You’re gonna mow, one way or another. Why not kill several birds with one stone by mulching your lawn as you mow, yet saving yourself both time and cash, and also eliminating picking up and disposing off clippings? Meet your lawn’s best friend, the Mulching Mower!
Why spend good money on mulch and then waste equally good time to spread it over your lawn when you can get a lawnmower to do both automatically, and at no extra cost in cash or in hours?
Mulch is one of the best organic fertilizers that you can spread on your lawn. Mulching Mowers cut and re-cut freshly-cut grass very finely and spread or distribute it as you mow. This mulch (of a kind) is so fine and evenly spread that it is invisible amidst the grass. The organic nutrients are recycled into your lawn – and you don’t need to dispose of grass clippings!
Virtually all Mulching Mowers offer a choice between mulching, collecting, or side-ejecting the grass clippings. If you want to mulch, be sure the mulching plug is inserted. But if you want to collect the clippings, be even surer that the mulching plug is removed.
Regular readers of our reviews will know that we typically review five products of the same category from which we select a Best Pick and a Value Pick. In a departure from our usual style of review, here we have selected six lawnmowers grouped by a specific function, that is mulching, and present at least one choice each from three different categories: cordless, corded, and petrol. Accordingly, we have three ‘Best Picks,’ one from each category.
Last update on 2021-09-24 / All Pricing & Imagery from Amazon Product Advertising API
In evaluating lawnmowers we must consider a plethora of data points. These include cutting width, cutting heights, power, speeds, collection capacity, and so forth. We also consider how well each mower meets its specs. Then we consider features, such as self-propulsion, safety ‘backstops,’ adjustability, drive lever, and so on. We also take in strengths and weakness in usability, function, ergonomics, and build quality. Last but not least, we look into how well each model mows and mulches.
Top-of-the-line on every count, Greenworks’s very expensive kit is a ‘deluxe’ self-propelled mulcher-mower; it’s a best buy for ‘lawn connoisseurs.’
You can double up on environmental-friendliness by recycling your grass clippings as well as eliminating fossil fuels with our Best Cordless Pick, Greenworks’s top-of-the-line mulching mower. The GD40LM46SPK2x is a powerful 40-volt kit that runs on one battery. Two Li-Ion 2 Ah batteries plus charger come with the kit so that while one is in use the other one can be charged.
Battery runtime is just barely acceptable but not good, especially when self-propulsion is turned on. The advertising claim of a coverage of 600 square metres on two 2 Ah batteries (used serially) is grossly overstated. However, you can buy 4 Ah or 6 Ah batteries, which would be a worthwhile investment for those with medium lawns. Four LEDs indicate the remaining charge.
It has a wide cutting width of 46 centimetres with 7 cutting heights ranging from 25 to 80 millimetres. The height is quite easy and straightforward to set using the adjustment lever which is located over a rear wheel.
Befitting its positioning as a flagship product, this robust mower, meant for large lawns, has a brushless motor with a user-friendly soft start. It has a removable safety key to eliminate accidental starts.
The mower and its self-propulsion are started using a dual-control setup (switch and lever) on the right of the handle. However, self-propulsion is optional; it can be turned off. Speed is controlled via a short lever on the left side of the handlebar that has amusingly helpful icons of a cheetah and a tortoise. It can be adjusted from 0.7 to 1.35 metres per second so you can fine-tune the mower to your own walking speed. And it works like a charm.
The controls, though not inconvenient, are not very well positioned and could use some improvement. The handlebar, though, is rubberised, comfortable and well-designed so top marks there. Operating the mower can be called an exercise in comfort; all you need to do is to guide it.
Greenworks’s premier model has three modes, mulching, rear collection, and side discharge. The collection bag has a capacity of 55 litres. The mow is as clean and even as the mowing is comfortable, and the mulching function works very well. Top marks again.
Build quality is nothing to shout about but it’s not bad either. This 29-kilogramme mower has a carry handle.
