Ultimate Petrol Lawnmowers Buyer’s Guide

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Petrol Lawnmower Buyers Guide

Whether you have a large acreage of garden, or a postage-stamp-sized lawn, there is a petrol mower for everyone. The production of cheaper petrol lawnmowers has made them more accessible for everyone – and why on earth would you not want one? With their ability to be taken and used anywhere you want and helping to save you time and effort – what’s not to love?

But before you purchase a petrol lawnmower there are a lot of features to consider, such as size, features and suitability for the job you are wanting to complete. We have written this article to provide you with all the details you could need to make a purchase that is right for you and your garden. 

Only Got 5 Minutes?

Unsure of the difference between a rotary petrol lawnmower and a cylinder petrol lawnmower? Confused about the benefits of a petrol hover mower and whether this could be right for you? Then this section of the article holds all the main information that you need to purchase your very own petrol lawnmower.

What types of petrol lawnmowers are available for me?

There are three main types of petrol lawnmower; petrol cylinder mowers, petrol rotary mowers and petrol hover mowers. What is right for you really depends on what you are going to be using your petrol lawnmower for and your garden. You might be thinking “I’m obviously going to be using it to cut the lawn!”, but it is actually a lot more complicated than that, with things such as grass length, garden size and overall finish needing to be taken into consideration.

  • Petrol Cylinder Lawnmower – Petrol cylinder lawnmowers have very sharp, high-quality blades that are therefore able to complete a very fine cut of your grass (think cricket pitch or bowling greens!). However, this does mean they can struggle to cut longer grass so you may end up needing one tool to cut the grass to an acceptable length before you will be able to use your petrol cylinder lawnmower to finish the cut. They also tend to be more expensive than rotary models.
  • Petrol Rotary Lawnmower – Petrol rotary lawnmowers are the most common type of petrol lawnmower and are the most reasonably priced, as a general rule. They will be able to tackle much thicker grass than both hover mowers and cylinder mowers but may not give the super-close finish of a cylinder mower.
  • Petrol Hover Lawnmower – Petrol Hover Lawnmowers have horizontal blades that spin to cut the grass, similar to any ordinary petrol lawnmower. But they also have a fan and a “skirt” around the outside of the mower that works together to make the mower hover about the grass that you are cutting. This means that they are perfect for uneven ground as you are not having to push them over humps, or up bankings.

TOP TIP: If you are wanting to be able to create the striped effect in your garden that is so popular, then look for a rear-roller petrol lawnmower, as this will give you beautiful neat lines as you mow up and down your garden.

How do I choose a petrol lawnmower?

If you are struggling to decide what type of petrol lawnmower is right for you then keep reading below.  We hope this information will help you to decide what type of petrol lawnmower you need.

Application Petrol Cylinder Mower Petrol Rotary Mower Petrol Hover Mower
Rough / Uneven Ground  No  Yes  Yes
Long Grass  No/  Yes  Yes
Best Cut  Yes  No  No
Small Gardens  No  No  No
Medium Gardens  Yes  Yes  Yes
Large Gardens  Yes  Yes  Yes

You should now have a good idea in your mind of the type of petrol lawnmower that is right for you. But, there is actually a lot more to consider than just the type of lawnmower. Different makes and models will offer various features that are important to different people, therefore it is important to know what these are so that you know what to look for and how to choose between the many models that are available on the market.

Petrol Lawnmower Features

Starting Device

In general, the easier your petrol lawnmower is to start, the more expensive it must have been to purchase! One of the main issues with many petrol lawnmowers is that they can be difficult to start if they are fitted with a recoil start (where you pull a cord quickly to turn the engine over and start the device). This is a technique that can be picked up pretty quickly once you have tried it a few times (providing you have the strength) but is definitely not as easy as just pushing a button or turning a key.

If this sounds like a lot of hard work then there are electric start (press a button) or electric key start models (turn key) that are considerably easier and more time-efficient, but will cost more in the initial outlay!

Blade Brake Clutch

A blade brake clutch is a fantastic feature on petrol lawnmowers that stops the blade from rotating even if the engine is on. This is perfect for if you have a number of pathways or bedding areas that you need to move around and don’t want to have to switch off your petrol lawnmower each time to be able to do this! This is a feature that is especially worth considering if you are purchasing a model that has a recoil start, as they are significantly more difficult to keep restarting,

Self-propelling

This is easy enough to understand but it is the benefits that a self-propelling petrol lawnmower can give that are the important part. When pressing on the trigger of the lawnmower, it will slowly start to move forward, so all you have to do is control the direction and possibly help it on the way slightly if going up a considerable-sized hill! This will dramatically reduce the amount of effort that you have to put into mowing your lawn and could even reduce the time that it will take you if you are working on a bigger sized garden.

