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Best petrol lawn mower 2022: Keep your lawn trimmed with these petrol-powered lawn mowers

Ian Evenden
23 Jun 2022
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Here's a selection of our favourite lawn mowers to keep your garden looking smart for the summer

The best petrol lawn mowers make garden maintenance a breeze. While rechargeable, battery-powered garden tools are quite rightly experiencing a meteoric rise in popularity, there are still plenty of advantages to using the old-fashioned fossil fuels, and especially so when it comes to lawnmowers.

Petrol-powered mowers trump their electric or rechargeable rivals with dramatically increased cutting power. They can tear through thick weeds, brambles, and even low shrubs if you’re prepared to push your mower over them – petrol-powered lawnmowers are able to clear the kind of densely overgrown areas that would jam an electric mower. What’s more, you’re not limited by the weather or the proximity of the nearest electrical socket and, with enough fuel, a petrol lawn mower can mow for hours without a break.

There are a few disadvantages as well, of course, such as the increased weight and all the messing about with petrol (which can be messy and dangerous and has a limited shelf life), but a petrol lawn mower is able to cope in conditions that would prevent even the best electrical mower from functioning. This is why professional gardeners all over the country use petrol-powered mowers: they keep on going for as long as you can.

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Best petrol lawn mower: At a glance

  • The best value petrol lawn mower: Honda HRG 416 PK (~£329) | Buy now
  • The best self-propelled mower under £250: Einhell GC-PM 40/2 S (~£249) | Buy now
  • A brilliant mid-priced mower: Sprint 420SP (~£359) | Buy now
  • A powerful mower for big gardens: Hyundai HYM510SPE (~£458) | Buy now
  • The best high-end self-propelled mower: Hayter Harrier 41 Autodrive VS 375A (~£795) | Buy now

How to choose the best petrol lawn mower for you

Are you sure you need a petrol lawn mower?

First of all, you need to decide whether you really need a petrol lawn mower in the first place. Electric and rechargeable mowers have enough power and range for most suburban gardens, and as long as you’re mowing on dry, flat ground, will generally be the better choice. That’s because they’re cheaper, lighter, easier to clean and maintain, and less likely to send your shed up in flames.

Where petrol lawn mowers come into their own is in the places electrical mowers can’t reach. If you want a self-propelled model that you can ride on or which drags you uphill after it, that’ll be petrol-powered. If you need to mow large swathes of grass, or areas beyond the reach of even the longest extension lead, then you’ll need petrol. If you want to mow in the rain, well, you can with a petrol lawn mower, but expect a long maintenance and cleaning session afterwards. That said, wet mowing isn’t great for the grass itself, as it can compact the soil (especially if it has a roller for leaving stripes), and even see the grass torn out by the root rather than cleanly cut.

Do petrol lawn mowers require more maintenance?

Maintenance is something you’ll need to factor in to your relationship with a petrol mower, as things like spark plugs and filters don’t last forever. You can either take it to be serviced or learn to do it yourself, and the latter can be a source of supreme satisfaction. You’ll also need suitable fuel storage, such as an approved unleaded container, and some sort of oil, too. The engines in mowers are simple and forgiving, but you can’t just throw any old junk in there, so check your mower’s requirements before you buy.

It should also be noted that petrol-powered garden machinery is among the most stolen property from sheds and allotments, so make sure yours is locked up and marked so the police can identify it if recovered.

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What types of petrol lawn mower are there?

Once you’ve decided you really need a petrol lawn mower, there are a few different types to consider.

The most basic are the ones you push along, which are similar to an electrical one apart from the power source. Due to the construction of petrol mowers tending toward metal rather than plastic, these are heavier than electrical mowers and take more effort to push.

This brings us to self-propelled petrol lawn mowers, which drive their back wheels and creep forward slowly enough that you can walk along behind, holding onto the handle. Just like with electric mowers, you’ll need to keep your hands on the throttle of the petrol mower or it will stop cutting and probably stall.

Finally, there are the Rolls-Royces of the lawnmower world, the ride-on petrol mowers. More useful for a golf course than a suburban garden, these are large, serious pieces of machinery that will require much more in the way of maintenance, security and fuel.

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The best petrol lawn mowers to buy

1. Honda HRG 416 PK: The best value petrol lawn mower

Price: £329 | Buy now from Just Lawnmowers

This is a very basic model, but it has all you need to chop your way through lots of grass quickly, in a reasonably compact package that’s not too heavy, either.

There are no frills like multi-speed self-propulsion or cupholders on the HRG 416, only a four-stroke petrol engine and a spinning blade. Let go of the handle and the blade stops immediately thanks to a blade brake, and there’s an automatic choke for easy starting. Otherwise, there’s a steel cutting desk, a 50-litre grass box, and six cutting heights. You’ll find greater cutting widths elsewhere, and certainly more features, but this mower is easy to use and easy to clean and is the sort of tool that will keep on going for many, many years if looked after correctly.

