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Best hover mowers – 5 Top choices for home gardeners and professionals
Last Updated on July 8, 2020 by John
Are you tired of only having straight lines in your lawn? Do you try to ignore the long grass growing along fences and in tight garden spaces? A hover lawn mower could be just what you need to finish tidying up the grass in your garden. As the name suggests, hover mowers hover above the grass and cut it from above. No more swishing down grass or accidentally making grooves in your lawn. As hover mowers don’t have wheels you can move them in all directions of shapes.
In this review, we present the best hover mowers from brands such as Flymo, Toro and Cobra. For each one, we discuss their features along with the pros and cons. Each model comes with our recommendation as to why it’s one of the best and the person and lawn it’s best for. We end with our Buyer’s Guide that explains much about hover lawn mowers and the major features to know about.
Our Best Pick overall is the Flymo XL500 Petrol Hover Lawn Mower. This is also the mower that’s our Best Petrol Mower. Its power and wide cutting width make it more than suitable for large lawns but it’s perfect for both home gardeners and professionals, it’s also especially good for mowing slopes.
The Runner-up overall and also the Best Electric Hover Mower is the Flymo Glider Compact 330AX Hover Collect Lawn Mower. This mower collects the cut grass into a box, unlike the other mowers in this review and is perfect for the home gardener, especially those who don’t want to maintain a petrol mower.
We’ve also awarded a Best Pick to the Toro HoverPro 500 Petrol Hover Lawn mower but more for professional use. Whether you have a large home lawn or you mow parks for a living, this powerful and manoeuvrable petrol mover fits what you need and is designed more like a workhorse.
Best Pick (overall) and Best Petrol Pick
Runner-up (overall) and Best Electric Pick
Best Professional Pick
The Toro HoverPro 550 Petrol Hover Lawn Mower is a heavy-duty hover mower. Its power and features are designed for professionals who spend many hours cutting large areas of grass. The reliable Honda 160cc engine combines strength and endurance to support commercial use. Even though the deck is made from a heavy-duty injection moulded plastic, this mower still weighs in at 19kg. This is a serious mower that works well for all the ups and downs of large-scale mowing and again is suitable for slopes where a traditional mower isn’t.
Top 5 Best Hover Mower Reviews
1. Flymo XL500 Petrol Hover Lawn Mower
Best Pick and Best Petrol Pick
The Flymo XL500 Petrol Hover Lawn Mower is a powerful petrol hover lawn mower that’s suitable for use on large lawns and grassy areas. This mower also works well on slopes, so you don’t have to keep cutting the grass there with a trimmer which can be a big time saver.
A powerful and reliable Honda 4-stroke 160cc engine powers the Flymo XL500. Honda is known for the reliability of its products and that’s no exception here, Honda engines are one of the most reliable you can get and easy to start.
With power comes weight. This is one of the heaviest hover mowers in our review (18.2kg), so it’s not the easiest mower to direct around your lawn when compared to electric models but they simply don’t compare in terms of robustness and power. In addition, if you need to transport the mower across paths or your patio to reach your lawn, you may need help to comfortably lift it. Some people online recommend making your own trolley to transport this mower but you can also get a wheel accessory which is manufactured by Flymo that can be fixed to the mower for this very reason.
The Flymo XL500’s cutting width appears to be standard for petrol mowers at 51cm. This links into its use on large lawns as this cutting width may be too wide for small gardens. The blade is metal and built to last a long time and you can also get replacements which are also fairly easy to change when needed.
You have a choice of cutting height in three steps from 10mm to 30mm. You have to change the cutting height manually by inserting spacers near the blade to raise it up to leave longer grass blades. For minimal effort choose your favourite length of grass and stick with that cutting height. It’s important to note that this is how all petrol models change there cutting height.
This hover mower is designed to only cut the grass. It doesn’t mulch it or have a collection bag. Grass clippings and dust are dropped as they are cut and make affect people with hay fever which is someone you may want to consider. You have to stop the mower, clear the grass clippings and restart. This takes time away from your mowing session. Along with this problem, the clippings sometimes become clogged up in the ventilation holes. This reduces the amount of air getting into the mower and it doesn’t hover as well but this is more of a problem with wet grass.