Now to the shock – sticker shock, that is! The GD40LM46SPK2x is top-of-the-line in more ways that one – its price will make your eyes water. We feel that as excellent as this mower is, the price cannot be justified. It would be smart to snap it up on sale.
The instruction book is as sparse as it is bulky – it is printed in what seems to be over 20 languages with only 8 to 10 pages per language! And most of those pages concern themselves with disclaimers, safety, and specs.
Greenworks provides a 3-year warranty.
With no integral defects or weaknesses, endowed with a good few strengths, and scoring highly on essential functionality, Greenworks’s GD40LM46SPK2x is a Best Pick in the cordless category.
- Both the mowing experience and the mulching capability are unparalleled.
- Excellent cutting height range and positional settings.
- Brushless motor and soft start mark it as a top-of-the-line product.
- Eye-watering price; too expensive.
- Manual is unhelpful and could use improvement.
Hyundai’s self-propelled petrol mower has a robust chassis and awesome power; it perfectly mows and mulches very large lawns yet is so controllable.
Hyundai’s HYM510SPE has a 173 cc ‘OHV 4-stroke Euro 2 engine’ with 3.6 kilowatts (4.8 horsepower) of power – titanic power for a domestic lawnmower – that drives the engine at a maximum of 3000 revs. Rated for ‘medium to large size lawns,’ we feel this one’s good enough for outright large lawns – the hedging with ‘medium’ not being necessary.
It has a very broad cutting width of 51 centimetres, and features a simple levered height adjustment to set one of 6 cutting heights ranging from 25 to 75 millimetres.
It has the easiest of button starts but also has a backup recoil pull-start handle. The throttle lever, quite conveniently-located on the handle, controls the engine speed, and another four-position lever sets the propulsion speed of this self-propelled mower. The mower will run only if the ‘OPC (Operator Presence Control)’ lever is kept depressed.
The too-slow lowest speed is actually an excellent design and is very useful because it allows you to daintily manoeuvre this titan around flower beds, shrubbery, and such. At the highest speed, you can kill two birds with one stone: get your lawn done quickly and get some exercise as you jog behind, controlling the mower’s path! This is an odd beast as it brims with unbridled power yet is so manageable and docile.
Ergonomically the HYM510SPE is very good. For a petrol mower it is definitely quiet. The handles are not adjustable but the soft rubber grip is very comfortable. The power cables can become loose and droop or hang alongside the handles instead of being tucked in, and can get caught on a bush or hedge. Perhaps the (rather silly) feature of two little cup/can holders should at least be mentioned. As those seven dwarves whistled while they worked, maybe Hyundai wants us to beer while we mow?
As for the mowing, quite simply this Hyundai’s a champ at it as it cuts cleanly and evenly. Its mulching capability is quite exceptional as finely-shredded grass gets spread evenly over the lawn. Side ejection and collection modes work perfectly too.
The remarkably large 70-litre grass collection box has a level indicator. However, this collection box, its hatch, and its flap are mismatched. Unless Hyundai has fixed this flaw, you will need some DIY skills to jerry-rig a solution.
It has a steel deck and is very sturdy; even with the plasticky top it has extraordinary build quality. This 44-kilogramme kit is the tank among lawnmowers. Unfortunately it is not without its flaws. Sometimes this unit fails. The gearbox, belt, and air filters are the weak links and usual points of failure.
Hyundai’s mower has a self-cleaning feature. All you need do is to hook up a hosepipe to a connector socket on top of the mower, open the tap and run the mower. It will power-wash its deck and underside automatically, cleaning out accumulated clippings, mud, and whatever else.
Assembly is quite straightforward.
The 32-page manual is lucid and detailed, and it even has colour illustrations. If ever a manual could score an ‘A+,’ this one’s it.
