We have tested lawn mowers and name Klippo Excellent as best in test. This is a battery powered lawn mower with several clever functions which makes it incredibly user-friendly, all while having the power to cut even high grass on large surfaces.
Just as excellent as the name implies
Price class: Premium Power source: Petrol Motor power:2.8 kW (at 2,800 rpm) Tank volume: 1 L Cutting height: 30-60 mm Cutting width: 48 cm Motor: Briggs & Stratton 650EXI Weight: 29 kg Noise level: Low | Measured mean value: 66.1 dB Control vibrations: Low Self-propelling: No Adjustable handle: Yes Multi-cut: Yes Collector: No
The Klippo Excellent is a really good lawn mower. On paper, it doesn’t make a major impression. In fact it almost looks old-fashioned and rather dull. For example, it's not self-propelling, which in this price class is unusual. Once it’s running, however, you can quickly see how well designed and effective this lawn mower is. It rolls extremely easily over the lawn and is almost as easy to operate as a self-propelled lawn mower.
However, if your garden slopes there will of course be a difference. But on relatively flat or slightly sloping lawns, you won’t notice any difference at all.
At the same time, the performance is great. Tall, damp grass, light brushwood etc. are no problem at all. Of course the majority of modern petrol lawn mowers can cope with these. But you notice the big difference when you increase the speed. Then many models leave tufts on the lawn because they simply can’t cope. But the Klippo Excellent doesn’t have these problems. We even tested running with the lawn mower and it still managed to mulch.
The Klippo Excellent also has a really useful function that lets you angle the handle sideways. This means that you can cut close to hedges and bushes without having to climb into them yourself. You have good control of the mower.
The build quality is solid and stable. For example, there’s a welded eye for the pull cord. The wheels aren’t made from hard plastic, but from tough rubber. Rubberised wheels sometimes pick up a lot of grass, but these ones have a device that helps to keep them clean.
The Excellent doesn’t have many weaknesses, but one is that the height setting is a bit stiff. You adjust it with a lever, which is straightforward, but because the machine’s quite heavy you have to put some effort into this. You almost have to lift the lawn mower with the other hand at the same time. The weight also makes it tougher to lift into storage. But the mower is easy to fold up and store.
The Excellent has no collector or side discharge, but you really don’t need these as it’s so incredibly effective at mulching. The Klippo Excellent is suitable for anyone looking for a well designed, reliable lawn mower for larger areas where a battery lawn mower can’t currently cope. It’s time-efficient and provides an excellent cutting result regardless of how fast you operate it. If you have very steep slopes you should choose another model, but otherwise this is indeed an excellent buy.
Phenomenal battery lawn mower with user-friendly functions
Price class: Medium Motor: Electric Power source: Battery Cutting width: 41 cm Cutting height: 25-75 mm (6 step) Weight: 20 kg Noise level: Very high (approx. 84.4 dB*1) Control vibrations: Low Adjustable handle: Yes Battery: Type: Lithium ion Charge indicator: Yes Cutting capacity: 1000 m² Self-propelled: No Multi-cut: Yes Collector: 55 l
With its combination of good cutting capacity and clever design for a good price, the Stihl RMA 443 C is our choice for best battery lawn mower. It's also easy to store as it can be folded to a height of just 40-50 cm. Equally, the cutting height is easy to adjust. You simply push in a handle with one hand and move the lawn mower body up or down. The RMA 443 C is suitable for both tall and short users, as you can also adjust the height of the handle. The actual handle is hard plastic, and the safety lever is set into the plastic, which gives a comfortable grip when you're using the lawn mower. It's easy to control, largely because it's very light. The RMA 443 C also has low control vibrations and handles undulating terrain very well. The housing is high quality hard plastic and copes with both undergrowth and normal grass without being affected noticeably. The cutting width is average. But of course it is still a battery lawn mower, which implies a slightly smaller cutting width. The major advantage of a battery lawn mower is that they are effective on smaller, more winding lawns, while petrol lawn mowers, with a more generous cutting width, are better for large, open spaces.
The Stihl RMA 443 C is special in that it lacks the lower horizontal bar normally found on the majority of lawn mowers. We like this as it gives a better view of the immediate area around the lawn mower. So for example if you're cutting around a bush you can clearly see if you're getting close to a stone or another obstacle. You also get a better overview of the lawn mower itself. It can cope with cutting the stated 1000 m2 - even when it's relatively high and coarse grass. It can also cope with very coarse grass, and although this affects the battery life somewhat, it's still reduced less than average. So the run time is still good despite tough resistance. Overall this is a real powerhouse with both a good run time and intelligent, user-friendly solutions. This is a really great buy for anyone with a medium sized lawn with tough areas like undulating terrain and lots of obstacles. It delivers all the advantages of a battery lawn mower without compromising on performance or accessibility.
Strong, innovative and user-friendly
Price class: Premium Power source: Petrol Motor power: 2700 W (at 2800 rpm) Tank volume:0.93 L Cutting height: 25-79 mm (7 step) Cutting width: 47 cm Motor: GCV160 Weight: 39 kg Noise level: Low | Measured mean value: 63.9 dB Control vibrations: Moderate Self-propelling: Yes Adjustable handle: Yes Multi-cut: Yes Collector: Yes
The Honda HRX 476 C1 VYEH is a relatively compact premium mower with a lot of power and a user-friendly design with a lot of functions. The self-propelling function is stepless. You set the speed using paddles that you can easily reach with both left and right hands. You can also adjust the position of them. And you can raise and lower the entire handle to three different heights using a wingnut. The system is a model of user-friendliness.
Another interesting function is that you can have the motor going without the cutting unit running. This makes it easier when you’re moving the lawn mower from one place to another and don’t want to damage the blades – or damage the lawn.
Without the self-propelling function running, the HRX 476 is extremely heavy despite the fact that it has a plastic chassis. It also makes it difficult to set the cutting height. But the solution for setting the cutting height is quite straightforward. You press a button in and then pull up or push down depending on the height you want. The steps are clearly marked.
