Pros And Cons Of Petrol Lawn Mowers (UK)

Petrol lawn mowers are still a common favourite for domestic lawn mowing thanks to their powerful engines that help you get the job done faster.


Here, I’ve discussed the pros and cons of petrol-powered mowers in the UK, so you can make a balanced decision about whether this mower type is best for your needs.

✅ Key Takeaways:

  • The key advantages of petrol lawn mowers are that they help you to mow more quickly due to their powerful engines, they’re ideal for large lawns, they come with more features and optional add-ons than other mower types, and they don’t need to be tethered to a power socket.

  • The disadvantages of petrol mowers are that they’re noisier than other mower types, they release toxic fumes, they can be difficult to start, they’re more expensive, and they require more maintenance than other mowers.

Table of Contents

👍 Petrol Lawn Mower Pros

Here are some of the key advantages of petrol mowers compared to battery, manual, or electric lawn mowers.

⏰ They Minimise Mowing Time

The biggest advantage of a petrol lawnmower is that it helps you to mow your lawn in up to half the time it’d take with an electric or cordless mower.


Petrol mowers have powerful engines, so they cut grass faster, meaning you can mow at a faster pace and achieve the same – if not better – results.


Self-propelled models can speed up your mowing even more because you won’t be hindered by the physical effort of pushing the mower. Simply set the mower speed to a comfortable walking speed and steer it when necessary.


If you want to spend less time sweating behind your mower and more time enjoying the sunny weather while it lasts, a petrol lawnmower is the ideal solution.

🟩 They’re Ideal For Large Lawns

Because of their large, powerful engines, petrol mowers are better suited to large lawns than electric mowers.


You can buy a petrol model with a large cutting deck (up to 52cm, sometimes even wider), so you can cover more ground with every lap of your lawn, reducing the number of steps you take and minimizing your mowing effort.


A conventional mower with a petrol engine can be used to mow lawns up to 1,000 square metres in size, while a self-propelled mower can be used to mow lawns up to 1,500 m² or even larger.

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📡 They Have More Features Than Other Mower Types

If you love technology or you appreciate lawn mower features that make mowing your lawn easier or more exciting, you’ll find what you’re looking for in a petrol model.


Petrol mowers have more features than electric mowers or cordless mowers. Some of the features you might find on a petrol-using mower are:

  • Self-propulsion

  • Multiple grass-cutting options (mulching, collection, rear & side discharge)

  • 360-turn wheels

  • Rear-wheel or all-wheel drive

  • Rear roller

Some other mower types have a few of these features, but they’re most commonly found on mowers that use petrol.


So, if you want to enjoy the most convenient mowing experience that’s best tailored to your needs and produces the best result, choose a petrol lawn mower.

🌍 They Can Mow In Any Location

Another advantage of petrol mowers is that they’re not tethered to a power source with a cord, so you can use your mower in any location without the need for electricity.


That means you can take a petrol lawn mower with you to an allotment or a garden across the road, or you can simply mow all the way down to the bottom of a large lawn without having to get out an extension lead.


There’s also no risk of mowing over a cable and killing your mower – an extra bonus.

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🦾 They’re Sturdy And Durable

Petrol lawnmowers are typically more sturdily designed than electric mowers, with durable materials and long-lasting engines.


If you want to get the most value from your lawn mower investment, a petrol lawn mower is a good choice for you. With the right care and servicing, petrol mowers can last beyond 10 years – around 3-5 years longer than a cheaper electric or battery lawn mower. We all know a grandparent or friend who has owned the same petrol mower for what seems like decades!


So, even though petrol lawn mower cost more upfront, they last longer, so you’ll get more use out of your mower before you have to save up for a new one.

🏞 They Can Be Used On A Variety Of Terrains

Another advantage of a petrol model is the mower’s ability to handle a variety of terrains, including long grass, thick and dense lawns, and lawns with lots of leaves and twigs.


It’s best to prepare your lawn for mowing by removing debris before you start, and avoid letting your grass grow too long. But if you do have to mow long, debris-strewn grass, at least you know that a petrol mower can handle it.


Again, this is thanks to the mower’s powerful engine, which drives the blades to cut even the longest and thickest grass, which could put extra strain on a conventional electric mower’s motor.

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🌦 They’re Suitable For Using In All Weather Conditions

Similarly, you can use a petrol lawn mower in all weather conditions, including rain.


While I don’t recommend mowing damp grass with any mower type, a petrol lawn mower doesn’t pose a safety risk when mowing in wet weather (unlike electric mower models).


If you have no choice but to get your mower out while the grass is still wet, you’ll at least be able to safely do so with a petrol mower.

