Even with the best maintenance practices, there is a real chance that your lawn mower will break down at some point. It always happens, especially when you subject the machine to prolonged use in tough conditions. But something you wouldn’t want to imagine is a lawnmower blade flying off in the process of cutting grass. For a seasoned homesteader, an understanding that the blade is the most crucial component of the machines means utmost care must be taken not to damage it.
Are Lawnmower Blades Interchangeable?
Well, it depends. Lawn mower blades are mower specific and not universal. But most manufacturers have multiple types that will fit your mower. You can also replace a certain manufacturer’s blades with another manufacturer’s blade, provided that they match up with your mower in length, thickness, width, hole numbers, hole shapes, and hole sizes. A replacement mower blade must be a perfect fit for your mower, and must up to the manufacturer’s specification.
In this post we will walk you through when to replace your mower blade, the different types of lawnmower blades, and how to change them.
How to know when to replace your Lawnmower Blade
When it comes to replacing a lawnmower blade, you should first of all, ascertain if it is necessary. Determining whether or not you should replace the grass cutting blade boils down to physical inspection. Most importantly, there are also tell-tale signs you should always look out for before heading into a homesteading store to buy a new blade.
For a novice, therefore, the first sign to look for is whether the machine produces a vibration or not when in use. Dull mower blades are known to cause a lot of vibration because they have developed dents and nicks-signaling the need to buy a new one or sharpen it all together. And when you notice irregular cutting pattern on your lawn, it means things have moved from bad to worse. The presence of rust on your mower blade is another indicator that it is that time you cleaned, sharpened, or replaced it with a new one altogether.
For a professional, understanding the right beveling angle for sharp mower blades makes all the difference. Moreover, dull blades pull grass instead of cutting it. To put everything into perspective, think of a sharp knife and the ease with which it cuts. Most importantly, you should always have a replacement blade on standby just in case the one in use becomes useless.
Replacing Your Mower Blade-Different Types of Blades in the Market
Once you ascertain that it is that time you replaced the blade in your mowing machine, the next question is always about finding the perfect replacement. It brings us to types of mower blades in the market, and not necessarily the price with which you can acquire one.
We did some homework on this and the following are notable types of lawnmower blades:
● Low-lift blades
Low-lift blades are popular for use on sandy soil. They are designed for side discharge mowing and provide a low-drastic swoop. Another notable feature of these blades is their low suction power. However, before you go shopping for these blades, we emphasize checking the ones on your mowing machine if they match to avoid wasting money on something that will not fit.
● High-lift blades
High-lift blades are more or less the opposite of low-lift blades. It means you not only get a high-drastic swoop but also a high suction power. The vertical swoop is responsible for the high suction power that makes these blades suitable for bagging. Something even more noteworthy with these blades is the minimal clogging you will witness in the mowing area. However, high-lift blades are only effective when you fit them onto a lawnmower that has a high engine horsepower. You should also note that they are most suitable for mowing compact and tall grass.
● Standard/deck blades
Deck or standard blades are the most common of all variants. They are straight and rotate on a horizontal blade, cutting grass on both edges. To realize a continuous airflow during mowing, the standard blades are slightly curved. The resulting suction power expels grass from the mowing area.
● Gator (3-in-1) blades
Another type of lawnmower blade is the 3-in-1 variant. With this option, you get everything you need with a one-off replacement. Gator blades feature a combination of low lift blades, high lift blades, and mulching blades. You would, therefore, expect to buy them at a relatively high price compared to the others. However, we always recommend comparing prices across different platforms before placing a purchase order.
If you have never used gator blades, the first tell-tale sign is serrated sections on any side of the blades. But while these blades are very popular, each component has its shortcomings. That notwithstanding, 3-in-1 blades are very popular among homesteaders.
● Mulching blades
If you are looking to switch to new lawnmower blades because the old ones on your machine have suffered serious wear and tear, also check out mulching blades. And so, the big question at this point is what are mulching blades and why do you need them on your mower? First off, these are multipurpose or all-purpose mowing blades. It means you get to accomplish lots of mowing tasks without needing a different mower fitted with a different blade type.
Mulching blades are typically curved, making it possible to cut grass in different ways. They pull grass before cutting it. Grass gets sucked into a chopping deck where it is reduced to tiny grass clippings. The clippings are then expelled from the deck, thanks to air pressure created by the blades. The good thing about these blades is that they make mulching easier than anyone would expect.
Even more importantly, most of the grass clippings settle below grass to provide the much-needed mulch. You could also say that if you are looking to do a tidy mowing with less effort, mulching blades are the go-to option.
Changing Your Lawnmower Blade: The Steps You Should Follow
Presumably, you have landed the lawnmower blade of your choice from the above. With that, the next question we wanted to answer is how to change your mower blade. Chance is always high that mistakes will happen, especially if you are doing it for the first time. However, with the following tips, you can change the blades hassle-free:
Step 1. Park the mower on a level ground
The first step to changing mower blades is parking the machine on flat ground. For a small walk-behind mower, all you only need to flip it a bit on its sides to start working on the blades. For a heavy variant, a higher ground would be ideal. Always engage the breaks and turn off the engine of your mower. To further prevent accidents, place a block behind and in front of the mower so that it does not roll.
Step 2. Get the right tools
Getting the right tools for removing the old blade and fixing the new one is the next step. If you have the user-manual, the better, or you can look up information on the web. Most importantly, put a rag under the lawnmower to protect you from scratches and scrapes. Screw wrenches are especially necessary, but always ensure it is the perfect fit for the job.
Step 3. Removing the blade
The process of removing old mower blades is pretty simple and straightforward provided you have the right tools for the job. At this point, we emphasize that you wear gloves to protect your hands from scratches and also from oil contamination. Locate the socket holding the blade and turn in ratchet’s switch in a clockwise direction. With ratchet and socket on the bolt, hold the blade with your free hand. Twist the ratchet in an anticlockwise direction and once it is loose enough, you can now use your hands until it comes off the bolt. Fit in your new mower blades and snap everything back into position.
Step 4. Clean the mower underside
Now that you have easy access to the bottom of your lawnmower it is a good idea to clean it.
In the end, it is admissible that at some point, lawnmower blades with reach the end of their productive lifespan. It is always at that time you should replace them with new ones. However, not all mower blades are interchangeable. There could be slight variations depending on the model or brand. Most notably, pay close attention to the finer details on a blade such as bolt holes and design to ensure you have the perfect fit. Do not forget to explore different types of blades depending on your needs.