As we’ve mentioned above, the Honda HRX 476 C1 VYEH is a very strong lawn mower. Of course it can cope with normal conditions, but it can also mulch at high speed in tall grass without leaving heaps of grass clippings behind it. Underneath, we find double blades, which are probably why it can cope with cutting so much. However, they aren’t arranged in a cross. Instead one of them is a little offset from the other. It’s not clear why Honda chose this design, but the cutting result is undeniably very good.
You choose between mulching and collection using a built-in knob. This is a much more straightforward solution than the plugs that many manufacturers include, because they're so easy to lose. The collector is partly made of mesh and partly of hard plastic. Unfortunately, this makes it a bit hard to clean.
The HRX 476 C1 VYEH has rear wheel drive. Given the weight, this is good because it’s still easy to steer around obstacles and so on. The tyres have a good pattern and get a decent grip without damaging the lawn.
Overall, the Honda HRX 476 C1 VYEH is a straightforward, user-friendly and strong premium mower. If you can afford it, it's a great buy, particularly if you have a larger garden and don't want to have to cut the grass too often.
User-friendly and ergonomic for smaller areas
Price class: Medium Power source: Battery Battery: Type: Lithium ion Capacity: 4 Ah/40 V Measured battery life: 8.75 min/Ah Charging indicator: Yes Cutting capacity: 250 m² Cutting height: 25-75 mm (6 step) Cutting width: 40 cm (measured) Weight: 17 kg Noise level: Very low (measured 59.6 dB) Control vibrations: Low Adjustable handle: Yes Multiclip: No Collector: Yes (45 l)
The AL-KO EnergyFlex Moweo 3.85 Li is a very light and relatively strong battery lawn mower. The handle is rubberised with foam rubber for the best possible grip. The chassis is made of plastic, which contributes to the low weight. The lawn mower also has adjustable handles with two different positions, which means it’s suitable for both tall and short users.
Combined with the low weight, this means that the Moweo 3.85 Li is a user-friendly and ergonomic lawn mower for a broad target group.
At the same time, the performance is good for such a cheap lawn mower. If you cut the grass once a week during the high season, the Moweo 3.85 Li has no problems coping. However, if you’re a bit lazy and allow the grass to grow a bit longer, it can leave heaps of grass that you have to go over twice.
Because there’s no mulching function, the collector is particularly important. This is made of plastic top and bottom with fabric in between, which means it’s easy to store but also rather difficult to get clean. Another disadvantage is the wheels, which – despite very minimal patterning – collect quite a lot of grass. This means you have to clean the wheels off at regular intervals. In other words, it requires some maintenance.
The AL-KO EnergyFlex Moweo 3.85 Li is constructed of relatively thin plastic which doesn’t feel very solid. Nor does the battery holder feel very sturdy. Battery has a charging indicator, but you have to bend down and look in a hatch to see it.
The cutting height adjustment is extremely straightforward. You alter it with a single lever which moves easily between the various alternatives. Unfortunately, the scale is rather unclear. You can see the figures, but it’s difficult to tell which setting the lever is on. You can see the top and bottom positions, but between these it’s all a bit vague.
The AL-KO EnergyFlex Moweo 3.85 Li is a flexible battery lawn mower that’s best on small areas. It doesn’t matter if the lawn is scrubby or has lots of obstacles, because the lawn mower is so easy to steer. And the handle is very easy to adjust and nice to hold because of the foam rubber grip.
Lively, time-efficient and user-friendly
Price class: Medium Power source: Petrol Motor power: 2100 W (at 2900 rpm) Tank volume:0.8 L Cutting height: 25-75 mm (7 step) Cutting width: 46 cm Motor: Briggs & Stratton 550EX OHVRS Weight: 27 kg Noise level: Low | Measured mean value: 68.4 dB Control vibrations: Moderate Self-propelling: Yes Adjustable handle: Yes Multi-cut: No Collector: Yes (55 litre)
The Stihl RM 248 T is an easy to use and robust lawn mower with a fast self-propelling speed Despite its sheet metal chassis, it's very light, and the self-propelling speed is high. This provides time-efficient cutting, but because you can’t reduce the speed, the target group is a bit limited because not everyone can keep this tempo up.
The low weight is an advantage as you can switch off the self-propelling function and still be able to cut the grass with it, provided your lawn doesn’t slope too steeply. The weight also gives advantages when you’re turning the lawn mower or lifting it into storage, but can be a disadvantage if you aren’t paying attention while you’re using it, because the chassis has a tendency to be back-heavy and lift at the front when the collector is full. So you need to keep a good hold of the handle all the time you're using the lawn mower.
The collector can’t hold a great deal but has an innovative design where you can see directly on the quantity indicator that it needs emptying.
The Stihl RM 248 T has very high performance levels and produces a really great cutting result. It doesn't matter whether the grass has grown since the last time – the mower can still cope despite the high speed. Given the price, this is a real powerhouse of a lawn mower. It's also easy to start, even after it's been standing for a while.
The build quality is OK, although we would have liked rubberised details on the handle and self-propelling function. The height adjustment is very smooth and is handled with a single lever.
The RM 248 T is suitable for anyone with a normal sized garden of about 1,000 square metres who needs an easily operated petrol mower that delivers a great cutting result in a short time.
Super compact and well designed for smaller areas
Price class: Medium Power source: Battery Battery: Type: Lithium ion compact Capacity: 4 Ah/36 V Measured battery life: 58 min Charging indicator: Yes Cutting capacity: 250 m² Cutting height: 25-65 mm (5 step) Cutting width: 33 cm Motor: Electric Weight: 14 kg Noise level: Low (approx. 56.8 dB) Control vibrations: Low Self-propelling: No Adjustable handle: Yes Multi-cut: No Collector: Yes (30 l)
Stihl RMA 235 is a very small and compact battery lawn mower for small areas. It’s very light, extremely quiet and can get in everywhere – for example, even under low bushes.
