Choosing garden tools can often feel like a trying task. While there is room for error with some tools, choosing a lawn mower that suits your garden and your needs is one of the most important things to get right.
There are so many things to think about when you buy a lawn mower. From the cutting width to how many mowing options there are, will you have a self-propelled mower and of course, what type of power you prefer. The options are endless. But still, so many people just buy the first lawn mower they stumble upon only to find that what they end up with might cut the grass, but is nothing but a hindrance.
I have written various guides on choosing a lawn mower, so be sure to check these out before you commit to a purchase. But in this guide, I wanted to discuss some of the most common mistakes people make when choosing a lawn mower. By being aware of these, you will be able to avoid them and ensure that you always end up with a lawn mower that is best suited to your needs.
9 Common Mistakes People Make When Buying Lawn Mowers
1. Choosing A Mower That Is Too Cheap
It can be so tempting to choose a lawn mower based on the price. A lot of people will opt for a cheap lawn mower to save money, thinking that they are getting a good deal. If you want to make sure that your bank balance is left intact after buying your mower, I would suggest looking for more expensive mowers that are featured in a sale. This way you will still be getting an excellent quality mower but at a more affordable price. Sometimes reductions and discount codes can save you up to 40% if you purchase at the right time. Be sure to check my front page as I am constantly updating it with the latest deals available.
While there are some excellent budget-friendly mowers out there, this isn’t always the case and unless you are certain of the quality, I wouldn’t recommend buying blind.
Even a ‘cheap’ lawn mower requires something of a financial investment and if you buy one that is of an inferior quality, you’ll likely only end up having to replace it much sooner, which won’t save you the money you had hoped.
Buying a top-quality lawn mower is an investment that will serve you for many years. In fact, it isn’t uncommon to purchase a petrol lawn mower that will last up to ten years, provided it is well taken care of.
2. Choosing The Wrong Type Of Power
We are fortunate enough to have some excellent choices in terms of how a lawn mower is powered. You might be tempted by the power of petrol or won over by the convenience of the electric mower, but when it comes to electric vs petrol, there are a few things that you should think about.
To begin with, a petrol mower is ideal for larger lawns that perhaps have more demanding terrain. They are incredibly well-built and far more durable than other types of mower and with self-propelled models you are spoilt for choice. However, they are typically much heavier and so require more physical exertion from the user and you will need to stay on top of maintaining your machine, otherwise it won’t perform how you expect.
Electric corded mowers are perfect for smaller lawns and are lightweight and very easy to use. They require barely any maintenance, but don’t normally have the power that their petrol counterparts have. Due to the power cable being something of a restriction, you’ll find that these mowers won’t be convenient for larger lawns.
That said, if you like the idea of electricity but have a bigger garden, you could go for a battery cordless mower. But you’ll need to make sure that the batteries have enough run time to get around the entire garden; this is another mistake that people make. They’ll buy a cordless mower thinking it would be perfect for their huge garden only to realise that the batteries drain halfway through the job. You can buy extra batteries, so just be sure to check out the runtime in comparison to how long it takes to cut your grass.
3. Choosing The Wrong Size
Lawn mowers come in various sizes and this is usually determined by the cutting width or cutting diameter. Typically, the smaller the garden, the smaller this cutting width needs to be. But far too many people do not pay attention to this and end up with a mower that is either way too big for their small patch of grass, or too small to easily cover a larger area.
If you have a small garden, you might only need a mower with a cutting width up to 35cm, whereas a larger lawn could need anything around 51cm. There are ride-on mowers whose cutting width can be up to metre but you should only opt for one of these if you have the storage space and your lawn is large enough to warrant it, no matter how tempting it may be.
Below I have included a table to guide you in terms of the ideal size deck needed for the size of lawn.
Electric & Cordless Mowers
Lawn Sizes to Lawn Mower Deck Guide
|Size of lawn||Square metres (Square Feet)||Deck Size|
|Small lawn||Less than 200m² (2200 Sq. Ft.)||30cm to 34cm (12" to 14")|
|Medium lawn||200m² to 350m² (2200 to 3800 Sq. Ft.)||34cm to 40cm (14" to 16")|
|Large lawn||350m² + (3800 Sq. Ft. +)||Over 40cm (Over 16")|
Petrol Lawn Sizes to Lawn Mower Deck Guide
|Size of lawn||Square metres (Square Feet)||Deck Size|
|Small lawn||Up to 500m² (5,400 Sq. Ft.)||Up to 42cm (16.5")|
|Medium lawn||500m² to 1000m² (5,400 to 10,800 Sq. Ft.)||39cm to 45cm (16" to 18")|
|Large lawn||1000m² to 1500m² (10,800 to 16,200 Sq. Ft.)||45cm to 53cm (18"to 21")|
4. Choosing The Wrong Power Level
In terms of saving money, buying a less powerful mower is one of the best ways to do this. But if you want a machine that is going to make light work of the job, then you need to choose the right power. This is both true for petrol, battery and corded mowers. For example, gardens that have very dense grass will need something much more powerful compared to a small lawn with grass that is regularly cut and easy to trim.
