If you're looking for a straightforward lawn trim, then a traditional hand push mower could be the garden tool for you. With no battery, fuel or electricity to worry about, manual lawn mowers are a more environmentally-friendly option.
These pedestrian powered machines are pushed along the lawn and the cylinder blades rotate to trim the grass as you move. They do require a little more push power than automatic mowers, and walking briskly will give a better cut so you’ll get a workout and burn calories each time you mow. And although a push mowers isn’t for every garden – they’re best for small to medium-sized (up to 250m²) lawns on flat ground with few bumps, the exercise will help keep you fit and they're generally much more of a budget option compared to their high-tech counterparts. They’re kind to your neighbours too, as they’re much quieter than powered mowers. Cylinder mowers generally give a smoother, sharper finish than rotary mowers and their rear roller creates elegant stripes. Usually small, they’re easy to store and light enough to manoeuvre well around the garden,
Best hand push lawn mowers at a glance
- Best buy budget push mower: Webb 30cm Autoset sidewheel
- Best buy push mower all round: Gardena Comfort Hand Cylinder 400C
- Best buy value push mower: Cobra HM381
- Best buy push mower for performance: Webb WEH18
To help you find the right hand push mower, we tested a range of these traditional machines. Everymower has a detailed list of pros and cons for clarity and has been rated according to setting up and storage, ease of handling, performance and value for money. Every mower in our round-up has scored a minimum of three out of five stars, so you can buy with confidence.
In every review we award outstanding products our coveted Best Buy award. To see these and the others we recommend, browse our pick of the best cordless lawn mowers, below.
Webb 30cm Autoset sidewheel
Our rating: 4.8 out of 5
- Comfortable to push and hold
- Cuts all grass smoothly and tightly
- Front loading grass bag catches clippings well
- Short cutting width
Easy to put together and use this simple hand push mower is comfortable, thanks to rubber grip handles, even when pushing over longer grass. It has six cylinder blades offering four cutting heights that are easy to change. The mower cuts from 40mm right down to 10mm, so it gives a precise, neat clip but also cuts longer grass well. It's quiet, copes with even bumpy ground easily and the 17 litre front collector was the best at collecting clippings in our test. We gave it a BBC GardenersWorld Magazine Best Buy for the best budget push mower in 2023.
Gardena Comfort Hand Cylinder 400C
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5
- Very easy height-of-cut adjuster
- Large grass collector that catches clippings well
- Feels sturdy and well designed
- Cuts well
- Grass collector is sold separately
While there is more to assemble with the Gardena push mower, our tests found the instructions for putting it together clear to understand. The shaped handle was comfortable to use and folds down simply for easy storage. Our experts were impressed with the four easy to adjust cutting heights displayed on a clearly visible scale. The grass collector has a 49 litre capacity but is sold separately. This mower is guaranteed for two years and we gave this a BBC GardenersWorld Magazine Best Buy for the best push mower all round in 2022.
Read the full Gardena push mower review
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5
- Compact and light
- Easy to adjust the height of cut
- Good value
- Some parts feel flimsy
We awarded this a BBC GardenersWorld Magazine Best Buy for the best value push mower in 2022 and found it easy to put together with clear instructions. It's compact and lightweight making it easy to push and operate and the handle is padded for extra comfort. There are four cutting heights ranging from 13-38mm, which can be simply adjusted and a 26 litre grass collector is included. It comes with a two year warranty.
Read the full Cobra HM381 push mower review
Our rating: 4.5 out 5
- Nine heights of cut
- Wide cut
- Very simple height-of-cut adjustment
- Tackles long grass
- Effective front grass collector
- Heavy and not so easy to manoeuvre
- Doesn’t cut grass short (minimum 25mm)
Awarded a BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Best Buy for the best for performance, this traditional cylinder mower design has a solid, heavy rear roller and a 22 litre collection box. The instructions for assembling it are clear and it's light, easy to manoeuvre and quiet to use. There’s a generous choice of nine cutting heights, which are easily adjusted and range from 25-76mm, which is the highest in our test and ensures it handles long grass well. The front-loading grass collector on this model collects clippings well and it comes with a warranty of two years .