Despite its light weight, it doesn’t feel rickety or wobbly in terms of build quality. The plastic chassis is made of relatively strong plastic with neat access to the battery and a clear battery indicator. When the lawn mower is to be put into winter storage, you can quickly fold it up by screwing on a knob and folding the handle. Overall, the design is well thought out and stable.
Unfortunately the lawn mower isn’t self-propelling, so it’s really not suitable if you have a steep slope on your garden. But on the other hand, the low weight means it’s easy to push in front of yourself, both on a flat lawn and on a moderate gradient.
The cutting height adjustment is central and is handled smoothly with a single button for all four wheels.
The Stihl RMA 235 is interesting in that its battery works with a wide range of other Stihl products, such as chainsaws or heavier strimmers. Many battery lawn mowers have batteries with higher voltages, which means that the range of appliances they work with is limited. But there are many Stihl machines in the 36 V class, and that increases the range of compatible tools.
The RMA 235 has plenty of oomph. True, it isn’t able to cut tall grass evenly if you’re walking too quickly, but because it isn’t self-propelling it’s easy to adjust your speed to how regularly you've maintained the lawn. For normal height grass, it can cope with an area of around 250 square metres before you have to recharge the battery.
The grass is fed to the included collector, which has an indicator showing when it needs to be emptied.
Unfortunately the RMA 235 has no mulching function. This is one of its biggest shortcomings, as mulching feeds the lawn without leaving piles of grass on it that are likely to suffocate the grass beneath. Instead, you have to use it with a collector, or run over the cut grass several times.
We think the price of the RMA 235 means it should have a few more intelligent functions, and also a rubberised grip. But other than few functions and slightly boring material choices on the parts you interact with, this is a really good lawn mower.
The Stihl RMA 235 is suitable for anyone looking for a light, quiet and very compact lawn mower for a small, relatively flat area.
A self-propelled, petrol lawn mower at an affordable price but offering high performance
Price class: Between Motor: AL-KO Pro 140 Quick Start Tank volume: 1.0 L Cutting width: 46 cm Cutting height: 30-85 mm (4 stage) Weight: 31 kg Motor type: Petrol motor Power output: 2100 W Sound level: Measured average value: approx. 77 dB (Above average) Self-propelled: Yes Multi-cut: Yes Grass collector: No
AL-KO Silver 460 BR-A Bio is a petrol lawn mower from the German-Austrian company AL-KO. The lawn mower features wheel drive that makes mowing quicker and less strenuous. However, it only has one speed. On the other hand this is balanced by the fact that the motor can also cope with higher grass without overworking and causing the motor to stall. Where the grass is very high, i.e. more than 10 cm, you should creep forward, even if the openable side discharge can reduce the resistance. Forward progress is controlled by the use of an operating bar, which unfortunately does not have a rubber handle to reduce the risk of crushing your fingers. A moderate weight combined with front wheel drive and large wheels gives the Silver 460 BR-A good terrain-handling abilities. The cutting height is easily adjustable with a lever, which saves time and protects your back.
Many functions in a powerful lawn mower
Price class: Medium Motor: B&S Series 625 E Power source: Petrol Motor power: 2300 W Tank volume: 0.8 l Cutting width: 51 cm Cutting height: 30-80 mm (central, 6 steps) Weight: 33.4 kg Noise level: Very high (approx. 87.2 dB*1) Control vibrations: Moderate Adjustable handle: Yes Self-propelled: Yes Multi-cut: Yes Collector: 65 l
In general, the AL-KO Classic 5.16 VS-B Plus 625 Series E is a very competent lawn mower, which feels well-designed and user-friendly. For example, the cutting height adjustment is extremely straightforward. You adjust the entire machine body with a single lever, instead of having to adjust each wheel separately. Another handy function is the stepless speed adjustment. You set the speed with a control like a small throttle lever. This means that, for example, you can reduce the speed when you're working in tricky corners and increase it for longer straights. However, the ergonomics of the lawn mower handle itself could have been better. The safety bar is not integrated, so it's not as comfortable to use as it could have been. Another ergonomic negative is the height adjustment of the handle, where both positions are too high for short users. We would also have liked not to have to unscrew the entire screw to carry out height adjustment.
The Classic 625 Series E does a good job of cutting the grass. It produces an excellent cutting result, even if you have the odd twig, fallen apple or other things lying on the lawn. The lawn mower has a 4-in-1 function, which means that you can cut traditionally with a collector, but also chop the grass small using a mulching function. If you don't insert the mulching plug there's a relatively large gap at the back. This means that it shoots out quite a lot of bits of grass and twigs on your feet as you're cutting. So we recommend that you always keep it in. When we used the collector we found it extremely easy to keep clean between uses as a result of the design and material choice. This lawn mower also gets credit for being very easy to reverse. If it hadn't been for the slightly poor ergonomics, particularly for short users, it would have had an even higher score. Overall, however, it's still a really good lawn mower.
A blockbusting battery lawn mower offering impressive performance
Price class: Premium Motor: Electricity Power source: Battery type: Lithium-ion Capacity: 2.6 Ah/36 V Cutting width: 43 cm Cutting height: 20-70 mm (10 stage) Weight: 14 kg Adjustable handle: Yes Battery type: Lithium-ion Capacity: 2.6 Ah/36 V Charge time: approx. 60 mins. (80 % charged after approx. 30 mins.) Charge indicator: Yes Cutting capacity: 600 m² Sound level: Measured average value: approx. 86 dB (Below average) Vibration levels: Below average Self-propelled: No Mulching: Yes Grass catcher: 50 L
Battery lawn mowers are hotter than ever and the Bosch Rotak 43 Li is more than any other the model that is behind their success. The cutting width is very wide for an electric lawn mower, but what impressed us the most was the powerful motor. The Rotak 43 Li is the mower that is raising the bar for what you can expect of a battery lawn mower as it eats its way through everything you could want and much more besides. In addition to damp, coarse and long grass, also mature weeds such as ground elder and dogwood. Both the sound level and weight are low and the mower is easily carried by a woman of average strength. This helps to make the Rotak 43 Li really useful at edges and under bushes and also makes wheel drive redundant. The control frame is also foldable, which makes winter storage a simple task. The Rotak 43 Li is available in different packages that include different amounts of batteries with different capacities. Fewer accompanying batteries or lower battery capacities often mean a lower price, but always lower performance. The most common package includes two batteries of 4 Ah each and a fast charger. Something that almost triples the operating time compared with only one battery. This makes the Rotak 43 Li an excellent lawn mower for small and medium-sized lawns.
