How Does a Lawn Mower Work?

Types of Lawn Mowers

Not all lawn mowers are made the same. There are different types of lawn mowers out there and each of them brings its characteristics to the table. If you want to know how a lawn mower works, keep reading:

Rotary Mower

One of the most common types of lawn mowers, rotary mowers use a small and powerful engine that provides energy to a sharp, horizontal blade. This blade spins to cut the grass on contact. The blade is located on the underside of the lawn mower in a deck so that the shredded grass doesn’t go flying around all over the place.

A bag connected to the deck collects the cut grass. When it comes to understanding how a lawn mower works, it doesn’t get simpler than the rotary mower.

Self-Propelled Mower

Close cousins of rotary mowers are self-propelled mowers. They’re also powered by a small and powerful motor like basic rotary motors but there is one key difference in how a lawn mower works with a self-propelling system.

The throttle used to engage the motor that cuts the grass also allows you to power the drive system in the self-propelled mower. When you operate the motor through the squeeze bar on the handle, the mower starts to move on its own without the need to push it manually as is the case with a rotary mower.

Self-propelled mowers are ideal for hilly lawns, large lawns, and also for use by the elderly or less phyiscally fit.

Push Mower / Reel Mower

There was a time when mowing lawns did not involve noisy motors that spun blades. In fact, mowers had their own drive systems built in. If you want to know how a lawn mower works, it’s a good idea to try and understand the most basic type: the push mower.

Also known as reel mower, this gardening equipment requires you to push it across the lawn manually. As the wheels move, a belt connected to the axle drives a cylinder consisting of sharp blades, located between the wheels. The spinning motion of this cylinder or “reel” cuts the grass.

Manual push mowers are ideal for small lawns, slow-growing grass, or if you want to get a bit more exercise while cutting the grass. They can be physically demanding to use, particularly if you let the grass grow a bit too long.

One feature unique to this type of mower is how environmentally-friendly they are – with no motor, there are absolutely no greenhouse gas emissions, and they are also much quieter than any other type of mower.

Types of Motors

There are two basic types of motors when it comes to rotary and self-propelled mowers. They can be powered either gas or electricity.

Gas-Powered Motors

Gas-powered motors involve the use of small and powerful engines that are powered by gasoline. They produce quite a lot of noise and contribute to air pollution as well, but if you want to cut through the toughest grass, you can rest assured that this will not let you down. It provides a lot of power to the motor, which spins the blades and pushes the drive system. Running costs are higher than other mower types, due both to the constant usage of fuel, and the maintenance that must be carried out every mowing season. If you have pretty intense mowing to do, gas powered lawn mowers would be appropriate.

Electric-Powered Motors

Electric motors in lawn mowers can be solar-powered, battery-powered or powered using the house’s main through a long cord. The motor in itself is less noisy, costs a lot less than the gas- powered version but it does not offer the same amount of power. See our reviews on some top corded electric and battery powered cordless lawn mowers for more information.

There is a different class of lawn mowers, known as riding lawn mowers, which can run both on gas or battery. They are basically mowers for large scale work where you can ride the machine while working, which would be otherwise extremely laborious with a traditional push mower. Take a look at our review article on such mowers.

The basic principle of how a lawn mower works remains the same with both types of motors, just remember gas has more power to offer than electric, but electric is cheaper both to buy, and to operate.

We have more articles on maintaining or storing a lawn mower for winter which you might like.

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