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Best lawn mower for a small garden 2024: Our favourite compact mowers to keep a little lawn in trim

A collection of lawn mowers against a blue background

You don’t need a massive mower for an average patch, so we’ve found some smaller mowers that are easier to push and store

While some people will always tell you that bigger is better, this isn’t always the case with lawn mowers. In our opinion, if you’ve got a smaller lawn or an irregular-shape garden, a smaller mower can actually be far more practical. These mowers are lighter and less effort to push, often making them more manoeuvrable. Particularly if you’ve got a slope or uneven ground to deal with, it’s easier for a smaller mower to get up and down or into corners that a bigger mower just won’t fit.

Below, we’ve picked out the best lawn mowers for smaller gardens, including both conventional electric and cordless mowers. They’re cheap, cheerful and perfect for the job. Read on for our quick, capsule reviews, or skip to the end for our lawn mower buying guide.

Best lawn mower for a small garden: At a glance

Best budget cordless mower for small gardensEinhell GE-CM 18/33 Li (~£200)Check price at Toolstation
Best all-round mower for gardensBosch CityMower 18 (~£250)Check price at B & Q
Best cordless mower for small gardensFlymo EasiStore 340R Li | (~£233)Check price at Amazon
Best electric mower for small gardensBosch Rotak 32R (~£89)Check price at Homebase

How we test lawn mowers

We spend some time assembling each lawnmower, before putting them to work on two different lawns. The first is a small, flat, front lawn, roughly 6 x 4m, with reasonably well-kept grass and no major undulations. The second is a much larger, sloping lawn with patches of rough and uneven grass. We look at how well each lawnmower handles both of the lawns, how well it avoids blockages and how effectively any mulching or grass-collecting features work.

We also take note of how easy it is to start the mower, adjust the handle for comfort and change the cutting height. With cordless models, we also time how long the battery lasts during mowing. Finally, we’ll fold the mower away to see how compact and manageable it will be for storage in the average shed or garage.

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The best lawn mowers for smaller gardens you can buy in 2024

1. Bosch CityMower 18: Best all-round mower for small gardens

Price when reviewed: £250 | Check price at B&Q

  • Great for… comfortable and lightweight mowing
  • Not so great for… bouncing over patches of taller grass

Bosch already makes some of the best cordless mowers around, and it’s now developed one specially for smaller gardens. With a 32cm deck, the CityMower18 is smaller than Bosch’s mighty Universal Rotak 36-550, and it’s also substantially lighter and cheaper. You still get the Ergoflex handles for good steering and a comfortable push, plus easy cutting-height adjustments and twin power triggers on the grips. All this makes it a very easy mower to work with, and it runs from a single 18V 4Ah battery, which charges to full in just over an hour and a half, with a charge lasting a little over half an hour. You can either buy it complete, bundled with the battery and charger or on its own if you already have compatible Power For All products.

However, perhaps the most impressive thing about the CityMower 18 is just how quiet it is. When we first put it to use on a flat front lawn, it was so quiet that we had to check the grass box to make sure it was actually cutting. The cut itself is brilliant, giving great results on flat areas and even trimming when close to walls and edges. The small-ish wheels and compact size does mean it’s not the best on a rough or sloping lawn and, with a minimum cutting height of 3cm, it might not go low enough for those who love to give their lawn a military-style buzzcut. Yet the CityMower 18 acquitted itself well on the long, wet grass that we expected to choke it up in seconds.

This is some of Bosch’s top cordless mower technology in a cheaper, smaller form, making the CityMower 18 very easy to recommend.

Key specs – Size (WDH): 36 x 121 x 103cm; Weight: 9.9kg; Height of cut: 3-6cm; Grass box capacity: 31l; Power: 18V 4Ah lithium-ion battery (charge time: 95mins); Width of cut: 32cm

2. Einhell GE-CM 18/33 Li: Best budget cordless mower for small gardens

Price when reviewed: £200 | Check price at Toolstation

  • Great for… adjustable cutting heights and handle height
  • Not so great for… long-lasting battery life

This Einhell cordless mower is a great option for small gardens. It’s light and extremely manoeuvrable, there’s no cable getting in the way, and despite a single charge only lasting around 25 minutes, that’s more than enough time to trim a small to medium-sized lawn. Plus, it only takes 75 minutes to recharge the supplied 4A battery, so you can get back to work fairly quickly, and it’s compatible with other products in Einhell’s Power X-Change range, meaning you can share your batteries around.

