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Are All Lawn Mowers Alike?

Different Features of Lawn Mowers

Stroll down the aisles of any home center or equipment dealer this spring and you'll see lots of lawn mowers that look almost exactly alike. Sure, they might be different colors and have some nifty decals on them, but they'll all be powered by identical engines and tout similar features. Let's take a look at some of these features and determine why they might be important to you:

Mulch Capability
Most mowers can mulch, but the more expensive mowers will be able to recycle clippings back into the turf more efficiently and with less signs, such as clumps of grass and an uneven cut. Look for mowers that have advanced cutting decks with special blades and mulch fans.

Self-propelled
You don't want to have to push a mower around if you don't have to. Self-propelled mowers come in two varieties: front- and rear-drive. Front-drive is easy to maneuver – just lift the front end slightly and turn. Rear-drive is handy if you use a rear-bagger and want to maintain good traction on hills. Rear-drive is also less likely to tear up your lawn. Whether front- or rear-drive, look for a mower that will allow you to set a comfortable walking pace.

Rear Bagging
Rear bags come in handy in the spring and fall, when you need to collect yard debris such as leaves and twigs. Rear bags are easier to attach and remove than mowers with side bags, and they usually hold a lot more.

Easily Adjustable Cutting Height
Many homeowners fail to adjust their mower's cutting height according to the season. For most parts of the country, it's best to start low in the spring and then gradually raise the height as the weather warms. The easier it is to adjust the cutting height, the more likely you will do it. Look for a mower with clearly marked settings so you don't have to guess what cutting height you are using.

Most quality mowers have these features. One brand that I've had good experience with has all these features and more. Lawn-Boy mowers have a unique trim edge and wheel design that allows closer access to landscaping obstacles such as fences and trees. The advantage is that you'll get neat trimming and precise edging without ever having to take out your string trimmer.

What really sets a Lawn-Boy apart is its commercial grade, 6.5 horsepower, two-cycle engine. Two-cycle engines are unique because they run on a mixture of oil and gas and have fewer moving parts than a standard four-cycle engine. And two-cycle engines are constantly being lubricated by a steady stream of fresh oil. This means that a two-cycle engine is more powerful and durable than a comparable four-cycle engine.

Although most four-cycle engines need regular oil changes and tune-ups and are destined for the scrap heap without regular maintenance, my 5-year-old GoldPRo Series Lawn-Boy is still scampering across the lawn like a puppy. In five years, I haven't done anything to it except sharpen the blade and clean and inspect the air filter and spark plug.

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