How we test lawnmowers

From purchase to performance, here’s how we find the best models.

Lawnmower cutting grass

Lawnmowers deliver different performance across different brands and power sources. To find out which ones will perform in your backyard, we test lawnmowers in our accredited laboratory.

How we choose what we test

We aim to test brands and models you’re likely to see when you head to the shops, plus some you might not be aware of.

Before we buy anything, we do our research: we visit stores, both online and physical; we talk to experts and consumers; and we ask manufacturers about their range of models. We want to capture new developments in the market and make sure the products we test will be available after we publish our results.

We then compile a list of models and head out to purchase them, just as any consumer would.

How we test

We prepare a large grassy test arena full of lush spring growth to short (30mm) and medium (70-100mm) lengths. We also make sure we have a good amount of long grass (300mm+). We assess cutting performance on both long and short grass, as well as considering the ease of use of each lawnmower.


Our performance assessment includes:

  • cutting short, medium grass with the catcher attached and long grasses without a catcher where we look for an even, tidy finish
  • mulching (where applicable). Any missed patches or leftover clumps of clippings are a no-no.

Ease of use

We assess:

  • ease of pushing and manoeuvring
  • handle comfort
  • ease of operating controls
  • ease of adjusting cutting height
  • amount of vibration (discomfort during use)
  • ease of fitting the catcher
  • ease of starting (petrol models).

We measure sound levels at the user position, and from a short distance away. That way you’ll know if you need earmuffs and how annoyed the neighbours will get when you do your lawns.

For battery models we also check the mower’s actual battery life as opposed to the manufacturer’s claims.

Lastly, we measure how much grass remains at the side and front of the mower after cutting. This lets you know how close you can get to solid objects.

Ready to buy?

Ready to buy?

Ready to buy?

For information about the different types of lawnmower and key features to consider, read our buying guide. From there, check out our comparison of tested models to see which one will suit you best.

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Member comments

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Chaarenne T.
08 Dec 2020
This site is useless

I signed up to read recommendations on battery operated lawnmowers.. difficulty in trying to search those out, only to find there are only 2 brands on the site. Glad I only signed up for 7 days!

Frank - Consumer staff
08 Dec 2020
Re: This site is useless

Hi Chaarenne, we've tested nine battery-powered lawnmowers. You can find them here:

Just use the 'Power source' filter to display battery-electric models only.

Kind regards,
Frank - Consumer NZ staff