There’s nothing like the day you take possession of a home and take in the expanse of a yard full of beautiful grass. That is, until it grows out and you realise you’re going to have to mow the thing. Luckily, lawn mowers have come a long way. The right choice of mower can make lawn maintenance not only fairly painless but, dare we say it, enjoyable. And while choosing from the array of mower types available may be daunting, understanding the different types alongside their advantages and disadvantages can quickly point you in the right direction.
Now considered by many to be an antiquated design, this is the type of mower seen in the opening sequences of idyllic old TV programmes. Pushed using a long handle, its wheels are attached to a ‘reel’ or ‘cylinder’ of rotating spiral blades via gears in order to create rapid movement of the cylinder.
This, while often being cheaper than other options, is of course the most strenuous option and isn’t a viable option for larger lawns. So why purchase one other than severe cost constraints? Well, due to its design, a properly set up cylinder mower results in the cleanest cut of the grass. This results in healthier grass that will grow in thicker and is resistant to discolouration, disease and parasites. Also, they emit little noise and zero environmental pollution.
This refers to mowers that, while you still need to physically push them, do the cutting of the grass by their own power. By far the most popular category of lawn mowers, slight differences in type and features make this group seem an intimidating one to delve into. However, when we separate them by energy source, narrowing down our choice becomes much easier.
These are usually what first comes to mind when someone says the term ‘lawn mower’. Using a rotary cutting system (blades that spin on a vertical axis creating a circular cutting area) powered by a petrol engine, these generally provide the best cutting performance of assisted push mowers. The relatively powerful gas motor allows for a larger cutting diameter; this combined with there being no need for a connection to a power source makes it a good choice for medium to medium-large lawns. However, one must consider they require ongoing maintenance, purchase of petrol and, while modern models are greatly improved, they still create some noise and environmental pollution.
These are similar in appearance and operation to assisted petrol lawn mowers – however, they are powered by means of an electrical cord. They tend to be smaller, lighter, quieter and more reliable than their combustion engine brethren. However, there is the most glaring shortcoming – the electrical cord. Instantly your mobility is compromised – and to address this there is now the added cost of many feet of extension cable. With this extension cable comes the danger of running over the cord. A generally smaller cutting diameter means mowing will be a bit more time consuming. When going electrical, most shoppers elect the cordless variants.
These are almost identical to corded electric lawn mowers, except that they possess on-board rechargeable batteries. Look for a model with quick charge times and extended run times, and you’ll have a mower that combines many of the advantages of both electrical and gasoline assisted lawn mowers. They’re not without their drawbacks: forget to charge it (usually overnight) and you won’t be doing any mowing that day. And like electrical mowers, a smaller cutting diameter means more time spent mowing.
And here we have the Rolls Royce of lawn mowers types. Moving and cutting on their own power, they remove the exertion aspect of lawn mowing. And while the ride on lawn mowers may be the first that come to mind, you may be surprised to know they aren’t the only option here.
Ride On Mowers
Usually designed to resemble a small agricultural mower, these allow you to remain seated and drive the mower using simple controls. If the area to be mowed is greater than a half acre (about 0.2 hectares) ride on mowers become a very practical investment. Nearly all of these will be powered by combustion engines – the greatest drive train concern is usually the transmission. These range from simple belt drives to continuously variable or ‘hydrostatic’ transmissions. For larger areas, these mowers’ greater cost is easily justifiable.
No, this isn’t science fiction – these exist! A border wire cordons off the area to be mowed, and the robot then cuts the grass uniformly within this boundary. Currently, a single robotic mower can maintain up to 2 hectares of grass. As the technology constantly improves, robotic mowers can self dock, sense and avoid rain and in some cases even locate a recharging dock. At their best, they nearly eliminate the need for human input. Multiple mowers can be used in tandem to independently maintain extremely large areas.
With all the mower types, you can add or forego certain features to meet your needs. You can add mulching and collection capabilities in order to make and collect your own natural compost. Zero-turn ride on mowers have a huge advantage when tackling large areas with many obstacles, and are considered a must by most professional and amateur landscapers. A ‘slasher’ mower is a more powerful rotary mower with larger blades that can tackle tougher tasks. There are even ‘hover mowers’ – assisted rotary mowers that create an air cushion between the mower and the ground to allow for easier mowing.
Still unsure of your best lawn maintenance bet? The professionals at Beacon Equipment can help you find the perfect product. Contact us through our website or call our location closest to you: Canning Vale – 08 9456 5811; Bentley – 08 9358 1288 or Cockburn – 08 9414 7377