How to Choose The Best Lawn Mower Under £100
When it comes to garden maintenance, it often feels like you have to spend a lot of money on equipment to create a great finish – but, fortunately, that’s not the case.
One area where it’s possible to save a little money is your lawn mower. As with any budget purchase, it’s important to know what to look out for – naturally, there are still some duds out there!
The following information will help you find the best lawn mower for your garden, without going over budget.
Assessing your Garden
The majority of budget lawn mowers are mains powered (unfortunately, cordless mowers are always just that bit more expensive).
If you’ve got a large garden, you need to make sure the mower has a sufficiently long power cord. A small garden will allow more flexibility. Most budget mowers have a maximum cable length of 12 m. You may need to use an extension cable or install an outdoor socket.
Take a look at any inclines in your garden. Hilly areas and uneven lawns will often require a self-propelled mower, or a model that isn’t too heavy. You may struggle to push it otherwise. If it’s a flat lawn, manual mowers will be sufficient.
Finally, look at the type of grass you are going to be cutting. If you know you regularly let your grass get too long, you’ll need a mower with enough power and cutting heights to tackle longer grass.
Lawn Mower Cutting Width
The electric lawn mowers featured on this page have a cutting width ranging from 30 – 36 cm. Mowers with larger cutting widths are available, but they tend to be more expensive.
A cutting width of 30 – 36 cm is suitable for small to medium sized gardens. You’ll be able to manoeuvre around small obstacles, but mowing open areas of your lawn won’t take you hours.
If you’ve got a large garden, a wider cutting width will make the job quicker. However, you can still achieve the same results with a smaller mower.
If you’ve got a garden with a lot of narrow areas, I’d recommend opting for a narrow cutting width. I personally would rather have to do a few more passes than leave parts of my lawn unattended because the machine won’t fit!
It’s unlikely that budget mowers will have all the features as the top brands, but this doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice adjustability altogether.
Most electric mowers come with a range of cutting heights to choose from. The exact number of heights, and their range, will depend on the model you purchase. With a cheap lawn mower, you can expect between 3 and 5 cutting heights.
If your garden is very overgrown, you’ll need a taller maximum cutting height (around 70 mm). Trying to cut too short too quickly will likely overwhelm a budget mower.
A cutting height of around 20 mm is as short as you should go in the UK, to avoid damaging the lawn. You may find that some budget models only go as low as 30 mm.
If you tend to let your lawn become overgrown, look for a mower that can accommodate longer grass. It’s also important that you choose the cutting height based on the condition of the grass. Selecting a longer cutting height if the grass is long or damp is a lot better for your mower.
Most mowers, even the very cheapest, should have adjustable handlebars. This allows you to alter the handle height to accommodate different height users. If you’re a lot taller, or smaller, than average, ensure your mower can be adjusted to suit you.
Comfort and Ease of Use
A lower budget shouldn’t mean settling for a mower that’s harder to use.
Ease of use is partly dictated by the mower’s weight. An electric mower will weigh a lot less than a petrol lawnmower, and the machines on this page are all under 12 kg. They should be easy to take in and out of storage, and easy to push.
Grass Collection Box/ Collection Bag
A large grass box/bag will require less emptying, but it will add to the weight of the mower by holding more grass clippings. There’s a balance to be struck between the size of the grass collection box, as well as the weight of the mower that you’re willing to push around.
The mowers I’ve recommended have collection bags of around 30 – 40 L in size. This size is suitable for small and medium sized lawns.
Some mowers have a plastic grass box, while others have a mesh bag. A plastic grass box is very easy to clean but can feel a little bulky. Mesh on the other hand, is a lot more compact, but harder to clean and some grass clippings may escape out of the holes.
Maintaining Your Budget Lawn Mower
One of the best ways to ensure your mower offers good value for money is by ensuring it is adequately maintained. Fortunately, electric mowers will require a lot less maintenance than petrol mowers.
You’ll need to be careful to properly maintain a cheaper mower, as they are likely to have been made using less robust parts. However, this doesn’t mean that a cheap lawn mower is automatically low quality – they just need to be looked after well.
You should make sure you clean the blades regularly and oil the moving parts on a regular basis. Ensure you store your mower according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Plastic parts may become brittle if subjected to below-freezing temperatures, while metal parts can rust if left damp – bear this in mind when storing your mower after use.