As a lawn owner, you probably know better than anyone how important it is to mow your lawn regularly. However, there are many different mowers on the market, so how do you know you are making the right choice, and how do these machines work?
How does a mower work?
Mowers cut your turf using one of two different methods. The first method is to catch the turf between a fixed and a moving cutting blade. Mowers that follow this method are called blade mowers. The other method involves a blade that rotates and cuts parallel to the lawn.
Such mowers are called circular mowers. Modern circular mowers cut neatly and have the advantage of being able to cut turf from any height. Circular mowers can also be designed as mulching mowers or converted with a special blade set for this purpose. What advantages and disadvantages do these mowers have, which ones there are more and what is the best choice for you you can read below.
Knife reel mowers have several narrow, spiral blades that sit around a central shaft. As the blades rotate, the grass is caught between the rotating blades and the fixed bottom and cut off as if by scissors.
How finely the turf is cut depends on the number of blades in the cage and the transmission. The number of blades varies from 3 to 12, depending on the size and type of the machine. The greater the number of knives, the more cuts per meter. For example, a machine with four blades gives 30-40 cuts per meter, while twelve blades give 140- 150 cuts per meter.
In addition, it is important to periodically check blade reapers to ensure that the blades are properly set opposite the lower bar or blade
You can check this by holding a piece of paper between the blades and the fixed lower beam. Then turn the cylinder by hand. When the blades are properly adjusted, the paper will cut smoothly all along the blade. If it does not, you will need to readjust either the knife cage or the bottom bar.
Unlike blade reel mowers, hand-held mowers usually have a cutting head that is 30-35 cm wide. The simplest and cheapest have wheels on the side and no front roller. These models are good for mowing new lawns and long grass and for controlling creeping weeds and seedlings. However, these hand mowers also have some drawbacks. For example, the wheels can sink into the lawn if the turf is wet.
In addition, it is difficult to mow the edge of the lawn and cut the grass close to obstacles if there is a collection box in the front. You can also get handheld mowers with the collection box at the back, but they are difficult to maneuver and the box does not collect as much grass as the one at the front.
There are also hand mowers on the market, whose blade cage is driven by a large roller mounted at the back. These give a nice stripe pattern with a varying sweep. Because the machine weight is distributed over the entire length of the roller, you can mow right up to the edge of the lawn with it.
Gasoline-powered mowers are heavier than hand-held machines, but mowing is much easier. For larger lawns, you do need a motorized mower. The width of these mowers ranges from 25-90 cm and you can also get the larger machines with a seat (riding mower). More and more fashionable ride-on mowers are appearing, even with very sporty looks, which keep the work enjoyable.
Electric lawn mowers
Electric lawn mowers have powerful electric motors and are usually small in size. In some electric mowers, the motor drives both the wheels and the blades. In others, only the wheels. They usually have a reel width of 30-35 cm. These machines are light to operate but require an easily accessible grounded outlet.
Note that the cable must be long enough to reach all corners. In addition, it is important to develop a good cutting pattern, as you will then not have to reposition the cable as often. Always stop the engine and unplug the cable before cleaning or adjusting the blades. These last points also apply to rotary mowers, of course.
Electric rotary mowers and battery mowers
These mowers work motorically (not in terms of the cutting system) according to the same principles as the electric reel mowers. They additionally have the same advantages and disadvantages. There are several types available with cutting widths up to 46 cm. Some machines are driven via a rear roller and with an automatically rolling up and unrolling cable, all kinds of control electronics, and catch baskets with or without a filling indicator. Accumulators have an electric motor powered by a rechargeable battery.
Battery Powered Lawn Mowers
They are heavy machines, but easy to use. The area you can cut with it depends on the capacity of the battery and the cutting width of the machine. Before you buy such a mower, you should calculate the area of the turf and compare it with the figures given by the manufacturer about the capacity, to know whether you can mow the entire lawn with one battery charge. The disadvantage of a battery-powered machine is that you have to remember to charge the battery. When the battery is empty, you cannot finish your work.
