If you are the proud owner of a family home rather than a condo apartment, then one major tool you are going to need is a lawn mower. As one property in a
series of many in a housing division you will want to be certain that your lawn looks good and attracts favorable oohs and aahs from your neighbors.
Lawn mowers are not manufactured under the concept one size fits all. That’s because there is no such thing as one type of lawn. Lawns vary in topography, slope, and other characteristics. No one type of lawn mower can cater to all the differences. Moreover, lawn mowers are also designed for the idiosyncrasies of the person who pushes them.
Types of mowers include manual-reel, electric, gas-powered, lawn tractors, zero-turn-radius, and robotic.
· Manual-reel mowers. This lawn mower depends on the push power of the person who operates it. There is no gas or electric motor to propel it. A series of curved blades turn as you push. They commonly cut a 14-inch to 18-inch wide band unevenly and cannot cut grass taller than 1-1/2-inches or trim closer than 3-inches around objects. The resulting clippings remain on the surface of the lawn. So you will to rake and bag the remains.
· Electric mowers. Referred to as a walk-behind mower, they are ideal for small, level lawns. The electric motor rotates the blade and, for some models, drives the wheels. They include cord and cordless styles and start simply by pushing a button. There is little maintenance necessary except for the blade, which will need sharpening from time to time. Most include a side or rear bag to catch the clippings. They also include a mulching mode that cuts the grass to such a fine state, that the clippings can be left to fertilize the lawn as they decompose. Gas mowers manage to deal better with tall or thick grass and weeds. Electric mowers commonly cut an 18-inch to 20-inch wide band.
· Gas-powered mowers. This type of mower comes in push and self-propelled. They feature a four-stroke engine with a 160-to 190- cubic centimeter displacement. They cut a 21-inch or 22-inch wide band and deals with long or thick grass and weeds well. The mower will bag, side-discharge, and mulch the clippings. Self-propelled models perform well on most lawns. Gas-mowers are noisy and generate exhaust emissions. Maintenance includes regular tune-ups and oil changes.
· Lawn tractors. Featuring a front-engine design, they mow a 42-inch to 48-inch wide band and can bag, mulch, and side-discharge clippings. They accept snow throwers and other tools. They are gas-powered, so there are exhaust emissions and they need about 4-feet by 6-feet of storage space.
· Zero-turn-radius mowers. Landscapers use a similar mower. These machines feature rear-engine and rear-wheel steering and have great maneuverability. Some include steering wheels, but most have twin steering levers that individually power the rear wheels. They can turn circles in place because the controls can turn one wheel forward and the other in reverse. They bag, side-discharge, and mulch clippings and mow a 42-inch to 48-inch wide band. They coast more than most tractors, so they don’t cut as well overall. The rear-steering wheels can tear up grass when the machine is turned and the mowers are hard to control on hills.
· Robotic mowers. Yes, there are robotic electric mowers. They move on their own within a perimeter wire that sets the boundaries. Their performance varies and cut quality is not as good as a conventional mower.
You can get more information from “Lawn Mower & Tractor Buying Guide” published by Consumer Reports.