Choosing a lawn mower: What to think about


There’s something about a lovely, green expanse of lawn that many people – in Australia and elsewhere – find extremely soothing. Sitting on a back deck with a cup of tea, gazing at a green backyard lushness is idyllic.

All that soothing idyll doesn’t happen without some effort though, and maintaining the lawn (unless you outsource it to a professional) is one of many regular household chores.

The good news from Canstar Blue’s recent survey of 683 Aussies is that many of us enjoy mowing the back yard, with a surprising 28% of us (and a whopping 40% of 30 – 39 year olds) nominating mowing as our favourite household chore. And even if it’s not our all-time favourite chore, 56% of us admit to at least enjoying it.

Before mowing, though, comes the lawn mower; here are a few things to think about when buying one.

What types of lawn mowers are there?

When it comes to the standard, four-wheeled style of lawn mower that most people would be familiar with, you will need to choose between:

Petrol lawn mower

Generally a petrol lawn mower is heavy-duty. If you have a lot of lawn, and particularly if you have a form of thick grass, then a petrol-powered model could be for you. A petrol-powered model is unlikely to run out of juice before you finish the chore (which is a risk of a large garden/battery powered mower combination). On the other hand, a petrol lawn mower does require more maintenance than a batter-operated model. Probably at least someone in the household should be mechanically-minded.

Petrol mowers can be slightly more expensive – and quite a bit heavier. If you have a lot of outside stairs, think hard before buying a heavy machine!

Battery-powered lawn mower

Battery-powered lawn mowers have come a long way in the past decade or so. A good-quality battery-powered machine can give you up to 90 minutes of mowing time on one battery charge. An older model or ultra-cheap model, on the other hand, might leave you with a half-finished task!

Battery-powered lawn mowers tend to be quieter than petrol ones (and minus the petrol fumes). They also tend to weigh less, which is a benefit if you are hauling it from place to place. They can also be easier to start, which is something that 27% of Canstar Blue survey respondents said was important to them.

Robotic lawn mower

Want someone else to mow the lawn for you, for free? A robotic lawn mower might be the answer – and it might make a nice friend for your robotic vacuum cleaner. Good-quality robotic lawn mowers can manage gentle slopes and can adjust the cutting style to suit the weather. Be warned though – the good ones do tend to come with a hefty price tag.

Electric lawn mower

If you have a small lawn that doesn’t require much maintenance, an electric lawn mower could be an easy and cost-effective option – provided you don’t mind dragging an electricity cable along behind you.

Electric lawn mowers are quiet – you’re unlikely to annoy the neighbours on a Sunday morning – but they don’t have the cutting power of a petrol or heavy duty battery model. They’re also not suitable for long grass – and hence not suitable for the 30% of Canstar Blue survey respondents that admitted that their lawn often becomes overgrown to the point where it’s difficult to mow.

Discipline, people. Routine and discipline.

What else to think about when choosing a lawn mower?

As well as your preferred style and model of lawn mower, you also need to consider the practicalities, including:

The slope of your land

If you have a conservative flat rectangle of lawn, pretty much any lawn mower will be able to take it in stride. But add a few slopes, bumps and hills and some mowers will struggle with the job.

The size of your lawn

An enormous expanse of lawn is unlikely to make an electric mower (with a cord) a practical choice. If your lawn is large enough you might even want to consider a ride-on mowever

The number of stairs

As mentioned before, heavy machines and multiple stairs can really take a toll on your energy and enthusiasm for the job.

The type of grass

Do you have buffalo grass (think palmetto, Sir Walter and Matilda) or couch? The type of grass you have will make a difference to the mower that will suit you.

Your enthusiasm

As mentioned earlier, 30% of Canstar Blue survey respondents admitted that their lawn is often overgrown. So be honest with yourself when choosing a lawn mower: if you’re likely to neglect your chores then choose a machine that will cope with that – or perhaps fork out for a gardener instead!

Want to know what Aussies think about their lawn mowers? Read our survey results here.

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