Mowing doesn’t have to be drudgery. Think of it like a walk in the great outdoors with a piece of dangerous equipment under your control, and it becomes a much nicer experience – so here’s our guide to the best lawnmower around. The worst bit, however, comes in the preparation and tidying up afterwards – running an extension lead from the nearest socket to where you want to mow, and putting it all away once you’ve finished.
You can completely sidestep this (as long as you remember to charge the battery) by buying a cordless rechargeable mower. Not only can they be deployed anywhere, whether there’s a socket nearby or not, but they tend to be light and foldable, for easy storage. Here are some of the best we’ve found.
Stihl RMA 339 C
The mid-priced Stihl is designed for medium-sized lawns. It takes one battery at a time but this bundle comes with a charger and two batteries, each covering 250m², so 500m² total. Or buy the mower bare for £329 if you already have AK batteries – they work across a range of Stihl garden tools. Bigger batteries in the AK system can handle up to 400m²
The mower’s striking design has a mono handle which can be quickly folded for storage by pressing one lever. The Stihl is QuietMark certified. It has a pop-out safety key under the hood to prevent unwanted use. Tilt it sideways to use it as a power switch. There’s also an Eco button.
Is it any good?
The mono handle is sturdy and the entire mower feels like it will last decades. It’s ergonomic and comfortable to mow one-handed. It’s easy to use and everything clicks into place. There’s a little lever to open or close the handle, with two handle height settings and no nuts to turn. A large handle on the side makes it easy to adjust between six cutting heights (20-70mm), a wide range though six options seems like overkill. You’ll probably just have a couple of favourites, like hob rings.
The battery has a button to see the charge level and you can see this even while the mower lid is closed. A little flap on the top of the grassbox pops up to tell you when it’s full; at which point it’s easy to remove thanks to the mono handle. The back of the grassbox opens for easy emptying, so you don’t have to just shake clippings out of the front. Alternatively, buy an optional mulching kit to scatter fine grass clippings.
Mowing results are superb and it mows to 5cm away from a brick edge. It’s quiet enough (rated 90dB) and the Eco mode automatically adapts blade speed as required, saving energy and extending battery life. It also packs down well. The mono handle folds easily, then you can tip it back on end and store it upright, with the grassbox balanced on top, 116x42x51cm (HxWxD) stored.
This is the Goldilocks of mowers: not too small, not too big, just about right. Of all the machines on test, it’s the nicest to push. We didn’t want to stop.
|Mowing area||2x 250m²|
Flymo EasiStore 300R Li
Small lawn and small shed? Look no further. The Flymo is by far the best mower here for storage space, with a footprint you could fit anywhere (see below). It’s generally petite, with the narrowest mowing width and smallest grassbox on test too.
Unusually it comes with two 20V batteries and you use both at once, to deliver 40V. You can charge both at once too. There’s a button on each battery to see the charge level. Beside the batteries is a removeable safety key and the Flymo comes with a spare, in case you lose it.
Is it any good?
Assembly is a total pain. It took more than 15 minutes and four swears. The experience feels less like unboxing, more like working on a production line. You even have to put together the hard, plastic grassbox from three parts. It’s a shame it couldn’t arrive assembled and folded up.
And yet the Flymo gets top marks because you only have to assemble it once, after which the design is very impressive. Its signature move is that it’s the best on test for storage space. Fold the handle forwards by opening two clips. Then tip the whole thing backwards to stand on its backside. Finally, clip the grassbox at the top. The whole thing takes up 102x38x31cm (HxWxD) so it has the smallest footprint here. What’s more, it’s sat back on its wheels, so you can roll it like a wheelie carry-on suitcase. It will fit in even the smallest shed. As mentioned, the grassbox is all plastic. There’s a flap on it to indicate when it’s full.
It’s designed for small lawns and is subjectively a bit whiney (it’s rated 90dB). It mows well enough for small lawns, with five height settings (25-65mm) and mows up to 5cm away from a brick edge. It’s compact and not a workhorse, so it struggled to cut over-long grass short, but cut at a higher height first and it’s fine.
|Weight||11.3kg incl battery|
|Battery||2x 20V 2.6Ah|
Honda HRX476 XB
If you’ve got a large lawn, you have options. A mains-powered mower won’t cut it, the socket’s too far away. Consider robotic mowers and even a ride-on. Otherwise, a heavy-duty rechargeable like this is a good alternative to petrol. The big, heavy Honda is self-propelling, travelling at up to 1.3m/s. Which is brilliant for big lawns but also feels like more tech to go wrong.
Choose from seven cutting heights (25-79mm), which is more than you’ll ever need. Another lever lets you decide what proportion of the grass to collect and what proportion to finely shred and mulch, to naturally fertilise the lawn.
Is it any good?
The Honda is heavy. At 36.5kg, this weighs almost four times as much as the Bosch. It’s not a one-person lift so you’ll need a shed or garage with level access. But mowing isn’t hard work, thanks to the self-propelling function. There’s a dial on the dashboard that selects its speed, from nothing (you push it) up to a fast walk. You still have two-stage safety controls, so if you let go of the handle it stops. There’s also an isolator key on the side that comes out for safety and is turned as a power switch.
The self-propelling is welcome: it would be tiring to push the heavy Honda all the time. It makes me wonder why double buggies don’t have power assist. But you need to dial it down to turn, otherwise you’re fighting the mower. So again it’s best for large lawns.
