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Lawn Mower Selection Guide:

Gas Powered, Self-Propelled, Riding Tractors, and More; at the Center of Your Landscaping Plan

© 2009 by ; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission. Author’s Google profile

Lawnmowing a Soccer Field

Some homeowners hire a lawn care service to groom their suburban castle grounds. Others prefer a DIY approach. At the core of the landscaping arsenal is the lawn mower.

With landscaping, mowing, and other duties in the world of yard work, you’ve basically got two choices; you can do it yourself or find a local lawn care contractor through word of mouth or through a service company feedback database service like Angie’s List, who makes it easy to find the best. Join today..

Look at the equipment the local lawn care service uses. Usually, the same quality of landscaping equipment is available to the suburban do-it-yourselfer with deep pockets.

The primary difference is that with an average size lot, usually none but the laziest homeowner can defend purchasing a riding lawn mower or tractor.

Step 1: Decide What Type of Lawn Mower is Right

What should you as an urban grounds-keeper be looking for in a mower? Consider these factors:

  • The size of your lot. This determines whether to buy a riding model, with selected attachments or the more traditional walk-behind size.

  • Cost. Your budget is very likely going to dictate your final decision after all other factors have been evaluated.

  • Environmental risk factors. How green do you need to be? Some models emit a large volume of undesirable greenhouse gas emissions, while some are minimal. The Washington Post noted that one riding lawn mower emits as much pollution in an hour as 34 cars. Wow. Where’s Al Gore?

Types of Lawn Mowers

  • Self-propelled walk-behind. As the name implies, this type employs a drive train enabling the mower to pull itself forward, saving the landscaper the job of pushing. They're a good choice for large, open lawns or hilly areas.

    On smaller areas with frequent direction changes they can be a bit annoying. And remember they have more moving parts to break down.

  • Gas powered mowers. Also named rotary mowers since they spin one large blade to cut the lawn. This blade is either a standard kind that ejects the cut grass through a side chute or into a bag.

    A better choice is a mulching blade, which cuts up the grass fine enough so that it sifts into and feeds the lawn.

  • Reel mowers. reel lawn mowers go back to to the days of Leave it to Beaver. It uses a spiral array of blades that turn rapidly around a central reel. The blades are sharp enough to “scissor-cut” the lawn.

    This type take a little more effort, but they’re gaining in popularity with the green environment movement and there’s no outlay of cash for gas and oil.

  • Riding lawn mowers and lawn tractors. These are excellent for larger-sized lawns and are heavily used by commercial landscaping companies. Don’t forget the drink holder.

Lawn Care Equipment Maintenance

All lawn care equipment including mowers, tillers, edgers, and weed-eaters need a comprehensive routine maintenance program. At a minimum it should be done at the beginning of each spring growing season.

What’s on the list? Blade sharpening, oil change, air filter replacement, a new spark plug, and rust removal at a minimum. A complete visual inspection as well as an oil level check (where applicable) should be a habit before each use.

Leading Mower Manufacturers

Selecting an brand name and model is one of those situations where it makes good sense to stay with the leading brand names. There will always be a chance of finding a lemon, but at least the lawn mower replacement parts will be easy to find. Let's look at a few top brands.

  • Motorized Push Models. You can't go wrong with John Deere, Murray, Snapper, Toro, and Honda.

  • Riding Mowers. This is more of a niche market because there aren’t as many sold as other types. The manufacturers listed above make the best ones.

  • Reel Mowers. This is the choice for going green. The number of these sold is increasing daily. Because of this, many more players are producing them. But experience and a track record matters, so stick with the manufacturers that have been in this niche for the long run.

    Brill sits on top of the heap. Its precision German engineering really stands out. The Brill Razorcut 38 push mower now seems to be their flagship model. It’s lightweight and it can go eight years between blade sharpening.

    Scotts makes several high-quality models. Their Classic is great for taller lawns. Sunlawn is another reputable company. They produce a very satisfactory entry-level line-up.

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© 2009 all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission.