Lawn mower purchasing advice: how to choose the right product

  • The most important facts in brief
  • For larger lawns of 400 square metres or more and longer grass, petrol lawnmowers with their powerful engine are the clear recommendation.
  • Electric lawnmowers are quieter and more environmentally friendly, but have a weaker engine and a limited range of movement. They are well suited for smaller to medium-sized areas.
  • The most important criteria for buying a lawn mower are the cutting width, the cutting height, the engine power and the size of the collecting bucket.
  • A useful additional function is scarifying. This aerates the lawn and allows it to grow over new areas.

The need for lawn care

In spring, when the first rays of sun drive away the gloomy winter mood and lure us outdoors, the gardening season begins. By then at the latest, your own garden should look attractive and well-maintained in order to live up to its role as a place of retreat and an oasis of relaxation. The be-all and end-all here is a well-kept lawn.

Running barefoot, playing football and having garden parties

A well-maintained lawn provides a foundation for many outdoor activities. A wildly overgrown lawn has its charm, but it is not suitable for playing football and running around. Barefoot walking is also much more pleasant on a well-kept lawn.

A well-kept, smooth lawn is also advantageous for setting up garden furniture. Garden tables, chairs and loungers are more stable on it than on a wildly growing lawn. And who wants to constantly make sure that the table doesn’t wobble and the coffee cup doesn’t tip over while having a relaxing coffee in the garden? The same applies, of course, to the barbecue at a garden party. At the same time, a lush green lawn creates a particularly beautiful atmosphere. And standing on a soft grass carpet is much more pleasant than on a concrete or paved terrace.

Barefoot running is healthy

Shoes support our feet when running, but they also constrict them and can lead to an uneven load. Therefore, we should give our feet some space now and then and run barefoot. This also builds up foot muscles, which not only promotes leg health, but also gives the back more support and has a very positive effect on the entire posture and musculoskeletal system. In addition, walking barefoot strengthens the natural immune system. So we should leave our shoes off more often.

Support for lawn care

Hardly anyone has the time or inclination to meticulously trim their lawn to the right length with nail scissors. Sickles and scythes require a certain amount of skill and are rather unsuitable for larger lawns. So you need a suitable lawn mower to take care of your lawn.

If you are looking for a suitable lawn mower or are dissatisfied with your existing one, our buying guide will help you find a suitable model. In our comparison of the best lawn mowers, we first present the most common types of lawn mowers with their respective advantages and disadvantages, explain the most important buying criteria that you should consider and go into detail about special lawn mowers. You will also find useful tips for a well-kept lawn and a summary of further tests and their results.

Petrol or electricity?

Basically, the common lawn mowers on the market can be divided into two types according to their mode of operation: Petrol and electric lawn mowers. We explain below the advantages and disadvantages of each and for which purposes they are suitable.

Petrol lawn mowers: ideal for large lawns

Petrol lawnmowers are characterised by their powerful petrol engine. Despite all the efforts to make electric motors acceptable, they have not yet been able to keep up with combustion engines in terms of performance. This makes petrol lawnmowers ideal for mowing large lawns, as larger cutting widths are possible with a more powerful engine. In return, they are usually equipped with larger catch baskets. Even somewhat taller and damp grass, where electric lawnmowers with weaker engines often reach their limits, does not usually cause problems for petrol models.

Due to the petrol operation, no power connection is necessary, which makes the petrol models very flexible. Users can move freely around the garden with the device without having to worry about a power cable or battery life. They usually start the engine with a quick pull by hand, which requires much less effort with modern petrol lawnmowers than with earlier models. Alternatively, there are petrol lawnmowers with a convenient electric starter or start button.

What petrol does the lawn mower need?
Which petrol you should use for your lawn mower depends primarily on the choice of engine. Two-stroke engines, which are now considered obsolete, require a mixture of oil and petrol. In contrast, modern four-stroke engines run on unleaded premium petrol. E10 fuel is suitable for many new cars, but not necessarily for lawnmowers. To make sure you choose the right fuel, it is advisable to take a look at the owner’s manual.

