Lawn Mower Buying Guide (part 1, small lawns)

By Allyn Paul, filed under Lawn Tips.

Assuming you have a small lawn (10,000 square feet or smaller)…

…Buy a Walk Behind Mower
(future articles will address riding tractors and zero-turns for cutting acreage)

(1) Self Propelled is a must! You will be very sorry if you buy a mower that you have to push. Pushing the mower my lovely lawn mowerwill cause uneven cutting because of your walking motion and inability to apply constant, equal pressure. In addition, cutting is much more enjoyable when you are only steering the mower. You are NOT Fred Flintstone! :)
(2) Rear-Wheel Drive is recommended. After agreeing to number 1 above, you need to decide in front or rear wheel drive. Rear wheel is better for keeping the cut even and also for steering. If you have a front wheel drive mower, you lose your propulsion every time you turn because you take the drive wheels off the ground. If you have rear wheel drive, you can control the drive with the hand lever (engage or disengage the drive wheels) according to your comfort and needs. Also, if you have any bumps or hills in your lawn, rear wheel drive will be more consistent than front wheel.
(3) Horsepower. Your mower should be a minimum of 5 HP but I recommend 5.5 or more. Remember, the motor has to pull the mower and run the blade. If your grass is thick like mine, higher HP will give you a much cleaner cut.
(4) Mulch/Catch. If you are utilizing the advice above, then any mower available to you with these options will most likely have the option of mulch, catch or side discharge. This is a good option.
(5) Drive Speeds. I do not like single speed mowers. I prefer a mower that allows me to adjust the speed according to my own comfort. New technology is out now with Toro called “Personal Pace” and Lawn Boy has the same options and they term it “Sense-a-Speed.” Both are very comfortable and work well.

Other considerations in buying a lawn mower:
I am a short guy, and I just can’t use some mowers. Pretty much anything that Sears sells (Craftsman) is not built for me. Either the hand grips are too big, or the handle is too high. (hey, I can hear you laughing!!!! :) )
Keep in mind that if you buy a mower and don’t like it, you can return it. When I buy a new mower, I cut my grass everyday for a week to be sure I like it! (yep, my neighbors think I’m a nut) Just remember, it’s not your fault the mower is not ergonomically to your liking!

Also, don’t waste your money on electric start. With today’s technology, most mowers start on the first pull everytime.

Finally, I like a mower with fatter wheels to help me get better striping in the turf!

Lawn Mower Price?
A mower like the one I describe above can cost anywhere from $300 – $500. There are factors that make the price higher or lower. You can get a Toro mower with a Tecumseh engine for $480 or the same mower with the same HP but with a Briggs and Stratton engine for $299. Personally, you are not mowing your entire block, so I’d go with the cheaper model. I think Briggs and Stratton engines work just fine. Front wheel drive is also cheaper than rear wheel, and single speed models cost less than multiple speeds.

The other big factor in pricing is the mower brand name. Honda, for example, makes high quality mowers, but they cost on average 30% more than a comparable Toro or Lawn Boy. There are also some off-brand models on the market today that will work well for you. Some of these are Cub Cadet and Yard Machines.
I will provide a few links for you and then recommend you shop around your local Home Depot or Lowe’s and see if you can do better.

Believe it or not, you can get a better deal on Amazon then you can in most local stores. It all depends on how much searching and comparing you’re willing to do. If you like the Lawn Boy mower that I have, Amazon can get it to your thru Ace Hardware and even with shipping it’s lower cost than in your local lawn mower shop.

Now is the time to start looking as Spring is here!

Here are some links to give you an idea of pricing:
Price Lawn Boy Mowers Here

Price Other Mowers Here

Give Up The Gas With Remington! Check Out Our Eco-Friendly Cordless Power Mower At RemingtonMower.com!

You can also search here for other mower brands:

This has been another lawn tip from Life and Lawns dotn com, tell a friend!


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9 Responses to “Lawn Mower Buying Guide (part 1, small lawns)”

  1. Onebucks Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Wow! This is the first time i found a site covering areas like lawn mowing. Im really impressed i must say. Do you have any tips on how to choose the best grass for your lawn? Thanks in advance for the tips if you have it.

  2. Allyn Paul Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Hig Onebucks, I recognize you from MyBlogLog…Welcome!
    I do have lots of tips on the best grass for your lawn. I recommend Turf Type Tall Fescue for lawns in the North, East and midwest as well as the south down to about Georgia.
    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Josh Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Ok…enough with the small lawns….I need a riding mower! I’ve got 1.2 acres and NO TREES!

  4. Allyn Paul Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Dude (Josh) you have a dream yard!
    I guess I hafta wonder if it’s all grass or just NC “natural” fescue and weeds? In other words, an old pasture?

  5. Josh Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    The front yard is not bad at all, IMO. The previous owner had the front and side yard aerated last fall. It’s not thick or anything, but it’s not awful. Last year was the first year after construction of the house. So the lawn is kind of in the beginning stages.

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