Lawn Mowing Equipment: What Are The Different Kinds Of Lawn Mowers

Lawn Mowing Equipment: What Are The Different Kinds Of Lawn Mowers

As a homeowner, you take great pride in your lawn and landscape’s curb appeal. A lush, green, perfectly cut lawn can make your home stand out in the neighborhood. In addition to regularly purchasing fertilizers, herbicides and seed for overseeding, homeowner’s desiring a perfect lawn may also have to invest in a good quality lawn mower. Understanding your lawn mowing options is important before heading out to purchase one.

About Lawn Mowing Equipment

Which type of lawn mowing equipment is right for you and your yard will depend on a few things: the size of your yard, the terrain (i.e. hilly or sloped), obstacles and/or turns, as well as your budget and how much physical energy you are willing to put into mowing. Different types of lawn mowers will work better for different sites and different people. The type of mower you choose will also affect cutting heights, as some mowers cut better at different heights.

All lawn mower types require maintenance to keep them functioning properly and cutting nicely. Lawn mower blades need to be kept sharp to prevent unnecessary damage and stress to turf grasses. Damaged grass blades can reduce the turf plant’s ability to photosynthesize, causing sparse, brown, unhealthy lawns. Which lawn mower type you choose may depend on the regular maintenance you are willing to do or pay for to ensure peak performance of your equipment.

Different Kinds of Lawn Mowers

There are basically two different lawn mower types: reel mowers and rotary mowers.

Reel mowers make precise clean cuts on grass blades using the scissor-like action of a cylinder of rotating blades. They may have 2-6 of these rolling blades which are usually turned by the axle of the mower’s wheels. Available as tow behind attachments for lawn tractors, gas or electric powdered or manual push models, reel mowers are generally less noisy and create less pollution than rotary mowers. Reel mowers can also cut grass to short heights better than rotary mowers. However, reel mower blades can be difficult to sharpen and maintain.

Rotary mowers cut grass, usually with just one horizontally rotating blade. The fan-like action creates a vacuum which sucks up grass into the blade’s cut. Rotary mowers are the most common mowers used by homeowners. They can be gas or electric powered, manual or self-propelled, or available in ride on models. They also are available with mulching and bagging systems for clippings. Which you choose will most likely depend on the size of your yard. Rotary mower blades can cause rough, damaging cuts to grass blades. However, they can cut taller grasses and weeds better than reel mowers.

12 Best Corded Lawn Mowers (Review) In 2021

Adrienne started her professional life as a gardener at her local parks department and went on to train at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh where she was the first female student on the prestigious and world-renowned horticultural course run by the Botanic garden. An experienced and award-winning garden writer and past editor of some of Britain’s favourite gardening magazines, Adrienne has for over 30 years, inspired gardeners with a breadth of gardening know-how plus creative and decorative ideas. One of her main aims is to make gardening accessible, even to the smallest green fingers, with her clear advice and straightforward step-by-step instructions. Adrienne loves to travel and has visited, given talks and met ordinary home gardeners in far flung places like China, South Africa, Philippines and Caribbean as well as the UK.

  • The Best Corded Lawn Mower
  • 1. Greenworks 20-Inch Electric Corded Lawn Mower
  • 2. American Lawn Mower Company 50514 Corded Lawn Mower
  • 3. Greenworks 16-Inch Corded Electric Lawn Mower
  • 4. BLACK+DECKER EM1500 Lawn Mower
  • 5. TACKLIFE KALM12A Electric Lawn Mower
  • 6. TACKLIFE KALM1540A Lawn Mower
  • 7. Greenworks MO13B00 Corded Electric Lawn Mower
  • 8. Sun Joe MJ401E-PRO Electric Lawn Mower
  • 9. Earthwise 50519 Corded Electric Lawn Mower
  • 10. WORX WG719 Electric Lawn Mower
  • 11. Goplus 14-Inch Lawn Mower
  • 12. Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 50620S Corded Lawn Mower

As the weather improves and we start spending more and more time in our gardens, you might be thinking that it’s time to splash out and get yourself a new lawn mower. But while that decision might seem simple, there are so many different types of mowers such as robot lawn mowers and cordless lawn mowers available it can be tough to actually ‘cut through’ to find the one that’s right for you.

Thankfully, our team of yard maintenance experts has done most of the hard work for you, narrowing down what we believe are the top 12 best corded lawn mowers, plus some tips and tricks for things to look out for when shopping. We’ve also looked at some of the top lawn mower reviews to help establish the pros and cons of each machine based on real customer feedback.

