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    Tractor Supply Company

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    What kind of lawn mower should I buy?

    A buyer’s guide to selecting the right mower to fit your yard

    Keeping your lawn in great shape isn’t just a want, it’s a must. To do it, you need the right mower for the job. Picking the mower that best suits your needs depends mostly on your yard size and type of terrain, but also on your budget, how much work you want to do, and how comfortable you want to be while doing it. Maintenance and convenience costs are also worth considering.

    Important lawn mower terms

    Before going any further, let’s make sure we’re covered on some important terms and features.

    • Deck – A lawn mower deck is the cover for the area that houses the blades. It will need to cleaned regularly no matter what type of mower you have. Some decks have built-in cleaning ports called “deck cleanout.” It is often height adjustable.
    • Width range - This refers to how wide the cutting area of the lawn mower is. A wider cutting range means the mower can cover more area at one time.
    • Mulching capability - Lawn mowers can dispense of grass with a bag system, side discharge, or through mulching. Mulching capability typically means the mower has multiple blades to cut the grass into very fine pieces that can sit on the lawn and don’t have to be raked or discarded.
    • Blade engagement - this is a safety feature that will lower the blade of a mower to “engage” it to allow it to cut or mow. It can also raise the blade if the mower needs to be moved or driven across terrain where the blade is not needed or should not be used.
    • Brushless motor - This is a modern, efficient type of motor found in advanced, electric mowers.

    Now that we understand the basics, we can look at what type of mower will be best for your lawn. The first question to ask, is how do you want to mow?

    Walk behind, ride and mow, or watch from inside?

    How are you planning on mowing the grass? Tractor Supply Company carries six “types” of lawn mowers: Reel, Push aka Walk Behind, Riding, Trail, Zero Turn, and Robotic. There’s no one single answer to what type of lawn mower to buy, each type comes with their own strengths and weaknesses.

    Walk behind (Reel, push, and self-propelled lawn mowers)

    Walk behind refers to any mower that you physically walk behind. These mowers will have a long handle tilting upwards at around a 45-degree angle with various controls at the top. Often the handle will be foldable to allow for easier storage. Walk behind mowers are the most common lawn mowers for residential lawns, and what most people think about when they first think, “lawn mower.” Walk behind mowers are ideal for yards of about .5 acres or less, as they will have a small to moderate width range. This category encompasses reel lawn mowers, “push” lawn mowers, and self-propelled lawn mowers.

    What is a reel lawn mower?

    reel lawn mower is real simple with just blades, wheels, and a handle. It may sometimes have a grass catcher, like a bag or half-hammock, attached. A reel mower is powered by you pushing the mower across the grass, which makes the wheels turn and the blades spin, and then those blades cut the grass almost like scissors. These mowers do not require a lot of maintenance, but the blades need to be sharpened, often by hand. While very light, affordable, quiet, and eco-friendly, this mower requires the most work and is the least efficient.


    DR Power Equipment 22 in. Trimmer and Mower


    Earthquake Walk Behind String Mower


    CAT 15 in. Cordless 60V String Trimmer


    Black & Decker 13 in. Cordless 40V String Trimmer/Edger

    What is a push lawn mower?

    Tractor Supply Company calls both push and self-propelled lawn mowers push mowers, but the distinction is important. Push mowers have an engine, either electric (powered by a battery or cable) or gas, but that engine is only for moving the blades that cut grass. Momentum for moving the mower comes entirely from you, the operator. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can make the mower cost and weigh less, provide a workout, and offer slightly more control. This does come at the cost of you doing a lot more work, though.


    Troy-Bilt 21 in. 3-in-1 Push Lawn Mower


    Toro 21 in. Push Lawn Mower with Bagger


    Troy-Bilt 2N1 Push Mower


    Greenworks 60V Pro 22 in. Push Mower

    What’s the benefit of self-propelled lawn mowers?

    Self-propelled lawn mowers are much easier to operate because they don’t require force from you to move forward. Self-propelled mowers use their engine to generate their own drive, often at variable speeds. Self-propelled motors will come in gas and electric varieties as well. An important thing to consider when looking at a self-propelled mower is the type of drive it has: front-wheel drive (FWD), rear-wheel drive (RWD), or all-wheel drive (AWD). Front wheel drive will be the most nimble, ideal for an obstacle-laden yard. Rear wheel drive will grip better up hills and for side mowing, and all-wheel drive is best for mowing extremely tough terrain.


    Toro 22 in. Recycler Self-Propelled Lawn Mower


    Troy-Bilt 21 in. Self-Propelled Push Lawn Mower


    Toro 30 in. TimeMaster Self-Propelled Personal Pace Lawn Mower


    DeWALT 21 in. Mower

    Ride and Mow (riding and zero turn lawn mowers)

    If you’re tackling a yard of more than .5 acres, riding is the way to go. These mowers are full vehicles with a place to sit and have luxury features like headlights, cupholders, and even cruise control. A riding or zero turn mower will have a considerably wider deck, covering a lot more ground while requiring much less work from you to operate.


    Cub Cadet 54 in. Ultima ZT1-54 Zero-Turn Mower


    Bad Boy 54 in. MZ Magnum Zero-Turn Mower


    Toro 54 in. Timecutter Kawasaki Gas Zero Turn Mower

    What is a riding mower (aka “tractor style” mower)

    A riding mower is a standard, four-wheeled vehicle with a rider sitting nearly on top of the deck and controlling the mower with a steering wheel. These mowers have cutting ranges of up to 49 inches and can tackle a yard size of up to 10 acres, although anything over 5 acres would likely be better handled by a commercial-grade zero turn mower. They boast up to 25 horsepower and come with a variety of luxury features that can vastly improve comfort while mowing, but also increase cost.


    Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Riding Mower


    Troy-Bilt Pony 42 15.5 Hp 

    Are zero turn mowers really that good?

    Zero turn mowers have exploded in popularity over the past several years due to their effectiveness, durability, and efficient design. A zero turn mower refers to a mower where the operator rides nearly over the deck, operating the mower with two push and pull handles, controlling two front wheels on casters to provide complete turning mobility. Zero turn mowers are mostly gas-powered, although electric options are available.

    Tow behind (trail mowers)

    Trail mowers are independent devices that need to be pulled, and sometimes powered, by another vehicle like an ATV, UTV, golf cart, or tractor. They are usually employed for maintaining huge areas of grass like those in parks or sports fields. Trail mowers come in gang reel (no engine), rough cut (for cutting through thick brush and weeds), and finish cut (for a look just like any other type of mower) varieties.


    Swisher 60 in. Commercial Pro Trail Mower


    Swisher 44 in. Finish-Cut Trail Mower


    Toro 54 in. Timecutter Gas Zero Turn Mower

    What about robotic mowers? Do they actually work?

    Robotic lawn mowers do actually work, although their capabilities are limited to the specifications. The mowers come equipped with high-tech safety features to keep them from harming children or pets or other animals while in operation, and can be programmed to tackle only the parts of the yard you want mowed. The upside, clearly, is that these mowers require the least amount of work from you, but they can be expensive, especially the smarter varieties.


    WORX 7 in. 20V Compact Robotic Mower


    Husqvarna 8.7 in. Robotic Lawn Mower


    Husqvarna 9.45 in. Robotic Lawn Mower