However, if you have a large lawn with large open spaces a petrol lawn mower with its wider cutting width, its unlimited operating time and its often low price would probably be a better option. All in all, the Rotak 43 Li is both an affordable and formidable powerhouse and has therefore been selected as “the best electric lawnmower”.
Easily adjusted and strong for medium-sized gardens
Price class: Medium Power source: Petrol Motor power: 2100 W (at 2850 rpm) Tank volume: X L Cutting height: 30-80 mm (7 step) Cutting width: 51 cm Motor: AL-KO Pro Motor Weight: 35 kg Noise level: Low | Measured mean value: 69.9 dB Control vibrations: Substantial Self-propelling: Yes Adjustable handle: Yes Multi-cut: Yes Collector:** Yes
The AL-KO Highline 51.8 SP-A is a user-friendly and quite efficient lawn mower. For example, the cutting height adjustment is extremely straightforward. It has seven different settings that you can easily adjust with a single lever. Unfortunately, you have to bend down to see which setting you’ve chosen because the figures are rather awkwardly positioned. Another welcome function is the hook for the start cord, which you can attach a little way up so that you don’t have to bend down when you start it.
The Highline 51.8 SP-A has mulching, side discharge and collector functions so that you can choose whichever suits your lawn best. The collector is made of hard plastic so it’s easy to clean with a pressure washer. The lawn mower is very strong given its price class and copes with both tall and wet grass. In really tall grass, we hear that the motor has to work harder, but it still manages to deal with it.
However, it produces quite a lot of vibration and moves rather slowly. We would have liked it to be possible to set a number of different speeds, and ideally a faster speed.
In some respects, the AL-KO Highline 51.8 SP-A has quite a well thought out design, but the build quality is rather patchy. After just a couple of weeks’ use, the mower develops a fault that means the petrol starts to leak if you don’t use it up immediately.
The powerful vibrations also mean that wing nuts and the hook for the start cord get loose and fall off after a while. You have to tighten them up at regular intervals. The fact that the drive belt is also visible underneath the machine beside the blades seems a poor choice, because over time it will get quite a lot of punishment. However, we didn’t spot any rust or other faulty functions after a season.
The rear wheel drive makes it easy to operate the lawn mower even in gardens with lots of obstacles. You also get a good grip with the tyres. Despite the fact that the Highline 51.8 SP-A is quite heavy, it’s easy to turn even in small areas. However, we feel it’s unnecessarily long, and the wheels add to this. And of course this is a negative point when it comes to winter storage. On the other hand, it’s easy to fold up and lift.
The AL-KO Highline 51.8 SP-A is suitable for those with gardens of around 2000 m² who want to cut the lawn at a moderate speed but with a broad cutting width.
Very high performance and great build quality
Price class: Premium Power source: Petrol Motor power: 3200 W (at 2 800 rpm) Tank volume: 1 L Cutting height: 30-85 mm (7 step) Cutting width: 51 cm Motor: Briggs & Stratton 875 EXi Weight: 42.6 kg Noise level: Low | Measured mean value:69.7 dB Control vibrations: Moderate Self-propelling: Yes (stepless speed regulation) Adjustable handle: Yes Multi-cut: Yes Collector: Yes (70 litre)
The AL-KO Solo 5278 VS is a relatively user-friendly lawn mower with very high performance levels. It can mulch the grass even at the highest speed under difficult conditions when we let the grass grow for 1-2 weeks during the high season. The rear wheel drive makes it easy to steer despite its heavy weight.
You can steplessly set the speed at which the lawn mower runs using a lever. The lever can be a bit stiff, but it’s a good function because you can adapt it to your walking speed.
The height setting works well. It’s controlled by a single lever that folds out, but the pin that you then have to insert into the different holes is a bit fiddly to get into place. And the figures that show the setting you have selected are black on a black background, so it’s hard to see them. This seems rather poorly designed, given that this is a premium class lawn mower.
But it gets plus points for the fact that there’s a “string” on the tank cap that holds it while you’re topping up. This is a simple detail but it makes a major practical difference.
The AL-KO Solo 5278 VS has high build quality throughout. It has stable, thick handles and all the functions you’re likely to interact with are rubberised to give you the best possible grip – even the handles for the starter cord and the self-propelling system are rubberised. Unfortunately, the drive belt is visible alongside the blades, which means that there’s a risk of damaging it if you have a lot of debris on your lawn – we’d have expected a better solution given the price tag.
The collector is made of hard plastic but combined with fabric on the sides between the top and bottom sections. This means that it takes up less space, while still collecting a lot of grass and being easy to clean. There’s also an indicator that tells you when it’s full. In addition to the collector, the mower has side discharge and mulching functions. Unfortunately, for some reason a lot of grass gets stuck in the side discharge.
The Solo 5278 VS is very heavy. The handle on the chassis makes it easier to carry indoors for winter storage, but you still really need two people to lift it. It’s easy to fold up and relatively quiet during operation given how strong it is.
The AL-KO Solo 5278 VS is best suited to someone who wants to be able to vary the cutting speed without significantly affecting the performance and who has a fairly large lawn that they want to be able to cut efficiently.
