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Last updated on November 3rd, 2020
Are you interested in mowing and fertilising your lawn in less time and with less effort? Welcome to the world of mulching mowers. With these marvellous machines, you do not have to stop mowing to empty the grass collection bag or spend forever raking up the grass clippings the mower discharges all over the lawn. Mulching mowers cut the grass, chop the clippings finely, and send them back to the lawn where they break down and provide nutrients to the growing grass. Nowhere in this process do you even have to touch a blade of cut grass. This is perfect if you mow regularly or you have a large area of grass to mow like a orchid or paddock.
This Best Mulching Mowers review looks at two different types of mulching mower. The first is the dedicated mulching mowing whose only task is to cut and mulch your grass, being designed for this these are the best types by far and do the best overall job. The second type is the general lawn mower that has a mulching function in addition to all its other (regular) cutting functions. We look at the best mulching (lawn) mowers and discuss their features. Our recommendations identify the high points and who each mower is suitable for.
Our Best Pick overall is the Hyundai HYM510SP 4-Stroke Petrol Lawn Mower. This is a self-propelled petrol lawn mower with a Hyundai engine. It can cut-and-collect, cut-and discharge and more importantly for you, mulch. This is ideal for the home user who needs a multifunction mower.
Our Best Mulching Mower for Professionals is the Stiga Multiclip Pro 50 SXH Self Propelled Mulching Lawn Mower. This is a dedicated mulching mower that cuts up to and over 2,000m2 of grass. Superior performance and reliability.
The Best Cordless Mulching Mower we found is the EGO Power + LM2122E-SP Cordless Self-Propelled Mower. This mower can cut-and-collect and mulch. It’s self-propelled and has variable speed so you won’t end up running behind it. In terms of cordless mowers, this is certainly one of the best models.
Best Pick for Professionals
Our Best mulching mower for Professionals or someone looking for a dedicated model, is the Stiga Multiclip Pro 50 SXH Self Propelled Mulching Lawn Mower. This petrol, self-propelled mower is a dedicated mulching mower – it only cuts and mulches. Its design focusses on mulching rather than a variety of cutting modes. That said, the mower has a respectable 48cm cutting width and a good range of cutting heights. As this is designed for professional gardeners who may spend many long sessions of mowing, comfort features are built-in. The handlebar is adjustable up and to the side and has a vibration-damping system. This is a serious contender if you’re determined to put only high-quality mulch on your lawn. We also have a similar cordless version we review further down, ideal for those who would rather not maintain a petrol engine.
Best Pick of Cordless Mulching Mowers
Best Mulching Mowers Reviews
1. Hyundai HYM510SP 4-Stroke Petrol Lawn Mower
The Hyundai HYM510SP 4-Stroke Petrol Lawn Mower is a self-propelled petrol mower with a recoil starting system. Just pull the starting cable to get it going and walk comfortably behind it as it goes in its way. The Hyundai 196cc engine is powerful as well as costing you less for petrol given its fuel efficiency. The tool-free assembly means that you don’t have to have just the right tool to put it together.
This Hyundai mower is 3-in-1, with three different functions in one mower. It cuts-and discharges (but not mulched), cuts-and-collects and what your more interested in, mulches. For the cut and discharge, remember this isn’t mulching, you choose whether to discharge the grass to the rear or the side of the mower. A side chute is included with your purchase. When you want to mulch, insert the mulching plug and ensure that the side discharge chute is closed, this then chops the grass clipping into tiny pieces and returns them to the lawn. The collecting bag holds 70 Litre of grass clippings should you just collect the clipping, this is larger than most mowers. It has a see-through top with a high airflow to bring the clippings inside. The level indicator is another way to determine how full the bag is, overall some great features.
As for mowing, the cutting width is 51cms, which is a great width for medium to large-sized lawns. This mower deals easily with lawns up to and over 2,000m2. The range of cutting heights is from 25mm for a close cut to 75mm for a longer finish or cutting longer grass to bring it down in stages and goes up in six steps. You adjust the cutting height by using a central lever. This range of cutting heights is suitable for just about any look you want your lawn to have.
