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How to Choose a New Lawn Mower

Homeowner Cranking Lawn Mower

Are you wanting to start off the season with a new lawn mower? Finding the perfect one can quickly become a difficult task. It’s easy to feel intimidated with so many choices to select from and on top that, some mowers can be really expensive.

Making the right decision on a lawn mower really comes down to your needs and preferences. Take a look at the article below to get a better idea of the different mowers on the market before making a purchase.

What are your needs?

Before looking at any lawn mower, the best thing to do is have an organized list of your needs. Things like yard size, your budget or if you want a walk or ride mower really narrows down your options. It may even be surprising to you that there are different types of mowers out there. 

For example, if you have a really large yard, you may want to spend the extra money to purchase a riding lawn mower so you don’t get exhausted with pushing one. If you own several acres of land, a push mower seems pretty impractical.

Your budget can also play a huge role in your lawn mower selection. If you’re only looking to spend about $200 on a lawn mower, that automatically eliminates most electric, robotic or riding lawn mowers. If environmentally-friendliness is a big priority to you, it may be worth spending extra money on a mower that’s not powered by gas. 

1. Reel Mower

The first mower on our list is the reel mower. A reel mower is a lawn mower that uses a helical blade that meets a bed knife as seen in the image below. Its method for cutting grass is very similar to scissors. They spin with a horizontal shaft on a central axel. 

The blades also create an updraft that makes the grass stand up so it can be cut. 

There are both manual and gas-powered reel mowers. Manual reel mowers are human propelled and therefore do not leave a carbon footprint whereas gas-powered reel mowers do. 

Reel mowers are preferred for lower mowing heights (under an inch) and are more effective when the grass is not too long, wet or undulating. Reel mowers also have a hard time chopping up twigs and going over rocks. 

For homeowners, reel mowers work best on warm season grasses such as St. Augustine, zoysia and bermuda grass due to the coarse texture of the varieties, making it easier to cut. To learn more about reel mowers, click here

If a reel mower seems like a good option for you, take a look at some of these below. 

2. Rotary Mower

Next up on our list is the rotary mower. A rotary mower cuts by high-speed impact similar to that of a machete that “whacks” the blades of grass like a helicopter wing. They cut in a horizontal position driven by a small engine.

Underneath Lawn Mower Blade Sharpen

Rotary mowers cut a wide variety of grass species and heights. Although rotary blades are easier to sharpen than reel mower blades, gas-powered rotary mowers require the same annual maintenance as gas-powered reel mowers (oil changes, air filter replacements and spark plug replacement). Learn more about rotary mowers here and take a look at some top-performing mowers below.

3. Riding Mower

Riding mowers work just as well as other types of mowers, however they’re typically much more expensive. This may be worth it to those who have larger landscapes and want to enjoy the luxury of riding the lawn mower in place of pushing it.

The rider usually sits on top of the mower and controls it with a set of levers and buttons. These can range anywhere between $1,000–$5,000 or more depending on everything the lawn mower features. Riding mowers are also typically rotary mowers. 

If eliminating the amount of work that goes into mowing a lawn is the biggest advantage for you and you don’t mind spending more money, a riding mower may be the best choice.

4. Cordless/Electric Mower

Both reel and rotary mowers can be electric and they are typically corded or battery-powered. Although they are best for small to mid-sized lawns, cordless and electric mowers are also both quiet and don’t contribute to pollution. This is a huge deal if you enjoy a natural lawn more than an artificial one or xeriscaping.

Electric mowers also require slightly less maintenance than gas mowers and are easier to maneuver than some of the heavier lawn mowers available on the market. Depending on the type of electric mower you are looking for, most of them are often cheaper than other types of lawn mowers. 

Overall, these mowers are often cheaper than gas-powered mowers, they’re easier to maneuver, they’re better for the environment and they are much quieter. What more could you ask for?

5. Robotic Mower

When most think about robotic mowers, they also think of how expensive they can be. Although this can sometimes be a pricey investment, it’s often worth the money you pay up front. In fact, these mowers are durable and can last for up to 10 years. There are also financing options available.

Additionally, these mowers are much better for the environment as they don’t produce emissions. As an electric mower, robotic mowers don’t make a lot of noise so you won’t disturb your neighbors or any nearby wildlife.

The biggest advantage to owning a robotic mower is the ability to spend time doing something else. You don’t have to wake up on early summer mornings to mow the lawn before it gets too hot outside. You can simply set your robotic mower to mow the lawn anytime you want while sleeping in or enjoying a cup of coffee. 

Robotic mowers keep your lawn tidy and neat while continuously cutting only a small amount of grass at a time. This encourages the yard to grow thick and lush.

How to Properly Mow Your Lawn

Now that you have a better understanding of all the mowers available, you can make a more informed decision of which kind of mower you want to purchase for your home lawn. Browse around your local hardware store to see what all’s available and get a better look at the different mowers for yourself.

Once you’ve made a decision on the type of mower you want to have, you should also make sure you’re mowing your specific grass type at the proper height. You can read more about proper lawn mowing maintenance in our Lawn Mowing Guide.  

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