Which power source is right for you?
Your three main types of lawnmower can be electric or petrol-driven but some cylinder mowers are hand-push.
In times gone by you had a choice of a push, a petrol or an electric mower, today you also have the choice of cordless battery power alone. Battery-powered cordless mowers have no leads to get tangled with, you have no chance of being electrocuted by cutting through a trailing cable.
Most of today’s cordless mowers are easily as powerful as their electric and petrol competitors. A good quality cordless mower will be more expensive to buy than the cheaper electric or petrol machines. But, remember they are safer and are a fraction of the cost to run, with very little servicing required.
They’re cleaner and lighter than petrol mowers and need minimum maintenance. They’re ideal for people who don’t have a lot of time – just plug in and go! If you have a small or medium lawn, go for an electric lawnmower. (Remember you’ll need a power source close by, and watch out for that trailing cable.)
- Always install an RCD adapter when using an electric mower.
- Test the RCD to make sure it’s working.
- Never cut the grass when it’s wet.
- Get a mower with a lock-off switch so the machine can’t be switched on before you’re ready.
These can be more expensive than electric models. They need more upkeep and you’ll have to have some petrol stored. But they’re a great choice for larger gardens where you want that extra bit of power. You won’t have a trailing cable to worry about either. Remember to use a good quality fuel stabiliser, you do not want your petrol to go stale.
Petrol mowers can have either a recoil starter or an electric key starter. Mowers with electric key starter usually cost a little more but they’re simple to get going. With the recoil starter, just pull on the starter cord to begin mowing. The recoil action might not be best for infirm or elderly users as you need a bit of strength to pull the cord.
Self-Propelled or Push?
If you’re worried about the weight of a petrol mower, think about a self-propelled lawnmower. There’s no need to push so they’re really easy to handle.
Some cylinder models are propelled manually. Inexpensive and easy to maintain and store, the manual cylinder mower is perfect for small lawns or tiny spaces where you need a close, fine cut. But if you have difficulty pushing a mower or your garden is on a slope, choose a self propelled mower.