The Hyundai HYM510SP is a single speed mower, if you get the more expensive HYM510SPE (note it has the ‘E’ on the end) it has variable speed and push-button start. This model with the standard one speed is a moderate walking speed.
A safety feature of this Hyundai mower is that the engine cuts out when you take your hands off the handlebar. This is a standard feature found in many mowers, but it does mean that you have to restart the mower whenever you empty the collection bag. However, you won’t need to do this too often with the large bag on this mower. If your using the mulching feature you obviously won’t need to do this at all.
An additional and welcome feature is that the handle bar folds down to make the mower smaller and much more compact. This is good news if you have limited storage space to house the mower in the winter. The mower is covered by the standard Hyundai platinum 3-year warranty, but note that conditions do apply. For professional use, it’s reduced to 1 year or 1000 hours.
Note: The engine size given on the Amazon.co.uk website for this mower is 173cc. However, the specifications on the same web page state that it’s 196cc, as does the manufacturer’s website.
The Hyundai HYM510SP 4-Stroke Petrol Lawn Mower is an all-round lawn and mulching mower that can deal with lawns anywhere under 2,000m2. It’s also suitable if you have even larger areas of grass to mow. You don’t have to buy any attachments to mulch your grass. It even comes with a side discharge chute giving you the option of where to place the grass in discharge mode but remember this is different than mulching. This is unusual among lawn mowers in the more affordable range.
We’ve made the Hyundai HYM510SP 4-Stroke Petrol Lawn Mower our Best Pick of mulching mowers as its so versatile and affordable, a great choice for the home gardener.
If you have large (or medium) grass areas that you want to mulch but don’t want the hassle and expense of buying different mowers, this could be the best choice for you.
2. Stiga Multiclip Pro 50 SXH Self Propelled Mulching Lawn Mower
Best Pick for Professionals
The Stiga Multiclip Pro 50 SXH Self Propelled Mulching Lawn Mower is a single-purpose mower – it only mulches after cutting the grass. The design of the mower, therefore, focusses on this one task so as you might expect, it gets the best finish in terms of mulching.
This Multiclip Pro 50 SXH mower is built for the professional so it will fit the needs of even the most serious home gardener. The engine is by Honda so you won’t find better in terms of reliability, performance and is a 167cc choke engine with a standard recoil pull coil to start. This amount of power lets you cut lawns up to 2,000m2 and even larger if you have an extensive garden.
Even though mulching is the main function of this mower, you still need to cut the grass first. The Stiga Multiclip Pro 50 SXH is a self-propelled mower that saves you energy as you only have to guide and not push it. It also takes the strain out of mowing up slopes. However, it has a single speed.
The mower’s cutting width is a respectable 48cm. You won’t have to make as many passes across your lawn as with a smaller mower. Your choice of cutting heights is from 31mm to 71mm. Move between these heights in five steps using a central pull lever.
As this mulching mower is designed for long use by professionals, attention to detail has been put on comfort. The handlebar has a built-in vibrating damping system so your hands, arms and shoulders receive as little shaking as possible, if you mow professionally you will know what we mean. The handlebar can be adjusted in two dimensions: height wise and laterally. Picking up and transporting the mower is made easier with the carrying handle. However, the handle doesn’t fold for storage so you need a big enough space in your shed or garage for its winter home.
This Stiga mower comes with a 5-year extended warranty (with terms) for home use and a 1-year warranty (also with terms) for commercial use.
Stiga Multiclip Pro 50 SXH Self Propelled Mulching Lawn Mower is designed for professionals and serious home gardeners with large grass areas. This is shown in its powerful engine and attention to details that reduce your strain and stress when mowing. Being self-propelled, this mower does most of the hard work with just your guidance.
