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We’ve specifically chosen smaller mowers for this round up given that they are the most popular size for most UK gardens. If you live on the edges of suburbia or in the country and your lawn is on the larger side, then keep an eye out for our forthcoming guide to the best petrol mowers.
Why is cordless the best option for mowing?
Currently, there are three main types of lawnmower: mains electric, petrol and battery powered.
A battery-powered, cordless lawn mower is environmentally clean, not too noisy and far and away the most efficient and faff-free way to spend a Sunday afternoon, short of having a barbecue. In fact, on average, a cordless mower will reduce the time it takes from setting up the mower to performing the task and putting it away again by more than a third.
There’s no cable to wrestle with and little chance of it not starting up after a winter in storage. In fact, the only thing you need to worry about is ensuring that the battery is charged.
Choosing a cordless lawn mower
There are numerous models on the market to choose from but the most important specification you need to know about is cutting deck width. This is basically the width of the blade and it determines the size of the lawn the mower is best suited to.
If your urban lawn is of average city size (about 40 meters² and up), then go for a 33-36cm deck, and if it’s of the medium-sized suburban variety (in excess of 100 meters²) then opt for a larger model with a deck of around 40cm and upwards. That said, some urban lawns are nearer to patio size so the smaller the cutting deck the better. In this regard, a titchy mower with a cutting deck width of just 30cm will likely suffice.
Some buyers of lawnmowers are easily taken in by the voltage power of the battery but we’ve found that most small lawn mowers perform admirably well even when armed with lower voltage batteries.
Granted, some mowers perform for longer on a single charge but in the main, the majority will easily give you around 30 minutes of mowing time. That may not sound like much but, given that an average urban lawn takes between 10 and 15 minutes to mow, you should get about three sessions on average out of a single charge.
It’s only when lawn size gets to around 300meters² that you need to start considering some of the higher-end cordless models that come with huge 60v and 80v batteries. These models usually have cutting decks in excess of 50cm in width and some of the flashiest models from the likes of Greenworks and Ego even feature self propulsion for effortless mowing.
Kärcher LMO 18-36
If your lawn is well above the average urban size of around 40m² then this superb model from the house of Kärcher is your best bet, and for a number of reasons.
Aside from its attractive bright, yellow livery, the LMO 18-36 benefits from a cutting deck width of 36cm (perfect for lawns of up to about 120m²), an adjustable handlebar which goes down low for those of shorter stature, four cutting heights that are accessed via a smooth gearstick-style handle on the side, and a large 45-litre fabric grass collector that is a cinch to put on without any fumbling.
However, one of the very best facets of this machine is the quality and design of its 18v battery. Firstly, it’s equipped with tough rubberised edges that will prevent it from cracking when you inevitably drop it on the patio paving stones and, secondly, it features an LCD screen that accurately displays the remaining charge in percentages.
Although Kärcher states a running time of 40 minutes, this writer has managed to eke a bit more out of it – up to four sessions on a 60 square metre lawn.
Kärcher is best known for its power washers so hats off to its R&D department for coming straight out of the blocks with a mower that puts many established brands to shame in terms of design and efficiency.
Indeed, this writer has been using it for a year now and it has cut the grass with zero fuss and right to the very edge. It even comes with a mulching plug for those who wish to fertilise the lawn while cutting it. Incidentally, if your lawn is smaller (around 50m²), then perhaps consider Kärcher’s smaller 33cm model instead.
Einhell GE-CM 18/33 Li
You don’t normally see maintenance-free brushless motors at this low price level so chances are this Einhell will go on running for years without any issues.
The Einhell GE-CM 18/33 Li is quite angular in design – rather like some models from the Bosch and Greenworks stables – and fitted with a 4.0Ah Power X-Change battery, which is good for about 35 minutes of mowing. It also features a 30-litre grass catcher (with filling level indicator), a three-height single-fold handlebar system and a handy cutting height lever (in five increments, from 25-65 mm).
We only recently received this mower and, although our grass is still short from the UK’s exceptionally wet winter, we did manage to find some longer patches to test it on. It passed with flying colours, cutting pretty much to edge and leaving no unsightly clumps in its wake. The large wheels also made it easy to manoeuvre.
If you’re a fan of German engineering (who isn’t?) and are in the market for a highly competent and very keenly priced mower that does the job and does it well, then this one comes highly recommended.
This award winning 34cm contender is one of the best medium-sized turf tacklers in the business. The Cobra MX3440V comes with a 40v Li-ion battery that provides about 30 minutes of running time, a decent sized 35-litre clipping collector and a height-adjustable, two-way handlebar folding system for easy storage.
At 16.3kgs, the Cobra is light enough to carry short distances and very easy to push around. Crucially, it cut last summer’s test patch exceedingly well though, like so many small cordless mowers, its brushed motor did tend to bog down when faced with grass that had never seen a mower (the secret here is to start the mower with the front end raised off the ground before gently lowering the deck onto the sward).
For a mower in this price band, it’s good to see a height adjustment handle on the side where some other budget models require manually lowering and raising both axles. Another nice touch is the battery power indicator on the handlebar instead of the battery itself.
Cobra is one of the UK’s leading garden machinery manufacturers and you generally can’t go wrong with any of their products. This little cracker is a case in point.
Gtech Cordless Lawnmower 2.0
If you have an extensive sward that requires a large mower that truly excels at the task it’s designed to do, look no further than this pricy offering from Gtech.
The rather unimaginatively named Cordless Lawnmower 2.0 comes with an extra wide 42cm cutting deck that’s suitable for lawns up to 250 square metres and beyond. Uniquely, this one features a single blade that, according to Gtech, was ‘designed to offer efficient results’. This writer can vouch that it works incredibly well – and right to the very edge of the lawn – even if it does create a growling sound that’s unlike any other mower on the market.
Most lawnmowers of this size tend to weigh a ton yet this one feels light and nimble, whether pushing it around the lawn or carrying it to the shed. Its two-way folding mechanism, too, helps compact it into one of the tidiest of packages. The Gtech comes with a 48V Lithium-ion battery that delivers up to 40 minutes of running time, a 50 litre grass collector and six cutting heights from 3cm and 8cm.
If you can stretch the budget to a smidge below the £500 mark then this is one of the finest mowers currently on the market. Its performance is exemplary, it’s lighter than most of the competition and it looks a million quid.
Flymo EasiStore 300RLi
Aside from its titchy urban-friendly size, the handsome 300RLi has a unique trick up its sleeve – the ability to be stored vertically on its rear with the grass collector attached to the folded-over handlebar, and be pushed along the garden path like a shopping trolley. No, we don’t know why no-one thought of this before but it’s a brilliant storage solution for those with minimum space.
If you have a patio-sized lawn of around 30-40 square metres then this 30cm mower is your best bet. For starters, its body is small enough to fit into a kitchen worktop cupboard and that by lawnmower standards is blooming tiny. Assembly is pretty straightforward, too.
The 300RLi performed very well on our smaller test patch though the cutting height was a faff to adjust because it doesn’t come equipped a lever system like its 34cm stablemate or indeed the majority of slightly larger mowers.
Instead, you have to turn it over and move the two spring-loaded wheel axles into one of three cutting height positions. On a positive note, the lowest position also engages a rear roller for creating lawn stripes – but only if your lawn is immaculately laid with no lumps and bumps.
You get two batteries with this mower and they provide up to 35 minutes of mow time, which is par for the course. The easy-to-empty 30-litre plastic grass collector, meanwhile, is of ample capacity for smaller gardens. If you’re looking for a small-bodied cordless model that’s light as a feather (11.2kgs) and a doddle to store then this one’s right up your garden path.