For a healthy-looking lawn, a mulcher mower that returns the cut clippings back into the lawn could be the right choice for you. But a catcher mower can also be a good option as you can use the clippings as compost. See our buying guide for what to look for in a new lawnmower, and how we test explains our testing rigour.
We put petrol-powered mulcher and catcher-only lawnmowers to the test.
Our expert review will show you:
Got a smaller yard, or don't like messing about with petrol? See our battery (cordless) and electric lawnmower reviews.
List of brands we tested in this review.
Recommended or average retail.
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 269 and 1795
We recommend currently available models that score at least 85% overall and at least 70% for ease of use.
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Push – The lawnmower is pushed manually.
Self-propelled – The motor also drives the wheels to make pushing easier. Can be useful for large lawns or hilly areas. These models usually have just a single speed but some have a gear lever allowing you to select between two or three speeds.
Key start models are started with a key, toggle or button rather than a pull cord.
Catcher/mulcher: can be used in both modes. Catcher: has no mulching option.
The width of the cutting blades; the wider the cut, the fewer passes needed to mow the lawn.
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 42 and 76
Our testers measure the lawnmower's noise at the operator's ear level.
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 0
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 23 and 74
Steel: durable but can be more prone to rusting. Alloy: can be more expensive but tends to be more rust-resistant and may be lighter. Plastic: much lighter, rust immune, but may not be as durable.
All petrol mowers are turned on via a pull cord; some are mounted on the handle, some are on motor and some have an electric ignition as well. Look for the key start filter to narrow down those that start via key.
Number of cutting positions. A higher number offers greater versatility.
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 5 and 13
Lets you clean the underside of the mower more easily, without turning it on its side.
Deflects clippings and debris to one side so they don't fly straight back at the user. Useful if you want to want to mow without mulching and without the catcher.
Air is drawn into the motor at a distance via a snorkel tube, rather than directly at motor level. This reduces the amount of dust getting into the air filter and motor, so the filter won't need to be cleaned or replaced as often and the motor should last longer.
Whether the mower comes standard with an extra chute attachment, typically a side chute.
A Similar model is identical in most aspects except for a few. This means that a majority of its test results are identical so you can reasonably expect to get the same results from the model we tested, but for those aspects which aren't identical, we'll note these as "Not Tested" in the Compare tables.
A Tested model refers to a model that is still current and available in the Australian market. You should be able to order this model through your local retailer, or find it online.
These models can't be found in retailers or online or are no longer manufactured. You may still find these models on second hand websites, or in second hand dealers. Test methods may change over time, so criteria which can't be directly compared will contain an N/A.
An Identical model is exactly that. Performance characteristics will be identical and the only difference will be something trivial such as colour, which won't have an impact on performance.
These are models we haven't yet tested but that are available.
Rated for vibration through the handle bar, ease of pushing and manoeuvring, handle comfort, convenience of controls, ease of adjusting the cutting height, catcher convenience, and power source.
We test lawnmowers for cutting short- and medium-length grass with a catcher, and long grass without a catcher. Our testers also rate the appearance of the grass after the short and medium-grass tests.