Different Types of Lawn Mowers
There are different types of lawn mowers available in the market. You can select them as per your needs. In fact, modern-day requirements are much different from the olden day ones.
For example, about 60 % of new homes are built in quarter-acre lots or even less in the US. Everything changed in just about a decade. This simply means, most modern houses have comparatively smaller lawns. Hence, it is easy to maintain them neat and clean.
However, several houses that are built on larger lots still exist. Also, they have larger lawns. Hence, power-packed lawn movers may be needed to maintain them.
Thankfully, the mower manufacturers have taken note of these changes. They have introduced many types of lawn mowers. Battery-powered or electric machines are suited for small lawns. Gas fuel machines are suited to larger lawns.
Practically, you cannot find much difference in their performances. However, battery or electric-powered ones do have eco-benefits. They also produce less noise.
In any case, you have to consider many factors before purchasing a suitable Lawn Mowers.
In this article, we have elaborated on various types of lawn mowers, their features, and the lawns they suit for.
Some lesser-cost models perform on par with premium-priced ones. You can find these details in our posts.
Table of Contents
Types of Lawn Mowers
1.) Riding Lawn Mowers
Riding lawn mowers suit well for large lawns and gardens. These types of lawn mowers ease the mowing process and also save time. This helps in increasing productivity. On the flip side, they carry a lofty price tag.
Moreover, these machines are most widely categorized into the following three types of lawn mowers.
Typically, most people think of lawn tractors when it comes to ride-on mowers. In most cases, these types of lawn mowers have front-mounted engines and about 42 – 54 inches large decks.
For selecting an appropriate machine for a lawn, just divide its deck size by 12. For example, select a machine with a 42-inch deck, for clipping lawns up to 4 acres [42 (Deck size) / 12= 4 (area)]
In general, these machines have about 18 – 25 horse-powered engines. Entry-level models have single-cylinder engines and manual transmissions. Similarly, top-level models pose double cylinder engines and auto transmissions.
Most modern machines have continuously variable auto transmissions controlled by shift-on-the-go hand levers. If you can stretch your budget a bit, go for more advanced, hydrostatic pedal transmission tractors.
In general, the price of these types of lawn mowers ranges between $1000 to $3000. Compared to other types, this price is reasonable and not much higher.
Although Lawn Tractors are good all-rounders, they have limited maneuverability. These machines tend to struggle while turning sharply. They also cannot tackle the hurdles well. This may lead to uneven clippings of grasses, especially at the edges.
Zero-turn Lawn Mower
In the gardening world, Zero-turn mowers have gained huge popularity over the past few decades. These machines have lap bars designed to handle from the front seat. In most cases, the dual hydrostatic transmissions are attached to the rear wheels.
The lap bars operate these transmission systems. Hence, anyone can handle these machines easily and efficiently.
In fact, these types of lawn mowers are specifically designed for maneuverability. Hence, these machines can turn sharply, pivot, and provide superb all-around clipping performance readily.
Typically, these machines get closer and clip tighter against the edges or other obstacles. As a result, the lawns get an aesthetically pleasing smooth, and nice finish.
The steering ability of these machines helps in efficient clipping on almost any surfaces including irregularly shaped lawns. In a short time, you can easily clip most of the grasses out of lawns.
Typically, these machines have decks ranging from 32 – 60 inches. About 450 – 700 cc engines with 12 – 25 hp powers operate these machines. Depending on specifications, these machines cost in a range between $1000 – $6000.
Rear Engine Riding Mower
The rear engine riding mowers suit well for moderate lawns. As the name indicates, these types of lawn mowers have engines fixed at the rear ends under the driver’s seat. In most cases, single-cylinder, 344 – 380 cc engines with 10 – 12 hp power operate these machines.
Typically, shift-on-the-go hand levers control the continuously variable transmission gearing systems in these machines.
With 30 – 33 inch decks, rear engine riding mowers are most suited for moderate lawns that are no larger than 2.5 acres. Normally, machines clipping such large lawns suffer high wear and tear. Hence, periodical maintenance is essential. To be on the safer side, it is recommended to purchase these machines from reputed brands
2.) Walk Mowers
Walk mowers are used to mow small lawns or back yards up to half-acre in size. However, you may have spent a few hours clipping such a huge space. Some people enjoy clipping grasses with these types of lawn mowers, as it is also a good walking exercise!
While purchasing, you can find a wide variety of walk mowers to choose from, in shops. Depending on the feature sets and quality, the price varies in a wide range.
