Manual Vs Electric Lawn Mower: What’s Best For You?

Trying to decide between manual and electric lawn mowers?


In this manual vs electric mower comparison guide, I’ve shared important information about both of these mower types, including their operation and performance, and their pros and cons, so you can confidently choose the best option for your needs.

✅ Key Takeaways:

  • The main difference between manual and electric mowers is that manual mowers are push-powered, while electric lawnmowers use a motor that’s powered by mains electricity or a rechargeable battery.

  • You may prefer a manual lawn mower if your budget is tight, you have a small lawn, and you’re happy to put in the extra physical effort to mow your grass.

  • Electric mowers are the better option for people with slightly bigger budgets who prefer a mower with a more powerful motor that requires less exertion to push and can handle a variety of terrains.

Table of Contents

❓ Are Manual Or Electric Mowers Best? Short Overview

There is no clear “best” mower when comparing manual lawn mowers and electric mowers. It depends on your personal preferences and your intended use.


Choose a manual lawn mower if you want to avoid the hassle of a power cord or a battery that needs charging or you have a small lawn and don’t mind the extra work that goes into manual mowing.


Choose an electric lawn mower if you want a powerful mower that takes minimal effort to push or you want a mower that can be used on all terrains, including on thick and tall grass.

power, cord, wrapped, up, on, mower,
  • Brand: Hyundai
  • Price: ££

  • Power source: Electric corded

  • Cutting width: 38cm

  • Cut height range: 20-70mm
  • Weight: 13.79 kilograms

  • Grass box capacity: 40 litres

  • Dimensions (DxWxH): 42 x 37 x 107cm

  • Power: 1600 W

🔌 What Are Electric Lawn Mowers?

Corded lawn mowers are powered by electricity, either by mains electricity or a rechargeable battery. These mowers use a motor, which drives the blades to spin.


There are two popular electric lawn mower types:

  • Corded mowers, which are plugged into a power outlet

  • Cordless mowers, which are battery-operated and need to be charged between mowing sessions

Most electric lawn mowers are rotary mowers, meaning that they use a single horizontally-spinning blade that shreds grass with a smashing action.


There are also electric hover mowers, which have the same features as above but float on a cushion of air rather than sitting on wheels, which gives them additional maneuverability.


✅ Pros of Corded Lawn Mowers

  • Electric mowers are more powerful than manual push mowers because they’re powered by a motor.

  • Folks with a medium-sized lawn will fare better with an electric mower because of its more powerful operation.

  • Electric rotary mowers are more capable of operating on a variety of terrain types and thicker, longer grass compared to manual models.

  • The cost of an electric lawn mower is fairly low and budget-friendly. You can buy a quality mower from a good brand for £80£170.

  • You can get the job done faster with an electric mower because the blades spin very quickly and are less likely to get clogged or stuck.

❌ Cons of Corded Lawn Mowers

  • The upfront cost and running cost of an electric lawnmower is higher.

  • You’re restricted either by a cable (in the case of a corded mower) or a limited battery life (in the case of a cordless electric mower).

  • Electric mowers use more energy, are louder, and are less environmentally friendly than manual models.

🧐 What Are Manual Lawn Mowers?

Manual mowers, otherwise called reel mowers or push mowers, are powered by a person pushing the mower.


These mowers don’t use a motor, and they don’t require electricity or fuel to operate. Instead, the force of pushing the mower forward over your lawn powers the blades to spin, cutting grass as you walk.


Most manual mowers are cylinder mowers, meaning that they have multiple small vertical blades on a cylinder, which snip the ends off grass blades with a scissoring action.


✅ Pros of Manual Lawn Mowers

  • Manual lawnmowers are lighter, more compact, and easier to carry and store than electric mowers because they don’t have a heavy motor.

  • You can use a manual mower for as long as you need to since you’re not restricted by a cable or a battery with a limited charge.

  • Manual mowers are more portable and easier to take in your car to a family member’s house or store in a small allotment shed.

  • This mower type is cheaper than all other mowers, with an average upfront cost of £45-£70.

  • You can usually get a higher-quality cut from a manual mower because of the cylinder blades, which are kinder to lawns than rotary blades.

❌ Cons of Manual Lawn Mowers

  • Manual push mowers take extra physical effort to operate because they’re not powered by a motor.

