Lawn Mower Variations
Many gardeners dream of having a beautiful, lush, smooth green lawn, but that sort of thing doesn’t just happen automatically. It takes time, effort and maintenance to achieve the perfect lawn. To help you along the way, you’ll need a good-quality lawn mower. Having the best lawn mower for your grass type and lawn size will make a massive difference to the look of your lawn and how much work it takes to get it looking good. But the task of choosing the right lawn mower can feel overwhelming – there are so many different types available, and the jargon isn’t exactly the clearest.
Here at Best of Machinery, we’ve put together a guide on the different types of lawn mowers available. We’ll go into detail about what distinguishes them and what each type is best suited for. So if you’re wondering what the difference is between a rotary mower and a reel mower, or a push mower and a manual mower, then read on below to find out more!
Rotary Lawn Mowers
Rotary lawn mowers are the most common type of lawn mower out there. They feature a single cutting blade that rotates horizontally under the mower at high speeds, working not unlike a household food processor. The blade spins around like the propeller on a plane, cutting the grass it comes into contact with.
This is the most versatile type of lawn mower available, offering excellent performance for most types of grass and surfaces. They’re more powerful than cylinder mowers and work well for cutting coarser and longer grasses. Most types of push mowers operate with a rotary blade design, and if you’re not sure what kind of mower you already own, chances are it’s a rotary mower!
Rotary mowers are available as electric-powered options, cordless rechargeable battery models, or petrol engine-powered styles. They all offer advantages and disadvantages, which we’ll cover below, but they all operate on the same basic principles. Rotary mowers are relatively easy to take care of, as they don’t have much in the way of moving parts. But they still feature plenty of machinery that can get clogged up or bent, so it’s important to look after your rotary mower and keep it well maintained.
Reel Lawn Mowers
Reel lawn mowers, otherwise known as cylinder lawn mowers, feature cylindrical blade units at the front. These rotate vertically to cut against a fixed blade mounted at the bottom of the cutting unit. In general, the blade cylinders have multiple blades attached – usually at least three, and often more than that.
Reel or cylinder lawn mowers are an excellent choice for flat lawns you want to keep short. They’re not particularly adjustable and don’t work well on rough terrain, but they’re good for flat surfaces. If your lawn is flat enough, then these can be a very efficient and affordable choice for maintaining your grass at a constant height. They don’t tend to cope very well with rougher, coarser grass types, however, as the blades are designed more for smoother, softer grass blades.
Reel lawn mowers come in electric and petrol-powered variants, but the most common versions on the market are non-powered push mowers. Push reel mowers are some of the simplest and cheapest types of lawn mower. They’re also very easy to maintain, as there are fewer mechanical parts to look after.
Hover Lawn Mowers
Hover lawn mowers hover above the ground instead of sliding along the surface. This makes them a great option for uneven surfaces. They’re generally easier to push than most alternative options, thanks to the reduced friction against the ground.
In general, hover lawn mowers are a great choice for unusually shaped lawns, as they’re easier to use in awkward corners or uneven patches, giving you more control over the fiddly edges of your lawn. However, they’re not so good for larger lawns. If you’ve got a bigger lawn, it’s probably worth the expense of getting a larger and more powerful lawn mower. Hover lawn mowers are usually electric-powered and cheaper than many other types of lawn mower, but they aren’t the most powerful out there. This limitation causes problems for many people with larger lawns.
Cordless Lawn Mowers
Cordless lawn mowers are a great choice for anyone prepared to pay a bit more for added convenience. This type of mower is a hassle-free option, with all the benefits of an electric mower and no cable to get tangled up in. They’re a better choice for slightly larger gardens, although they’re a little heavier and significantly more expensive than a traditional electric lawn mower.
Modern cordless lawn mowers are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which are lighter and longer-lasting than the older style nickel-cadmium batteries, but this comes at a high cost. In general, you’re likely to pay $500 or more for a decent cordless lawn mower. If you’ve got the money available, though, then the added convenience of going cordless might just be worth the cost!
Electric Lawn Mowers
Most modern home lawn mowers are powered by mains electricity from a regular power outlet. This mower type is probably your best bet if you have a small or medium-sized lawn, as they tend to be smaller and easier to store, cheaper, lighter, and easier to steer and use.
Generally, electric lawn mowers come at the cost of about $150 to $250, or potentially under $100 if you’re looking at a smaller hover mower. The most important thing you need to remember, though, is that the length of the cable will limit you. If the cable is shorter than your garden, you won’t be able to mow all the way to the back. So measure both your garden and the cable before you buy, or you run the risk of disappointment and frustration!
Petrol Lawn Mowers
If you’ve got a vast lawn, then a petrol lawnmower might be the best option for you. These are great for trimming the entirety of a large area of grass where a mains electricity cable would be unable to reach. They’re more expensive and larger than electric lawn mowers, but they cut faster and are much more powerful. They’re also often a little easier to steer around awkwardly shaped obstacles.
However, petrol lawn mowers have engines that run a lot like car engines. They create more pollution than electric lawn mowers and need to be maintained like car engines. This means regular servicing, as well as regular oil changes. These models are a bit more expensive than electric lawn mowers and usually come in at $200 to $750 or so, depending on how large and powerful the unit is.
Unpowered Push Lawn Mowers
Push lawn mowers are a type of reel lawn mower (otherwise known as cylinder lawn mowers) with no internal motor. This means you have to push them along with the strength of your muscles – that’s why they’re usually small and lightweight. Because they’re small and require your own strength to propel them, push lawn mowers are best suited for smaller gardens.
However, they have a major advantage of producing no noise or emissions, making them much more environmentally friendly than a powered lawn mower. They’re also cheaper, usually coming in below the $100 mark!
These mowers have certain disadvantages, however. They require a reasonable amount of strength to push them, and it gets tiring after a while. That also means they aren’t well suited to users who have difficulty moving heavy objects. They’re also poorly suited for gardens with a significant slope, as well as gardens on the larger side.
Lawn Mower Types for Different Lawn Sizes
Different types of lawn mowers are appropriate for different sizes of lawns. There aren’t any hard and fast rules about this, but you can follow some rough guidelines to make sure you’re getting the best lawn mower for your lawn.
If you have a small lawn (up to 1000 sq ft), then a cordless, electric, or push mower is appropriate. If your lawn is medium-sized (1000 to 2500 sq ft), then an electric, cordless, or petrol mower will work well. If your lawn is larger than 2500 sq ft, you will probably want a petrol lawn mower to save time and effort.
There are many different types of lawn mower available, but there are also many different sizes and garden types out there, too. We’ve gone through some of the most common and popular mower types above, but there are no rigid rules.
Budget is something you should bear in mind, on top of lawn size and type!
Hopefully, our guide has given you a good sense of what’s available on the lawn mower market. If you’re looking to buy a new lawn mower, then a basic introduction to the different types will make a huge difference in how easy it is to make that decision!