Last updated: August 7, 2021

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Not everyone can afford an environmentally friendly electric car, but they can certainly afford an electric lawnmower. Compared to petrol lawnmowers, electric lawnmowers are not only more environmentally friendly, they are also usually lighter and super easy to operate.

To help you find the right lawn mower for you and your lawn, we have compared various machines in our electric lawn mower test 2021 and listed our favourites.

We explain how expensive electricity is for an electric lawn mower and what the differences are between a cylinder mower and a rotary mower. We also tell you why you could get into legal trouble if you mow your lawn on a Sunday or after 8pm.




Summary

  • Electric lawn mowers help you maintain a well-kept lawn and are lighter and cheaper than petrol mowers.
  • Basically, a distinction is made between rotary mowers and cylinder mowers. In Germany in particular, it is mainly rotary mowers that are available.
  • Sickle mowers are easy to use and ideal for small gardens. They are also often used for the maintenance of sports lawns.

The Best Electric Lawn Mower: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an electric lawn mower

What are the advantages of an electric lawnmower over a petrol lawnmower?

Electric lawn mowers are powered by your mains electricity via a cable. Compared to petrol mowers, which are theoretically powered like a car, they have an environmentally friendly drive, but also generally less power.

In general, electric lawn mowers are suitable for smaller areas (up to 500 sqm), whereas petrol mowers are usually recommended for larger areas. However, there are also more expensive electric lawn mowers that are built especially for larger lawns.

Electric mower Petrol mower
Power source External via mains Internal via tank
Power level Weak Strong
Size/weight 5-30 kg From 30 kg
Volume Up to 90 dB 92-96 dB

Petrol lawn mowers must first be filled with petrol and, depending on the model, with oil. During use, therefore, there are also relatively strong exhaust fumes and you have to get fuel regularly, which makes handling somewhat more difficult. In general, this is also much more harmful to the environment than electric lawnmowers powered only by electricity.

Since you are not tied to an external power source with a petrol engine, you can also mow large areas with a petrol engine without a cumbersome extension cable.

And the engine power of such a mower also offers you more. A petrol engine has fewer difficulties with wet grass, whereas an electric mower will probably not produce optimal results under such circumstances. The operation on large and difficult areas is therefore easier with a petrol mower.

With a manual starter, the petrol engine is pulled against a resistance to start, similar to a stick shift car. Especially for newcomers, this often creates handling problems. And a "run-down" of the engine can also happen to you from time to time. This is a handling problem that does not exist for electric lawnmowers.

The petrol engine produces quite a lot of noise, whereas the noise of an electric engine can also be annoying, but usually not nearly as loud.

The noise protection report of the Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia gives a noise level of up to 90 decibels for electric mowers and between 92 and 96 decibels for petrol mowers, depending on the cutting width. At first glance, this may not seem like much, but 10 decibels means an approximate doubling of the noise level.

At problematic times of the day, it is better to ask the neighbours' permission even if you are using an electric lawnmower. Read more about the legal situation regarding mowing times in our Trivia section.

In summary, an electric mower is generally suitable for city dwellers, as it is quieter and more environmentally friendly. For larger green spaces and lawns, as is often the case in villages, a petrol mower offers more engine power and easy mowing.

If you prefer a mower without a cable and direct power connection, you can also mention the battery-powered mower as a third alternative for lawn mowers.

Electric mowers are generally quiet, cheap and light. Petrol mowers, on the other hand, have more power, but are louder, more expensive, heavier and more strenuous.

How expensive is the electricity consumption of an electric lawnmower?

The electricity cost of an electric lawnmower is only a few euros a year for normal use. However, if you mow weekly with a very powerful lawnmower, it can be as much as €50 per year.

You can calculate your personal electricity costs here, for example. A lawn mower that is operated with 1600 W and that you want to use weekly for half an hour from March to November will cost you € 8.64 per year at an electricity price of 30 cents per kilowatt hour.

What exactly does a mulcher do?

Many online shops indicate whether or not a lawn mower has a mulcher or mulching function. At times, such lawn mowers are specifically advertised and sold as mulching mowers, rarely also recycling mowers.

