Electric lawn mower purchasing advice: how to choose the right product

  • The most important facts in brief
  • Electric mowers are lighter, require less maintenance and are more environmentally friendly than petrol mowers.
  • For small gardens, battery-powered mowers without an annoying power cable are a good choice.
  • A rotary mower is particularly suitable for uneven terrain.
  • If you want to mow and fertilise your lawn at the same time, a mulching mower is the best choice.
  • The cutting height of the lawn mower should be adjustable.

The right tool for mowing

Anyone who owns their own garden should take care of it. When the grass grows longer and longer in summer and threatens to become overgrown, a lawn mower comes into play. Consumers have the choice between a handheld device, a petrol device and an electric variant. Electric lawn mowers are powered by electricity. This means they have less power than petrol lawnmowers and are usually suitable for lawns up to around 500 square metres in size. However, some particularly high-quality lawn mowers are also built for larger plots.

mower on high grass

lelectric lawn mowers have a motor inside that rotates the blade on the underside via a crankshaft. To use the mower, a power socket must be nearby. At the rear of the electric lawn mower there is usually a grass catcher box in which the cuttings are collected.

Who invented it?

The lawnmower was invented in England. There, large, well-maintained lawns came into fashion in the 18th century, which initially required numerous workers. In 1830, the Briton Edward Beard Budding invented the first lawn mower, which was a reel mower. Later, lawn mowers were steam-powered. In the middle of the 20th century, lawn mowers experienced a boom when the invention of the electric motor made them particularly easy to handle.

Battery-powered lawn mower or corded lawn mower?

If you don’t want a lawn mower with an annoying power cable, but still prefer an electric version, you can go for a cordless lawn mower. These garden tools are particularly manoeuvrable and therefore very flexible. However, due to their low power, unlike corded lawnmowers, they often have difficulty with tall grass and need some time to charge their battery. Therefore, they are not suitable for long mowing sessions because the battery would have to be replaced several times. High-quality models manage lawns up to 600 square metres in size in one go.

What are the advantages of electric lawnmowers compared to other models?

Electric lawn mowers are much easier to operate and faster to mow than hand-held ones. They are more environmentally friendly than petrol machines. Since they do not require petrol, they do not produce the unpleasant odour and pollutants that are usually associated with petrol. The regular costs for fuel are also eliminated with electric devices. They are also particularly easy to handle. Petrol mowers have a manual starter, which often leads to problems. The engine can “run down”, just like in a car. These difficulties do not exist with electric lawn mowers.

Because it is made of weatherproof plastic and lacks the petrol engine, an electric lawnmower is lighter than a petrol one. Such a garden tool is also less maintenance-intensive, as it does not have an air filter that needs to be replaced, nor does it need an oil change. Another difference is the noise level of the mowers: according to the NRW Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection, a petrol lawnmower is between 92 and 96 decibels loud, depending on the cutting width. The noise limit of electric lawn mowers, on the other hand, is 80 decibels.

A question of type

types of mower
The three types have different blades.

There are three different types of electric lawn mowers, which differ mainly in the type of blade used.

Sickle mower

This type of electric lawn mower is the most common in Germany. It has cutting blades that rotate on their own axis, allowing a high mowing speed. A rotary mower works very evenly and copes well with uneven lawns. Different soil conditions are also no problem for the garden tool. The blades have a large cutting width, which is why they work effortlessly. However, the cut surface is usually not as even. is inexpensive and much more robust than other variants, which is why it is well suited as an everyday tool.

Reel mower

A cylinder mower is particularly suitable for short lawns, for example English lawns. The mowing tool is more like a pair of scissors. Such a lawn mower can only be used on flat surfaces. Its reel is not as easy to resharpen as the blades of a rotary mower. On the other hand, it is particularly quiet and can therefore be used without problems even in densely populated neighbourhoods.

Mulching mower

The all-rounder among lawn mowers is the mulching mower. It makes it possible to mow and fertilise the lawn at the same time. The cuttings are chopped up by the tool of the garden mower and given directly to the desired area as fertiliser. Therefore, this lawn mower does not have a grass catcher box like the other variants.

What to look for when buying an electric lawn mower

If you buy an electric mower, you should pay particular attention to its power, cutting tool, mowing efficiency and user-friendliness.

Engine power

The engine is the heart of the e-mower and the mowing result depends on its power. This is usually between 1,000 and 1,800 watts. Such a wattage is sufficient for medium-sized gardens and medium-high grass. However, the taller the grass, the more powerful the lawn mower’s motor needs to be to cope with it. Reel mowers generally require less power than rotary mowers; between 400 and 1,200 watts are sufficient.

man repairs lawn mower

Cutting width and cutting height

The cutting height and the cutting width of the electric mower are decisive for the correct mowing result. The cutting width indicates how wide the path is that is cut with the lawn mower. The value therefore refers to the diameter of the cutting blade. For smaller mowers, the cutting width is about 30 centimetres, for larger ones up to 50 centimetres. A device with a larger cutting width is recommended for medium-sized to large gardens, as it saves users time and the lawn mower consumes less energy.

