two main options available to you. The first is a hover mower, which floats slightly off the ground and is capable of working at a 45-degree angle. This makes them great at manoeuvring around a hilly or otherwise uneven garden. Hover mowers can come in smaller designs suited for dips or tight areas. Your other main option would be to buy a sturdy self-propelled mower. The power offered by a self-propelling lawn mower will allow it to move over difficult terrain more easily.
How to Choose the Ideal Type of Lawn Mower For You
The best type of lawn mower for you will depend on several factors, whether you are a private or commercial gardener, the size of your garden, and the precision with which you are looking to cut your grass.
Small Private Garden
For a small garden, you’ll probably be looking for a walk-behind mower. Ride-on and robotic lawn mowers come with a price tag that can be difficult to justify in smaller gardens. For the amateur gardener, a quality rotary mower would probably be the best type to choose.
A great choice of cordless rotary mower would be the STIHL RMA 443 C, a sturdy, lightweight model, capable of covering 450m2 on a single charge. For a petrol-powered mower, the Mountfield HP42 offers both mulching and side collection options for a great price. If you’re looking for some great exercise, why not try the Cobra HM381, a hand-propelled cylinder mower that was chosen as a “Best Buy” in Gardeners’ World Magazine.
If you are looking for a beautiful, carefully trimmed lawn, then a cylindrical mower can give you a consistent height and a classic striped look. The Allett Classic 12E is a cylinder mower designed for smaller lawns, coming with a 15m cable.
Medium Private Garden
You’ll have a variety of options when looking for the best type of lawn mower for a medium-sized garden. If looking for a traditional rotary lawn mower the Cobra MC484SPCE is a petrol model ideal for medium to large lawns, offering adjustable speeds and cutting heights. For an electric model, the STIHL RMA 339 C is designed for medium-sized lawns, offering a comfortable mowing experience. In a medium garden with uneven ground, a hover mower like the Cobra Airmow 518 can be a great choice. It can cut at up to 45° angles and includes attachable wheels to further help mow uneven ground.
For those seeking the perfect lawn, the Allet Sandringham 14E is a premium electric cylinder mower designed for medium-sized home gardens, allowing you to achieve a beautiful striped look at exacting heights.
Large Private Garden
For a larger private garden, you’ll be looking to buy a more heavy-duty walk-behind mower, or even to invest in a ride-on mower or robotic mower, The Mountfield Empress 46 is a self-propelled cordless model designed for larger gardens, that can cover up to 550m2 of lawn. For a heavy-duty petrol mower, the Toro TimeMaster is a self-propelling model with an optional mulching feature. For those seeking a picture-perfect lawn, the Allett Classic 17L is a petrol-powered cylinder mower perfect for making a larger striped lawn.
In a large garden, it may be worth investing in a ride-on lawn tractor like the Mountfield 1538M is a powerful mower that offers both side discharge and mulching. Another option for larger gardens is a robotic mower, further reducing the time investment needed to keep your lawn clean and healthy. A model like the Husqvarna Automower 315 can work in a garden of 1500m2, automatically cutting grass to the preferred height.
A commercial gardener will be looking for a professional-grade walk-behind mower, or a larger ride-on model. The Honda HRH 536 is a professional petrol rotary mower, with an extra-large fuel tank and a powerful, resilient cutting action. If looking for a ride-on model, the Ariens ZENITH is a commercial-grade zero-turn mower, offering accurate and quick cutting, with the ability to handle complex spaces.
Our Full Range of Lawn Mowers
Sims Garden Machinery offers a wide array of lawn mowers, suitable for both domestic and commercial use. We have a suite of walk-behind mowers, with rotary and cylinder options. We also stock ride on lawn mowers, including zero turn models. All of our range can be delivered across the UK, with a member of our team assembling and demonstrating your mower to you upon delivery. We also have a range of mowers viewable from our Stratford Upon Avon HQ.
Browse our range of lawn mowers today, with great branded options for both personal and commercial mowers.