How to choose a lawn mower, trimmer, selection tips and reviews
The main points when choosing a lawn mower.
- Brand. A reliable lawn mower doesn’t come cheap. Well-known manufacturers offer innovative solutions, quality knives and materials. Of course, all this increases the price of the lawn mower.
- Grass Features. For regular lawn treatment, a low-power device is sufficient. If we are talking about the fight against shrubs and field grass, then in this case a much more powerful unit will be needed.
- Features of the terrain. The wheeled model is good for working on level ground, but not suitable for steep slopes. This is where a trimmer comes in handy.
- own physical condition. The trimmer and hand lawn mower require endurance and strength from the operator. It is not advisable to use this technique for people suffering from diseases of the musculoskeletal system (including sciatica and other diseases of the spine).
- Self propelled lawn mower
- Non-self-propelled lawn mower
lawn mower — Lawn mower. It is carried out in the form of a cart with 2 or 4 wheels. A lawn mower usually does not require any serious physical effort. The device is equipped with a grass collector, it often provides for the function of mulching.
- hay mower — a kind of lawn mower, which is designed for processing neglected areas, meadows, overgrown lawns, boundaries. It is used for processing large areas (500-1000 m2).
Robotic Lawnmower — an improved version of the lawn mower that performs work automatically: the user just needs to set the route and time of work. If an obstacle or a living being is encountered on the way of the «smart» robot, the robot will bypass it.
Some models are able to return to the base to recharge the batteries. Sometimes the robot is equipped with a rain sensor and an alarm that is triggered when you try to “hijack” it. There are products powered by solar panels. In general, the robotic lawnmower is characterized by a relatively low productivity and is suitable for caring for a «cultivated» lawn.
Trimmer — a hand tool for mowing lawns, resembling a scythe. It consists of a rod, motor, handle, knife and reel. The trimmer is used for processing small areas and hard-to-reach places (near trees, roads, houses).
During operation, the trimmer is held on weight: the operation of the device requires the use of physical force, but the user can independently determine the height of mowing. This trimmer compares favorably with a lawn mower, in which the cutting height adjustment is limited to several blade positions.
Mini tractor (rider) — a universal machine that is designed for a wide range of gardening work (including mowing grass and snow removal).
Combination system – a trimmer with numerous attachments (including a cultivator, a nozzle for mowing snow, cutting knots). Such a machine is good for processing small, but «difficult» areas.
self propelled — driven by gasoline, diesel electric motor. Motor power is spent on the rotation of the cutting tool and wheels. Such a lawn mower is much more convenient than a non-self-propelled counterpart, since the user does not need to push it. The self-propelled model is the optimal solution for processing large areas.
non-self-propelled — driven by the user’s muscle power. Such a lawn mower is cheaper, more compact, more maneuverable and better handles difficult vegetation, but less convenient to use. In particular, to overcome obstacles while moving, you need to make a significant effort.
Manual (mechanical) — cheap, environmentally friendly, independent of energy sources, low noise. A manual lawn mower does not require special care: refueling, cleaning filters and other similar measures. The mechanical model is good for working on uneven areas where the motorized lawn mower can break.
Disadvantages of a manual lawn mower: relatively low speed and quality of lawn processing, the need for physical effort. In addition, manual models are always non-self-propelled. These disadvantages do not allow the use of a mechanical model for processing large areas. Yes, and tall grass (more than 10 cm) is beyond the power of such a tool.
Engine — does not require physical effort and provides high-quality lawn treatment. Cons: higher price, dependence on the availability of fuel or electricity, increased noise level.
The motor lawn mower must be serviced regularly: including maintaining the power cable (electric motor) in good condition, changing air filters, cleaning spark plugs (gasoline). Lawn mowers are self-propelled and non-self-propelled. The motorized model is a great option for mowing large lawns, mowing thick and tall vegetation.
Electric (from the network) — it is cheap, compact, environmentally friendly, low noise and easy to use, since it is not necessary to fill in oil and fuel and control their level.