The basic principle of the mulcher is to recycle the cut grass as fertiliser. The grass clippings are chopped up with another rotating blade. This chopped grass clippings are then trickled back into the turf. This acts as a natural fertiliser as the greenery has natural nutrients through the soil.

Mulching mowers therefore provide recycling of soil nutrients. In addition, no extra fertiliser is needed. However, such mowers are generally more expensive. For effective use of a mulch mower, you also need to mow the lawn very regularly.

How much does an electric lawn mower cost?

Electric lawn mowers are available in all price ranges - from the inexpensive device for mini gardens, for less than 100 euros, to the professional device, for which a high three-digit sum is due.

Normally, a device for up to 250 euros will be enough for you. However, if you want certain special features, it is definitely worth looking at the more expensive models.

However, since there are so many different models and features in this price range, we can't give you an optimal overview here. Therefore, we will only briefly show you the very high price range.

Devices under 150 euros usually run with little motor power, have hardly any features and are mostly made of plastic.

Since the cutting width is also small, such machines are usually only recommended for gardens smaller than 400 square metres. These low-cost models are almost always rotary mowers.

Sickle mowers costing around 150 - 250 euros are usually powered by 1600 W - 1700 W and generally have a cutting width of around 40 cm.

Such models are therefore also suitable for lawns larger than 400 square metres, although the specifications vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and model to model. Lawn mowers with a mulching function are sometimes available for less than 200 euros, but a somewhat more expensive model is usually worthwhile for optimal mulching.

Cutting height adjustments, i.e. the height at which your lawn is cut, are generally available on all medium- and high-priced machines. However, the number of possible heights can vary. Usually there are 3 to 6 different heights.

Type Price range
Entry-level rotary mowers 50-150 €
Mid-range rotary mowers 150-250 €
Rotary mowers with special additional equipment 250-800 €
Electric reel mowers 150-300 €

If you want a high-end lawn mower for large gardens with all the features, such as a mulcher and scarifier, an electric lawn mower can cost more than €700. However, these models are more recommended for garden experts and advanced users who really want to get the most out of all the functions.

For the average hobby gardener, an entry-level or mid-range model will probably suffice. Higher-priced machines usually offer you more engine power, a larger cutting width, harder material and the possible extra functions mentioned above.

If you know that you have a large garden or want a really good mulching mower, you will definitely find the best electric mower for you.

The choice of electric cylinder mowers is much smaller. The price range for equipment for hobby gardeners is between 150 and 300 euros. For the real sports lawn flair, however, there are considerably more expensive models here too.

Decision: What types of electric lawn mowers are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between 2 different types of electric lawn mowers:

  • Sickle mower
  • Reel mower

With both types, the cutting process is slightly different, which brings individual advantages and disadvantages in each case.

Depending on the conditions of your lawn and how it should look, it is worth considering both alternatives. For this purpose, we will introduce you to both types in the following.

Sichelmäher-Betrieb

Here you can look at a rotary mower. It is in operation and can be controlled easily. The rotary mower is an electronic lawn mower. The large amount of cut grass indicates a previously high lawn, which is no problem for the sickle mower. (Image source: 123rf.com / noonie)

How does a rotary mower work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The special advantage of a rotary mower is that this device with its machete-like cutting style cuts through tall grass easily and strongly. This makes it easy to handle. Especially the beginner and hobby gardener is in good hands here.

Mowers that have the sickle type as their cutting function are the standard in German gardens. Thanks to their simple cutting technique, they are not only easy to use, but also easy to maintain. They generally have no problem if you only mow your lawn irregularly.

Advantages
  • Effective even on tall grass
  • Wide range of models
  • Blade re-sharpening relatively easy
Disadvantages
  • Uneven cut
  • Fraying of grass blades when blade is not sharp
  • Somewhat bulky

The blade of a sickle mower is, unsurprisingly, based on the principle of a sickle. This sickle blade is located under the mower and is made to rotate horizontally, like a propeller. The rotating blade then cuts the grass at the set height. The principle is therefore like cutting the grass with a machete.

The horizontal cutting process ensures that the height of the grass is normally of little importance. As long as the blade can cut the grass, your lawn will be mown. Therefore, it is especially good for you if you let your grass grow for a few days or weeks.

