Types Of Lawn Mowers | Which Type of Mower is Best For Your Garden?

The lushness of the lawn is what makes many people want to go out and enjoy nature. However, it’s challenging to do that when the grass is over-grown and out of control, but which type of lawn mower is best?

Let's look at the options...

It’s good to know the different types of lawn mowers so that you pick the best one for your garden.

Lawn Mower Types

Most people have heard of the cylinder, rotary, and hover mowers, but did you know that there are other types of lawn mowers? Each one has its benefits and drawbacks, so let’s talk about them and learn more.

Cylinder

The cylinder lawn mower uses cylindrical blades that sit at the front of your machine. They rotate vertically to cut against the fixed blade toward the bottom.

Usually, these mowers have three or more cylindrical blades, and more is often best. These lawn mowers work well for flat lawns where you want it to look manicured and short. They can be the push variety, petrol-powered, or electric.

Rotary

The rotary lawn mower uses a single blade, which rotates around horizontally from beneath the machine. It works almost like the propellers from an airplane.

Rotary mowers are a highly versatile option and can handle almost any type of grass. Plus, if you like to leave the grass longer before cutting, they work better than a cylinder mower.

Some lawns are made up of rough grasses, and this type is going to get through it all. You can find battery-operated, petrol, or electric rotary mowers.

Hover Mowers

As you might guess from the name, a hover mower sits low to the ground but up a bit. This allows you to push them more easily.

If your surface is uneven, you’re going to find this type of mower can get through it all. They work really well for an unusually-shaped lawn and are cheaper than the other versions.

However, you may not want it for a large yard. Often, they are powered by electricity and feature rotary-style blades.

See the Hover Mower guide here.

Riding Lawn Mowers

A riding lawn mower is one where you sit down on it instead of pushing it. Often, they feature a cylinder-style blade, but you can find rotary blades, as well.

When you have a very large lawn, this is likely what you want. However, it might have trouble going around objects, such as trees.

Usually, these are powered by petrol or gasoline. It is possible to find electric ones, but they often run out of battery power too often to be easy to use.

Robot Lawn Mowers

If you’re tech-savvy and enjoy letting the machines ‘take over,’ we think you’re going to like robot lawn mowers. They look like very large Roombas, and they munch on the grass outside instead of inhaling dust bunnies.

It can go around the yard, but it has to be programmed. They still feature spinning blades and often have one set at the bottom. Though they are durable, you may need to mow the grass two or three times a week.

Robot lawn mowers are powered by batteries. You recharge them and use them as needed. Some brands come with two or three batteries to help you get through the full yard.

Lawn Mower Power Options

Most homeowners are used to seeing gas or petrol powered mowers, but there are others. It’s a good idea to know about all four.

You want to know the options available so that you choose the right mower for your needs.

Electric Lawn Mowers

Many people have never heard of electric lawn mowers. I know I didn’t think they were available until I started researching options.

They’re quite good and small, so they’re easy to push. However, this is usually the right choice for medium or small lawns.

If you’ve got a small lawn and want something inexpensive, this is the choice for you. Plus, since they are smaller, they’re easy to store.

They often have specific plug-ins, so you need to have an outside outlet. It’s also important to ensure that the cable’s long enough to mow the entire yard without an extension cord.

See the guide on Electric Lawn Mowers here.

Cordless Lawn Mowers

A cordless mower is battery-powered. You don’t need an electrical cord or outlet outside. In fact, you plug the battery into the mower and use it as normal. They’ve got many of the benefits of using an electric mower without the cables.

They tend to be more expensive than electric models because they require a special battery. Lithium-ion batteries are more modern and lighter. Plus, they last longer than the regular nickel-cadmium ones.

See our Cordless Lawn Mower guide.

Gas/Petrol Powered Lawn Mowers

If you’ve got a large garden, gas or petrol lawn mowers are the best option. They can be more expensive, but they’re faster and more powerful when cutting. You can also maneuver them around big objects, such as trees.

