Different Mower Types Explained (For UK Gardens)

If you’re in the market for a new lawn mower, you’re probably wondering what options are available to you.

Here, I’ve outlined the 5 types of lawn mowers you’re likely to come across when shopping for a lawn mower for your garden.

I’ve also shared a few quick comparisons of different mower blade types and functions.

✅ Key Takeaways:

  • The 5 common mower types for home lawn mowing are corded electric mowers, cordless battery-powered mowers, manual mowers, petrol mowers, and robot mowers.

  • Most domestic mowers are rotary lawn mowers, but manual mowers typically use cylinder blades.

  • There are numerous features that most mower types have in common, including cut height adjustments, a grass box or bag, and storage features.

Table of Contents

📝 5 Common Mower Types For Home Lawn Mowing

Let’s look at the 5 most common lawn mower types for gardens in the UK:

 

🔌 Corded Electric Mowers

Average price: £75-£150

Best for: People who want an affordable, quick, easy mowing solution for smaller lawns.

 

A corded electric mower is a push mower that’s powered by mains electricity.

 

As the name suggests, a corded mower has a power cord and needs to be plugged into a power outlet to operate.

 

You can find corded mowers in various sizes, with cutting widths ranging from 28cm to 42cm or more.

 

Most electric lawn mowers have a cut height adjustment setting, so you can tailor the cut height to your preferences. They’re usually rotary mowers, which use a single powerful blade to make easy work of cutting grass.

 

These mowers are quick and have powerful engines (typically between 1,500 and 1,800 watts), so they’re a good choice for mowing tall grass and rough terrain.

 

Corded Electric Mower Pros

  • Lightweight

  • Powerful performance

  • Easy to use

  • Quicker than other mower types

  • Can be used for a mowing session of any length

Corded Electric Mower Cons

  • Restricted by cord length (most cords are 10 metres)

  • May need to be used with an extension lead, which reduces motor power

  • Not ideal for large lawns

  • Use energy & cost money to run

4.5/5
4.5/5

🔋 Cordless Battery-Powered Lawn Mowers

Average price: £125-£225

 

Best for: Folks with small-to-medium-sized lawns who prefer the convenience of a mower that isn’t tethered by a cord but is lower-maintenance than a petrol mower.

 

Cordless mowers are battery-powered lawn mowers that use one or two rechargeable batteries to power the motor.

 

Unlike a conventional electric mower, a battery-powered mower doesn’t need to be plugged in at all times. You just need to charge the battery before use. A single 18-volt mower battery has a run time of around 30 minutes.

 

Cordless electric mowers are more convenient than corded mowers because they can be used in any part of your garden without being restricted by a cord.

 

However, these mowers are slightly less powerful because they have a somewhat more energy-conserving performance due to their limited battery life, so they’re not the best choice for cutting large lawns or long, thick grass.

 

Cordless Mower Pros

  • Cord-free design is safer and more convenient

  • Easy to maintain

  • Can be used in areas with no power access (as long as battery is charged in advance)

  • Quieter operation

  • Environmentally friendly

Cordless Mower Cons

  • May struggle to cut long, thick grass

  • Limited battery life isn’t ideal for cutting a large lawn

  • Must remember to charge batteries before use

💪 Manual Lawn Mowers

Average price: £55-£125

 

Best for: Anyone looking for a quiet, eco-friendly alternative to electric or petrol-powered lawn mowers for smaller lawns.

 

Manual push mowers are the most affordable and eco-friendly mower type for home lawn mowing.

 

A manual mower is powered by the person pushing it. That means, when you walk forward and push the mower handles, the resistance caused by the act of pushing the mower forward will drive the blades.

 

Using a manual lawn mower is more of a physical workout than using any other mower type for that reason, despite the fact that manual mowers are smaller, lighter, and more compact than their peers.

 

A manual push mower is a great choice for cutting a small garden without disturbing your neighbours or contributing to the release of greenhouse gases. Manual reel mowers have cylinder blades, which produce a shorter, better-quality cut.

 

Manual Mower Pros

  • Most affordable mower type

  • Quiet operation – can be used at any time of the day

  • Help you keep fit

  • Better for your grass health

  • Environmentally-friendly

Manual Mower Cons

  • Cylinder lawn mower blades require more maintenance

  • Demand too much effort for cutting large lawns or long grass

  • Only effective on flat lawns

  • Can’t mow over twigs & leaves

4.5/5
4.5/5

🛢 Petrol Lawn Mowers

Average price: £250-£375

 

Best for: Folks with a medium-to-large lawn who needs the most powerful lawn mower to quickly and effortlessly cut their grass.

