29/11/2013

Lawn mower buyers guide

You want to keep your grass and garden looking great but don’t want to pay over the odds for doing so. This is why buying a new lawn mower is such a big decision for most people. With so many features and options to consider where do you begin? 

Our lawn mower buyer’s guide is a great place to start and will help you select the ideal lawn mower for the type, size and shape of the garden you own.

Your garden 

The size and shape of your garden are probably the most important aspects in determining the correct lawn mower for you to purchase. 

Smaller gardens are typically suited for smaller, cheaper lawn mowers. The type of lawn mower is generally down to personal preference as cylinder, rotary and hover mowers are all up to the job. 

Generally people will use electric lawn mowers for smaller gardens over petrol mowers because they are typically smaller, cheaper and easier to store. 

For medium-large gardens more powerful electric lawn mowers or petrol mowers should be considered. Using cheaper lower powered electric lawn mowers on larger gardens may cause the machines motor to overheat / burnout after prolonged use. Not only will this leave your garden half cut, most manufacturers are unlikely to replace the machine under warranty, if this is deemed the cause. 

The shape of your garden should also be taken into account when selecting a lawn mower. If your garden slopes, is uneven, has curved borders etc. it may mean some machines are unsuitable. 

Some wheeled lawn mowers may be either too heavy or do not provide the movability required to get into the corners/spaces of your garden. For these types of gardens, hover mowers are considered the best choice as they float on a cushion of air, making them lightweight and extremely easy to manoeuvre. 

Type of lawn mower 

There are a various types or styles of lawn mower available for you to choose from, each with their own benefits and disadvantages. When choosing the type of lawn mower to buy remember to take into account the size and shape of your garden. 

Cylinder mowers 

These mowers have blades that rotate vertically on the front the machine. They help to give a fine, short cut. Cylinder lawn mowers are suitable for flat even gardens, and should be used on grass that is cut regularly. 

Hover mowers 

Hover mowers are designed to glide effortlessly across your garden. They float on a cushion of air which makes them lightweight and easy to manoeuvre making them ideal of uneven or oddly shaped gardens. Electric hover mowers are capable of cutting big and small gardens (dependant on the model), and cut the grass in a similar style to rotary mowers, cutting the grass from above and are available with or without a grass collection box. 

Rotary mowers 

Rotary lawn mowers are suitable for most types of lawn. The lawn mower blades rotate horizontally providing the user the ability to adjust the height of the cut depending on their preferences. Usually rotary lawn mowers collect the grass cuttings in a collection box for users to then dispose of, or add to their compost bin.
If you are after a stripped finish to your lawn, then you should choose a rotary mower with a roller mounted to the back of the machine. 

Power source 

Lawn mowers are powered by either electricity or petrol. The type of mower you purchase depends on when you are likely to cut your grass and how large your garden is. 

Electric lawn mowers 

When selecting a lawn mower, larger gardens will require machine will more power to cope with the extra demands of cutting your lawn. Electric mowers are designed to cut grass when it is dry and when the grass is reasonably short. Cutting wet, long grass is likely to strain your lawn mowers engine and cause it burn out. It is also not advisable for safety reasons. 

The power of all electric lawn mowers is measured in watts. The higher the wattage the more power the machines has, therefore the better its performance. 

Petrol lawn mowers 

Generally more expensive than electric mowers, petrol lawn mowers should be purchased when you plan on cutting larger gardens or gardens that may have longer grass, and grass that maybe damp or wet. The power of petrol mowers is measured in CC’s. The higher the CC rating the more power the machine has. 

Features to consider 

When choosing a lawn mower to buy, you will see most companies advertising a variety of features and benefits of their machines - but what do they really mean? Below explains some of the common added features available on the market today. 

Grass collection 

Think this is simple? Think again! There are a number of things to consider before purchasing your new lawn mower. 

To collect or not to collect – that is the question. Most grass collection boxes are detachable; however some are built in, so you should check before buying. If you buy a lawn mower with a built-in collection box, you will need to take into account how often you will need to stop and empty the box when it is full. This will require additional time if you are cutting large lawns, however it will leave the garden looking better as there will be no cut grass lying on the ground. Boxes with larger capacity will help reduce the number of trips you will be required to make saving you time. 

Alternatively if you do not wish to collect the cut grass, some lawn mowers offer what is called mulching action. This is where the lawn mower cuts the grass into much smaller pieces before it is released back onto the lawn. This allows the grass to compost more quickly ensuring the nutrients enter your lawn faster, helping it stay healthy and green. 

Cutting height/s 

Most rotary and hover mowers allow the user to adjust the cutting height of the lawn mower. One key feature to look for is the number of cutting heights available. Lawn mowers that allow you to adjust the height at which the grass is cut makes the machine suitable to use all year round. 

During the winter months when it is wetter, you will want to maintain the grass at a much longer length. When it is warmer and dryer during the summer, you will want to cut the grass much shorter. By having adjustable cutting heights you will be able to maintain your lawn better and ensure the grass remain green all year round. 

Blade type 

There are generally two types of blades that rotary and hover mowers come with; metal or plastic. If you are planning on cutting long or wet grass, metal blades should be used as plastic blades make struggle to cut the grass. Plastic blades should be used on shorter dry grass. Metal blades however do provide a much sharper and cleaner cut. 

Length of cable 

If you have decided to buy an electric mower, you need to think about whether the cable provided will reach from your plug socket to the farthest point in your garden. If not you will need to use an extension cable.

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