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Best lawn mower for a small garden 2024: Compact mowers to keep your lawn in trim

A collection of lawn mowers against a blue background

You don’t need a massive mower for the average patch. These smaller mowers will be easier to push and store

While some will always tell you that bigger is better, this isn’t always the case with lawn mowers. If you’ve got a smaller lawn or an irregularly shaped garden, a smaller mower can actually be more practical. These mowers are lighter, easier to push and often more manoeuvrable. What’s more, if you’ve got a slope or uneven ground to deal with, a smaller mower can get up and down or into corners that a bigger mower just won’t reach.

Below, we’ve picked out the best lawn mowers for smaller gardens, including conventional electrics and cordless mowers. They’re cheap, cheerful and perfect for the job.

Best lawn mower for a small garden: At a glance

How to choose the best lawn mower for your small garden

When you buy any lawn mower, one of the most important factors is the cutting width, which basically defines the size of the strip you would mow walking from one side of the garden to the other. Generally speaking, the bigger the cutting width, the bigger, heavier and more expensive the mower, which is good news if you have a smaller lawn to cut. While on a medium-sized or larger lawn you might want a 34cm to 44cm cutting width, with a smaller lawn you can get away with somewhere between 25cm and 34cm. That means your mower will be cheaper, lighter and often easier to manoeuvre.

Beyond the cutting width, you need to think about the type of mower. Rotary mowers, which use a spinning blade beneath the deck, are usually best for a small lawn, but if the lawn is flat, you can also get great results with a cylinder mower. With this, the grass is cut by a rolling cylinder formed from sharpened blades, which cuts as it rolls across the lawn. Hover mowers can also work brilliantly on small lawns. You don’t tend to get as fine a cut, but they’re easier to handle on a rough lawn or a lawn with sloping areas.

Electric, cordless or manual?

Corded electric mowers are still the cheapest option and, if your lawn is within easy reach of the front or back door, perfectly practical. You’ll probably have enough cable to work with and, if not, you can use an outdoor extension cable. Just make sure it’s certified for outdoor use, as wet gardens, rain and electricity aren’t what you’d call a great mix. While you’re at it, plug an RCD safety adaptor in between the mower and the mains or extension – cables do sometimes get cut by accident, and the results can be both painful and catastrophic.

Cordless mowers are more expensive, but the price is coming down all the time. What’s more, one of the biggest issues with a cordless mower – the usual 20- to 30-minute battery life – isn’t much of an issue with a smaller garden, as you’ll often get the lawn done before it runs out of puff. Recharge times are often down to under a couple of hours, so you can get the front lawn done in the morning, charge over lunch and hit the back lawn in the afternoon.

Manual push mowers can be great in a small garden, especially if it’s nice and flat. You don’t need to worry about charging or power sources, and a good model does a great job of the grass while being surprisingly easy to push. Where the idea falls down is if the lawn is rough or bumpy, where there’s a slope, or if you like to keep the grass long between cuts, as all these things make the job much, much harder. You really need to cut the grass regularly if you’re going to use a manual mower.

What else should you look out for?

Some kind of grass collector is always handy, as you can collect the cuttings and put them straight on the compost heap or in a green bin. If not, some mowers have a mulching option or mulch plug, where the mown grass is finely chopped during mowing and dispersed on the lawn, where it will sit and decompose, feeding nutrients back in. Without either, you’ll need to rake the grass up and dispose of it, or risk it spoiling the lawn underneath.

Also, look for a mower that offers you a choice of different cutting heights. The lower the height, the more grass the mower will trim away, but when you’re doing the first or last cut of the year you might find it easier to cut a little higher, as the longer, thicker grass can get pretty tough to get through.

Finally, if you like the traditional striped effect, look for a cylinder mower or a mower with a roller. This will press the grass down after mowing and give you what you’re looking for.

How we test lawn mowers

First, we spend time assembling each lawnmower, before putting the models to work on two different lawns. The first is a small, flat front lawn that’s roughly 6m by 4m, with reasonably well-kept grass and no major undulations. The second is a much larger, sloping lawn with patches of rough and uneven grass. We look at how well each lawnmower handles each of the lawns, how well it avoids blockages, and how effectively any mulching or grass-collecting features work. We also take note of how easy it is to start the mower, adjust the handle for comfort, and change the cutting height. For any cordless models, we time how long the battery lasts during mowing. Finally, we’ll fold the mower away for storage, to see how compact and manageable it will be in your shed or garage.