Hyundai provides a 3-year warranty if you register your purchase within 30 days (and if you don’t, you get only the statutory one year). This condition is not disclosed in any of the online sales literature and this tack is ethically questionable. The seller does not provide acceptable after-sales service.
All said, this musclebound titan, though not without weaknesses, has many more strengths, and scores huge in mowing and mulching. It is a Best Pick among petrol mowers.
- Though brimming with titanic power, it’s a gentle giant that’s ideal for large lawns.
- Side-eject, Collect, Mulch – scores straight ‘A’s whatever the subject.
- Built like a tank, the build quality is exceptional and is unmatched.
- Sometimes this mower fails, be it the gearbox or the belt.
- The grass collection box, hatch, and flap are mismatched.
- The warranty’s ifs-and-buts are kept concealed (be sure to register your purchase).
Incredibly low-priced, Mountfield’s manual mower is tops at mowing and mulching maintained lawns, and scores on cutting height and control lever.
Cost: Price not available
Mountfield’s Princess 34 is a corded mower with 1400 watts of power. It is designed for small lawns of up to 100 square metres, and specifically 10 x 10 metres.
It has a cutting width of a relatively modest 34 centimetres. The cutting height is set using a lever just above a rear wheel, and it is just about the quickest and most convenient style you’ll find on any mower. The cutting height can be set to one of 6 settings from 25 to 75 millimetres.
The Princess 34 is not a self-propelled mower but pushing it is not a big chore. It feels very lightweight and is quite light at only 13 kilogrammes, and is even fairly manoeuvrable for a mower you need to push. And it is made easier because the length of the handle is adjustable. The control levers are perfectly-designed and very ergonomic. It has a safety brake feature but the rated 3 seconds taken for it to engage are 2 seconds too long.
As for the ‘integral rear roller and front anti-scalping plate,’ the roller may just as well not be there as consistent striping depends on a few hard-to-meet variables. Then again if you’re one of the lucky ones the mower’s weight distribution and the roller’s effectiveness will be just right and at the shortest cut it will lay lovely stripes.
In noise it is about average or perhaps even below average; it is certainly not too noisy.
The Princess 34 struggles badly with long damp grass but that is not a defect; it is purely an outcome of the limited power that this corded kit has. Furthermore, damp grass gets stuck in, and jams, the port that connects to the grass collection box.
But turn to dry grass and this little mower is a gem. It gives a brilliant, even cut. What is more, every blade and every clipping goes into the 35-litre collection box, and you can keep an eye on it through the translucent window. Put in the mulching plug, and use its standout mulching capability, fully on a level with the best.
It has a polypropylene plastic chassis but – except for the dodgy, low-grade rear roller – this is a solid and sturdy piece of business. It should prove durable though you may need to replace the blade at some point, especially if you keep hitting stones. A handy carrying handle is located on the top of the mower.
The assembly instructions are not too helpful but we (and you) have seen worse. The major assembly problem is the grass box. Clipping it together is very hard and you need some strength and patience to be able to do it.
The electric cord is 15 metres.
Though it is certainly inconvenient to mow anything other than a small lawn with a corded mower, at a price that is one-half of the next least expensive mower in this set of reviews and costing a mere 30 percent of the most expensive one, Mountfield’s corded kit is simply an outrageous value for money. In any event, for a variety of reasons, this mower is a clear Best Pick in the corded category.
Mountfield provides a 2-year warranty.
- Ergonomic mower feels so light, and is so easy to push and manoeuvre.
- On dry, maintained grass it offers a matchless cut, be it with collecting or mulching.
- This terrific value-for-money kit’s price is so low as to be unbelievable.
- Putting together the grass box is an exercise in frustration and achey fingers.
- Rear roller is not robust and may or may not lay stripes.
- Not suited to long, damp grass.
An amazing value for money, Greenworks’s push mower has very good runtime and excels on maintained lawns that it mows and mulches to perfection.
