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Ideal Home
Ideal Home
Pete Wise

Neat, nimble and easy-to-use - could the Stihl RME 235 Electric Lawn Mower be perfect for smaller lawns?

Testing the Stihl RME Lawn mower at home

Neatly constructed from lightweight, high-quality components, I'm of the personal opinion that the Stihl RME 235 is simply one of the best lawnmowers for small lawns. Reaching tight spaces and accommodating diverse users are this lawnmower’s superpowers - just don’t try using it on a medium or larger lawn.

There’s no doubt about it: a bigger mower with a greater cutting width and bigger grass collector would be a better bet for larger lawns. But the reality is that many of us would actually be better off downsizing our mower. Per the ONS, the median private garden size in the UK is just 188 m², while households in central London have just 16 m² to tend. 

Stihl’s RME 235 Electric Lawn Mower may be small, but it’s perfectly capable of mowing small lawns. Why go through the bother of storing (and lifting) a monster mower, when you could be zipping around with a conveniently light and manoeuvrable model? 

Our only question mark over the RME 235 was whether its mowing and usability would match its advantages in size and weight. I tried a test sample of the mower to use on my small-ish front lawn, so that I could find out whether Stihl’s lightweight mower offers heavyweight performance. 

 Stihl RME 235 Electric Lawn Mower specs

(Image credit: Future)
  • Motor: 1.2 kW 
  • Weight: 13 kg 
  • Cutting width: 33 cm 
  • Deck material: Plastic 
  • Height adjustment: Side
  • Cutting height: 25-65 mm 
  • No. of cutting heights:
  • Foldable handlebar: Yes (partially)
  • Collection capacity: 30 litres
  • Power source: mains (wired)
  • Power cable length: 10 metres
  • Intended lawn area: up to 300 m²

Who tested this lawn mower?

First impressions of the Stihl RME 235 Electric Lawnmower 

When I first got hold of the Stihl RME 235 in its box, it was immediately apparent that the mower was smaller and lighter than most other lawnmower samples that I've tested. 

There’s quite a lot of packaging included. Thankfully, the great majority of this is recyclable – and the components inside proved to be in great condition. 

(Image credit: Future)

Relative to some other mowers I’ve tried, the RME 235 requires a fair amount of assembly. I needed about 30-45 minutes to put together the handle and grass collection box. 

The mower does come together nicely through the setup process. There are some clever design solutions, like the plastic clips which secure the power cable along one of the bars and minimise strain on the wire. 

(Image credit: Future)

The star screws supplied, which fasten some of the mower’s parts together, have pretty shallow threads within their heads. This makes it quite difficult to turn them using the supplied star key. I'm glad I only had to do it once. 

With all that said, the mower looks great once it’s fully assembled – like a nippy, little race car, ready to take a spin on the lawn. 

Mowing performance  

Overall, I was pretty impressed with the mowing performance of the RME 235. 

The lowest cutting heights (1 and 2) are particularly effective for cutting the grass to an even height. This is great news if you like your lawn to be evenly cropped – although for optimal biodiversity and for helping the cause of rewilding, I’d recommend using a higher cutting height at least some of the time. The RSPB advises that a cutting height of 35-50 mm is better for wildlife. 

(Image credit: Future)

On areas of lawn where the ground is uneven, the RME 235’s cutting performance is a little less reliable than usual. This is true of most mowers, but the effect might be exaggerated by the lightness of the RME 235. Users should be conscious of whether they are lifting the mower during use, and of how this affects the contact between lawn and blade. I'd recommend mowing with a light touch: push gently, and allow the weight of the mower to rest on the ground, in order to cut as evenly as possible.

(Image credit: Future)

I tested the RME 235 on fairly damp grass, as well as in dry conditions. While the mower didn’t cut grass damp grass quite as effectively as it mowed drier grass, it proved capable of doing a satisfactory job, either way. The lawn was left looking smartly cut, with most cuttings gathered effectively into the collection box.

Manoeuvrability and ease-of-use 

If you’re interested in buying the Stihl RME 235, that probably means you’re looking for a mower that’s small, light and easy to store. 

At 13 kg, the RME 235 is significantly lighter than the average electric lawnmower – including some very good models such as the Bosch AdvancedRotak 750 (16kg) and the Stihl RMA 443 TC (23kg). Clearly, this could be really important for users who sometimes struggle to use heavier garden equipment – especially if there are steps leading to the shed/storage space.

(Image credit: Future)

Another benefit in terms of accessibility is that the trigger on the mower handle is easy to press down. This could be helpful for users who have small-to-medium-sized hands. 

This mower’s small footprint means it is relatively good at poking into tight spaces, which is handy if you have obstacles in or around the lawn area, such as potted plants or paving stones.

As this is a corded electric lawn mower, you obviously have the impediment of a power cable to deal with while you mow. This is clearly a disadvantage, versus using a cordless electric or petrol-powered mower. But on a positive note, choosing corded means you’re probably saving on price and getting a less complicated product. 

The 10-metre power cable supplied with the mower is long enough to cater for the small lawns which the RME 235 is designed to mow. However, you may need to run an extension cable to the lawn’s edge. 

Storage and maintenance  

The RME 235 is pretty convenient to store, thanks to its relatively small size. However, there have been a few missed opportunities to make the mower even handier to store in the tightest spaces. The mower uses a solid grass collection box rather than a partially soft one, and the handle is only foldable at its halfway point. Both of these design choices increase the requirement for storage space. 

Folding down the handle of this mower is a slightly fiddly process – you have to partially unscrew the plastic pegs on the inside of each bar, and then fold the handle at the pivot point.

For long-term storage over winter, I'd be tempted to temporarily remove the mower’s handle assembly and lay it down beside the mower, to free up space in the shed. 

It's easy to clean the RME 235. I simply disconnected it from the mains, rested it on its side, scraped out any leftover cuttings using a garden cane, brushed the underside with a damp brush, and then dried it very carefully with a cloth. Going through this process helps to prevent rust and extend the lifespan of the mower. 

With all that said, the RME 235 is easier to store and clean than most electric lawnmowers are – which makes it a good choice for customers who have relatively little storage space to spare. 

Should you buy the Stihl RME 235 Electric Lawnmower?  

The Stihl RME 235 Electric Lawnmower is an excellent option for mowing small lawns – particularly for users who prize a lightweight build and nifty handling.

We would recommend this mower, in particular, to users whose lawns are small, who have limited space in the shed, or who don’t particularly enjoy lifting heavy equipment. If this describes you, the RME 235 could be your ideal lawn mower.

(Image credit: Future)

Of course, it’s worth factoring in other people’s opinions, In online ratings and reviews, customers were generally positive about the RME 235. Ratings on Amazon average out at around 4-stars – which matches our own assessment. Customers praised the mower’s build quality and cutting performance. 

 About this review, and the reviewer  

Pete Wise is a writer and reviewer from Leeds. His work has been published by titles including Ideal Home, The Guardian, BBC Good Food and The Independent. When he’s not busy writing, Pete can often be found lazing on a sun lounger in his garden, reading, listening to music, or doing nothing at all. 

In line with our guidelines on how we test products that we recommend, Pete tested this lawn mower at home before coming to the conclusions in this review. 

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