If your yard is a little too big for a corded lawn mower, we’ve also got a detailed buying guide on the best cordless lawn mowers, which you can check out here.

Types of Lawn Mowers on the Market

There are several different types of lawn mowers on the market, each with their pros and cons, and most are suited to a particular size lawn or type of terrain.

Push Mowers

These are the basic, traditional mowers that everyone knows and loves. As the name suggests, these are pushed by the user through the grass, cutting it along the way.

By far the most popular form of push mower are petrol powered ones, which use a petrol engine (nowadays usually 4 stroke engines) to spin either a rotary or cylinder blade set to cut the grass.

There are however variations on this which include electric motors, and even purely push powered blades that move in time with the wheels as the user pushes it along.

Push mowers can come with catcher attachments which catch the clippings as you go, or come fitted with mulching decks that cut the grass super fine, so that it disappears back through your lawn.

Pros of Push Lawn Mowers

  • Simple to use - These are really simple machines - just turn them on, push and go!
  • Lightweight - They’re also much lighter in weight than other mowers, which is good when you’re pushing them along, or if you’re loading them in and out of a car, or up and down stairs.
  • Useful attachments - Catcher attachments are also really handy to collect the clippings, rather than leaving clumps and windrows.
  • Low maintenance - Because the mechanism for cutting it also pretty straightforward, there’s less chance of something going wrong, and they’re easily fixed if something does break.
  • Inexpensive - These are also the baseline mower models and you can pick one up for really cheap.

Cons of Push Lawn Mowers

  • Intensive manual labour - These are really labour intensive, as you need to push them along to cut your lawn. This can be really hard if you have quite a large or sloping area to mow, or if your grass is long and thick.

Push mowers with catchers can also get quite heavy as they fill with grass clippings making pushing harder as you go. Lack of power – Because these machines are manual, the amount of power you have depends on your strength as a person.

This means that if you aren’t physically strong or you have a large lawn, you’re going to struggle with the task of cutting through your grass.

Who Should Buy a Push Mower?

Push mowers are a great choice for smaller areas where you need to get into tight spaces. If you can move the mower around without breaking your back and don’t feel like you need to see a doctor when you’re finished, then this should be your go-to.

Self-Propelled Mowers

These are basically the same as a petrol or electric powered push mower but with one major difference, they push themselves!

These mowers have a gear that when engaged will take all the hard work out of pushing, and will plug along at their own pace leaving you to simply point it in the right direction.

Pros of Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers

  • Easy to use - Just as easy to use as a push mower, but with the added bonus of not having to put in as much hard work!

These are a really good option if pushing a mower along is a little bit too physically demanding, or if you have an area that is just a little bit too big or hilly to handle with a normal push.

  • Powerful – The extra momentum and help from the motor makes these lawn mowers particularly good for thick and lush grass.
  • Useful attachments - They also come with catcher attachments, but you don’t have the problem of having extra weight to deal with.
  • Affordable – These lawn mowers tend to cost a bit more than push mowers, but are still very affordable.
  • Cons of Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers

    • Heavier - The extra engine parts needed in a self-propelled lawn mower adds extra weight to your mower, which can make loading into vehicles, or moving up and down stairs a two person job.
    • More fuel and maintenance - Self-propelled mowers also have more moving parts and therefore, use more fuel, have more chance of things going wrong, and are quite a deal more expensive than normal push mowers.
    • Expensive repairs - If you’re unlucky enough to have the self-driving mechanisms go on you, you’re stuck with a big heavy expensive push mower.

    Who Should Buy a Self-Propelled Mower?

    If you struggle to push mow your lawn, but still need a mower small enough to get in and around your yard, then a self-propelled mower could be your go-to.

    They really do take the struggle out of mowing, and mean that you can tackle those bigger or sloping areas with ease. If you can justify the extra cost and maintenance needs, then go for it!

    Ride-On Mowers

    As the name suggests, these mowers do away with the need to be pushed, and allow you to sit right on top of them.

    These self-propelled mowers come in two types:

    1. Ride-on lawn mower - The first type has pedals and a steering wheel for controlling. Normal ride-ons are usually pretty straightforward machines and have a similar setup to a car, making it a familiar experience.
    2. Zero Turn mowers – These mowers use two skid steer handles (left and right hand) controlling one wheel each. Pushing them together or one more than the other controls forward motion and steering.

    Zero turns are a bit more tricky to drive, but mean you can get into tight spaces and their zero point turning circle means that you can get in and around trees and obstacles with ease.

