Mow ’em Down with the Right Lawn Mower

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

One of the first signs of spring’s renewal is the regrowth of our lawns. It doesn’t take long to go from, “look at that carpet of green!” to, “time to cut the grass!” Is your lawn mower ready to take on another season or will you be shopping for a new one? If you’re in the market for a mower, here’s the lowdown on how and what to choose to best suit your needs and budget.

For a typical urban or suburban lawn, your appropriate options may be among these traditional push-from-behind mowers:

Reel – ($79.99 & up) The “original” human-powered mowers remain the least expensive option. They’re lightest in weight as they have no motor, operating by spinning blades which pull in grass to be clipped by the cutter bar. They’re available with four, five or seven blades; the heavier your grass, the more blades you need. Reel mowers perform well on grass but not on twigs or heavy debris making them a poor choice for yards with mature landscaping. Maintenance-wise, reel mowers require only regular blade sharpening. They have the further advantages of being quiet and environmentally friendly.

Electric – ($149.99 & up) These mowers provide a lightweight, powered, yet quiet experience with no carbon emissions. Electric mowers are more economical to operate than gas models. Like reel mowers, yearly maintenance amounts to blade sharpening. Both the corded and cordless versions are a good choice for smaller yards with these caveats:

  • The electric cord can become entangled on any obstacles it encounters. A long extension cord is necessary to run from the outlet to where you’re mowing, which can be cumbersome and could potentially be run over.
  • While cordless mowers are offered in both push and a self-propelled modesl, they will run for just one hour on a full battery charge.

Two-in-one electric mowers provide the option to discharge or mulch grass clippings while the three-in-one models include a bagging alternative.

Gas – ($149.99 & up) Their gasoline engines make these the noisiest, yet most powerful mowers. That power is ideal for mowing a hilly, thick or debris-laden lawn. Gas mowers come in push or self-propelled models, which have substantial differences.

When choosing a push model, your decision depends upon what you prefer it to do with clippings: side discharge, mulch or collect them in a rear bag.

Self-propelled gas mowers offer many options, including:

  • Front wheel / rear wheel drive – Rear wheel drive provides traction, maneuverability and power for steep inclines.
  • Speed control / set speed –  Speed control allows you to dictate the speed at which your mower goes to match your preference or mowing conditions. Thick or tall growth requires a slower speed for even cutting and effective mulching.
  • Recoil / electric start – Electric start eliminates the exertion of pulling the cord to start the engine.
  • Wash-out ports – make keeping your mower clear of grass build-up and running efficiently easier.
  • Blade override – disengages the blade for safety while keeping the engine running.
  • Swivel wheels – allow for easier maneuvering and longer wheel wear.

Be certain to factor yourself into the equation when choosing a lawn mower. The wider the mower you choose, the more area you’ll cover with each swipe; so if you’re not one to savor the chore of mowing, you’ll finish the task more quickly with a wider mower. If you’re not in good physical condition or looking for a workout while you mow, a reel mower may not be an ideal choice.

These push-from-behind mowers cover the mowing needs of the majority of lawns. The choice comes down to your preference, budget and your lawn’s needs.

What’s your ideal lawn mower?

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