Cutting height and width

The cutting height and width that is important to you really depend on how fine you want the cut of your grass to be. Where possible, opt for petrol lawnmowers that have a variety of cutting heights so that you can play around with different heights to find the look that is right for your garden.

The cutting width is the amount of grass that can be cut at one time when you push your mower up the garden. The bigger the width the larger the amount of grass that you will be able to cut in one walk up the garden. However, consider if you have any smaller, tighter corners in your garden. If you do, then a smaller cutting width will probably allow you to get into those spaces easier!

Grass Cuttings and What To Do With Them

The collector that is fitted to your petrol lawnmower will have a large impact on how long you can mow for before you need to pause to empty the grass cuttings. If you have a relatively small garden then most petrol lawnmowers will come with a collector that is big enough for you to cut the whole lawn before needing to empty (providing you haven’t left it a year since you last cut your grass of course!). However, if you have a bigger garden then the size of the collector will be more important to you. They range in size from around 20L to 50L.

It is also worth considering options that have mulching or discharge features. This essentially distributes the grass cuttings back over the garden (in the form of mulch or tiny cuttings) so they can spread their goodness and nutrients back into the garden. Great for both reducing your green bin waste and improving the quality of your lawn!

Budget

Last but not least is of course budget. With something like a petrol lawnmower, that you are expecting to last for a number of years, then we would always recommend getting the most for your budget. Look for petrol lawnmowers that are on offer, so that you can get more features for your money. Prices of decent quality petrol lawnmowers start at around £100-150, working their way steadily upwards from there!

Maintaining a Petrol Lawnmower

Petrol lawnmowers do require more maintenance than their electric counterparts, however, once you know what to do – and when – it is well worth the extra work for such a high-quality lawnmower.

  • Make sure to check and change the oil regularly
  • Change spark plugs – This is recommended after every 25 hours but you can usually tell when your spark plugs need replacing as your petrol lawnmower will be harder to start and will just start to run less effectively.
  • Remove any grass or debris from the blades or underneath of the lawnmower. This can be done using a small brush to get into tighter places.
  • We would also recommend getting your lawnmower fully serviced every couple of years to ensure that your petrol lawnmower has the best chance of working well and for a long time.

SAFETY TIP: Make sure to completely switch off your petrol lawnmower before attempting to remove any debris or grass cuttings.

Pros and Cons of Petrol Lawnmowers

  • Get more for your money as they are hard-working and durable
  • Will reduce the amount of time that it takes you to mow your lawn
  • Many models capable of cutting even longer grass due to high-quality engines
  • No cord to hinder where you can go to with your petrol lawnmower – and this makes them safer to use
  • Louder than their electric counterparts
  • Often heavy and bigger
  • More maintenance required than for electric models (but they do also tend to last longer)

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to consider fuel efficiency in a petrol lawnmower?

Yes and no! Petrol lawnmowers use a very small amount of fuel in comparison to a car, for example. So, it is less likely that you will notice how efficient they are in comparison to other models. However, if you are working on a budget, or have a particularly large garden, then we would recommend purchasing a more efficient model to keep your overall running costs down.
If you’ve gone for electric lights that need wiring up and connecting to the mains, be sure to bring in a professional electrician to have your lights fitted safely.

How should I winter prep my petrol lawnmower?

The most important thing to do with your petrol lawnmower before winter is draining it of fuel. This is very important as it saves the fuel from being sat in your lawnmower over cold winters. Once drained the fuel can be stored elsewhere. If you have not done so already, make sure that any grass cuttings or debris are removed. After this, simply oil the moving parts of your lawnmower so that it will be fresh and ready to go come spring! Lastly, just make sure that you have somewhere dry to store your petrol lawnmower as any damp could damage the internal parts of your device.

What warranty shall I look for when purchasing my petrol lawnmower?

All manufacturers offer different warranty lengths, but on average they are between 2 and 5 years. Choose a petrol lawnmower with a longer warranty where possible as this will offer you more protection. Many manufacturers also now offer an extended warranty if you register your purchase online (in our opinion this is well worth doing as it takes around 2 minutes and can add around 2 years onto your warranty). Lastly, make sure to consider what is covered under the warranty, as many will not cover any damage to your lawnmower.

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About Francesca Fitton 68 Articles
I have a passion for gardening and being outdoors. I blog about plant care, technology and tools that I love to use outside and invite you along to watch.

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