Spring is in the air, which means your grass is growing and needs some tender loving care. Choosing the right lawnmower could be the difference between cutting all day vs a couple of hours.
If you are like me, preference and budget play a huge role in the mower you will choose. There are 3 important factors that will determine the type of mower you will choose:
1. How big is your cutting area.
2.Type of terrain you will be cutting (flat or hilly)
3.How many obstacles (trees, bushes, etc.) are in your way to cut around.
Believe it-or-not the old time, manual push, reel type mowers are back and gaining popularity. Although, I wouldn’t use them to cut more than 500 square feet. To activate the blades you have to move a bit faster to keep a continuous movement of the blades. On the bright side, there is no engine so there is no maintenance and storing is a breeze. The width of the blades vary from 16-20 inches ranging in price from $80 to 100 dollars.
Since its introduction, the powered walk-behind mower has been an American favorite. With proper care and maintenance the 2 stroke engine will last for years. The sizes of the decks available range from 20-22 inches in width and recently, I have seen a mower with a 30-inch deck at one of the local home improvement stores. When choosing the perfect size mower, make sure you can maneuver it around any large trees or bushes and for goodness sakes make sure it will fit through the yard gate.
Gas or electric will also play a role in choosing a walk behind mower. Gas mowers often have more power, and will keep running as long as there is gas in the tank. In comparison, electric mowers require less maintenance and are better for the environment. Gas mowers will cost on average between $100-400 dollars or possibly even more.
Electric mowers are much cleaner, but the battery life is only about 45 minutes. Make sure you have an extra battery on hand, or you might get caught up in spending the weekend working in the yard instead of playing with friends and family. In my opinion, electric mowers are best suited for lawns no bigger than an acre. Expect to pay around $300-400 dollars for an electric model mower.
Self-propelled mowers are all wheel drive and will assist you up inclines, but in some spots they may be difficult to maneuver due to their weight.
Riding mowers are made for those who prefer not to push. Normally, it should take no more than two hours to mow your lawn. Any more time than this means it’s time to up grade.
When choosing a lawn mower you be sure you know the difference between a lawn tractor and riding lawn mower.
For yards larger than 3/4 acre, consider a rear-engine riding mower or a lawn and garden tractor. Riding mowers with rear-mounted engines provide good visibility and excellent mobility around trees, flowerbeds and other landscape features but very basic comfort is available They mowing decks range from 28-42 inches wide and engines from 12-20 hp. These mowers are made for small lawns such as 2-3 acres at the most, that can be cut quickly. When buying you can look to spend around $700-1,000.
For yards in the one-to-three acre range, a front engine lawn tractor may be appropriate. Look for a mower with at least 14-16 hp and a wide mowing deck – at least 38 inches – to get your lawn work done quickly. Lawn tractors offer a more powerful engine and wider cutting decks. Another great feature in lawn tractors is the expandability factor, which allows you to use attachments like spreaders, aerators, etc. These mowers start at $1,500-4,000.
In the last 10-15 years zero turn mowers have been increasing in popularity with homeowners. Once only available to professional landscapers and golf course maintenance crews, zero turn mores are now available to homeowners. With precise turning and faster speeds they are ideally suited for large flat lawns with few to no trees to mow around. Before buying a zero turn mower you must remember that there is a professional grade and a homeowner grade. The professional grade will be more durable, but you will pay for it. While the homeowner grade mower will get the job done, don’t forget that hey are not built to withstand the abuse of the professional grade models. . Look to pay around $2,000-$13,000 when choosing this type of mower.
Before buying any mower make sure you do your research, and try out as many lawnmowers as possible. Talk to people in your neighborhood who own the type of mower you are looking for. Look at the pros and cons of each type of mower, and compare them to your situation. This will go a long way in preventing buyer’s remorse later.