What Lawn Mower Should I Get?

The feeling of freshly cut grass is a cherished part of summer, but choosing the right lawnmower can feel like a daunting task. With so many different types, sizes, and features available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But don’t worry! This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the world of lawn mowers, covering everything from basic types to essential features, so you can make an informed decision and find the perfect mower for your yard.

In this article, we’ll explore the different types of mowers, discuss important considerations like lawn size and terrain, and walk you through the features that matter most. By the end, you’ll be equipped to choose the lawnmower that best suits your needs and budget, allowing you to enjoy a perfectly manicured lawn with minimal effort.

Understanding the Basics: Types of Mowers

Before diving into the specifics, let’s get familiar with the main types of lawn mowers available:

  • Rotary mowers: The most common type, rotary mowers are known for their affordability, ease of use, and versatility. They utilize a single, spinning blade that cuts grass against a fixed blade, making them suitable for most lawns.
  • Reel mowers: These classic mowers feature multiple, rotating blades that shear the grass cleanly, resulting in a precise cut. Reel mowers are quieter, require less maintenance, and are environmentally friendly, but they can be less effective on thick or uneven lawns.
  • Robotic mowers: For the tech-savvy homeowner, robotic mowers offer convenience and efficiency. These automated machines mow your lawn autonomously, navigating your yard and returning to their charging station when needed.

How to Choose the Best Lawn Mower: Key Considerations

Now that you have a basic understanding of the different types, it’s time to think about your specific needs and preferences. Here are some crucial factors to consider when choosing a lawn mower:

1. Lawn Size and Terrain

A. Large Lawns: If you have a spacious yard, a powerful gas-powered mower will likely be your best bet. These mowers offer excellent cutting performance and can handle tough, thick grass.
B. Medium Lawns: For medium-sized lawns, both gas and electric mowers are viable options. Electric mowers are generally lighter and quieter, while gas-powered mowers provide more power.
C. Small Lawns: Small lawns can easily be managed with a lightweight electric or reel mower.

D. Terrain: Consider the terrain of your yard. If you have hills or uneven surfaces, a self-propelled mower with good traction will be essential. For hilly yards, consider a rear-wheel drive mower or one with a variable speed control.

2. Power and Efficiency

A. Gas-Powered Mowers: These offer the most power and are ideal for large lawns and difficult terrain. However, they require fuel and maintenance, and they can be noisy.
B. Electric Mowers: Cordless electric mowers offer convenience and maneuverability, while corded electric mowers deliver consistent power but have limited range. Electric mowers are quieter and more eco-friendly than gas-powered alternatives.
C. Robotic Mowers: These mowers offer hands-free convenience and are great for maintaining small to medium-sized lawns, but their cost is significantly higher.

3. Features and Functionality

A. Cutting Height Adjustment: This allows you to control the height of your grass. Look for mowers with multiple height settings for flexibility.
B. Mulching Capability: Mulching mowers finely chop grass clippings and return them to the lawn as fertilizer, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.
C. Bagging System: Some mowers have a bagging system for collecting grass clippings, which is useful for keeping your lawn tidy.
D. Self-Propelled: Self-propelled mowers make mowing easier, especially on large or uneven lawns.
E. Handle Adjustments: Adjustable handles allow you to customize the height and angle for comfortable operation.

4. Maintenance and Durability

A. Gas-Powered Mowers: Require regular maintenance, including oil changes, air filter cleaning, and blade sharpening.
B. Electric Mowers: Generally require less maintenance, but you should still check the blade and battery regularly.
C. Robotic Mowers: Robotic mowers are generally low-maintenance, with occasional blade cleaning and battery charging.

5. Cost and Budget

Lawn mowers range in price from a few hundred dollars for basic models to thousands for high-end robotic mowers. Consider your budget and the features you require to find the best value for your money.

Choosing the Right Mower for You: A Guide

With all of these factors in mind, let’s break down the best lawn mower options for different types of users:

1. The Budget-Conscious Buyer:

For those on a tight budget, a manual reel mower is a great option. These mowers are eco-friendly, require minimal maintenance, and offer a clean cut, but they may not be ideal for thick or uneven lawns. Another affordable option is a basic rotary mower, which provides excellent value for the money.

2. The Busy Homeowner:

If you don’t have a lot of time to spend on lawn maintenance, a robotic mower is the perfect solution. These mowers do the work for you, allowing you to enjoy your free time. However, they can be costly.

3. The Eco-Conscious Homeowner:

If you’re environmentally conscious, a reel mower or cordless electric mower are excellent choices. They don’t emit harmful emissions and reduce noise pollution, promoting a greener lawn and a healthier environment.

4. The Large-Lawn Owner:

For large lawns, a gas-powered mower is the best choice. These mowers provide the power and durability needed to handle thick grass and uneven terrain. Consider a self-propelled model for easier mowing.