We’ve made the Stiga Multiclip Pro 50 SXH Self Propelled Mulching Lawn Mower our Best Pick for Professionals in our Best Mulching Mower review.
If you’re a professional or a serious home gardener that wants a high quality of mulch for your lawn, consider this Stiga mower, probably the best mower in this review but it comes at a more premium price.
Read next: Best lawn mowers for wet and long grass
3. EGO Power + LM2122E-SP Cordless Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Best Pick for Cordless Mulching Mower
The EGO Power + LM2122E-SP Cordless Self-Propelled Lawn Mower is just as its name says – a self-propelled mower that’s cordless, that is it runs on advanced lithium batteries. This mower is suitable for small and medium-sized lawns up to 1,200m2. It has all the features to make your mowing cores easier. We will say that this is one of the best cordless lawn mowers we have seen both in terms of build quality and performance, especially for a cordless model. Bosch could learn a lot from this company.
The rechargeable battery is 56V, compare this to most other cordless lawn mowers that are 40V. When it fully charged it runs for about 50 minutes which is much longer than most other cordless models. It’s worth noting that this battery is usable in all the EGO Power+ line of garden tools and machinery. The battery has indicator lights to tell you how much charge is left. In addition, this mower comes with a rapid recharger so you can get back to mowing in know time.
The EGO Power + LM2122E-SP has a welcome feature of variable speeds, very unusually for cordless models as is its self propelled feature. Adjust how fast it goes to suit the landscape or your energy level, great features.
The EGO Power + LM2122E-SP has two functions: cut-and-collect and more importantly for this review, mulching.
The cutting features of this mower are wide-ranging. The cutting width is 52cm which is generous for medium size gardens. Mowing your lawn generates fewer and larger strips for a smoother finish. You have six choices of cutting height from 28mm for a close cut to 94mm for longer grass. This range of heights gives everything from a close shave to a shaggy look to your grass. For the cut-and-collect function, 70 Litres of clippings fit into the collection bag, again this is a large collection bag for a mower. The bag is mounted on the rear of the mower right in front of the operator. The bags indicator lets you know when it’s full, another simple but nice feature.
For the comfort of your mowing experience, the handlebar is adjustable to lessen any strain on your upper body, again most cordless models don’t have this feature, most just have one height setting. (The variable speed does the same for your lower body.) Choose from three different heights to suit the grass situation and your tiredness level. The handlebar also fold down to make the mower more compact and easy to store.
The EGO Power + LM2122E-SP Mower has a five-year domestic warranty on the mower and a three-year domestic warranty on the battery and charger. For professional use, you do get 1-year warranty.
The EGO Power + LM2122E-SP Cordless Self-Propelled Lawn is a battery mower that is powerful enough to manage the mowing tasks on small and medium-size lawns. Its 56V battery is rechargeable and your purchase includes a rapid recharger so you can get back to mowing sooner. Its two functions, cut-and-collect and mulching, enable you to cut your lawn in the usual way or to return the clippings as mulch to the grass for fertiliser. The cutting height range is wide to suit all lawn owners’ tastes for the appearance of their grass.
We’ve made the EGO Power + LM2122E-SP Cordless Self-Propelled Lawn our Best Pick of Cordless Mulching Mowers. However, for professionals we would recommend the Stiga Multiclip Pro 50S AE (80V) Cordless Self-Propelled Mower instead.
Consider a cordless mower, and this one in particular, if a petrol mower is not in your environmental plan and you don’t want an electric cord training behind your mower.
4. AL-KO 468 SP-A Bio Self-Propelled Mulching Mower
The AL-KO 468 SP-A Bio Self-Propelled Mulching Mower is exactly as the name says and also has a petrol engine. The engine is AL-KO’s 486 SP-A Bio motor and is single speed.
The AL-KO 468 SP-A is a self-propelled mower with only one speed. If you’re comfortable walking behind it at 3.5kph, then you’ll manage well. Small or medium lawn area, up to 1,200m2, are well within the area that this mower can handle. The recoil start is easy to operate and the front wheel drive makes mulching as effortless as possible.