A lawn mower with an electric motor loses to a gasoline counterpart in power and mobility. The disadvantage is the dependence on weather conditions: the device cannot be used after rain or mow wet grass in order to avoid electric shock. Working with the device requires care so that the blade does not cut the power cable, and the cord itself does not get tangled between the trees.
electric lawn mower – the optimal solution for processing a flat area up to 500 m2 with power supply. Such a model is not capable of thick and tall grass.
Important: An extension cable is required to increase the range of the electric model.
To avoid cutting the cable while operating the electric lawn mower, drape it over your shoulder. It is allowed to use the electric mower only in dry weather and in rubber boots.
Electric battery — has the advantages of the previous option, but is not limited in range, since it does not depend on the mains. This plus turns into a short duration of work and power, and the battery itself is quite heavy and takes a long time to charge. The battery model is suitable for processing an area of 300-600 m2.
Petrol — powerful, does not depend on the mains and cable length. The petrol lawnmower will cope with the processing of large areas and the thickest grass.
A gasoline car is heavier, more expensive and more difficult to maintain (needs fuel, periodic oil changes) than an electric model. Disadvantages include a high level of noise during operation and toxicity of exhaust gases, causing nausea in some people.
Diesel — compares favorably with gasoline cheapness of use (inexpensive fuel, economical fuel consumption). Otherwise, the advantages and disadvantages are the same as the gasoline unit.
Gasoline and diesel lawnmower is used to process a site from 700 m2.
The internal combustion engine is presented in two forms.
- 2 stroke (gasoline only) — powerful at a relatively low price, but makes a lot of noise. A 2-stroke engine requires refueling a mixture of gasoline and oil in a precisely defined proportion (deviation from them will lead to premature engine wear). A machine with a 2-stroke engine will perfectly cope with work on a steep slope (more than 25-30 °).
- 4 stroke (gasoline and diesel) — economical, less noisy and convenient to refuel, since gasoline and oil are refueled separately. With the same volume, such a motor is inferior in power to a 2-stroke. For cutting grass on a steep slope, a model with a 4-stroke engine is not suitable.
Volume – the larger this parameter, the higher the engine power and the performance of the lawn mower. With an increase in engine size, fuel consumption increases and the total weight of the machine increases.
Fuel tank volume – the higher this parameter, the longer the petrol or diesel lawnmower will work without refueling.
Full charge time — depends on the capacity of the battery. A larger battery provides longer runtime. Naturally, such a battery takes longer to charge.
Fuel consumption — directly depends on the power of the motor. The more powerful the lawn mower, the more “gluttonous” it is.
Turnovers – this parameter indicates the resource of the motor. The more revolutions, the longer the lawnmower will work.
Power — measured in horsepower (hp) or watts (W). The lawn mower for this parameter is selected depending on the area of the lawn. The more spacious such a site, the more powerful the unit should be:
- 200-400 m2 – 600-800 W;
- over 400 m2 – 1000-1600 W.
A more powerful lawn mower will perform better in thick and thick grass, but will cost more and require more fuel. By weight, such models are heavier than low-power counterparts.
The power of a lawn mower depends on the type of engine:
- electric — 300-2200 W;
- gasoline — 2.5-6.7 hp
Important: to convert horsepower to kilowatts, you should know that 1 liter. s.=735 W.
Launch type — presented in two versions.
- Manual (rope pull) — models with a similar launch are light and cheap, but inconvenient, since they require physical effort to launch.
- Electric starter — lawn mowers with a similar start are more convenient, but heavier and more expensive.
Mood (trimmers) — indicates the power of the tool. Trimmers with a lower engine location are characterized by low power (300-600 W) and a weight of 2-3 kg, but the continuous operation time of such devices is limited to 10-15 minutes. In more powerful (600-1000 W) and heavy models, the engine is located on top, which makes it possible to work with tough and dense vegetation.
Modes of operation of the lawn mower with cut grass:
- ejection to the side — convenient when mowing grass on the side of the road (models with side discharge are most common);
- collection in a bag (grass collector) — eliminates the need to collect mowed grass from the site, but requires periodic work stops to empty the bag;
- mulching – chopping grass and then spreading it over the lawn. Advantages of mulching: fertilizing the soil, reducing evaporation of moisture in the heat, solving the problem of recycling cut grass. However, when mowing a wet lawn, mulch interferes with grass growth. Therefore, it is better to mulch the lawn in dry, warm weather.