- The engine is a powerful and reliable 4-stroke 160cc Honda engine, a company known for high-quality engines.
- For large size lawns and difficult to mow slopes.
- Metal blade for durability.
- The cutting width is a generous 51cm for wide strips and shorter mowing times.
- Cutting height is in three steps from 10mm to 30mm that suit the average lawn.
- Weighs 18.2kg which is an average weight for the petrol hover mowers in our review.
- Does not collect grass clipping.
- Wet grass cuttings may congregate in the air intake.
- Its weight makes it not so easy to direct and to lift.
- Needs to be stored flat.
The Flymo XL500 Petrol Hover Lawn has the manoeuvrability of all hover mowers. No longer are you tied to mowing in straight lines. The engine is 160cc of reliable power from Honda that makes this a great mower to use for large lawns and more importantly very reliable. As with most petrol mowers, you change the cutting heights (three steps from 10mm to 30mm) manually, and you need a spanner to do so. The 51cm cutting width lets you make the fewest passes across your grass.
The Flymo XL500 Petrol Hover Lawn is our Best Pick (overall) of hover mowers and is also the Best Petrol Mower. If you have awkward shapes of grass to mow or mow slopes and need a powerful petrol mower, the Flymo XL500 Petrol Hover Lawn could be for you. It’s worth noting that this model also has over 100 very positive reviews on Amazon too.
2. Flymo Glider Compact 330AX Electric Hover Collect Lawn Mower
Runner-up and Best Electric Pick
Unlike with its petrol counterparts, with the Flymo Glider Compact 330AX Electric Hover Collect Lawn Mower you don’t need to keep checking the level of fuel in the tank but you do have a power cord to contend with. Plug this lightweight electric hover mower in for 1700W of power. The 10-meter electric cord stretches over most of a small or medium size lawns but this obviously depends on what you consider to be a medium-sized lawn but the cord does give you over 30ft of reach. This mower also has several features not available on the other hover mowers in this review.
The deck (body) of this Flymo hover mower is made from plastic. Some online reviewers report that its construction is a little flimsy and needs to be handled carefully, however, taking into account the price is probably no more flimsy than other models with the same price range, plus for home use if robust enough. What you also need to consider is that it’s this material that makes the Flymo 330AX mower so light. It weighs 9.4kg, which is a lot less than petrol hover mowers. The blade is metal for long use and sharp cuts so gone are the plastic blades now which is an improvment.
This hover mower’s compact design allows you to mow close to walls and fences and other garden hindrances. The design also folds the handles over the mower so that it fits tidily into a small storage space such as a garden storage box. However, online reviewers report that you can’t adjust the height of the handle so tall people may have to bend over when mowing.
The cutting dimensions of the Flymo Glider Compact 330AX Electric Hover Collect Lawn Mower reflect its design for small or medium lawns. The cutting width is 33cm which leaves narrow stripes on a small lawn. Choose a cutting height for your grass from between 12mm and 32mm. Unlike other hover mowers, you adjust the cutting height using a central level which is a handy design more in line with wheeled mowers. No more having to find your spanners to remove the blade and insert spacers. But reports from users online say that the unit clogs up with grass – but this seems to be a common problem with many hover mowers and is more when the grass is wet and even some conventional mowers struggle with wet grass.
Another unique feature among our hover mowers is that the Flymo 330AX has a collection box. This 22 Litre box also has a clear section so you can see how it’s filling up. No more raking the clippings off your lawn; however, some users report that some clippings are discharged onto the lawn. In a small to medium garden, this size of collection box means that you won’t have to empty it too often, it also compacts the grass so actually fills the collection box.
- An electric mower with 1700W of power for productive mowing session.
- 10 meter cable is great for reaching across small and medium gardens without using an extension cord.
- The blade is metal and replacement blades are available.
- Cutting Width is 33cm which is in proportion to a small or medium lawn.
- Cutting heights are in the range of 12mm to 32mm for a variety of grass lengths.
- Collects and compacts the clippings into an Easy Lift 22L collection box with a clear window to see how full it is.
- Handles fold down for compact storage in a small space.
- Hover mower is lightweight at 9.4kg so it’s easy to push, turn and lift.
- Grass clogs up the mower when wet.
