In previous articles we have discussed the two primary cutting methods used by modern lawnmowers as well as the two primary power sources, but what other variations should we be aware of?
Well, clearly the most obvious lawnmower design is one made up of a push along ‘box on wheels’, with or without rollers, and either featuring a cylinder or rotary cutting mechanism, and electric or petrol power, but there are also hover mowers, ride on mowers, robotic mowers, and not to mention of course the humble hand mower. All of these have their merits and drawbacks which we’ll discuss here.
If there was ever a better example of the power of marketing, and, well gimmickry, then I’m afraid that for most part hover mowers would be just that. You see, the type of hover mower principally sold to the domestic market features a an integral grass collection box, ‘well obviously’ I hear you cry, ‘why wouldn’t it?’. Well as useful as the grass collection box is on most mowers, when it comes to hover mowers it renders them next to useless, you see the fact is as the grass is collected it causes the weight of the mower to increase, and therefore reduces the strength of the air cushion the keeps the mower afloat, this in turn reduces the performance and all important maneuverability that is the hover mower’s main selling point. This problem can be overcome, but a spanner is often required to modify the height of the rotary blade, which is quite frankly a unnecessary hindrance during a lawn mowing session. With all of these combined problems you’re looking a it taking twice the time to cut your lawn compared to if you were to use a conventional electric mower.
It’s not all bad news for the hover mower though, if you have a use for a mower without a grass collection box then the hover mower can work brilliantly. As we touched on above, the air cushion and absence of wheels almost puts the hover mower in a league of it’s own when it comes to moving and turning, and if you’re not upsetting the balance by changing the weight of the machine then it’s performance will be consistent. Of course the draw back is that you will end up spewing all of the cut grass back over your lawn, and really this has tended to limit the application of grass box-less hover mowers to more commercial grass cutting on slopes, banks and very rough areas.
Ride on mowers
Ride on mowers are the go to choice for owners of large gardens, and well, lets’s face it, they’re also a bit of a big boys toy! There are many options and variations available when it comes to ride on or tractor mowers and as ever much of these will depend on the size of lawn you have and what sort of results you’re after, but if we were to point out what we believe to be the most important points to remember when thinking of buying one we would suggest the following features are present:
- A floating deck, meaning that that the rotary cutting blade undulates and moves according to the contours of the lawn. This ensures that the lawn doesn’t get ‘scalped by the blades’ and the height of the cut grass is consistent.
- The provision and ability to fit other lawn care tools such as a raking or aerating attachment. After all, with such a beast of a machine you should expect to be able to do more with it than your average pedestrian lawn mower
- A decent turning circle. Think about the size and shape of your garden, and make sure that you can turn your mower around, some can turn and the spot.
Manual powered mowers
In amongst all the bells and whistles of ride on and hover mowers we shouldn’t forget to mention the humble push along mower. If your garden is relatively small and even and you don’t mind the extra effort involved then a manual mower might be more than adequate for your needs, after all they’re cheaper to buy, maintain and run, and who can argue with that?