Not Just About Power – Understanding Other Lawn Mower Specifications
In a previous Tools Around the House post, we highlighted the different types of lawn mowers (push, self-propelled, ride-on) and laid out the pros and cons of each. We also tackled several factors such as your lawn size, noise level and price to make it easier for you to assess the suitable kind of mower for your needs.
Assuming you’ve now decided on which type of lawn mower to take, the next step is to delve further into the nitty-gritty details – specifications (specs). Usually, cutting power is the first aspect that comes to mind and this is relatively straightforward: the higher the cylinder capacity (cc) for a petrol type or watts/volts for an electric/battery type, the more power it has. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg with regards to lawn mower specs.
A lawn mower’s deck size is measured in terms of cutting width. The lawn care experts over at the Art of Manliness explained that lawn mowers with high cutting width require more power. So you need to consider the relationship between these two factors.
For instance, a 125cc lawn mower may have a 40cm or 45cm cutting width. The latter may be able to trim wider strips of your lawn with each run, but due to its higher power requirement, you might need to do your mowing a bit slower to ensure that the grass is cleanly and thoroughly cut. It may not seem much at first glance, but if you don’t take that into account, you may find yourself needing to re-run the same strip again. That’s double the effort, which is especially tiresome for push-mowers.
Reach and run-time
Electric lawn mowers can be either corded or cordless. You can mow the grass as long as it takes if you have a corded type, but its range is limited, whereas the opposite is true for cordless types.
This is why – as mentioned earlier – factoring your lawn’s size into the equation is very important. If your lawn is relatively small, getting a corded type is advisable as long as it can reach all the way to the far edges. There’s always the option of using an extension, but again, this depends on the power requirement of the lawn mower. You might need a heavy duty extension which can relay power from the main socket.
Knowing the right cutting height setting
Lawn mowers also come with different ranges of cutting height settings. As a point of reference, the usual range shown in the selection of lawn mowers on Screwfix is between 5 to 7 cutting heights. This is another important consideration when choosing your next lawn mower as it can determine whether or not the machine is going to be effective for trimming your lawn.
According to a guide by Today’s Homeowner, the first piece of information you should check for this particular specification is the type of grass. The chart below shows the recommended mowing height for some of the most common types of grass.
Grass Type Mowing Height
|Grass Type||Mowing Height|
|Bahia grass||2” – 3”|
|Bentgrass ¼” – ¾”||¼” – ¾”|
|Bermuda||½” – 1½”|
|Buffalograss||2” – 3”|
|Centipede||1½” – 2½”|
|Fine fescue||1½” – 2½”|
|Kentucky Bluegrass||1½” – 2½”|
|Ryegrass||1½” – 2½”|
|St. Augustine||2” – 4”|
|Tall fescue||2” – 3”|
|Zoysia||½” – 1½”|
(data: Today’s Homeowner)
Therefore, be sure to check if the cutting height range of the lawn mower is aligned with the recommended trimming height of your grass.
Frequency of mowing and maintenance
Additionally, you may need to use your lawn mower more often during spring as the grass grows back faster. This means that frequent maintenance checks will be required as well. Petrol types are more challenging when it comes to maintenance due to their numerous mechanical parts, so if you’re not going to be able to spend a lot of time checking over your lawn mower, then an electric lawn mower is undoubtedly the better choice.
If you want to see some of the best lawn mowers on the market this year, check out our post ‘Best Self Propelled Lawn Mower in 2018’.