- Lowest cutting height may seem a little too long for some people.
The Flymo Glider Compact 330AX Electric Hover Collect Lawn Mower has a significant amount of power (1700W) to comfortably mow a small to medium size lawn. It’s 10-meter electric lead lets you roam over your grass areas without worry, as long as you don’t cut over it. The Flymo 330AX has two unusual features: it comes with a grass collection box so you don’t have to rake up all the clippings, and the cutting height adjustment is through a central lever.
The Flymo Glider Compact 330AX Electric Hover Collect Lawn is our Runner-up (overall) in this review. It’s also our Best Pick for Electric hover mower and is a great pick for anyone looking for an electric model for home use.
If you have a small or medium size garden, want a lightweight hover mower, and not have the bother of always checking the fuel level, the Flymo Glider Compact 330AX Electric Hover Collect Lawn Mower is a worthy choice.
This mower is the only one in this review that: collects grass (into a box) instead of dropping it back to the lawn, and adjusts the cutting height through a central lever. You can get a larger electric Flymo than this model called the Flymo Ultra Glide, however, we feel it’s not as good as this slightly smaller model which is why we didn’t include it in this review despite it having a longer cable, wider cutting width and larger collection box.
3. Toro HoverPro 550 Petrol Hover Lawn Mower
Best Professional Pick
The Toro HoverPro 550 Petrol Hover Lawn Mower is suitable for semi-professional, heavy-duty use. If mowing park lawns is in your job description or you have a large lawn at home, especially a sloped lawn, this mower easily handles everywhere – flat lawns, banks and slopes.
This petrol hover mower is powered by a Honda GVC160 160cc. Honda engines are well known for their power and endurance as previously explained in the Flymo model. This engine has a power-to-weight ratio that’s similar to that of two-stroke engines but with the features of a four-stroke engine which are more reliable and easy to refill with fuel with no mixing of petrol and oil needed. This mower is designed to cut grass on an inclined plane for hours. Hondas ‘Dual Lube’ dipper and oil transport system give enough lubrication for even the steepest slopes. You receive a free bottle of engine oil to get you started on using this hover mower if you purchase it from Mowers-online.co.uk.
The deck of the Toro HoverPro550 is made of ABS injection-moulded polymer. It’s lightweight but very durable, and the two-year warranty (for domestic users) should give you confidence in it. The mower weighs 19kg which is an average weight for petrol hover mowers. If you buy this for professional use, be sure that you have the ability to push it for hours on end, with hover mowers, even petrol ones, this is easier than you might think its more the transporting them that takes some extra lifting power.
The cutting numbers with the Toro HoverPro 550 l Hover Mower are well suited to large expanses of grass. The metal cutting blade has a width of 53cm to mow wide strips on the lawn. Its cutting height can be adjusted between 16mm to 34mm. The lower end of this range doesn’t give you a close cut so you should like longer, but still neat, lawns. But the upper end of the range leaves grass at a longer length than the other hover mowers in our review and is ideal for cutting longer grass that may not have been mowed in a while.
- Petrol mower that uses a Honda GCV160 160cc engine for power and durability.
- Suitable for heavy-duty professional use on flat lawns and steep slopes.
- Strong and lightweight deck made of heavy-duty plastic.
- Excellent power to weight ratio, comparable to 2-stroke engines
- Cutting width is 53cm using a metal blade.
- Cutting height range is from 16mm to 34mm for longer grass lengths.
- Two-year domestic warranty (with terms and conditions).
- Weighs 19kg, which is comparable with other petrol hover mowers.
- Free bottle of engine oil
- No collection bag.
- Lowest cutting height setting isn’t very short.
Toro HoverPro 550 Petrol Hover Lawn Mower is powered by a 160cc Honda engine that allows for extended semi-professional use. Flat lawns, banks and steep slopes are no problem for this durable hover mower. It’s cutting height is a standard (for larger hover mowers) 51cm but the lowest end of its selection of cutting heights won’t give you a fine, close cut.
The Toro HoverPro 550 Petrol Hover Lawn Mower is our Best Pick for professional hover mowers. It’s designed especially for commercial use but more on a semi-professional basis and its Honda engine can support this use.