Where this model differs from our ‘Professional Pick’ is its a 2-in-1 mower – it cuts-and-side discharges or you can just mulch and drop like most other models. In both cases, the grass clippings are returned to the lawn. There’s no cut-and-collect function so if you need to perform this process, you need another mower. Mulching produces a fine, almost dust-like, covering while discharge returns the clippings as cut to the lawn so you can rake them up or leave them. The grass clippings are discharged to the side of the mower so you’re not walking through them as you move forward. As this is primarily a mulching mower the cutting deck, made from sheet steel, is specially designed for optimal efficiency of mulching. Its steel construction also makes the mower long-lasting.
The cutting width of the blade is 46cm which is in proportion to small or medium size lawns. Your choice of cutting heights is from 30mm to 80mm in four stages giving an adequate choice of grass lengths for all seasons. The ergonomically shaped handlebar takes most of the strain out of your mowing task.
Al-KO provides a two-year warranty for domestic use.
The AL-KO 468 SP-A Bio Self-Propelled Mulching Mower is a petrol mower whose focus is on mulching and is a good alternative to the Stiga Multiclip Pro 50 SXH Self Propelled Mulching Lawn Mower for anyone looking for a more affordable option for a dedicated mulching mower.
The specifically designed steel deck is up to this task for small and medium lawns. You have the option to discharge the grass instead of mulching it but then you have to rake up the grass that you don’t want to leave on the lawn.
If you’re fussy about the quality of mulch that you use to organically fertilise your small to medium size lawn and don’t want to push your mower around, consider the AL-KO 468 SP-A Bio Self mulching mower.
5. Stiga Multiclip Pro 50S AE (80V) Cordless Self-Propelled Mower
The Stiga Multiclip Pro 50S AE (80V) Cordless Self-Propelled Mower is another mower whose sole purpose is to cut and mulch the grass from your lawn. The mower is created for professional gardeners and home gardeners who take their lawn’s health very seriously.
This cordless (battery-powered) mower works on an 80V battery for ample power. Your purchase of this mower comes with two 80V batteries and a charger. Keep the spare battery fully charged to switch over to if you’re in a long mowing session. The battery housing is on the side of the motor which balances the weight distribution well. Again this cordless mower much much better than most other models, much large capacity battery, more power, better build quality. Amazing from the get-go but all this comes at a premium price.
Cutting small and medium lawns is relatively without strain with this self-propelled mower. The cutting width is 48cm which looks good on these size lawns. The five-step range of cutting heights is from 31mm to 71mm. While not the widest range of grass lengths, it’s more than enough to keep your lawn looking well cared for. Adjust the heights with a single lever.
The warranty with the Stiga Multiclip Pro 50S AE is for two years if you use it domestically and for one year when used commercially. Would be nice to see a longer warranty for domestic use, 5 years would bring it in line with other top models.
The Stiga Multiclip Pro 50S AE (80V) Cordless Self-Propelled Mower is a one-function mower – it mulches the grass that it cuts. There are no cut-and-collect or cut-and-discharge functions; this mower has one purpose in mind. The extra 80V battery that comes with this mower is handy to keep charged in case the working one powers out in the middle of your mowing session.
For those who want their mower to focus on mulching and prefer a cordless one, this is a top choice and well worth considering.
6. Greenworks 40v G40LM41K2x Cordless Lawn Mower
The Greenworks 40V G40LM41K2x Cordless Lawn Mower is a cordless mower (as its name says) that is suitable for small gardens. Many of its features are designed to work efficiently in a small space. However, this is not a self-propelled mower so you need to push it along yourself but for the price for domestic use, this model is a serious contender if you want to mulch as well as collect occasionally.
