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Last updated: 15 September 2018

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.

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We put petrol-powered mulcher and catcher-only lawnmowers to the test.

Our expert review will show you:

  • which models perform best in mulching and catcher modes
  • which ones are easiest to use
  • which models have the features and specifications to suit your needs.

Got a smaller yard, or don't like messing about with petrol? See our battery (cordless) and electric lawnmower reviews.

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Brand

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List of brands we tested in this review.

Price

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Recommended or average retail.

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Drive type

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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

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Key start models are started with a  key, toggle or button rather than a pull cord.

Cut type

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Catcher/mulcher: can be used in both modes. Catcher: has no mulching option.

Width of cut (cm)

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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

Test results

Noise at user's position (dB)

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Our testers measure the lawnmower's noise at the operator's ear level.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 0

Specifications

Weight (kg)

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 23 and 74

Main body material

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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.

Starter toggle location

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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.

Cutting positions

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Number of cutting positions. A higher number offers greater versatility.

enter value/s in increments of 1 between 5 and 13

Features

Wash nozzle

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Lets you clean the underside of the mower more easily, without turning it on its side.

Rear deflector

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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.

Snorkel for air filter

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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.

Fuel tap

Extra chute

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Whether the mower comes standard with an extra chute attachment, typically a side chute.

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Included in this review

Members-only access
  • Overall score
  • Recommended
  • Ease of use score
  • Grass cutting score - catcher
  • Grass cutting score - mulching
  • Vibration score
  • Pushing score
  • Handle score
  • Controls score
  • Height adjustment score
  • Starter score
  • Catcher score
  • Noise at 7.5 metres (dB)
  • Noise at user's position (dB)
  • Lowest cutting height (mm)
  • Highest cutting height (mm)
  • Closeness of cut to a vertical edge (mm)
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Price
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Availability
  • Drive type
  • Cut type
  • Main body material
  • Starter toggle location
  • Motor
  • Cutting positions
  • Width of cut (cm)
  • Wash nozzle
  • Quick release handle
  • Blade control lever
  • Rear deflector
  • Key start
  • Self start
  • Snorkel for air filter
  • Chipper
  • Extra chute
  • Tilt adjustable deck
  • Fuel tap
  • Weight (kg)
  • Warranty (yrs)
  • Contact
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