 

Petrol mowers are the most powerful push mower type available today.

 

These mowers have an internal combustion engine, like a car engine, that’s powered by petrol and drives the cutting blades to spin at high speeds.

 

A petrol lawn mower is most commonly found with rotary mower blades, but there are also some cylinder lawn mowers available with petrol engines.

 

Petrol lawn mowers may be self-propelled or conventional push mowers. Self-propelled lawn mowers have a motor that drives the wheels, so you can walk behind and steer the mower without the physical exertion of pushing the handles. Push mowers will only move forward with your pushing power.

 

Petrol Mower Pros

  • Can cut grass with up to double speed & efficiency

  • Not restricted by a cable or battery life

  • Can handle a variety of terrains

  • Best suited to large gardens

  • Durable and reliable

Petrol Mower Cons

  • Noisy

  • Least environmentally-friendly option

  • Requires more maintenance

  • Can be difficult to start

4.5/5
4.5/5

🤖 Robot Mowers

Average price: £300-£750

 

Best for: Anyone who wants to abandon the hassle of lawn mowing entirely and leave the job to a capable machine.

 

Robot mowers are small machines that cut grass autonomously, meaning that they independently mow your lawn based on a pre-set schedule. You can buy different mowers for different lawn sizes, ranging from 150 m² all the way up to 1,000 m² or bigger.

 

A robotic lawn mower looks a little like a robot vacuum cleaner. This mower has multiple spinning blades beneath its cutting deck, and mows lawns in a random pattern. Before you can use this mower, you’ll need to set a boundary wire around the perimeter of your garden and around any obstacles, so the mower knows where it needs to cut.

 

Robot mowers are ideal for anyone who hates the hassle of using a walk mower and wants to be done with their lawn mowing duties altogether.

 

However, the convenience of autonomous mowing doesn’t come cheap. The starting price of a basic robot mower for the smallest cutting area without WiFi connectivity is £300.

 

Robotic Mower Pros

  • Cuts grass for you

  • Prevents lawn from ever growing too long

  • Low operating costs

  • Requires minimal maintenance

  • Quiet, eco-friendly operation

Robotic Mower Cons

  • Most expensive mower type

  • My struggle to cut thick or long grass

  • Setup is a hassle

  • Can’t create lawn stripes

4.5/5
4.5/5

✂️ Rotary Vs Cylinder Mowers

The majority of push mower models have a rotary blade. However, there are a few cylinder lawn mowers designed for domestic use.

Rotary lawn mowers have a single blade that spins horizontally underneath the mower deck. This type of mower chops grass with a high-speed smashing action, then sucks the grass clippings into the grass collector.

Cylinder mowers have multiple smaller cylinder blades, which spin vertically, cutting the grass with a snipping, scissor-like action. These mowers produce a cleaner cut and can cut closer to the ground, which is why they’re often used on sports turf or ornamental lawns. Most manual lawn mowers for domestic use use cylinder blades.

The majority of people will prefer a rotary mower because it has a strong, powerful blade that makes it suitable for mowing on all terrain types and grass lengths, so it’s the best choice for folks who just want to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

However, I recommend cylinder mowers to lawn mowing enthusiasts with flat, debris-free lawns who want to achieve the best-quality cut, and don’t mind mowing more frequently to maintain their lawn’s neat, closely-cropped appearance.

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Rotary Mower

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Cylinder Mower

⚪️ Wheeled Vs Hover Mowers

Most lawn mowers are supported by four wheels: two at the front and two at the back. Some manual mowers have two main wheels and a supportive roller bar at the back. These mowers are all known as wheeled lawn mowers.

In the corded electric mower category, you might also come across hover mowers. A hover mower is completely wheelless – instead, it floats above the ground on a cushion of air.

The advantage of hover mowers compared to wheeled mowers is that they’re much more maneuverable because they’re not restricted to forward and backward movements. You can move a hover mower in any direction with little resistance, and you won’t leave wheel ruts in your soil.

I recommend a hover mower to anyone who has an unusually shaped lawn or lots of obstacles or tight spots to maneuver. However, this mower type has its limitations – it has a smaller cutting deck and grass box compared to wheeled mowers because it can’t be too big, heavy, or bulky (which would prevent the mower from hovering).

