types of lawn mowers

If you want a lush green lawn, you need to take good care of it, and one of the best ways to do that is by cutting the grass or mowing it regularly. Ultimately, any type of lawn mower will cut your grass in a neat fashion, but you just can’t go ahead and use a tow-behind tractor mower or trail cutter if you have a small residential lawn. Can you? I don’t think so.

And you can’t use a reel mower or hand powered push mower for a large golf course. You need something more powerful or heavy duty.

That is why there are different types of lawn mowers and there are different factors that determine the type that is suitable for your yard.

Some of these factors include the size of your yard, the amount of effort required to operate it, power source, noise, your budget and a few other factors.

Classifying the types of lawn mowers

Lawn mowers are mainly classified based on how they are moved through the lawn or the source of energy for their motion. This divides them into the following types:

  • Push lawn mowers
  • Self-propelled lawn mowers
  • Riding lawn mowers
  • Zero-turn mowers
  • Tractor-pulled mowers
  • Robotic lawn mowers

They’re also classified according to the source of energy for their cutting action, which divides them into 3 major types which are:

  • Hand powered
  • Electric or electricity powered
  • Gas powered lawn mowers

Last but not least, they’re also classified based on the type of blade or cutter they use. This divides them into two major types:

  • Cylinder or reel mowers
  • Rotary lawn mowers

Learn more about each of the different types below.

Push mowers

push walk-behind lawn mowers

From the name, it’s quite easy to know that these are hand-powered, and thus require you to physically use your energy to push them through the lawn.

Push lawn mowers can either be hand powered, electric/battery powered or gas powered.

The hand powered ones are mainly equipped with a reel or cylinder blades for making cuts.

The energy for cutting the grass results from you pushing the reel mower through the lawn, with the reel connected to tires or the mower’s wheel by gears.

When you push it, the gear connection makes the reel spin several times faster than the rubber tires or wheel.

As for electrice or battery powered push lawn mowers, the blade is powered by electric current from your wall outlet or the battery plugged in, but moving it over the lawn requires your effort.

While gas powered push lawn mowers have gas engines that spin the blades. You just have to push them through the lawn to cover ground as well.

Self-propelled lawn mowers

self-propelled lawn mower machine

Unlike push lawn mowers, self-propelled lawn mowers don’t require you to push the machine. Instead, it propels itself through the lawn such that if you leave it, it will keep going by itself in one direction unless you turn it with your hands towards another direction.

Thus, all you have to do with self-propelled lawn mower is to guide it along where you want it to cut. The gas engine or electric motor provides the energy that moves spins the blades and also propels it forward.

Riding lawn mower

a riding lawn mower

As the name implies, a riding or ride-on lawn mower like the one shown above is designed like a simple lawn tractor that allows you to sit down and ride it along while it cuts the grass.

The most common form of a riding lawn mower is the lawn tractor which look like small agricultural tractors comprising a cutting deck mounted between the front and rear axles of the machine.

There are also rear-engine riding lawn mowers that have the engine at the back of the equipment just below the driver sit, unlike a lawn tractor.

Riding mowers are best for cutting large lawns larger than ½ acre. So, if you have a really large lawn that you want to keep in good condition, then you should consider getting one of these machines.

Zero turn mowers

zero-turn lawn mower machine

A zero-turn mower is a riding lawn mower that differs in the way you can steer it through your lawn. While a standard riding lawn mower will take a large space to reverse it or turn it to another direction, a zero turn can turn in the same spot about any radius.

It typically drives faster and costs much more than conventional riding mowers of the same size with steerable front wheels.

Steering controls also differs in zero-turn machines. Unlike conventional riding mowers, instead of a steering wheel, zero-turn units have two throttles that control the rotational speed and direction of each drive wheel.

These throttles are operated using levers mounted close to the waist or shoulder of the driver. Although, some zero-turn can be steered with a normal steering wheel or a joystick.

Tractor-pulled or tow-behind mowers

tow behind mower

You mount these to tractors and tow them through large lawns to cut the grass. Some of these can be powered by the physical movement of the tractor just like hand powered push mowers, while others have engines mounted in them to power the blades.

They’re also called trail cutters and are ideal for big mowing jobs, with difficult grass and weed and it will even cut brush up to 3 inches.

Tow behind mowers easily attach to your ATV, UTV or just any tractor and are really the ideal equipment you need for large heavy-duty grass, shrub and brush cutting jobs.

Robotic lawn mowers

robotic lawn mower

These are ideal for homeowners and commercial buildings or estates that just want a set-and-forget system for cutting their lawn.

It might sound too good to be true but these machines really exist and you can find some of the best ones here.

Robotic lawn mowers allow you to trim your lawn without even being there in the first place, and without employing anybody to do it for you.

It’s a machine you can buy once, install it yourself or get it installed for you, and it will do the job of mowing your lawn every day according to the way you schedule it to work.

They usually come with mobile apps you can use to schedule them to work even in your absence.

All the ones we’ve seen are battery operated, and they plug themselves to power and recharge automatically without your intervention.

Talking about robotic mowers, some very good options you can choose from include the ECOFLOW blade, Husqvarna automower, the Robomow RS630, and the Worx Landroid.

What to Consider When Choosing A Robotic Lawn Mower

The Size and Terrain of Your Lawn

consider lawn size and terrain

It’s important that you consider the size of your lawn before choosing a particular model, because each robotic mower is designed to work on a specific lawn size. Some are designed for 1/2 acre, 1 acre, or more.

You should also consider the terrain of your lawn, like the slope and shape of the lawn. Is your lawn flat or are there several deep spots in it.

Robotic mowers cannot climb very steep slope. So, if your lawn has a 35 degree slope, you might want to consider other alternatives, since it just won’t work.

Control and Scheduling

Robotic mowers usually have downloadable apps you can use to set and schedule how often you want the unit to work.

You can use this app to monitor the mower even if you’re not at home or around the unit and want to check on it’s progress or status.

Before choosing any unit, try to check which mobile operating systems are supported on their mobile app. Also check if there’re any additional cost or subscription fees associated with using the app, so you’re not surprised when you discover any hidden fees.

Navigational System

consider navigation system

Robotic mowers make use of navigational systems to find their way around your lawn. These navigational systems allow them to reach every corner of the perimeter you set for it and find its way back to the charging dock when it’s low on battery.

Some mowers use boundary wires to navigate, some use GPS-assisted navigation, some make use of sensors and cameras, while some combine 2 or more of these systems.

If live in a location where there’s little to no GPS signal, then there’s no need going for one with a GPS navigation system. So, ensure you check the type of navigation system so you don’t end up buying something that may not work for you.

Safety – Anti-Theft

consider safety features

Robotic mowers are designed to stay outside and work on their own automatically. Since they’re outside, in certain environments they can be open to theft.

If you live in such an environment, then you should ensure that the one you choose has some way to track the mower if it ever gets stolen. Some units require a pin to be entered before they can start function if they’re ever taken out of the perimeter that has been set.

Having a pin is okay, but without GPS tracking, it can still be stolen and even though the person who stole it may not be able to use it without the pin, you’re still at a loss since you can’t track where it is.

Also, most units come with sensors that turn off the robotic mower instantly if it gets raised or lifted off the ground. This is important especially when you have kids around the house that might try to play with it in your absence. The ability to shut off automatically can protect them from injury in that scenario.

Battery Life

How long does it take for the battery to charge, and how long does it last in between charges? Those are important questions to ask before choosing any unit.

These robotic lawn mowers run on batteries. Hence it’s important that they have good batteries that charge easily and discharge slowly. If it can work for an hour or more in between charges, that’s fine.

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