Every gardener’s dream is to have a lush, leafy green lawn and for that, you need the right type of lawn mower. Above all, you need a mower that is good for the environment. It goes without saying that gas-powered lawn mowers have become a nuisance these days.
A study by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that operating a gas-powered mower for one hour generates as much air pollution as driving a normal car for 350 miles. And with over 50 million Americans mowing their lawns on a weekly basis, traditional petrol lawn mowers account for about 5% of the nation’s total air pollution. Moreover, gardeners spill around 17 million gallons of fuel every year through refueling their lawn mowers.
That said, the need for greener options is now more than ever. You obviously don’t want your garden to contribute to pollution, but you do want to lie on neat grass with a good book or simply enjoy the view of blue skies. All you need is a convenient, eco-friendly lawn mower and in this guide we tell you how to choose the best lawn mower.
What options do you have?
Hand/push lawn mowers
Hand lawn mowers are typically small, lightweight and easy to maneuver, but they must be pushed along to cut grass. They require no fuel or electricity to operate, meaning they are emission free as well as quiet.
This type of mower gives you a gentle workout and significantly lowers your carbon footprint. Some models feature grass collection bags and mulching mechanisms thus eliminating the need for the backbreaking raking task.
Additionally, push lawn mowers leave a clean cut for a good looking lawn. But since they require manual effort, push lawn mowers are not suitable for large or sloping gardens as well as for people who are physically challenged. Price-wise, expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $130 for this mower.
Battery-powered lawn mowers
Also known as cordless lawn mowers, these use batteries as their sources of power. Modern cordless mowers take advantage of Lithium-Ion battery technology, which provides longer run times, faster charging times and longer battery life-span than traditional Nickel-Cadmium batteries.
Most of these mowers can easily take on large lawns or about the size of two tennis courts on a single charge and the cut is exceptionally good. A decent battery-powered mower will cost anywhere from $350 to just over $500, depending on the features on offer.
There are plenty of reviews online you can check out, including this one which has a good overview of one of the latest mowers on the market (The GTech 2.0 lawnmower) from a UK based company.
Electric lawn mowers
These are closely related to the battery-powered models with the major exception of a cord. While they come in all shapes and sizes, electric mowers are light and easier to handle than gas machines. The fact that they are powered by electricity means there is no direct pollution in your space during use. Just check if the supplied cable will be able to reach the farthest point in your garden.
Electric models are the best choices for small to medium-sized lawns. They are also affordable and easy to store. A good corded mower may set you back by $100 to $250.
Hover lawn mowers
Just like their name, these hover above the lawn on a cushion of air. They are easy to push and adapt well to uneven surfaces, making them excellent options for unusual-shaped lawns. Simple models without a grass box are quite compact and can be hung up on a wall. Larger ones with a collection box can cost twice as much though. Hover models are usually corded electric, so you need to consider the length of the cable.
Robotic lawn mowers
These mowers are programmable. All you have to do is install it and give it the right commands as to how you want your lawn to be cut, such as setting the appropriate cutting height. You will also need to set guidelines so as to prevent the mower from cutting certain areas of your garden. Some of these models can cut lawns of over 1.3 acres, making them the best alternative to gas mowers when it comes to mowing larger gardens. However, be ready to invest in one of these as the best robotic mowers start at $600.
Factors to consider when choosing a lawn mower
This is the size of the mower blade. Ideally, the larger the blade width, the more grass it cuts in one pass. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need a large cutting width for your lawn as again too large the width on a small lawn and you will find it hard to maneuver in tight corners. On the other hand, tasking a small cutting width on a large lawn will have you out there like the whole day.
Generally speaking, small lawns typically will do with cutting widths of between 12 to 14 inches, medium lawns with 14 to 16 inches, and large lawns with cutting widths greater than 16 inches.
Cutting height adjustment
Most lawn mowers have adjustable cutting heights, allowing you to move the blades up/down to suit your desired height. The height adjustment mechanism should also be easy to use. Some models use a lever to change the height while others require you to adjust the height of every single wheel. Ideally, you want to leave the grass longer during summer when it is hot outside. Cutting heights usually range from 1 to 3 inches depending on the type of grass.
Some lawn mowers leave the grass clippings on the lawn, requiring you to rake the grass afterwards. That may take a lot of time if you have a large lawn. Others come with a grass bag to collect the clippings for later disposal into a garden waste bin. Grass boxes vary in size so choose wisely depending on the size of your lawn.
If a lawn mower can mulch the grass clippings by itself, then that’s an added bonus. Such mowers deposit the mulch back into the lawn, consequently returning essential nutrients back into your lawn. Lawn mowers with this option are usually expensive but are a great choice if you have nowhere to take the grass clippings.
Some models come with a fixed handle length, while others have adjustable handles to suit various heights. If you are very tall or short, make it a point to see if the lawn mower height will be comfortable for you. Foldable handles are an extra advantage as they should allow for compact storage.
A rear roller will give your lawn the stripped finish like the ones on athletic fields. In this case, a heavy mower and roller will give long-lasting stripes. A rear roller will also allow you to cut right up to the edge of your garden, eliminating the need to trim missed grass later.
Now that’s basically all you need to know before buying a lawn mower. There is no denying that an eco-friendly mower can save the world a big deal. Join the green movement today to enjoy your surroundings to the fullest. One more thing, try to avoid garden injuries by rocking protective clothing including gardening boots – essential when using a push mower or electric models – and a pair of gloves and overalls.