While it may be tempting to save money this way, there is a risk that you will end up damaging the mower and this will only cost you more in the long run. As I mentioned earlier, it’s far preferable to invest a little more initially to get what you need than have to spend more money down the line.
5. Buying Recoil Start Petrol Mowers When They Need Electric Start
A lawn mower is a bladed tool that could cause a serious injury if not used correctly. One of the biggest issues for people when choosing a petrol lawn mower is that they will often go for a recoil start when they have actually never tried to get one of these machines going. You may already be aware that petrol mowers come with either a recoil start (a cord that is pulled to turn the engine over) or an electric start option (where you simply press a button to turn the engine over).
When a petrol mower is new recoil starting is normally very easy and can be done with a single pull, however this can deteriorate over time unless of course you are meticulous with your regular mower engine maintenance and servicing.
Now, I’m not trying to patronise anyone here; I’ve been on the receiving end of a recoil that refuses to start in the past, but you must think very carefully about whether you want or can manage this type of start. Some people simply do not get on with a recoil mower. This is especially true for people who have strength problems as a result of old age, injury or ill health.
You’re not letting yourself down by choosing an electric start. If anything, you’ll be doing yourself a favour because it is much safer for you and requires less physical effort, of course this additional starting option is going to cost more.
6. Not Paying Attention To The Instruction Manual
If you’ve used plenty of lawn mowers in your time, you may fall into the trap of thinking that they are all the same. But this is something you should be wary of since too many people make this mistake when using their new mower for the first time.
You can look at the user manual before you even buy the mower as most manufacturers make these guides available online and where possible I try to include in all my mower reviews. This is a great way to judge whether the lawn mower will be right for you as it will detail what level of maintenance is required and whether there are any features and functions that you might not get on with.
Also, another mistake I have seen on so many occasions is incorrect assembly. This can cause frustrations (mainly seen in assembly of handles and grass collection box) and even damage to your mower.
7. Not Choosing A Mower That Is Comfortable To Use
Something that a lot of people aren’t aware of is that some lawn mowers come with an adjustable handle which can make the mower much more comfortable to use. If the handle is too short, you will find yourself hunching over to use it and this can cause back pain. Conversely, if you have a handle that is too high, you will have to overreach which is not only uncomfortable but can also affect your control over the mower.
Some advanced mowers will also allow you to not only adjust the angle of the bars, but also the length of the bars. This can be seen on the range of Bosch AdvancedRotak models with Bosch’s ErgoSlide feature.
In addition to this, many people make the mistake of not looking at how heavy a mower is before buying it. Similarly, to choosing a recoil when you don’t have the physical ability to use it, trying to push a mower that is far too heavy for you can make the experience incredibly uncomfortable, not to mention potentially dangerous.
Also bear in mind that if you are purchasing a self-propelled model, you may want to consider one where you can adjust the speed. Why? Well, because there is nothing worse than feeling like the mower is running away from you or moving too slowly to get the job done.
8. Push Mower vs Self-Propelled
A push mower, in other words one that is moved by the force of the user, will typically be cheaper than a self-propelled mower, which has an internal drive to move it; all you need to do is guide the mower around the lawn. However, it is again important not to be tempted by a good price, especially if your garden is on a slope. This is true for both petrol and cordless powered lawn mowers.
Pushing a manual mower over inclines and hills can be incredibly tiring work. Of course, if you’re physically able and want the workout, go for it. But for most of us, this would just be too much of an effort.
But even when choosing a self-propelled mower, as mentioned above, a lot of people omit to check whether it has variable speeds. This feature means that you can tune the mower to your walking pace or make it easier to tackle certain parts of the garden that may be more challenging than others. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a push mower is always the best option; unless you have a flat and well maintained lawn that is.
9. Cylinder vs Rotary Mower Blade
There are two types of blades commonly found on lawn mowers; cylinder and rotary, with rotary being more common. However, too many people see a lawn mower that takes their fancy without looking at which blade type it has. This might not sound like a big deal because after all; any blade will cut grass, right?
Well yes, they’re blades so they will cut, but if you try to use a cylinder on ground that is anything but flat and smooth, you’re going to struggle. If your garden has any lumps or bumps, then it is always wiser to go for a rotary mower that will make the job much simpler and less stressful.
You might think that buying a lawn mower is as simple as typing in a Google search and hitting ‘buy’ on the cheapest product. But this is just the first of many common mistakes made by people buying a new lawn mower.
If you don’t want to waste your money, it is vital that you do your research and check out the features of any potential tool to make sure that you don’t end up with something that could be rendered useless.
So, to ensure you do not make a mistake and end up with the “wrong” mower, I have two resources to help you out. The first is my comprehensive guide to purchasing a lawn mower and the second is a tool that will enable you to select all your specific requirements, features and size of your lawn etc. and then you will be presented with a shortlist of best mowers for your needs. Click the image below to try this now.