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How To: Choose a Lawn Mower

November 10, 2009

For some people, there is nothing sweeter than the smell of fresh-cut grass…until the mower breaks down halfway through the job and they aren't mechanically inclined!

Other people buy the biggest, heaviest mower, only to realize that even with a self-propelled mower, they are worn out by the time they finish the yard. You can keep things simple and easy if you get the lawnmower that is right for you.

A small, electric-powered or manually powered mower may do the trick. They cost a lot less than larger self-propelled models, and can give you many years of good service if they are used properly and maintained. If you have a large lawn, say, over 7,000 square feet, you may want to upgrade to a self-propelled or even a riding lawnmower to save time and effort.

Bear in mind, though, that if you get a heavier lawnmower and it stalls, you might have to push it back to the storage area. In other words, get what you can handle. Types of lawnmowers: Lawnmowers come in all sizes and prices, and are available with electric power or gas power. A corded, electric mower is lightweight. Some are as small as 13 inches (that means that the blades cover a 13- inch span). The disadvantage is that you have to drag the cord along behind you. Heavier lawnmowers won't bounce or tip over as easily as their lightweight counterparts, but they are harder to push around in the hot sun. Self-propelled mowers take on a lot of the effort.

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Finally, no mower is any good if you cannot start it. If you don't have the upper body strength to pull the starter cord, you may need to consider investing in an electric start mower.

Budget: Many lawns require weekly mowing, so you want to buy a lawnmower that will last. Lawnmowers are no different than any other powered tools or appliances in that you can find them for almost any budget.

Look at the features on each mower, and decide which ones you'll use. Do you want a bag-less mower, or do you want a manicured look in exchange for frequent bag emptying?

Engines rule: The most important part on a lawnmower is its engine. This is where the quality and longevity of your equipment lies. The rest of its features are all "extras". Opinions run the gamut on whose engine is the best, and if you properly maintain your machine with periodic oil changes, new blades and fresh gasoline (unless it is electric, of course), your mower can last you for many years.

Choosing accessories: Beyond the basic lawnmower, you can choose additional features or accessories to make the job a little easier. A bagger catches the grass clippings. A mulcher attachment cuts up the blades of grass and leaves into tiny pieces.

Maintenance: Gas-powered lawnmowers will need to be maintained and repaired from time to time. Most lawnmower repairs are pretty easy to do, and once you learn how to do them yourself, you may not need a professional to tune up your machine or change the filters or oil.

Once you have your perfect lawnmower, get out there and conquer your lawn. Then you can enjoy the sweet smell of fresh-cut grass and a job well done.

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