The fabric grassbox pops off and has an open front that makes it easy to empty. Mowing results are neat and it mows to 5cm away from a brick edge. It seems a bit loud but there’s a Quiet Mode button on the dashboard to dial down the noise (rated 87dB instead of 92dB). As well as this and the speed controls, there’s a set of lights on the dashboard to indicate battery level.
The Honda’s handle folds over for storage and then you can put the fabric grassbox on top. It’s not small at 57x50x105cm (HxWxD) stored.
We liked the Honda for large lawns… but at this price you could get the Honda Miimo robot instead.
|Weight||36.5kg incl battery|
Kärcher LMO 18-33
One of the most affordable and compact mowers on test. It has a 33cm cutting width but there’s also a 36cm model. The price includes battery and fast charger, but if you already have these with another rechargeable Kärcher tool, you can buy it battery-free for just £179.99. The battery has an LCD display of battery life in percent.
There’s a removable safety key to prevent small people deciding to ‘play’ lawn mowing unattended. There are four cutting heights (35-65mm) and you can swap the grassbox for a mulching plug (supplied) that reroutes clippings to the lawn.
Is it any good?
Handle assembly is like the Bosch, but instead of two screws to attach it to the mower body, the handle clips to the body. Then you use a pair of bolts with wing nuts to add the folding part. There are three handle height settings and it has foam padding but we didn’t find it especially comfortable and there’s only one position to hold it in.
The fact the handle can unclip makes the storage footprint smaller. It’s not designed to store on end though, so it takes up 39x38x70cm (HxWxD). Good, solid handles mean it’s easy to lift the folded mower one-handed.
The grassbox is fabric with a hard, plastic lid: the best of both worlds as it’s rugged, easy to carry and empty, but squashes flat to store. A flap indicates when the grassbox is full. Lowering the cutting height is easy but it’s a bit harder to raise as you need to lift the mower weight with one hand while adjusting the control (next to the front wheel) with the other.
Mowing leaves a good finish (and gets to 5cm away from a brick edge) but it lacks power: the mower sometimes stalls on over-long grass, especially when trying to cut short. It’s better to cut high first, then shorter. It was also subjectively loud (rated 92dB).
The Kärcher is lightweight, manoeuvrable and good value but lacks oomph. We preferred it to the Bosch for small lawns and it packs down smaller.
|Weight||12.4kg incl battery|
This folds up well and offers seven cutting heights (25-75mm) which is more than you’ll ever need. The shortest seems too short unless you’re tending a bowling green.
If you happen to have a compatible Husqvarna 36V battery, you can save money and buy the mower bare for £288.99, without battery and charger.
Is it any good?
The Husqvarna requires a small amount of assembly, after which you’re left with a mower with a handle that folds twice: forwards, then back on itself. The fabric grassbox flattens well too. This makes it compact for storage (48x45x76cm HxWxD) but it isn’t designed to be stood on end. Folding and unfolding is quick and easy, you just undo two knobs.
The handle’s safety catch is unusual: you flick a plastic lever on the left to the side, then close the two handles together to make it move. It’s ergonomic enough to push but the safety catch doesn’t come as naturally as pushing a button.
The grassbox is good: it’s easy to lift and empty one-handed. But design-wise, a major niggle is that there’s a thin wire that gets easily caught where the mower handle folds. No matter how you reroute the cable guides, it’s too exposed.
Under the bonnet is much like the Stihl. Press a button to see how much battery life is left. Turn the removeable Security Key for power. Flick the savE button to save energy and extend battery life.
At 88dB rated, it’s pretty quiet and lacks the whiney sound that plagues some smaller mowers. It’s comfortable to push and feels very light and manoeuvrable. It mows well, even on longer grass, but it only mows up to 7cm away from a brick edge.
|Weight||17.6kg incl battery|
Bosch CityMower 18V-32-300
An affordable mower and the lightest on test. The Bosch’s biggest selling point isn’t its mowing performance, it’s its versatile battery system. The same 18V batteries work across all Power for All machines, an alliance of home and garden brands, including power tools and vacuum cleaners as well as garden tools. This saves money and materials, because you can buy some of your tools battery-free.
The mower comes with a 4Ah battery which mows up to 200m² but you can also buy higher capacity 5Ah (250m²) and 6Ah (300m²) batteries for it. It has three cutting heights (30-60mm) and, thanks to a special leaf collect blade, the top height setting can also be used to collect and shred autumn leaves from the lawn.
Is it any good?
Assembly took nearly ten minutes and a screwdriver. You’re left with a compact mower that feels lightweight but plasticky. It’s annoying that the handles are screwed on to the body and can’t pop out like the Kärcher,as this would have let it pack down smaller. As it is, it takes up 70x38x90cm (HxWxD) stored with the handle folded in half, using two plastic wingnuts.
Mowing performance is good enough for a small lawn. It’s lightweight, easy to push and not too loud (rated 89dB). There’s a removable safety key with two positions, so you can use it as a power switch. It even comes with a spare safety key, in case you lose it.
Ergonomics are good. You can’t adjust handle height but there are two types of grip: a horizontal bar and vertical handles rising from it, like bike handlebars. The Bosch is so lightweight, you can even push it one-handed, anywhere on the handles.
A red lever beside the front wheel lets you easily adjust between three cutting heights and that’s plenty. And its edge performance is impressive, mowing to 4cm away from a brick edge. There’s no visual indicator that the plastic grassbox is full, but when it is you can carry and tip it out one-handed. You can even carry the folded mower in one hand and the grassbox in the other, to put them away. It’s that light.