How to Choose a Lawn Mower: The Ultimate Guide for a Perfectly Manicured Lawn
Maintaining a well-manicured lawn is a point of pride for many homeowners. A crucial tool in achieving that pristine look is a high-quality lawn mower. However, with the plethora of options available in the market, choosing the right one can be a daunting task.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key factors to consider when selecting a lawnmower that suits your needs and preferences. From different types of mowers to essential features and maintenance tips, this article will equip you with the knowledge to make an informed decision and achieve a perfectly groomed lawn.
Determine Your Lawn’s Size and Terrain
Before diving into the specifics, it’s essential to assess the size and terrain of your lawn. Lawns come in various sizes, ranging from small suburban yards to expansive estates. Additionally, the terrain can be flat, hilly, or uneven. Evaluating these factors will help you choose the most suitable lawn mower for your particular requirements.
Types of Lawn Mowers
There are several types of lawnmowers available, each designed for different purposes. Let’s explore the most common types:
Gas-Powered Lawn Mowers –
Gas-powered lawnmowers are a very popular choice for residential yard maintenance. Some pros and cons to consider with gas mowers:
- More powerful – Gas engines typically provide more power than their electric counterparts. This allows them to handle larger yards and taller, thicker grass more efficiently.
- Typically lower upfront cost – Although fuel costs over time may be higher, gas mowers are often cheaper to purchase upfront than electric mowers.
- Longer runtime – Gas mowers can typically run 45-90 minutes on a tank of gas, longer than most electric mowers can run on a single charge. This allows you to mow larger yards or multiple yards without stopping to refuel or recharge.
- No cord required – Gas mowers offer the convenience of cordless operation. You don’t have to drag an extension cord or be limited by cord length.
- Fuel required – You have to regularly refuel gas mowers and deal with storing fuel, which can be messy. Fuel also has an added cost.
- More maintenance – Gas engines typically require more maintenance like oil changes, air filter replacement, and tune-ups. They also have more parts that can fail over time.
- Loud and polluting – Gas mowers are louder and emit pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons. Emissions and noise regulations have reduced pollution from newer models but they are still not as eco-friendly as electric mowers.
- May require winter preparation – Gas mowers typically require preparation for winter storage to prevent the fuel system from gunking up. This may involve draining the fuel tank and running the carburetor dry.
- May be more difficult to start – Some gas mowers, especially those with manual starters, can be difficult for some people to start and may require several hard pulls to start the engine. Electric starters and advanced electric start systems are easier to start.
For the power and performance of larger yards, gas mowers are a great choice if you don’t mind the additional maintenance and fuel costs.
Top Gas-Powered Lawn Mowers Review
Craftsman 21″ Gas Powered Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
The Craftsman 21″ Gas Powered Self-Propelled Lawn Mower is a popular choice for homeowners who want a powerful and reliable lawn mower that can handle a variety of lawn conditions. Here’s a review of its features and performance:
- 21-inch cutting deck: This mower has a 21-inch cutting deck, which is a good size for medium to large lawns.
- Self-propelled: The mower is self-propelled, which means it moves forward on its own, making it easy to maneuver on uneven terrain.
- Variable speed: The mower has variable speed control, which allows the user to adjust the speed of the mower to match the cutting conditions.
- 3-in-1 cutting system: The mower offers a 3-in-1 cutting system, which means it can be used for bagging, mulching, or side discharge.
- Powerful engine: The mower is powered by a 190cc Briggs & Stratton engine, which provides plenty of power for tough cutting conditions.
- Easy to start: The mower has an easy-to-use pull start system, which makes it easy to start the engine.
The Craftsman 21″ Gas Powered Self-Propelled Lawn Mower has received positive reviews for its performance. Users appreciate the powerful engine, which allows the mower to handle thick or tall grass with ease. The self-propelled feature makes it easy to maneuver the mower on uneven terrain, and the variable speed control allows users to adjust the speed based on the cutting conditions.
The 3-in-1 cutting system is also a popular feature, as it allows users to choose the best cutting option for their lawn. Some users have noted that the mower can be heavy to maneuver, particularly when it’s full of grass clippings, but overall, users are satisfied with its performance.