For angled gardens or those with a small lawn area, a smaller cutting width is the better choice. This also makes it easy to clear the spaces between beds of weeds. Lawn mowers with a cutting width of 30 centimetres are therefore recommended for gardens with a lawn area of up to 200 square metres. For areas up to 800 square metres, the cutting width should be 40 centimetres. Gardens up to 1,000 square centimetres in size are best handled with a mower that has a cutting width of 50 centimetres. However, a cutting width of 50 centimetres is only an option for a few machines, most of which are petrol mowers.

cutting widths per ground plot
The correct cutting width of the lawn mower depends on the size of your property.

Almost all lawn mowers also allow the cutting height to be adjusted. This allows users to adjust the mower to the height of the area to be mowed. How many steps the electric mower has depends on the device. Simple models offer up to three steps, higher-quality models up to six steps or even a stepless cutting height adjustment. As a rule, the cutting height is adjusted by raising or lowering the axles of the lawn mower. With inexpensive models, users sometimes have to remove the wheels to adjust the cutting height. High-quality models allow the process to be carried out by lever operation, also known as central cutting height adjustment. Normal lawns usually require a cutting height of 2.5 to 4.0 centimetres. Shade lawns, on the other hand, should be cut with a cutting height of 5.0 centimetres, ornamental lawns with approximately 2.0 centimetres.

The right measure

When mowing the lawn, it is important not to remove too much grass. The cutting height should be adapted to the growth of the lawn. If too much grass is removed, diseases and fungi can form and spread more quickly. It is therefore advisable to shorten the blade length to a maximum of half.

Wheel drive

Some electric mowers have a wheel drive, which saves power when driving the machine. The rear wheels are motorised, which makes handling much easier. This is particularly practical for physically impaired persons. The wheel drive is also useful for mowing large areas or areas with slopes. The wheel drive is usually found on heavy, high-priced models.

Grass catcher box

Almost all lawn mowers have either a box made of solid plastic or a fabric bag to collect the mown grass. The larger the basket or box, the longer users can mow without having to empty the grass catcher. The standard basket of an electric lawn mower has a volume of 20 to 30 litres. Very inexpensive electric mowers as well as reel and mulching mowers have neither a grass catcher basket nor a grass catcher box. In all other variants, they are included in the scope of delivery. Consumers should make sure that the grass catcher box can be easily removed. Some models even have a fill level indicator that signals when the bag is full. This helps to prevent grass from accumulating under the lawn mower and blocking the blades.

lawn catcher


Although electric lawn mowers are quieter than petrol machines, they make a lot of noise. Some models reach 80 decibels, which is about the noise level of a busy main road. If the human ear is exposed to this level of noise for long periods of time, it can be seriously damaged. For gardening, users should therefore choose a device that does not have a decibel level that is too high. For reasons of noise protection, use is only permitted in the mornings and afternoons. Wearing hearing protection is recommended.


To ensure that the lawn mower can be handled without problems over a longer period of time, the device should not be too heavy. Most electric mowers weigh between 5 and 30 kilograms. A collecting bag increases the weight. If you have to carry your mower up stairs or generally transport it a lot, you should choose a particularly light model. Some mowers have a carrying handle that makes transport easier.


The handle of a lawn mower should be adapted to the size of the user. A mower with an adjustable handle is recommended so that several people can use the device. This makes it easier to operate the lawn mower.

How much does an electric lawn mower cost?

How much an electric mower costs depends on the manufacturer and the range of functions. Some devices are available for as little as 50 euros, but buyers can quickly pay several hundred euros for high-quality mowers. Models costing 150 euros or less usually have lower engine power and little to no additional equipment. However, they are sufficient for small gardens where mowing is not so frequent. Reel mowers often cost 150 to 250 euros and have an output of up to 1700 watts. They are also suitable for somewhat larger gardens. If you want a high-quality device with a mulching function, you sometimes have to pay 700 euros or more. However, these are devices for ambitious hobby gardeners. For ordinary use, a device costing up to 250 euros is usually sufficient.

Tips on handling an electric mower

To keep the garden in shape, it must be mowed regularly. he frequency with which this should be done depends on the type of lawn. Ordinary and ornamental lawns only need to be cut about once or twice a week. Herbaceous lawns require much less maintenance, usually only needing to be mown six times a year. Freshly established lawns hardly ever need to be mown, they are generally more sensitive than fully grown lawns. The grass clippings, i.e. the cut blades, are ideally collected in a collection bag or basket and disposed of. With fresh grass, the cuttings can be left on the surface and thus act as fertiliser.

