Home Gardening Battle of the Blades: automowers, ride-ons and traditional

Battle of the Blades: automowers, ride-ons and traditional

by Tania Griffin
A picture of grass

When it comes to lawn care, homeowners, landowners and even greenspace professionals are faced with an array of mower options with which to achieve a beautifully manicured lawn. Choosing between a traditional mower, ride-on mower or automower can pose a challenge, though, as each promises the perfect balance between precision, efficiency and convenience.

But the question is: which one will fully meet your specific needs?

Wynand Lombaard, product & pricing specialist at Husqvarna South Africa, provides some guidance on how to determine what type of mower is best to keep your lawn in tip-top shape.

As with any significant purchase, budget considerations are at the forefront when making your decision, often outweighing personal preferences. According to Lombaard, “Both ride-on and automowers typically come with a considerably higher price tag than traditional mowers. However, apart from being the more cost-effective option, traditional mowers are still highly effective in getting the job done.”

He offers a comparison between the three types to assist your decision-making:

1. Traditional mowers

  • Staple of most small- to medium-sized gardens. Suitable for lawns of up to 800m² on average.
  • Available in both battery electric and petrol models.
  • Petrol mowers excel in power and durability, are robust and can handle various terrains including slopes and rough patches. They are also able to manage thick and taller grass.
  • Battery mowers are lightweight, quiet and eco-friendly. They work well on flat to moderately uneven ground with gentle slopes, and require minimal maintenance.


  • Petrol mowers can be noisy.
  • Traditional mowers require more time and physical effort.

2. Ride-on mower

  • Best suited for half-acre or larger lawns.
  • They are designed to handle varying landscapes and uneven or rolling terrain.
  • Their greatest advantage (apart from being able to sit in comfort rather than walk behind a mower) is their speed and they can mow very large areas in a very short time. In fact, no mower can compete in this regard.
  • Able to mow very tall, thick or coarse grass, which is great, particularly if you have not mowed for a while.


  • Less agile and unable to navigate very steep inclines.
  • Higher maintenance and fuel consumption costs.

3. Automower (robotic mowers)

  • An automower operates autonomously and mows according to a set schedule, giving you more free time.
  • Most are designed to cut between a quarter and half an acre of lawn.
  • They are versatile and can operate in uneven, hilly terrain and are also able to navigate slopes.
  • Their mulching capability is great for your lawn and they are environmentally friendly.
  • Low maintenance and operating costs.


  • Lawns have to be obstacle-free.

So, in a nutshell, traditional mowers suit smaller spaces and come with features to suit every budget. Ride-on mowers conquer vast lawns, are efficient and require reduced physical effort. Robotic mowers bring futuristic ease to maintaining a manicured lawn – the equivalent of a robotic vacuum cleaner for your house.

“Ultimately, all mowers have their merits and drawbacks, but all contribute to well-maintained lawns. Choosing the right one all comes down to budget both pre- and post-purchase, land size, terrain and personal preference,” concludes Lombaard.

If you’re in the market for a new mower, check out the Husqvarna range of traditional mowers, ride-ons and automowers.

Main image credit: jannoon028/Freepik

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