Key specs – Minimum cutting height: 20mm; Engine capacity: 160cc; Cutting width: 41cm; Bag Capacity: 50 litres; Weight: 28.5kg

2. Hyundai HYM510SPE: The best self-propelled petrol lawn mower under £500

Price: £458 | Buy now from Amazon

We never thought we’d say this, but the Hyundai HYM510SPE is a bit of a looker as far as lawnmowers go. Cheaper and more powerful than the Hayter above, it’s also 10kg heavier (although its variable speed, self-propelled nature makes up for this) and would suit mowing in straight lines rather than dancing around the tulips.

With an electric starter, mulching attachment, and not one but two cup holders (seriously), this is a no-nonsense machine for the gardener with nothing but mowing on their mind. The cutting width of 51cm means you’ll need to do fewer passes than with narrower mowers, and with a 70-litre grass collection box on the back, you won’t be emptying it very often, either.

Key specs – Minimum cutting height: 25mm; Engine capacity: 196cc; Cutting width: 51cm; Bag Capacity: 70 litres; Weight: 43kg

3. Einhell GC-PM 40/2 S: The best self-propelled mower under £250

Price: £250 | Buy now from Amazon

If you really can’t quite stretch to the Honda Izy HRG 416 (~£329), then this Einhell is worth considering. It’s a four-stroke, self-propelled mower that’s not too heavy, not too loud, not too complicated and not too expensive. In fact, it hits a pretty sweet spot for medium to large lawns, and is manoeuvrable enough to manage any narrow bits alongside paths or trees.

With a cutting width of 40cm and a similar power output to the Honda (it offers 2.9kW peak power to the Honda’s 3.1kw), you won’t spend too much time walking up and down. Being self-propelled, all you need to do is guide the mower and keep it out of trouble, but as there's only one speed available here you’ll be at the mercy of the mower as to how fast you'll go. There's a good-sized grass sack that can hold 45L of cuttings, but no mulching function to squeeze them down tighter.

You also don’t get a roller to lay stripes in your lawn, nor does it cut spectacularly short, with a minimum cut length of 25mm – by comparison, the slightly more expensive Honda goes down to 20mm. That said, this mower is easy to set up, use, and maintain, especially if you’re someone who does a lot of mowing.

Key specs – Minimum cutting height: 25mm; Engine capacity: 80cc; Cutting width: 40cm; Bag capacity: 45 litres; Weight: 21.2kg

4. Sprint 420SP: A big capacity mower with a great engine

Price: £359 | Buy now from Amazon

Petrol-powered mowers are often heavy because they’re made of metal, rather than the plastics used in the construction of electric or rechargeable models. Sprint has managed to get its 420SP down to 25kg, though, which is pretty good going. This is a good, manoeuvrable model of petrol mower that would suit medium to large lawns – and it’s a fine rival to the Honda.

At first glance, this looks very similar to the Einhell, but while that mower is a definite budget model, this is slightly more up market. You get a very reliable Briggs & Stratton 300E engine, a slightly wider cutting surface, and a steel mower deck that should combine to provide a long working life.

There are six cutting heights to choose from, up to 92mm, but the lowest isn’t particularly short, at 35mm. You can squeeze 60L of clippings into the soft cutting bag, but there's no way to mulch them further. The 18cm wheels roll well, and this, along with the reasonably light weight, makes for a manoeuvrable mower that’s ideal for running alongside paths or in and out of avenues of trees.

Key specs – Minimum cutting height: 28mm; Engine capacity: 125cc; Cutting width: 42cm; Bag capacity: 60 litres; Weight: 25.2kg

5. Hayter Harrier 41 Autodrive VS 375A: The best self-propelled petrol lawn mower under £1,000

Price: £795 | Buy now from More Than Mowers

Self-propelled, with a variable speed control and a steel roller at the back for those oh so chic lawn stripes, this is a mower from the premium end of the market, and its price reflects this.

It’s also not a particularly large or heavy mower, so is ideal if you need to manoeuvre it around obstacles such as trees or awkwardly placed gnomes. With seven height settings, an engine that doesn’t need to be manually primed or choked, and a clever automatic adjusting cutter deck (made from aluminium) that increases airflow over long or wet grass to prevent it clumping up, this mower has been thoughtfully designed for regular use in a variety of weather and lawn conditions.

There’s more, too. It’s easy to clean, easy to empty, and cuts right up to the edge so you can more easily trim around flower beds and walls. It may be pricey, but if you’re mowing a lot, then it’s an investment rather than an expense.

Key specs – Minimum cutting height: 13mm; Engine capacity: 140cc; Cutting width: 41cm; Bag capacity: 60 litres; Weight: 33kg

Buy now from More Than Mowers

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