Looking for a mower to spread clippings back onto your lawn?
In this buyer’s guide, we’ve reviewed the 7 best mulching lawn mowers you can buy in the UK in 2021.
Quick comparison table
Best mulching lawn mowers
Let’s begin our reviews.
We’ve reviewed the 7 best mulching mowers in the UK based on quality, durability, and value for money.
This isn’t a dedicated mulching mower. But it’s not a normal multifunction mower either.
Instead, this is essentially a normal mower, with a mulching add-on included. If you ever want to mulch your lawn, all you need to do is install the mulching kit.
The flexibility Einhell offers with this mower is really great to have. You can make this a dedicated mulching mower if you’d like, and it does pretty well creating ultra-fine clippings you can use as mulch.
Apart from that, this is a light, easy to use, battery-powered lawn mower. It comes with a 2-year manufacturer warranty, and the build quality is quite good – Einhell is German, after all.
Overall, if you want the flexibility to choose between collecting lawn clippings and distributing them as mulch, this is a great choice.
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2. Cobra MM51B
The MM51B from Cobra is one of the few true mulching mowers you can buy in the UK right now.
This mower is designed specifically to mulch your grass, and push it back into the soil to use as compost. It features a small, lightweight design, with no catch bag. However, you can enable side discharge mode if you’d prefer not to mulch on a given mow.
When the side discharge chute removed, the Cobra does a great job producing ultra-fine mulch to release nutrients back into your grass. It’s easy to adjust the cutting height depending on how much mulch you want to create, and the blades stay sharp nicely over time, despite how much work they do.
The price of this lawn mower is quite reasonable, and you get a 2-year warranty included.
Do be aware though that this is a petrol powered, self propelled lawn mower, which isn’t for everyone. If you don’t want to use petrol, there are other options, but very few are dedicated mulching mowers.
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Hyundai’s multi-functional lawn mower is one of the cheapest options you can buy right now that has a mulching feature.
What they’ve done is include a mulching plug, if you don’t want to catch your clippings. This distributes mulch back onto the grass.
However, because the cutting deck and blades aren’t designed with mulching in mind, your results won’t be as good as if you used a dedicated mulching mower, such as the Cobra we just reviewed. It can leave clumps of grass when you put the mulching plug in.
There are a few upsides to this mower though, especially if you’re on a budget.
For one, the price is very good. This is one of the cheapest mowers from a proper brand you can buy right now. And secondly, it comes with a 3-year warranty, rather than the 2-year guarantees included with most other lawn mowers.
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If you’re looking for a self-propelling mower with a mulching setting, this is worth looking at.
You actually have three options with this mower – you can collect clippings, side eject them, or mulch them. When mulching, this mower does a good job evenly distributing your clippings.
As a battery powered, self-propelling mower, this option is quite easy to use. It’s very convenient to have something self-propelling that you don’t need to fill up with petrol. The battery-powered design also makes this mower very quiet.
However, because it’s self-propelling, this lawn mower does require bigger batteries, which cost more. This isn’t a particularly cheap lawn mower, and unfortunately, the batteries are sold separately.
On the whole though, you do get what you pay for. This is a good quality, versatile lawn mower with a good mulching function. It also comes with a 3-year warranty (2 years for the battery and charger).
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This is another reasonably priced all-in-one lawn mower that includes a mulching plug. However, Mountfield’s mower is a slightly better option than the Hyundai we just looked at.
The main reason we like this mower is because of its build quality. Despite the price, and despite being so light, it feels quite sturdy. It’s nice and durable, which is what you want when buying outdoor equipment.
With the mulching plug in place, it does a good job distributing lawn cuttings back onto your grass. It doesn’t produce extremely fine mulch like a more expensive mulch mower would, but it does a good job overall.
Mountfield includes a standard 2-year warranty with this lawn mower. You’re unlikely to have to use it though.
The Princess 34 is best if you’re looking for a budget mulching lawn mower than also works well when collecting clippings. It is self-propelled, but this means a longer battery life, which is good if you have an above-average sized lawn.
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The Makita DLM382Z is another 3-in-1 mower with good mulching capabilities. The difference is this mower is a bit more expensive than its rivals, in part because batteries aren’t included.
For the extra money, there are some nice benefits to this mower.
Makita have really designed this mower with the user in mind – it’s very ergonomic. They’ve included an electronic brake for instance, to improve operator safety. Even the handlebar feels really nice to use, because it’s made from a really soft rubber.
Plus, this is a very quiet lawn mower, even by battery powered mower standards. You won’t have to worry about annoying the neighbours as you mow.
The build quality is also very good. It’s a durable lawn mower, and despite not being made specifically for mulching, it does a good job returning your grass clippings to the ground evenly as compost.
Just be aware of the terms of the warranty. By default, it only lasts for 2 years. You need to register with Makita within 30 days of purchase to extend this warranty to the full 3 years.
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This lawn mower from Stiga is probably the most expensive mulching mower you can buy right now in the UK – by far.
If you think it’s worth spending this much money on a non-ride-on mower, then you get pretty much everything you’d expect with the MULTICLIP 50 SX.
The cutting deck does a brilliant job producing ultra fine mulch and forcing it down into the soil. And because it’s self-propelling, this mower is very easy to use.