Fuel-powered lawn mowers require oil and regular maintenance, just like a car engine.

See the Petrol Mower guide here

Manual Push Lawn Mowers

Though fuel-powered lawn mowers are often pushed, they may have modern features that self-propel them.

With a manual lawn mower, there is a small cylinder blade, and you push it. With these, you use a lot more of your upper body muscles. They work well in small yards.

Many people like them because there is no noise or emissions. Still, you have to be strong to use them. Therefore, they might not be suitable for sloping or large lawns. They’re often the least expensive option.

See the guide for Push Lawn Mowers here.

Lawn Mower Features

When I started shopping for a new mower, I was amazed at all of the features there were. In fact, I had some with the older mower, but I didn’t realize that they were newer options.

It’s important to learn about the different features available. That way, you can determine which ones are essential for you and your lawn. For example, a self-propelled mower can be easier to push.

Self-propelled Lawn Mowers

Most fuel-powered lawn mowers are designed to be self-propelled. Electric ones can also be self-propelled. Therefore, you don’t have to put much force into pushing them. In fact, you’re just steering them into the direction you want the mower to go.

With one of these options, you can mow more easily. Often, the machine is very heavy, but you don’t get over-exerted.

Sometimes, they take a bit of a push to get going. Then, you just keep the controls pushed in and make sure it goes where you need it. Newer models might come with various speeds so that you can choose the best walking pace.

See the guide on Self-propelled Lawn Mowers here.

Mulch Mowers

Some lawn mowers can chop the clippings super fine and then push them back to the lawn for mulch. You may find them labeled recycling mowers.

Since the mulch is actually more grass, it adds much-needed nutrients to the lawn. The fine shreds ensure that the clippings break down fast.

This also ensures that the clippings don’t smother the growing grass. Still, mulching mowers are more expensive. If you can’t dispose of the clippings anywhere, this could be a good choice.

More on Mulching Mowers here.

Cutting Width

The cutting width of your lawn mower is the strip’s width that it can cut. Most people prefer a large cutting width. This reduces the time you spend going in straight lines.

Each manufacturer lists the cutting width in the description. Though measurements can vary, you can expect:

  • 300mm for small lawns
  • 350-400mm for medium lawns
  • 400mm+ for large lawns

Cutting Height

How high is the grass going to be when you need to cut it? This is what cutting height refers to. Most lawn mowers offer adjustable cutting options. You can move the blade down or up as necessary.

When the grass is taller than normal, you may need to raise the cutting height so that the mower can get through it all easily.

Also, you can determine how high you want the grass to be. Many people prefer it shorter in the summer when they are using the lawn more. In the fall or during dry spells, you can keep it longer so that it stays full and green.

Cutting ranges are often between 20 and 60 mm.

Rear Roller

Have you ever seen well-manicured lawns with the stripes? You may have wondered how they did that. You can train the grass to grow a particular way by always mowing the same direction.

However, if you buy a mower with a rear roller, that can do the same thing each time. If the mower is heavy and has a roller, the stripes are going to last a long time. That way, it stays until you mow it again.

With a rear roller, you can mow all the way to the edge of your lawn.

Mowing Edges

If you’ve got many edges around the lawn, you should buy a mower that cuts right to the edge. You often want something with a rear roller or cylinder blades to do this properly.

However, a mower with a grass comb or inset front wheels can also help mow the edges evenly. Then, you don’t need to go around with a trimmer to get a perfectly manicured lawn.

Baggers

Most people prefer to collect their grass clippings and not leave them strewn around the lawn. Lawn mowers often have a bag at the back, which collects the clippings.

As you mow, the bits of grass fly into the bag for you. If you don’t plan to leave the clippings out there, this is a helpful tool. You don’t have to rake them all up when you’re done.

Those with a large or medium lawn might want a larger bag attachment. This way, you cut down on the time you’re stopping to empty it.

