Tips for Choosing the Right Lawn Mower
As March quickly approaches, it’s only natural our thoughts begin to dwell on greener things. Green fields, green trees and especially green grass. Soon it will be time dust off the garden tools and fire up the ol’ lawn mower again. Excited? You should be. I recently read an article explaining how Australian researchers have discovered that cut grass releases chemicals that make people feel happy and relaxed. The article also went on to tell how mowing the lawn helps to prevent mental decline. However, after spending several years in the commercial lawn care industry, I know how frustrating it can be dealing with outdated or faulty lawn mowers. Without the right equipment, mowing the lawn can be anything but a happy or relaxing experience. So if you’re in the market for a lawn mower this year, this week’s blog post is for you.
Questions to Ask Before Purchasing
Lawn mowers come in all kinds of styles and functions, ranging from $100 reel mowers to commercial grade riding lawn mowers worth over $10,000. What works best for you will depend on a variety of factors including lawn area, grass type, budget and physical abilities. Can you walk across your entire yard in less than ten seconds, or is your yard part of a sprawling multi-acre estate? Does your grass need mowed every week, or is it a slow growing species such as buffalograss? Do you like to get some exercise when you mow, or do you struggle walking long distances? How much money are you willing to spend? These are the questions you’ll need to ask and consider before purchasing a new lawn mower.
Reel mowers are a great, if not the best, choice for small areas. Since its invention in 1830 the reel mower has continually proven that even though a technology improves and becomes faster, easier and more efficient, sometimes less is more. There are several reasons why selecting a reel mower has its advantages. First, it provides the highest quality cut thanks to the scissor-like action of the blades. This results in a clean, crisp cut and an overall healthier looking lawn. Reel mowers are also the most environmental friendly way to cut your grass, require the least maintenance and provide a decent exercise. However, reel mowers are generally not recommended for lawns over 8,000 square feet and can struggle in grass that has been allowed to grow too tall. They are also not the best choice for those with physical limitations. Reel mowers usually cost between $75 and $300.
Electric Push Mowers
Powered push-type mowers are probably the most common lawn mower used by homeowners today. They can be powered by both gas and electricity. Electric push mowers are great for smaller, flatter lawns. They produce no emissions, start with the push of a button and are usually pretty low maintenance. Older models require an extension cord which can be a hassle, but many of the newer models are cordless. Just don’t let your grass get too thick or high as electric mowers lack the power to cut dense stands. Electric push mowers can be purchased for $100 to $500.
Gas-Powered Push Mowers
Gas-powered mowers are a great choice for small to medium sized yards. Powered by four-stroke engines, gas mowers offer the best blend of efficiency, power and ease of handling. Most have no problem cutting thick grass and weeds. Self-propelled models work great for yards with hills or slopes. Mulching push mowers are a great alternative to the common bag-type grass removal systems. Mulching is a great way to add nutrients back into the soil. However, gas powered mowers have some downsides. They’re loud, require gasoline, produce exhaust and require regular maintenance, oil changes and tune ups. Prices for gas powered mowers run anywhere from $100 to $900.
Riding lawn mowers not only offer the most comfortable lawn mowing experience, sometimes they’re the only practical option. For large to extremely large yards or for commercial lawn care companies, riding lawn mowers are the best tools for the job. Once again, they come in a wide range of styles and functions. Lawn tractors, with their engines in the front of the machine, are usually the least expensive of the riding lawn mowers and offer additional attachments such as snow blowers, trailers and plows. However, their lack of precision handling requires the homeowner spend additional time trimming the areas the lawn tractor missed. They’re also bulky, produce emissions and take up a lot of room in the shed or garage. Lawn tractors can be purchase for $900 to $4000.
Zero-turn-radius mowers are the most common lawn mowers used in the professional lawn care industry. They are extremely maneuverable thanks to their rear engines and independent wheel steering systems. This allows for precise cuts and 180 degree turning capabilities. They are fast, efficient and powerful. Unfortunately, zero-turn-radius lawn mowers tend to focus on quantity of the mowing rather than the quality. They also have a habit of ripping up the lawn during their precision turns. Don’t expect to just jump on one and start mowing either. From personal experience, they require some practice before the controls can be mastered. Zero-turn-radius mowers will cost you anywhere from $2000 to $10,000+.