Buyers guide to lawnmowers
It’s a warm Saturday afternoon, just perfect for mowing your lawn. However, the thought of it makes you roll your eyes. Your old mower is noisy, hard to start, and does not give a smooth cut anymore. A new, high-quality, and efficient lawn mower would change all that? But how do you choose a lawnmower that is right for you?
This is a practical, three step buyer’s guide for choosing a lawnmower:
Step 1: Deciding on the type of lawnmower you need
- What are the common types of lawnmowers?
Step 2: Factors to consider when buying a lawnmower
- The size of your lawn
- The size of the mower deck
- The power of your mower
- Additional features
Step 3: Validating your choice
The right mower for you depends on your requirements. By the end of this article, you will have learned about the different types of lawnmowers. You will also understand the various main features of these lawnmowers. This will help you identify a set of features that you would choose in your new mower.
Without further delay, let’s dive right in:
Step 1: Deciding on your preferred type of lawnmower
Lawnmowers come in different styles and sizes. Different kinds of mowers will offer varying performance based on their features.
What are the different types of lawnmowers?
There are two main types of mowers:
- walk-behind or push lawn mowers, and
- riding lawn mowers.
Apart from walk-behind lawnmowers and riding lawnmowers, there is an emerging new category, robotic lawnmowerswhich we have covered separately.
Walk-behind lawn mowers
Walk-behind lawn mowers are the most common type of mowers. They are relatively lightweight and easy to maneuver and offer a decent cut, especially for small lawns.
Walk-behind mowers are further classified into two categories:
- Push lawn mowers – these can be manual, gas or electric (corded and cordless)
- Self-propelled walk lawn mowers – which are either gas or electric (corded and cordless)
Push lawn mowers
A push walk-behind lawnmower can be manual or gas-powered. Whichever you use, you will need to apply your energy to some extent to move the mower.
Manual push lawn mowers
Often called reel lawnmowers, though this refers to the structure of the cutting blades, which can also sometimes be found in powered form. This type of lawnmower is only ideal for small lawns.
The reel lawn mower is easy to use and provides a clean-cut lawn. Manual reel mowers have zero emissions, which makes them environmentally friendly. They are also less expensive, easy to maintain, light and easy to store.
However, using a manual reel mower can be exhausting. The latter depends on your energy to move the wheels and the blades simultaneously.
If you like the style of cut though, a powered version may be ideal if you have a smaller area to cut and like to do it frequently.
Whether manual or powered a reel mower is not suitable for wet grass or over lawns with obstacles.
Gas-powered push lawn mowers
still require a bit of your effort to maneuver. However, a gasoline-powered mower will give a better cut within a short period.
They can handle tougher and taller grasses than a manual reel mower. It takes a minute to refuel and continue with your task.
Gasoline powered mower will need regular maintenance sessions, so always check how your machine should be looked after.
Electric lawn mowers
Electric self-propelled mowers can either be corded or cordless.
Corded electric mowers must be plugged into an electrical socket. Corded electric lawn mowers come with a power cord which is often long enough to accommodate small and medium-sized lawns but may require an extension. Having a cord or cable dragging behind you means avoiding obstacles and tangles, and more importantly, keeping the blades from the cord.
Cordless electric lawn mowers rely on batteries. Obviously, the more powerful the battery the longer a mower will run. With two types of rechargeable batteries available, you are only limited by the charge time, the run time and the number of recharges the batteries can take. Most manufacturers include a Lithium-Ion battery when shipping self-propelled electric mowers.
A cordless electric lawn mower is most ideal for lawns that need regular and straightforward maintenance. These mowers do not have enough power to handle tough and tall grass and may struggle to mow uphill terrains, even if self-propelled.
Self-propelled lawn mowers can either be gasoline-powered or electric, as described above. These mowers will not require you to apply your physical energy to achieve a clean cut. Instead, you will only control the mower when you want to stop or change its direction. Generally, self-propelled mowers maintain a consistent speed, give a consistent cut and are fairly simple to operate.
Riding lawn mowers
Riding lawn mowers are reliable and comfortable. These mowers are perfect for people who are looking for convenient and easy-to-use mowers. A riding mower will reduce your mowing time, especially for large lawns. And besides, you do not have to apply any effort to get a smooth cut.
Riding mowers come in two types:
- Electric riding mower powered by a Lithium-Ion battery
- Gas-powered riding mower
Electric Riding Mowers
Most electric riding mowers have sufficient power to maintain lawns up to 1 acre. A lithium-ion battery powers them, and some electric riding mowers can accommodate dual batteries. This would ideally increase the mowing time.
Electric mowers are often preferable because they do not give out emissions.
Gas-powered Riding Mowers
Gas-powered riding mowers are more powerful and are high maneuverable. They can be further classified into two categories:
- Front-engine riding mowers
- Rear-engine mowers
Front-engine lawn mowers have an a larger cutting deck and so take more storage space. They are also more powerful and can handle a bigger workload than rear-engine lawnmowers. Front-engine riding lawn mowers are useful if you need to haul accessories. An ideal choice for people with large lawns who need to drag trailers, collect grass or want a small tractor-style experience, front-engine riding mowers are usually more expensive than rear engine versions.