User-friendly workhorse for tough environments
Motor: GCV160 Power source: Petrol Tank volume: 0.93 L Cutting width: 47 cm Cutting height: 25-79 mm (7 stage) Weight: 42 kg Adjustable handle: Yes Motor power output: 2700 W (at 2800 rpm) Sound level: Measured average value: approx. 82 dB (Above average) Self-propelled: Yes Mulching: Yes Grass catcher: 69 L Warranty: 5 year
The premium model HRX 476 VY from the Japanese company Honda is a solidly constructed workhorse with a very powerful motor. The price for this is a high machine weight that makes it relatively difficult to manoeuvre. The powerful motor also provides excellent drive and as long as the wheel drive can be used, its terrain-handling abilities is exemplary. Rear-wheel drive and adjustable speed mean that the HRX 476 copes with hilly terrain, uneven surfaces and steep inclines with ease. The comfort level is high and both the cutting height and the handle height are easy to adjust. In addition to this, the cutting unit can be turned off without turning off the motor. The fabric grass catcher is foldable, making it easier to store. However, it is a bother to clean and the air permeability could have been better. This has an adverse effect on the output, which in itself means that the mover does not cut as well when the grass catcher is detached. However, if you use the mower without the grass catcher it copes with very stern resistance, such as coarse, high and damp grass. All in all, the HRX 476 performs best on large, slightly wilder lawns where the grass grows high between mowings.
Strong and easy to control but not very innovative
Price class: Premium Power source: Petrol Motor power: 2700 W (at 2800 rpm) Tank volume: 0.91 L Cutting height: 20-74 mm (6 step) Cutting width: 46 cm Motor: GCV160 Weight: 32 kg Noise level: Low | Measured mean value: 68.2 dB Control vibrations: Moderate Self-propelling: Yes Adjustable handle: Yes Multi-cut: Yes Collector: Yes (55 l)
The Honda HRG 466 SKEP is a strong lawn mower with double blades underneath which produce a good cutting result even in tough terrain. You control the mulching function with a setting instead of the normal plug, which is easier to use and also means you don’t risk losing it.
The lawn mower has rear wheel drive and is easy to steer across winding lawns and around obstacles. If you don’t have the power going, it's quite hard to move the lawn mower.
The HRG 466 SKEP has a reasonable cutting height setting even if there are some weaknesses here. Partly this is because it’s hard to read the setting as there are no figures, and partly because the front lever is a bit stiff. Given the price tag, we’d rather have seen a central cutting height setting that was controlled via a single point. But the two-point solution for adjustment still works OK.
The Honda HRG 466 SKEP has high build quality. It doesn’t have unpleasant vibrations, and despite the sheet metal chassis it’s not really heavy – although it’s far from a lightweight. We’d have liked to have seen rubberised grips on the handle, but the drive function gives reasonable resistance when you operate it.
The collector is a fabric basket, which is practical for winter storage but less useful in terms of maintenance because it’s difficult to keep clean. Nor does it hold much.
The HRG 466 SKEP is easy to start even when it’s been standing for a while, but the starter cord is a bit stiff compared to many other models. Overall, we’d have expected more innovation and well-designed solutions for a premium class model. This is a competent lawn mower with lots of power, but it doesn’t achieve complete user-friendliness on all points.
The HRG 466 SKEP is therefore best for people looking for a lot of power and drive.
Easily adjusted and strong lawn mower with quite a lot of vibration
Price class: Medium Motor: Briggs & Stratton Power source: Petrol Motor power: 1900 W (at 2800 rpm) Tank volume: 0.8 l Cutting width: 46 cm Cutting height: 28-92 mm (6 step) Weight: 33 kg Noise level: High (approx. 78 dB) Control vibrations: Significant Speed: 0-3.6 km/h Adjustable handle: Yes Multi-cut: Yes Collector: 60 l User manual: PDF Video clip: Demo
The MTD Optima 46 SPB HW is a lively self-propelling petrol lawn mower with large rear wheels and rear wheel drive, a combination that means it moves smoothly even over an undulating lawn. It's also easy to manoeuvre around obstacles. Despite good patterns on the wheels, however, it tends to slip somewhat on medium-high, thick grass. It also has problems getting the lawn perfectly mowed on straight sections as it tends to miss a good amount of grass when this simply bends over beneath it. The lawn mower maintains a reasonable walking speed, however. Overall, the mowing result is good, particularly given how well it grinds up any fallen twigs and branches that happen to get in the way. The Optima 46 SPB HW has a 3-in-1 function which means that it comes with a collector, mulching function and side discharge. In other words, you can choose either to collect the grass cuttings, or spread them out over the lawn, either whole or ground up into tiny particles.
In terms of ergonomics and build quality, the handle for the drive function isn't great. However, we like the nozzle on the chassis that you can connect to a garden hose for cleaning the cutting head. Unfortunately this is a lawn mower that produces significant levels of vibration, and we could feel it in our wrists even after we'd only cut about 500 m2 of lawn. At one point the petrol tank cap even vibrated itself loose. On the positive side, however, the lawn mower is light and easy to manoeuvre, at least for a petrol machine. We were impressed by its strength, particularly given its neat size. It's also very easy to adjust the cutting height on the Optima 46 SPB HW thanks to the central height adjustment feature. Overall, this is a useful purchase that's good value for money for an average garden with a number of obstacles. It feels like MTD has made intelligent choices to reduce the price, as you get a lot of power and a manoeuvrable lawn mower, although with slightly underwhelming ergonomics.