While it doesn’t feel as rugged as some other cordless mowers, the Einhell coped well in most conditions – only a spot of longer, tougher grass managed to clog it up. What’s more, it’s impressively quiet while it’s working, saving your ears from a battering and the neighbours from cursing your name. It doesn’t store as neatly as the Flymo EasiStore, but it won’t take up much space in your garage or shed. If you want a good cordless mower for a smaller garden, you don’t have to pay more.

Key specs – Size (WDH): 40.5 x 36 x 68cm; Weight: 10.9kg; Height of cut: 2.5-6.5cm; Grass box capacity: 30l; Power: 18V 4.0A lithium-ion battery (charge time: 75mins); Width of cut: 33cm

Check price at Toolstation

3. Gardena HandyMower P4A: Best cordless mower for tiny gardens

Price when reviewed: From £159 | Check price at Tooled-Up

  • Great for… mulching directly onto the lawn
  • Not so great for… handle manoeuvrability

The Gardena HandyMower P4A is roughly the size of a simple, manual cylinder mower, the handle splits in two for easy storage and – at just 4.2kg – you can easily push it around one-handed. Yet, with a choice of 30, 40 and 50mm cutting heights, you can easily keep a small lawn in shape, provided you don’t give it anything too long or tough.

Gardena claims it can cope with up to 50m2, but we’d say that’s a little optimistic – with its 22cm cutting width, that will take longer than the 20 to 25 minutes that the 2.5Ah battery lasts for. Plus, the mower’s safety feature – which cuts the motor when the handle is too upright or too low – gets wearying if you’re mowing uneven ground. Yet we can’t say enough good things about how easy this mower is to store and manoeuvre, how quiet it is or how neatly it turns grass into a fine mulch. If you don’t have much to mow, this lovely, little mower works a treat.

Key specs – Size (WDH): 38 x 35 x 125cm; Weight: 4.2kg; Height of cut: 2-5cm; Grass box capacity: N/A; Power: 18V 2.5A li-ion battery (charge time: 60mins); Width of cut: 22cm

Check price at Tooled-Up

4. Worx WG730E: A mighty compact mower for smaller lawns

Price when reviewed: £220 | Check price at Screwfix

  • Great for… storing in small spaces
  • Not so great for… cutting long or wet grass

The WG730E sidesteps most of the compromises usually associated with small, inexpensive cordless mowers. It’s well-built and easy to assemble, while the brushless motor and 20V 4A battery ensure that it’s got enough power to handle tougher patches of grass – though you might want to take a couple of passes to tackle the longer, wetter stuff. It’s very quiet by cordless mower standards and won’t take up much space in your shed or garage.

Admittedly, this mower does have a few minor weaknesses that we identified during our testing. Firstly, we found it’s not as easy as it perhaps should be to change the cutting height – you need to put the mower on its side and then move the spring-loaded bar on the front wheels. Secondly, there are only three cutting heights, and the minimum 3cm might not be short enough for those who really love hard-cropped grass. Finally, the battery life isn’t great – we only managed around 20 minutes from a charge, with a wait of around two hours to recharge. However, it’s compatible with other batteries from the Worx Powershare range, so you might be able to share spare batteries from across other home or garden tools. If you have a small garden and you’re on a budget, you’ll love this little wonder.

Read our full Worx WG730E review

Key specs – Size (WDH): 35 x 125 x 105cm; Weight: 9.3kg; Height of cut: 3-7cm; Grass box capacity: 30l; Power: 20V 4Ah li-ion battery (charge time: 125mins); Width of cut: 30cm

Check price at Screwfix

5. Flymo EasiStore 340R Li: Best cordless mower for compact storage

Price when reviewed: £233 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… convenient dual lever handles
  • Not so great for… battery charge time

Small and so easy to stow in your shed or garage, the Flymo EasiStore 340R Li could be the most convenient cordless mower of them all. At 13kg, it’s fairly easy to lug around, even with two 20V lithium-ion batteries fitted, and the handle folds neatly over the body so it fits in a space no bigger than a small suitcase.

Its great manoeuvrability makes it a pleasure to mow with, not just on the flat but on sloping, bumpy or overgrown areas too. Push the cutting height upwards and it can manage some pretty rough stuff. The batteries only last for around 25 minutes, and take just under two hours to recharge, but nevertheless, it’s a cracking cordless mower for a smaller plot.