    Both come with a comfortable seat, meaning that you can mow your lawn literally sitting down. These mowers are more like a tractor, and generally have 4 air-filled tyres and a large cutting deck that either sits in the middle of the mower or sticks out the front of it.

    This deck can be lifted up and down to change the cutting height, and can be engaged and disengaged as needed. It’s a pretty broad category, and there are different sizes available for different sized lawn areas.

    Pros of Ride-On Lawn Mowers

    • No manual labour - These take all the hard work out of cutting your lawn. You can do the exact same job without any physical labour, while sitting down.
    • Gets the job done fast - Because of their speed and larger cutting deck, usually in a fraction of the time. They’ll chew through longer grass without missing a beat, and can go up and down hills all day.

    Ride on mowers are perfect for mowing large areas that would be impractical to do with a push mower, and can slash the time it takes which means more time for other gardening tasks!

  • Wide range of sizes/options/prices - Because of the large number of options available, you should be able to find a size that suits your needs.
  • Cons of Ride-On Lawn Mowers

    • Size - These can be pretty big machines. They’re designed for use on a diverse range of situations, from larger backyards and properties, to public parks and sports fields.

    This means finding the right one is a bit daunting. They can also be quite cumbersome, meaning that they might not be able to get into all the nooks and crannies of your yard and you might need to get out a push mower to finish the job.

  • Lack of agility - Because of their design, some may not have a great turning circle and might be a hassle getting around trees or buildings.
  • Expensive – They tend to cost a lot more than other mower types, so they’re not very budget-friendly for most homeowners.
  • High maintenance – They need regular servicing and repairs to keep them in tip top shape.
  • Heavy - Ride on mowers are also pretty heavy, so can get bogged in mud if you’re not careful. They also need ramps to be loaded on and off a trailer, and can’t go up and down stairs like a push mower can.
  • Who Should Buy a Ride-On Lawn Mower?

    If your lawn is too big for a push mower, then you pretty much have to have a ride on, but only if it will fit and you can actually get it into the area!

    If you can drive a car, you can drive a mower and if your lawn area is not too busy with trees and other obstructions, you should be right with this type of mower.

    2. Lawn Mower Types

    2a. Walk-Behind Mowers

    There are three general categories of walk behind mowers available on the market today. They include reel mowers, electric mowers, and gas mowers. Reel mowers, also called push mowers or manual mowers, are the only mechanical mowers in the group, and they are powered entirely by the operator’s own elbow grease. Reel mowers have a series of helical blades arranged in a cylinder around a central axis that is parallel to the ground. As the operator pushes the mower forward, gears attached to the wheels cause the blades to spin rapidly around the central axis. The blades force the grass against a rear cutting surface, where they are sliced off. The design of reel mowers allows them to provide the cleanest, least ragged cut to your lawn, which is beneficial both to its appearance but also its overall health. However they are not ideal for lawns that are more than a quarter of an acre at most, since they are entirely human powered.

    Electric and gas mowers are both rotary mowers. Rotary mowers have an engine that powers a blade that rotates parallel to the ground. As the blade spins, it slices the grass. Both gas and electric mowers can either fall into the push style category or the self propelled category. In the former, the engine only powers the cutting blade and the operator maneuvers the mower around the yard under their own power. In the latter category, the motor powers the cutting blade as well as a drive mechanism that moves the mower forward under its own power, leaving the operator to simply walk behind and steer it.

    Walk behind mowers are by far the most common kind used by homeowners today, because most of us do not have enough property to warrant a larger mower. If you decide to opt for a walk behind mower, there are several things to keep in mind. First is which kind is right for you. As I mentioned earlier, there are trade offs for an electric versus a gas mower, and the same is true for a reel mower as well. Once you have that figured out, there are a number of other considerations as well, including deck size, grass management options (rear bag, side discharge or mulching), overall dimensions and weight and how these affect maneuverability and storage space, the runtime and area estimates for each type of mower, and how much you should plan on spending for each kind. In my guides of reel mowers, electric mowers, and gas mowers, I guide you through the different things you have to consider. And in my extensive product reviews and detailed breakdowns of the specifics of different manufacturers’ products, I help you understand the pros and cons of individual walk behind mowers.

    2b. Riding Mowers

    Riding mowers are designed for property owners who have more than a half an acre of grass to maintain, and frankly if your property is this large you almost have to own one in order to feasibly take care of it. Riding mowers offer two major advantages over walk behind mowers for maintaining large properties. The first is that you do not have to walk back and forth over an acre or more of grass while you are mowing it, which means you will not be worn out at the end of the job. The second is that riding mowers are able to support a much larger deck size than walk behind mowers. Riding mowers have deck sizes ranging from thirty to almost sixty inches in most cases – that is thirty to two hundred percent larger than the average walk behind mower. And many riding mowers come equipped with more than one cutting blade. That means they will be tough and durable, and able to attack large lawns week after week with minimal wear and tear on the machine.

