How to Choose the Best Lawn Mower for Your Needs – Part Two

This Buying Guide comes in 3 parts. This is Part Two of “How to Choose the Best Lawn Mower for Your Needs”. Please read Part One here.

4. Power Isn’t Always the Most Important Factor

Some people automatically assume that the more power a lawn mower has, the better job it will do at cutting the grass. Surprisingly, how much power a lawn mower has is not the number one factor you should look at when choosing a mower. The power of the motor is simply what allows the mower to work.

It won’t do you any good to have a mower that’s powerful if it does a terrible job of cutting the grass and your grass ends up looking uneven. How your lawn mower does the job of cutting your grass is always the most important factor.

The cutting ability of a mower is determined by the deck and also by the type of mower you have – as well as what kind of condition the blades are in.

If you have a good new mower that’s suited for your lawn, cutting performance isn’t usually an issue – but as time goes on, you might start to notice that the grass looks ragged after it’s been cut.

Most people don’t realize that dull or ineffectual mowing blades can actually cause damage to the grass. It’s the same concept as getting a haircut with a dull pair of scissors.

All a dull blade is doing is tugging on the grass and making haphazard cuts rather than slicing it off neatly and evenly. If you notice grass blades that aren’t cut all the way through or grass blades that bend rather than get cut, the cutting performance of the lawn mower is the cause and not the power of the machine.

5. What Will Your Mower Do With the Cuttings?

What happens to the clippings as you mow obviously depends on the type of mower that you have. Some people choose to use mowers that are all in one models, so that once the yard is mowed, there aren’t any clippings.

Or they prefer to use a bag mower, simply because they plan to use the clippings in compost piles. There are several different bag mowers you can choose from and the one you select should be based on your yard type and how often you mow your grass.

Mowers that use side discharge for the clippings work well for some lawns as long as the discharge isn’t slanted down, because you don’t want to mow the grass only to turn around and have to rake it when you’re done.

Clippings that are left on the ground, especially clippings that are too thick, promote plant and grass disease that can quickly overtake a lawn. If you leave clippings and look over your lawn after moving the clippings, you might notice yellow patches where these clippings were.

That’s a sign that the grass was deprived of sun. And even though some clippings are useful, an over-abundance of clippings put out by a mower is not – unless of course, they’re mulched.

Most regular mowers simply leave the clippings on the ground, but you have to look at two factors when deciding if this is the type of mower you want. First, if you’re mowing your grass less often and the grass gets kind of tall, then it will cause your mower to become clogged. Of course, that in turn affects how your mower performs.

If you’ve chosen a bag mower to deal with your cuttings, then you should know that bag mowers aren’t supposed to leave any sign of the clippings. You should not have to deal with patches of clippings or go behind and rake at all.

When you’re looking at the various lawn mowers with bags, you’ll see that they range in size to include small, medium and large. You’ll want to get the mower that has a bag capable of holding a vast amount – because otherwise, you’ll be spending a whole lot of time doing repeated emptying of the bag.

Some mowers with bags also offer a versatile choice. You can choose to have side discharge, mulching or a roomy bag, too.

6. What Type of Power Source is Best for You?

You have 3 different types to choose from: Gas powered lawn mowers, Electric lawn mowers (corded or cordless), and Manual reel mowers.

Gas mowers are the most expensive and require regular maintenance. These are powerful mowers, and operate loudly. Great for large lawns.

Corded electric mowers are easy to use, not much maintenance to worry about but poor mobility due to power cord length. Good for small lawns.

Cordless electric mowers offer high mobility, and easy to use. However, you’ll need to buy a new battery (which is pretty expensive) every few years. Good for small to medium sized lawns.

The cheapest? Manual reel mowers of course, and they offer plenty of exercises to keep fit as you mow (if you don’t mind to work harder). 🙂 Very good for smallish lawns.

7. Other Lawn Mower Features to Consider

Mowing the grass is something that has to be done – but that doesn’t mean that it has to be an uncomfortable job. If you’ve ever mowed a large yard, then you know how easy it is to get blisters on your hands when you grip an uncomfortable mower handle. So one feature you want to look at is a mower that has a comfortable grip.

But you want to pay attention to the mower’s safety features. One of the most common causes of injuries in push mowers is slipping and falling because of yard incline, damp grass or stumbling over a tree root.

The lever on the handle of the mowers is designed to be a safety feature. Once that lever is released, the mower will automatically shut off which means the sharp blade stops turning.

Some models have a blade clutch, which will shut down the blade but will allow the mower to keep running. Another safety feature is longer handles on mowers. Riding lawn mowers are made now so that they can’t operate if you put the machine in reverse.

Putting it in reverse will shut down the blades. These types of mowers are also made with a safety mode that engages if the person mowing the grass leaves the mower. The safety mechanism will shut down the engine.

Some riding lawn mowers have a rollover protective structure. Coupled with a seat restraint, this feature is designed to prevent serious injury or death in the event of a rollover.

A feature that you’ll want in a mower is rear wheel drive. This is a feature that makes a push mower easier to operate because they grip better and the rear wheel power takes the load off of you. Mowers with rear wheel drive are great for lawns that are sloped or that are hilly.

If you’ve ever pulled on a recoil rope to get a mower started, then you know how that can be an exercise in frustration sometimes – not to mention how it can strain your shoulder. Mowers with a key startup turn on with a simple flick of the wrist – and you don’t have to push a button to prime with a key startup, either.

Another feature you will like is a wash out port. This lets users wash out debris from under the mowing deck instead of having to clean it by hand. It keeps your mower free from debris for optimal performance.

To be continuedPart Three (Final)
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