Circular mowers have a cutting mechanism that rotates at high speed under a guard. It is either a bar with knife-sharp edges or a plate with two or four small blades, which are either fixed or movable. Some circular mowers do not work with blades, but with a nylon thread, which spins quickly to do the cutting.
Circular mowers can be dangerous if not used properly. Always turn off the engine and unplug the cable before touching the blades. Always remove stones and debris before mowing and never leave the machine alone with the engine running.
To properly adjust the rotary mower to the correct cutting height for the turf, you can adjust the wheels higher or lower. This is usually done by simple leverage or by moving the rotating disc up and down on its axis.
All rotary mowers have an internal combustion engine, a mains-powered electric motor or they are battery-powered mowers. You can read about the differences between these types of mowers below.
Circular mowers with gas engine
These mowers usually have a cutting width of 25-50 cm. Larger models have a seat. These give a cutting width of 125 cm or sometimes even more in professional units. Most large models are driven via the rear wheels, but some have front-wheel or rear roller drive.
The latter gives the banana effect in circular mowers. Most gasoline-powered rotary mowers have grass catchers, which are usually located at the rear. Some mowers form a strong vacuum when mowing. This lifts the turf and gives it a better cut. In addition, debris is sucked out from under the blades and blown into the collection box.
Air Cushion Mowers
These types of mowers have a turbine wheel under the crankshaft that draws in the air in the center and forces it to the edge of the mower body, causing the machine to float slightly above the ground on a supporting air ring. They are ideal for mowing slopes and are light and easy to store.
The disadvantages of these machines are that they are difficult to move when the engine is not running (that is why they sometimes have a wheeled roller anyway) and that they do not catch the cut grass. However, this is made very fine (mulch mowing) so that one can leave it. They are powered by a gasoline engine or have an electric motor. Some air-cushion mowers last only two or three years with regular use.
On modern mowers, safe machine operation (with two hands) and an emergency stop device are usually standard to prevent accidents. Furthermore, you will be able to find numerous technical gadgets on them that greatly enhance the ease of operation and maintenance.
But one thing remains: you will need to clean the machine after each mowing to prevent caking of grass residue. It is also important that you apply the correct cutting height. With air cushion mowers, this works so that they are adjusted by varying the number of spacers between the turbine wheel and the blade bar.
This is a development that fully automates mowing. They are mowers that continually drive back and forth within a cordoned-off field (this can be accomplished with either wires or sensors) and while driving, cut the grass they pass over. Most robotic mowers are mulching mowers.
The course they take is completely unpredictable. They are mostly electric machines with not too much power. Because they are constantly moving across the lawn like large beetles, they can keep pace with the growth of the grass.
Maintaining your mower
To keep your lawn mowing at its best, you must maintain your mower properly. To do this, you should always use a hard brush or a garden hose after mowing to remove caked-on soil and cut grass from the rollers, the blade cage, and the blades.
With rotary mowers, it is important to clean the guard. In doing so, also wipe the blade with an oily rag and lubricate the machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. In the fall, lubricate blades, gears, bearings, and drive chains, if any, and sharpen all cutting edges and blades. You can also, of course, have a professional give the mower a major overhaul.
The cutting width is important
Now that you have read the above pros and cons of the various mowers, you may want to proceed with the purchase of the most appropriate mower for you. However, before you proceed to purchase a specific mower, it is important to consider the cutting width of the machine.
This is because the cutting width determines the time it takes to mow your turf. Usually, a width of 30 to 35 cm is suitable for small lawns. As a rule of thumb, it should take about 30 minutes to mow 450 m2 with a 30 cm cutting width, 900 m2 with 45 cm width, or 1400 m2 with a 60 cm cutting width.
Janice is a full-time mom who likes to write on a range of topics in her spare time. She specializes in the Home, Garden, and Recycling topics. Janice is our Lifestyle and positive vibe expert. She keeps the office running.