Terrain Type

The type of garden you have also makes a difference in the mower you buy. If it is flat, you are going to find it easy to use all types of lawn mowers. However, if there are hills or slopes, you have to be careful.

Riding mowers might seem like a good choice there. Still, they could slide down a steep slope or tip over. Manual mowers aren’t going to work well for this situation, either.

Self-propelled lawn mowers might be best. Consider using it downhill only. Come back around to the top and go down again. That way, you’re not using more energy to get uphill.

Take a good look at your lawn. Are there a lot of bare patches? Is the grass extra thick in some spots? You can choose a mower based on the type of terrain to ensure that it works best in all conditions.

Tips for Creating a Stunning Lawn

Once you have the right lawn mower, you might be wondering how to get a really good looking lawn.

Mowing on a set routine means that the grass grows denser and lusher. Moss and weeds aren’t going to get a foothold. Therefore, you don’t have to use harsh chemicals to kill them and spend more time seeding.

A beautiful lawn starts with a regular routine.

Don't be a lawn scalper! Most people make the mistake of cutting the grass too short. It’s called scalping and is going to weaken it with time.

Think of grass like hair. When you get it cut every four to six weeks, it continues growing and reduces the risk of split ends. If you were to cut your hair every day, it is just going to get shorter.

The same applies to your grass. When you cut it every week and leave it at a regular height, it grows lusher. Then, you cut it again the next week, and it continues to be lush and full.

If you cut it too short, the grass has less of a hold in the ground. The roots don’t go very deep for most varieties. That means weeds could come in and take over, killing the grass.

Ornamental lawns rarely get used that much. Therefore, you can cut them as low as 2.5 cm. However, lawns with some foot traffic should be about 5cm high.

When you mow for the first time of the year (after winter), consider raising the blades to the highest setting possible. With time, lower them a little so that they are cutting shorter. This puts less stress on the lawn.

Spring is an important time for grass. This is when it starts coming out of hibernation and grows again. We can do a few things to help it along:

  1. Improve sunlight by remove dead plant matter and leaves from the ground. They block out the sunlight, which smothers the grass.
  2. Rake the lawn before mowing, this is going to remove thatch and moss from the ground.
  3. Seed when you notice bare spots, reseed them. Fork the soil lightly to help loosen it. Add some fresh soil and sow the seeds. Cover it with a little more topsoil and water it.
  4. Use some netting or string to keep the birds from eating the grass seed.

Disease can form in patches that don’t get enough light. Most people collect their grass clippings, as well. You can choose a mulching lawn mower to cut the grass bits up very finely and nourish the lawn.

Pay attention to shaded areas. They get less light, so they don’t have to be cut as short. Aim for roughly 4cm high. Keeping the grass long here ensures that weeds can’t thrive, and drought doesn’t do as much damage.

Check the article on Growing and Maintaining a Perfect Lawn for more a more detailed guide.

Which Mower Is Best for Me?

It can be hard to determine the right mower from the different types of lawn mowers available. If you have a small lawn that’s only 100 square meters, then you could effectively use a cordless or electric mower.

Those with a medium-sized lawn (between 100 and 250 square meters) may want to upgrade to a fuel lawn mower. Otherwise, a cordless or electric one could still work. This depends on whether or not you’ve got a long enough cord.

Large lawns are those that are 250+ square meters. Petrol mowers are often best.

Depending on the terrain (slopes, flat, etc.), you may choose a riding mower for your medium- or large-sized lawn. Manual push mowers might be suitable for smaller gardens.

Those who like technology may want a robot mower. These work best for smaller lawns. In fact, you can train it to be used on only certain areas that are flat or easy to mow.

Conclusion

There are many types of lawn mowers out there. Most people aren’t aware of just how many you can pick. This makes it much harder to choose the right one for your needs.

You have learned about the different features and types available. This helps you know what’s out there and make a more informed decision.

We also discussed proper mowing techniques and tips. This way, you can do the job right and ensure that the grass grows full and lush.

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This post was published on September 28, 2020

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