Petrol Lawnmower Buyers Guide

With such a bewildering selection of lawnmowers on the market deciding which one is right for you and your garden isn’t easy.  That’s why we’ve put together a simple guide to choosing the best lawnmower for your needs.

Step 1 – Determine the size of your garden

The first step in buying a lawnmower is choosing the most appropriate sized mower.  No one wants to cut a lawn the size of a tennis court with 12″ wide hand mower nor would it make sense to cut a postage stamp sized lawn with 24″ wide petrol mower.

Lawnmower manufacturers generally classify gardens into three distinct sizes:

So the first thing to do is to work out the approximate size of your lawn.  Don’t worry too much about accuracy, you’re only after a rough estimate.  Armed with this information you can then determine the type and size of lawnmower that you’ll need.

For small lawns (50 square meters or less) you’ll need either an electric or small petrol lawnmower.  Electric mowers come in two varieties: the traditional wired ones with a long cable which plugs into the mains or cordless ones which are battery operated.  Our sister site reviews and rates these so if you’re looking for an electric lawn mower be sure to check out their reviews of electric lawn mowers.

Petrol lawnmowers suitable for use in small gardens do exist and often have a cutting width of 41 cm or 16 inches.  Not all ones of this size are suitable as some are easier to manoeuvre than others.

For medium and large sized gardens the choice is much wider, for medium sized gardens that are closer in size to small gardens a 41 cm or 16 inch cut mower will be fine.  But for anything bigger you’ll need at least an 46 cm or 18 inch cut mower.

For really large gardens you may need to consider a petrol lawnmower with an even wider cut although the maximum width will be limited by the narrowest part of your lawn that you want to cut.  An alternative solution may be to buy a ride on mower for cutting the really large areas of lawn and a petrol mower for the smaller, more fiddly bits where the tractor won’t fit.

Step 2 – Decide if you want stripes

Perfect lawn stripes

Perfect lawn stripes

The next step is to decide if you want to go for the classic English striped lawn.  If you do then you’ll need a petrol lawnmower with a rear roller.  These come in two basic designs: the traditional cylinder mower or the increasingly common rotary mower.

In general, cylinder mowers work best and are easier to use on smooth lawns whereas four wheel rotary mowers, particularly those with larger wheels, are easier to use on rougher ground.

Some rotary mowers don’t have a rear roller but can still produce stripes thanks to a large rubber flap on the rear which gives the effect of a stripe.  Whilst the stripes are not as good as a proper rear roller model the effect is pretty good and these can be a good choice for less even lawns where the stripe effect is still desired.

If you don’t want a stripe then the choice of potential mowers is much broader as you’re essentially able to choose from any four wheel rotary petrol lawnmower.

Step 3 – Decide if you want a push mower or a self-propelled one

Having got this far you’ll be glad to know that you’re almost on the last step.

Having decided on the mower width and whether you want stripes on not the only real decision that remains before shortlisting some suitable candidates is to decide if you want a petrol lawn mower that you have to push around the lawn or if you want one that will pull itself along.

Push mowers, because they don’t need to propel themselves, can put all of the power from the engine into spinning the blade and cutting the grass.  This means that for any given size of engine, a push mower will usually cut the grass better than a self-propelled mower with the same engine size.  This is particularly true when cutting longer wetter grass.

If you’ve got a garden with lots of slopes then a self-propelled petrol lawnmower is probably the best thing to get as it’ll make cutting the grass less tiring as you won’t be physically pushing the mower up the slope.

Step 4 – Decide on any specific features that you need

By now you should have a shortlist of petrol lawnmowers which meet your requirements. You should know the cutting width, style (rotary or cylinder) and whether you want a push mower or a self-propelled one.

Your next step should be to head to our petrol lawnmower reviews section where you can browse all of our reviews by a number of different criteria.

We suggest that you click on the appropriate lawn size first and then click on the style of mower that you need (cylinder or rotary) and then the cutting width.  This will give you a list of reviews of mowers that match your needs.  Then read through them noting any particular features rejecting any mowers that don’t meet your requirements.

Good luck !