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Choosing the Right Lawn Mower

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

When it comes to choosing the right lawn mower, use the following tips to be sure you pick a winner.

Tip #1. Size up your lawn.

Riding lawn mowers have some great advantages. They have wider decks, meaning they can cut down a wider swath of grass with each pass and, accordingly, speed through a lawn mowing job at lightning speed. There's also something inherently fun about riding around on one of them.

If your yard is larger than an acre, a riding lawn mower probably makes sense. But if your yard is smaller than that or has tough angles or particularly tight areas, a riding mower doesn't have the maneuverability to get in those spaces, so you'll be left with lots of time-consuming hand-trimming.

Tip #2. Look for a mower with flexibility.

Choosing a lawn mower with adjustable cutting heights is critical. Different lawn types thrive at different lengths. You'll want to be able to adjust your mower to cut your lawn down to just the height it likes.
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Tip #3. Get the most mower for your money.

Whatever the size of your yard, buying a mower that's large enough and that has enough power to handle the job will make lawn mowing much less of a chore. Moving up from a mower with an 18-inch cutting width to one with a 36-in cutting width can mean chopping hours from the time you spend each week behind the mower. Just think of how you could spend that time enjoying your lawn rather than tending to it.

Tip #4. Mowing Safety Counts.

Be sure to buy a mower with a strong steel deck covering the blades. Look for mowers with steel training shields, discharge ports, and engine shrouds as well. Your safety is well worth the extra cost.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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