A lawn mower is a necessity for any yard. It delivers a clean, finished look that pulls your yard together and leaves you with a sense of pride when the job is done. So, it’s important to know about the different types of lawn mowers and understand how they work.
Consider these questions during the selection process to help you choose the type of lawn mower that’s best for you and your lawn needs.
- What is the size of my lawn?
- What features am I looking for in my mower?
- What type of terrain does my lawn consist of – is it more flat or hilly?
Push Lawn Mowers
- Push Mowers are a great option for smaller yards that are half an acre or less in size.
- These mowers use a gas-powered engine to propel the blades and require the operator to push the machine forward.
- Push mowers are best for flat lawns and are not recommended for mowing uphill.
Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers
- Self-propelled mowers are best for medium-sized lawns that are larger than half an acre in size.
- Though similar to push lawn mowers, these types of mowers are propelled forward by a transmission and are available in two different types of speed systems. Single-speed systems offer one set speed that can be engaged or disengaged, and variable-speed systems allow you to select your pace by squeezing a lever on the handles.
- Self-propelled mowers are offered with three types of transmissions or drive systems: front-wheel drive (FWD), rear-wheel drive (RWD) and 4x4 all-wheel drive (AWD). These built-in drive systems can make it much easier to mow up hills and for longer periods of time. In addition, some models are equipped with high rear wheels to provide extra traction and maneuverability when mowing unbalanced or slightly inclined landscapes.
- FWD delivers traction to the front wheels and will maneuver easily around beds and trees.
- RWD delivers traction to the rear wheels for improved performance on hills and when using a rear bagger.
- 4x4 all-wheel drive is best for yards with varying terrain. It allows the user to switch between front-, rear- and all-wheel drive to get the right traction.
Riding Lawn Mowers
- Lawn tractors and garden tractors are great for larger properties that are up to two acres.
- These types of tractors are also designed to accept lawn mower attachments, such as grass baggers and snow plows, and can be used to haul dump carts and spreaders. Though some riding lawn mowers have large cutting decks and others have more horsepower, the basic rule of thumb when choosing a mower is that the bigger the yard, the bigger the deck size you’ll want.
- Riding mowers are designed to mow flat yards or hills, and can also cut around trees or other obstacles in the yard.
Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers
- Zero-Turn Mowers are often built on a heavy duty steel frame. If you have less than one acre, a 42" deck will do the job. If you have a yard more than several acres in size, look for a 50" or 54" deck to cut more grass with each pass.
- Usually feature two lap bars that independently control the speed and direction of the rear wheels. These lawn mowers trim close to all lawn edges quickly and efficiently and can dramatically reduce the time it takes to mow the lawn.
- It’s best to choose a zero-turn mower if your yard is fairly flat with slight inclines. This type of drive system also gives zero-turn mowers the ability to complete fast turns, making them optimal for yards with many trees or obstacles to mow around.