Pros And Cons Of Cylinder Lawn Mowers (UK)

Cylinder lawn mowers are great mowers for people who want to achieve a neat, ornamental lawn, thanks to their scissor-like cutting action, which produces a shorter, better-quality cut.

In this article, I’ve highlighted the pros and cons of cylinder mowers in the UK, so you have all the information to decide whether or not this mower blade type is best for your needs.

✅Key Takeaways:

  • The key advantages of cylinder lawn mowers are that they can be used to achieve a shorter, neater cut, they provide an even cut across the cutting width, they’re better for lawn health, and they reduce the risk of grass diseases.

  • The disadvantages of cylinder mowers are that they require more frequent mowing, they’re not suitable for uneven lawns, they’re bigger and bulkier than rotary mowers, they need more maintenance, and they’re more expensive.

Table of Contents

👍 Cylinder Lawn Mower Pros

Here are some of the key advantages of cylinder lawn mowers compared to conventional rotary mowers.

📏 They Produce A Shorter, Neater Cut

The obvious advantage of a cylinder mower is its ability to produce a professional, high-quality cut that you simply can’t achieve with a conventional rotary mower.


Cylinder mowers have multiple vertically spinning sharp blades that span across the width of the cutting deck. The blades guide the grass towards a stationary bed knife, using a scissor action to snip the ends off grass blades as you mow, providing a neat, even cut.


If you love the look of an elegant, closely-cropped lawn, a cylinder mower will help you to achieve this look.

✂️ They Cut Evenly With Each Pass

A cylinder mower has multiple blades across the mowing deck, rather than a single horizontally-spinning blade on the underside of the mower (like a rotary mower).


That means the blades cut evenly across your mowing surface, so you won’t miss any spots when you’re mowing in laps.


If you don’t want to mow the same spot twice to achieve a neat, even finish, a cylinder-type mower is your best bet.

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🏥 They’re Better For Lawn Health

Cylinder mowers cut the grass on your lawn with a snipping action, providing a cleaner cut that doesn’t shred the edge of the grass leaves.


When you mow with a cylinder mower, you cut grass cleanly, preventing stress and injury to your lawn. This should promote overall lawn health and help you to achieve greener, thicker turf.

🦠 They Reduce The Risk Of Grass Diseases

On the same note, cylinder mowers help to reduce grass diseases because they don’t tear or shred the ends of grass blades, so the grass is less traumatized and recovers more quickly.


As a result, the grass loses less water, and you shouldn’t notice brown tips after mowing. The better water retention and reduced damage to the grass tips means your lawn is less susceptible to disease.


If you want to maintain a healthy lawn with no dead or yellow patches, you should be pleased with the effects of mowing with a cylinder lawnmower.

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🤏 They Offer An Exact Tailored Cut Height

Prefer to cut your grass to the exact milimetre? A lawn mower with a cylinder cutting system is your best bet.


Cylinder lawn mowers let you tailor the mower deck height to achieve your exact desired cut height, whether that’s a round number (like 20mm) or something very specific that works for you (like 24.4444mm – I won’t judge).


This makes them more customizable compared to rotary mowers, which only have 3-7 cut height settings that you can change, usually in increments of 10 (i.e. you jump straight up from 20 mm to 30mm and so on, with no in-between heights).


If you have any reason for needing easy, periodic and precise adjustment, or you just prefer this additional adaptability of a cylinder mower’s flexible height adjustment, this type of lawn mower is great for you.

🤨 Numerous Mower Types To Choose From

There are a few different mowers that have cylinder blades, so you’re bound to find a cylinder mower that’s perfect for your needs.


Choose between petrol cylinder mowers, which are ideal for quickly cutting large lawns, and manual reel mowers, which are better suited to small spaces.


Some petrol-powered cylinder mowers are self-propelled, so it’s easy to mow your lawn quickly and with little effort.

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Petrol Cylinder Mower

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Manual Cylinder Mower

📡 Lots Of Possible Features

Since cylinder mowers are typically used for professional mowing, they often come with several features that help you to achieve the most desirable end result.


As standard, most cylinder mowers come with a grass box to collect the grass cuttings as you mow. But some mowers also have a mulching function, which allows you to cut the grass up small and disperse it across your lawn, providing a source of nutrients to the growing grass and eliminating the need for grass box empties.


Another common feature on a cylinder lawnmower is a rear roller, which enables you to roll stripes into your lawn as you mow in back-and-forth laps, achieving a pleasing finish.

