Last updated: August 8, 2021

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Do you attach great importance to a well-kept garden? Then the most important thing is a clean-cut, green lawn. Of course, you need the right lawn mower. The cheapest and most environmentally friendly option is a hand lawn mower, which you can buy in various models. Don't forget that you'll score a few points with your neighbours, as a manual lawn mower is particularly quiet!

Our large hand lawn mower test 2021 should help you find the perfect hand lawn mower for you. To make your purchase decision easier, we have compared two different types of products and listed their advantages and disadvantages. We have also picked out our favourites for you and answered the most frequently asked questions in a guide.




Summary

  • A hand lawn mower is a manually operated garden tool that you can use to cut your lawn. To drive it, you need an external force - pushing.
  • Compared to other models, a manual lawn mower is particularly quiet and environmentally friendly. They are also much cheaper.
  • You can buy a hand lawn mower with or without a grass catcher box. A grass catcher makes your work easier and ensures a perfect lawn.

The Best Hand Lawn Mower: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for hand lawn mowers

Basically, there are different types of hand lawn mowers. In the following section, we will show you which aspects you should consider when comparing hand lawn mowers.

The criteria that you can use to compare manual lawn mowers with each other include:

Cutting width

What is the optimum cutting width for your lawn mower? This is a question you should ask yourself before buying, as it will determine how quickly you can get on with your lawn care.

Generally speaking, mowers with a wide cutting width cut wider paths than those with a small cutting width. On the other hand, they are more manoeuvrable and often cheaper.

Lawn area Cutting width
Less than 100 square metres Up to 30 centimetres
100 to 500 square metres 30 to 40 centimetres
Over 500 square metres Over 40 centimetres

For larger lawns, you may want to consider that a ride-on mower has more advantages to offer and would make your work even easier.

Cutting height adjustment

Apart from the height of cut, the cutting setting is also important. This depends on how short you want to cut your lawn.

In addition to maximum and minimum height, hand lawn mowers also differ in the different levels that you can set individually.

You have a wide choice of three- to ten-stage hand lawn mowers, which often have a cutting height of 3 to 10 centimetres. This allows you to adjust the cutting height individually depending on the quality of your lawn.

Since you should adjust your lawn in different conditions such as heat or weather, you can achieve the best results with a multi-stage manual lawn mower.

The cutting height adjustment on hand lawn mowers also differs in the ease of adjustment. With some, you'll have to get a spanner and tinker with your mower yourself to change the level. With other hand lawn mowers, however, all you have to do is flip a switch that locks into place.

Grass catcher box

The grass catcher is designed to collect the freshly cut grass directly during mowing. Accordingly, you do not have the disadvantage of having to collect the cuttings yourself after cutting, as they are stored directly in a basket ready for disposal.

Leaving the grass on the lawn is called mulching. This can help to keep your lawn well maintained and green. However, it is important that the cut grass is not too long, otherwise it will cover the mown lawn and fungi can develop.

A catcher box comes as standard with most hand lawn mowers. However, you can buy a few without the extra basket. Of course, these are then cheaper.

You should collect wet clippings from the lawn.

For larger lawns, however, you should be aware that you will have to run everything off once you have finished mowing. This means that you will definitely have to allow for extra time.

However, if you choose a hand lawn mower without a grass catcher, this is not a big problem. Such baskets can be purchased for up to 50 euros.

Maximum lawn area

The recommended lawn area for a particular lawn mower is often specified by the manufacturer. This indicates the maximum size of the grass area that the mower should cover. This information is very helpful, especially for beginners.

To determine the optimum ratio between lawn area and hand lawn mower, attention is mainly paid to the power and cutting width. However, this information is only a rough guide for you to find the best hand lawn mower for your lawn area.

Handle

With some hand lawn mowers you are lucky enough to have a height-adjustable handle.

If you choose a walk-behind mower with a height-adjustable handle, you will be able to adjust your handle to suit you or other users.

Often the handle on lawn mowers is placed in a comfortable position. However, if you want to share the mower or are not always the only user, you should consider choosing a height-adjustable handle to ensure everyone is comfortable while working.

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

If you want to buy a hand lawn mower, there are two types of products you can choose from:

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Hand lawn mower with catch basket Not as time-consuming, Perfect lawn appearance, Even cut Heavier weight, Frequent emptying
Hand lawn mower without catch basket Lighter weight, Space-saving, Subsequent purchase of the desired basket Subsequent collection of the cuttings, Time-consuming

Grass catcher baskets for hand lawn mowers are also available in different sizes and are measured in litres.

