Lawnmowers come in all shapes and sizes and so do their blades. If you are in the market for a new lawnmower or looking to replace the old one but you aren’t sure what size would be good for you then you aren’t alone. It is easy to get confused when shopping for a lawnmower since there are a lot of choices available. So what lawnmower size and blades would be best for you?
The size of the lawnmower that suits your needs primarily depends on how big your lawn is. If your lawn is under half of an acre you can go with a push or self-propelled walk-behind mower with around 20-22 inch blades. While any lawn bigger than half an acre will require you to get a riding mower that has a blade width of 28-46 inches.
Choosing the right sized lawnmower for your lawn is going to determine how effectively and quickly you will be able to mow the grass. Just like it is important to get a lawnmower that is not too small for your lawn it is also important to avoid getting a mower that is too big for your lawn since it will be difficult to maintain and will only add to the cost. But the size of the lawn is not the only factor that determines the size of the mower you need, there are other equally important factors you need to consider before deciding what sized lawnmower and blades will suit your needs. And in this article, we are going to tell you everything you need to know so that you can pick the correct sized mower for your lawn.
How to pick the correct mower and blade size
You have to consider the following factors when choosing the correct sized mower for your lawn:
Size of your lawn
Just like it would be difficult to mow a huge lawn with a small push mower with small blades it would be difficult to mow a tiny lawn with a monster riding mower with 46-inch blades. Therefore it is important to keep the area of your lawn in mind when picking the correct sized lawnmower with ideal blade size. Correct mower sizes as per the size of the lawn are as follows:
Small lawn (Under ¼ of an acre): A small lawn that is between 500 to 1000 square feet can be easily mowed using a manual reel mower but you can also use a self-propelled one. Reel mowers usually have 16 inch wide blades and you have to push them forward to make them spin since they don’t have any engine or electric motors. Or you can get a small self-propelled lawnmower as well for a lawn of this size.
Medium-sized lawn (Between ¼ and ½ acres): A lawn that is under 20000 square feet is too big to be mowed using a manual reel mower and this is strictly the territory of a self-propelled walk behind mower with between 20-22 inch blades. A self-propelled mower will move forward on its own and you can control its motion using a lever but you will still have to point it in the direction you want to mow. A 20-22 inch cutting diameter is big enough to cover a decent area and with the added benefit of not having to push the mower forward yourself, you can mow the lawn pretty easily.
Large-sized lawn (More than an acre): If you are dealing with a lawn that is an acre or more in size then you are going to need riding mower with at least 42-inch blades. If your lawn is way bigger than an acre than you can also go with a riding mower that has a 46-inch blade. Bigger blades will allow you to cut more grass with each pass which is going to be handy if you are mowing a very big area. And since you are sitting on the mower as you mow the lawn you can save yourself the hassle of walking back and forth pushing a heavy machine over such a large area.
How much power do you require?
If you are going to use your mower on slopes or uneven surfaces then you are going to need a mower with a decent amount of power. And when it comes to power, bigger is better in the world of lawnmowers. You don’t want to get stuck in a section of your lawn on a slope with a heavy machine. Therefore if you have to mow up and down a slope you are better off with a big riding mower with a rear engine that has at least 13 horsepower. On the other hand, if you are mowing a small lawn with no slopes or uneven surfaces a self-propelled mower with 4 horsepower can do the job.
When it comes to mowing around trees or other obstacles you are better off with a smaller more agile mower such as a self-propelled one with a 22-inch blade. Because a bigger mower such as a riding mower with a wide blade will make it difficult for you to mow through narrow spaces and around obstacles such as stairs or plants. While you can turn a smaller self-propelled mower whenever you want, a bigger riding mower has a painfully wide turning radius and you will have a hard time mowing grass with it if you have a lot of narrow spaces and obstacles to be navigated in your lawn.
The terrain of your lawn
If the soil in your lawn stays damp and wet using a larger mower on it can put extra strain on your lawn and the soil will sink in causing damage to the grass. Therefore if your lawn stays damp most of the time it is best to choose a lightweight and smaller lawnmower.
How to pick the correct type of lawnmower blades?
When you look specifically at the blades of the lawnmower there are a few different kinds of lawnmower blades available and each one of them performs a specific function. Therefore you must pick a lawnmower that has the kind of blades which suit your usage requirements. Whether you are looking for a replacement blade for your mower or buying a new mower it is a good idea to be aware of what the different kinds of mower blades are actually for. Some common types of mower blades are as follows:
- Bagging blades: If you want to prevent your lawnmower from spreading the cut grass all over the lawn then bagging blades would be the perfect solution for your needs. Bagging blades have a specific shape that allows them to scoop up grass clippings and send them into the bag and avoid spreading the clippings. A bagging blade is either going to have a wing or a specialized bend on the top side which allows it to suck up the clippings as they get cut. It is important to note that when shopping for bagging blades or looking for a mower with a dedicated bagging blade you might find multiple function blades that perform other functions along with bagging since there are very few dedicated bagging blades available. Moreover, you can find bagging blades for decent-sized walk-behind mowers and riding mowers as well.
