If a new mower is on your list for the spring, we recommend doing a little research first to get an idea of what you really need. With a dizzying array of products displayed at every hardware and home improvement store, it can be difficult to determine which size, model, features, and price represent the best choice for you and your yard.
Bear in mind that lawn mowers range dramatically in price, and it is possible to buy more mower than you need. For this post we’ll focus on walk-behind models, recommended for yards of less than an acre.
Before we explore gas and electric powered mowers, we can’t fail to overlook the old-fashioned contraption many old-timers may remember — the manual reel mower. They’ve been around since the late 1800s, and are still sold today.
Manual push mowers are environmentally friendly, requiring no gas and causing no emissions, plus they are inexpensive and quiet. Bonus: you can skip the gym for the day if you use a manual mower. Mowing even a small lawn manually will give you quite a workout.
Manual reel mowers typically can’t cut closer than 3″ from obstructions. The cutting width of the mower is narrow at 14″ to 18″, and you’ll have to rake the clippings.
Gas-powered push mowers
The gas powered push mower provides significant advantages over reel mowers, of course. There are many available options and features, so costs can vary widely.
Look for models with an adjustable height deck so you can mow to the optimal height for your grass type. And if the budget allows, a mulching mower will break up the clippings small enough to leave on your grass and actually help feed your lawn, no raking or bagging required. The key-start option is a great convenience feature for anyone who might struggle with a pull start.
The negatives associated with gas-powered mowers include hydrocarbon emissions, excess noise, flammable fuel use and storage, along with required tune-ups and oil changes.
Gas-powered self-propelled mowers
Self-propelled mowers are a step up and can be helpful, especially if you have a sloping yard or a larger yard. The motor propels the wheels as well as the blades, requiring less exertion and resulting in a faster mowing time.
Models are available in all-wheel, front-wheel, and rear-wheel drives. All-wheel and rear-wheel mowers are best for sloping areas, and the standard front-wheel mower is ideal for flat lawns. Front-wheel drive mowers are also very maneuverable.
The higher price tag is really the only additional drawback for the self-propelled mower as compared to a basic gas-powered mower.
Battery-Powered Push Mowers
The newest option in lawn maintenance, mowers powered by lithium-ion batteries have become increasingly popular and are also available in robotic and riding models. Electric mowers are quieter, require no fuel, create zero emissions, and cost less to maintain than gas powered models.
Like their gas-powered cousins, battery-powered push mowers can be manual or self-propelled and come with variable deck-height options. They also involve important new considerations, like run time, charging time and battery life, which can vary widely between models.
Batteries wear out and affect mower performance over time, eventually requiring replacement. Overgrown or rough lawns may benefit from a heavier-duty gas mower.
Do Your Homework
Before you buy, assess the area that is to be mowed. The larger the area, the greater need for a larger, more powerful mower. Lawns much beyond half an acre or sloping yards may warrant a riding mower. It might also be worth a subscription to Consumer Reports to verify the reliability of the brand you’re considering before you spend your hard-earned cash.
As suggested earlier, determine the features you want and don’t buy more mower than you need. A basic battery powered mower with nothing but an adjustable height deck may be all that’s required to help keep your lawn green and healthy.
If you are in the market for new grass, give our Certified Turfgrass Professionals a call at 770.832.8608 or email at info@NGTurf.com. And be sure to ask about our spring green-up guarantee.