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Lawn Mowers for Beginners

by Laura Horwitz, All About Lawns Columnist

What to Look at First

There are two main categories into which all lawn mowers fall: rotary and reel. Reel mowers tend to work better on smaller lawns and cut the grass more evenly. Rotary mowers work best on larger lawns with grasses like fescue or bluegrass that don't need to be cut shorter than 2-inches. However, many people prefer rotary mowers--they're lighter, cheaper, and you can sharpen the blades yourself.  Blades for reel mowers must be sharpened at a lawn mower shop.
How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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Additional Lawn Mower Features

Once you've settled on rotary or reel, you'll still have several other options to consider:
  • Push mower vs. riding power: would you rather push your lawn mower or have one that you can ride on? The best choice partly depends on the size of your lawn.
  • Mulching mower: this keeps the clippings so small that they sprinkle out over the grass as fertilizer, meaning you never have to bag lawn clippings again.
  • Petrol-powered vs. electric lawn mowers: do you want a mower powered by an internal combustion engine? Or would you prefer a more environmentally friendly electric mower? These can sometimes come with a cord, which limits the range of the mower, or with rechargeable batteries.
  • Safety features: this can include things like the dead man's switch--an extra bar held against the handle to keep the motor running. The dead man's switch shuts off the engine should the user lose control of the mower.
  • Hover mowers: new, extra lightweight mowers that float above the grass, available in both gas and electric versions.

Which among these categories is best for you? It all depends on your personal preferences--so try out a few and decide which works best for you.

About the Author
Laura Horwitz has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for five years in both London and the US. She had a monthly landscaping and tips column for the Sussex County magazine RH Review, and her articles have appeared in Film Focus, 6 Degrees Film, and BizBash magazine.

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