5. The Hillside Homeowner:

If you live on a hillside, a rear-wheel drive mower or a mower with variable speed control will provide better traction and control. Look for models with wider wheels for increased stability.

Tips for Choosing the Right Mower

Here are some additional tips to help you find the perfect lawn mower:

  • Read reviews: Before making a purchase, read reviews from other users to gain insights on performance, durability, and overall satisfaction.
  • Test drive: If possible, test drive different mowers before making a decision. This will give you a feel for the handling, power, and overall ease of use.
  • Consider future needs: Think about how your needs might change in the future. If you plan on expanding your lawn or moving to a different property, choose a mower that can adapt to your evolving needs.

Maintenance Tips for Your Lawn Mower

Once you’ve chosen your mower, it’s essential to maintain it properly to ensure it performs well and lasts longer. Here are some general maintenance tips:

  • Clean the deck: After each use, clean the underside of the mower deck to remove grass clippings and debris.
  • Sharpen the blades: Dull blades will tear the grass instead of cutting it cleanly. Sharpen your blades regularly, typically every 10-15 hours of use.
  • Change the oil: For gas-powered mowers, change the oil according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Replace air filter: A dirty air filter can restrict airflow and reduce engine performance. Replace or clean the air filter as needed.
  • Store properly: When not in use, store your mower in a dry, clean place to prevent rust and corrosion.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right lawn mower can significantly impact your enjoyment of yard work. By considering your lawn size, terrain, budget, and personal preferences, you can find a mower that meets your specific needs and makes maintaining your lawn a breeze. Remember to prioritize durability, efficiency, and ease of use, and don’t hesitate to seek professional advice if you’re unsure about the best option for your yard. With the right mower, you can enjoy a beautifully manicured lawn throughout the year!


1. What type of lawn mower is best for small yards?

For small yards, a reel mower is the ideal choice. They’re eco-friendly, quiet, and offer a precise cut. However, they require some manual effort and are not as effective on tall or thick grass. A manual push mower is also a good option for small areas. They’re affordable and offer a decent cut, though they can be physically demanding.

If you prefer convenience, a robotic mower can be a great investment for small yards. They work autonomously, cutting the grass regularly for a consistent, well-maintained lawn. However, they’re a significant upfront investment.

2. What type of lawn mower is best for large yards?

For large yards, a riding mower is the most efficient choice. They cover a significant area quickly and are relatively easy to use. However, they can be expensive and require storage space. Alternatively, a walk-behind mower is a more affordable option.

While walk-behind mowers are physically demanding for large yards, they offer more maneuverability than riding mowers and can be more efficient for uneven terrain. Consider a gas-powered mower for larger yards as they generally have more power and durability than electric models.

3. What type of lawn mower is best for hilly yards?

Hilly yards require a mower with good traction and maneuverability. Riding mowers with all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive are a good choice as they offer stability and control on inclines.

If you prefer a walk-behind mower, consider a self-propelled model with a powerful engine for uphill climbs. Make sure to choose a mower with a cutting height adjustment that allows you to easily adapt to different slopes.

4. What type of lawn mower is best for thick, tall grass?

For thick, tall grass, a rotary mower is the most effective option. They have a rotating blade that chops the grass into fine clippings, making it easier to mulch. However, they can be less precise than reel mowers and may leave some grass behind.

If you prefer a cleaner cut, consider a mulching mower. They feature a specially designed blade that cuts the grass multiple times, returning it to the lawn as fertilizer. This method helps to keep your lawn healthy and vibrant.

5. What is the difference between a gas and electric lawn mower?

Gas mowers offer greater power and longer runtimes, making them ideal for large yards or thick, tall grass. They are typically more expensive than electric models, require regular maintenance, and produce emissions.

Electric mowers are eco-friendly and quieter than gas models. They’re also more affordable and require less maintenance. However, they have limited runtimes and are not as powerful as gas mowers, making them better suited for smaller yards.

6. What is a robotic lawn mower and how does it work?

Robotic mowers are autonomous machines that cut your lawn regularly, eliminating the need for manual operation. They use sensors to navigate your yard, avoiding obstacles and cutting the grass to a pre-set height.

They’re particularly advantageous for small to medium-sized lawns with relatively simple layouts. They’re environmentally friendly and convenient, but they come with a higher upfront cost than traditional mowers.

7. How do I choose the right lawn mower for my needs?

The best way to choose a lawn mower is to consider your yard size, terrain, and personal preferences. Think about your budget, the amount of time and effort you’re willing to invest in mowing, and your desired level of convenience.

Before making a purchase, read reviews, compare features, and perhaps even test drive different models. Consulting with a local lawn care professional can provide valuable insights and guidance tailored to your specific needs.

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