In the cordless mulching mower category, Greenworks produces an economy model, the G40LM35K2X. At 40 volts, it is a powerful mower. Our selected variant comes with two 2 Ah batteries and charger so you can alternate them between mower use and charging. This mower is also available with one battery and as a bare tool.
A 2 Ah battery gives very good runtime on this manual ‘push’ mower, enough for about 200 square metres of not-overgrown grass. Four LEDs indicate the remaining charge.
Meant for small lawns, this model has a blade width of 35 centimetres. It has 5 cutting heights ranging from 20 to 80 millimetres though at the lowest setting it gives such a close crop as to make this setting unusable. The height adjustment lever is most convenient and efficient, and is as user-friendly as it can get. The mower has a removable safety key to eliminate accidental starts.
The G40LM35K2X is used to best advantage on a lawn that has been kept under control. It lacks the necessary raw power to handle long or damp grass in one go, and you may lack the necessary power to push it through. However, if you go over the grass once at an intermediate height setting and then do a second mow at a low setting, the mower will get the job done. Where it absolutely excels is on a lawn that is not overgrown and the grass is not damp; on such a lawn you get a matchless cut.
Even though it weighs a not-too-heavy 15 kilos, it feels rather heavy in use, and more so when mowing long or damp grass. On the other hand, if you have flower beds, shrubbery, and such, this one gives a very close, tight mow as it is quite manoeuvrable. It is very quiet in operation.
Greenworks’s kit’s grass collection is very good, even excellent, and its mulching capability is equally excellent. Mulching is reliable and the mulch is evenly spread. – no complaints here. In grass-collection mode clippings go into the 40-litre bag.
The handle is dual-foldable as the upper part folds over the lower part and the two together then fold forward upon releasing a lever. Unfortunately, the handles are not very adjustable.
The build quality of this plastic-body mower is dubious – rugged it’s not. One cannot be confident as to its durability.
The instruction book is as sparse as it is bulky – because it is printed in what seems to be over 20 languages with only 8 to 10 pages per language! One has to make do with about three pages of useful information plus a diagram sheet.
Greenworks provides a 3-year warranty.
This mower has an astonishingly low price for a cordless mulching mower; indeed, it’s a can’t-resist price. It is a fantastic value for a cordless mulching mower and is an automatic ‘Value Pick.’
- Mowing, collecting, mulching – equally excellent in all.
- Perfect for well-maintained, small lawns with great battery runtime.
- Amazingly low price makes it a fantastic value for money.
- The lowest height setting is virtually useless.
- Dubious build quality.
- Manual is unhelpful and could use improvement.
Einhell’s cordless push mower is light and manoeuvrable; though grass suction is imperfect, mowing and mulching on maintained lawns is first rate.
Einhell’s powerful 36-volt GE-CM 43 gets its juice from two 18-volt batteries. Two 4 Ah ‘Power X-Change’ batteries are included as are two high-speed chargers. Each battery has a 3-LED indicator that shows the remaining charge.
Battery runtime is quite good. On maintained lawns without overgrown grass, if you’re lucky you’ll get 40 minutes on this manual ‘push’ mower but you should certainly get 20 to 30 minutes. Even on a full charge coverage of ‘lawns of up to 500 m²’ is a bridge too far but you can count on 300 to 400 square metres. Dodgy quality control on the batteries mean that some simply cut out or fail altogether – and it’s the mower that cops the blame!
This mower has a cutting width of 43 centimetres. Cutting height can be set to one of 6 positions, from 25 to 75 millimetres. It is set via a two-lever control for safety. The main lever is not robust or durable.
Einhell’s manual rig is just fine on dry grass but – like most mowers – struggles on long and damp grass yet plods on manfully, getting the job done, assuming you can. On a maintained lawn with grass of moderate length it gives a perfect mow at any height setting. It weighs a very manageable 16.5 kilogrammes and feels light in operation. In view of its size, it is also surprisingly manoeuvrable.
