The Four main types of Lawn Mower

The four main types of lawn mower are wheeled, rear roller, hover and cylinder also known as reel lawn mowers.  Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each type can help you choose when it comes to shopping for a lawn mower.

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For very simple lawns you may get away with one lawn mower, for complicated gardens you may need to think about two different tools to keep on top of it all.

Here are the basic advantages and uses of each type

Wheeled lawn mowers


  • Probably the most versatile type of mower
  • It can cut the grass nice and close (but no stripes!)
  • Can cope with long or rough grass (can be set higher)
  • They are fine on gentle slopes


  • Take care of tipping on higher gradients (four-stroke engines can leak oil if tipped too much)
  • For very sloping gardens a self-propelled lawn mower is essential for safety reasons

Rotary Rear roller mowers

  • Will cut relatively long grass
  • Will cut nice and close
  • The rear roller leaves a nice stripe pattern on the grass (for real lawn enthusiasts) 

Hover mowers

  • Are good for complex areas with beds and paths
  • Also easy to maneuver if you have more patio than lawn
  • They are designed specifically for grassy banks
  • And are easily stored/hung up in the shed


  • They do not leave a stripe pattern
  • And Anyway they are not suitable for large lawn areas

Cylinder or Reel lawn mower

  • The horizontal cylinder with several blades cut the grass like a pair of scissors
  • They give a very clean cut to the grass
  • Cylinder/reel mowers need less power so are usually a bit more quiet than rotary mowers
  • They will leave a stripe pattern lawn

Power options

Now the choice is going to be how to push, manpower, auto drive, petrol engine, mains electric or cordless? Which is it to be?


When it comes to manual lawn mowers it is better to get a more functional machine that a hydrostatic drive, this means you can vary the forward speed independently of the varying blade speed to give you optimum efficiency.


  • They are easy enough to start and the newer ones are a bit quieter
  • The emissions and noise are regulated by law
  • They do not have a lead to worry about


  • New models can cut fairly long grass without overheating
  • They are relatively down in price as they become more mass produced


  • May not last too well on large lawns as they may need recharging
  • But will work well on smaller lawns with limited space for storage
  • Batteries are improved and last fairly well


As lighter metal parts make life easier it is still important to keep them clean to avoid rust.  Plastics may be more expensive but will definitely last longer. Look for plastic body but metal wheels for the best option.


Yearly maintenance is advisable although electric mowers do not really need any maintenance.

If looks are important then you need to put your money where your mouth is, if you just want to keep the grass down to prevent ticks and other nasty creatures from setting up home in your garden you can probably spend a bit less, forgo the stripes but keep it neat.

Think about the ease of using electric in a small garden, your link is at the top of the page for the best current deals available.