This mower comes with 40v 2Ah rechargeable batteries and a charger so you’ll always have battery power available. Indeed, you’ll always have power for all your Greenworks cordless tools and machinery as the battery is interchangeable. If you use the provided batteries, you can mow about 300m2. By replacing this battery with a 4Ah one, your available mowing area goes up to 600m2. The starter key has a security feature so that you (or your kids) can’t accidentally turn on the mower.
The Greenworks G40LM41K2x mower has two functions: cut-and-collect and of course mulching. If you have enough grass mulch on your lawn already, switch to the cut-and-collect function. The clippings are collected in a 50-litre collection bag. This may seem small compared to the size of collection bags on other mowers (up to 70L), but it’s the right size for small lawns.
The cutting width is 40cm, narrower than most but perfect for a small garden. The strips will be in proportion to the lawn area. The range of cutting heights starts from a short 20mm to a longer-but-still-good-looking 70mm. The mower is best suited to cutting shorter rather than longer grass. The body of the mower and the wheels are made of heavy-duty plastic which contributes to its lightweight.
The Greenworks G40LM41K2x Cordless Lawn Mower (40V) is best for small gardens up to 300m2. Some of its features are smaller than on other mowers to let it work easily and efficiently in small spaces and for small lawns. You don’t have to mulch your lawn every time you mow it as there’s also a cut-and-collect feature. The collection bag volume and the cutting width are all appropriate for a petite lawn.
This could be your dream mulching lawn mower if you have a small garden and want to regularly organically mulch the lawn as well as cut it normally sometimes.
What do mulching mowers do?
Mulching lawn mowers help to create and maintain a healthy and vibrant lawn by cutting the grass clippings finely and re-circulating them back onto to the lawn. The mulching mower cuts the grass with a special blade and then recuts the clippings several times so that they’re really small. The clippings rapidly decompose on the lawn and put nutrients back into the grass. It’s an organic way of fertilising your lawn and we recommend mulching occasionally for any lawn.
Plus they also save you time, which is itself a worthwhile benefit. You don’t have to stop cutting the grass to empty the collection bag; you don’t have to rake the cut grass of the lawn after using the cut-and-discharge function. You don’t have to worry about what to do with the clippings once you’ve raked them up or worry about whether your compost heap can handle any more green stuff.
Do I need a mulching mower?
If you garden organically or don’t want to use inorganic fertiliser on your lawn, then a mulching mower is a useful purchase. The mulched clippings feed nutrients to your lawn in a way that are easily absorbed by your growing grass. You still have to add fertiliser (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and micronutrients) to the lawn throughout the year as the clippings can only do so much.
Mowing lawns through the summer and the autumn amasses a great deal of grass clippings. If you’re tired of hauling grass clippings to the compost heap or, even more time consuming, finding a rubbish tip to put them it because your recycle bin is overflowing, consider a mulching mower. With this mower, once you’ve finished cutting the lawn, that’s it – no raking cut grass or turning over the compost heap. You can lay on the patio, knowing that your grass clippings are serving a purpose.
If you want to save time and effort when mowing your lawn, a mulching mower could be for you.
Do I need a dedicated mulching mower or can I use my lawnmower?
People disagree when answering this question. A mower that’s dedicated to just mulching is specially designed for just that task. The blades are specifically to cut and recut grass into small clippings and often produce a finer grade of mulch. However, you still need a mower to cut your grass if you don’t want to mulch at that time.
Lawn mowers for general use have a number of functions, particularly cut-and-discharge (put the clippings directly back onto the lawns) and cut-and-collect (clippings go into an attached bag or box). Some also have a mulching function including the models we reviewed in this guide.
In many cases, the lawn mower’s mulching function isn’t as good as that of a dedicated mulching mower. But you can cut and mulch with the same mower so you only need to purchase one. For some regular mowers without a mulching function, you can buy a mulching kit to add this feature.
Mulching mower construction
Mulching mowers are powered in one of three ways: petrol, electricity or battery (cordless). Whichever power source you choose is up to what you prefer and how much power you need.
