A high-quality lawn mower is an essential piece of equipment for any homeowner. If you don’t want to hire a lawn mower service, you’ll need to mow the lawn yourself to make sure the grass doesn’t get too unmanageable throughout the season. But choosing the best lawn mower for your home can be tricky. Read on to learn about the different types of lawn mowers and the basics of lawn mower maintenance.
Lawn Mower Basics
The first decision you want to make is whether you’re going to buy a walk-behind or riding mower. As a general rule of thumb, a walk-behind mower is perfect if you have less than a half-acre of grass. Any larger than this, and you’ll want to consider a riding mower. Since most homeowners mow their lawn at least once or twice a month in the warmer seasons, a riding mower is a great investment for larger yards. It’ll get the job done a lot quicker and you’ll be a lot less tired afterward.
The Best Lawn Mower for Hilly Terrain
If your property has a lot of hills, you’ll want to go with a self-propelled walk-behind mower; using a riding mower on this kind of terrain can be dangerous if the lawn mower tips over on a steep incline. A riding mower is great for expansive, moderately flat lawns, while a walk-behind lawn mower is a lot smoother if you have a lot of obstacles to move around, such as rocks or garden patches.
The Benefits of Choosing a Reel Mower
If your lawn is relatively small, flat and easy to manage, a reel mower can be a smart choice. These require no gas or electricity and are easier to maintain than other, more expensive lawn mowers. However, reel mowers generally won’t work well if your lawn has a lot of tough weeds to cut through. They work best if you walk briskly while operating them, which can make for a good workout!
The Benefits of Choosing a Riding Mower
If you do decide to go with a riding mower, remember that in general they’re riskier in terms of safety. That being said, they’re a lot more efficient at cutting grass than other options. Some riding mowers have a cutting width of 60 inches, which lets you cut more lawn in a lot less time.
Riding mowers come in both electric and gas-powered models. Although electric mowers are quieter, more environmentally-friendly and require less maintenance overall, gas-powered machines are best for heavy-duty mowing and longer mowing times. If you have a large yard with lots of obstacles, look for a zero-radius-turning mower with a steering wheel. These vehicles boast four-wheel steering and can make turns effortlessly around your lawn.
Essential Lawn Mower Safety
Safety is one crucial element you want to take into account, as lawn mower accidents are more common that we’d like to think. It’s absolutely imperative to make sure small children are nowhere near the mower during operation, as they can be hard to spot or hear while riding. Look for lawn mowers with built-in safety mechanisms, like automatic shut down if you get off the vehicle. Parking brakes are also useful to limit your risk of injury.
Lawn Mower Maintenance Tips
One of the first signs that something isn’t quite right with your lawn mower is if it fails to start from the first few times yanking the cord. If your lawn mower starts acting this way, it’s best to find a qualified professional who’s familiar with the make and model of the machine. You should get your mower checked at least every year to keep track of any changes.
Just like your car, you’ll want to check the oil once or twice a season. And of course, make sure your tires and spark plug are in good condition and replace if necessary. After every use – and only after the lawn mower is completely powered down – make sure to clean out any grass from the bottom deck of the machine with a hose. If you take good care of your machine, it will reward you with many years of mowing.
If you decide that mowing the lawn just isn’t for you, or you don’t think you can keep up with it physically, you can always hire a lawn mower service. But if you do decide to buy or upgrade your mower, these guidelines can give you a good idea of what mower to choose and how to take care of it.
What type of lawn mower do you use? Tell us in the comments.