There are many varieties of lawnmower on the market nowadays, from the basic hand pushed rotary blade models, through to electric ones which require that extra long cable – or cordless for extra safety- and gasoline/petrol based lawnmowers, which require filling with fuel to operate. The first lawnmower was invented back in 1827 in England, by a man named Edwin Budding. He designed it specifically to cut the grass of local sports fields, as a superior version of the traditional scythe. The designed was patented in August 1830. He sold the first two mowers to Regent Zoo and Gardens. It took ten years to make adequate improvements so that the machine could be adjusted to be pulled by animals, and a further sixty years for the introduction of steam powered mowers. Since then, various companies have entered the scene, and manufactured mowers with slightly bigger blades or heavier rollers etc. Americans alone spend around $6.4 billion per year on gardening mowers and equipment.
There are some safety issues whilst using modern powered lawnmowers compared to the old manual style. The rotary motors can throw out debris with a vicious force and velocity, and as a safety precaution, many of these mowers have been fitted with a dead man’s switch, which will automatically and immediately cut power to the blades when not in actual use. This prevents the machine continuing without an operator, which, of course, can be very dangerous indeed. Statistics show that around twelve thousand Americans end up in hospital every year due to accidents with lawnmowers, and most of these accidents could have been prevented by the operator wearing suitable safety equipment while operating the machines. It is recommended that minors are aged twelve before being allowed to operate a push behind mower, and sixteen to be able to operate a power motor, or a ride on mower. In any case, it is thought that the child should show maturity and responsibility.
Choosing which one is suitable for your budget and mowing needs is best to consider for a day or two before purchasing the mower, as each style is quite different, bring with it its own benefits and end results. Shapes of yards and gardens, original condition, the presence of trees or inclines and the area of lawn are all factors that need careful consideration. Don’t be afraid to approach and chat to your local garden center staff before buying a mower, and tell them your lawn’s needs. The staff should be knowledgeable and interested in the subject, and help guide you to which kind of machine is best suited to you. Believe it or not, there has never been a successfully designed commercially available manual powered rotary motor machine, as they are all motorized in some way, excepting the push rotary type. The full list of different lawn mowers is:
Motorized Lawn Mower
- Push rotary blades – well adapted to cut lawns with weeds or dandelions, but can be rather heavy, and because of this, most come with self-propelled wheels.
- Riding motors, also called ride-ons, are mowers encased in a body which can be sat upon, and steered whilst riding and cutting. Suitable for larger lawns, and without too many obstacles, such as trees.
- Zero turn lawnmower – can be good for maneuverability around obstacles, and for confined areas, this mower has a zero turning radius, but these machines can be quite big, and expensive.
- Tractor mowers – basically a small built tractor in which different attachments, including motorized rotary blades, can be attached to the front of the tractor, and can be driven over the lawn. More effective for larger lawns, the fittings can be changed to, for example, a roller, or even a snow plough. Expensive, as expected.
Manual Lawn Mower
- Push reel or cylinder mower – the cylinders are used to brush up the grass and cut, as it is being pushed. The cutting mechanism can be contact or non-contact depending on the model design. Typically gives a very neat and tidy cut to the grass, but can struggle somewhat trying to deal with weeds or longer, straw like grass. Many variants are available on the market, and are relatively quiet, cheap and easy to maintain.
Electric Operated Mowers
- Electric powered mowers nowadays can be excellent value for money, and are quick and easy to maintain. Cordless or corded varieties are available most people prefer the cordless types due to the potential risk of injury or death from cutting the power cord with the mower. Gaining in popularity.
- These types of grass cutters are motorized with rotary blades, but have no wheels. Instead, they ‘float’ just above the grass on a cushion of air, or hovering. They give an excellent cut to the grass, and have also been gaining in popularity. These machines can be ideal for hills or embankments, where normal wheeled motors could be difficult, or even dangerous.
Other Types of Mowers
- Robotic mowers – guided by an electric perimeter of wires placed underground, this mower will cut the grass of its own volition, even visiting the recharging bank when needed. Guided by the wires, the robot will quietly and effectively cut your lawn, and are safe, quiet and non-polluting. Looks a bit like the base unit for a standard vacuum cleaner. The big draw back at the moment with this kind of mower is the prohibitively expensive retail price. This may reduce in the future.
Choosing One Mower over Another
Clearly, the dimensions and lay-out of a lawn of grass is the most important consideration to take into account. If you have a smaller lawn, obviously a ride on mower will not be beneficial. It is recommended to spend a little time considering which type of mower is best suited to your specific needs. It may be the case that a simple hand push rotary bladed machine will do the job for you every bit as good as an expensive and powered variety. Think about your lawn’s needs, and buy accordingly. All of the different mowers produce their own benefits and slightly different end results, so if possible, see which works best to give you a beautifully cut lawn. Factors like your geographic position on the globe, local weather patterns, type of grass and equipment you use are all factors when trying to choose the correct type of mower for you.
People who like to get the job done quickly and wish to be able to relax in the surroundings, may use a powered mower, which is usually self propelling – thus requiring less energy to operate- and can be a quick job to trim the grass, depending on the size to be cut.
Other people prefer to choose the old push blade style, relishing the opportunity to be out in the open air, and perhaps get a bit of exercise while pushing the unit up and down the lawn. Still other people are limited by their choices, as they may have a steep incline or excessive trees in their yards which can narrow the options available. Selecting the zero turning radius mowers may help in these situations, or indeed a hover mower to cut on the hill. People who have a large lawn may prefer if finances allow purchasing the ride on mower, which can dramatically cut the amount of time spent mowing, as well as being fun to drive. These considerations can be thought about, or chatted to about with a member of staff at the garden center.
What are the Benefits?
All mowers should provide you with a satisfactory result when mowing the grass. Some, as in all other areas, will be designed and built in a superior way to others available, and usually with a superior price tag to accompany it. While there isn’t much to choose from between them all, in terms of performance at least, people’s ability to choose is sometimes limited. Of course, there are big differences between the gas/petrol powered machines and the electric machines, but both kinds will effectively cut the grass as you desire. Once people have chosen a style, for example, an electric powered type they tend to be happy with the results, and will continue to use electric power in their mowers in the future.
The same, not surprisingly, can be said about owners who have chosen a gas/petrol powered mower. The bottom line comes down to personal preferences and influences – perceptions – of which lawn mower is better than the other, and this will be a major factor , perhaps even the biggest single reason, as to which variety will end up as a purchase. The most important thing to these gardeners is a nicely cut lawn, by whatever method of mower, which can give them and their family pleasure, by sitting amongst the smell of freshly mowed grass.