How to Choose The Best Electric Lawn Mower
Whether you always pride yourself on your perfectly mown lawn, or you’ve decided that this is the year you’re finally going to start taking care of your garden, investing in the best electric lawn mower is certainly a worthwhile purchase.
Producing a fraction of the noise of the best petrol lawn mowers, and being lighter and easier to use, electric lawn mowers are perfectly suited to small to medium sized lawns.
There are, as always, a lot of different models out there, and looking for the best electric lawn mower for your garden can leave you scratching your head in confusion. The following advice has been put together to help you make an informed decision, alongside our electric lawn mower reviews above.
The Importance of Lawn Mower Cutting Width
A larger mowing width may help you get jobs done faster, but may not offer such good manoeuvrability.
From the electric lawn mowers I reviewed, mowing width ranged from 36 – 45 cm. This is quite a big variation and is good to bear in mind when buying a new lawn mower.
For larger gardens without many obstacles to navigate, look for electric lawn mowers with a wider cutting width to save time. You’ll be able to cover a larger area in fewer passes. However, the mower is likely to be a bit more cumbersome than slighter models.
If your garden is small with a lot of trees and flower beds to manoeuvre around, a smaller cutting width is more practical.
Similarly, if you have a medium-large garden, but a lot of narrow areas, it’s better to go for a narrower mower. Having to do a few more passes is generally better than being forced to leave parts of the garden unmown because the machine won’t fit.
Look at The Adjustable Cutting Heights & Range
Most electric lawn mowers come with a range of cutting heights to choose from. The exact number of heights available, and their range, will depend on the machine you purchase. While some have 3 different heights to choose from, more advanced models can have up to 8.
If your garden is very overgrown, it’s recommended to look for electric lawn mowers with a taller maximum cutting height (like 70 or 80 mm). You’ll be better off cutting the grass on a higher setting first, then cutting it down shorter.
If you try to go in too short too quickly, you’ll likely overwhelm your lawn mower. This can cause it to cut out, or result in the battery running down quickly (if it’s a battery-powered mower, of course!).
If you’re after very short, pristine-looking grass, a cutting height of around 20 mm is generally ideal. Most lawn mowers go down to this height, but just keep an eye out as a few models have a minimum cutting height of 30 mm instead.
Lawn Mower Comfort and Ease of Use
Electric lawn mowers should be both comfortable and easy to use.
This is partly dictated by weight. For example, a lightweight lawn mower will be easier to take in and out of storage. It will also be easier to push, if the mower isn’t power-assisted.
Checking the weight of the lawn mower before purchasing it is vital – it’s better to go for something that you can move easily (and will therefore use often), even if it’s slightly less powerful, rather than something that will be very difficult to carry.
Other factors that improve comfort include grippy, shock-absorbing handles. These can also help reduce vibrations and make mowing for longer periods more pleasant.
An adjustable handle is another good feature to look out for. If you can alter the handle height, even taller or shorter members of the family will have no excuse not to help out with the mowing!
Jokes aside, an adjustable handle can really help avoid any back pain from mowing.
Still on the subject of handles, folding handles are a useful addition that make electric lawn mowers infinitely easier to store. Having a more compact mower can make life easier by freeing up space in the shed.
Lawn Mower Collection Bag Capacity
If your lawn mower comes with a collection bag above 50 L in size, you should be able to tackle most jobs without having to stop and empty it.
Larger bags (or boxes) mean less emptying, but they do make the mower heavier. Therefore, there’s a bit of a balance to made between grass-collector size and the weight that you’re willing to push around.
Alternatively, look for a mower with a mulching function which will shred the cuttings finely and redistribute them over the lawn. Mulch helps fertilise the lawn and retain moisture during the summer months. By using the mulching function you won’t fill up the collection-box, so you won’t need to stop to empty it.
Not all of the best electric lawn mowers have a mulching feature, so you should specifically look out for this if it’s something that interests you.
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Electric Lawn Mower FAQs
What should I look for in a corded lawn mower?
While corded lawn mowers eliminate the worries of a short battery life, the length of cable should still be considered. So, the first thing you should ensure when you’re purchasing a corded lawn mower, is that the cable is the right length for your garden. Too short, and you’ll either miss out areas of lawn or need to purchase an extension cable. If your cable is much too long, you’ll be more likely to accidentally mow over it!
Almost every lawn mower I’ve recommended here has a cable of 10m, and one model has a 12m cable. A cord of 10-12m tends to suit most small to medium size gardens.
Another thing to look out for is the cutting width. If you’ve got a large, open garden without many obstacles to mow around, a wider cutting width will save you time. You’ll be able to cover a larger area in fewer passes.
For awkward shaped gardens with flower beds, trees and other obstacles, a narrower cutting width will suit you better. These tend to be easier to manoeuvre around obstacles and can fit into tighter spaces.
Finally, look for the cutting heights. A mower with a range of cutting heights is best, as you can adjust the height depending on whether your garden is overgrown, the weather (if it’s wet you won’t want to go as short), and your preferred look. Some mowers have 3 heights to choose from, while others may have 8 or more.
How long do corded lawn mowers last?
This depends on the brand you purchase from, the build quality and how well you look after your new mower.
While purchasing from a reputable brand is recommended, that’s not to say that there aren’t smaller companies that can produce good quality mowers. Some of these may even last longer than high end mowers!
The average lawn mower should last around 10 years provided it is correctly looked after and maintained. Of course, this will also depend on how often it’s used. If you use your mower for 4 hours a week, while your neighbour uses theirs for 2 hours a week, it makes sense to assume that your neighbour’s mower will last twice as long.
If you regularly cut grass that is very long and wet using a setting that’s too short, your mower may start to struggle. However, if you take into account the condition of the grass while selecting the cutting height, your mower will be more likely to reward you with a long service life!
A well maintained corded mower will last a long time. Ensure the blades are cleaned regularly and you should also oil the moving parts on a regular basis. Most manufacturers provide instructions on how to care for your new mower.
The best way to guarantee the lifespan of your mower is to purchase a quality model. Read reviews and buyer’s guides before you make a purchase. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Which is cheaper: a petrol or corded electric mower?
Usually, petrol mowers are more expensive than corded mowers. This is because they have a lot more power and do a better job on tough terrains, long grass and slopes. Petrol mowers tend to be large machines, with better features and versatility.
While electric mowers are usually cheaper, for domestic use in average size gardens, they are often the preferred option. Electric mowers come with their own set of advantages. There’s no need to worry about filling the petrol tank nor charging the battery.
When it comes to maintenance and additional purchases, corded mowers also work out cheaper. Owners of petrol mowers will need to purchase fuel, as well as pay for a service every year. Petrol mowers also need a lot more maintenance.
Corded electric mowers, once purchased, only cost you in electricity – which is a lot lower than the cost of fuel!
How much electricity does a corded electric lawn mower use?
Again, this depends on the specific model you purchase. Most corded models use 700-1800 watts of electricity per hour, or 10-15 amps. To work out how much your mower costs to run, you’ll need to know how much your electricity costs per hour.
For the average UK household, using 700 watts of electricity costs around 15p per hour, while 1800 watts costs 35p per hour. A 1800 watt mower used for an hour every week will cost around £18 a year to run.
Is it safe to cut wet grass with an electric lawn mower?
It’s recommended to wait for a dry day before mowing your lawn. Cutting wet grass can damage your lawn mower, whether it’s an electric mower or petrol powered model.
In addition, damp grass puts a lot more strain on the engine of the mower, so it would have to work a lot harder to cut wet grass.
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