👎 Petrol Lawn Mower Cons

Some of the disadvantages of petrol mowers are:

🎧 They’re Noisy

Petrol mowers are up to 20% noisier than electric lawn mowers, so they’re not a good option if you want to mow during antisocial hours, you live close to your neighbours, you’re concerned about your hearing, or you simply value your peace and quiet.


A petrol mower typically runs at 90 to 95 decibels, depending on the engine size and the mower’s sound muffling technology. An electric lawnmower is quieter, running at about 75 decibels, and a manual mower is even quieter than this, with almost soundless operation thanks to its engine-free design.


You’ll need to wear protective ear coverings when mowing a lawn with a petrol mower, and if your neighbours live nearby, your mowing habits will certainly disturb their peace, which may limit when you’re able to mow.

☣️ They Produce Toxic Fumes

Another setback of petrol mowers is that they produce toxic fumes while they’re in operation.


Petrol mowers require petrol to run, and mowers using petrol produce carbon monoxide and other toxins, including hydrocarbons, smoke particles, methane, and nitrogen oxides.


You shouldn’t be at risk of inhaling these pollutants if you’re mowing in an open space, such as a large garden, but if you’re eco-conscious, you probably won’t like the thought of contributing to atmospheric pollution with your lawn mowing habits.

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🏁 They Can Be Difficult To Start

Conventional petrol mowers are also a hassle to start.


Most of these mowers have a pull cord rope that you may need to pull more than once to kick the mower into gear.


Sometimes, the mower won’t start regardless of how many times you pull the cord, and you’ll need to troubleshoot the problem before you can start mowing.


An electric lawn mower, on the other hand, has a much more reliable start. You simply plug the mower in and switch it on.


Luckily, some of the newer petrol lawnmower models have an electric start, which means you can start the engine with the simple push of a button or turn of a key.


This is ideal if you don’t want the hassle of cranking a pull cord, but it also requires the extra effort of periodically charging the battery that powers the electric start – another maintenance task to remember.

💰 They’re Expensive

Because of their more complex designs and powerful engines, petrol-powered mowers are more expensive than electric, manual, or cordless mowers.


The average cost of a petrol mower is £225. The price quickly climbs into the £400-£600 range if you need a large mower with lots of features.


Petrol mowers are at least £100 more expensive than electric mowers, so they’re not an ideal choice if you have a small budget or just can’t justify spending hundreds of pounds on a lawn mower.

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🛠 They Require A Lot Of Maintenance

Maintaining a lawn mower with a petrol engine takes more effort than maintaining a battery-powered or electric mower.


Petrol mowers have their own unique maintenance requirements, including:

  • Replacing/topping up the petrol at least once per mowing season

  • Checking and cleaning/replacing the spark plug

  • Topping up the engine oil

  • Servicing the mower after every season

You’ll also need to commit to the general lawn mower maintenance tasks, including cleaning the mower deck and sharpening the blades.


If you’re looking for the lowest maintenance lawn mower, a petrol model isn’t the right choice. Petrol-powered mowers are like any vehicle: they can’t operate without proper servicing. If you’re not committed to providing this maintenance, consider an electric mower or a battery lawn mower, which have much simpler maintenance requirements.

🟢 They’re Inconvenient For Smaller Lawns

Because of their noisy operation, larger size, and powerful engines, petrol mowers aren’t the most convenient solution for mowing small lawns.


If your lawn has limited turning space, tight spots, or a lot of obstacles, a bulky petrol mower will be more difficult to maneuver, and the effort of lugging this mower about will add extra minutes to your mowing time.


Plus, the effort of starting the mower and the extra maintenance tasks probably won’t be worth it if you have a very small garden that takes just seconds to whip around. You may as well stick with an electric lawn mower, which you can plug in and start using straight away.

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🌟 Are Petrol Mowers Worth It?

Now you know the pros and cons of owning a petrol lawn mower compared to an electric or manual mower, you can make a decision on whether or not this mower is suitable for you.


I think petrol mowers are worth it for folks with medium-to-large gardens who want the most powerful mower to mow their lawns as quickly and efficiently as possible. Petrol lawnmowers are also a good choice for people looking for specific extra features in a mower, like self-propulsion or mulching.


However, if you have a smaller lawn with minimal turning space, a petrol mower will prove to be more hassle than it’s worth. Plus, I don’t recommend petrol mowers if you want a lightweight, environmentally-friendly mower choice that needs minimal maintenance, since petrol mowers are heavy, produce pollution, and require more maintenance than other mower types.


Ready to start shopping for a petrol mower? We’ve reviewed the best petrol mowers available today in our best petrol mower guide.