    Riding mowers fall into one of two basic categories: lawn tractors and zero turn mowers. Lawn tractors are durable workhorses designed for the homeowner who has more than just grass cutting in mind. Lawn tractors fall into two categories as well: traditional lawn tractors and garden style lawn tractors. Traditional lawn tractors provide everything you need to take care of your lawn: in addition to wide cutting swaths and multiple grass clipping management options, they often are equipped with leaf collection accessories and spreaders for distributing fertilizer and grass feed.

    Garden style lawn tractors kick it up a notch in the accessories department. They offer additional capabilities such as tow hitches for hauling loads of firewood, mulch, or manure around the garden, or pulling stumps and other debris out of the ground. They also have accessories available that can till the soil or dig furrows in it for planting crops or vegetables. Garden style lawn tractors are perfect for homeowners with large properties on which they have serious gardens or mini farms.

    Zero turn riding mowers are hands down the most efficient machine for cutting the grass on large properties. These machines have a rear wheel drive with differential power controls. This means the operator can send more power to one wheel than the other. If both wheels receive the same amount of power, the mower moves in a straight line. If one wheel receives more power than the other, the mower travels in a curved line. And if one wheel is fully stopped or even moving backwards while the other receives forward power, the mower spins on its central axis. This kind of control allows for incredible maneuverability, which means you can easily drive around garden beds or trees on your property and get a cut that is so close you are practically using an edger.

    Elsewhere on this site I provide a more detailed guide to what to look for in zero turn mowers as well as detailed breakdowns of the specifics for different manufacturers’ zero turn mowers. You can use these guides to get a full picture of what to look for when you are shopping for a zero turn mower.

    Top Tractor Attachments

    Image by Canva Photos

    Once you own a lawn or garden tractor, a whole new world opens up to you. A very expensive world, unfortunately, but a new one nonetheless. Tractor attachments allow you to expand the capabilities of your grass cutter, making most property improvement and maintenance jobs faster, easier, and less stressful. Compatibility with so many different attachments is what sets garden tractors miles ahead of their smaller siblings.

    These garden tractor implements are the most popular attachments used to get heavy-duty work done efficiently:

    Twin Bagger

    This is probably the most popular tractor attachment. Twin baggers suck up and contain grass clippings, leaves, and other debris that your riding mower mows down. On average, twin baggers have around 8 cubic feet of capacity (or more). A riding lawn mower with a bagger is essential if you have any deciduous trees on your property.

    Utility Cart

    One of the most useful attachments is the humble utility cart. If you’ve got a lot of land, this can be a lifesaver when hauling stuff (tools, plants, soil, etc.) out to your project work sites. We like to call it the “back-saver” attachment.

    Lawn Sweeper

    Tow behind lawn sweepers are the easy-button of leaf removal and cleanup. If you want a spic and span lawn free of debris and leaves, this is the attachment for you. Never rake again!


    A healthy root system leads to a healthy lawn. Many of these tow-behind aerators will dig out, plus about 3 inches deep from your lawn. This helps water, fertilizer, seed, and other nutrients reach the lawn’s root system and help it thrive. Your lawn will be looking like a manicured golf course in no time!


    The spreader (also known as the sprayer or the seeder broadcaster) is great for more than just spreading seeds. You can also use one for a quick round of fertilization. Basically, these attachments efficiently and automatically spread your seeds or fertilizer evenly behind you as you go. Their wider distribution area puts those little handheld units to shame. Plus, their random distribution patterns ensure no one spot gets over or under-fertilized.


    If you live in colder climates prone to heavy snow, this seasonal attachment may just have you jumping for joy. Snowblower implements attach to the front of your tractor rather than the back and spits snow out of your way as you go. Elite snowblower units can remove up to 18 inches of snow with ease.

    Further Reading

    Electric vs. Gas Lawn Mowers: Which Is Better? The 10 Best Robot Lawn Mowers The 7 Best Garden Tractors The 7 Best Battery Powered Lawn Mowers Lawn Tractor vs. Garden Tractor: What’s Best for You? Best Garden Hose Reel: Retractable, Carts, and Mounted

    Watch the video: The Newest tools, Mowers u0026 Equipment for Lawn care in 2019