Ideal for keeping simple lawns in trim
Price class: Premium Motor: Electric Power source: Battery Cutting width: 46 cm Cutting height: 25-75 mm (6 steps) Weight: 30 kg Noise level: 82.7 Control vibrations: Low Adjustable handle: No Battery: Type: Lithium ion Capacity: 4 Ah/36 V Charge time: 90 min Charge indicator: Yes Cutting capacity: 500 m² Self-propelled: No Multi-cut: Yes Mulching: 70 l
The AL-KO Moweo 46.5 Li is a slightly different battery-operated lawn mower. Because of their relatively weak motor power, battery-operated lawn mowers normally have a minimal cutting width and a plastic chassis, to reduce the load on the motor. But the Moweo 46.5 Li has a normal cutting width and a sheet metal chassis. In combination with the big back wheels, this means that the lawn mower feels substantial, but also rather clumsy, particularly for a battery-operated lawn mower. This clumsiness is primarily obvious when you have to turn tightly, for example around flower beds, trees etc. This is a shame, because battery-operated lawn mowers are usually particularly good at winding, small spaces, compared to large open areas where petrol lawn mowers are often at their best. However, it's relatively easy to cut straight sections and the large back wheels make it easy to push. As long as the grass isn't particularly high, it does a perfectly good job of cutting. It chops up the grass finely and cuts 500 m2 without problems. However, if the grass is allowed to grow to around 10 cm long, the Moweo 46.5 Li struggles, and the battery runs out relatively quickly. You can see the battery status on the clear battery indicator.
The collector function is perfectly acceptable. It collects dry leaves and so on well, but if you're trying to do heavier jobs such as collecting damp leaves you have to slow down for it to work properly. A big plus when it comes to collection is that the container is made of hard plastic. This means that it's a stable form and a smooth material so it's easy to rinse clean with a pressure washer. It also has lots of holes in so it doesn't get blocked. However, one disadvantage is that you need to use both hands to remove it. From an ergonomic and practical point of view, the Moweo 46.5 Li is just barely acceptable. Partly because you have to adjust the cutting height at three separate places, which also requires quite a lot of force as the lever is very stiff, and partly because there's no easy way to adjust the height of the handle. Either the lawn mower is the right height for you or you have to move your hands to either side when you use it. The height seems to be suited for people of average height. The Moweo 46.5 Li doesn't vibrate much, and it gets credit for that. One advantage with battery-operated lawn mowers is that you avoid exhaust emissions and that there isn't usually much vibration. What primarily reduces the score for this one is that it's hard to control on more irregular lawns. So the Moweo 46.5 Li is best for those with a medium-sized and uncomplicated lawn and who rarely change the cutting height.
Cuts a lot at one go but fiddly cutting height adjustment
Motor: Briggs & Stratton Quantum 675 Cutting width: 55 cm Cutting height: 25-102 mm (5 step) Weight: 36.3 kg Noise level: Very high (approx. 86.3 dB*1) Cutting system: 3 in 1 (Recycler on Demand, collection, side discharge) Power: 6.5 hp Material: Steel Transmission: Automatic Drive Height adjustment: Individual, 4 point Collector: 60 litre, textile Quick cleaning: Yes Start system: Manual start Folding handlebars: Yes
The Toro Recycler 55 AD has an extremely substantial cutting width, which means it can cut your lawn in less time than a normal lawn mower. It comes with mulch, collection and side discharge functions, so in other words you can collect leaves to grind up the grass as soon as it's cut. This makes it a very versatile lawn mower. Nor do you need a separate attachment for the mulching. You simply select the function using a control. It also has a safety function that means it doesn't eject stones or other hard objects towards you. However, the drive on the Toro Recycler 55 AD is a little unusual. Instead of the normal solution with a safety bar that you pull against the handle, you have to push the handle forwards to make it go. In a large open area this is very convenient. But in areas with lots of obstacles it's more of a problem. Normally you lift the lawn mower a little when you want to turn it or go around obstacles on the lawn. But if you do that with this lawn mower you end up applying more throttle, because you inevitably push the handle forwards. It's also very sluggish at going backwards. This means that complicated gardens immediately become much more difficult to mow than they would normally be. But on large open areas it's both comfortable and convenient.
The Recycler 55 AD has a function called Quickwash which you'll appreciate if you're a fan of keeping your garden machinery clean. In practice this means that you can attach a hose when it's time to clean the lawn mower. The nozzle then sprays water out underneath the machine. And this works OK, although you still need to help out with the cleaning. However, the collector isn't as easy to clean as it's made of fabric, although it does save space when not in use as it folds down flat. From underneath, the Recycler 55 AD doesn't look like a normal lawn mower. The underneath isn't fully cast; instead it's equipped with a plate between the blades and the front. Branches and other items tend to get stuck in this. At one point we damaged the plate when a branch got stuck around it, and we had to remove it and knock it back into shape. Another weakness is the cutting height setting, which requires you to adjust it using a control on each wheel. There are more user-friendly solutions available today. On the positive side, it's easy to start and delivers a really good result. It copes well with wet and tall grass, provided you reduce the speed a little. If it had been a bit more user-friendly, it would have had a considerably higher score.
A lawn mower is one of the most important tools you can have for your garden. Lawn mowers have been used to keep grass short since they were first invented in the 1830s. Since then, they have developed significantly, and new variants such as the robotic lawn mower and ride-on lawn mower have been introduced. Traditional lawn mowers are often now called "walk-behind" lawn mowers to distinguish them from these other types.
In addition to a motor, walk-behind lawn mowers have either a rotor or a cylinder. Some lawn mowers have fixed, angled blades, while others have mobile ones fixed to a central hub. Two-stroke motors were once common, but since the 1960s, four-stroke motors have dominated. Today, four-stroke Briggs & Stratton are the most common. But a new historical shift is under way. Battery lawn mowers are becoming increasingly common as batteries are improving, making it possible for motors to be more powerful. Today there are battery lawn mowers on the market that are more than sufficient to cope with cutting a medium sized garden a couple of times on a single charge - although they are also more expensive than the equivalent petrol model.
Battery lawn mowers are taking over because they have a number of advantages. They don't produce exhaust gases, which is good for the environment, for you and for your garden. They're also quieter, and you don't have to buy petrol and oil. But of course you do have to remember to charge the batteries on a regular basis. It's also important that lithium ion batteries aren't allowed to completely discharge, or to get cold over the winter, as this can damage them.
