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How To Buy A Lawn Mower

I am sure you will agree that a good lawn mower is the most valuable piece of equipment when it comes to keeping your lawn looking nice right?

Trouble is there are now so many different models and varieties on the market when you start to think about how to buy a lawn mower it can make your head spin!

So we are going to try and help  make that decision much easier.

Fact:

There are multiple variations of lawn mowers available in the market to cater for different lawn sizes and consumer preferences. 

Buyers can choose to go for electric, gasoline, ride-on or hand-powered lawn mowers. Others may opt for more unique lawn mowers such as hover mowers or robotic mowers.

And I am not going to lie:

Due to the wide range of lawn mower types available, the process of selecting the right one can be quite confusing.

This article will give you a few pointers to help you in selecting the most appropriate lawn mower and the factors you need to take into consideration.

Ok, lets jump right in.

Factor #1 – Power Source

Lawn mowers basically work by quickly spinning a sharp blade over grass to trim it. The energy required to turn this blade can come from different sources.

Modern lawn mowers are propelled by electricity, gasoline or by hand.

Electric Lawn Mowers

These lawn mowers are fitted with an electric motor which spins the cutting blade. They come with a long power cable that needs to be attached to an electric socket before use.

Advantages

  1. Electric lawn mowers are relatively quiet and can be used even in populated areas without disturbing nearby residents.
  2. They are cheaper and easy to maintain.
  3. Due to the fact that they do not burn fossil fuel, electric lawnmowers are considered to be friendlier to the environment.

Disadvantages

  1. Electric lawn mowers produce considerably less power compared to gasoline-powered mowers. They therefore struggle to cut through long, thick grass.
  2. They have to be fixed to a power outlet at all times. This means that your range will be limited by the length of the cord that comes with it.

Gasoline Lawn Mowers

Gasoline-powered mowers make use of an internal combustion engine to propel the cutting blade. They are the most common type due to the amount of power they generate.

Advantages

  1. Gasoline mowers produce plenty of power and have no trouble mowing any type of grass. For instance the Honda HRX217K5VKA is the best lawn mower on the market in my opinion.
  2. They can be used over wider range since their movement is not restricted by any cord.

Disadvantages

  1. They are quite loud and operating one could get you in trouble with your neighbors.
  2. They combustion engine needs regular servicing which makes them expensive to maintain.
  3. They are also much heavier than electric mowers making them cumbersome to store and move around.

Hand-Push Lawn Mowers

The cutting blades on hand-powered lawn mowers are connected to the wheels by a set of gears.

When the mower is pushed along the ground, the wheels rotate and some of this energy is transferred through the gears to power the cutting blade.

Advantages

  1. The absence of a motor on these lawn mowers makes them almost silent.
  2. They produce no air pollution.
  3. They are cheap to operate since they require minimal maintenance and no fuel.

Disadvantage

  1. Operating these lawn mowers can be exhausting due to the fact that all energy being used to propel the blades has to come from you.
  2. As a result of the strenuous activity involved in operating such mowers, they are unsuitable for mowing extensive lawns.

Factor #2 – Operation

Lawn mowers can be operated using several techniques. Most commercial mowers are guided by hand.

Other versions include ride-on mowers which are driven around like cars, and robotic mowers.

Hand-Drive Lawn Mowers

Hand-driven lawn mowers are the most common. The person using it simply pushes the mower over the area that needs trimming. Such lawn mowers are the most suitable for small home lawns and gardens.

Advantages

  1. They are the cheapest mowers to buy.
  2. They are easy to operate.

Disadvantage

  1. They cannot be used practically in large lawns or areas such as golf-courses.

Ride-On Lawn Mowers

Ride-on mowers have a seat for the person operating them. They are larger than hand-driven lawn mowers and are controlled using a steering wheel just like in motor vehicles.

Such lawn mowers are mostly used on large lawns such as golf courses and public parks.

 Advantage

  1. They cover large distances in little time and also require less physical effort making them suitable for extensive projects.

 Disadvantages

  1. Due to their size, they are impractical for use in most home lawns.
  2. They are very expensive to purchase.
  3. They have high maintenance costs.

Robotic Lawn Mowers

These are sophisticated electric lawn mowers that are designed to work on their own. To use one, you will only need to define the boundaries of your lawn using a specially designed wire which transmits low-frequency signals to the mower to guide its position.

Using this wire as a boundary guide, the robotic lawnmower moves automatically to trim grass within the set boundaries.

Such lawn mowers also have an added guidance feature that enables hem to change their course when they encounter an obstacle such as a rock or post around the lawn.

 Advantages

  1. They require no physical input.
  2. Their operation is silent.

 Disadvantage

  1.  They are highly priced.
  2. They can sometimes miss some areas within the lawn since they rarely move along straight lines.

Factor #3 – Blade Type

The type of blade fitted on a lawn mower is the most crucial factor that determines the quality of cutting.

There are two blade types used in lawnmowers; rotary blades and cylinder blades (also referred to as reel). Using either of these blades will produce significantly different results.

Rotary Lawn Mowers

Rotary lawnmowers have a single blade attached to a vertical shaft. These blades spin at a very high speed and cut the grass through a shredding action. Rotary mowers are the most suitable for longer grass ranging between 2 to 4 inches in length.