In most scenarios, wheeled mowers are the better choice. But if you have a small lawn and just want a mower that’s quick and easy to use, consider a hover mower.

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Wheeled Mower

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Hover Mower

🚜 Push Mowers Vs Lawn Tractors

The majority of homeowners in the UK are looking for push mowers (also known as walk-behind mowers). These mowers are small and lightweight, so you can walk behind them and push them forward to mow your lawn.

If you have a very large lawn, you might want to upgrade from a push mower to a lawn tractor (or a ride-on mower).

Lawn tractors, as the name suggests, resemble small tractors. These mowers are operated by the person sitting on the machine, who presses down on a pedal and turns the wheel to direct the mower within the cutting space. There are a few different types fo ride-on mowers, including the zero-turn mower, which offers the best maneuverability.

Riding mowers take even less effort to operate than self-propelled mowers, but there are additional safety concerns associated with operating a larger mower.

I only recommend a ride-on mower if you have a big garden that takes over 30 minutes to mow with a standard push model.

Push Mower

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Lawn Tractor

📡 Different Mower Features

There are several features that most mower types have in common.

Regardless of the type of mower you buy, it should, at the very least, have the following features:

  • A specified cutting width – Depending on the mower deck size

  • A grass collection box – The majority of mowers collect grass clippings as they mow, excluding some cheaper electric and manual mowers, and robot mowers

  • Multiple cut heights – All push mowers have a feature that lets you adjust the height of the mower deck to alter the height of cut

  • Storage features – Any decent push mower should have features that allow for easy or convenient storage, such as a folding handle or a hook to hang the mower from a wall

There are a few additional features that you might find on some types of lawn mowers. These features are optional, so they’re not guaranteed on all mowers, and you may need to pay more money upfront for their extra mowing perks.

These include:

  • A rear roller – For a striped lawn

  • A mulching plug – For mulching grass clippings rather than collecting them in a box

  • Grass combs – For effective cutting right up to your lawn edge

We’ve looked in more detail at the different lawn mower features in our guide to the essential and optional features of a mower.

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🏁 Final Word

Now you know the different types of lawn mowers, take some time to weigh up the pros and cons of all the mower types you’re interested in, then decide on which mowers best suit your budget and grass cutting requirements.

If you’re ready to start shopping, check out my 8 top tips for buying a new mower.

❓ FAQ

What are the different lawn mower power types?

The different lawn mower power types are manual, electric-powered, petrol-powered, and battery-powered. Petrol lawn mowers are the most powerful, followed by electric-powered, then battery-powered, then manual.

 

What type of mower gives the best cut?

Any mower with a cylinder blade, such as a manual lawn mower, produces the best cut. That’s because cylinder mowers cut grass cleanly with a scissoring action, rather than “smashing” the grass (as a rotary mower would do). That means you can enjoy a more even cut, and you’re less likely to harm your grass health, so you can enjoy a greener lawn.

 

What is the most common type of lawn mower?

The most common type of lawn mower for cutting small-to-medium gardens in the UK is the corded electric lawn mower. This mower is powered by mains electricity and needs to be plugged into a power outlet while in operation. For large gardens, petrol mowers are the more popular choice because they’re more powerful and get the job done faster.

 

What’s the difference between a front-wheel drive, a rear-wheel drive, and an all-wheel drive mower?

The difference between front, rear, and all-wheel drive mowers is which wheels are connected to the power source. In a front-wheel drive mower, the front wheels propel the mower along. A rear-wheel drive mower pushes the mower forward using its back wheels, and an all-wheel drive mower has all four wheels connected to the power source. Front-wheel drive mowers are the most maneuverable but are best for flat lawns; rear-wheel drive mowers are more difficult to maneuver but work well on rough or unsteady terrain; and all-wheel drive mowers are speedy and powerful, but also lack maneuverability.

 

Can a rough cut mower cut grass?

Yes, a rough cut mower can be used for grass cutting. However, this mower is primarily designed for cutting through thick undergrowth, and use more power to tackle dense vegetation, so using a rough cut mower on your lawn will mean you’re using more power than necessary.

 

What are the best lawn mower brands?

Some of the best domestic lawn mower brands in the UK are Bosch, Flymo, Gardena, Hyundai, LawnMaster, Einhell, Murray, and Webb. We’ve shared a complete list of all the reliable UK lawn mower brands in our guide to the best lawn mower manufacturers.