Wheel drive for more comfort

Compared to electric models, petrol lawnmowers are usually more robustly built. Among other things, their engine is protected by an aluminium housing. The robust construction promises a long service life, but also means a comparatively high weight of about 25 to 35 kilograms. Some manufacturers remedy this problem by equipping their petrol lawnmowers with a wheel drive, which makes working with the heavy equipment much easier. The self-propelled drive has an average speed of 3.5 kilometres per hour and can be switched off at any time. Depending on the model, the drive speed can also be regulated. A self-propelled lawn mower is particularly recommended for users who want to mow uneven areas with hills with their lawn mower.

The disadvantages of petrol lawn mowers

However, petrol lawn mowers have other disadvantages compared to electric versions besides their higher weight. For example, although the petrol engine produces more power, it is also much louder than an electric engine and produces exhaust fumes that are harmful to people and the environment. In addition, petrol models have a more complex design than the electric version, which makes maintenance more complex and necessary more often. This is because petrol engines contain more sensitive parts such as the fuel line, oil filter and spark plugs, which usually require a specialist to maintain.

Petrol costs for the lawn mower
A litre of lawnmower petrol costs about three to four euros. Assuming that the lawn mower chosen has a petrol consumption of one litre per hour and the user uses it to mow the lawn for two hours a month, the monthly petrol costs are as follows:

2 x 3.50 euros = 5 euros

Another disadvantage: the price. On the one hand, petrol lawnmowers are considerably more expensive to buy than the electric version, costing between 200 and 600 euros. On the other hand, there are regular costs for petrol.

Pro points

  • Suitable for large lawns
  • High flexibility
  • No power source necessary
  • Powerful motor
  • Robust construction
  • Often with wheel drive


  • High noise level
  • Environmentally harmful exhaust fumes
  • More care and maintenance
  • Expensive (purchase + petrol)
  • High weight

Electric lawnmower: quiet and emission-free

Instead of petrol, electric lawnmowers are powered by electricity. This works either by cable or battery. In everyday language, the term electric lawnmower is often used for the corded version. We use it in our lawn mower comparison for both types of electric lawn mowers.

Basically, electric lawnmowers have the great advantages over petrol models that they are much quieter and do not emit harmful exhaust fumes. In addition, they usually weigh less, which means that they can be pushed over the lawn with less effort, so that even angled lawns are no problem. The maintenance of electric lawnmowers is also less complicated and, unlike petrol lawnmowers, they usually do not require the services of a specialist.

With power cable or battery?

Battery-powered lawnmowers have the advantage that they can be pushed over the lawn more comfortably and flexibly because there is no power cable. In addition, there is no risk of accidentally mowing over the power cable and damaging it. Disadvantages compared to the corded version are the higher weight due to the battery and the usually somewhat higher purchase price.

The price difference between corded and battery-powered lawnmowers
Corded electric lawnmowers are considerably cheaper than petrol lawnmowers, with prices starting at 60 euros. Battery-powered models are almost on a par with petrol lawnmowers, with purchase prices between 130 and 600 euros.

The disadvantages of electric lawnmowers

It goes without saying that corded electric lawnmowers have a limited range of movement. But even battery-powered mowers are not quite as free in their range as petrol-powered ones. Because the battery does not last forever, of course. Depending on the model and engine power, a fully charged battery can be empty after just 15 minutes. The comparatively weak engine is also a limitation. Especially on wet and high grass, the electric models are inferior to the petrol models. Both corded and battery-powered electric lawnmowers are therefore better suited for smaller lawns up to a maximum of 400 square metres, which is slightly smaller than a basketball court (420 square metres).

Pro points

  • Quiet
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Less maintenance
  • Cost-effective wired models
  • Low weight


  • Weaker motor
  • Limited range of motion
  • Battery-powered models expensive
  • Not suitable for large areas

In summary: Which lawn mower is suitable for whom?

Petrol lawn mowers are powerful and flexible, but loud, polluting and expensive. They are mainly suitable for consumers who want to use them to mow larger lawns, for example 400 square metres or more, and also sometimes taller grass.