Consider the Toro HoverPro 550 hover mower if you spend hours mowing grass.
4. Cobra Airmow 51B Petrol Hover Lawnmower
The Cobra Airmow51B Petrol Hover Lawnmower is a mid-range mower powered by a 140cc, four-stroke Briggs & Stratton 575EX Ready Start Engine. This reliable and quiet engine is from a company that’s world-renowned for the high quality of its products. The Cobra Airmow51B is designed for the home gardener and offers excellent value for money and includes accessories such as transport wheels which usually cost extra from brands such as Flymo and Toro.
The deck of this hover mower is made from a strong ABS injection-moulded plastic. It works well on flat lawns as well as slopes up to a 45° angle. This covers most of the bumpy terrain you might have in your garden.
This mower cuts grass strips of 51cm wide, which is standard for large petrol hover mowers. This mower has a two-stage height adjustment between 0.7-1.2″ (18-30 mm).
The Cobra Airmow51B is a standard weight for a petrol hover mower at 19.2kg. Other hover mowers are difficult to lift and transport and it can be backbreaking work. The Cobra Airmow51B uniquely solves this problem for you. You receive a 3-in-1 kit with wheels to move the mower around easily. When you engage the wheels, you can use the mower over difficult or uneven ground. When you don’t need the wheels, just lift the wheels and click them into their place. If you don’t want the wheels at all, they’re easy to remove. We think this feature alone gives it a great advantage especially when you consider is more affordable than the Toro and Flymo models.
The domestic warranty is for two years for your peace of mind.
- Powered by a 140cc Briggs & Stratton 575EX Ready Start Engine with low vibration for your comfort.
- Maintains flat lawns and slopes up to 45° in home gardens.
- Strong and durable injection-moulded plastic deck.
- Cutting width is by a standard 51cm metal blade.
- Cutting heights are unknown as the information isn’t readily available.
- Weight is 19.8kg, the heaviest product in our review.
- System of 3-in-1 wheels comes as standard and lets you move this hover mower around easily.
- Two-year domestic warranty.
- Assembly instruction is not easy to follow.
The Cobra Airmow51B Petrol Hover Lawnmower is a mower for domestic use and falls into the mid-range of petrol hover mowers. Its deck is made from long-lasting injection-moulded plastic that’s easier to clean and maintain. Although the mower is relatively heavy, a 3-in-1 wheel kit comes as standard which is a big plus. Easily wheel your mower back to the shed over paths and patios without marking them or cutting them up.
If you want a mid-size petrol lawn mower for your average size home lawn and you don’t want to have to lug around a heavy machine, look seriously at the Cobra Airmow51B Petrol Hover Lawnmower. For the price, we don’t think you will find a better petrol model.
5. Flymo Turbo Lite 270 Electric Hover Lawn Mower
The Flymo Turbo Lite 270 Electric Hover Lawn Mower is another mower from the well-respected Flymo brand. This time it’s an electric hover mower that’s suitable for small gardens and works best on flat lawns.
This hover mower has 1400W of power and a generous 10 meter cable to efficiently mow all over your lawn. It’s made of both metal and plastic for a long service life. Weighing only 5.1kg, you won’t have a problem moving this from storage to your lawn and is the lightest model in this review.
The metal blade has a cutting width of 27cm which is on the lower end of the range of widths of other electric hover mowers. The cutting heights are from 11cm to 31cm. At 11cm, the mower doesn’t cut your grass close to the ground; it’s left a bit long. Adjust the height manually by using one or more of the four spacers. Reviewers online complain that the grass clippings are blown directly at your legs as you mow as there’s no grass collection bag or box but this isn’t a big issue if you choosing a cut and drop model anyway. You also can’t easily buy replacement blades which you need after hours of mowing.
You won’t have to worry about the placement of the switches (usually on the right side of the handle) if you’re left-handed. The Flymo Turbo Lite 270 has an advanced switch system that lets you decide which side of the handle you want the controls on. The handle of this hover mower comes in two parts and you need to assemble it yourself. While the handle is foldable for storage, some online users say that the handle’s too short for tall people to operate the mower comfortably.
- The electric mower has 1400 watts that’s powerful enough for a small lawn.
- Works best on small flat lawns without bumps and ridges.