Rear-engine riding mowers are compact and easy to store, usually more affordable than front engine versions, are bridge the gap between properties that might not qualify for the larger tractor mower but would be a challenge to cover with a walk-behind mower.
Now you understand the basics of the different types of lawnmowers. In the next step, we will explore some of the factors to consider when purchasing a lawnmower:
Step 2: Factors to consider when buying a lawnmower
Understanding the different types of lawn mowers is a good start. However, it is not the only element to consider when choosing a lawnmower right for you. There are other factors to consider, such as the size of your lawn, the terrain, or the deck size of your desired lawnmower. There are also the functions of the lawnmower and any additional features.
Let’s outline these factors below:
The size of your lawn
Your lawn size will determine the type of lawnmower that is right for you. Choose a mower that aligns with your garden size. For example, electric or gas-powered push mowers would be excellent for a lawn under ¼ acres. It would be too exhausting, or possibly take too long, to use the same mower on a 1-acre piece of lawn. Manual reel mowers are really only efficient for people with small lawns.
I recommend riding lawn mowers for people with large lawns, as a more practical option These mowers are comfortable, easy to maneuver, and require little to no physical effort. Riding mowers make the task more accessible and more pleasurable.
The deck size of your lawnmower refers to the cutting area of the mower and it determines how many passes you will make during mowing. It makes sense to use a mower with a large deck if you have a large lawn. People with smaller yards can comfortably use mowers with smaller decks.
Riding mowers with a front-mounted engine have a larger deck compared to rear-engine lawnmowers. The more land you have to mow, the larger the deck should be, with the largest suitable for an area over 2 acres.
Rear-engine lawn mowers offer a smaller deck, but make up for the difference in size with maneuverability.
With the exception of the manual reel mower, which only has one function, you can purchase push and self-propelled lawnmowers with mulch, side discharge, or bagging functions. If you plan on maintaining tough and taller grasses and weeds, choose a mower with a side discharge function.
A 2-in-1 lawnmower is ideal, especially for small lawns. These mowers can mulch and collect the mowing dump to leave your garden free of weeds.
A 3-in-1 mower comes with the side discharge as an additional feature.In most cases, gas-powered mowers come with all three functions. When considering your preferred functions, you must consider your lawn size. Choose a mower with an adequate bagging space based on the size of the lawn. The bagging option can often be a challenge for push lawnmower users. The grass will increase the weight of the mower, thereby making it more challenging to operate.
Riding mowers have a broader range of functions, in addition to cutting, mulching and bagging. With additional attachments you can have options to spray, dethatch and aerate your lawn. They may have a spreading function, and in some cases you may be able to attach a snow plow. With greater power, there is towing capacity which allows for towing carts and tiling, for instance.
The power of the mower
The performance of your lawnmower depends on the power output. Gas-powered lawn mowers offer better performance than electric or manual mowers.
Corded electric lawn mowers consume between 700-1800 watts per hour. The size of the battery will determine the running time. Most electric lawn mowers take up to 4 hours to recharge.
Self-propelled gasoline mowers can have up to 7.0 horsepower. This would be enough power to handle up to a 1-acre lawn size (if you have the time for that or are working on a budget). While some gasoline mowers can have as low as 2.5 horsepower, most offer around 4.0 horsepower.
Riding lawn mowers have a power output ranging from 13 to 30 horsepower. This is why a gasoline-riding lawnmower is more useful for uphill mowing, though most riding lawn mowers are unable to handle rough or steep terrains.
A rechargeable Li-Ion battery powers electric riding lawn mowers. In most cases, they will use a 56V 60Ah battery which can last up to one hour and a half. These lawnmowers also have a brushless motor.
There are often more features or add-ons to consider when selecting a lawnmower that is right for you. For instance, you may have a preference for the starting method – pull cord or button, on walk-behind mowers. A safety button/cut out feature would be ideal for preventing accidents during the mowing process.
You may want to consider whether you prefer a front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive walk-behind mower. Front-wheel drive mowers are the easiest to steer, making them useful for skirting obstacles, while rear wheel drive mowers are less maneuverable but will push over bumps and cope better with slopes. All-wheel drive mowers are not as easy to steer as front-wheel drive mowers, but, like rear wheel drive mowers may have some speed and power advantages.
You might prefer pedals or levers to control the speed of your riding mower. And you will need to consider traction control if you are taking your riding mower onto inclines. And while we are on riding mowers, there are differences in seats and armrests. Some even come with cupholders.
Step 3: Validating your choice
The above factors should help you narrow down your lawnmower choices. To validate your choice, you may opt to check online buyer reviews. For instance, Amazon reviews will give you an insight into the customer experience of particular mowers.
Purchase a lawnmower with excellent feedback from buyers.
Are you looking to purchase a new lawnmower? Besides the price, you should consider your specific needs and compare these to the size, function and features of available mowers. We suggest you don’t get carried away with special features – you should only spend money on a mower that meets your needs.