Find the best lawn mower for your garden
Welcome to ColumbiaFlorist's Lawn Mower Review and Comparison 2020 - the best independent comparison site for everything about gardening and outdoors.
In this roundup, you will find all the most critical information and comparisons on the top lawnmower manufacturers and their best selling products. Learn about the main differences between individual models, specific features and benefits they offer, and which one suits your needs the best.
This page acts as a content hub for the different types of lawn mowers available on the market. Please click on the titles in order to access more detailed information on the respective models.
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Our reviews and reports are entirely independent and are based on either our experience with the product or trusted user reviews and sources. We do NOT under no circumstances accept paid product placements or endorsements.
Our extensive best lawn mowers buying guide will help you make the right buying decision.
Lawn Mowers type comparison
Lawn mowers are expensive. For the average gardener, its really hard to make the correct choice because the current range of available lawn mowers offer so many different functions, features and operating methods.
So before going ahead and buying a new lawnmower, I suggest you understand different types of lawn mowers and have a basic knowledge of the models available out there.
The most common type of lawn mowers is manual, hand push models. Here the operator stands behind the machine and pushes or pulls it in the desired direction. Usually, these mowers are motor-driven and have a sickle-blade on the underside that cuts the grass cleanly by high-speed rotation. These manual lawn mowers are ideal for small as well as extensive gardens up to approx. 1,000 m². But, other types of mowers four-wheel drive and robot lawnmowers are usually more effective.
Classic gas lawn mowers are the go-to for many gardeners thanks to their simplicity and durability. Thanks to their reliable gas engines, they're mostly made for larger gardens, and they get the job done much faster compared to the robot and electric lawn mowers.
Gas mowers usually start using a pull cord, which starts the engine manually after a quick pull. True, old models would take a lot of effort and pulls to get the motors fired up, but newer versions start very quickly with only a single pull.
Although most gas-powered are push, some manufacturers also offer 4-wheel drive models, which makes them perfect for larger gardens and heavy-duty work. Such models are especially recommended for uneven gardens and hills thanks to their easy-to-operate nature.
These products can be used without a license and have an average speed of 5 miles per hour. With different gears, its speed can be reduced to walking speed, 2 - 3 MPH.
What are the advantages of gas lawn mowers?
Thanks to the powerful petrol engine, it is easier to cut long and wet grass, where electric mowers can't operate most of the time. The extremely robust machines are also more independent and offer the owner complete freedom of movement without constantly worrying about getting stuck on trees or bushes.
Disadvantages of petrol mowers?
The biggest disadvantage of gas lawnmowers is the high noise pollution and the stinking and toxic exhaust fumes that can harm you and the environment. Using a noise-canceling work headphones is therefore recommended during mowing. The higher weight can also have a negative effect on the working speed and the operator's stamina. In addition, petrol mowers require more maintenance than other types of lawnmowers. It constantly requires oil checks, gas refills, and maintenance in order to operate smoothly.
The market for electric lawnmowers has grown enormously in recent years. With the ever more powerful engines in these machines, they are gradually overtaking the old-established gasoline mowers, even though they are far from equal in power. The increasing environmental awareness of consumers also plays a major role here. Loud and toxic mowers that require constant oil/gas refill and maintenance are moving further and further into the background.
Electric mowers are primarily designed for small to medium-sized gardens up to a maximum of 500m². However, some models can take care of much bigger gardens. Unlike the gasoline models, they start with a single push of a button.
Light models out there weight around fifteen to twenty pounds on average, making them perfect for elderly folks.
What are the advantages of electric lawn mowers?
The biggest advantage of electric mowers is their environmental friendliness and low noise level. Also, mowers with electric motors require much less maintenance, as there is no need to refill or change oil and air filters regularly.
Disadvantages of electric mowers?
The biggest disadvantage of electric lawnmowers is the cable, which considerably restricts their range of movement. For example, when mowing, the power cable often gets entangled in trees and bushes. A cable drum or extension cable is also required for use. Also, the greatest danger is that the power cable may be cut by the mower itself if you don't pay any attention to where you're going. It doesn't pose life-threatening hazards to the driver, but you need to purchase a new cable.
Another problem with electric lawnmowers is that, depending on the model, they usually have weaker motors, and it could be problematic when you have to deal with long and wet grass. However, it shouldn't be a huge deal when mowed regularly.
Modern cordless, battery-powered lawn mowers are in no way inferior to their electric or gasoline counterparts.
They combine the flexibility of gas motors with the added benefit of being able to go further and beyond, which means maximum freedom of movement combined with lower noise levels and no exhaust emissions. Most importantly, no regular gas refills, oil checks, and maintenance.
Thanks to the advancements in battery technology, this type of lawnmowers have become more common. Especially the development of better and stronger lithium-ion batteries helped these devices to become more widespread.
On average, these batteries charge in a few hours and let you mow your grass for up to 4-5 hours, which is more than enough for most. If you have a bigger garden to deal with, purchasing a second battery recommended.
When buying a battery-powered lawnmower, you should also pay attention to the capacity of the batteries, as it directly influences the mowing time. Factors such as temperature, grass height, and humidity of the lawn also play a role in battery life.
Whichever model and make you want to buy, you should be very skeptical about the manufacturer's specifications for battery life, as these data were collected under controlled, optimum conditions and are rarely accurate in real-life scenarios.
What are the advantages of battery mowers?
Battery mowers have similar benefits as electric mowers; the most significant difference is that you can be more flexible when mowing and go further distances, and not worry about cutting your cord.
Although the heavy batteries make these mowers a little heavier, adding about 20 to 30 more pounds, it's hardly an issue thanks to powerful electric motors.
