Nothing kills the joy of gardening and landscaping like wrong or faulty machines. This principle applies to lawn mowers alongside all other gardening equipment.
We all need that well-manicured garden especially in summer so that we can busk and enjoy the goodness of the sun while seeping a chilled cocktail.
To achieve this comfort, you need to invest in a good lawnmower. Good is relative since it depends on factors such as the size of the garden and whether you are a professional mower or just a DIY mower.
Lawnmowers come in different forms, sizes, and how they are operated. The general categories that are available in the market include:
- Electric or petrol/diesel mower
- Walk or ride mowers
- Front-wheel, rear-wheel or four-wheel mowers
- Cylinder mowers or Rotary mowers
There are so many categories and subcategories in the market, and it is up to you to decide according to your needs and circumstances.
Table of Contents
- Electric or Petrol/Diesel mower
- Walk or Ride Mowers
- Front-wheel, Rear wheel, and Four-wheel mower
- The Lawn Mower blade
- What Kind of Steel Is A Lawnmower Blade?
- Types of Blades
Electric or Petrol/Diesel mower
The choice between the two depends on the availability of a power outlet at the source. If you are working on an open field, a fuel-powered mower will be more appropriate.
There are cordless electric varieties but the power mostly lasts up to 40 minutes. This is not enough time when working in a big garden. Corded lawn mowers are also available for use in smaller gardens that are adjacent to a power outlet.
Gasoline-powered mowers are the most appropriate when it comes to large scale gardening. This is because you will only need to carry along a jerry can full of extra fuel for refilling.
Walk or Ride Mowers
Whether you will pick one of these will largely depend on the size of the space. When mowing a huge piece of land, walking all the way might be tedious, hence the need for a riding mower.
For small spaces, however, a walk mower would be more appropriate and economical as opposed to a riding mower.
Front-wheel, Rear wheel, and Four-wheel mower
A front wheel mower works best in level ground and where there are lots of obstacles. This is because when you push down the handle, the friction between the wheel and the pivot reduces, making it easier to negotiate corners.
Rear Wheel mower, on the other hand, works best on hilly landscapes, when you are moving uphill.
Finally, we have the four-wheel mower which is the most common owing to its multifaceted nature. A four-wheel mower is used in all landscapes ranging from slopes (both uphill and downhill) as well as spaces with lots of obstacles.
The Lawn Mower blade
Over and above all other features, a lawnmower blade is the most important part, since it is what gets the job done. You, therefore, need to maintain the blade in good condition and replace or sharpen whenever you are required to.
Sharp blades ensure that the grass is cut neatly while a blunt one will leave a lot to be desired. Since the blades are made from steel, it is possible to maintain them by sharpening. Sharpening is, however, a temporary solution since the blade wears out with time.
What Kind of Steel Is A Lawnmower Blade?
Going by their functionality, lawnmower blades need to be durable and safe to use. Durability is key because the blade encounters all sorts of objects in the ground, ranging from rocks to tree stumps and roots.
Safety comes in where the blades might break and cause injury. So to try and address these two main concerns, manufacturers have tried to strike a balance between hardness and brittleness.
Again, when purchasing a lawnmower blade, you will want one that is sharp enough to cut through the grass neatly without wearing out the surface. Torn grass edges lead to loss of moisture, and allow disease-causing microorganisms to infest the grass. Now you understand why at times the grass will dry up after being mowed.
Very hard steel is relatively more durable, but more brittle when it breaks. By reducing the hardness of the steel used to make lawnmower blades, manufacturers have also managed to prevent the disastrous impact that is experienced when the blade breaks.
On the contrary, however, reducing the hardness of the blade reduces the yield strength, and consequently the durability. The blade becomes more susceptible to bending when it hits an obstacle as well as fatigue and wear and tear caused by frequent use.
To achieve the desired standards, different manufacturers use different steel alloys to make lawnmower blades. The most common ones include:
1. High Carbon Steels
High carbon steel blades are hard, but this comes with several challenges. The harder the steel, the more brittle it is. This means that for applications such as lawnmower blades, it will wear out the machine faster.
The hardness in the steel does not translate to toughness. There is also the cost implication, whereby the alloy content steel coupled with higher carbon tends to cost more. The galvanizing process which is necessary to increase the life span of the blade also adds to the cost of producing the blades.
2. Boron Steels
Boron steel contains small amounts of Boron, usually less than 1%, but which contributes a big deal to the hardening of the steel alloy. Boron has to be used in small quantities because more of it makes the steel to be more brittle, hence defeating the purpose.
Because of the toughness they exhibit, boron steel mower blades are the most desirable. They can withstand tough grass and survive the impact of objects on the ground. When used alongside the modern blade technology (rotary blade) the lawnmower blades become tough durable and effective.
Types of Blades
Besides the material used in making lawnmower blades, lawnmowers are categorized as per their functionality. These come in 5 main categories as follows:
1. Mulching Blades
Mulching blades have more cutting edges compared to other blades. As the name describes, they thresh the grass into smaller pieces and disperses it back to the ground. As a gardener, you would go for this blade because you need to use the debris to enrich the soil. On the flip side, it cannot be used on dense and tall grass because it will clog the deck.
2. Standard or Medium Lift Blade
Standard lawn mower blades are the most commonly used since it works perfectly in both dry and wet landscapes. The biggest advantage is that they can cut dense grass patches. The downside, however, is that the chutes clogs easily and requires frequent maintenance.
3. Gator Blades
This is very similar to the mulching blades, only that they are more efficient because it comes with curved teeth. The modified blade edges allow the grass to be cut more finely. On the flip side, the cutting edges get blunt faster, hence needing frequent sharpening and ultimately replacement of the whole blade.
4. High-lift blade
A high lift blade has vertical angles at the edges, which enables a more precise and well-defined finishing. This type of blade is the best for a lawn with tall grass. It has a high level of suction that prevents blockage. The suction power, however, makes it less effective for places with loose soil or sand because it will all be swallowed into the mower.
5. Low lift Blade
Low lift blade has less curved edges and low suction power, which makes it the best for mowing a landscape with sandy soil. They use less power, are more durable, but they do not such the debris, meaning you will need to clean up after mowing.
Lawnmower blades can be replaced without necessarily having to buy the entire machine. It is, however, important to note that you cannot use a different blade from the original one. This means that you will have to consider your circumstances before purchasing your lawnmower. So that you are not faced with a need to change to a different blade later, which will mean you purchase a new lawnmower that uses your desired blades.