How to pick the right mower for your lawn – LNP | LancasterOnline

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Buying a lawnmower might seem pretty simple, until you consider all the options that are available.
There are many factors to consider, such as the size of your yard, the terrain, your ability and strength, landscape features, and whether you prefer gas or electric power.
Here is some advice on purchasing a lawn mower from Stan Musser, owner of Musser’s Lawn & Garden in Lititz:
This will help determine whether you want a riding mower, a self-propelled mower or a push mower. A flat yard is ideal for a riding mower. Self-propelled or push mowers work best for a very small yard. Generally, push lawn mowers are only recommended for yards of a half-acre or less. Any bigger and it will take a lot of energy to push the mower. Even using a self-propelled mower will be a tiring task, especially on a hot summer day. If your yard is large, a riding mower works best, and it’s even kind of fun.
Is the yard mostly flat and clear? Or are there hills and obstacles to navigate? If your yard is small and relatively flat, a standard push mower will work just fine. If you have hills to navigate, you will want a self-propelled mower to ease the strain. If your yard is large AND steep, a riding mower might not work well on the incline. You would probably do better with a self-propelled mower.
Each has its pros and cons, but generally an electric mower is much easier to start and is much quieter. Plus, you don’t need gas, of course. However, an electric mower may not work well for a very large yard, since the charge for a cordless mower might be limited. Electric mowers are better for the environment, but they can cost a little more.
A gas mower typically has more power and can easily last the full duration of your mowing session. The downside is that maintenance is more complicated and gas mowers typically start with a pull cord, which some people may find difficult.
The deck is the area where the blades are located. The wider the mower deck, the bigger the swath you can cut in a single pass. Decks can range form 20 to 70 inches or larger, but are usually between 30 and 60 inches. A wider deck can reduce the time it takes to cut a lawn, particularly if you have a larger yard. However, if you have a smaller yard or you have to maneuver between a lot of landscape features, a smaller deck size may work better.
You can bag them, discharge them from the side of the mower or mulch them. Musser says it is mainly a matter of personal preference.
If you choose to bag, you can mow in nearly all conditions, completely remove all clippings and work quickly. The disadvantage is that you will have to dispose of the grass clippings. Typically the bag is at the rear.
Side-discharge mowers shoot the grass clippings out the side as you mow. They allow you to mow in almost all conditions, work at the fastest speed and get a high-quality cut. However, the clippings can litter the street or driveways, so this method works best on larger lawns. Raking clippings is not recommended since it can damage the lawn. Bags can be adapted for side-discharge mowers.
Mulching mowers work differently in that they finely chop grass clippings as they cut, allowing them to filter down to the soil and provide nutrients to the lawn. While mulching mowers offer nonstop mowing, they should not be used if the lawn is damp or wet, and they tend to reduce your mowing speed.
If your yard has lots of garden beds, trees or special features, you might want to consider a riding mower with a zero-turn radius. This type of riding mower has front caster wheels that pivot at sharper angles, making it quick and easy to take turns and trim around obstacles in your yard. This advanced feature makes a lawn mower more expensive.
Lawn mowers can cost as little as $200 for a gas-powered push mower to as much as $15,000 for a commercial-level riding mower, Musser says. The most popular mower at Musser’s is a zero-turn riding mower priced at over $4,000. Musser says supply chain issues are affecting the lawn mower industry, and stock is unusually low right now. An electric non-riding mower might cost around $500.
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