  • A manual lawn mower typically has a smaller cutting width and isn’t best suited to medium or large lawns.

  • This mower type typically has an open grass bag that isn’t very efficient at catching all grass clippings, and the bag is smaller, so you’ll need to empty it more frequently.


🔌💪 Manual Vs Electric Mowers: Main Differences

Let’s take a look at the main differences between manual and electric lawn mowers.

Feature Electric Corded Lawn Mower Manual Lawn Mower
Pros Easy to use, low maintenance, quiet, eco-friendly, no fumes, relatively inexpensive Inexpensive, no electricity or gas required, no fumes, quiet, good for small lawns
Cons Limited range, cord can be a tripping hazard, can be difficult to mow large lawns, not as powerful as gas-powered mowers Requires more physical effort, more time-consuming to mow, more difficult to mow large lawns, more maintenance required
Best for Small lawns, people who don't mind the extra effort Small lawns, people who want a quiet and eco-friendly lawn mower

💰 Power Source

Electric mowers are powered by electricity, while manual push mowers are powered by the physical act of pushing.


An electric lawnmower has a motor, which relies on electricity from a power source (either a battery or a mains power outlet) to operate. You couldn’t use an electric mower without this external power source.


A push reel mower doesn’t have a motor and is powered by the person pushing the mower. The mower blades will only spin when the mower is being pushed forward. This requires more physical exertion because you’re not only pushing the mower to move it over your lawn; you’re also powering the blades to spin.


Verdict: A manual push mower requires more physical mowing effort due to its manual mowing style, while an electric mower uses electricity and is more powerful as a result.

🏁Mowing Range

While manual reel mowers technically have an infinite mowing range, electric lawn mowers are the best choice for bigger gardens because they take less physical effort to operate and there are options available with wider mowing decks.


Manual mowers are intended for smaller lawns. The average cutting width of a manual push mower is 30-38cm, which is pretty standard for any push mower. Keep in mind, however, that using the mower is more physically exerting.


Corded electric mowers have a limited mowing range because they’re tethered to your home by a power cable. Their range can be extended by using an extension cord, but the longer the cord, the less power to the motor, so I don’t recommend these mowers for a large lawn.


Battery lawnmower models don’t have a cord, but they’re also better suited to smaller gardens because they have a limited run time of around 25-30 minutes.


Verdict: A manual reel mower has a reduced range due to the mowing effort required and should be used for mowing small lawns, while an electric lawnmower has a slightly bigger range and can be used for small to medium lawns.

lawn, mower, power, cord, wrapped, up

🟩🟢 Size & Design

Manual push mowers are smaller and lighter than electric lawn mowers because they have fewer parts. The average weight range of a manual mower is 6-8 kilograms.


A manual mower doesn’t have a motor, which is the key reason for its smaller size. The main components of this mower are the handle, the two main wheels, the two smaller rear wheels or rear supporting roller, and the blade. Due to its more compact size, a manual push mower is easier to store in small spaces.


An electric mower has a few additional parts, including a motor, various extra safety features, and a cord (for corded mowers) or a battery (for battery-powered mowers). The average weight of an electric mower is 11-15 kilograms.


Both mower designs may come with or without a grass box, but electric lawn mowers generally have bigger grass boxes and can collect a greater volume of grass clippings than push mowers.


The cordless mower design is also more convenient because there’s no cord to be concerned with, so you’re not tethered to a power supply and you won’t cut your path off with the cable.


Verdict: Manual push mowers are smaller and lighter than electric models because they don’t use a heavy battery or motor.

🛠 Maintenance

A manual reel mower is easier to maintain than an electric model because it doesn’t have any electrical parts or a motor.


With that said, reel mowers have cylinder blades, and cylinder mowers need more maintenance in terms of blade sharpening because they have multiple small blades, rather than a single bigger blade.


Most electric mowers are rotary mowers, so they don’t require the same blade-sharpening maintenance. However, their electrical components will add extra maintenance jobs to your list, and you might need to repair or replace certain parts that don’t exist on a manual reel mower.


Verdict: Reel mowers need more frequent blade sharpening than electric lawn mowers, but electric models have vents, motors, and battery compartments that require more upkeep.

mower, maintenance, removing, mower, blade,

🗓 Convenience

A manual reel mower has different conveniences than an electric-powered lawn mower.