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The best lawn mowers for smaller gardens you can buy in 2024

1. Bosch CityMower 18: Best all-round mower for small gardens

Price when reviewed: From £209 (solo) | Check price at AmazonBosch already makes some of the best cordless mowers around, and it’s now developed one especially for smaller gardens. With a 32cm deck, the CityMower18 is much smaller than Bosch’s mighty Universal Rotak 36-550, but also substantially lighter and cheaper. What’s more, you still get Ergoflex handles for good steering and a comfortable push, plus easy cutting-height adjustments and twin power triggers on the grips. All this makes it a very easy mower to work with, and it runs from a single 18V 4Ah battery, which charges to full in 1hr 35mins and lasts for a little over half an hour. You can either buy it complete with 18V 4Ah battery and charger or on its own if you’ve already got compatible Power For All products.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the CityMower 18 is how quiet it is. When first put to use on a flat front lawn, it was so quiet that we had to check the grass box to make sure it was actually cutting. Yet the cut itself is just as brilliant, giving great results on flat areas and even trimming close to walls and edges. The small-ish wheels and compact size mean it’s not the best mower on a rough or sloping lawn, and with a minimum cutting height of 3cm, it might not go low enough for those who love to give their lawn a military buzzcut. Yet the CityMower 18 still acquitted itself well on areas of long, wet grass that we expected to choke it up in seconds. Here you’ve got some of Bosch’s top cordless mower technology in a cheaper, smaller form factor, which makes the CityMower 18 very easy to recommend.

Key specs – Size: 103 x 36 x 121cm (HWD); Weight: 9.9kg; Height of cut: 3-6cm; Grass box capacity: 31l; Power: 18V 4Ah lithium-ion battery (charge time: 95mins); Width of cut: 32cm

2. Einhell GE-CM 18/33 Li: Best budget cordless mower for small gardens

Price when reviewed: £180 | Check price at ToolstationThis Einhell cordless mower is a great option for small gardens. It’s light and extremely manoeuvrable, with no cable to get in the way, and a single charge lasts around 25 minutes, giving you more than enough time to trim a small to medium-sized lawn. When the supplied 4A battery runs out, it only takes 75 minutes to recharge, so you can get back to work fairly quickly, and it’s compatible with other products in Einhell’s Power X-Change range, meaning you can share your batteries around.

Although it doesn’t feel as rugged as some cordless mowers, the Einhell coped well in most conditions; only a spot of longer, tougher grass managed to clog it up. What’s more, it’s impressively quiet while it’s working, saving your ears from the usual battering – and the neighbours from cursing your name. And while it doesn’t store as neatly as the Flymo EasiStore, it still won’t take up much space in your garage or shed. If you want a good cordless mower for a smaller garden, you don’t have to pay more.

Key specs – Size: 68 x 40.5 x 36cm (HWD); Weight: 10.9kg; Height of cut: 2.5-6.5cm; Grass box capacity: 30l; Power: 18V 4.0A lithium-ion battery, charge time: 1hr 15mins; Width of cut: 33cm

Check price at Toolstation

3. Gardena HandyMower P4A: Best cordless mower for tiny gardens

Price when reviewed: From £164 | Check price at Tooled-UpIs your lawn closer in size to a snooker table than a football pitch? Do you store your tools in a cupboard or outside locker rather than a garage or a shed? Well, have we got a lawnmower for you. The Gardena HandyMower P4A is roughly the size of a manual cylinder mower, the handle divides in two for easy storage, and at just 4.2kg you can easily push it around one-handed. Yet it does a fine job of cutting the grass down to size, provided you don’t give it anything too long or tough. With a choice of 30, 40 and 50mm cutting heights, you can easily keep a small lawn in shape.

