So you’ve pulled and pulled on the old lawnmower and it still won’t start. Or maybe you want to buy a new mower, and were amazed at the wide variety that was on display at the home center. Side discharge, bagging, mulching, self propelled, riding lawn mowers, the list is endless! Given the wide variety of mowers on the market, how do you choose the best lawnmower for your needs?
If you’re looking at mowing a typical American lawn, a push mower is probably going to be your best bet. A “traditional” side discharge mower might meet your needs if you are not too concerned about having that well manicured look. Side discharge mowers typically cut through taller grass and even some weeds, but tend to leave a trail of grass clippings alongside the mower.
On the other end of the spectrum, a mower equipped with a bagger will pick up those grass clippings for you, and leave your lawn looking great. However, they do require that you stop and empty the bag when it gets full, and you also need to have a place to dump those extra clippings. Many cities and towns now have recycle programs where homeowners can recycle those clippings into compost – or better yet, create your own composter and use those clippings to mulch around the flowers in your garden.
Mulching mowers are a nice compromise between side discharge and bagging mowers. Mulching mowers will grind the grass clippings up into ultra fine pieces and leave them on your lawn. Usually mulching mowers work best when you mow often. If the grass gets too long or is wet, mulching mowers tend to clog and can leave clumps that you will need to mow over again to break them up. On the plus side, the recycled grass mulch means you have to water less to keep your lawn looking great.
If your lawn is small and flat, a push mower is a great way to get some exercise. If you have a lot of hills, self propelled is the only way to go. Be careful and read your owner’s manual though. Be sure you know how to stop your mower when you get to the end of the lawn! If your lawn is larger, you may want to upgrade to a riding lawn mower. Many newer models are equipped with the same side discharge, bagging, or mulching options found on push mowers.