👎 Cylinder Lawn Mower Cons

Some of the disadvantages of cylinder mowers are:

🗓 They Require More Frequent Mowing

If you love the idea of the neat, clean cut of a cylinder lawnmower, you’ll need to be prepared to put in the extra mowing effort.


Cylinder mowers can’t cope with long grass, so you’ll need to mow once the grass is ready – not necessarily to your own schedule.

That means mowing at least once a week during the summer, when grass grows the fastest, depending on your grass type.


Most cylinder mowers are designed to mow at a cutting height of 5mm to 35mm – and you should respect this! Very long grass will clog the mower blade and put strain on the engine.

🍂 They Can’t Mow Over Leaves Or Stones

Another setback of cylinder mowers is that they shouldn’t be used on lawns with lots of leaves, stones, and other debris.


Stones and other non-grass items may damage and misalign a cylinder mower’s blades, causing the mower to cut unevenly.


Leaves won’t damage your mower’s blades, but they’ll clog them up, and this will interrupt your mowing job as you’ll have to spend time clearing them out of the mower deck.


If you want your mower to continue to cut cleanly throughout its lifespan, only mow stone-free lawns. That might mean clearing your lawn before you get the mower out.

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🏞 They’re Not Suitable For Uneven Lawns

Similarly, a cylinder lawnmower isn’t suitable for mowing an uneven lawn.


The blades still work to cut bumpy or hilly ground, but you’d end up with an uneven cut because one side of the mower would be closer to the ground than the other.


Cylinder mowers aren’t flexible, so they’ll sink into dips while being incapable of climbing high parts of your lawn.


If you’re desperate to use a cylinder lawnmower on a bumpy lawn, you’ll need to even out the surface before you can do so.

🏠 They’re Bigger And Bulkier & Take Up More Space

Due to the nature of its design, a cylinder lawnmower is typically wider and bulkier than a similar rotary model.


Mowers with cylinder blades also tend to have fewer helpful storage features compared to rotary ones, such as a folding handle and the ability to hang the mower vertically.


So, if you don’t have a lot of storage space in your shed or outhouse, you might want to rethink your decision to buy a cylinder mower – or at least measure your space carefully first.

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🛠 They Need More  Maintenance

Because cylinder mowers work with lots of smaller blades against a fixed bottom plate, they require more maintenance than rotary mowers with a single rotating blade.


It’s advised that you sharpen your cylinder blades at least once a month, ideally after every mow, during the grass growing season.


This is more hassle than a rotary mower blade, which only needs sharpening about once every year.


If you just want to mow your lawn and be done with it, with little maintenance as possible in between, a cylinder mower isn’t for you.

💰 They’re More Expensive

Even cylinder mowers with a narrow range cost more than comparable rotary mowers. You pay for the higher-quality cut that you can achieve with the slicing action of the cylinder blades.


If your budget is tight and you have a large lawn, a petrol cylinder mower costing thousands of pounds probably isn’t feasible.


The good news is that cylinder manual mowers for small lawns are affordable, costing as little as £45 for a quality lawn mower.

🔌 Electric Models Aren’t Common

The final setback of cylinder lawnmowers is that you’re unlikely to find an electric or cordless mower with a cylinder blade.


Most cylinder mower models for domestic use are manual, so they’re only suitable for small lawns. If you have a very big lawn, you might be able to find a petrol mower, but you’ll probably end up paying more for a mower intended for use on sports fields.


There are very few in-between electric or battery-powered cylinder mowers that are ideally designed for medium lawns. The models that do exist are generally very expensive (we’re talking £1,000+).

🧐 Are Cylinder Mowers Worth It?

Now you know the advantages and disadvantages of cylinder mowers compared to rotary mowers, you can decide on whether or not this mower is suitable for you.


I think cylinder mowers are best suited to professionals who need to achieve a high-quality cut for a specific purpose, such as to achieve the “carpet”-like grass of a bowling green or a golf fairway. With that said, keen lawn mowing enthusiasts can also use cylinder mowers to achieve a neat, ornamental lawn that’s bound to be the envy of the neighbourhood.


However, if you just want to cut your lawn as quickly as possible and you’re not bothered about achieving absolutely perfect results, a cylinder mower isn’t for you. You may as well spend less money on a rotary mower – and, if you’re not obsessed with aesthetics, you probably won’t notice any difference.