Electric lawn mowers
Buying an electric lawnmower online
About 75% of lawnmowers sold
in the UK are electric
Electric lawn mowers are the popular choice - they are lightweight, relatively cheap, more environmentally friendly than petrol mowers and require little or no maintenance.
In this guide we take you through the options when buying an electric lawnmower, the pros and cons of each choice, and reviews of websites where you can buy electric lawn mowers.
If you already know which electric mower you want you can compare electric mowers and prices from various websites using the Grows on You garden centre.
- Types of electric mowers
- Rotary electric mowers
- Cylinder electric mowers
- Hover electric mowers
- Lawn size & mowing width
- Cutting height & finish
- Things to consider
- Where to buy?
Types of electric lawn mowers
There are three types of electric mower: rotary, hover and cylinder. Each is suitable for a particular type of lawn and cut; choosing the right one will save you time and frustration. When you're looking for a mower, know how big your lawn is and know if you want a fine finish or a lawn that will cope with a lot of wear, such as a family lawn.
Choosing the right lawn mower will save you time and frustration
Electric rotary mowers are best suited to medium sized lawns, as are electric cylinder mowers. Electric hover mowers suit smaller lawns and lawns with complex shapes as they generally have a narrower mowing width and are more manoeuvrable.
Hover and rotary mowers give a longer cut so are suited to uneven lawns and lawns that get a lot of use.
Knowing about your lawn and the cut you want will really help narrow down your choices. After getting a short list you can start thinking about whether you need a grass collection box, rear roller for a striped lawn and other optional extras.
Rotary Electric Mowers
Rotary blades rotate like a fan and spin parallel to the ground
Rotary electric lawn mowers are ideal for medium sized lawns that don't require a fine finish. They cut grass longer than cylinder mowers and come in wider cutting widths than hover mowers, although the extra size makes them heavier and less suitable for small lawns.
If you want a striped lawn but a cylinder mower isn't suitable, rotary mowers with rear rollers will also give nice stripes.
Rotary mowers get their name from the movement of their blades which is very much like a fan rotating parallel to the ground. Mountfield, Flymo and Black & Decker are leading brands and you can compare different rotary electric lawn mowers in our shop section.
Cylinder Electric Mowers
Electric cylinder mowers are suited to high quality lawns that require a fine finish. They cut grass shorter than hover and rotary mowers making them unsuitable for uneven lawns as they may ground. Shorter grass doesn't cope as well with lots of wear making cylinder mowers better for higher quality lawns.
Cylinder mower blades
They get their name from their set of blades which form a cylinder. As the cylinder rotates forwards it cuts the grass against a stationary blade in a scissor-like action giving a much cleaner cut than rotary or hover mowers.
Electric cylinder mowers give a good striped effect as the grass is always cut in the same direction and they have a rear roller which flattens the cut grass as the mower is pushed forwards. Petrol mowers tend to be heavier which does make them slightly better for creating stripes but with the bigger electric mowers the difference is negligable. Atco Windsor are a leading brands and you can compare electric cylinder mowers in our shop section.
Electric hover mowers are very popular and ideal for small to medium lawns. They handle uneven ground well and can be easily moved in all directions.
Hover mower blades
Hover mowers use a rotary blade but get their name because the rotation creates a cushion of air, lifting the mower off the ground much like a hovercraft. No wheels and the cushion of air allows electric hover mowers to be moved from side to side as well as forwards and backwards - great for navigating small lawns and lawns with complex shapes.
Hover mowers don't come with rear rollers so you won't be able to give your lawn a decent striped effect.
Some electric hover mowers do come with rollers at the front but these are for transporting the mower when it has no power; the mower is tipped up on to the roller and wheeled around. Be aware that if you don't get these rollers you'll have to carry the mower to move it without power.
They can handle longish grass and are cheap which might explain the popularity of the Flymo Hover range in the UK (you can't mistake their orange colour). Compare hover electric mower prices in our shop section.
Hover mowers can be moved sideways as they don't run on wheels but a cushion of air
Lawn size and mowing width
The size of your lawn is the most important factor when deciding which mower to buy. Electric mowers are suited to medium and small sized lawns, with larger lawns really wanting the additional size and power of a petrol lawn mower.
Lawn size is important not only to judge the required cutting width and power but also because the mower need to be plugged into a mains power supply. Cable lengths are sometimes given and you can use an extension cable for further reach but you way not want to be pulling tens of metres of cable behind you.
|Lawn size||Mowing width|
|Less than 1/2 tennis court||33cm - 45cm (16" - 18")|
|Up to 1.5 tennis courts||45cm+ (18"+)|
|Over 1.5 tennis courts||Consider a petrol lawn mower or lawn tractor|
Cutting height and finish
Most lawnmowers have adjustable cutting heights, even the cheapest models. The cutting range is normally stated in millimetres and indicates the lengths a mower can cut grass to.
Because cylinder mowers are normally used for fine finishing their ranges are normally lower than those on rotary and hover mowers.
An average cutting height range for a rotary or hover mower is about 20mm to 100mm (1" to 4"), this gives them enough clearance above the ground to handle uneven lawns without grounding. The average range for a cylinder mower is much lower at around around 5mm to 45mm (1/4" to 2").
Things to consider
Stripes and rear rollers
In theory if the mower has a rear roller you can create a striped lawn effect. However, in practice the heavier the mower the better the stripe effect you are likely to get. Mowers with cylinder blades also produce a better stripe as the blades only cut in one direction. Hover mowers can't be used to create stripes.
Grass boxes collect grass as you mow, saving you the time and effort of raking them up afterwards. You can buy "mulching lawnmowers" that chop the grass clippings into fine bits that can be left on your lawn but only a fine covering is recommended as they take time to break down.
This Flymo has an integrated grass box for collecting clippings
Electric rotary, cylinder and hover mowers are all available with grass collection boxes. The size of the box is usually given in litres but you really only need to decide whether or not you want one: If a mower is suitable for your lawn size then the size of its collection box will be too.
You may chose to not get an electric mower if you have a big garden and the cable won't stretch. Petrol mowers tend to be more powerful and come in wider sizes allowing you to cover more garden quicker. Other reasons to avoid an electric mower are if you are looking for that professional striped lawn finish or if it is constantly raining where you are as it is not advisable to use an electric mower in the wet. Have a read of our petrol lawnmower buying guide.
Where to buy electric lawn mowers
These products have been popular with our community. If you are the thorough type, browse and compare all Electric Mowers from loads of different merchants.
Read our seasonal guides to lawn care:
Or browse all our buying guides.