A Glossary Of Things You Should Know About Lawnmowers Before You Make Your Purchase
Bagging - Mowers can bag the grass clippings or recycle them back onto the lawn. Bag mowers leave a cleaner , more manicured, lawn. The mower takes up more space with the bag attached, so consider storage. Mulching is when the mower cuts the grass into small pieces and allows them to fall back onto the grass, where they will decompose and add to the richness of the soil. A mulching mower can only handle cutting and mulching so much grass, so you will need to mow a bit more frequently.
Electric Mowers - Electric mowers are an option for smaller lawns. Corded electric mowers need to be plugged in during use. This can limit your mobility some. Electric mowers tend to be quieter and put no pollutants into the air. These will save you on oil and gasoline costs. Electric-battery lawnmowers offer more freedom than their corded counterparts, but offer a limited time of mowing power. The battery will need to be recharged. With electric models you should consider how often you are willing to cut your lawn. In areas where there is thick grass you will not be able to let the grass get very long before cutting it. You might find that that in the spring you will need to cut your lawn almost twice as often as you would with a gas mower.
Gas Mowers - Gas powered mowers are powered by gasoline(4 stroke engine) or a mixture of gasoline and oil(2 stroke engine). Gas mowers are a good option for a larger lawn where an electric cord would greatly limit the mower. Gas mowers have more power than electric and can therefore cut through tall or wet grass more easily. More maintenance is required on a gas-powered mower.
Horsepower - The more horsepower a lawnmower's engine has, the easier it will be for the mower to cut the grass. Of course this is not a perfect correlation. A 4hp mower with a razor sharp blade will cut grass better than a 5hp mower with a dull blade. More power enables the mower to cut more evenly and cleanly through high or wet grass. If you are using a riding mower to tow, it will be able to tow larger loads if it has more horsepower.
Mulching - Mulching is when the mower cuts the grass into small pieces and allows them to fall back onto the grass, where they will decompose and add to the richness of the soil. A mulching mower can only handle cutting and mulching so much grass, so you will need to mow a bit more frequently.
Other uses - Riding mowers can be used for other uses with certain attachments. If you will want to use your mower as a tractor to till soil or to haul, make sure it has those capabilities. A mower with the engine in the front is more likely to be able to handle attachments, but will also limit your visibility. You will want to consider how you will use your mower now and in the future so as to not regret a model that won't handle your needs.
Services - Your retailer or local lawnmower shop should be able to offer the service and parts you will need, from tune-ups, to oil changes, to blade sharpening. Changing the oil is important to insure the life of the mower's engine—don't forget.
Speed - Self-propelled walk-behind mowers and riding mowers have speed settings. For different types of grass, different depths of grass and different conditions you will want different speed settings. Be wary of mowers with only one speed setting, you will likely want more. Variable speeds will allow you to choose the pace that you want and will allow for you to change that as you mow.
Starter - Gas powered walk-behind lawnmowers have two types of starting mechanisms, recoil starter and electric starter. The recoil starter is the typical starter that requires you to pull a handle attached to a rope turning the engine allowing it to start. Today's recoil starters usually start within two pulls, not the many tiring pulls you remember from your youth. An electric starter requires the push of a button.
Storage - Depending on your shed/garage space you will need to be aware of the floor space the mower takes up. Walk behind, mulching mowers will take up the least; bagged, walk behinds the next; and riders the most. Reel mowers are light enough to be hung from a wall. Make sure you have ample storage space for your mower and that it is easy to get it in and out.
Turning - Depending on your yard's landscape, maneuverability may be important to you. A large lawn with tight turns will warrant a rider with high maneuverability. Some mowers are able to make tight turns to mow around trees and landscaping with ease.
Warranty - A warranty is important when making many purchases, lawnmowers included. With many parts that can become broken or fail and can be expensive to replace, you will want to have a warranty. Most warranties won't cover normal wear and tear. Be sure you do know what is covered.