- Electric cable is 10m long and reaches across a small lawn without using an extension cable.
- The cutting width is 27cm, but there’s a 25cm width model if you have a really small lawn.
- Manually adjusted cutting height is from 11mm to 31mm, good for leaving the grass fairly long.
- Lightweight hover mower at 7.7 kg.
- Handle folds down for transportation and compact storage.
- A fan blows the grass at your legs.
- Handle not high enough for tall people.
- No grass collection bag or box.
The Flymo Turbo Lite 270 Electric Hover Lawn Mower is another offering from the high-quality Flymo company. Its 25cm width and selection of cutting heights make it suitable for those with a small flat lawn to look after. The cutting heights are manually adjusted as with most hover lawn mowers. The mower comes with four spacers to do this which gives you five heights to cut the grass at. You can out the controls on either the right or left side of the handle, so it’s comfortable for everyone.
The Flymo Turbo Lite 270 Electric Hover Lawn Mower is a good choice if you have a small, flat lawn and don’t want the hassle of a petrol hover mower.
The hover mower made its debut to the world in 1964. It was originally made in Sweden by Flymo, a company whose name is still synonymous with lawn mowers and especially hover mowers. Most hover mowers don’t have any wheels – they hover above the grass. Without wheels, they are very manoeuvrable and you can direct them in any direction.
Our Buyer’s Guide informs you of the key features to consider in your purchase decision for the best hover mowers.
How a hover mower works
A hover mower is very different from a regular rotary lawn mower. It doesn’t have wheels and it cuts the grass from above rather than at right angles to the grass blades. The hover mower uses a rotating cutting disc with one blade. It creates a cushion of air between the lawn mower and the lawn. This air cushion raises the hover mower away from the grass and allows the blades to cut the lawn. Not having wheels lets you have move this mower in all directions, not just backwards and forwards and many people find them easier to you.
Three reasons to choose a hover mower
Without wheels on the hover mower, you don’t have to mow your lawn in straight lines. This is a key point in your lawn mower decision making if you have an irregular shaped lawn with parts sticking out at strange angles.
Most hover mowers are good for mowing slopes up to a 45° angle. Hovering on a cushion of air makes them easier to push up inclines than rotary mowers.
Ready to use
With the best hover mowers, you take them out of the box and they’re ready to use. Most other lawn mowers need you to put an item, or many items together. Even push mowers need some work before you use them. One hover mower in our review does need some DIY skills and tools as you need to attach the handle to the body and no tools come with your purchase.
Where to use
Hover mowers are a good choice for cutting your grass if you keep your grass at a short or medium length. If your traditional four-wheeled mower doesn’t handle slopes and banks very well, consider buying a hover mower for those areas. Most hover mowers handle 45° slopes (or gentler ones) without any trouble.
As you’re not limited to straight lines, hover mowers are useful for cutting close to fences, walls and other garden obstacles. The grass in any tight space in your garden can be cut by these mowers. However, online users generally state that hover mowers don’t work so well on long and overgrown grass.
Most professional grade hover mowers are driven by a petrol engine. These usually have a manual recoil start. Look for motors that are made by highly regarded companies such as Honda. Also, check the cc of the motor to help determine how powerful it is. The size of the fuel tank relates to how often you have to stop and refuel.
Two of the mowers we review in this article run on electricity. Two features are important here – the wattage of the motor and the length of the cable. You need to know if you have to have an extension cord to reach all of your lawn.
Some hover mower descriptions give their power-to-weight ratio. A heavy hover mower with a powerful engine doesn’t necessarily have a better power-to-weight ratio than a lighter one run on electricity.
The weight of a hover mower is a key feature as to how it performs. Petrol mowers tend to be heavier than electric ones mostly because the engines are heavy whereas electric motors are lightweight. Of the mowers in this review, two come in at around 19kg and the lightest one is about 5kg. This is a large weight difference and one that you should consider if you don’t have much upper body strength.
You have to direct the path of the mower and heavier ones can be tough to turn. In addition, heavier mowers may not hover as you need them to. On the other hand, heavier hover mowers do tend to be petrol driven and more powerful than smaller electric mowers and usually hover better than you would think.