For smaller areas, we recommend an electric lawnmower. This variant is much quieter and more environmentally friendly. With a corded version, consumers even save a lot of money compared to petrol models. It is suitable for users who have a good power connection in their garden, want to spend little money and are not bothered by the power cable when mowing. If you want to be a little more flexible and spend a little money on it, a cordless lawnmower is the right choice.

The most important buying criteria

If you think you can simply cut any lawn short in the same way, you are mistaken. Grasses and lawn types have their own preferences, and it shows when they receive the right care from their owner. When it comes to cutting width, too, it is not a case of “a lot helps a lot”. Instead, lawn lovers should consider a few decisive criteria before buying in order to find the model that suits their needs and their greenery. In the following, we provide you with five important decision-making aids.

The cutting height of the lawn

For a well-maintained lawn, it is important to determine the optimum cutting height. If you cut too much, the grass cannot grow vigorously. If, on the other hand, you cut too little, you will soon have to reach for the lawn mower again. Therefore, when choosing your new lawn mower, you should pay attention to which cutting heights it supports.

Which lawn should be cut at what height?

The right cutting height depends largely on the type of lawn. For normal lawns it is roughly between 3.5 and 5 centimetres. For so-called shade lawns, it is better to leave one to two centimetres more so that the blades of grass can absorb sufficient sunlight. For ornamental lawns, on the other hand, the optimum cutting height is between 1.5 and 2.5 centimetres.

Minimum and maximum cutting height
Manufacturers usually specify values for the minimum and maximum cutting height in their product descriptions.

The minimum cutting height is the lowest possible cutting height that users can set on the lawn mower. It is about three centimetres for most petrol and electric lawn mowers on the market. For lower cutting heights, a hand-operated cylinder mower is recommended.

The maximum cutting height is the highest grass height that the lawn mower can cut. If you want to mow your lawn less frequently, you should choose a lawn mower with a higher maximum cutting height. If you cut too much at once, there is a risk that the grass will turn brown.

Depending on the model, you can set the appropriate cutting height on your lawn mower either simply in centimetres or in steps. If the latter is the case, you can usually read in the operating instructions which level corresponds to the desired cutting height. Many models have a convenient central cutting height adjustment. On other machines, however, you have to adjust the cutting height separately on two or four wheels, which is a little more complicated.

What does mulching mean?
The term mulching refers to the extensive covering of the soil with unrotted organic material. Shredded tree bark, so-called bark mulch, is often used for this purpose. But fallen leaves or freshly mown, shredded grass can also serve as mulch. Mulching adds nutrients to the soil and keeps it fertile in the long term.

The cutting width

Almost more important than the cutting height is the cutting width of a lawn mower, also known as the working width. It affects how quickly users can mow a lawn with it. Mowers with a wide cutting width can cut the same area of lawn faster than those with a narrower cutting width.

One could conclude from this that it is always worth choosing a model with the widest possible cutting width. However, such lawn mowers are somewhat more expensive. On the other hand, they are less manoeuvrable and heavier than lawn mowers with a narrower cutting width and require more space. Mowing small, winding gardens is therefore rather difficult with such clunky lawn mowers. When choosing the cutting width, you should therefore roughly consider the lawn area to be mown. The following list provides a guide:

  • Up to 250 m² lawn area: 30 to 40 cm cutting width
  • 250 to 500 m² lawn area: 40 to 50 cm cutting width
  • 500 to 1,000 m² lawn area: 50 to 55 cm cutting width

Another decisive criterion for selecting the appropriate cutting width is narrow areas of the lawn, such as between stone beds, tree trunks or bushes.

Engine power

The engine power of the lawn mower determines, among other things, how well the machine copes with dense and longer lawns. In addition, more powerful machines are better suited for larger areas. For small front gardens, for example, a lawn mower with a low engine power of 800 watts or a little more is usually quite sufficient.

