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Nathan S.
Nathan S.Jul 30, 2020

Lawn Mower Buying Guide

If you want a backyard that's neat enough to show the in-laws, a quality lawn mower is key. While it's tempting to splash the cash on the best lawn mower from Bunnings you can see, these essential garden power tools should be viewed as a long-term investment. We've provided this short guide on the three main types of lawn mowers to help you condense your research phase and find the lawn mower for your garden that's a cut above the rest.

Types of lawn mowers

Push lawn mowers · See All

Push lawn mower

Push lawn mowers are designed to give the user control and precision, so they can tackle small to medium sized lawns with a minimum of fuss.

If you've got a standard patch of grass that needs regular maintenance or even just a touch-up every now and then, a push lawn mower will do the job just fine. That said, while they're good for tight corners and tricky edges, push lawn mowers tend to come unstuck for backyards with uneven terrain. Keep in mind with your standard push mower you're the one that will be providing the propulsion, so if you've got a yard with a few inclines this might be a problem.

As a rule of thumb, if your lawn is less than 1,000 square metres and flattish, a push lawn mower is your best option. For a larger area, you may want to look at a ride-on mower.

What lawn mower power supply should I choose?

cutting_blades

Most push lawn mowers for sale today are either powered by petrol or electric motors, and there are a few compelling reasons to going with either option.

Petrol push lawn mowers naturally aren't as environmentally friendly as their electric counterparts, but they tend to offer longer running time, a greater mowing range, better reliability and more power. This makes petrol lawn mowers more suitable for bigger jobs with tough grass.

Electric push lawn mowers come in two varieties, battery-powered or corded. They're a greener option, but there are also limitations that come with this. Corded push lawn mowers have a limited range and battery push lawn mowers are always at a risk of running out of juice before you've finished the job. This makes electric lawn mowers better for smaller lawns.

Another thing to consider is cutting diameter, which is related to the size of the blade slicing the grass. Petrol lawn mowers tend to come with wider cutting diameters of 45-50 cm, compared to 30-40 cm which you typically see on electric lawn mowers. While this might not seem like a lot, on larger lawns 10-20 cms can save you an extra couple of laps around the backyard. Our Lawn Mowers category page allows you to select a range of cutting widths from the left-hand panel (or bottom of the page if you're on your phone or tablet) to help narrow down your decision.

Other features to consider

  • Type of ignition: Some lawn mowers start with the push of a button while others require pulling a cord. If you have strength and dexterity limitations, you should be aware of this.
  • Size of wheels: Lawn mowers with big wheels handle rough ground easier, but smaller wheels on more lightweight models can be easier to manoeuvre and turn.
  • Handling: It's also important to make sure your lawn mower is easy to handle. Choosing a push lawn mower gives you precision, but unwieldy controls defeat the purpose. A self-propelled mower can make that weekend slog a much easier job.

Ride-on mowers · See All

If you own a larger property, a good ride-on lawn mower will seem like a gift from heaven.

Most ride-on lawn mowers available today are impressive pieces of machinery. They're relatively easy to operate (compared to models in years gone past), durable and make mowing sizeable lawns an absolute breeze. But this convenience comes with a price tag.

We're going to run through a few of the factors you should consider when looking for the best ride-on lawnmower. Keep these in mind and you'll end up with a top-of-the-line mower that won't miss a blade of grass, no matter how big your lawn is.

What different types of ride-on lawn mowers are available?

John Deeres Ride-on mower

You might remember the tractor-style ride-on mower (pictured, right) from shows like King of the Hill or Home Improvement. This is the most common type of ride-on lawn mower available. These are typically suitable for properties around 4,000 square metres or bigger, particularly those with few trees or obstructions like garden beds.

Tractor-style ride-on mowers are controlled by a steering wheel and pads and can be automatic or manual transmission.