Noise level is at par by cordless mower standards. On an ergonomic note, the handle height is adjustable within a limited but very important range such that it can be set at the ideal height for most anyone.
It has a huge 63-litre grass collection box. The box has a fill-level indicator. Grass collection can be a hit-and-miss affair. Some grass may not get in the collection box, and after it gets more than half full, some of the clippings will not be suctioned off the ground – call it inadvertent compost! The mulching function, on the other hand, is truly excellent. Clippings are finely shredded and are well distributed throughout the lawn.
A small number of units are defective and these fail or burn out within a week or two. Build quality is a question mark. The GE-CM 43 may be made of ‘high-grade, impact-resistant plastic’ but one doesn’t have confidence in its durability. It has a useful carry handle near the front.
The bulky manual has information in 11 languages with 10 to 12 pages given over to each language. Assembly instructions are unsatisfactory but there is little to assemble and the black-and-white illustrations are helpful so no probs there. Big prob here: putting together the grass collection box can make you pull your hair out!
The seller’s after-sales customer service is poor.
Einhell provides a 2-year warranty.
- Lightweight in feel and in kilos, it is very manageable and manoeuvrable.
- On a not-overgrown lawn, it gives a perfect mow whatever the height setting.
- In mulching capability it’s way out there.
- Now and again a unit has some defect causing it to fail.
- After the collection box gets more than half full, some clippings won’t be picked up.
- Assembling the grass collection box is a nightmare.
With a reliable Honda engine that oozes power, Cobra’s self-propelled kit is rugged; so smooth in operation, in mowing and mulching it gets ‘A’s.
Cobra’s petrol-powered MX534SPH has a Honda GCVX170 4-stroke 167 cc engine with 3.4 kilowatts (4.56 horsepower) of power. The fuel tank has a volume of 0.9 litre. The engine is not only powerful but so reliable you can bet your house on it.
It has a yawning 52-centimetre cutting width and lever-based height adjustments. Height can be set to one of six positions from 25 to 75 millimetres. And it’s as easy as pie to do.
The marketing literature correctly marks out the MX534SPH as ‘perfect for larger lawns.’
It has a pull start system but it may just as well be called ‘First-Pull Start System,’ and the starts are so consistent and reliable that Cobra could trademark that name too. It has a 4-speed drive system. A levered speed selector is fairly conveniently located along the handle and allows you to choose a speed from 2.5 to 3.9 kilometres per hour for you to merely control it, as you walk behind.
Brimming with power, this machine just ‘mows’ through grass, be it tall or damp, and delivers a perfect cut. Rarely do you need a second mow.
Clippings are dependably collected in a huge, stout 65-litre fabric collection box that features a fill-level indicator. This mower also has a side-discharge mode. Mulching, which is what we are mostly concerned about here, is top drawer. Finely shredded clippings are distributed in a very even way.
The wheels do not lock up so it is easy to pull this mower backwards which makes Cobra’s massive 38-kilogramme mower much more manoeuvrable than it can reasonably be expected to be.
The various cords need to be kept tight with the handles and close to the body; if they untidily bend, droop and protrude and if you’re mowing beside a hedge, a bush, or garden furniture, the wires can get snagged. An even sillier design is that of the recoil starter handle. It juts out on the right side of the handle and it may not only snag but also bump against a tree or whatever vertical plane that you may be mowing really close to.
The build quality of the chassis is matchless; even the plastic top is solid and robust.
Though it is not a poor value for money, this mower is certainly rather expensive.
The single-language instruction manual is lucid and helpful; well above par, it sets an example for other lawnmower makers.
Cobra provides a 2-year warranty.
- The Honda engine is very powerful and is even more reliable.
- Gets straight ‘A’s in the basics of mowing, mulching, and grass collection.
- Build quality to die for.
- The cords can come loose, and protrude and droop leading to getting snagged on something.
- The starter handle juts out, and can bump against a wall or garden furniture.
- Rather expensive.