Mowing the lawn is one of the outdoor activities in the backyard. To work was a joy, and the end result is pleasing to the eye and brings satisfaction, you can not do without a lawn mower. It is important to have not only the right garden tool, but also not to make fatal mistakes when choosing it.
Don’t look at the engine manufacturer
To a greater extent, this mistake is made when choosing a gasoline lawn mower (with an internal combustion engine). With similar dimensions and power characteristics, here special attention should be paid to the motor manufacturer, since here reliability and operational life, as well as the presence of a developed service network and the availability of spare parts, come to the fore.
The leaders are considered to be the Japanese manufacturers Honda and Mitsubishi, as well as the American brand Briggs & Stratton. As a rule, Japanese motors are capable of operating for a failure of about 2500–3000 hours, American brand units are able to work without failure for about 1000–1200 hours.
The motors of Chinese manufacturers on the market are for the most part clones of the manufacturers mentioned earlier. The “Chinese” camp also has its own “table of ranks”. Conventionally, Chinese-made motors can be divided into power plants manufactured by large factories, such as Lifan, Lancin, Zongshen, Hammermann, Wema, Champion, etc., and the so-called “nonames”, the origin and production conditions of which are better not to know.
Certified Chinese motors are able to work out an average of 200-400 hours, but “nameless” power plants can present an unpleasant “surprise” in the form of failure after only 50-100 hours of operation.
In the camp of electric lawn mowers , things are less dramatic with motors. The vast majority of them correspond to the declared characteristics and have the proper reliability. However, it is important to understand that an electric motor is one of the most significant components in the price of a tool, and it is not without reason that lawn mowers equipped with motors of comparable power can differ significantly in price.
Here, the quality of the materials and components used, the accuracy of balancing rotating parts, the presence of a bandage on the windings, and the overall build quality come to the fore.
For example, when buying a lawn mower from a little-known inexpensive manufacturer, there is a great chance to purchase a device equipped with an electric motor, the windings of which are made of aluminum. That is, in fact, such a motor develops the declared electric power, but its torque and temperature conditions are far from the reference values for electric motors of this class. Such a discrepancy leads to a critical drop in the speed of the cutting knife when even a slight load is applied to it and a quick failure of the electric motor due to its overheating.
Do not pay attention to the quality of the control knobs
First of all, the control of the lawn mower should be convenient and intuitive. The controls should be “at hand” for the operator, should have easy moves, not jam when moving.
Pay special attention to the security system! The mower’s emergency stop button or lever must be in close proximity to the operator’s hands.
This will save you from various troubles and injuries during the development of emergency situations while mowing the lawn.
Secondly, the materials from which the control is made are important, since they determine the aesthetic perception of the tool and play a decisive role in durability, because they will have to be used with every lawn mowing.
Take a model with small wheels and no convenient adjustment
The smoother the surface under the thick grass carpet, the smaller the wheels can be installed on the lawn mower. If you are a happy owner of a perfect English lawn with a flawlessly flat base surface, then you should not worry, the lawn mower will easily move on such a surface even on small wheels.
If the base surface is littered with pits and bumps, then you need a unit with large wheels, since a device equipped with small diameter wheels will be quite problematic to move along it.
Another factor that affects the comfort of moving a lawn mower is the width of the wheels. The wider they are, the less pressure the device exerts on the grass cover (does not crush it) and the less likely it is to get bogged down with a lawn mower in loose soil that has not yet “settled”.
An important aspect of the comfortable work of caring for a grass carpet is the convenience of adjusting the lawn mower handles. The ability to easily adjust it to your height (reach and slope) will relieve fatigue during routine grass cutting operations.
Do not take a lawn mower with a curved deck
The deck is the base of the lawn mower body, namely its lower part, in which the cutting blade rotates. Depending on the model and type of lawn mower, the deck can be made of plastic, steel or aluminum.