- Mulching blades: These types of blades have been made for people who don’t use a bag with their mower and like to discharge the grass clippings into the lawn. The shape of a mulching blade is designed so that it circulates the grass clippings inside the deck of the mower multiple times after being cut before they get discharged. By lifting the pieces of cut grass again the mulching blade can cut the grass into smaller pieces that are then discharged out and since the pieces of grass have been made very small after passing through a mulching blade multiple times they will decompose easily and won’t be very noticeable.
Mulching blades are usually used without a bagger but if you want you can also use a bag in combination with a mulching blade but keep in mind that the suction power of a mulching blade will not be as good as powerful as a dedicated bagging blade. Another thing to keep in mind when buying a mulching blade is that if you mow your lawn when the grass gets a bit taller a mulching blade won’t do much good since it can’t cut longer grass blades into very small pieces.
- Standard or lifting blades: These types of blades are the most commonly used and most mowers are sold with a standard or lifting blade installed. The purpose of a standard blade is to lift the grass upward so that it can be cut properly and then discharged from underneath the mower’s deck. The lifting action of a standard blade occurs thanks to curved edges that produce enough upward airflow to keep the grass pointing upwards for a cleaner cut. Now when it comes to the lifting, powerlifting blades are categorized into three categories which are:
- Low lift blades: Low lift blades perform exactly as their name suggests they produce low lift under the deck since their edges are not very curved. These low lift blades are ideal for mowers that don’t have a bagging option because they can expel the cut grass from underneath the deck very easily. And because low lift blades don’t produce much suction they are ideal for sandy lawns as less sand is going to be lifted upwards when the mower passes over it. So a low lift blade is perfect if you are trying to prevent a lot of debris and dust from flying around when mowing a drier sandy lawn.
- Medium lift blades: If you are looking for a mower that produces more suction to cut grass in a better way then medium-lift blades are the way to go. Medium lift blades fit into most normal mowing scenarios because they produce decent suction that allows you to use a bag with them. And with a medium-lift blade, you can cut a lawn with moderately thick grass while not requiring a mower with a lot of horsepower.
- High lift blades: Great lift requires great power and high lift blades are meant to be used with lawnmowers that have plenty of horsepower to support a high lift blade. Since they produce plenty of lift they can be comfortably used with a bagger and you can cut very thick and tall grass easily using a high lift blade. The biggest advantage of high lift blades is that it prevents the grass and debris from clumping up inside the deck of the mower thanks to the strong airflow they produce inside the deck. The ideal usage scenario for a high lift blade is when you need to use a bagger when mowing because a high life mower cannot discharge grass clipping from underneath the deck.
Pros and cons of different sized mowers
Whether it is a push mower, self-propelled mower or a riding mower each mower size comes with a set of pros and cons. And before you make your mind up for buying a certain sized mower you should know what are its strengths and weaknesses to avoid any surprises later on.
A push mower doesn’t have an engine to spin its blades or to move it forward when mowing. Most push mowers have reel blades that spin in the direction you move them in and cut grass similar to how scissors do.
- No gas is required to run them since you are doing all the pushing and you are cutting the grass by pushing it forward.
- While engine powered mowers are known for their loud noise and vibrations push mowers are mostly silent and make very little noise when mowing the lawn.
- They don’t cost much and you can buy a decent quality manual push mower at a price of around $100.
- It is very environmentally friendly and people also use push mowers as a way of exercising while mowing the grass.
- Maintenance is cheap since there is no engine or tires to maintain.
- You can’t use a manual mower to cut tall or thick grass because they lack the necessary power required to cut through very dense grass.
- Push mowers are not precise and they cut the grass unevenly making your lawn look messy.
- It can’t be used in a lawn with a lot of twigs and fallen leaves.
- Can’t cut the grass short and tend to leave the grass taller as compared to an engine-powered mower.
- The blades aren’t very wide so you have to make a lot of passes to cover the whole lawn.
- They require too much effort to mow the lawn turning it into a chore.
These mowers have rotating blades powered by an engine and they also move forward on their own because the engine that drives the blades also propels the mower forward.
- You can mow a bigger lawn using a self-propelled mower since you don’t have to put any effort into pushing it.
- Can cut taller and thicker grass thanks to rotating blades powered by an engine.
- Cut the grass evenly and smoothly.
- It can change directions easily and are very maneuverable.
- They give you an option to collect the cut grass inside a bag reducing the mess.
- Have bigger blades that allow you to cover more area compared to a push mower.
- It can be difficult to maintain with a lot more things that can break down.
- Are expensive compared to manual mowers and you might have to pay around $500 for a decent self-propelled mower.
- Can rip and tear the grass if the blade is not sharp enough.
- Since the same engine is used to drive both the blade and mower it can lose power on slopes.
- You have to walk faster to keep up with the speed of the mower.
Riding mowers allow you to sit on them as you mow the lawn and you can steer them just like any other vehicle.
- It can easily mow a very big lawn that stretches more than an acre.
- It can easy mow an uneven lawn.
- It has very wide blades that allow you to cover more area in a single pass compared to any other type of mower.
- You barely have to exert any energy mowing the lawn making the process enjoyable.
- You can use a riding mower for hauling and towing things around your lawn thanks to their powerful engine.
- They require a lot more gas to run compared to walk behind mowers.
- The maintenance cost is very high and you have to maintain a lot more parts.
- The price of a decent riding mower starts at around $1500 which makes them a huge investment.
- It can be difficult to store and require their own storage space.
- Are very loud compared to smaller types of mowers.