Sickle mowers are a real classic in German gardens. The simple and effective cutting method and operation is particularly suitable for hobby gardeners and city dwellers.

However, since the sickle blade needs a relatively large protective cover so that you can't accidentally injure yourself, it is generally a bit bulky to stow away. Depending on the situation, a retractable handle adjustment, which is available on some models and simplifies handling, can help.

The fact that the grass is only cut makes handling easier in most cases. This somewhat rough cutting action can, however, lead to lawn diseases under certain circumstances, of which there are several. In most cases, however, this is not the sole fault of the mower, but an unsharp and worn blade.

This unsharp blade then causes the grass blades to fray more, which makes them susceptible to various fungi and other diseases. To prevent this, you should go for a sharpening every now and then. You can generally get this done at most hardware stores or by locksmiths. For those interested in technology, however, you can also do the sharpening yourself.

How does a cylinder mower cut grass and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The cutting action of a cylinder mower works like a pair of scissors. This results in a clear and fine lawn appearance, as you are used to with football turf and tennis lawns, for example.

You have probably seen the classic stripes of a football pitch or tennis court before. These are mainly the result of using a mower with a reel function, which we will introduce to you here. Why a football pitch looks like it has painted stripes can be found here.

While a rotary mower only cuts with one blade, a cylinder mower has two blades. The cut takes place between the rotating reel blade, called a cutting cylinder by some manufacturers, and an additional lower blade.

Since the grass is not simply cut off, but first pressed evenly into a square, the result is an extremely even cut on the green. You can imagine the precision of the cut as if the blade was cut with scissors.

The cutting process is only really effective if your lawn is relatively dry and level. If the grass is damp, the machine gets clogged, and if the lawn is uneven, the cut will also be uneven and uneven. The complicated design and construction also make it difficult to resharpen the blades.

Advantages
  • Even lawn appearance
  • Clean blade cut
  • Often can be used without electricity
Disadvantages
  • Only dry and level grass
  • Problems with tall grass
  • Resharpening somewhat complicated

In general, grass cut by a mower with a reel system as the cutting system looks like it has been cut by scissors. Because the grass is cut clear and fine on the blade, it reduces the susceptibility of your lawn to a possible fungal attack. This is because the susceptible cuttings on your greenery are minimised.

The cutting system makes it difficult to cut taller grass, as the roller blade can become clogged and the grass can no longer grip properly. So especially if you let your lawn grow taller, you might have problems cutting it. However, you will be rewarded with an even and clean lawn.

Another plus is that many electric reel mowers can also mow the lawn without electricity. However, this makes mowing much more strenuous.

Reel mowers ensure a fine and precise lawn appearance. It is the right electric lawnmower for people who want the typical sporty striped look. In general, it is a little more difficult to operate.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate electric lawnmowers

In the following we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate electric lawnmowers. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular device is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Recommended lawn area
  • The power
  • Cutting width
  • Cutting height
  • Catch baskets volume
  • Weight
  • Product dimensions
  • Cable length
  • Volume

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Recommended lawn area

Most manufacturers specify a size for which grass area an electric lawn mower is best suited. This information should be very helpful, especially for lawn mowing beginners. Generally, this information varies between 100 sqm and 1000 sqm for electric lawn mowers.

The recommended lawn area of an electric lawn mower is determined by a mixture of power, cutting width and other factors, which we will present to you in this section. This information serves as a rough guide as to which lawn mower will be suitable for you.

Power

Electric lawn mowers are powered by your regular electricity supply. Therefore, the power is given in watts. This power is generally between 1000 and 1800 W. Electric lawn mowers that are suitable for smaller areas usually have a significantly lower engine power than electric lawn mowers that are built for larger areas.

Watt itself describes the energy consumption per period of time. Depending on the power, an electric lawnmower may or may not overload itself on larger areas and for longer periods of time. With a higher power, cutting problematic grasses, such as taller ones, is generally easier. A large part of the energy consumption of electric mowers is the drive and operation of the blade.

The stated engine power is the highest power consumption that an electric mower can consume. However, electric mowers only run at the highest power consumption under the most difficult conditions. You can therefore expect lower power consumption.