Stand-alone mulching mowers
Stand-alone mulching machines are designed entirely for just one task – mulching. Having said that, a few dedicated mulching mowers have a side chute so you can cut the grass in the normal way as well and discharge to the collection to collect later if needed. This can be ideal of the grass is very long.
The deck is aerodynamic underneath to encourage the air and the cut grass blades to move in two directions. The air and clippings move in a circular direction and also in a kind of vortex that lets the specially designed blades (sometimes with twin cutting edges) cut the clippings several times. The clippings, which are very small by now, are forced down from the cutting deck and into the lawn to the base of the growing grass.
Regular lawn mowers that mulch
The mulching function of regular lawn mowers may be one of its functions. In general, you must insert the mulching plug to activate this function.
If this is a feature that you’d like but isn’t on your current mower, check to see if it can be added through a mulching kit in the same brand and line as your mower. Attach the mulching blades and other parts in the kit to your mower and you’re ready to make organic fertiliser for your lawn.
Pros and Cons of a mulching mower
We’ve already talked briefly about the benefits of using a mulching mower. Here we add a few more and also investigate the downside of such a mower. You’ll notice that the same issue sometimes appears in both the pros and cons lists.
- You don’t have to use as much water on your lawn as the mulch protects the soil from water evaporation.
- Worms love grass clippings and they aerate the soil and fertilise the grass with worm casings.
- Reduces the amount of weeds by stopping wed seed germination.
- A mulching mower also mulches the fallen leaves on your lawn in autumn. (But make sure the grass blades can still be seen tough the layer of mulched leaves.)
- While the nutrients in grass clippings are feeding your lawn, they’re also doing the same for any weeds that are there.
- Worms love grass clippings so you may notice a few more than usual in your grass.
- Mulching cuts up any weeds in your lawn and delivers them right back there.
- Clippings may not breakdown efficiently if the lawn is already full of inorganic fertilisers.
Tips for successful mulching
- Make sure your blades are sharp to give a precise cut and finer re-cuttings.
- Mow off only the top third of the blade of grass. If your grass grows quickly, you have to do this more frequently.
- Mow frequently anyway to avoid leaving behind clumps of visible clippings.
- Mulching works best on dry grass.
- Mulching works better when the grass is dry.
- Keep the underside of the deck clean and dry. Service the mulching mower frequently, including cleaning it after every time you use it. If the mower has a port to attach your garden hose to, this task is a breeze.
Mulching mowers could be a lifesaver if the idea of never having to rake your grass clippings again or worry about composting them makes you sigh with relief. The mowers in this review provide a wide range of the options available. They range from dedicated mulching mowers to those that have all the features and more of regular lawn mowers, from petrol to cordless power, and from home gardening to professional use.
If you decide to buy a mulching mower, of whatever sort, make sure to read our Buyer’s Guide before your purchase. It will help you decide which features of the mower are essential and which are nice to have.
Our Best Pick of all mulching mowers is the Hyundai HYM510SP 4-Stroke Petrol Lawn Mower. This self-propelled mower has a 196cc Hyundai engine that makes it a powerful mulching and all-round mower for large lawns.
Our Best Pick for a mulching mower for Professionals is the Stiga Multiclip Pro 50 SXH Self Propelled Mulching Lawn Mower. This self-propelled petrol is designed for one purpose –to cut and then mulch your grass. It’s created for professionals so serious lawn carers find everything they need on a mulching mower.
We also have a Best Pick for Cordless mulching mowers. The EGO Power + LM2122E-SP Cordless Self-Propelled Lawn Mower is also self-propelled but is most suitable for small and medium gardens up to 1,200m2. It’s cutting height range (22mm to 94mm) is the widest range of the mulching mowers in this review.
If you decide not to focus on the mulching function of your new mower, check out our reviews of regular lawn mowers, some of which do have a mulching function.
Last update on 2021-05-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API