Most hover lawn mower decks are made from a plastic. High-Density Polyethylene is popular as is ABS injection-moulded plastic. This material is relatively (to metal) lightweight but some online reviewers complain that, in some cases, the body of the mower is flimsy and cracks but this is usually with cheaper electric mowers. Check the quality of the mower’s deck before you buy.
The cutting ability of any lawn mower revolves around numbers – number of blades, the width of the mower, the height of the grass and the size of the collection bag. In general professional hover lawn mowers only cut-and-discharge the grass clippings back onto the lawn where as some electric models with collect grass clipping. You can’t mulch, create stripes, collect the grass or have a self-propelled hover mower.
Here are standard numbers for hover mowers.
Hover lawn mowers have one blade that rotates parallel to the ground. Most blades are made of metal but you may have a choice between different blade types, including reversible stainless steel, reversible nylon and triple-edged polymer string. Some companies, but not all, sell replacement blades for when yours lose their edge.
The cutting width of a hover mower relates to the power of the mower and the size of your lawn. Electric hover mowers generally have a narrower cutting width (around 30cm) than petrol-powered hover mowers do (around 51cm). With a smaller cutting width, you have to make more passes across your lawn. Larger cutting widths, however, may be too wide for a small garden.
As with regular rotary mowers, hover mowers offer a choice of cutting heights. However, you have to adjust the cutting height manually in most hover mowers. You do this by inserting spacers next to the blade to raise it up (for longer grass). This involves turning of the mower, removing the blade, using your own spanners to add or remove the spacers and reattaching the blade. Grass height adjustment in one of the mowers here is much easier – you just pull a lever
The hover mowers we review here have cutting heights ranging from 10mm to 34mm. You may have a choice of two heights or several more. Be aware of how long you like your blades of grass to be and choose a mower that allows for this.
Collection BagNo products found.
The size of the collection bag isn’t of great concern when choosing the best hover mower for you – most don’t come with one. In our review, the Flymo Glider Compact 330AX Electric Hover Collect Lawn Mower goes with a collection bag that holds 22 Litres of clippings. All the other reviewed mowers return the clippings to the lawn. For convenience, check that the collection bag (if any) of the mower has a see-through part so you can check how full it’s getting.
Many hover mowers let you fold down the handle for ease of transportation and storage. The smaller and lighter mowers can hang on your garage wall, while you need to find floor space for a petrol mower.
Some hover mowers, unusually, claim to cut-and-mulch. Be sure that the mulching produces fine-enough clippings for your lawn.
Hover mowers usually don’t have attached wheels. This may be alright for carrying light mowers and trundling them across paths to get to your lawn. Heavier hover mowers, however, can weigh up to 20+kg and are not easily lifted or transported. Look for mowers that come with transport wheels, whether already on the mower or separately as a kit. The heavier and bulkier the mower, the more you really need wheels.
When people think of buying a new lawn mower, they don’t usually think of hover mowers. We’re so used to mowers with wheels that we push or propel that the idea of a “hovercraft” kind of mower isn’t at the top of our minds. But hover mowers aren’t that new – they’ve been around since the mid ‘60s. Their ability to easily move in all directions, their ease of cutting grass on slopes and their ready-to-use out-of-the-box feature are all attractive qualities. Whether you choose a petrol mower for more power or an electric mower for lightness, the hover mower goes places that other lawn mowers can’t.
Our Best Pick overall is the Flymo XL500 Petrol Hover Lawn Mower. This mower also is our Best Petrol Pick. With power and manoeuvrability, this electric hover mower straightforwardly mows large lawns or small parks making it perfect for both home and professional use which is why it was named our Best Pick.
The Runner-up (overall) and the Best Electric Hover Mower is the Flymo Glider Compact 330AX Hover Collect Lawn Mower. This electric hover mower unusually has a collection box and a central lever for adjusting the cutting height and is perfect for home use.
The Toro HoverPro 500 Petrol Hover Lawn Mower is our Best Pick of hover mowers for Professional use. With a 160cc Honda engine, this mower easily manages flat lawns and steep slopes in extended mowing sessions.
If you decide that you don’t want a hover mower, look at all our reviews of the other types of lawn mowers available:
Last update on 2020-10-22 at 16:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API