Cylinder Mowers (Reel Mowers)
Typically, a cylindrical mower has cylindrical blades that rotate vertically at the machine’s front end. Similar to scissors, these rotating blades trap grass against a fixed blade and slice them.
Depending on the price, the premium models have about 3 – 12 blades. The higher the number, the more the precision in grass clippings. Having designed for flat surfaces, these machines do not work well for rough or uneven surfaces. They also have fewer features and height adjustments compared to other mowers.
These types of lawn mowers provide neat and clean cuts with defined strips on the lawns. They work perfectly for short and smooth grass. However, they do not suit well for clipping long grass and coarse grass.
Therefore, you have to maintain the lawns by clipping the grass regularly, to get maximum output from these machines. This simply means, mow the lawns at least twice a week during growing seasons.
Some models have rollers attached to the back ends. This helps in leveling’ grass. Thus, some of these machines can be two in one tool’.
In general, the cylinder mowers have to serviced regularly. Otherwise, their blades may lose sharpness and begin chewing grass instead of clipping them. Moreover, the blades of these machines are difficult to access. These factors make them a bit difficult to maintain.
Finding replacement parts can also be challenging as these machines are less common. This makes you totally depend on the service centers for maintenance.
Rotary Mowers are one of the most widely used common walk mowers. These types of lawn mowers have a single large sharp blade. This blade rotates horizontally at high speeds and clips the grass down as it comes in contact. This action is similar to that of blenders and food processors.
Generally, these machines work well on medium to long grass. This simply means you can mow less frequently than using reel mowers. However, these machines cannot give as precise cuts as the reel mowers.
Upon high-speed impact, the blade of this machine slices the grass down in milliseconds. This results in uneven, less accurate cuts. However, these uneven cuts are barely visible in an average lawn, especially at uneven surfaces like bumps and slopes.
As the name indicates, these machines require manual force for cutting grass. These strenuous machines are well suited for small lawns. They are also the simplest lawn mowers available in the market. These environmentally friendly machines do not produce emissions or noise like powered ones.
In fact, most modern-day push movers have reel blades as in cylindrical mowers. As you push them along the lawns, the vertically rotating blades cut the grass down.
These types of lawn mowers are the least expensive ones available in the market. Being lightweight, these machines are easy to handle and offer good maneuverability. You can steer them around any corners or obstacles or even reverse them if needed.
Being lightweight, these machines offer the most portability. You can also lift them into vehicles or carry them up or downstairs easily.
While mowing, you may have to exert excessive physical force depending on the surface. This adds to physical exercise. However, people who do not want to sweat or those with health concerns prefer to avoid these machines.
Lawns on hilly slopes do require labor-intensive works! However, these machines work well for small lawns on level surfaces than those on hilly slopes.
Self-propelled lawn mowers constitute sophisticated mechanisms that propel them forward automatically. Once engaged, the users just have to guide them directionally. Hence, these types of lawn mowers require only minimal human intervention.
Having simple operating designs, these machines are also easy to use. They save a lot of time by quickly completing the job in a consistent pattern.
Typically, these machines clip the grass more consistently than humans. They maintain a constant speed while chipping across the lawn. In fact, this provides more clear, neat, and aesthetically perfect looks to the lawns.
On the flip side, these advanced technical machines require regular, sophisticated maintenance. So, you have to depend on service centers even for small repairs.
These machines are expensive compared to manual push mowers. However, the extra cost is worth considering its consistency and minimal requirements.
Hover mowers mow the lawns by staying a few inches in the air above the ground. Due to resulting reduced friction, types of lawn mowers are easy to guide anywhere across the lawn.
You can move them in almost any direction maneuvering around trees, plants, and other kinds of obstacles. This is especially useful in irregular-shaped lawns or gardens and their edges.
On the flip side, these fairly inexpensive machines lack power, especially while clipping large areas. Most modern-day hover mowers are electrically powered and best suited for small backyards or lawns.
3.) Power Mowers
Power Mowers require some sort of power like battery, electric, gas, etc. Depending on the lawn size and power needed, you can choose any of them. Various types and models of these machines are available in the market.
Manual powered mowers are just basic push mower machines suited for small lawns. Typically, these inexpensive machines have a motor for rotating the blades. However, it does not provide momentum.
The user has to provide momentum with his muscle power. It requires a lot of energy and strength. Hence these types of lawn mowers are hard to operate and not preferred by everyone.
These inexpensive machines do not produce much noise. They are also eco-friendly and easy to transport
Electric Powered Mower
Electric-powered mowers are powered by electric motors. In mower markets, these machines account for the majority of the sales almost every year. These popular machines are well suited for small to medium lawns.