The differences between lawn mowers are primarily reflected in how well they cut tall, coarse or wet grass. There are significant differences in how long it takes to cut a given area of grass, how much it costs per cut (petrol and oil costs, or charging cost vs run time), the quality of the cutting result and not least how user-friendly the lawn mower is. For example, some models navigate easily around flowerbeds, fences and trees, while others are less agile. How you set the cutting height and how manoeuvrable the lawn mower is also varies between models, as does how well they cope with uneven and sloping surfaces. Lawns often grow a lot during the short time you're away on holiday. With some models, you have to cut long grass several times, or cut very slowly so that they don't get overloaded. Actually, you shouldn't cut grass by more than 2-3 cm per day, but not many people want to cut their lawns that often.
There are also major differences in the functions on offer. Some lawn mowers grind the grass up - this is called mulching. Others lack this function and instead throw out large pieces of grass. You can either collect the cut grass in a collector, if one is included, or have it deposited on the lawn via a side discharge. If the pieces of grass are large, you may need to run over the grass again to get it down to a better size in terms of breaking down and appearance. Other functions that often vary are whether the lawn mower is front or rear drive, and whether it has a number of speeds.
Different consumers also have different budgets. To provide buying advice to as many consumers as possible, we have divided the test candidates into three different price classes and named the winner in each price class as follows:
Budget: up to £300 Medium: approx. £300-£450 Premium: more than £450
If you base your choice on your needs and budget, you'll find a suitable, modern lawn mower in the range below.
Pros and cons:
+ Very low energy costs
+ Economical and inexpensive maintenance due to the electric motor
+ Relatively low noise levels
+ No exhaust fumes
+ Good for the environment and health
+ Often low weight
- Generally a less powerful motor than a petrol lawn mower
- The power lead can be seen as being a nuisance and “in the way” during mowing
- The power led restricts the distance than you can move from the power outlet
- Electric lawn mowers often have a narrower cutting width than petrol mowers
Pros and cons:
+ Relatively low noise levels
+ Often easy to manoeuvre
+ No exhaust fumes
+ Often relatively low energy costs
+ Good for the environment and health
+ Often low weight
- Less powerful motor than on a petrol lawn mower
- Operating time is often limited
- Charging time can be long
- Often have a narrower cutting width than a petrol lawn mower
- Battery can be expensive to replace when at then end of its life
Robot lawn mowers
Pros and cons:
+ You don’t have to mow the lawn yourself
+ Very low energy costs
Robot lawn mowers
+ Generally charge themselves in the charging station when the battery starts to run low
+ The lawn is usually very well -maintained and attractive when it is mowed little and often
+ Can usually be programmed to self-start
+ Can often be programmed to remain under a roof when it rains
+ Low noise levels
- Relatively high purchase price
- Do not cope with grass that is too high
- The lawn needs to be fairly even and not slope too much
- Each mowing usually takes longer than a traditional lawn mower
- Long and frequent mowings can irritate neighbours who are sensitive to noise who are disturbed by the low-level but long-term noise
The petrol lawn mower is the traditional type of lawn mower and is till the most common type of lawn mower. Even though the petrol lawn mower has essentially not changed that much since the 1960s, it is still the best choice in many situations. For example, if the lawn is large, with tall grass, a hilly terrain and there are a lot of roots and stones, the petrol lawn mower is general the preference. This is because petrol lawn mowers with their powerful internal combustion engines are still superior to electric lawn mowers as regards power, speed and durability. However, the price that is paid for this power is exhaust fumes, vibrations and noise. Petrol lawn mowers are of course the type of mower that make the most noise. Furthermore, an internal combustion engine generally requires more maintenance and an electric motor due to the large number of moving parts of an internal combustion engine.
Pros and cons:
+ Have the most powerful motors that cope with the toughest resistance
+ Can mow longer on a tank of fuel
- High level of noise
- Relatively a lot of maintenance
- Relatively expensive fuel
- Unhealthy and harmful exhaust fumes
- Greater vibration levels
- High machine weight
- Can be seen as awkward on small areas with lots of obstacles
The majority of battery lawn mowers are today powered by so-called “lithium batteries” (often termed Li-Ion or Lithium-Ion batteries), which are the same type of batteries that are used in laptops and mobile phones, for example. Lithium batteries are able to store a lot of energy compared with traditional batteries and this is why we can now operate such energy-hungry machinery such as lawn mowers using batteries. Unfortunately lithium batteries are expensive and only hold a limited number of discharges. Then the large number of cells within the battery die off one by one and the battery capacity gradually deteriorates. The lithium battery of a battery lawn mower therefore needs to be replaced after several years, which costs a good deal of money. You should also have an extra battery for optimum reliability.
If you spend several thousand on a lawn mower you also want it to be durable and to be usable for several years. A lawn mower is often subjected to considerable forces during mowing that result in major stresses. It is therefore important that it is designed in order to cope with long-term and extensive wear and tear if it is to have a sufficiently long service life. Depending on the type of lawn mower you have the maintenance requirement will vary considerably. Petrol lawn mowers generally require the most maintenance. Partly because an internal combustion engine with its large number of moving parts will break down more readily than an electric motor and partly because an internal combustion engine is able to develop greater power and with the development of greater power comes greater stresses on the equipment.
Lawn mowers must have stable and durable wheels that are easy to remove. Also it is preferable for the rear wheels to be large as this makes the mower easier to manoeuvre. Front-wheel drive is preferable to rear-wheel drive since lawn mowers with front-wheel drive are easier to manoeuvre.
The cutting width differs considerable between different lawn mowers and is generally between 30-55 cm depending on model. Less expensive lawn mowers generally have a smaller cutting width whilst more expensive ones have larger cutting widths. The greater the cutting width, the faster the lawn mower mows since its blades reach further and therefore cover a larger area. However, the greater the cutting width, the more powerful the lawn mower motor needs to be. For the more grass that it needs to mow in a single session, the more resistance there will be.
