Henry in MI

Hi, Rich. You are close to violating the first rule of a lawn which is “Never buy a house with more lawn than your wife can mow!”

Seriously, the choice of a mower has more to do with you than it does with the lawn. Your physical activity level, time to devote to the lawn and interest in taking care of the lawn will dictate your choice of mower. One of my neighbors mows his every day with an electric mower. It is his daily exercise and the clippings are very small. He has no need for a bagger and the clippings rot away quickly, which is beneficial and keeps down fertilizer cost–not that it matters to him. Having the prettiest lawn on the block is important to him.

I start fighting with my kids about a week after the last mowing to do it again, which means mine gets cut about every 2 weeks. The clippings are long and tend to clump. A bagger makes sense for us because the clumps sit on top of the lawn, turn brown and cause thatch problems. Our town collects the clippings and turns them into mulch. Disposing of the clippings can be a problem in some towns so be sure and check this out.

As far as brands, how you take care of the mower and store it will have more to do with it’s longevity than the brand name. Wash the clippings out from under the deck and change the oil twice a year with 4 cycle engines and a cheap one will still last many years. Drain the gas after the last mowing and put the chemical (Gum Out or similar) in the tank that keeps varnish from forming and it will start right up next year. I got to start doing that some year. Fighting with the mower in the spring gives me the excuse to put in a new spark plug, change the oil and sharpen the blade. After a lot of pulling, it eventually starts.

I think these contrasts are pretty typical and that I have given you the info to make a good decision. What “bells and whistles” you want and need–self-propelled, electric start, etc.–again will be determined by your usage. Have fun shopping.

Henry in MI