Since electric cylinder mowers are mainly pushed by the mowing person, not primarily by the engine as with a rotary mower, they need significantly less power per time, but are therefore also more strenuous. The power to be consumed by electric cylinder mowers is between 400 W and 1200 W, depending on the model.

Cutting width

Cutting width refers to the area that a lawn mower cuts at a given time. In other words, the diameter of the cutting blade. The larger the blade, the more you can cut faster. Smaller cutting widths, on the other hand, make it easier to mow uneven angles and surfaces.

There is a wide range of cutting widths. These vary considerably depending on the manufacturer and model. The most common electric mower widths are 30 cm, 32 cm, 38 cm, 40 cm, 42 cm, 43 cm, 45 cm, 46 cm or 48 cm. Lawn mowers with a cutting width of over 50 cm are usually definitely petrol mowers.

In general, electric lawnmowers with a cutting width of around 30 cm are recommended for gardens of around 150-200 square metres, and depending on the equipment, manufacturers recommend lawnmowers with a cutting width of around 40 cm for areas of 500-800 square metres.

In general, it can be said that a 33 cm mower needs 25% more time for the same area than a 43 cm mower. So if you want to save extra time, you can choose a large cutting width. If your garden has a lot of winding areas, it is worth considering a smaller cutting width.

Cutting height

Cutting height is the height at which the grass is cut above the ground. With most electric lawn mowers, this can be adjusted in several stages, from 3 to 6.

Generally, only one cutting height is sufficient for level lawns. However, more cutting widths give you more options for how you can mow your lawn.

For most hobby gardeners, the height of cut is not important. However, if you have a precise idea of the desired lawn height, or you would like to have variations in the grass height, then you should take a closer look at this specification.

In general, the cutting height is 12 mm at the lowest point and 80 mm at the highest point. The exact height you prefer is, of course, up to you. This depends on whether you want low grass, such as on tennis lawns or football pitches, or high grass.

Catch baskets

A grass box is designed to collect the cut grass directly from the mower. This means that you don't have to collect the clippings separately, but they are caught directly in a box for disposal.

Catch baskets, also known as catch boxes by some manufacturers, come as standard with almost all electric lawn mowers. The catch volume is mostly between 20 and 50 litres. A few mowers under 200 euros do not have a catcher box at all, and some reel mowers do not have a catcher box.

Without a catcher bag, you generally have to pick up the clippings after cutting. This can be extremely time-consuming, especially for larger lawns. So if your lawn is not very small, it is best to look for a catcher box when buying.

Mulching mowers, by the way, do not need a catcher box, as they convert the mown grass into fertiliser. However, lawn mowers can have a catcher box and a mulching function at the same time. As a rule, you should use either the mulching function or the catcher box, but not both at the same time.

If you initially choose a mower without a catcher box, this is not a big problem. Extra catch baskets can be purchased for 20-50 euros.

Weight

An electric lawn mower usually weighs between 5 and 30 kg.

Especially if you have to walk up and down stairs to store your lawn mower, it is worth paying attention to this information. It is best to know where you want to store your mower before you buy it and, if you have to carry it, how heavy it should be.

A very heavy electric mower could also cause problems for a small shelf. however, many electric lawn mowers can usually be stored on shelves. However, if you simply want to push your lawnmower into a garden shed, the weight is of course irrelevant.

Product dimensions

The product dimensions are the dimensions of an electric lawnmower as specified by the manufacturer.

As with weight, it helps if you know in advance where you want to store your electric lawnmower. The intended storage location for your electric lawn mower can be one of the most important deciding factors in your search for the ideal electric lawn mower.

Especially if you don't have a lot of space available, you can put a special focus on smaller equipment. If storage space is not an issue for you, then this point is not important for you.

Cable length

Electric lawn mowers require a power cable to operate. Depending on the distance from your lawn to a power source, the length of the cable can play a decisive role. Among other things, you may accidentally run over your power cable, or the cable may not reach every part of your lawn.

The risk of the cable getting under the lawn blade can be reduced, but not eliminated, by using an automatic cable rewind. Therefore, you should always be vigilant about the power cable of your electric lawn mower.

