Hover Mowers vs Rotary Lawn Mowers

Hover Mowers vs Rotary Mowers

Hover Mowers vs Rotary Mowers

Spring has well and truly set in and your garden is probably in need of some TLC after winter. But if your old lawn mower isn’t playing ball then you’ll need to buy a new one. The thing is that there are so many to choose from and so many different types.

Once you’ve decided on the type of power and size of the mower you’d like, you then have other things to consider, like whether to opt for a hover mower or a rotary mower. It can feel dizzying which is why I’ve put together this simple guide on choosing between a hover mower vs rotary mower. By the end, you’ll be much better informed to make the right decision for you and your garden.

What Is A Hover Mower?

The hover mower is one of the newest types of mowers having only been invented in 1964 by a guy named Karl Dahlman. These mowers have an air cushion in between the lawn and the mower. The reason for this is so that the mower is slightly raised off of the grass which in turn allows the blades to cut. The great thing about these mowers is how easy they are to move around. Due to the lack of wheels, you are not restricted and can move in all directions.

What Is A Rotary Mower?

A rotary lawn mower has a high speed blade that turns in the cutting deck. This blade uses a chopping action which is vastly different to the scissor-like cutting motion of the cylinder mower (I have a guide on the differences between these here). Rotary mowers have a grass box at the rear and are great for cutting higher grass.

What To Consider When Choosing Between A Hover Mower And A Rotary Mower

There is no one mower type that is better than the other. They are designed with different uses in mind and excel in certain areas. Therefore, when it comes to choosing the right lawn mower for you, you need to think about several things.

Lawnmower Weight

What To Consider When Choosing Between A Hover Mower And A Rotary Mower

You might not initially think about how heavy a lawn mower is when first buying one but it’s something that you’ll soon become very familiar with once you start using the mower. You see, using a mower that is too heavy for you can become an incredible burden. This is not just whilst mowing, but also moving the mower from where it’s stored, out to the lawn. This may involve lifting or carrying the mower, particularly if you have steps for example.

If you have strength problems or are a little older then a hover mower is a brilliant option as it’s much more lightweight. On top of this, you don’t have to physically move it to change direction which makes things much less stressful physically speaking.

That said, it’s not uncommon for some users to find that their hover mowers swing around too much, meaning that they lose control of them. In this case, a wheeled rotary lawn mower is going to provide you with more stability and control. You may also want to consider a self-propelled cordless model for extra manoeuvrability and ease of use.

And advantage of a hover mower, is that no wheel lines are seen after mowing the lawn. This is not the case with heavier rotary mower.

Is The Garden Sloped?

As I have already discussed, hover mowers are generally much easier to move around owing to their unique design. This means that if you have a sloped lawn, it can be far less challenging to move around with this type of mower. Pushing a rotary mower up and down hills and trying to turn it when you’re on a slope isn’t the easiest thing in the world and should be something you consider before buying.

Assembling Your Mower

If you buy a rotary lawn mower then there is a very good chance that there will be some self-assembly involved. I’m not going to make it out to be more than it is; it’s usually minimal and anyone with basic DIY skills should have no problem but it could be challenging for some.

On the other hand, a hover mower comes ready assembled so all you need to do is take it out of the box and get mowing. If you’re after something convenient, this is the obvious choice.

Lawn Shape

It’s become apparent by now that hover mowers allow you to move more freely around the lawn. If you have an irregular shaped lawn, then trying to move a rotary lawn mower around can be tricky. The air cushion of a hover mower allows you to almost glide around even in tight spots or odd shapes.

Do You Want A Striped Lawn?

Do You Want A Striped Lawn

In the UK, striped lawns are something of a tradition. Look at stately home gardens, royal residences and public parks. One thing that they all have in common is a striped lawn. It gives your garden a beautiful aesthetic but if you want to create it, you’ll need the right type of lawn mower.

Generally speaking, you’re going to need a rotary mower if you want to create a striped lawn. This is because many of these come with a rear roller or at least can have one attached. This just isn’t possible with a hover mower as attaching a roller would interfere with the air cushion, preventing the mower from working correctly.

Height Adjustment

There is a difference between the hover and rotary mower in the way you adjust the cutting height. Most rotary mowers will be equipped with a single lever that allows you to adjust the height the mower cuts. As a hover mower floats, this is not possible as nothing is touching the lawn to allow for an adjustment. Therefore, the blad itself must be adjusted to allow for different cutting heights. This is, in my opinion, a huge disadvantage of hover mowers as you have to unscrew the blade and insert spacers to achieve the desired height. Ok, so it only takes a few minutes, and the spanner is provided, but it just seems a bit of a palaver as the mower needs to be isolated from the power and turned over to adjust the height.


Choosing a new lawn mower comes with a lot of important decisions. One of these decisions involves selecting the right type of lawn mower and this largely comes down to how and where you intend to use the tool. Hover mowers are designed to float on a cushion of air and one of the major advantages of this is that they are much easier to move around.

However, a rotary mower is a wheeled tool that can be used for longer grass and is excellent if you’re looking to create a striped lawn.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of mower, so I hope this article has help you to decide which is best for you and your lawn.

You can see my best hover mower here and my best rotary cordless mowers here.

Looking for more Best Rotary Mower Reviews? – Best Rotary Lawn Mower

Looking for more Best Hover Mower Reviews? – Best Hover Mower


Mark Haley Author
Lawnmower Product Expert, Reviewer and Author at EasyLawnMowing.co.uk | 01284 615144 | info@easylawnmowing.co.uk | Website

As a seasoned expert in the field of garden power tools, I have dedicated over a decade to working with and reviewing a wide variety of lawn mowers. My extensive experience has allowed me to gain a deep understanding of the benefits and limitations of different types of mowers and garden tools.

Over the years, I have honed my skills in writing informative articles and creating helpful videos for various blogs and publications. This has given me the ability to not only recognise what makes a good lawn mower, but also to help you choose the perfect garden tool for your specific needs and requirements.

With my wealth of knowledge and expertise, I am confident that I can provide you with valuable insights and recommendations when it comes to selecting the right lawn mower for your lawn. So, whether you're looking for a battery cordless, electric, petrol, or robotic mower, you can trust in my expertise to guide you towards the best option for your garden.

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