Over the coming months, many of us will be spending our weekends behind a mower. So it pays to get a good one. But where do you start with so much choice?
“I test mowers regularly at The English Garden’s home garden, Stockton Bury in Herefordshire, and as a green keeper in a past life I know my machines,” says Tamsin Westhorpe, editor-at-large of The English Garden magazine.
The first step, she says, is to consider the size of your grass patch and what you use it for. “For a fine lawn with stripes, you will need a cylinder mower, whereas those who have a general-purpose family lawn will find a rotary powered by either petrol or electric preferable, and those with a tiny lawn might find the answer is a hand-push mower. Then, of course, there are those with huge lawns, which puts a ride-on in the running.”
Once you know what you want your mower to do, look at details such as weight, noise and size for storage, she advises. “One thing is for sure: there is a mower out there for everyone.”
She’s helped us round-up the best out there this season for all budgets, from THE HANDY Tribute Large Roller Cylinder Mower, a cheap and cheerful hand push mower, to the all-singing-all dancing Kubota T1880, the ultimate a ride-on mower for those with larger gardens.
1. Black & Decker 3-in-1 Mower, £100, amazon
This nifty, compact machine can mow, trim and edge smaller patches of grass. Available in corded and cordless models (we recommend the cordless), you simply remove the base to convert it into the strimmer or edger. It won’t give you perfect stripes, but its versatility makes up for it.
2. Cobra M46SPE, £225, keengardener.co.uk
Tamsin calls Cobra’s new self-propelled electric rotary mower “a good-looking machine, suitable for every garden”. She likes that it offers cutting, mulching, side or rear discharge and grass collecting - and it has a seven-stage cutting-height adjustment.
3. The Handy Tribute Large Roller Cylinder Mower, £70 amazon
A budget option for little lawns. “This easy to store mower is quiet and eco-friendly as it doesn’t rely on electricity or petrol,” says Tamsin. It comes with a rear roller, a five-bladed cylinder for adjustable cutting heights and an easy-to-attach grass collector.
4. Bosch Rotak 34R, £90, amazon
This compact, lightweight mower is ideal for small to medium lawns. The 34 cm sharpened steel blade and grass combs deliver clean, close-up cutting. It has folding handles and a stackable grass box for easy storage and carrying.
5. Kubota T1880, £4,152, bestbuymowers.co.uk
“Every man wants a ride-on mower,” says Tamsin. “The Kubota’s cushion-ride suspension offers a smooth ride on bumpy ground and the steering is light. Despite the price tag, it’s quite a sensible price compared to others and it offers what you need without blinding you with gadgets.
6. Honda HRG466 SK, £495, amazon
If you take pride in your lawn, this self-propelled mower is worth the money. You’ll have no problem getting it started or manoeuvring it, the controls are simple and the grass collector is easy to remove, refit and clean. There are six cutting heights and a 55-litre grass bag. There’s also a three year warranty.
7. Hayter R53S Recycling Mower VS ES, £509, mowdirect.co.uk
“This is a good one if you have a large lawn with areas of longer grass,” says Tamsin. It’s light compared to other petrol rotaries and it has a rear grass collector, a side discharge and recycle function. The mower automatically adapts to your walking speed.
8. Allett Kensington 14k, £1,149, amazon
“If you’re dreaming of striped lawns, this is the machine for you,” says Tamsin. The self-propelled mower has an easily removable blade and scarifiers or brushes added. This model’s used on many of the UK’s finest grounds, so you’re in good company.
9. Flymo Chevron 34C, £99, amazon
This electric rotary mower is a great budget option for family lawns and it has a rear roller. The grass box is a decent size, though we found it slightly tricky to empty.
10. Mountfield HP164, £150, screwfix
The Mountfield is a good one for small or medium-sized lawns. This hand-propelled mower was easy to star, there are five pre-set cutting positions and there’s a removable grass collector.
The new self-propelled Cobra M46SPE is our top choice. Not only is it good value for the quality, but it’s a fabulous all-rounder for every type of garden. In second place is the Honda HRG466 SK. You’ll need deeper pockets, but it’s so reliable and idiot-proof to use that it’s well worth the investment.