In fact, these types of lawn mowers are lightweight and compact compared to most other types. Hence, handling and maneuvering them is easy. Due to their small size, you can store them easily.
As power is transmitted through chords, you never have to face hurdles like refueling or battery changing. As long as power is available, you can simply use them as you desire.
Typically, these machines run at constant speeds, providing consistent clippings all over the lawns. These machines are also affordable with prices ranging mostly between $100 – $250.
These machines also have quite a few disadvantages. Attached to the power source, the chords may not long enough to mow every corner of the lawn. This becomes apparent, especially in larger lawns. Hence, you may have to carefully measure the chord length, before purchasing these machines.
Also, the cables trail you wherever you move. So, be mindful of them. They may tangle your steps or come in contact with the mowing blades. Due to these restrictions, some people do hesitate to use these machines.
Trusted petrol engines power these machines. Gas-powered mowers suit well for lawns of any size, especially the larger ones. They do not have nuisance cables trailing behind them. Hence, they are not restricted by the reach of the cables.
In general, petrol engines are a lot more powerful than electric ones, especially in the case of mowers. In addition, they can cut almost any size or type of grass. The powerful engines clip the grass quicker and save time.
In fact, these types of lawn mowers offer easy steering and reasonable maneuvering around any shape, size of lawns, or obstacles. Typically, these machines are heavier and larger compared to most other mowers.
These machines have a few drawbacks. The design of these engines is similar to that of vehicles. Hence, these petrol engines cause a fair bit of pollution and noise. However, modern advanced machines have sophisticated engines that produce less noise and pollution.
These machines require periodical maintenance. Also, you have to keep a watch on oil and fuel levels for smooth operations. In fact, these machines are most expensive compared to other types. You can expect to purchase them in a price range of about $200 – $800.
Most Battery-powered mowers work on a lithium-ion battery. Hence, these easy-to-operate machines, weigh less and have good maneuverability. The main advantage of these machines is, they have all goodies of an electric mower, without the restrictions or nuisance of cables.
Generally, these types of lawn mowers are well suited for lawns of small to medium size. Compared to electric mowers, these machines are slightly heavier. However, they weigh much lesser than gas-powered mowers.
Similarly, they a bit more expensive than electric mowers but less expensive than gas mowers. You can expect to purchase a good quality battery-powered mower for around $500.
On the flip side, the charge of the batteries can last only about an hour. So, you may have to charge them multiple times for clipping larger lawns. In addition, you may need to replace the batteries every few years
4.) Drive Types
Generally, the drive trains deliver power to the wheels. Depending on the terrain, they can impact the performance of mower machines. Different types of drive trains include front-wheel drive (FWD), rear-wheel drive (RWD), and all-wheel drive (AWD). All drive trains have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Rear Wheel Drive (RWD)
In general, the back wheels push forward these types of lawn mowers. They suit well for wide-open areas. They also perform well over unsteady terrains, rough surfaces, steep inclines, or bumpy grounds.
However, they have some drawbacks. RWD machines tend to struggle while reversing. Also, maneuvering them on small spaces or awkwardly shaped lawns, changing directions, etc., can be difficult.
Front-Wheel Drive (FWD)
In general, the front wheels pull forward FWD mowers. These types of mowers suit well for level gardens. They are also easy to steer and maneuver, around any kind of obstacle. Hence, using them in irregularly shaped lawns is easy.
On the flip side, the FWD machines do not work well on steep inclines and rough terrains.
All Wheel Drive (AWD)
In AWD mowers, the power is equally distributed to all the wheels. This facilitates the machines to perform well on almost any kind of land. They can climb hilly slopes, move on irregular surfaces, etc. with full power.
In fact, these types of mowers are more agile and powerful than RWD machines. But they are less maneuverable than FWD machines. You can use them to mow almost any type of lawn.
Factors to Consider Before Buying Different Types of Lawn Mowers
Foldable Handles – In some modern mowers, manufacturers provide collapsible or folding handles. This helps to store the machines in lesser spaces.
Electric Start – In most gas models, you can start the machine by just pressing the pushbuttons. Some basic models may have pull chords for the same function. But we recommend you to go for electric start models.
Washout Ports – After every use, clean the mower undersides. Washout ports facilitate connecting hoses to dispose of the remains. Otherwise, you may have to tip the machine for disposals.
Cruise Control – While purchasing riding mowers, go for models with cruise control. As in automobiles, this facility helps to lock the ground speed. This is especially useful when you clip large lawns.