Most low-cost and mid-range mowers do not have a power cord, only a connector for an extension cord. So you have to buy an extra extension cord. This can easily cost an extra €10-50.

You will need an extra extension cord to use most electric mowers. Make sure it is clearly visible and suitable for outdoor use. It is easy to drive over such a cable.

Loudness

The loudest electric mowers produce up to 90 decibels. However, electric mowers can often be much quieter.

90 decibels can be compared to the volume of a main road at a distance of 10 metres. Continuous exposure to sound at this level can be harmful, but normal gardening alone will not cause permanent hearing damage. However, even with the quietest electric mowers, you should be aware of your neighbours.

Unfortunately, the volume itself is not specified by every manufacturer, and it can theoretically happen that the specified volume refers to the highest possible volume or average volume.

Interesting facts about electric lawnmowers and garden maintenance

Is it possible to start using electric mowers immediately after buying them?

Generally speaking, you have to assemble almost all mowers first, i.e. screw on various parts and plug them together. This usually takes less than 30 minutes for most mowers.

When am I allowed to mow in the garden and when do I have to fear a fine?

Mowing the lawn at the wrong times may not only lead to an argument with the neighbour, but in the worst case to a fine of up to 5,000 euros according to §117 of the Administrative Offences Act, if it is considered a serious noise nuisance.

In general, it is forbidden to mow all day on Sundays and public holidays. This also applies to times before 7 am or after 8 pm. However, if all neighbours agree, mowing is also allowed at other times.

Such matters are clarified in the Equipment and Machinery Noise Protection Ordinance. Depending on the noise level of the garden tools, other times may apply. There may, however, be separate rules for each country and municipality.

Likewise, there may be certain entries in tenancy agreements that you must observe with regard to times, such as midday quiet. If it generally causes no noise at all, there is no time limit.

How much CO2 emissions does an electric mower cause?

One hour of mowing with a 1000 W electric lawnmower causes about 0.6 kg of CO2 emissions. With a 2000 W electric lawnmower, this doubles to 1.2 kg per power.

These values are caused by the exhaust gases from electricity generation. These are significantly lower than the combustion of fossil fuels of a petrol lawnmower. If you use green electricity, the values given are halved.

Can I sharpen the blade of my electric mower myself?

In principle, yes. To remove the blade from your lawnmower, you generally need an open-ended spanner set, an Allen key, a pliers' spanner and a soft-face hammer. For the sharpening itself you will need a good file.

You can find detailed instructions for the process here, or watch the video below this sentence.

How are the stripes created on a football turf?

The classic and sporty patterned look of the lawn is created by the drive roller of the reel mower. When it passes over the grass, it pushes it in the same direction like a roller. This direction is exactly opposite when driving back and forth.

If you look at the direction of travel, the lawn appears shiny and brighter. Looking at the green against the direction of travel makes it appear dark. The dark appearance comes from the fact that you are looking into the cutting scar of the grass, i.e. you see more stalk area.

Looking in the direction of travel, you see almost only the tip of the grass blades, making the small area appear light. Light and dark areas therefore also change depending on the viewing position.

How long have lawn mowers been around?

The emergence of landscape gardens in the 18th century brought large lawns into focus for European gardens. Today, this type of landscape garden is best known as the English Garden.

The large expanse of green in these gardens made lawn care with the traditional scythe laborious, slow and also technically difficult. Often several people had to be employed to mow the lawns with the scythe in these landscape gardens alone. Not everyone was able to mow with a scythe.

Therefore, when Edwin Beard Budding patented his lawn mower, a reel mower, in 1830, it was not long before it was used in the new English gardens throughout Europe.

In the 1860s/70s, large-scale industrial production of the lawnmower began in England. Budding himself died in 1846, at the age of 50. His invention, which is still so influential today, had only sold a few thousand units at that time.

Where does Germany get its lawn mowers?

In 2014, Germany imported the proud number of 3.3 million lawn mowers. Devices from the People's Republic of China were particularly popular, with 1.6 million devices, followed by around 920,000 devices from the United Kingdom.

In comparison, Germany exported 1.1 million lawnmowers, a good third of the number of imports. German exports mainly go to the European Union, especially to France, the Netherlands and Austria.

Picture source: pixabay.com / 5513214

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