Most commercially available electric lawn mowers have an engine power of between 1,300 and 1,700 watts. This gives them enough power for medium-sized gardens (from about 200 to 400 square metres). Particularly powerful electric lawnmowers work with 2,000 watts or more. However, users should note that such models also consume correspondingly more electricity.

Petrol engines are more powerful than electric engines. Depending on the model, they produce between 1,500 and 3,500 watts (around two to five hp). Powerful petrol lawnmowers easily cut dense, tall and wet grass and are suitable for large gardens up to about 1,400 square metres. Especially in hilly gardens, however, you should choose a device with wheel drive so that pushing the mower is not too burdensome.

The weight

How comfortable a lawnmower is to operate depends largely on its weight. Heavier machines are usually more difficult to push across the lawn. Especially for people with back problems or who are elderly, pushing a lawn mower that is too heavy can be uncomfortable. Typically, electric lawnmowers are noticeably lighter than petrol lawnmowers. Roughly speaking, the devices can be divided into three different weight classes.

Weight classWeight rangeLawn mower typePower expenditure
LightUp to 15 kgManual lawn mowerLow
Medium Heavy15 to 25 kgElectric lawnmowerAverage
HeavyOver 25 kgPetrol lawn mowerHigh
To be able to push heavy petrol lawnmowers easily, it is advisable to choose models with edge drive.

The noise level

The noise emission of a lawn mower is decisive for when you may use the device. Petrol lawnmowers in particular can be quite loud. Under certain circumstances, mowing the lawn may even be considered disturbing the peace and can be punished with a fine.

The Equipment and Machinery Noise Protection Ordinance (Geräte- und Maschinenlärmschutzverordnung) defines the times at which you may mow your lawn and the volume of noise. It came into force in 2002 and applies nationwide. According to the ordinance, mowing the lawn on Sundays and public holidays as well as on weekdays between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. is prohibited. Electric lawnmowers bearing an EU Ecolabel may therefore be used from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on working days. The situation is somewhat different for loud petrol lawnmowers that exceed a noise level of 88 decibels. According to the Noise Abatement Ordinance, these may only be used on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

So if you want to be a little more flexible and use your lawn mower around lunchtime, for example, you should opt for a quieter electric model so as not to risk a fine and offend the neighbours.

Helpful equipment

Many lawn mower manufacturers equip their models with various additional features and functions that mainly increase ease of use or serve to maintain the lawn. We present some of the most common ones below:

Wheel drive

In lawn mowers with wheel drive, the engine not only drives the blade, but also the rear wheels at the same time. This means that the lawn mower moves over the ground under its own power, the user only has to guide it. Especially with heavy equipment and sloping terrain, a powered lawn mower is very advantageous and increases the ease of use enormously.

Electric start

With petrol lawn mowers, an electric start function makes the rather tedious task of starting the engine easier. Instead of getting the lawn mower running with a powerful cable, users only have to press a button and the lawn mower starts.

Catch basket

Die meisten handelsüblichen Elektro- und Benzinrasenmäher sind mit einem Fangkorb ausgestattet. Darin sammeln sie das abgemähte Gras, sodass Anwender es nach dem Mähen nicht erst zusammenrechen müssen. Je größer der Fangkorb ausfällt, umso seltener müssen sie ihn zwischendurch entleeren. Für größere Flächen empfiehlt sich dementsprechend auch ein größerer Fangkorb.

High Wheel

So-called high-wheels are extra-large wheels. Lawn mowers with such XXL wheels can be pushed more comfortably over bumps and mossy lawns without getting caught or stuck.

Knife coupling

Some petrol lawn mowers are equipped with a blade clutch, also called a blade stop. This function ensures that the blade of the lawn mower stops as soon as the user releases the safety bar. However, the engine continues to run. The blade clutch thus makes it possible, for example, to empty the catcher bag without having to restart the engine afterwards.

Mulching function

Lawn mowers with a mulching function make it possible to close the access to the catcher box, which means that the grass is cut several times and thus finer, and is then distributed on the lawn as fine grass shreds. Special mulching mowers do not even have a catcher box. If you mulch regularly, you do not usually need to fertilise your lawn.

