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Lawn Mower, How to Choose the Right Petrol (Gas Powered) Lawnmower

Updated on September 25, 2014

Choose a petrol lawnmower

Making sure you get the right petrol lawnmower for your garden will not only save you a great deal of frustration, it will also save you money on a costly mistake. Petrol lawnmowers (also called gas lawnmowers or gas powered lawnmowers in the US) are of three main types, Cylinder Mowers (often called Reel Mowers), Rotary Mowers (these can be wheeled mowers or Hover mowers) and finally, Ride on Mowers, the larger models of which are called Lawn Tractors.

Lawnmowers seem to be rated on the area of lawn they are designed to cope with in terms of the number of tennis courts they would cut. This may seem a rather old-fashioned way of doing things but it seems to work well. Basically the formula dictates that if your garden is of half an acre or less, a walk behind mower would be fine for your requirements.

You may still wish to consider a self-propelled mower though, particularly if your garden has sloping areas of lawn to cut (not so bad downhill, but a bit of a 'puff' going uphill!).

Choose a cylinder mower for a professional green-keeper's finish

Because a cylinder or reel mower can cut so close, it is the only way to achieve a finish like this.
Because a cylinder or reel mower can cut so close, it is the only way to achieve a finish like this.

What sort of finish are you looking for on your lawn?

Assuming your garden is under the half an acre, so you will be going for a walk behind mower, Ask yourself the following two questions.

1.       Do you want to end up with something that looks like a professional green-keeper’s result, with neatly rolled stripes on a tennis court smooth lawn? 

2.       Do you have a family who all enjoy the lawn for playing and relaxing? 

If the former, you should choose a cylinder or reel mower.  If the latter, you should choose a rotary mower, either a wheeled mower or a hover mower.

A Rotary Lawnmower is best for a family garden

A rotary petrol lawnmower from Mountfield
A rotary petrol lawnmower from Mountfield
For areas where children play a rotary mower is best as it can cope with uneven surfaces and leaves the grass longer.  You can still have stripes on your lawn though as you can get rollers for the wheeled versions!
For areas where children play a rotary mower is best as it can cope with uneven surfaces and leaves the grass longer. You can still have stripes on your lawn though as you can get rollers for the wheeled versions!

A cylinder mower for professional results

A cylinder mower with grass collection box from Mountfield
A cylinder mower with grass collection box from Mountfield

Do you want to collect your mower clippings?

There are two main ways of dealing with clippings.

1.       A grass collection box that you can empty on your compost heap or into your compost bin for composting.

2.       A mulching attachment that chops the grass up very fine and sprays it back out onto your lawn to feed every time you mow.

In addition, there are now some models available, that will allow you to do a little of both, i.e. collect some of the clippings and put some back on your lawn as mulch.

A petrol ride on mower may be the right choice

Even if your garden is not, strictly speaking, large enough for a ride on mower, it may be the answer if you are finding keeping your garden under control too much.
Even if your garden is not, strictly speaking, large enough for a ride on mower, it may be the answer if you are finding keeping your garden under control too much.

What are your own physical limitations?

 

1. If your garden is towards the half acre size and you are finding the mowing becoming more of a chore, why not take a look at some of the smaller ride-on mowers? It is a luxury to be able to sit down to mow the grass but if it means you can carry on doing the job independently without having to get someone in to do it for you, I say ‘go for the ride on!’.

2. If you find a pull cord difficult this need not be a problem as there are now many models in all makes, types and price range that have an electric key start, make life easy for yourself and choose one of these.

3. If you suffer from a bad back or are very tall, you need to be looking for a model which has an adjustable handle height so that you can get it exactly right and comfortable for you to use.

 

Make sure it will fit through the gate!

If you are looking for a petrol ride on mower, you will probably want a lawn tractor if your area of grass is an acre or more. In addition to the points already mentioned, one thing to take into consideration with these is the width of the machine including the cutting deck. There can be access problems so you need to measure your gateways and access points to be sure of getting a mower of this type to where you want to mow.

Lawn Mower Humour

Lawnmower Humour from http://www.guy-sports.com
Lawnmower Humour from http://www.guy-sports.com

Some useful links

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D.I.Y. Automatic Lawnmower?

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Comments

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  • sholms profile image

    sholms 

    7 years ago from Sunny England

    Love the pic of the cow lol

  • Alison Graham profile imageAUTHOR

    Alison Graham 

    8 years ago from UK

    As far as I am aware, there is only a legal age limit of 16 to ride a mower on a road in UK (of course the vehicle must then be correctly insured, mot'd and so on). The American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) recommendation is that children should be 16 or older for using a ride on mower in the garden and 12-13 for using a push mower (read their recommendations at http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/f... ) but the main point is that whoever is riding it must be tall enough to be effectively in control of the vehicle (able to reach pedals, etc.) and to have vision over the bonnet and over the back of the vehicle. Most ride on mower injuries to children are not to the child on board but to a small child who happens to get behind the mower when it is reversing and for this reason the AAP recommend that children under 6 should be indoors during mowing. Other injuries to children (and adults) can occur from burns if the engine casing is touched when hot.

  • LaMamaLoli profile image

    LaMamaLoli 

    8 years ago from London

    I definitely like the idea of the ride one - can just see myself careering round my garden lol! I have never bought a petrol lawnmower and don't know much about them, but I like the idea of not trailing round the garden with a wire slung on my shoulder! One question, are they safe for kids to use? I've let my eldest start "helping" with the mowing, so wouldn't want anything that he would be unsuitable for him!

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