Last updated: August 18, 2021

There are two main types of manual mowers and we will show you, in detail, the difference between them. Basically, the first one works without any electricity or petrol and has a blade that rotates as you push it. The second type, on the other hand, has a nylon cord that spins to cut the grass. It is also known as a grass trimmer. We will help you choose the right option for your garden or lawn. After all, in which cases is each type of lawnmower most recommended?




Summary

  • The easiest model of manual lawn mower to find is the trimmer. This option is ideal for small areas or for places where other mowers cannot reach.
  • A less common type of hand lawn mower does not have any kind of motor. It has a blade that rotates as you push it. It is ideal for places where electricity cannot be used.
  • Both the circular blade mower and the nylon string mower are cheaper than electric, petrol or battery powered lawn mowers.

The best Manual Lawn Mower: Our Picks

Buying guide

In this Buying Guide, you will learn what the differences are between the main types of manual lawn mower: rotary blade and trimmer. In addition, we will also show you what the advantages and disadvantages of each are, where to buy and how much to pay on your mower. All so that the children can play on a well-cut lawn:

What is a manual lawn mower?

It is what allows you to keep the garden of your house always trimmed, providing more safety and well-being to your family. It works without the need for electricity, and that is the great advantage of the product. With the garden always trimmed, besides having a more neat and beautiful house, you avoid dangerous animals, like snakes and spiders, to hide in the lawn. Especially in places where there is forest around. Besides the manual mowers, there are also motorized models, but as we have already mentioned, we will focus on explaining you all about the manual lawn mower. Among these, you can opt for those with a rotating blade, or even a trimmer.

Rotating blade

As we have already commented above, in this article we deal with both the manual mowers with rotating blades and the nylon wire mowers (which are known as grass trimmers). The manual lawn mowers with rotary blades can be used in places where there are no sockets. There is no need for petrol and no risk of work being stopped by a flat battery. In addition, this is the quietest option as there is no motor running during mowing. The manual lawn mower is lighter than the electric lawn mower and it is usually not too heavy to push it over a lawn. On the other hand, if the grass is too high on the site, you will need more strength.

Imagem mostra cortador de grama manual com lâminas rotativas cortando um gramado.

Manual lawn mowers with rotary blades, apart from being light to push, are extremely quiet. (Source: Counselling / Pixabay)

You can run it in places where the grass ends and a pavement begins, for example. The only condition is that there is not a very large unevenness to the point that its central portion touches the pavement or some stone. The disadvantage is that they require you to pass the mower more times over the same place so that all the grass is cut. This makes this product less viable for very large sites. As with electric or petrol lawn mowers, these circular blade lawn mowers usually have cutting height adjustment. The table below summarises the advantages and disadvantages of rotary blade lawnmowers.

Advantages
  • Light
  • They do not need a plug or petrol
  • Silent
  • They have height adjustment
Disadvantages
  • It is necessary to pass the mower several times in the same place
  • Higher price than trimmers
  • It can be heavy to push it if the grass is high
  • They do not cut the grass in corners

Nylon string

The nylon string, better known as a trimmer, is the ideal option for corners where other mowers cannot reach, such as near flowerbeds, stones, trees or other plants. They are also a great option for finishing off near pavements. In general, it is recommended to always use the trimmer in areas smaller than 100 square metres (which is the size of a 3-bedroom house, for example). Still, if the lawn is not too hindered, even if the area is smaller, an electric or petrol mower will be more practical than a trimmer.

The grass trimmer is the ideal option to cut the grass in corners where other mowers cannot reach.

The disadvantage of grass trimmers is that it is difficult to cut all the grass at exactly the same height. You will need to be careful not to cut the grass too low or too high. As the unit is hand held and does not touch the ground, height adjustment depends on your hand control.

Imagem mostra uma área ampla de grama sem obstáculos no meio do gramado, apenas alguns arbustos ao fundo.

In wider areas, it can be difficult to leave all the grass at the same height using a manual nylon string lawnmower. (Source: Photoman / Pixabay)

A second disadvantage is the need to adjust the length of the nylon wire. As you mow the lawn, the wire will collide with obstacles and shorten. If the wire is shortened, the cutting area will be smaller and the work will be less. In this case it is necessary to open a compartment on the underside of the trimmer. The nylon thread is wound onto a reel. Generally speaking, this procedure is easy and will take less than 5 minutes, even if you are doing it for the first time. To summarise the reasons why you should or should not choose a nylon string trimmer, we have listed the main advantages and disadvantages below.

Advantages
  • You only need to pass the mower once
  • Lightweight
  • Good finish in places of difficult access
  • Low cost
Disadvantages
  • Small cutting range
  • Need to adjust the length of the nylon string
  • Possibility of having uneven grass, in large areas
  • Need for extension cord and plug

Buying criteria: Factors to compare models of push lawnmowers

Now, let's list the points that you need to take into account before making a decision on which is the best manual lawn mower for you. They are:

  • Weight
  • Power
  • Height adjustment
  • Power voltage

Below, we will detail each of these points so that you can make the best buying decision when choosing your manual lawn mower.

Weight

In the case of the manual lawn mower with nylon cord, the weight is an important factor to note. The reason is that you will need to hold it all the time with your hands and there is no other point of support. The lighter it is, the easier it will be to cut the grass. The lightest grass trimmers weigh around 2kg. Depending on the model, it can weigh up to 4kg. There is no obvious relationship between the weight of the product and the quality. You can find good quality products with low weight, as well as low quality products with higher weight.

Power

Electric trimmers can have varying wattages, ranging from 700 to 1,500 Watts in most cases. Trimmers with higher wattage tend to cut higher grams more easily and have a slightly higher lifespan. For the most part, any power will suffice as long as you don't exceed the manufacturer's usage recommendation. In any case, analyse what your garden maintenance routine looks like. More powerful trimmers can make the job easier for those who let the grass grow for longer, although they are more expensive.

Height adjustment

Not all nylon string lawn mowers have height adjustment of the support handle, which is where you will hold it with one hand. This adjustment will enable people of any height to have a correct and comfortable posture while using the lawn mower. On a few models, there is also trimmer length adjustment, which allows greater comfort for people of all statures.

Power supply voltage

If you are buying a lawn trimmer, look at the supply voltage, especially if you choose to buy online. Often this detail can be overlooked when selecting the product. In general, electric trimmers (that do not use batteries) only work in 110 Volts or only in 220 Volts. Check the voltage of your region to buy the right model, otherwise you can burn the device on the first use. (Source of the highlighted image: Counselling / Pixabay)

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