Every gardener dreams of a lawn that’s green, beautiful and neat. Besides spending time and being dedicated to the job having the best tools in the backyard can simplify work, and this includes having an excellent lawn mower. In simple words, a lawn mower is a machine used for cutting grass to maintain lawns and keep them neat by using one/many blades to chop off the unwanted grass. These mowers cut the grass to the required heights and hence, are manufactured with different height adjustment options for the ease of the user.
A lawn mower, a machine that’s been in use for more than a century, has seen different variations and modifications through the years according to the diverse needs of the user. With the rise in machinery needs for completing tasks, the demand for a lawn mower has also increased, making manufacturers challenge each other with different types of lawn mowers introduced in the market. Each of them has various pros and cons, but the final choice lies with the user to choose the best one that would suit his/her requirements.
Various Types of Lawn Mowers
Anyone interested in gardening would have heard words such as reel mower, push mower, electric mower, or self-propelled mower. We would be looking into each one of them in detail for better understanding and clarity, which would help you choose one that suits your requirements.
As the word indicates, push mowers must be pushed by the user and is one of the oldest inventions dating back to as early as the 1800s. These are also the most popular type of lawn mowers used by people worldwide as they are widely available, inexpensive, and easy to maintain, three critical features sought after by users. The person pushing it is the primary source of power to the machine, and this counts as an excellent exercise too for him/her! The blades used for cutting come with a rotary or reel feature, but they are also available in gas or electric power-backed motor versions.
The engines fitted here are of different sizes and power that’s used for effectively mowing the lawn, but the outcome also depends on the physical power of the user as he/she has to move around the mower while quickly trying to trim the grass. Hence, this type of mower is best suited for small lawns that are not extremely uneven. If you are planning for a push mower, it is recommended to choose one that’s between 60-80 pounds as heavier mowers make the job tougher.
Self-propelled Lawn Mowers
For those who find the push mower quite challenging to handle but still want one within a budget, the self-propelled lawn mowers would make an excellent choice. This is primarily because the self-propelled lawn mower doesn’t require the user to push it as it drives itself, as the name suggests. There is a powerful motor powered by either gas or electricity that makes the machine propel itself forward while the person using it simply has to guide and steer it around the yard.
On the Downside
Many self-propelled mower varieties are gas-powered rather than electric-powered, which makes it quite noisy to use. Besides this, the mowers are also rather expensive due to the mechanism used and the fine-quality motor that propels it forward. Maintenance is also not as simple as push mowers due to the mechanism, but it’s worth all the effort and cost if the mower satisfies your requirement to the dot.
Riding Lawn Mower
Feel like sitting down, relaxing, and mowing your lawn, enjoying the chirping of birds and wildness of trees around you? The riding lawn mower could be the best choice as these are fitted with a comfortable seat and control mechanisms that could be operated while being seated. Hence, they are also called as lawn tractors sometimes as they offer a place to sit and are similar in looks to a tractor. To elaborate further, the riding lawn mower is in between a regular lawn mower and a tractor.
Types of Riding Lawn Mowers
Most of them come with a manual transmission, but some are fitted with hydrostatic transmission, which is costlier but can generate higher torque. The riding lawn mower itself is of two types-the standard and the zero-turn riding lawn mowers. The standard variant comes with a steering wheel for smooth movement, but it doesn’t mow the grass as meticulously as the push variant or even equal to the zero-turn riding lawn mower.
The zero-turn riding lawn mower is a better performer adhering to preciseness in mowing grass growing closer to landscapes. They easily overcome hurdles, turns, and uneven surfaces performing much much better when compared to the standard variety. But don’t use them on a rough surface as they are not stable enough for such terrain. The comfort and preciseness in work offered by the riding mower make it expensive and more prominent in appearance. But, this remains a common choice for those who prefer to reduce their workload and mow a larger piece of land.
Golf courses, vast landscapes, gardens located in the heart of the city, and other commercial spaces need diligent care and maintenance to keep the grass trim and neat. A residential mower cannot merely do the job of cutting acres of lawns irrespective of whether it is a push mower or a self-propelled mower. Besides incurring huge costs, a commercial mower is manufactured to last longer, run for a longer time every day without overheating and power-packed to cover vast amounts of lands.