Cutting width — the larger this parameter, the faster the machine will process a certain area. At the same time, with an increase in the width of the grip, the dimensions and weight of the device increase. A lawn mower with a small working width is better suited for working in hard-to-reach places. In most lawn mowers, the mowing width varies between 33-60 cm.
The mowing width depends on the type of drive:
- hand-operated lawn mower — up to 30 cm;
- lawn mower with electric motor — 34-36 cm;
- lawnmower with a gasoline engine — over 36 cm.
Recommended cutting width settings:
- 32 cm — for processing a plot of 200 m22;
- 40 cm — for processing a plot of 350 m22;
- 40-45 cm — for processing a plot of 500 m22;
- 45-53 cm — for processing a plot of 1000 m22;
- 53-56 cm — for processing a plot of 2000 m22.
Cutting height – allows you to estimate the height of the grass remaining after the passage of the lawn mower. The higher the cutting height, the taller the lawn grass after being processed by the machine.
mowing area – depends on the power of the lawnmower. Low-power devices with a limited time of continuous operation will cope with the processing of a small area, but powerful units can mow spacious lawns.
Mowing speed (performance) — determined by motor power and mowing width. The higher the productivity, the faster the machine will solve the task in a unit of time.
Knife rotation speed – determines how suitable the lawn mower is for working with thick and dense vegetation. The higher the speed of rotation of the blade, the more efficient the treatment of such lawns.
The cutting system is represented by two types.
- Rotary – 2 / 4 bladed knife or line reel mounted on a shaft that rotates around a vertical axis. Thanks to this solution, the knife causes a strong air current, sucking the cut grass into the bag or throwing it to the ground. Rotary lawn mowers are the most common.
- Spindle — one knife is rigidly fixed, and the rest are placed on a shaft that rotates around a horizontal axis. Spindle models are inferior in performance to rotary counterparts, but they cut vegetation better: the treated lawn does not turn yellow, does not need watering, the grass retains its “velvety”.
The mowers use a scissor cutting system with two serrated blades: one knife is just as rigidly fixed as in the spindle version, and the second moves horizontally from side to side.
Barbell (trimmers) — there are two types:
- straight — found in powerful trimmers and medium-power models, but loses curved in terms of convenience;
- curved — used in low-power equipment, but more comfortable to use than a straight bar.
Bag (grass collector) — performed in several forms:
- hard (plastic) — durable and easy to use, but makes the car heavier;
- soft (mesh) — lightweight and compact, makes it possible to monitor the filling level, but working with it is not as convenient as with plastic;
- combined — combines the advantages of the previous options. Such a grass catcher is easier to unloadingand, if necessary, folds compactly.
Important: When mowing wet lawn, a hard bag is more practical, as wet grass easily sticks to the net and clogs it. As a result, the soft bag will have to be washed or vacuumed.
The bagless lawn mower does not collect the cut grass, but throws it to the side.
Pay attention to the size of the bag. The larger the grass bag, the less often you need to empty it. True, a bulk container is always heavier (this is true even for an empty bag).
Frame — made from the following materials:
- plastic — inexpensive, lightweight, not prone to corrosion from grass juice, but quickly fails;
- metal — outperforms plastic in strength and durability, but will cost more. At the same time, the steel case is quite heavy and prone to corrosion from grass juice. A good choice would be an aluminum case, which is lighter than steel and not afraid of corrosion, but you will have to fork out for it.
That — part of the body of the lawn mower in which the knives are located. It is made of plastic and metal (steel, aluminum). The material selection criteria are the same as for the body. Deep-deck units provide a cleaner job, as the cut grass gets into the bag without loss, that is, it does not wake up on the treated lawn.
Noise level – the smaller this parameter, the quieter the lawnmower runs.
Time of continuous work – the duration of the lawn mower from refueling it with fuel or charging the battery. So, for electric battery cars, this parameter is 30 minutes, for gasoline cars — 45-60 minutes.
Wheel drive According to this parameter, lawn mowers are divided into three categories:
- front wheel drive — have better maneuverability;
- rear wheel drive — have good cross-country ability;
- all-wheel drive — the optimal solution for working on «difficult» terrain.