Key specs – Size (WDH): 39 x 120 x 95cm; Weight: 13kg; Height of cut: 2.5-6.5cm; Grass box capacity: 35l; Power: 2 x 20V 2.6Ah lithium-ion battery (charge time: 120mins); Width of cut: 34cm

6. Bosch Rotak 32-12: Best corded electric mower for small gardens

Price when reviewed: £89 | Check price at Homebase

  • Great for… a powerful motor and sharp cutting blades
  • Not so great for… distances further than 12m

This perennial best-seller from Bosch is perfect for pint-sized gardens, with a 1,200W Powerdrive motor that will cheerfully chomp through the toughest grass, along with a 31l grass box to catch the clippings. With no heavy battery onboard, it’s very light, and the chunky wheels keep it nice and agile, even on a bumpy lawn. Best of all, the cut you get is excellent, even against walls and fences, with a handy built-in rear roller for that all-important striped effect.

You don’t get the convenience of going cordless, but this one’s ready to just plug in and go. And if you find the 12m cable holds you back, you’ll have more than enough money left in the budget for an outdoor extension lead. Sure, Bosch has bigger, better mowers for larger gardens, but if your grounds are on the modest side, this is the king of corded mowers.

Key specs – Size (WDH): 39.5 x 28 x 60cm; Weight: 6.8kg; Height of cut: 2-6cm; Grass box capacity: 31l; Power: 1,200W electric motor; Cable length: 12m; Width of cut: 32cm

Check price at Homebase

7. Flymo EasiGlide Plus 330V: Best corded mower for sloping or uneven gardens

Price when reviewed: £149 | Check price at Homebase

  • Great for… rough and unruly areas of grass
  • Not so great for… walls and fences at close quarters

Flymo’s hover mowers are popular with owners of small gardens because they’re just so affordable and easy to use. That’s as true of the new Flymo Easiglide 330V as it is of the rest of the range. At just 8.4kg, it won’t strain your arms while it rides smoothly on a cushion of air as you sweep it across your lawn. The 33cm cutting width will help you tackle a smaller lawn in 15 to 20 minutes and, at a stretch, it will handle slightly larger lawns as well. The big plus with this one is its sheer convenience. The integrated 20l grass collector lifts out smoothly and leaves your lawn almost entirely free of clippings. There are handy hooks on the handle to wrap the 10m cable, while said handle folds down across the body for easy storage.

You won’t get as neat and orderly a cut as you will with some rotary mowers, but you’ll be amazed at how well the Flymo deals with rough grass, overgrown sections, uneven ground and slopes – it kept on cutting and filling up the grass box, whatever we threw at it. Unfortunately, it needs emptying fairly regularly to stop the weight from making it drag along the ground, but that’s not a problem if you don’t have a massive area to mow. In fact, the only real downside with this mower is that changing the cutting height involves unscrewing the blade with the bundled plastic spanner, and then adding or removing spacers – a hassle you could probably do without. Otherwise, it’s nearly perfect.

Key specs – Size (WDH): 47 x 134 x 75cm; Weight: 8.4kg; Height of cut: 1-3cm; Grass box capacity: 20l; Power: 1,700W electric motor; Cable length: 10m; Width of cut: 33cm

Check price at Homebase

8. Bosch AHM 38G: Best manual mower for small gardens

Price when reviewed: £63 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… environmentally friendly gardeners
  • Not so great for… those who don’t want to break a sweat

The Bosch AHM 38G is more than cordless – there’s no engine or motor at all, you provide all the power yourself. You get a decent choice of cutting heights, from 1.5 to 4.3cm, and with a 38cm cutting width, it won’t take too long to get your lawn done. Just get the sharp, five-bladed cylinder moving and you’ll be surprised how efficiently it cuts. On a flat lawn with a modicum of puff, you can achieve great results – there’s even a rear roller for that striped effect – and there’s actually a sort of genial pleasure in hearing the whir of the blades and watching the grass in the collector pile up. Manual mowers aren’t for everyone, or every lawn, but they’re brilliant for day-to-day cutting in a smaller garden, and this one’s built to last.