It’s also extremely nimble. Because it’s small, and quite lightweight, you can get this mower into some very hard to reach spots. And as you might expect given its price, the build quality is great.
It’s important to note, that this is a petrol mower, so you’ll need to refuel it every so often. On the plus side though, you get a 5-year warranty included, which is nice.
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How to buy a mulching lawn mower
In this section, we’ll explain some things to consider when buying a lawn mower specifically for mulching.
What is mulching?
Mulching is the process of cutting your grass and redistributing the lawn clippings (also known as mulch) back onto the surface, rather than collecting them.
Mulching your grass clippings has a number of important benefits:
- Providing nutrients to the soil, improving the health of your lawn.
- Helping your lawn get the nitrogen it needs to grow. This means you need to apply less fertiliser to keep your lawn looking healthy.
- Retaining moisture. Grass clippings are made up of about 85% water, meaning if you leave them on your lawn, this can help a little bit to keep your grass moist when the weather is warm.
- Time saving. When you mulch, no longer do you need to worry about handling and disposing of your lawn clippings every time you mow.
You might want to avoid mulching with clippings if you have a thatch problem, as leaving lawn clippings in place can exacerbate thatch growth.
Also, mulching is not recommended when mowing a new lawn for the first time.
Why buy a mulching mower – what do they do?
You can technically use a normal lawn mower without the grass box for mulching. However, there are specialist mulching mowers on the market that do a much better job.
Mulching mowers are helpful because they:
- Produce a finer mulch. They recirculate grass clippings into the cutting deck, producing finer grass clippings that are easier for your lawn to digest.
- Distribute grass clippings better. Mulching mowers are designed to ensure that your cut grass is spread evenly as you mow your lawn.
- Push clippings back into the soil more effectively. Rather than leaving clumps of grass, they will push the clippings back into the soil.
Essentially, without a mulching mower, you’ll need to spend a lot more time managing the clippings and spreading them back onto your lawn, if you want to use them as compost.
Different types of mulching mowers
Like most lawn mowers, mulching mowers come in the following three types:
- Electric (corded)
- Electric (battery)
The type of mower you go for really depends on your garden, and your level of mowing expertise.
For example, if you have a large lawn, and are comfortable with the noise, then a petrol mower may be your best bet.
On the other hand, if you have a small lawn, with a nearby power outlet, then an electric corded mower might be the most convenient option.
However, do be aware that corded mowers are less common than the other two types. For most multifunction lawn mowers, they’ll be battery powered. On the other hand, most dedicated mulching lawn mowers will be petrol powered.
What makes a lawn mower good at mulching?
There are two main features of a lawn mower than make it good at mulching:
- The blades. Mulching mowers have special blades with more cutting surfaces. Often, they’re doubled-edged. This gives grass clippings more chance to be cut into smaller pieces in the cutting deck.
- The airflow in the cutting deck. Mulching mowers will have a repeating vortex of air on the cutting deck. This is how they get grass clippings to go through the blades multiple times.
And obviously, dedicated mulching mowers won’t have a clippings bag to collect cut grass as you mow.
Can you use normal lawn mowers for mulching?
Using a stock standard lawn mower and taking the catcher bag off isn’t recommended. The mulch produced will likely be too thick, and won’t be forced into the ground.
However, many normal lawn mowers will have some sort of mulching setting. This will involve closing the side discharge chute (if you have one) and removing the catching bag.
While this won’t result in the best mulching results, it can work if with the right cutting deck.
You can also buy specialised mulching kits. A mulching kit is a way of transforming your mower so that it works better for redistributing your clippings as compost.
A typical mulching kit will contain blades with more cutting surfaces, a plug to close the discharge hole, and any other hardware you need to attach the new blades.
Can you buy multifunctional mulcher mowers?
Yes you can – multifunctional lawn mowers that work for bagging and mulching are becoming much more common.
You can get standard mowers with a mulching setting, and you can also get mulching mowers with a bagging or side discharge setting.
What you go for will depend on what you’re likely to do most – bagging or mulching.
However, you will typically get the best mulching results using a specialised mulching mower. If you are unlikely to ever need to bag your grass, for example if you have a small garden, then dedicated mulching mowers are normally your best option.
Can mulching lawn mowers collect grass clippings?
Dedicated mulching mowers cannot collect grass clippings. There are not normally any kits you can buy to convert a mulching mower into a regular mower.
Therefore, if you think you’ll need to bag your grass clippings at some point, it’s best to buy a multifunctional lawn mower.
How to mulch your lawn
There are a few tips to follow to ensure success when mulching your lawn:
- Avoid mulching when the grass is extremely wet. This will cause your mulch to dry in clumps on your grass. Water your grass after mulching if needed.
- Avoid taking too much off your grass if it’s quite tall. This will result in you adding too much mulch at once. It can also clog up and damage your mulching deck. It’s best to stick to the one third rule – never cut more than a third of the height of the grass at a time.
- Ensure that your mower blades are sharp. If they’re not, then the clippings may not be cut small enough. Using dull blades can also rip your grass, damaging the blades, and allowing diseases to take hold.
As a general rule, it’s a good idea to make smaller cuts to your grass more often, rather than doing a single mow every few weeks. This is especially true when mulching, because you never want to leave too much mulch on your lawn at once.