Lawn Mower Buying Guide

One of the secrets to a beautiful lawn is having the right lawn mower for the job. This lawn mower buying guide outlines all the latest and most popular mower types and features.

Lawn Mowers 101

Lawn size, grass condition and the terrain of your yard are important factors to consider when selecting a lawn mower. Electric lawn mowers are ideal for small- to medium-sized lawns. They’re light, easy to handle and come in corded and cordless varieties. For larger lawns, a gas mower has the power to cover a big area and handle uneven ground. You should also consider whether you prefer a push or self-propelled mower — especially if your yard is big. Reel push mowers keep your environmental footprint as green as your lawn. And if you want the latest in grass-cutting gadgetry, try a hover mower or robotic mower. 

Types of Lawn Mowers


Corded Electric Lawn Mowers

Corded electric mowers are a user-friendly push mower option, well-suited for average-sized yards. Compared to gas lawn mowers, they're lighter, quieter and easier to maintain. Also, because they don't run on gas, there’s no smelly exhaust or polluting emissions. However, corded electric mowers do tend to struggle in wet or long grass, and the cord can get in the way if your yard has a lot of obstacles such as trees and shrubbery.

Cordless Electric Lawn Mowers

Cordless electric mowers give you freedom from both cords and gas. Rechargeable 24-volt and 36-volt lithium-ion batteries will last about 45 minutes to an hour per charge. Lithium-ion batteries are lighter and take less time to recharge than lead acid batteries; plus, they maintain full power until they're drained. Some mowers come with two batteries, so you always have one fully charged and ready to go. Final bonus: electric mower batteries are often interchangeable with other battery-powered lawn equipment.

Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers

Self-propelled lawn mowers do much of the work for you, making them a good choice for hilly, uneven yards up to a half acre in size. Give it a slight push in the right direction and let the power of the mower carry it across the lawn, reducing the amount of effort needed by the user. Self-propelled mowers are available in both gas- and electric-powered models and in your choice of rear-, front- and all-wheel drive. Variable speed control lets you adjust your self-propelled mower to travel at your own walking pace.

Gas Lawn Mowers

Gas-powered push lawn mowers are recommended for larger lawns up to a half-acre in size because they aren’t restricted by electrical cords or the need for recharging. They also have the mowing muscle to handle long, wet grass. The downside is that they're noisier than electric mowers and produce emissions. With a gas mower, you also have to keep them filled with gas and oil, change spark plugs and perform regular tune-ups.

Reel Push Mowers

Reel push mowers are experiencing a revival with environmentally conscious homeowners, and people looking to get extra exercise while cutting the lawn. They're the lowest-cost lawn mower option and a great choice for small yards. Modern versions are available in various cutting widths, and are lighter and easier to manoeuvre than the originals. The big plus for many users is that a reel mower doesn’t require gas or electricity and aside from the occasional blade sharpening, it’s extremely low maintenance.

Riding Lawn Mowers

Riding lawn mowers are a good choice for cutting large lawns and fields. The three types are the zero-turn mower, rear-engine mower and lawn tractor. Zero-turn mowers don't have steering wheels. Rather, they have separate speed controls for each front wheel. By causing one wheel to go faster than the other, you turn the mower in the direction of the slower wheel. Zero-turn riding mowers have an exceptionally tight turning radius, so you can work more efficiently and cut closely around obstacles. Rear-engine mowers have a traditional steering wheel. They tend to be quite narrow, making them a good choice for yards with narrow gates and passages. Lawn tractors are workhorses that cut lawn efficiently and also have the muscle to haul heavy equipment around your property.

Mulching Mowers

A mulching mower chops the grass into fine, compost-sized pieces that don't clump. The mulch is left on the lawn as fertilizer, eliminating the need to rake up and dispose of the clippings.

Hover Mowers

Hover lawn mowers literally hover over the surface of the grass on a cushion of air. Most don’t even have wheels. They're lightweight, easy to manoeuvre and store easily in your garage or shed. Most hover mowers have electric motors, but some models are gas-powered. Hover mowers are recommended for small lawns, hard-to-reach spots, steep slopes, waterfronts and areas with high weeds.

Robotic Lawn Mowers

Turn your neighbours green with envy this summer with a new robotic lawn mower. Typically, these mowers require the installation of a wire border to define the mowing area. Then, you simply push start on your remote and watch the mower go to work. Most robotic mowers are powered by rechargeable batteries that operate about 20 hours before running out of juice. Solar-powered models are also available. These lawn mowers are an excellent option for small yards and for people with physical limitations. 

Lawn Mower Safety Tips:

• Read and follow the instructions before using your mower
• Don’t use electric mowers in wet weather
• Position the electrical cable away from the cutting direction
• Switch off and unplug an electric mower and make sure the blades are still before trying to remove jammed clippings
• Keep children and pets away from the area when using a lawn mower
• Remove stones, twigs and branches from the lawn before mowing

Lawn Mower Features

Bagging Systems +

Bagging systems collect grass clippings in a bag attached either behind the mower or at the side. Remove the bag and empty the clippings into lawn and garden recycling bags, or into a compost pile. Before you buy, make sure the bag is easy to remove, empty and replace.

Wheels +

A mower with large wheels or with larger wheels on the back will handle uneven terrain better than a mower with small wheels.

Electric Start +

An electric starter is a popular option on gas mowers. Tedious pull starts are replaced by a single touch of a button that fires up the mower.

Variable Speed Control +

Variable speed control allows you to slow down your self-propelled or riding mower when mowing close to obstacles such as trees or flower beds, and speed up when you’re mowing out in the open.

Blade-brake Clutch System +

Also known as a bail handle, a blade-break clutch system enables you to stop the blade from rotating without switching the engine off. This is a handy option if your lawn has patches of rough terrain or gravel. It lets you pause the blade, travel across the rough spot, and resume cutting again as soon as you reach mowable lawn.

Removable Key-Start +

A removable key-start is designed to prevent children and other unauthorized people from accidentally starting or using your mower. Simply remove the key when the mower isn't in use and store it in a safe place.

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Lawn Mower Maintenance Tips:

• Read the owner's manual for specific maintenance instructions related to your mower model
• Perform regular maintenance tasks before, during and after the mowing season
• Sharpen the blades regularly
• Old or contaminated oil should be drained and replaced
• Clean caked-on grass out from the undercarriage and discharge chute
• Disconnect the spark plug before working around the undercarriage of a gas mower
• Inspect the air filter of a gas mower and replace as necessary
• Change the spark plug every year to ensure an easy start
• Get a professional tune up to ensure your gas mower is in top working order for the mowing season.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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