Comparing hover mowers with wheeled lawn mowers for grass cutting ability and value for money

When people new to gardening come into the shop looking to buy their first lawnmower, they are often surprised at all the different options that they have to choose from.

The first thing I ask about is whether they want petrol, electric, or cordless lawnmower, and most of the time the customer isn’t sure, so I ask them questions about the size of their lawn, the shape of it, and other things to determine which type of mower is best for them.

After this, they still have to decide if they would prefer a hover mower or a wheeled lawnmower, and again, most people don’t really know what the pros and cons of each type are.

So, with this in mind, I decided to write this article that compares hover mowers to wheeled mowers in the hope of shedding a little bit of light on the main differences between them. It is our goal that after reading this, you will feel more confident about which type is the right one for your garden. This video looks at the different types of lawnmower available, and not just hover or wheeled-

Comparing hover mowers and wheeled lawnmowers

To keep things as easy to follow and understand as possible, I’ve decided to break this article down into smaller sections and look at things like mobility, weight, garden layout, and other factors, and see how hover mowers compare to wheeled models in these situations.


On paper, hover mowers are usually lighter than ones with wheels, and you would more than likely notice the difference when carrying them out of the shed. However, while being operated, this difference isn’t really noticeable as the wheels take on most of the extra weight.
Not only that, but hover mowers can actually heavy if you try swinging it side to side, due to their design. Having said that, it would be very hard, if not impossible, to swing a wheeled mower side to side too. So, I would say that in the weight stakes, at least when cutting in a straight line, there isn’t much to separate them, and you can see from this clip, most people would have no problem with a hover mower-


So, as we just explained, there isn’t much difference between a hover mower and a wheeled mower when they are cutting in a straight line. When you are working on a lawn with an unusual shape though, such as one with lots of curved edges, or when working around garden furniture, sheds, and other obstacles, a hover mower is much easier to use.
It’s not impossible to cut an irregular lawn with a wheeled lawnmower, of course, it’s just that because of the wheels it is harder to change direction quickly, and this means that it will take longer to get the job done when compared to using a hover mower.

Working on slopes

Very few gardens are completely flat, and some are built completely on a slope, making it more difficult to push a wheeled lawnmower around, especially if it a heavy petrol lawnmower. With Petrol machines, you also have to be careful not to tilt them too much or oil and other fluids can spill into unwanted parts inside of the machine.
Hover mowers feel very light when pushed in a straight line, even up slopes, so they are probably a better option for gardens with lots of peaks and troughs. Even when mowing downhill, the lack of wheels means that don’t feel like they are running away from you and it is easier to keep control. This is why it is common to see hover mowers used on golf courses-

If you have very large or steep slopes in your garden, you might want to read our article on building tiers.


Striping a lawn

If you’ve got your heart set on a striped lawn, a hover mower is not the right type for you. In our article on how to stripe a lawn, we explain that the striped effect is caused by different angles of the grass and that the best way to et these angles is by using a roller, and you can’t fit a roller on a hover mower.

With a wheeled lawnmower, it is much easier to get those coveted stripes on your lawn, and there are roller attachments available for these machines. Some lawnmowers have rollers already included in their design, and the extra weight of these machines can help to lay the blades of grass down just as you want them.

Cutting performance

While hover mowers can offer you a good cutting performance, especially with sharpened blades, they generally don’t have the same options as wheeled models when it comes to the cutting length. Most modern wheeled mowers will have easy-to-use switches, either on the handles or down near the blades, that allow you to choose from a number of presets, thus giving you more control of how your lawn will look.

If you’re not sure how to sharpen your lawnmower blades, watch this helpful little video that shows you how-

Lawn size
For smaller and medium-sized lawns, either of these types of lawnmower is just fine, but for larger gardens, especially very large estates, you really need to buy something that you won’t have to push, and that can be either a stand-on mower or a sit-down model. Each of these has wheels of course, but there will be no need for you to push them.

The vast majority of modern lawnmowers have been designed so that assembly is kept to a minimum, but if you really don’t like the idea of having to grab your toolbox and set up your machine before you use it, a hover mower is probably the best choice for you as they often come ready to use.

Wheeled lawnmowers will differ from model to model when it comes to assembly, with petrol machines being a lot more complicated than electric ones, and this is true for petrol hedge trimmers and strimmers too. Electric models will still need some assembly, but it shouldn’t be too much, and after all, you can always read the instructions-

As you can see, the best type of lawnmower for you will basically depend on the size and shape of your garden, as well as how many slopes there are. Wanting a striped lawn is a deal-breaker when it comes to hover mowers, and the same can be said regarding wheeled mowers and assembly.

To sum things up, I’d say hover mowers are more agile and better for lawns with slopes and obstacles, and also for unusually shaped lawns. Wheeled models will probably give you more control over the cutting length and are also the type to go for if you want a striped lawn.

About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message:

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