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2 November 2023

5 things our lawnmower expert wouldn’t do

Has all that lush spring growth got buying a new mower on your mind? After years of analysing how lawnmowers perform in our grassy test arena, our test team leader James le Page knows how to spot a good one. Here are the mistakes he says we should avoid making when heading out to purchase.

Lawnmower

1. Think petrol is best

You might think you need to yank on the pull cord a few times, hear the rumble of the engine and breathe in the fumes to be doing it properly. But James said he’d choose a battery mower over a petrol one these days. “Battery mowers are easier to use and powerful enough for most tasks. I’m a firm convert,” he said. The exceptions would be if you sometimes mow wet grass or let the grass get really long between mows – then you’re better sticking with petrol.

2. Buy a lawnmower without playing with it in the shop first

“If you have a good play with a lawnmower in the shop, you'll know if the handle is the right height for you and if you find the catcher easy to install and remove,” James said.

3. Buy a Black+Decker  

We regularly survey New Zealanders about the things they’ve bought to see which brands are making people happy and which aren’t. Black+Decker lawnmower owners are the least satisfied with their purchase. We tested one of the brand’s mowers and gave it the second-lowest score for cutting performance. There are much better mowers available for the same price. 

4. Spend a lot

The most expensive mower we’ve tested is nearly $2,000, but you don’t have to spend anywhere near that to get a good one. A couple of lawnmowers we recommend cost under $500! And there are 8 more recommended models under $1,000.

5. Buy one with a mesh catcher

Catchers are either solid plastic or partly mesh. Plastic catchers are heavier but are James’ preference. “My personal experience has shown the mesh ones don't last all that long,” he said. They also let dust blow all over you. 

What are the best lawnmowers in New Zealand?

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The bargain buy – a great mower for less than $500

What mower did our expert James choose?

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