Key specs – Size (WDH): 49 x 39 x 54cm; Weight: 9.3kg; Height of cut: 1.5-4.3cm; Grass box capacity: 25l; Power: Manual; Width of cut: 38cm

9. Worx WG779E: A cracking compact cordless with scope for larger lawns

Price when reviewed: £199 |Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… folding flat for storage
  • Not so great for… quick charging

Compact mowers have a lot of advantages, but what if you move on to another place with a larger plot? The beauty of this popular Worx model is that it’s light enough and small enough to make sense in a smaller garden but, with its 34cm cutting width and dual 20V batteries, it can scale up to cover mid-sized lawns as well. It’s easy to push around and Worx’s Intellicut technology ensures a good crisp cut across both neat, well-kept grass and patches of the tougher stuff – just watch out for long, wet grass which can clog the blade and block the passage into the 30l collection bag.

With two 4A batteries installed, you can get around 40 minutes of mowing – after which you’re looking at a roughly two-hour wait while they recharge – with the cheaper 2Ah batteries, you can expect around 25 minutes. We’ve seen other mowers with more stamina, but usually at much higher costs. The mechanism to change the cutting height is a little stiff and awkward but, at this price, the WG779E.2 is one of the best deals in cordless mowing, and it won’t feel too small if you find a bigger place to live.

Read our full Worx WG779E.2 review

Key specs – Size (WDH): 42 x 131 x 105cm; Weight: 12.6kg; Height of cut: 2-7cm; Grass box capacity: 30l; Power: 2 x 20V 2Ah/4Ahh Li-ion batteries (charge time: 120-150mins); Width of cut: 34cm

How to choose the best lawn mower for your small garden

When you buy any lawn mower, one of the most important factors is the cutting width, as this basically defines the size of the strip you’ll mow as you walk from one side of the garden to the other. Generally speaking, the larger the cutting width, the bigger, heavier and more expensive the mower. If you have a smaller lawn, you can get away with a cutting width somewhere between 25cm and 34cm, while for a medium-sized or larger lawn, you might need 34cm to 44cm. This is good news, as that smaller cutting width means your mower will often be cheaper, lighter and easier to manoeuvre.

Beyond the cutting width, you need to think about the type of mower. Rotary mowers use a spinning blade beneath the deck and are usually best for a small lawn. If the lawn is flat, you can also get great results with a cylinder mower, which uses a rolling cylinder formed from sharpened blades to cut the grass as it rolls across the lawn. Lastly, hover mowers can also work brilliantly on small lawns – admittedly, you don’t tend to get as fine a cut but they’re easier to handle on a rough lawn or a lawn with sloping areas.

Electric, cordless or manual?

Corded electric mowers are still the cheapest option and, if your lawn is within easy reach of the front or back door, are perfectly practical. You’ll probably have enough length to work with only using the supplied cable but, if not, you can use an extension cable. Just make sure it’s certified for outdoor use, as wet gardens or light rain don’t mix well with electricity.

While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to plug an RCD, or residual current device, between the mower and the mains. Despite our best efforts, cables do sometimes get cut by accident, and the results can be both painful and catastrophic – these safety adaptors can be literal lifesavers.

Cordless mowers are more expensive, but the prices are coming down all the time. One of the biggest issues with a cordless mower, the short battery life – typically 20 to 30 minutes – isn’t as much of an issue with a smaller garden since you’ll often be finished before it runs out of puff. Recharge times tend to be less than a couple of hours, so you can get the front lawn done in the morning, charge over lunch and hit the back lawn in the afternoon.

Manual push mowers can be great in a small garden, especially if it’s nice and flat. You won’t need to worry about charging or finding a power source, and a good model will do a great job on the grass while being surprisingly easy to push. This idea only really falls down if the lawn is rough or bumpy, on a slope or if you let the grass grow long between cuts, as all these things will make the job much, much harder.

What else should you look out for?

Some kind of grass collector is always handy, as you can put the cuttings straight on the compost heap or in a green bin. Alternatively, some mowers have a mulching option, or mulch plug, where the mown grass is finely chopped and dispersed on the lawn as you mow, where it can decompose, feeding nutrients back in. Without either of these options, you’ll be left to rake the cut grass up to dispose of it, or risk it spoiling the lawn underneath.

Also, look for a mower that offers you a choice of cutting heights. The lower the height, the more grass the mower will trim away but, when doing the first or last cut of the year, you might find it easier to cut a little higher, as the longer, thicker grass can be pretty tough to get through.

Finally, if you like that traditional striped effect, you should look for a cylinder mower or a mower with a roller. This will press the grass down after mowing to give you what you’re looking for.

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