Both variants have their advantages and disadvantages. Making a final decision can therefore be quite difficult. To make the decision a little easier, we have summarised more details about the two variants in the following section.

Handrasenmäher mit Fangkorb

Hand lawn mower with grass catcher box

A hand lawn mower with a grass catcher box definitely has its advantages and disadvantages, which we have summarised in the following table.

If your lawn mower has a mulching function and you want to use it, you do not necessarily need a grass catcher.

Advantages
  • Less time required
  • Perfect lawn appearance
  • Even cut
Disadvantages
  • Frequent emptying
  • Heavier

A catcher bag is mainly worthwhile when the grass has already grown a little higher or is even wet. If you do not collect the wet clippings, fungus may grow in the lawn.

With a catcher bag, you definitely have less work and a beautiful lawn. However, you should bear in mind that a grass catcher must be emptied frequently and that it increases the weight considerably.

Handrasenmäher ohne Fangkorb

Hand lawn mowers without a grass catcher box

In addition to hand lawn mowers with grass catchers, there are also some offers which are sold without a grass catcher.

If you choose a mower without a basket, you save a lot more space in the garage or in your garden shed. You also have the option of ordering an extra grass catcher. These are usually not very expensive and you have more choice.

Advantages
  • Lighter
  • Space-saving
  • Adding a catcher basket later
Disadvantages
  • Subsequent collection of cuttings
  • More time-consuming

Without a catcher bag, pushing the lawn is easier, but you will have to collect all the clippings from the lawn afterwards. This is not only a tedious and exhausting job, but it also takes up a lot of time. With mulching, on the other hand, you will of course not have to collect the cut grass.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about hand lawn mowers answered in detail

Before you buy a lawn mower, you will certainly have a few questions. In the next section we have listed the most important and most frequently asked questions from customers and answered them in detail. We hope to make your decision easier with our big hand lawn mower guide.

What is a walk-behind lawn mower?

A hand lawn mower is a device that you use to cut the lawn. It is a hand or passive device, which means that it needs an external force to be driven. We humans are this external force by pushing the hand lawn mower.

By mowing the lawn yourself, it is physical work for you, but it can also be fun. Smaller lawns in particular are mown quickly with the hand lawn mower.

Hand lawn mowers are not only quiet, but also environmentally friendly. They are much cheaper than battery or petrol lawn mowers and also save space.

Who is a hand lawn mower suitable for?

A hand lawn mower is particularly suitable for small to medium-sized lawns. Especially if the lawn is relatively flat, a lawn mower that you push by hand is an advantage.

However, you should make sure that you are well on your feet if you want to get a hand lawn mower. Especially with somewhat larger lawns, you can work up quite a sweat while mowing.

Handrasenmäher-1

Pushing the lawn by pushing alone can be quite exhausting. It gets even harder on uneven surfaces.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Ulrike Mai)

You should also pay attention to the weight. Some hand lawn mowers are heavier than others. Especially with a catcher bag that fills up during cutting, pushing the mower becomes much more strenuous. On uneven surfaces or slopes, pushing the mower can be difficult.

How much does a lawn mower cost?

Manual lawn mowers are available in a wide range of price categories, depending on the model and additional functions.

Type price class
Hand lawn mower with catcher bag 50 - 250 euros
Hand lawn mower without catcher bag 30 - 150 euros

If you decide on the cheaper option and buy a hand lawn mower without a catcher box, you should know that you can buy a catcher box for around 50 euros and attach it yourself if you wish.

Basically, hand lawn mowers are probably the cheapest type of mower. If you choose one of the alternatives that we present in the following section, you should expect a significantly higher price.

What are the alternatives to a hand lawn mower?

Just like the hand lawn mower, the alternatives also have some advantages and disadvantages that you should consider when buying.

Robotic mowers are much more expensive in comparison.

With a robotic lawn mower, all the work is done for you and you don't even have to be on site. In addition, your lawn is fertilised at the same time as it is mowed. A robotic lawn mower is quiet and chases away the pesky moles by mowing every day.

However, the preparation before the first mowing is very time-consuming. Sometimes you will have to do a little work in smaller corners and smaller, moving obstacles can be a challenge.

There are also advantages and disadvantages to buying a ride-on mower or even a lawn tractor. With them it is possible to turn on its own axis, which makes efficient mowing possible. The steering is very pleasant, as there is a steering wheel, just like in a car, and because of the seat, there is a pleasant level of comfort. However, you have to move forward and back again more often to mow accurately.

Extra batteries can cost around 100 euros.

Battery-powered hand lawn mowers are particularly popular. You should always make sure it is fully charged before mowing, otherwise you will only be able to cut part of your lawn.

