Tips for Choosing and Caring for a Lawn Mower

Buying and maintaining a lawn mower are made easier with these tips.
0020382_10247_reel-mower_cw513

0020382_10247_reel-mower_cw513

Select a push-reel mower (cuts with a scissorlike action of rotating blades passing over a stationary knife) if you have a small lawn.

Select a push-reel mower (cuts with a scissorlike action of rotating blades passing over a stationary knife) if you have a small lawn.

When it comes to mowers, there are several factors to consider: weight, power, cost; safety features, ease of starting, handling and maneuverability, and ease of clipping disposal.

Selecting the Mower

  • If you have a large lawn of grasses such as bluegrass and fescue that don't need to be cut shorter than 2", choose a gas- or electric-powered rotary mower. This type cuts with a circular blade that rotates under a protective housing.
  • Choose a mulching mower if you don't want to deal with clippings. Mulching mowers cut clippings very small so that they disappear into the lawn.
  • Choose a gas-powered reel mower if you have a large lawn made of grasses such as Bermuda or bent grass that needs to be cut shorter than 2".
  • Select a self-propelled mower if you have a hilly yard or a large lawn.
  • Choose a riding lawn mower if you have a really big lawn.
  • Do you have someone who does your mowing for you? You'd be wise to invest in your own mower anyway – lawn diseases can be spread by means of mowers.

Maintaining the Mower

  • Make sure the cutting blade is kept sharp.
  • Keep the underside of the mower clean.
  • Rotary mowers are by far the most popular type of lawn mower. They're lightweight, and you can sharpen the blades yourself. Reel mowers must be taken to a lawn mower shop for sharpening.
  • Electric mowers are environmentally friendly and increasing in popularity. Rechargeable types eliminate the need for dragging a cord around. (Cordless mowers now have batteries that allow you to mow up to 1/3 acre.) Be ready to mow more often, though; these mowers aren't made for deep cutting.

Warning:  Many people are injured mowing lawns, so it's imperative that you consider safety features carefully. Choose a power mower with a blade-shutoff switch and a dead-man switch.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Mowing Tips for Keeping a Healthy Lawn

Mower height and other recommendations for a healthy lawn.

Lawn Mowing and Watering Tips

Cutting your grass and keeping it watered is vital to a great looking lawn.

Lawn Mower Basics

There are different types of lawnmowers out there. Here's some information on a few.

Mowers for the Older Generation

Mowing the lawn can result in a variety of physical ailments, many of which can be avoided with the right mower.

What Is the Ideal Height to Cut the Grass?

Learn all the factors that determine the ideal height for mowing grass and at what height you should be cutting your lawn.

Making Good: Raising Men Lawn Care Service

Learn how young men and boys are giving back by providing free lawn care to the elderly, disabled and single moms.

Tips on Choosing a Weed Trimmer

Use this advice from DIY experts to choose the best weed trimmer for your lawn.

Tips for Sodding and Seeding

Whether you go the sod or seed route, both have simple steps that should be followed. Here are some tips on both.

Tips on Choosing and Using Casters

Host David Thiel offers a few tips on choosing the right style of casters for your next project-on-wheels.

To Mow Or Not To Mow?

A master gardener examines the pros and cons of having a lawn to maintain.

On TV

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.