Not all lawns are created equal. Some grass has broad, thick blades, and others have tall, fine blades; some grass grows in bunches, and others look evenly spaced; some grass cuts neatly while others have tough fibers that rip and tear. There are many attributes to grass that affect how it will react to being mowed — and, appropriately, there are many different lawn mowers to keep all the different types of grass neat and healthy.
Because your lawn is unique, you need to think carefully about the lawn mower you use to maintain it. Here is a comprehensive guide to the different features of lawn mowers, so you can choose the exact right variety for your lawn.
Walking Lawn Mowers
What most people imagine when they think of lawn mowers, a walking mower is a machine that cuts grass as the user walks behind it. There is immense variety and versatility in walking mowers, to account for the size of the lawn, the strength of the user, the type of grass and more. Here are a few of the more common features of walking lawn mowers:
Also called reel mowers, this mower has vertically rotating cylindrical blades which slice grass against a fixed blade. They function almost exclusively on perfectly flat lawns with short, soft grass types, and they need to be serviced frequently to keep blades sharp.
By far the most common lawn mowers, rotary mowers have a single blade that rotates horizontally at a high speed, like a blender. Though less precise than other mowers, a rotary motor works quickly and requires little maintenance, making it ideal for most homeowners.
Push mowers have a motor to drive the blades, but movement across the lawn is powered by the user. Thus, you might only want to use a push mower if you have a small lawn and limited budget and storage space for a mower.
In contrast to push mowers, self-propelled mowers move forward thanks to a built-in transmission, which allows the mower to maintain a consistent speed and cut. Self-propelled mowers tend to be more popular, despite higher cost and maintenance needs, because they are much easier to use than push mowers.
Hover mowers float on a cushion of air maintained between the machine and the lawn. Hover mowers are a style of push mower that require the user to manually force the mower around the lawn, but because there is no contact with the ground, movement tends to require much less effort. Usually electric, hover mowers must be plugged in to function, which means they are rarely suitable for mid-sized or large lawns.
Riding Lawn Mowers
When you have a large lawn, you might want to invest in a riding lawn mower, which helps to reduce the time required to mow and increase your comfort during the mowing process. There are a few different styles of riding mowers to be aware of:
With front-mounted engines, lawn tractors tend to be the most familiar version of riding lawn mowers. These are also among the most reasonably priced of all riding mowers. However, lawn tractors have limited maneuverability, so you might want to choose a different option if you need your mower to get into tight spaces.
Arguably the Ferrari of the lawn mower world, zero-turn mowers have unparalleled maneuverability. These mowers can get much closer to obstacles than other riding mowers, cutting tightly against landscaped edges. However, the cost of zero-turn mowers can be high, and maintenance can be difficult.
A good riding mower for the lawn that is too small for a lawn tractor and too big for a walking mower, a rear-engine mower, as the name suggests, holds its engine in the back, beneath the driver’s seat. You should only use this mower on lawns less than 2.5 acres.
By no means are these the only features for you to consider when you are making decisions about your lawn and mower. You might also research power types, such as electric mowers and gas-powered mowers, or you might look into drive types, such as front- or rear-wheel drive. By gaining more information about your mower options, you can find the perfect mower match for your lawn.