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You could be forgiven for thinking that buying a lawn mower is a relatively simple task, and in some ways it is. Manufacturers give a lot of details on what their mowers are capable of, but that doesn’t mean that every lawn mower is going to suit your needs.
Let’s be fair, most modern mowers are packed with features and this can get pretty confusing. Knowing the best option for cutting height, mowing modes, grass catcher size and any maintenance that might be needed can be headache inducing. You also need to make sure that you are choosing something that is of the best quality. Sure, there aren’t many lawn mowers that are going to be totally useless, but as with anything, there are those that are far superior.
So, before you go rushing off and throw your hard-earned money at something that isn’t going to perform as you’d expect, let’s take a look at how to choose a good lawn mower.
Type Of Lawn Mower
One of the first things that you will need to think about when choosing a lawn mower is the type you are going to go for. If you’re new to lawn mowers then you may be under the impression that they’re all one of the same thing; something that cuts grass. While this is true to an extent, there are several different types to choose from.
Generally speaking, you have the choice between a walk-behind mower, a ride-on mower, and a robot mower. The types are pretty self explanatory, but unless your yard is especially large, you probably won’t need to worry about getting a tractor, or ride-on mower. A walk-behind is usually the most common option, but now more people are looking at robot mowers for convenience as they drastically limit the amount of work you need to do.
Self-Propelled Or Push?
When choosing a walk-behind, there are further options to consider. These models will either be manual, which means that the user must push them around the lawn, or self-propelled where the mower moves itself; all you need to do is guide it. The latter is typically more suited for larger yards and those who may struggle with strength in using a push mower. If you are going to choose a self-propelled mower, make sure to check the speed. Some have variable speeds which allow you to adjust it to suit your pace.
It is not just gas mowers that have self-propelled drive capability, but also there are more and more cordless self-propelled models available on the US market. Don’t for one minute think that cordless battery mowers are not up to the job of cutting your lawn perfectly well; they are also perfectly capable of powering the self-propelled drive as well.
Just to confuse things a little more, you will also need to look at the different types of blade setup. There are three main ones, as follows:
- Cylinder mowers feature three or more blades in a cylindrical shape. The blades at the top move against a fixed blade on the lower part of the cylinder to cut and these are generally better for lawns that have no bumps or hills.
- Rotary mowers are very common and the blades are placed under the mower, horizontally. They move around in a propeller-like motion and you’ll typically find only one blade per mower, although there are some mowers from manufacturers like Honda that feature dual rotary blades.
- The hover mower has rotary blades, but the mower hovers just above the ground. This can make mowing a lot easier and so many people go for this option when the terrain is less than even.
There are four main types of power for your lawn mower and it is important to weigh up the pros and cons of each. In addition, you will need to think about the size of your yard, your personal abilities, and the terrain.
If you are looking for ultimate power then you won’t get anything better than a gas powered lawn mower. These tools are ideal for larger yards. You get the benefit of a faster cut and a much more robust piece of equipment. If you think that a power cable wouldn’t reach the end of your lawn, then gas mowers provide a great solution to this.
That said, there are downsides, these machines require a lot of maintenance owing to the fact that they run on a gas engine. Moreover, they are typically more expensive than electric, but somewhat cheaper than cordless, but you do get a much longer life out of them when they are well maintained.
Also don’t forget you will need to store fuel and oil, not to mention the fumes and noise produced by your gas mower when in use.
Manual Push Mowers
If you only have a small patch of lawn to tend to, then there might not be much point in shelling out a lot of your hard earned dollars for a top of the range powered mower. A manual mower will provide you with a clean and efficient cut without the hassle of worrying about mower maintenance as you would with a gas model. Moreover, they’re excellent for homes where the grass is a little further away from the power point and a cable wouldn’t reach.
Many people think that a manual push mower won’t do as good a job and while it is true that you will need to exert a little more energy, modern models have come a long way.
The corded electric mower is by far one of the most popular choices and makes an ideal tool for people who want a combination of power and convenience. Some of the better electric models rival gas, but with far fewer maintenance responsibilities.
What’s more, they are much more eco-friendly and put out zero emissions. While the same can be said for battery powered mowers, there isn’t the risk of running out of juice halfway through the mow. That said, you do need to be mindful of the power cable, which can be a tripping hazard or limit your mowing reach.
In recent years, the cordless lawn mower has become one of the most well-loved outdoor tools there is. These are ridiculously convenient and easy to use and most models are lightweight, so are favored by people with limited strength or mobility.