Side ejection

An alternative to lawn mowers with a catcher bag and mulching mowers are models with side discharge. With the latter, the cut grass is not directed to the rear and collected in a catch bag, but is placed on its side next to the lawn mower and then collected by hand.

Scarifying function

Scarifying involves scarifying the turf with a special cutting tool. This removes old cuttings and moss and promotes aeration of the soil. Practical: Some lawn mower models are available with a scarifying attachment. This saves consumers having to purchase an additional gardening tool. Alternatively, some manufacturers offer scarifying attachments for various lawn mowers.

Special types of lawn mowers

In addition to the classic lawn mowers, which are available with either petrol or electric engines, the market also offers special variants. What distinguishes them and for which consumer groups and purposes they are worth buying is explained below.

Special lawn mower designs at a glance: 1) robotic mower, 2) cylinder mower, 3) air cushion mower, 4) bar mower, 5) lawn tractor.
Special lawn mower designs at a glance: 1) robotic mower, 2) cylinder mower, 3) air cushion mower, 4) bar mower, 5) lawn tractor.

Mowing robots: power and time saving

Thanks to clever technology in miniature format, it is now becoming easier and easier for private consumers to have unpleasant chores done by devices developed for this purpose. Robotic vacuum cleaners and mops show the way, and these little helpers are now also available for mowing the lawn. Robotic lawnmowers mow the lawn independently and quietly, but users must define the area to be mowed with a boundary wire before the first use. Modern robotic lawnmowers can also mow larger areas without any problems. Depending on the model, they are suitable for lawns of 200 to 800 square metres. However, robotic mowers are still comparatively expensive. You should budget at least 500 euros for the purchase. In addition, the self-propelled lawn mowers are unsuitable for rough terrain and steeper slopes.

Reel mowers: gentle on the lawn and the environment

The so-called cylinder mower, also known as a hand mower, is in a way the original form of lawn mower. The typical cylinder mower is operated by hand and is therefore particularly environmentally friendly. They also mow the lawn very quietly, gently and precisely. A catcher box is usually not available; cylinder mowers are primarily used for mulching. Because of the precise cut, cylinder mowers are used on football pitches and golf courses, for example, but usually as an electrically powered version. In the private sector, manually operated cylinder mowers are mainly suitable for very small gardens and environmentally conscious consumers who like to cut their lawns very precisely.

Air cushion mowers: floating devices for steep slopes

Another special type of lawn mower is the futuristic-looking air cushion mower. Unlike the other types of lawn mowers, they do not move on wheels. Instead, there is a blower wheel on their underside next to the cutting blade, which ensures that they float over the lawn on a cushion of air. To make this work, air cushion mowers use particularly lightweight components. Lightweight devices weigh only five kilograms. Air cushion mowers are usually powered by an electric motor. In addition, most manufacturers do without catch baskets to keep the weight as low as possible. Air cushion mowers are particularly suitable for smaller lawns with sloping terrain; slopes of up to 60 degrees are no obstacle for the floating mowers. In addition, they are particularly easy to push and are therefore easy on the muscles and joints when working in the garden.

Bar mowers: ideal for uneven terrain

Bar mowers are characterised by the fact that the cutting tool is attached to the front and in the form of a wide bar, which makes them resemble a combine harvester. These special mowers are available in both hand-operated and motorised versions. The effective blade system located on the bar easily grips and cuts tall grass, crops and small shrubs. In addition, the bar mower stands out because it only runs on two wheels. This makes it particularly manoeuvrable and ideal for uneven terrain and hard-to-reach areas. It is mainly used in agriculture, for example to collect animal feed. Motorised machines are also well suited for mowing hillsides.

Lawn tractors: mowing large meadows comfortably

Lawn tractor or ride-on mower?
Colloquially, the two terms are often used synonymously, but strictly speaking this is not true. While the driver sits behind the drive unit in the case of a lawn tractor, this is below him in the case of a ride-on mower. Therefore, ride-on tractors are usually smaller, but also have a less powerful engine. They are also cheaper than the larger lawn tractors. On the other hand, the latter are more versatile, as they can also be fitted with equipment such as spreading trailers and snow ploughs.