Commercial Vs. Residential Mower
If you have seen someone pulling a string on a mower, it is probably the commercial or pushes mower. The commercial mowers also come in different variants such as push, zero-turn riding lawn mower, and other designs, but there are striking differences witnessed in the parts used and the motor efficiency. Durability is a quality that cannot be compromised in a commercial mower given the amount of money invested, and hence, all of them are made of costlier parts of higher quality that guarantee a longer life.
Cutting decks, too, is an important feature that’s vastly different here compared to your residential mowers. They come with higher blade speeds, more sturdiness, and the ability to cut even the tallest grasses easily with minimal mess. Apart from differences found in tires, handles and controls engine specifications vary hugely. Commercial mowers come with high-quality engines that have two cylinders, higher horsepower, and better displacement. Cost-wise, while a residential mower costs anywhere from $200-7000$, a commercial mower costs from $2000-$30,000.
Corded Electric Lawn Mower
Electric land mowers could be of the corded or cordless type, with the former costing less than the latter. The corded electric lawn mower could be the best choice for gardens that are less than 1/2 acres of land with a plug outlet facility due to its limited mobility because of the presence of the cord. Any electric land mower is easier to use, maintain, and lightweight comparatively, but they can also be irritating, especially the corded ones, as there is always the chance of tripping over the cord.
A corded electric land mower needs no charging or gas refueling, and there is no risk of battery draining too, unlike the cordless type, which requires adequate charging and suffers the risk of quicker drain out of batteries. You can use a corded electric lawn mower any time of the day or night as it is noiseless and environmental-friendly helping the user heave a sigh of relief. But despite such advantages, many buyers hesitate to go for this due to the presence of the cord that needs much careful handling otherwise which the entire mowing experience could be tarnished.
Also known as ‘cylinder lawn mowers,’ these are environmental-friendly as they don’t require gas, oil, or electricity to function. Just like the push mowers, they run on the power of the person pushing it around. Some variants do have gas-powered options too. They do excellent work on your lawn, cutting the grass precisely as a pair of scissors giving a neat and healthy look to the entire area.
But on the downside, these mowers are not height-adjustable and don’t cut as low as other mowers requiring that the lawn be trimmed at least twice a week. They are suitable when you have to mow only a small piece of grass. A reel mower is an excellent option for those having a smooth land surface, a smaller yard, smoother/softer grass blades, and for those who don’t mind the trimmed grass falling onto the ground as the reel mower does not come with a bag to collect the trimmed grass.
Robotic Lawn Mower
As the name suggests, a robotic mower can do the job of mowing the lawn without any workforce. You can simply sit inside the comfort of your home while the robotic lawn mower diligently does the job without supervision. All that you need to do is to install a boundary wire to define the area of the lawn to mow. The robotic lawn mower uses this boundary to complete its chore and even to find its charging dock for self-charging. Isn’t this amazing?
The beauty is that these can be left outside even during nighttime to do the job as they are 100% noiseless. But why isn’t everyone choosing it? Primary because of its exuberant cost, and some also report that initial setup and programming are quite challenging. But if you are ready to shell out money and the one-time set up is also done, there is nothing as advantageous as a robotic lawn mower.
Hover Lawn Mower
These primarily use air for riding around and look as though they are defying gravity. These are great when trying to move from side to side or forward and back, making them the preferred choice for mowing in critical spots that aren’t possible to mow generally. They are extremely lightweight, designed with plastic bodies and an electric motor.
The hover mower is best-suited for steep slopes, high-weed lawns, and waterfronts, which makes it an ideal choice for golf courses and commercial buildings. But quality can be compromised if there is a whiff of air lying underneath, which can push away the grass from the blade. This leads to unevenly cut grass surfaces or some surfaces not cut altogether at all.
A ripcord has to be pulled multiple times to start a mower, but if it has an electric start mechanism, you can start it only by pressing the button or by turning the key around. Such a facility in any mower variety offers ease of use and efficiency. I hope that reading about the different types of lawn mowers has given you an idea about the kind of mower that could best suit your lawn requirements.
James has been working with lot’s of power tool brands like Husqvarna, Makita and WORX for over 12 years. With his passion for power tools and gardening he is helping both consumers and businesses with his expertise. He now runs the editorial team at HomeGearExpert and loves to support local charities in his spare time.