Read the full Webb push mower review
Although some models didn't quite achieve a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy award, they still have features that make them worth recommending. Browse our pick of the best of the rest on test.
Husqvarna HiCut 64
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5
- Comfortable handle and adjustable heights
- Light and easy to manoeuvre
- Good, efficient cut, and tackles longer grass
- Height of cut adjustment difficult
- Roller doesn’t touch the ground
- Grass collector sold separately
This Husqvarna hand mower requires more assembly than most and tools are required plus, our testers found that the instructions could have been clearer. However, the mower is comfortable to use with handy flexible handle heights and it's a quick and efficient mower. Testers weren’t keen on the height of cut adjuster. The grass collector has a large capacity of 45 litres but it's sold separately and doesn’t collect all the clippings, especially when windy. It comes with a one year warranty but if you register, this is extended to two years.
Einhell GE-HM 38 S-F
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5
- Simple to change height of cut
- Adjustable handle height
- Grass collector doesn’t catch all the clippings and they fall out when emptying
- Not as smooth a mow as some
Our expert testers liked that the handle on this manual lawn mower had a choice of two heights and that it was padded for extra comfort while in use. Clear instructions are included and assembling the model is relatively simple. There are four cutting heights to choose from which can be easily swapped using a lever. The grass collector is included and has a 26 litre capacity. It's guaranteed for two years.
Before you choose a push mower think about the following:
Have you got the right lawn?
Cylinder mowers need an even surface for the scissor action of the blades to work well, so your lawn must be fairly bump free and 250m² or below. Simpler shapes are easier, unless you opt for a compact model with a smaller cutting width that can be manoeuvred more easily around trees and island beds and under shrubs.
Do you like mowing the lawn?
Hand push mowers take more effort than powered mowers, but they are easier to push if the grass isn’t too long. Cylinder mowers work best on fairly short grass and will struggle or not cut long grass at all. So you need to cut regularly or choose a mower with a high height of cut to let you catch up if you miss a mow now and then.
Can you look after your mower?
Cylinder blades need regular checking and adjusting to ensure a precise cut and prevent the mower chewing the grass rather than cutting it. Adjustment isn’t difficult, but it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re not mechanically minded.
Do you need a grass collector?
Most mowers come with one, but some are sold separately and nearly all the grass collectors in our test failed to catch clippings well, particularly when windy. Although front collectors work best, they block your view. If you’re happy to mow regularly (twice a week in the growing season), you may not need one at all and can simply let the short clippings fall down onto the grass and act as a mulch.
Do you have storage?
These mowers must be kept indoors to prevent the blades rusting, so if storage space is tight, choose a model that's light enough to hang up or has folding handles.
Cut in long straight lines, walking briskly – the faster you walk, the better the mower will cut.
To create stripes, mow around the edge of the lawn first, then start in one corner, mowing up and down. When you finish a stripe, turn and line up the mower with the completed stripe, as
a guide for the next one.
When adjusting or cleaning the mower, stand it on a flat surface with a block in front of the wheels to prevent ir rolling forwards.
All the mowers in our test are cylinder-type, with blades and a rear roller. Each mower was unpacked, assembled snd tested on a flat, circular lawn and on a sloping, less even, shaped lawn to see how ell they performed. They were assessed according to the following criteria with equal marks attributed to each:
- Setup and Storage. Assessed the ease of assembly and clarity of instructions and how easy the mower is to store.
- Handling. Focused on comfort and ease of use, handle height adjustment and how to change the height of cut, its weight, the effort needed and manoeuvrability.
- Cutting performance. Looked at cutting width, the range of cutting heights, collection capacity and the quality of cut.
- Value for Money. Considered all the above as well as quality and design, warranty and price.
For more information on our testing process see How We Review.
This review was last updated in May 2023. We apologise if anything has changed in price or availability.