With a battery-powered hand lawn mower, you should bear in mind that it is mainly suitable for a low grass height and a flat surface. However, it is handy and easy to maintain at the same time.

An electronic hand lawn mower works via a cable. They are mainly suitable for small to medium sized lawns with medium height grass. The biggest disadvantage of the corded mower is the cord itself. This means you are more limited and your mower is less flexible than the other two models. However, it is environmentally friendly, quiet and lightweight.

Petrol lawn mowers run on fuel and are best suited to large lawns and tall grass, as they are very powerful. The main disadvantages of this model are the polluting emissions, the necessary maintenance and the noise level.

How do I maintain a walk-behind mower?

Fortunately, the maintenance of a hand lawn mower is very simple compared to other lawn mowers that run on fuel, for example.

To be able to use your lawn mower in the long term, you should maintain and service it in regular intervals.

You should have the blades sharpened every two years or so, depending on how much you use them. This can be done by a professional or see the next section on how to sharpen the blades of your lawn mower yourself.

Handrasenmäher-2

You can sharpen the blades of your hand lawn mower yourself, but you should always take care of your own safety.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Tekton)

It goes without saying that you have to clean the lawn mower of dirt and grass after mowing. The easiest way to do this is to wait until the dirt on the wheels has dried and then remove it. This works well if you use a brush or a sweeper. It is important that you use as little water as possible to protect the running of your hand lawn mower.

You should check in between that the moving parts of your mower still move without problems. You can also maintain them with oil or other lubricants.

Can I sharpen the blades of my hand lawn mower myself?

In principle, yes. However, it is very important that you pay special attention to a few points. In the following, we have summarised instructions for you so that you can safely sharpen the blades of your hand lawn mower.

  • 1.Step: Make sure that your lawn mower is completely secure and does not move while removing the blades.
  • 2.Step: Then you can remove the blades from the lawn mower. For this you will not only need various spanners, but also other tools.
  • 3.Step: Now you can sharpen the blades. But be careful! The blades should be fixed securely beforehand to ensure your safety. You can use simple files, a grindstone or an angle grinder for sharpening.
  • 4.Step 2: You can then reinstall the blades in your lawn mower.

If you are unsure, it is better to ask someone who is familiar with the matter. You should not remove, install or sharpen the blades yourself if you are not sure and do not know them well enough.

What is the optimum lawn height?

The optimum cutting height of a lawn is between 3.5 and 5 centimetres.

In summer, you should make sure not to cut the lawn shorter than 5 centimetres, otherwise it could burn all the more quickly.

In winter, on the other hand, cut the lawn a little shorter. Around 4 centimetres is recommended, otherwise the snow will crush the blades of grass.

Basically, it is very important that you never cut off more than 1/3 of the grass blade length. If you always want to cut your lawn to a length of 4 centimetres, then you should mow again at a height of 6 centimetres at the latest.

After a long holiday you should be careful when mowing. Do not cut it radically, but slowly increase the height of the grass blades. Follow the 1/3 rule and cut your lawn in several passes.

Can I mow the lawn when it is wet?

Actually, you should always mow your lawn when the weather is dry. However, this is not always possible, because even in summer it is not always dry and in autumn there can be many rainy days.

Handrasenmäher-3

Grass should actually always be dry when you mow it. However, if it does get wet, there are a few things you need to be careful of.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Jonas Weckschmied)

We have summarised the most important points you should pay attention to if you want to mow a wet lawn.

  • You may mow the lawn, but not mulch it.
  • You should not walk on the lawn beforehand.
  • You should remove the blade from the wet clippings from time to time.
  • You should increase the cutting height by at least one step.

When you mow wet grass, you must also be aware that the mower can slip. This could cause damage to the lawn. In addition, the cutting height could become uneven due to wetness.

How often do I have to mow the lawn with a hand lawn mower?

The mowing intervals depend greatly on the different seasons. In spring, for example, the grass grows particularly quickly, while in autumn it grows very slowly and in winter it does not grow at all.

In spring (April to June) it is recommended to cut the lawn about twice a week with a hand lawn mower. Grass grows particularly fast during these months and should be cut at regular intervals.

In summer (July to August), on the other hand, it is sufficient to mow the lawn once a week. You should be especially careful not to cut it in the midday sun so that it does not dry out immediately. In addition, you should not mow it as short as in the previous months.

In autumn (September to October) you can mow once a week as in summer, as long as it does not freeze. Before the first frost, you should mow one last time. If the lawn is too long in winter, the blades of grass will be pressed down by the snow and fungus could develop.

Image source: Niew?g?owski / 123rf.com

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