Overall, the Craftsman 21″ Gas Powered Self-Propelled Lawn Mower is a solid choice for homeowners who want a powerful and reliable lawn mower that can handle a variety of lawn conditions. Its self-propelled feature, variable speed control, and 3-in-1 cutting system make it a versatile and convenient option for maintaining a healthy lawn.
WORX WG055L 20-Inch Gas Walk Behind Lawn Mower
- PowerSmart 21-Inch Gas Powered Walk Behind Lawn Mower: This is a great option for those on a budget. It has a 140cc engine and a 21-inch cutting deck. It is easy to use and maintain, making it a great option for those who are not looking for a lot of bells and whistles.
Electric Lawn Mowers –
Electric lawn mowers offer some advantages over gas mowers. Here are some pros and cons to consider with electric mowers:
- Environmentally friendly – Electric mowers are more eco-friendly since they have zero direct emissions and are much quieter than gas mowers.
- Low maintenance – Electric mowers require little maintenance compared to gas mowers. There are no oil changes or tune-ups required and fewer parts like air filters or spark plugs to replace.
- Push button start – Electric mowers are very easy to start with the push of a button. No hard pulls are required.
- Lower fuel costs – Electric power is cheaper than gas, so fueling an electric mower will cost less over the lifetime of the mower.
- Lightweight – Electric mowers are often lighter than comparably sized gas mowers, so they may be easier for some people to maneuver and push.
- Higher upfront cost – Although cheaper to operate, electric mowers tend to cost more to purchase upfront compared to similar gas mowers. The advanced rechargeable battery technology comes at a price.
- Shorter runtime – Most electric mowers can only run 30 to 60 minutes on a single charge. You may need to stop and recharge in the middle of mowing larger yards. Recharge time is usually several hours.
- Must deal with cords or charge batteries – You either have to drag an extension cord around, which limits mobility, or you have to stop and charge batteries when they run low before continuing. Batteries also degrade over time.
- Less power – Electric mower motors typically provide less power than gas engines, so they may struggle more to cut thicker, taller grass. Not ideal for all yard conditions and sizes.
- Replacement batteries are expensive – If lithium-ion batteries need replacement after a few years, it can cost $200-$500 to replace them, significantly impacting the long-term cost of ownership.
For environmentally-friendly convenience and lower costs, electric mowers work great for smaller, well-maintained yards. But for larger properties, a gas mower may still be better suited to the task.
Cordless Lawn Mowers –
Cordless lawn mowers, also known as battery-powered lawn mowers, are a type of lawn mower that uses a rechargeable battery to power its motor. They are a popular choice for homeowners who want a quiet, eco-friendly alternative to gas-powered mowers.
Cordless lawnmowers are typically powered by lithium-ion batteries, which provide a longer run time and faster charging times than other battery types. They are also lightweight and easy to maneuver, making them a good choice for smaller lawns.
One of the main advantages of cordless lawnmowers is their convenience. They don’t require any gas, oil, or cords, which means they are easy to start and maintain. They are also much quieter than gas-powered mowers, which can be a big advantage for those who live in residential areas.
However, cordless lawnmowers do have some limitations. They may not be suitable for larger lawns or for heavy use, as the battery can run out quickly and take some time to recharge. Additionally, they are generally more expensive than gas-powered mowers, although the cost can be offset by savings on gas and maintenance over time.
Here are some points to consider when buying a cordless mower:
- Battery – The battery capacity and power will determine how long the mower can run and cut. Larger batteries with higher Ah (amp hours) will typically last longer. You’ll want to find a battery capacity that matches the size of your lawn.
- Run time – The run time of the mower’s battery on a single charge. Longer run times mean fewer recharges and less downtime. Run times can vary from 30-60 minutes or more for higher-end models.
- Cutting width – The cutting width, measured in inches, indicates how wide of a path the mower can cut with each pass. Wider cutting widths mean fewer passes and less time to mow the lawn. Typical widths range from 20-24 inches.
- Charger – Some mowers include a rapid charger that can fully charge the battery in 1-2 hours. Others may take 4-6 hours or longer. A faster charger is more convenient.
- Blades – Sharper, high-carbon steel blades cut more efficiently and last longer. Mulching blades help shred clippings into small pieces that act as a natural fertilizer.