The cutting height of lawn mowers varies but is usually above a minimum height of 20 mm and below a maximum height of 80 mm. Actually for most people’s needs a minimum height of 40 mm is sufficient since a lawn should not be cut any shorter than this. This is because such a closely-cropped lawn is more sensitive to wear and drying out and is therefore not suitable for the majority of lawn owners. Restrictions on the cutting height are therefore generally not a problem for a lawn mower. The only lawns that should be cut shorter than 40 mm are so-called “ornamental lawns”, which are not to be walked on and only exist for their aesthetic value. These lawns must in contrast to normal lawns (which are in technical terms called “functional lawns”) are maintained very carefully and are watered regularly and abundantly. A very low cutting height will also cause more wear to the cutting unit and increase the risk of the blade being damaged by stones, roots, etc., especially if the lawn is not sufficiently even.
The noise level of a lawn mower is often perceived as being more or less of a problem by both the person carrying out the mowing and those in the vicinity. Besides being a nuisance, the noise from a lawn mower can be immediately harmful. The risk of hearing damage depends on how high the sound level is and on how long a person has been exposed to the noise. The Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket) therefore uses the benchmark “Total daily noise exposure level” for its guidelines value. However, in general it can be said that the risk of hearing damage occurs at 85 dB(A) (decibel, A weight) for most people. Sensitivity does, however, vary from person to person, and if you are unlucky you can sustain hearing damage at a figure of 75-80 dB(A). This means that you should be wearing hearing protection when mowing the lawn. The only exception is when using robot lawn mowers since the noise that they generate lies far below the limit values of the Swedish Work Environment Authority.
The sound level differs considerably between the different types of lawn mower. Unsurprisingly petrol lawn mowers with their internal combustion engines generate the highest values with sound levels of up to 100dB(A). Electric lawn mowers with their electric motors usually generate significantly less noise with levels down to 90 dB(A). The quietest are robot lawn mowers with noise level of around 60 dB(A), not least due to the fact that they mow the lawn so often that the grass does not have time to become long. What is important to observe is that the decibel scale is logarithmic, which, for example, means that a noise level of 100 dB(A) is 10 times as intense as a noise level of 90 dB(A).
The manoeuvrability of a lawn mower determines how easy it is to control. The different types of lawn mower have fairly large differences as regards manoeuvrability. The smallest and lightest lawn mowers tend to have the best manoeuvrability, which in practice almost always means electric lawn mowers. There are also electric lawn mowers that run on grid electricity connected to a power outlet with a power cord, just like a vacuum cleaner. This unavoidably involves some bother as the power cord has to be constantly moved in order not to get in the way of the mower. Something that naturally has an adverse effect on manoeuvrability. On the other hand, petrol lawn mowers and relatively heavy and awkward, which makes them less manoeuvrable. This means that generally petrol lawn mowers are more suitable for larger lawns since manoeuvrability is less important for this type of mowing.
Mulching means that the blades of the lawn mower cut the blade of grass several times at different levels so that it becomes very short and therefore easier to decompose. Mulching often makes the collection of grass after mowing superfluous. It also returns water and nutrients from the cut grass to the lawn. Remember that when employing the mulching technique that no more than approx. 30 % of the length of the blade of grass should be cut. In addition, the grass should not be too long as the lawn mower will have difficulty in grinding down all of the grass.
A side discharge (also called a “side exhaust”) means that the lawn mower has an exhaust on the side where the cut grass can be discharged. A side discharge is of principal use when the grass is very high and the lawn mower does not manage to grind down the grass, so-called “mulching”.
A lawn mower with its sharp blades and powerful motor would pose a real threat to life it had not been safely designed. Luckily, modern lawn mowers are safe, sometimes even so safe that overactive safety features can cause irritation. All of the lawn mowers in our test satisfy the European standard for mechanical safety.
Perhaps the most important safety feature is the so-called “dead man’s handle”, which means that a control on the handle is held in during the whole of the mowing process. When the handle is released the control is also released and the lawn mower stops automatically. The equivalent to this found on the robot lawn mower is a safety feature that turns the robot lawn mower off automatically should anybody lift it.
You of course have a reliable lawn mower that always delivers and never goes wrong. At the same time a lawn mower is subject to very strong forces and is often pushed to the very limit of what it can deal with. It is therefore not strange that it is relatively common for the motor to stall during mowing. However, the bar will have been set high for a good lawn mower and if the instructions for its use are followed it should be reliable. A lawn mower should also be easy to start and anybody who has had experience of a traditional petrol lawn mower will certainly remember how irritating this can be. In order to reduce the risk of this many petrol lawn mowers today have an electronic start function.
A grass catcher is a container that is fitted to the lawn mower in order to collect the cut grass. The grass catcher is then removed and then emptied into a compost heap where it produces excellent humus.
A spacious grass catcher of course has the advantage of not needing to be emptied as often. A practical feature is a window t the top of the grass catcher or a light indicator so that you know when it is almost time to empty it.
Vibrating equipment and tools such as lawn mowers can cause injuries to the hands and arms, which is due to the nerves in the hands and arms being damaged by the vibrations. The risk of injury depends on how strong the vibrations are and how long a person is exposed to the vibrations. There are a number of symptoms, but it is usually tingling, pins and needles and impaired or loss of feeling in the fingers, hands and/or arms. The damage is most often temporary for those who only expose themselves to vibrations sporadically, for example, when mowing the lawn for a few hours a week. However, some people are more sensitive than others and if unlucky even moderate vibrations for relatively short periods of time can give rise to permanent damage. Because of this, it is of course desirable for the vibrations caused by lawn mowers to be as weak as possible. The vibrations from a lawn mower are usually measured at the control handles are stated in m/s². In order to ascertain when damage can arise, the Swedish Work Environment Authority has specified limit values depending on how long you should be exposed to vibrations, depending on the strength of the vibrations. For the lowest risk class, these are 8 hours at vibrations of 2.0 m/s², 5 hours at 2.5 m/s² and 1 hour at 5.0 m/s². Generally, petrol lawn mowers with their powerful internal combustion engines vibrate the most while electric lawn mowers vibrate less. A robot lawn mower is of course the best choice for anybody who wishes to avoid vibrations.