Before you rush into buying a mower, have a think about what you really want and what is suitable for your lawn. To help you make the right decision, here are the three characteristics on which I judge all mowers I review.
You want a lawnmower that is gonna tolerate being dragged around a lawn all summer then shoved in a shed for months during winter
Something that is not gonna give up when it approaches a strong tuft of grass, and is made of strong materials, with a proven engine (yes Japanese are the best, is that racist now?)
Cheap plastic isn’t always a bad thing, but you need to be extra careful if you are buying on the budget end of the spectrum, the best cheap lawn mowers will have good materials, but some models cut corners with poor quality components.
Mower design has come a long way since workers walked through green pastures wielding sharp scythes.
(link history) The first mower made in 1830 was designed by textile worker Edwin Budding. This had to be drawn by horses, whose gloves were shod with rubber boots to stop the turf from getting damaged. Eventually mass production took hold and mowers became far more efficient. Now you have a bunch of different designs to choose from based on the size of your lawn, type of grass, personal preference and budget.
There are different standards of cut for different applications. Suburban housewives might tolerate a slightly straggly lawn, but the occupants of the regal mansion on the other side of town might prefer a finer cut — more like that of fine lawns and sport turf, with stripes to boot.
Having the right mower is crucial for good quality of cut. Cheap and badly designed mowers leave an uncut strip along the edges, or have poor quality blades that mean they go blunt and dont cut properly. Poor mowers, and poor mowing can also scalp the lawn.
Cylinder mowers give the best quality cut for fine lawns and sports turf.
You will also need a mower that is adjustable, and can discharge clippings — mulching is ideal for optimal lawn health.
Most lawns are not perfect flat rectangles, but are curvy hilly unique creations, replete with boggy areas and grassless patches.
Having the right maneuverable mower allows you to negotiate flowerpots and vege patches with ease, and means you will spend less time trimming the edges of your garden but still end up with a neat result.
Zero turn mowers are the most maneuverable as they allow you to go from forward to reverse immediately and wiggle yourself out of tight spots. This not only speeds up mowing but makes it far more enjoyable and comfortable.
Lastly, don’t forget to buy a mower that you actually like — something that’s got soul!