- Weight – Lighter mowers are easier to maneuver and store. However, heavier mowers with larger batteries may offer more power and longer run times.
- Additional features – Self-propelled modes, height adjustment options, grass collection bags, and LED work lights can add convenience.
- Price – Expect to pay $300-$500 or more for a high-quality cordless mower, depending on the features.
Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.
Push Reel Lawn Mowers –
Push-reel lawn mowers, also known as manual reel mowers, are a type of lawn mower that uses a series of blades that spin as the mower is pushed forward to cut the grass. They are an eco-friendly and low-maintenance option for small to medium-sized lawns.
Push reel mowers are powered entirely by the user, which means they don’t require any gas, oil, or electricity to operate. This makes them a great option for environmentally conscious homeowners who want to reduce their carbon footprint. They are also very quiet, which is a benefit for those who live in residential areas.
One of the main advantages of push reel mowers is their simplicity. They have very few moving parts, which means they are easy to maintain and repair. They are also lightweight and easy to maneuver, which makes them a good choice for those who have limited storage space or who need to mow in tight spaces.
However, push reel mowers do have some limitations. They may not be suitable for larger lawns or lawns with thick or tall grass, as the blades may not be able to cut through the grass effectively. Additionally, they require more physical effort to use than other types of mowers, as the user has to push the mower forward to make the blades spin.
Overall, push reel mowers are a great option for those who want an eco-friendly, low-maintenance, and affordable way to keep their lawn looking neat and tidy. They are particularly well-suited for small to medium-sized lawns with relatively flat terrain.
Riding Lawn Mowers
Designed for extensive areas, riding mowers offer comfort and convenience. They are best suited for large lawns or commercial use and come equipped with various cutting deck sizes and additional features.
Here are some key things to consider when looking at riding lawnmowers:
Cutting Deck Size –
The larger the cutting deck, the wider the mower can cut on each pass. For most home lawns, a 38 to 54-inch deck is a good size. Larger decks, like 60 inches, can be good for big yards. However, larger decks may require more storage space and can be more difficult to maneuver.
Engine Power –
For most residential needs, an engine in the 15 to 25-horsepower range works well for powering a riding mower. Higher horsepower, such as 25 HP and above, is good for efficiently cutting larger yards, especially if the grass is dense. For hilly or uneven yards, more power is also helpful.
There are two main types of transmissions in riding mowers:
- Manual transmissions: You manually change gears to the needed speed. These are less expensive but can require more effort.
- Automatic transmissions: The mower automatically changes speeds based on the mowing conditions. These are more convenient but often cost more. Hydrostatic transmissions that provide an infinite range of speeds are very popular for residential riding mowers.
For tighter areas, a mower with a small turning radius, such as less than 18 inches, is more maneuverable. A zero-turn radius mower can spin in its area, making it ideal for yards with many obstacles and tight spaces. However, zero-turn mowers tend to cost more.
Cutting Width and Height Adjustments
Consider the cutting width of a lawn mower, which determines how much grass is cut in a single pass. A wider cutting width reduces the number of passes required, saving you time and effort. Additionally, choose a mower with adjustable cutting height settings, allowing you to customize the grass length according to your preference.
Mulching, Bagging, or Side Discharge Options
Many modern lawn mowers offer versatile grass clippings management options. Mulching mowers finely cut the grass and redistribute it into the lawn as a natural fertilizer. Bagging mowers collect the clippings in a rear bag for easy disposal. Side discharge mowers expel the clippings to the side. Consider your lawn’s needs and maintenance preferences when selecting a mower with the appropriate grass clippings management system.
Maneuverability and Storage
A lawn mower should be easy to maneuver around obstacles like trees, flower beds, and narrow spaces. Look for features like swivel wheels or zero-turn capabilities that enhance maneuverability. Additionally, consider the storage space available for the mower, especially if you have limited garage or garden shed space.
Proper maintenance ensures the longevity and performance of your lawn mower. Regularly check the oil, air filter, and spark plug, and follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. Choosing a mower with accessible parts and easy maintenance procedures can save you time and frustration down the line.