The great thing is that, owing to their popularity, manufacturers are now adding a lot of features that you might have only previously seen on gas mowers, making them much more versatile. The power is not quite as impressive, but these mowers provide you with a greener way to tackle larger yards. Of course, you will need to make sure that the running time is sufficient although a lot of cordless models come with the option to buy additional batteries.
What’s more the majority of manufacturers allow you to power share your batteries within the same range of tools. This is a great advantage if you are a fan of one particular brand, as it means that you can save money and purchase a bare tool only.
We all like to tend to our lawns differently and this means that the way I like to mow could be different from the way that you like to mow. But this shouldn’t be an issue since there are a plethora of lawn mowers out there with a range of different mowing options.
Cut & Collect
Many homeowners like to use a grass catcher box or bag. This is a container that attaches to the back of the mower and any clippings are sucked in as they are cut. These grass catcher bags or boxes are featured on almost every lawn mower out there and are considered to be the standard mowing method. What’s great about them is that they are highly convenient and can quickly be emptied. However, you should ensure that, if you go for this option, you choose a grass bag that is large enough for the size of your yard.
Alternatively, a lot of lawn mowers come with a mulching plug. This can be inserted into the back of the mower and, rather than the clippings entering the grass box, they are cut multiple times and returned to the lawn. This works because the blades keep the clippings in the deck for longer, chopping them up very finely. They are then dropped back onto the lawn and will deliver important nutrients and moisture back into it, therefore improving its health.
Side & Rear Discharge
There are also options for side and rear discharge which is typically done using an opening or a chute. This allows you to deposit the grass clippings either behind you or to the side of the mower and is another way of returning them to the ground.
Cutting Height Adjustment
As well as being able to choose how you mow your lawn, it is also important that you have options in terms of cutting height. Most lawn mowers come with adjustable cutting height, but how many options you get will vary by model.
You will normally find that lawn mowers come with between four and six cutting height options, although this can vary. Having the option to change how high you cut the grass is important, especially when mowing in different seasons. But as well as looking at how many choices you have, you will also want to check out how you move through them.
In some mowers, it may be that you need to adjust the cutting height at each wheel which can be time consuming. There are others that have fiddly adjustment mechanisms under the deck, again, this takes time and is inconvenient. However, a lot of the more modern mowers come with a single lever that can be adjusted to move through the cutting heights. This takes seconds and is incredibly easy.
Size And Cutting Width
This is a pretty simple thing to get your head around; the larger your yard, the wider the cutting width needs to be. For very small lawns, you may not need anything that exceeds 17 inches, whereas a larger lawn might require something with a cutting width up to in excess of 22 inches. However, most average homes will have a medium sized lawn that would be well suited to a mower whose cutting width was between 19 and 21 inches.
The last thing you want is a lawn mower that is a nightmare to use. Of course, looking at some of the features I have already discussed will go a long way in helping to choose something that you are going to get on well with, but where comfort is concerned, there are other factors to consider.
For example, you will want to look at the handle. This is especially important if you have a larger yard as you will be spending more time using the mower, this means that things can get uncomfortable quickly if the handle is not ergonomically designed. You should look for padding, comfort, to absorb any vibration and the option to adjust the handle height.
It is also important to think about storage. If you are limited on space, then you might want to look for a lawn mower that has a folding handle, or a grass catcher that can be completely collapsed. There are also mowers that can be stored vertically, freeing up a lot of floor space in your shed or outbuilding.
One of the great things about being a modern consumer is that the number of options available to you is incredibly vast. As well as all of the regular things you would expect from a lawn mower, many of them also have extra features that can come in very handy. However, it is important to assess your needs prior to choosing, as there is little point in forking out for something that has features you aren’t going to use.
Cut to edge mowers are a great choice. This feature means that the mower is adept when it comes to cutting along walls, fences, and other edges, limiting the amount of trimming and edging you need to do at the end of the job. You’ll often find that these mowers also feature grass combs that lift the blades before cutting to ensure that nothing is missed.
For people who want a more manicured look to their lawn, there are many mowers out there that feature a rear roller. This will allow you to create a striped look to the lawn.
Mowing the lawn doesn’t need to be a chore if you can find the right lawn mower. But when it comes to how to choose a good lawn mower, there are more things that you need to consider than you may have first believed. What works well for one person might not work as well for the next so, it is important to think about the needs of your yard and compare these to the features on any mower you are considering.
Do You Still Need Extra Help With Choosing Your Perfect Mower?
To help you with your decision I have created a very handy lawn mower selection tool that allows you to tick all of the features you require on your new mower and the best mower/s will be shortlisted for you in seconds. Why not head over to this selection tool now using the image link below.