The obvious convenience of a manual mower is that it can be used at any time, in any location, without needing any outside power source. You don’t have to check that your location has a nearby power socket, and you don’t need to charge a battery before you get started.


However, the inconvenience of this mower type is that it’s hard work to use, so it’s not an easy way to quickly mow a large or even medium-sized garden.


The most convenient feature of an electric mower is its speed and power. You can quickly and efficiently cut your grass with this mower type, and you shouldn’t have to go back over spots that have been missed.


The inconvenience, however, is that you’re restricted – either by a power cord or limited battery life.


Verdict: Reel mowers are more convenient for mowing without the need for electricity, while electric-powered mowers are more convenient for fast and powerful mowing.

🏋🏻 Ease Of Use

Electric-powered mowers are generally easier to use than manual reel mowers, despite their bulkier, heavier design.


A reel mower relies completely on your pushing power to spin the blade, which means you’ll get a full-body workout while you mow. This mower type is also difficult to use on bumpy or uneven surfaces, and is recommended for flat lawns only, or you’ll probably end up with an uneven cut.


An electric lawnmower, on the other hand, powers the blades with a motor, so all you have to do is put in enough pushing effort to roll the mower wheels over your lawn.


Verdict: Electric mowers require more setup but are quicker and easier to use than manual reel mowers.

setting, cylinder, mower, blade, cut,

💰 Price & Value

Push reel mowers are considered the best value mower type because they’re the most affordable mower available today. The average price range of a manual cylinder mower is just £45-£65.


A corded electric-powered mower is about £50 more expensive than a manual mower, and a battery lawnmower costs about £100 more on average.


Verdict: Manual cylinder mowers are more affordable than corded or cordless electric-powered mowers, but they’re both better value than petrol mowers.

🤔 Which Mower Is Best For Your Lawn Type & Size?

Wondering whether a manual or electric lawn mower is better for your lawn type and size?


🏞 Rough Terrain & Uneven Surfaces: Electric Lawn Mower

Electric lawn mowers are better than manual reel mowers to use on uneven surfaces and rough terrain. The rotary blade and the extra power from the electricity or battery source make the mower more capable of dealing with thicker and longer grass.


A manual reel mower will struggle more on uneven surfaces and rough terrain. Mowing on an uneven or bumpy surface is more likely to lead to an uneven cut, and mowing rough or long grass will require more physical work from you and might cause the blades to get clogged.

mown, lawn, stripes,

Small Gardens: Both Mower Types

Both manual and electric lawn mowers are suitable for small gardens.


You might prefer to use a manual mower for your small lawn because it’s quicker to set up and doesn’t involve the hassle of a lead or a battery, or because you prefer the cut quality from a cylinder mower.


Or you might be more in favour of using an electric mower for a small lawn because it’s more powerful and gets the job done faster than a manual mower.


Medium Gardens: Electric Mowers

An electric mower is the best mower type for medium gardens because of its external power source, which makes it quicker and easier to cut a mid-sized lawn.


I don’t recommend manual mowers for medium-sized gardens because of the effort that goes into using the mower.


Large Gardens: Neither Mower Type

If you have a very large garden, I don’t recommend an electric or manual reel mower.


The problem with using any of these mower types for a large lawn is that they’re all restricted in some way, either by a relatively short battery life, a limited cable length, or by the physical effort involved in mowing.


A petrol lawn mower is my top recommended mower choice for larger lawns because it’s the most powerful mower type and doesn’t have any of the restrictions of electric or reel lawn mowers.

grass, lawn, green-220465.jpg

🤷 Should You Choose A Manual Mower Or An Electric Mower?

When deciding between a manual mower and an electric mower, look at both mower types from a practical perspective.


Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Would I rather avoid the hassle of a cord or battery changes but have to put more physical effort into mowing, or would I prefer to use a more powerful, easy-operate mower that only works with a charged battery or when plugged in?

  • How far away do I need to mow? Will my mowing location have a power outlet or a means of charging batteries if needed? And how big is my lawn?

  • Can I stretch my budget to an electric mower or do I want the most affordable mower type available?

Your ultimate decision mainly comes down to personal preference – and you can’t really go wrong. These mowers offer a very similar performance, and when comparing the two, each of their pros outweighs their cons.


Regardless of the mower you choose, make a smart investment. Check that your preferred mower type is sold by a reputable brand with a history of positive feedback from experts and customers alike.