Set a budget range for your lawn mower purchase. While it’s tempting to opt for the cheapest option, keep in mind that a higher-quality mower generally provides better performance and durability. Consider the long-term investment and choose a mower that strikes the right balance between affordability and functionality.
Reviews and Recommendations
Before making a final decision, read customer reviews and seek recommendations from trusted sources. Online platforms, gardening forums, and friends or neighbors who own lawnmowers can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed choice.
Warranty and After-Sales Support
Check the warranty period and after-sales support offered by the manufacturer. A reliable warranty can protect your investment and provide peace of mind. Additionally, consider the availability of authorized service centers and the availability of spare parts in your area.
Test Drive and Comfort
If possible, test drive the lawn mower before making a purchase. This allows you to assess its handling, noise level, and overall comfort. A comfortable mower can make the mowing experience more enjoyable and less fatiguing.
Too Much or to the Bag?
Another question a lot of consumers have is whether or not to bag their clippings. Again, this boils down to personal preference and yard waste options. If you have yard waste pick-up as part of your regular garbage pick-up then consider getting a bagging lawnmower and let the clippings go to the community compost facility. Another option is to start your compost bin in your yard. Fresh grass clippings mixed with other organic materials make healthy compost for your garden.
Another option is to get a mulching mower. These mowers are designed to clip the grass into very small clippings that go back into the lawn as mulch. The advantage to these mowers is – no waste to bag and they help the lawn retain moisture. The disadvantage is the build-up of clippings can cause a thick thatch layer in your lawn so you will need to de-thatch or power rake the grass each spring.
A good lawn mower will last for many years with proper care. Finding the mower that will best suit your needs is worth the time and effort. You will be pleased with the lawnmower you choose if you know the facts.
Buy a Lawnmower
A Lawnmower is quite an investment for a gardener. Many criteria should be considered when making your choice: the surface to mow, the width of the cut, and the type of traction. Here’s a look at what’s available.
The main criterium to consider is the size of the surface to be mowed. A simple manual lawnmower Shop will largely suffice for small surfaces, providing you mow regularly. It is inexpensive and ecological. But if you can’t mow regularly (in the case of a holiday residence for example) or if you have a large surface to mow, you should consider buying a more sophisticated type of mower. There is a vast range of models available.
For small, regular surfaces without borders, the best choice is an electric mower. This is easy to use and requires little maintenance.
For larger surfaces (over 500m²) or for lawns that are far from a source of electricity, a mower with a thermal engine is recommended. The advantage of this model is that it is autonomous – there are no wires that will get in the way when maneuvering it. On the downside, a mower with a petrol engine is noisy and requires regular maintenance and certain precautions must be taken during the winter.
Many models of thermal mowers are available. They differ according to the power of the engine, the width of the cut, and also in the way they are pulled. Depending on the type of land to be mowed and the presence of borders, you should opt for a mower whose movement you can control easily if the lawn contains obstaclavoidvoided. For a large unobstructed surface, a walk-behind lawnmower shop is best.
For surfaces between 1,000m² and 2,000 m² choose a ride-on mower. A lawn tractor is best for surfaces over 2,000m².
In all cases, choose a model that has a grass catcher, as this will save you time and effort after cutting. Apart from the models dealt with above, another option is a robotic lawnmower shop that runs on solar energy, suitable for an unobstructed, flat lawn.
Did you know?
- Electric or thermal hover mowers are generally easier to handle, especially on slopey surfaces. However, these models can’t be fitted within a grass catcher.
Greenworks 20-Inch 12 Amp Corded Lawn Mower 25022
- Durable 20-inch Steel Deck
- Powerful 12 Amp Motor
- 3-In-1 (Mulching, Side Discharge, and Rear Bag)
- 7-Position Single Lever Height Adjustment
- Push Button Start. Drive system: manual
- Foldable Handles For Compact Storage
- 10-Inch Rear / 7-Inch Front Wheels
Choosing the right lawn mower is crucial for maintaining a perfectly manicured lawn. By considering factors such as lawn size, terrain, mower type, cutting width, maintenance requirements, and budget, you can make an informed decision. Remember to read reviews, consider warranty and after-sales support, and test drive the mower for comfort. With a well-chosen lawn mower, you’ll be on your way to achieving a beautiful and well-tended lawn that will be the envy of your neighborhood.