Petrol Lawn Mowers: How To Choose a Mower

Petrol lawn mower

Picking a lawn mower is the moment you go from homeowner to dad, we all know it. Soon, you’ll have the indescribable urge to build a deck and complain about lights being left on for half a second too long! Jokes aside, selecting the proper petrol mower for your needs is a complicated process that really doesn’t need to be. So, we decided to answer the most commonly-asked questions we get about choosing the perfect petrol mower for you and your needs.

So, what’s on the docket today?

Today’s Topics Include:

Now, let’s dive right in, shall we?

Picking Your Petrol Lawn Mower

Picking a petrol lawn mower

When deciding on the best mower for your needs, there are a lot of factors to consider. Let’s take a look at the most vital ones for the everyday user.

How Do I Know What Size Lawn Mower I Need?

This is going to depend on two things – how large your property is, and how much work you’re willing to put into mowing. If you have a large property and/or don’t want to work hard while mowing, a riding mower is likely your best bet. However, a push mower can do the job quite well, is almost always the cheaper option, and is generally well-suited to most people’s needs.

You’ll find that small lawn mowers generally come in one of the following ranges of cutting width:

  • Small Mower:
    • Small mowers range in cutting width from 28-35 cm
  • Medium Mower:
    • Medium mowers vary in cutting width between 35-40 cm
  • Large Mower:
    • Large mowers come in sizes up to 105 cm cutting width.

So how do you choose the right size of petrol mower? Measure your lawn!

A mowing area of 1 acre or less is suitable for small, less powerful mowers. Anything between 1-3 acres generally will need a medium mower, and a large (5+ acre) lawn will need a large mower. Be sure to check your cutting deck width, too. Deck size shows how wide of a cut the mower makes in a single pass. In other words, the larger your cutting deck, the larger your mower and the fewer passes needed.

How Do I Choose A Petrol Lawn Mower?

Choosing a petrol lawn mower

This is a really hard decision to make, as you’ll need to do our least favourite task – maths. Choosing a petrol mower relies on the factors listed below:

  • How much work do you want to do?
    • Push models take the most work, self-propelled models are great for sloped or larger lawns, and riding mowers are the least intensive (and most expensive) mowers available. This also will inform if you want a mulching mower, grass box, electric start, and more.
  • How big is your lawn?
    • The larger and more sloped or tough-to-mow your lawn is, the more powerful of a mower you’ll want.
    • Lawns of varying sizes require:
      • 1,000 m2: at least 2 horsepower (HP)
      • 1,500 m2: at least 3 HP
      • 2,000 m2: at least 4 HP
      • 2,5000 m2: at least 5 HP
    • Cutting width and height:
      • Cutting width will vary on your lawn – the smaller the lawn, the smaller the required width.
      • Cutting height ranges between 15-90 mm for petrol lawn mowers and 30-911 mm for riding mowers. This is only affected by how low you want to cut the lawn in question.

In short, measure your lawn and consider how much work you want to do. You can pick from a range of cutting widths, heights, levels of power, and more. And some mowers will offer cool little quality-of-life upgrades, like an electric start, adjustable handles, anti-vibration technology, or even combs for mowing along a wall.

How Many CCs Should My Lawn Mower Be?

Most petrol lawn mower engines range from 140-190 CCs in power and size.

The lower range of size and power is great for small or easily managed lawns, whereas you’ll need a larger engine for tall, thick, grass and properties with tough weeds you want to mow too.

How Powerful a Lawn Mower Do I Need?

Petrol lawn mower on a hill

As discussed above, the power you’ll need in a lawn mower will depend on your property. Specifically, ask yourself the following questions – the more you answer yes, the more likely you are to need a powerful mower:

  • Is your property sloped?
    • If so, you’ll want more CCs and more horsepower so you’re not stuck slogging up a hill.
  • How large is your property?
  • How strong and fit are you?
    • Be honest here – pushing a weak mower is a serious workout, and if you either can’t or don’t want to deal with it, power is key.

How Heavy is a Petrol Lawn Mower?

This question, I would hope obviously, will vary based on the specific mower you have.

Petrol lawn mowers can range in weight between ~13.5 kg to over 45 kg. As basic common sense would tell you, the simpler your mower, the lighter it generally is. Push and self-propelled mowers generally range between 15-20 kg, whereas larger, more powerful ones can be upwards of 45-50 kgs.

Riding mowers are generally drastically heavier, ranging from 135-270 kgs or more, and electric mowers often weigh below 10 kg. It’s also worth noting that your mower will vary in weight based on its tank size, too – petrol is surprisingly heavy, so the larger the tank, the more weight you add.


All in all, picking the right mower is a very large task. They can be expensive, so it’s important to make the right decision first, rather than learning too late it’s the wrong tool for the job. So take a look at your property and ask yourself a few questions. How large is your property? Is it sloped, or does it have lots of tall grass? And how strong/fit are you? Each of these will inform what’s the best choice for you.

In other words, don’t blindly believe the mower salesman; trust your gut and follow grandpa’s advice of, “measure twice, cut once.”