Advantages

  1.  Rotary mowers are able to cut through thick, long grass with ease.

 Disadvantages

  1. Rotary mowers produce coarse results due to their shredding action of cutting, especially when the blades are poorly maintained. This can sometimes lead to the yellowing of freshly-cut grass along the shredded edges.
  2. The rapidly-spinning blades found on rotary mowers are extremely dangerous and can easily cause serious injuries when handled incorrectly.
  3. These mowers are also extremely noisy.

Cylinder/Reel Lawn Mowers

Cylinder mowers have several curved blades attached onto a horizontal axle. These blades push grass onto a sharp cutting bar which then cuts the grass like a pair of scissors.

The effectiveness of cylinder mowers can be further enhanced by increasing the number of blades.

Advantages

  1. Cylinder mowers produce a clean even cut making which makes them the most preferred lawn mowers for exotic luxury lawns such as golf-courses.
  2. They are less noisy than rotary mowers.
  3. Since they have less mechanical elements in their design, they are easy to maintain and are less prone to breakdowns.

Disadvantages

  1. Cylinder mowers are only suitable for mowing short grass (less than 2 inches long).
  2. They produce inconsistent results when used on uneven terrain.
  3. Before using a cylinder mower on your lawn, you will have to pick up all obstacles such as stones and twigs.
    Unlike a rotary mower which is powerful enough to cut through any loose object on the ground, the blades on a cylinder mower will jam whenever they run into an obstacle.

Factor #4 – Accessories

Lawn mowers nowadays come with a wide range of accessories meant to increase safety, improve the appearance of the freshly-cut lawn and to make your work easier.

Most accessories are available as aftermarket parts. The list below includes some of the useful lawn mower accessories that you may want to consider going for.

Grass Catchers

These are compartments that trap bits of cut grass being thrown back by the blades as the mower moves on the ground and conveniently stores the waste for easy disposal.

Most modern lawn mowers come readily equipped with a grass catcher. If your mower lacks one then you can purchase it as an aftermarket accessory.

Stripping Kits

These are rollers that can be attached to the rear end of a lawn mower to produce linear strips along the cut lawn similar to the ones visible on sports arenas.

Sharpening Kits

The sharpness of a lawn mower blade has to be regularly maintained to ensure consistent results. Sharpening kits come with abrasive sharpening tools and instruction manuals that guide you on how you need to sharpen the blade without damaging it.

You can also follow our article on how to sharpen a lawn mower blade.

Lawn Mower Covers

Lawn mowers covers offer protection against dust and moisture which can damage mechanical elements in a mower when it is in idle storage.

USEFUL RESOURCES

Want to learn more about buying a lawn mower, you can find further information here:

About The Author

Steve Mann

Steve is a one time gardening hater turned into gardening obsessive. This was all thanks to going to University where a two year stint spent transforming the previously horrific garden of the student house he lived in left him addicted to all things horticultural! Now with a new house in tow and due to some fortunate circumstances he is free to test out a whole host of gardening equipment. Find out more about Steve or drop him an email at steve@suaveyards.com.

4 Comments

  1. jeffrey16201

    Hello,
    I never knew there was so much to know and consider about buying a lawn mower, you have done an awesome job describing the pros and cons of all the lawn mowers available on the market to choose from.

    I have been using the same hand lawn mower since moving to my new place five years ago, I was wondering if you maintain your lawn mower how long do you think a person can make a lawn mower last?

    I realize it depends on how large your yard might be, bu could you provide an educated guess how long before I need to shop for a new lawn mower.

    Reply
    • Steve Mann

      Thanks Jeffrey. There are so many factors that influence how long a lawn mower will last, for instance there is less to maintain with a electric lawn mower than gas lawn mower, the size of your lawn, how often you use it, the brand you buy. However a quality build (like the Honda HRX217K5VKA which is my personal favorite) should last you a decade or even long as long as you take care of it!

      Reply
  2. Ann

    Thanks for the information about how to buy a lawnmower.
    It’s been a while since I’ve been in the market to buy one, however having recently moved I now have a fairly small patch of grass to mow, your information is therefore timely and made me consider what type of mower I need.
    Memories from childhood of long summer nights hearing the relaxing ‘swoosh swoosh’ sound of neighbours using hand push lawnmowers made me feel a little nostalgic. However hand push mowers take up too much energy for my liking.
    I think an electric mower would suit me best, however I’m wondering, do they come with a grass catcher?

    Reply
    • Steve Mann

      Hi Ann, your little reminiscence there made me feel quite nostalgic too!

      Some electric mowers come with grasscatchers, some don’t probably best checking first. However nearly all will have the option to be able to add some kind of grass catcher too them.

      Hope you find something that suits your needs.

      Reply

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About Me

SteveHi, my name is Steve and I am the founder and editor of Suave Yards.

Once upon a time I was a complete gardening newbie, but over the last few years I have learnt a lot about yard care – all stemming from taking over a mess of a garden when I started at university!

My team and I have put together a comprehensive series of reviews and guides to help you create the perfect garden.

So please take a look around!

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