Disadvantages of battery-powered mowers?
One of the biggest cons is the higher purchase price compared to wired lawnmowers. Many manufacturers offer these lawnmowers WITHOUT a battery, forcing you to buy them separately. It doesn't make any sense, but it is what it is. You should take this into account when purchasing a battery-powered lawnmower.
Battery-powered mowers also have a limited range. On average, you should be able to mow 300 to 500 m² of the lawn. The second pack of battery or charging is required to continue.
Best Reel Mower
For small gardens I would definitely recommend hand push reel mowers.
For very small gardens, cylinder mowers or hand mowers are still a good choice today: especially eco-conscious gardeners or ambitious lawn lovers with small gardens like the advantages of these hand-operated lawnmowers.
Noise pollution is, of course, not a thing, and the mechanics used frees you from using resources like oil and gas.
Reel mowers still have extensive commercial use today, especially in golf courses, sports fields, public parks, and small gardens. It's also possible to cut the grass at very low heights with these mowers.
How do motorless lawn mowers work?
Operating these motorless manual push reel lawnmowers is a bit different, and actually more straightforward than other types of mowers we listed in our buying guide.
On the horizontal wheel axle, a spindle with slightly inclined cutting blades rotates as you push. These run against a parallel mounted and fixed counter blade and cut off the material very finely and cleanly up to a very short grass length. The cutting height is determined by the distance of the counter blade to the ground. You can adjust this height whenever you like.
Entry-level machines usually have five to six cutting blades. High-priced machines sometimes even more. The average cutting width of cylinder mowers is 35 to 76 centimeters. For larger yards, cylinder mowers are also available as ride-on tractors.
Self-driving autonomous lawnmower robots have been around since the early 2000s, and it's a must-have for anyone who has a relatively large garden and wants to save him/herself from gardening work.
The Swedish manufacturer, Husqvarna Group, introduced the very first lawnmower a long time ago, and they've come a long way since the first model. They're more reliable and offer many more features nowadays.
How does a robot lawnmower work?
The same mowing system and technology are shared pretty much all robot lawnmowers; A couple of free-swinging, razor-sharp blades are attached to a rotating disc on the underside of the machine.
These blades cut the grass finely and cleanly as they rotate at very high speeds.
These robots are powered by GPS and sensors mounted on the hardware. Depending on the manufacturer, they might randomly move around the yard, mowing the grass along the way, or first create a map of the garden using GPS and follow a pre-defined path. When the battery is run out of juice, the lawnmower automatically drives back and plugs itself into the charging station.
Advantages of robot lawnmowers
- Once the time-consuming initial scanning and setting up is complete, you rarely have to worry about your mowing robot.
- Only the cutting blades should be replaced when they become blunt.
- Another advantage is the quiet operation, which means that a lawn mowing robot can also mow your lawn at the weekend or even at night, without waking up your neighbors or pissing off their angry dog.
Another positive aspect is the high level of environmental friendliness. Lawn robots are very energy-saving and efficient. Because there is no grass catcher box, the cut grass remains on the ground as mulch, returning vital nutrients to the lawn plants. But you have to pick them up later.
If you have a small child and afraid that the mower could injure them, you can rest assured. Built-in safety measures and sensors on the machine prevent injuring small family members as well as avoiding theft and damage to furniture you might have on the yard.
What are the disadvantages of self-driving lawnmowers?
Unlike the gasoline, electric and reel mowers, self-driving robot mowers need to be unpacked and installed. Getting it ready to mow could take a couple of hours depending on the model and size of the garden.
If you have a GPS powered model, you need to connect the mower to your smartphone and define its mowing path using its mobile app. Some models require you to lay down boundary wires. These wires contain sensors and electronics and pass border data to the robot. The entire process usually takes a couple of hours. But fortunately, it is a one time task.
In addition to that, some yards aren't suitable for a self-driving robot. If there are too many steep hills, obstacles, and rocks, your robot lawnmower might not work efficiently in your garden.
Price-wise, robot lawnmowers are cheaper than 4-wheel gasoline industrial mowers, and a bit more expensive than manual reel mowers. You can find entry-level robot mowers at around 500 dollars. More functional models with more features and much longer battery time could set you back thousands of dollars.
So, you own a garden beyond thousands of sq ft? If that is the case, you might want to invest in a ride-on tractor mower.
This is pretty much the king of lawnmowers that allows you to mow even the biggest yards in no time thanks to its powerful motor, razor-sharp blades, and high speed.
While your neighbors are slaving away their entire holidays with their push reel mowers, you can jump on your ride-on mower and enjoy the ride with a beer in your hand.
Why should you get a ride-on tractor lawnmower?
In addition to the usual mowing functions, ride-on mowers have another major advantage; Customization!
Nearly all major ride-on mower manufacturers offer external attachments and trailers in order to extend the number of things you can do with it, such as dump carts, spreaders, or even snow blades.
These mowers are designed in a way that allows you to mow your yard all year, no matter the weather.
What are the disadvantages of ride-on tractor lawnmowers?
For small gardens, it's probably not worth purchasing a ride-on tractor lawnmower since they start at around $2-3000.
High initial investment and regular oil checks, gas refills, and maintenance costs are the biggest disadvantages that come with these types of lawnmowers.
Some gardeners chose to buy the ride-on mower together with a neighbor in order to share the costs. It won't be much of a problem since they'll probably cut clean your grass in just a couple of hours. So you shouldn't be worried about waiting in line or anything like that.
One other problem is that their gasoline motors have very high noise pollution, accompanied by much higher exhaust emission rates compared to robot and hand push lawnmowers.