When mowing, pay attention to the correct cutting height. This must not be too low, otherwise the blades will cut away the grass cover, especially on uneven terrain. This dulls the blades and leaves an unsightly garden appearance. Before it gets too cold in winter, the lawn must be shortened to about 2.5 to 3.0 centimetres for ideal wintering. In summer, longer grass provides shade on the ground, which means that the roots retain residual moisture for longer. If the grass is too short, it will dry out and turn brown. It is recommended to wait until April before mowing for the first time. Only then is the grass high enough to be cut again. After October, the grass should no longer be mown.

lawn mower at work

To what height should the lawn be cut with a lawnmower?

The ideal height of the grass depends on its type. Ordinary utility turf should be about 4.0 to 4.5 centimetres high. If it is particularly hot and dry, 5.0 centimetres is recommended. Shade lawns should also be shortened to 5.0 centimetres. Ornamental lawns, on the other hand, are much shorter and should not be kept longer than 3.0 centimetres. Newly growing lawns need a certain basic length, which is why they need to be left about 5.0 centimetres high in the first year.

Beware of cable tangles

It is also important to keep an eye on the electric mower’s cable at all times during the mowing process. Users should always carry it by hand and keep it as far away from the mower’s blades as possible. Otherwise, the cable may be caught by the blades and cut. This can lead to a short circuit and is therefore both dangerous and expensive, as the cable will have to be replaced. It is advisable to change the socket in between if possible, provided there are several nearby. This way the e-mower does not drag a cable behind it that is getting much too long. Coloured power cables are also useful as they attract more attention and significantly reduce the risk of running over them.

woman mowing the lawn

Preventing flattened grass

When mowing, the user of the machine should always stay behind so as not to step on the uncut areas. Grass that has been stepped on flat is slow to straighten and cannot be cut properly by the mower’s blade. The result is an uneven lawn appearance. It is best to mow only dry grass, because if it is wet it will stick together, then it cannot get into the catcher box and will clog the mower.

A question of noise

Since an electric lawn mower is quite noisy, users must observe the permitted operating hours. Use is completely prohibited on Sundays and public holidays, as well as before seven in the morning or after eight in the evening. In some areas there is also a midday rest period that must be observed. Anyone who uses their e-mower at times that are not permitted risks a fine of up to 5,000 euros.

The time of day at which the grass must be cut depends on the season. In midsummer, the ideal time to mow is late afternoon. In principle, mowing in the morning is also conceivable. However, make sure that the lawn is no longer dewy. In summer, the grass should not be mown at midday, otherwise the cut blades will burn and the soil will dry out too quickly. If you have been away for a while and the lawn has grown properly, you should not cut it radically in one go. It is better to mow it in several passes and not more than a third in total. This gives the grass a chance to recover in between and prevents it from drying out so quickly.

Safety is important

Using an electric mower is not without its dangers. Therefore, pay attention to the following safety instructions:

  • Wear sturdy shoes
  • Check cables for damage before use
  • Replace damaged cables
  • Do not tip the mower on its side when it is switched on.
  • Do not walk backwards with the mower
  • Remove obstacles before mowing

To protect trees

In many gardens there are smaller and larger trees on the lawn to be mowed, which create an obstacle when shortening the blades. To protect the trees and the mower from damage, you can leave the area around the tree trunk clear. If there is grass there, simply cut it neatly away. Alternatively, you can use a so-called mower guard. This is a fence about 20 centimetres high that is wrapped around the trunk and fastened in the ground. This protects the bark of the trees from the mower.

Proper maintenance and cleaning

Even though an electric mower requires less maintenance than a petrol mower, it needs regular care and cleaning. It is recommended to perform rough cleaning after each use. Before cleaning the appliance, make sure that it is switched off and completely disconnected from the power supply. If this is not the case, you risk serious injury. Since a lot of dirt gets stuck on the mower during use, it should first be wiped off with a damp cloth. Grass usually sticks to the underside of the device in particular, but this can be removed easily. You can remove coarse dirt with a hard brush. However, never spray the electric mower with a garden hose, as this could damage its electronics.

man cleans mower

The blades must also be cleaned thoroughly so that they continue to work properly. It is best to wear protective gloves and be careful not to cut yourself on the blades. Also check occasionally that the knives are still sharp enough. To ensure that this is always the case, they should be sharpened regularly. This is particularly useful in winter when the mower is not in use. Carefully remove the blades and take them to a specialist company for sharpening. You can also do this yourself, but you will need all kinds of tools and experience.

You should empty and clean the grass box after each use. If grass sticks to it for a long time, it can start to ferment if it gets damp. This causes damage to the catcher bag. Simply spray it thoroughly with a water hose. It is advisable to have maintenance carried out by experts in a workshop about every 25 operating hours. This way you can be sure that the unit is always in good working order.

The storage location

Before storing the electric mower for the winter, disconnect the battery. As soon as it is used again, the starter battery must be charged. The mower must always be stored in a dry and cool place. Never leave it outside because, depending on the weather, moisture can get into the engine and damage it. Therefore, cellar rooms or garages are an ideal place to store e-mowers.