Lawn tractors are considered the kings of lawn mowers. The user can also feel like a king when he relaxes on his tractor and drives across the lawn while it trims the lawn to the right length. The big disadvantage of lawn tractors: their purchase price, which starts at around 1,200 euros. In addition, they are naturally much larger than classic petrol or electric lawn mowers and require sufficient storage space. They are recommended for large lawns of 2,000 square metres or more. Smaller, especially winding gardens are less easy to mow with them.

Tips for a well-kept lawn

The right lawn mower is the first step to an optimally maintained lawn. If you then follow the following tips when mowing, nothing can really go wrong.

  1. prepare the lawn
    Before you mow your lawn for the first time this spring, it is essential to remove all autumn and winter debris such as fallen branches and leaves so that nothing but grass gets under the blades of the lawn mower and damages them. Therefore, before mowing, you should also make sure that no other objects such as stones or toys are lying on the lawn. You should also remove molehills, as the piled up soil will otherwise cause the blades to become blunt. 2.
  2. it is better to mow more often
    In the months of May and June, grass grows particularly fast, up to 2.5 centimetres per week depending on the type of grass. Especially then, you should cut your lawn at least once a week so that the lawn looks well-kept and dense.
  3. fertilise or mulch regularly

While regular mowing is important for a well-kept lawn, it also costs the grass nutrients. Therefore, they should fertilise their lawn about once a month to provide it with nutrients again. Alternatively, they can mulch regularly instead of collecting the grass. Then the clippings will rot on the turf, returning the lost nutrients to the lawn. The mulch layer also prevents weeds from growing. On hot and dry days, it also ensures that the freshly mown lawn does not dry out.

  1. follow the one-third rule
    If you are unsure how often you should mow your lawn, you can use the so-called one-third rule as a guide. It states that the lawn should only be cut by one third each time it is mown.

An example
Let’s assume we are dealing with normal utility lawns and we have decided on an optimum cutting height of 4 centimetres:

2/3 = 4 cm

1/3 = 2 cm

3/3 = 2 cm + 4 cm = 6 cm

Accordingly, we always shorten our lawn by 2 centimetres when it has reached a height of about 6 centimetres. 5.

  1. do not step on the still unmown area
    While mowing the lawn, you should take care to stay on the already mown track so as not to step flat on the still unmown grass. Otherwise, the grass may not be cut at a uniform height, as the flattened blades will be slow to straighten up again.
  2. ensure sufficient moisture

For your lawn to grow and thrive in lush green, it needs sufficient moisture. If there is no rain for a longer period of time and the humidity is low, you should water your lawn. As a rule of thumb, if the lawn shows a bluish to greyish tinge and the older blades begin to wilt, watering is necessary. Extensive sprinkling is particularly effective. For freshly laid lawns, it is best to turn on the sprinkler even daily so that the seeds can germinate well and form roots.

Ideally, you should sprinkle your lawn in the early morning hours when the soil has cooled down a little overnight. Then it can absorb the water better. If the sun is shining strongly on the lawn, it is better to leave the sprinkler switched off, otherwise there is a risk of grass blades being burnt by unfavourably reflecting water droplets.

  1. scarify twice a year
    Scarify the soil with a scarifier. This removes dead roots and weeds and ensures that the grass roots are aerated and can grow optimally. For sufficient aeration of the grass roots, it is recommended to use the scarifier twice a year: once in spring and once in autumn. For young lawns less than three years old, however, you should refrain from scarifying so as not to unintentionally pull the still fine, weakly anchored roots out of the soil.
  2. resharpen the blades for a clean cut
    For the lawn mower to cut the grass cleanly, it needs very sharp blades. At the latest when you notice frayed blades of grass after mowing, you should take your lawnmower to the specialist shop for resharpening. This is usually necessary once a year.

Popular lawn mower brands
Hecht | Bosch | Gardena | Husqvarna | Einhell | Sabo | Viking | Fluxtec | Horcura | Al-ko