These mowers can be further divided into lawn and garden types. Lawn ride-on mowers are smaller, more agile and more likely to be able to navigate through tight spaces, while garden ride-on mowers are powerful, with bigger cutting widths for larger jobs.

Your other option is a ride-on lawn mower with a zero-turn radius, which work a little differently to your standard ride-on mower. Zero-turn radius lawn mowers are controlled with left-right steer-drive handles. The controls take a little getting used to, but they also offer great manoeuvrability which can be better for trickier jobs.

Additional ride-on lawn mower features to consider:

  • Grass disposal: Ride-on lawn mowers either operate with an on-board mulcher or a standard catcher. Catching can suit small lawns, while mulching can be better for bigger yards where you don't want to be running to the green bin every five minutes. Ultimately, its a matter of personal preference and how you want the finished product to look.
  • Transmission: Ride-on lawn mowers can have automatic or manual transmission, which can greatly impact the mowing experience. Automatic ride-on mowers are more expensive, but much easier to use. On the other hand, manual ride-on mowers give the driver a greater degree of control, which can be handy for those dealing with trickier yards.
  • Comfort: With ride-on lawn mowers especially, it's important to try before you buy and take a minute to see how the driver's seat feels. If you feel as though the seat doesn't offer enough support or that you'll be stretching to reach the gears, you might want to consider looking at another ride-on lawn mower model.

Robot lawn mowers · See All

robot_mower_husqvarna

Would you like the look of a freshly mowed lawn without the forehead sweat? Robot lawn mowers are becoming increasingly popular for Australians that are short on time but still want to maintain a neat and tidy backyard. Let us take you through the ins and outs of buying a robot lawn mower so you can put your backyard on autopilot.

At this stage robot lawn mowers aren't quite as versatile as their push and ride-on mower counterparts, and there will be some lawns that just aren't a good fit. Larger, more complex yards are typically difficult for robot lawn mowers to tackle and often involve you installing boundary wires so they don't take your garden out with the buffalo grass.

The control system of these mowers also tends to vary greatly between manufacturers and models, and this is another important consideration to keep in mind when looking for a robot lawn mower.

Some robot lawn mowers come with a smartphone app that helps you keep track of its progress through your backyard and there are a range of sensors on the market that afford different makes and models varying levels of accuracy.

One of the key strengths of a robot lawn mower is the set and forget functionality, but it's hard to see the benefit of this when your robot lawn mower is blaring in the background. If you want to be able to focus on other tasks, it's important to choose a robot lawn mower that doesn't make too much noise, otherwise you (and your neighbours) might have to invest in some earplugs.

Robot lawn mower safety features are another important factor to consider, especially if you've got pets and young children that will be sharing the lawn with the mower. Many robot lawn mowers have a cutting disc with retractable blades which makes it less likely for a hand, foot or paw to become stuck underneath the mower.

Additional robot lawn mower features to consider:

  • Cutting diameter: Like with traditional push and ride-on lawn mowers, robot lawn mowers come with blades in varying cutting diameters. As a rule of thumb, larger cutting diameters are better for bigger lawns, while smaller cutting diameters are better for complex jobs.
  • Wheels: Robot lawn mower models have different types of wheels. Some are built to handle slopes and uneven terrains while others are better on a flat track, so it's important to consider the type of wheel when you're buying a robot lawn mower.
  • Perimeter wire: Robot lawn mowers typically require a perimeter wire for operation. Not only does this wire prevent your lawn mower from running straight through your garden bed, but in some models it also provides charge for the mower. Perimeter wires can be placed around the garden bed or buried beneath the surface of your garden.

Overall, before buying a lawn mower there a few things to consider. These include: the size of your lawn, whether your backyard has tight corners, and how even the ground is. Convenience is also important, so consider whether you'd prefer a petrol or electric mower, the manouverability of a prospective model, or whether you'd rather say no to mowing altogether with a handy robot lawn mower. You can read what other people had to say by clicking here for lawn mower reviews.