Apr 23

Lawn Mower Buyer’s Guide

Are you ready to buy a lawn mower? You certainly have a budget and plan to compare various models to pick the best one. But do you know enough about mowers and the different options available? Do you know exactly what you are looking for? Do you know how to evaluate each model and make a comparison? This buyer’s guide will help you with all this and more.

I decided to create this lawn mower buyer’s guide based on my personal experience. I have been using mowers for many years now as part of my business as a professional gardener in California. I can help you make the best choice for you. Let’s get down to business now.

Lawn Mower Buyer's Guide

Walk Behind or Riding

The walk behind lawn mower is a traditional choice. Depending on its power and capabilities, it can work to mow up to 3/4 acre. Basically, it can be used for small to large lawns which belong to single-family homes and single apartment buildings.

The riding mowers are around three times more powerful than their counterparts and have a cutting swath which is approximately two times bigger. They are suitable for very large loans over 1/2 acre. Since you get to ride the machine, you will not have to use any effort when it comes to trimming the grass on a large area.

Power Source

With the standard walk behind lawn mowers, you can select between two types of power sources – a gas engine and an electric motor. The riding machines have gas engines only.

The gas engine has one major advantage. It is more powerful than its counterpart. It allows for efficient cutting with fewer passes. On the other hand, gas engines require more care especially when it comes to oil changing and fuel filling. They are fairly noisy than their counterparts and produce exhaust fumes.

You can select from standard, OHC and OHV engines. The OHC ones give you more power, less noise and smoother running than their standard counterparts. The OHV engines are easier to start, cleaner and less noisy. They produce more power and provide for better acceleration.

The electric motors operate more quietly and do not produce any gas emissions whatsoever so they are totally green. They are not as powerful as the gas engines, but you can expect them to do a good job. An electric motor can operate perfectly for years without any maintenance. The electric motors are either corded or battery powered. With the later option, you will have to replace the battery eventually and this may turn out to be quite expensive.

Select the power of the engine/motor depending on the size of your lawn and whether you will use options such as mulching and side discharge which require more power.

Start and Clutch

You can select from standard hand-pull start and an electric push-button start. The latter is effortless to use and guarantees that the lawn mower will start working immediately. Still, pull start should work quite well if the manufacturer has used advanced technology for its operation.

The blade-brake clutch system is a useful safety feature to have in a lawn mower. It works to stop the blade from rotating instantly without stopping the operation of the engine. It should provide for smooth, safe and effective operation.


Always check the size of the cutting area which the machine can handle. This will give you an idea of whether it is suitable for your lawn. In addition to looking at the claims from manufacturers, you should go over lawn mower reviews. Find out how large an area the respective model can mow with a tank of fuel or a single battery charge.

Push or Self Propelled

The push models require you to use effort in order to run them. This can prove to be challenging for the average home owner especially when the machine is fairly heavy and the terrain is hilly. The self propelled models have power sent typically to the rear wheels. They are easier to handle. Usually, you can select from different speeds between 1 and 3.5 mph.

Design and Make

Pay special attention to the design of the deck when buying a lawn mower. Try to figure out how effectively the grass is kept for cutting under the dome. Check to see if there is a rake at the front which pushes the grass up for cutting.

There are two make options when it comes to the dome. It can be made from steel or tough polymer plastic. Steel is considered stronger and more durable, but it is at risk of rusting. Polymer plastic is weatherproof, but it may incur some dents, chips and marks.

Cutting Swath

The cutting swath of a lawn mower shows you the width cut by a single pass of the machine. The greater the swath is the fewer passes you will have to make and vice versa. The cutting swath of the walk behind mowers ranges from 18 to 22 inches on average. This swath allows you to mow small to medium sized lawns with a few passes. The riding models have cutting swath of 40 inches on average, but it can range from 30 to 50 inches. Pick the swath in line withy our needs.


The walk-behind models typically come with plastic wheels. Check the diameter of the wheels, their design and tread to evaluate the traction which they provide. The machines with large rear wheels that have double ball bearing and well textured tread should be able to run well on flat, hilly and muddy terrains.

Cutting Height Adjustment

Look for a lawn mower which comes with a single-lever cutting height adjustment system. You should be able to adjust all four wheels with the push of a single lever without turning the unit upside down. This saves you a lot of hassle, believe me.

Disposal System

In the past, the grass clippings just feel behind the lawn mower. The current models typically have a 3-in-1 disposal system which provides mulching, bagging and side discharge options for clippings disposal. It is certainly the more functional and versatile option. Just make sure that any mulching attachments, the bag for clippings collection and the side discharge chute are included in the package.


The handle should be ergonomic and all controls should be within easy reach. It should allow for comfortable steering and perfect control. It is best if it comes with height adjustment. For easy storage, look for a model with a foldable handle.

A Final Word

Finally, buy a lawn mower from a reputable manufacturer and make sure that it comes with a useful warranty.

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