Gardena claims it can cope with up to 50m2 but we’d say that’s a little optimistic; with a 22cm cutting width, that’s going to take longer than the 20 to 25 minutes the 2.5Ah battery holds out. What’s more, the mower’s safety feature, which cuts the motor when the handle is too upright or too low, also gets wearing if you’re mowing on uneven ground. Yet we can’t say enough good things about how easy this mower is to store and manoeuvre, how incredibly quiet it is or how neatly it turns grass into a fine mulch. If you don’t have much lawn to mow, this lovely little mower works a treat.

Key specs – Size: 125 x 38 x 35cm (HWD); Weight: 4.2kg; Height of cut: 2-5cm; Grass box capacity: N/A; Power: 18V 2.5A li-ion battery, charge time: 1hr; Width of cut: 22cm

Check price at Tooled-Up

4. Worx WG730E: A mighty compact mower for smaller lawns

Price when reviewed: £210 | Check price at AmazonThe WG730E sidesteps most of the compromises usually associated with small, inexpensive cordless mowers. It’s well-built and easy to assemble, while the brushless motor and 20V, 4.0A battery ensure that it’s got enough power to handle tougher patches of grass. You might want to tackle the longer, wetter stuff in a couple of passes, though. It’s also very quiet by cordless mower standards, and while it doesn’t fold down as neatly as the Flymo Easistore, it won’t take up much space in your shed or garage.

Admittedly, this mower does have a few minor weaknesses. First, it’s not as easy as it could be to change the cutting height; you need to put the mower on its side then move the spring-loaded bar on the front wheels. Second, there are only three cutting heights, and the minimum 3cm might not be enough for those who really love a hard-cropped patch of grass. Finally, the battery life isn’t great; you’re looking at around 20 minutes from a charge, then a wait of around two hours for a recharge. However, it’s compatible with other batteries from the Worx Powershare range, so you might be able to share spare batteries across a range of home and garden tools. If you have a small garden and you’re on a budget, you’ll love this little wonder.

Read our full Worx WG730E review

Key specs – Size: 105 x 35 x 125cm (HWD); Weight: 9.3kg; Height of cut: 3-7cm; Grass box capacity: 30l; Power: 20V 4Ah li-ion battery (charge time: 2hrs 5mins); Width of cut: 30cm

5. Flymo EasiStore 340R Li: Best cordless mower for small gardens

Price when reviewed: £240 | Check price at AmazonSmall and easy to stow in your shed or garage, the Flymo EasiStore 340R Li could be the most convenient cordless mower of them all. At 13kg, it’s fairly easy to lug around, even with its two 20V lithium-ion batteries fitted. What’s more, the handle can fold neatly over the body so it fits in a space not much bigger than a small suitcase.

Its great manoeuvrability makes it a pleasure to mow with, too, not just on a flat lawn, but on sloping, bumpy or overgrown areas. Push the cutting height upwards and it can manage some pretty rough stuff. Meanwhile, the batteries last for around 25 minutes and take just under two hours to recharge. It’s a cracking cordless mower for a smaller plot.

Key specs – Size: 95 x 39 x 120cm (HWD); Weight: 13kg; Height of cut: 2.5-6.5cm; Grass box capacity: 35l; Power: 2 x 20V 2.6Ah lithium-ion battery, charge time: 2hrs; Width of cut: 34cm

6. Bosch Rotak 32-12: Best electric mower for small gardens

Price when reviewed: £89 | Check price at HomebaseThis perennial best-seller from Bosch is perfect for pint-sized gardens, with a 1,200W Powerdrive motor that will cheerfully chomp through the toughest grass, along with a 31l grass box to catch the clippings. With no battery onboard it’s very light, and the chunky wheels keep it nice and agile, even on a bumpy lawn. Best of all, the cut you get is excellent, even against walls and fences, with a handy built-in rear roller for that all-important striped effect.

Sure, you don’t get the convenience of a cordless, but this one’s ready to just plug in and go. And if you find the 12m cable holds you back, you’ll have more than enough money left in the budget for an outdoor extension cord. Bosch has bigger, better mowers for larger gardens, but if your grounds are on the modest side, this is the king of corded mowers.

Key specs – Size: 60 x 39.5 x 28cm (HWD); Weight: 6.8kg; Height of cut: 2-6cm; Grass box capacity: 31l; Power: 1,200W electric motor; Cable length: 12m; Width of cut: 32cm

Check price at Homebase

7. Flymo EasiGlide Plus 330V: Best mower for sloping or uneven gardens

Price when reviewed: £159 | Check price at HomebaseFlymo’s hover mowers are popular with owners of small gardens, just because they’re so affordable and easy to use. That’s as true of the new Flymo Easiglide 330V as it is the rest of the range. At just 8.4kg, it won’t strain your arms and it rides smoothly on a cushion of air as it sweeps across your lawn. The 33cm cutting width will help you tackle a smaller lawn in 15 to 20 minutes, and it’ll stretch to handle slightly larger lawns as well. The big plus with this one is its sheer convenience. The 20l integrated grass collector lifts out smoothly and leaves your lawn almost free of clippings. There are handy hooks on the handle to wrap the 10m cable, while the handle folds down across the body for easy storage.

You won’t get as neat and orderly a cut as you will with some rotary mowers, but you’ll be amazed how well the Flymo deals with rough grass, overgrown sections, uneven ground and slopes. Whatever we threw at it, it kept on cutting and filling up the grass box. It needs emptying fairly regularly to stop the weight making it drag along the ground, but that’s not a problem if you don’t have a massive area to mow. In fact, the only downside with this mower is that changing the cutting height involves unscrewing the blade with the bundled plastic spanner, then adding or removing spacers – a hassle you could probably do without. Otherwise, it’s nearly perfect.

Key specs – Size: 75 x 47 x 134cm (HWD); Weight: 8.4kg; Height of cut: 1-3cm; Grass box capacity: 20l; Power: 1,700W electric motor; Cable length: 10m; Width of cut: 33cm

Check price at Homebase

8. Bosch AHM 38G: Best manual mower for small gardens

Price when reviewed: £55 | Check price at AmazonDo you have a flat garden? Do you like to avoid making a racket? Are you happy to have a mild workout while you cut the grass? Well, the Bosch AHM 38G could be the mower you’ve been looking for. For a start, it’s cordless – there’s no engine and you provide all the power yourself.

What’s more, you get a decent choice of cutting heights, from 1.5 to 4.3cm, and with a 38cm cutting width it won’t take too long to get your lawn done. With a flat lawn and a modicum of puff, you can also achieve great results. Get the sharp, five-bladed cylinder moving and you’ll be surprised how efficiently it cuts, and there’s even a rear roller for a striped effect. In fact, there’s a sort of genial pleasure in hearing the whir of the blades and watching the grass in the collector pile up. Manual mowers aren’t for everyone or every lawn, but they’re brilliant for day-to-day cutting in a smaller garden – and this one’s built to last.

Key specs – Size: 54 x 49 x 39cm (HWD); Weight: 9.3kg; Height of cut: 1.5-4.3cm; Grass box capacity: 25l; Power: Manual; Width of cut: 38cm

9. Worx WG779E: A cracking compact cordless with scope for larger lawns

Price when reviewed: £250 | Check price at WorxCompact mowers have a lot of advantages, but what if you move on to another place with a larger plot? The beauty of this popular Worx model is that it’s light and small enough to make sense in a smaller garden, but with its 34cm cutting width and dual 20V 2A batteries, it can scale up to cover mid-sized lawns as well. It’s easy to push around, and Worx’s Intellicut technology ensures a good crisp cut across both neat, well-kept grass and patches of the tougher stuff – just watch out for longer, wetter grass, which can clog the blade and block the passage into the 30l collection bag.

You can get around 40 minutes of mowing from a charge with two 4A batteries installed, after which you’re looking at a two hour wait while these recharge. With the 2.5A batteries of the cheaper battery and charger bundles, you can expect around 25 minutes. We’ve seen other mowers with more stamina, but usually at higher costs. The mechanism to change the cutting height is also a little stiff and awkward. Still, at this price, the WG779E is one of the best deals in cordless mowing, and a mower that won’t feel too small if you find a bigger place to live.

Key specs – Size: 105 x 42 x 131cm (HWD); Weight: 12.6kg; Height of cut: 2-7cm; Grass box capacity: 30l; Power:  2 x 20V 2.5Ah/4Ahh li-ion batteries (charge time: 2 to 2.5 hours); Width of cut: 34cm

Check price at Worx

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