Important: Get a lawnmower with wheels on bearings. Unlike wheels on bushings, this option is more durable and reliable. In addition, the wheels on bearings rotate easily.
Pay attention to the diameter of the wheels. A lawnmower with large wheels is easier to move around the lawn than its «brothers» with small wheels.
The weight — the lighter the unit, the more convenient it is to work with it. A heavy gas lawn mower is not suitable for teenagers and the elderly. Such users are advised to choose the electric model.
Cutting height adjustment – determines the height of the grass that will remain after the lawn mower has been processed (range 20-100 mm). Adjustment is useful if the operator processes different areas. In addition, this option avoids blades hitting the ground in hilly terrain, which prevents machine breakdown.
Adjustment is carried out by changing the level of the knife above the ground manually or synchronously. In the first case, you need to turn off the machine, but in some models with synchronous adjustment, this operation is performed directly during operation.
Important: in modern technology, the number of mowing height levels ranges from 3-14. The more of these levels provided in the lawn mower, the more precisely the position of the blade is adjusted to obtain the desired grass height of the lawn.
Practice shows that no more than 1/3 of the grass height should be mowed in one pass. In this case, the lawn will be healthy and beautiful.
Travel speed control (self-propelled models) — allows the operator to change the speed of the mower. So, on a treated lawn, a car can move faster than on a long-term unmowed area.
Handle height adjustment — allows you to adjust the handles to the height of the user. This feature provides additional comfort when working with a lawn mower.
overheat protection — automatically turns off the motor in case of exceeding the maximum allowable temperature. Prevents damage to the lawn mower.
Bag full indication – informs about the filling level of the grass catcher. As a result, you don’t have to stop the mower to find out how full the bag is.
Charge degree indication – displays the level of charge of the battery of the unit. This function allows the operator to monitor the condition of the battery and recharge it in a timely manner.
catalytic converter – reduces the level of emission of toxic substances into the air.
The anti-vibration system — special gaskets made of polymeric materials that reduce the vibration that occurs during the operation of the lawn mower.
Nozzles – expand the functionality of the lawn mower. There are several types of nozzles:
- bladed knife — well suited for processing dense vegetation, but when colliding with a solid obstacle it can break, it is used in rotary systems;
- spool of line — not afraid of collisions with solid objects, but ineffective in the fight against thick grass, usually used in trimmers;
- spindle knife — often found in manual models;
- cultivator — used for loosening the soil;
- milling cutter — designed for cutting shrubs, tree branches and other hard vegetation;
- trimmer — a nozzle that is used in hay mowers;
- mulching nozzle — used for crushing mowed plants, which are then scattered on the ground.
I’m harassing the engine — instantly turns off the engine, which is necessary when the lawn mower collides with a solid obstacle. Prevents engine damage.
Safety clutch – also protects the engine from damage when hitting a hard object.
Air bag — involves the movement of the lawnmower with the help of air flow, which raises it above the ground. This method makes it possible to use the lawn mower on difficult terrain (hills, slopes), and also facilitates its movement due to the absence of friction. At the same time, in such a device, the cutting height is not set, and the mowed grass is simply scattered over the lawn.
Shoulder strap — serves for comfortable work with a manual trimmer.
Folding handle / bar – reduces the dimensions of the lawn mower / trimmer for transport or storage.
Piano wheels – freely turn in the direction of travel, which increases the maneuverability of the lawn mower. These wheels are most often equipped with gasoline models.
- At the end of the job, clean off any remaining grass and dry the mower.
- Sharpen or change the blades periodically to ensure the machine provides a high quality lawn mowing.
- Pay attention to the balance of the knife. To find out if both cutting edges are evenly sharpened, you should hang it. If necessary, re-sharpen the blade. Otherwise, strong vibration will damage the motor.
- Change spark plugs and air filters from time to time on petrol models. In electric machines, the power cable deserves special attention: if its sheath is damaged, it is strictly forbidden to use the lawn mower. Before use, such a cord must be changed or insulated.
- Store the lawnmower in a dry and warm place where there are no sudden changes in temperature. A shed and a garage are not suitable for storing such equipment. Before storing a petrol model, it is necessary to drain the fuel from the tank.