There are no questions regarding plastic components during operation. They are quite reliable and practical. Such elements are installed mainly on electric and battery lawn mowers of low and medium power. Such a housing can easily withstand the blows of stones that accidentally fall under the knife, and perfectly resists moisture released from the grass during the mowing process.
Gasoline lawn mowers are mostly equipped with parts made of steel. And here you need to be extremely careful. The fact is that the deck can be solid, stamped from a single piece of sheet metal and welded, assembled from several separate parts into one whole by welding.
The best of these options is a one-piece bent soundboard, since its metal is not weakened by the temperature stresses that occur during the welding process.
As for decks assembled from several parts, their Achilles’ heel is welding seams. The centers of corrosion primarily occur in them, and the aggressive humid environment in which the part is constantly located only accelerates the course of these processes.
Premium models are equipped with aluminum decks. They are not subject to corrosion and paint chips are also not afraid of them, since the oxide film instantly formed on the surface of the metal reliably protects it from external factors. The only disadvantage of aluminum parts is the high price.
This mistake is often made by owners of powerful gasoline units that create a rather noticeable noise load. And if you can protect your own hearing aid with headphones,
then taking care of the ears and nervous system of others is a good step towards maintaining strong good neighborly relations.
Do not take care of the convenience of changing the cutting height
There are several options for changing the grass cutting height. The most convenient is setting the knife to the desired height by moving the special handle to one of the fixed positions.
The desired mowing height of the lawn is set literally in a matter of seconds.
The second option is to install the wheel axles of the lawn mower in one of the fixed positions. Such a mechanism, as a rule, is present in most models of the middle price segment. The procedure for setting the desired cutting height is simple, but requires more time to complete.
The most labor-intensive option is the individual installation of each of the wheels to the desired height. Here, errors in setting all wheels to the same level are possible, and, for sure, an additional tool will be required. Changing the cutting height on a lawn mower with such a mechanism will take time, and, quite possibly, completely discourage the desire to mow the lawn.
Buy a lawn mower without mulching
Mulching is the additional shredding of grass clippings and the use of the resulting mass as fertilizer and a natural barrier to retain moisture in the lawn.
This function is not always in demand, but if it is not provided for in the design of the lawn mower, then to obtain mulch from mowed grass, you will have to purchase a separate chopper .
Neglect grass catcher size for large area
It is quite obvious that when processing a large area, there will be a lot of cut grass. If the unit is equipped with a small grass catcher, then during operation there will be quite frequent technological breaks necessary to empty the container with cut grass.
For mowing large lawns, you need a large grass catcher.
Buy a powerful petrol lawn mower with a small fuel tank
As a rule, gasoline lawn mowers are initially purchased for lawn care of a large area. An unfortunate mistake of choice is the purchase of a powerful unit with a small fuel tank, and, as a result, with low autonomy. Refueling “in the field” is inevitable. To prevent them, at the selection stage, you need to pay attention to the size of the fuel tank of the model you like.
Take a non-self-propelled model
The gasoline lawnmower has a rather impressive weight due to the internal combustion engine installed on it. Driving a non-self-propelled model will require remarkable physical effort – mowing the lawn is unlikely to be a pleasure.
A completely different matter is self-propelled models, which can be controlled by both teenagers and the elderly. In addition, such units are indispensable when caring for lawns equipped on hilly terrain, or when the treated area has a significant slope (more than 10%).
Do not take into account the width of the swath in one pass
The process of mowing the lawn is, of course, an exciting activity, but you still want to have time to relax. Therefore, it is important to take into account the width of the strip of grass to be cut in one pass. The larger it is, the less time it will take to care for lawns.
For example, it will take more than an hour of pure time to treat a lawn with an area of 5 acres with a machine with a cutting width of 32 cm. A lawnmower with a mowing width of 38 cm will cope with the same area in less than an hour, and with a mowing width of 53 cm, you can cope with the work in just half an hour.