What Size Mower Do I Need?

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What size mower do I need?

The answer to this question is: it depends on some factors such as lawn size, maneuverability, power source, the soil of your lawn, mower type and budget. 

Why is Lawn Mower Size Important?

Here are some reasons why you should consider buying a right-sized mowing machine:

  • Getting a correct-sized lawn mower will ensure easy mowing operations on steep terrain or uphill.
  • It reduces the time spent mowing the lawn.
  • A right-sized lawn mower ensures easy maneuverability through narrow spaces, patches and obstacles.
  • An ideal lawn mower can cut the grass evenly without leaving any patches behind.

Different Lawn Mower Types And Their Average Sizes

Here are the different lawn mower types and their average sizes:

Sizes of Riding/Zero-Turn Mowers

The deck sizes of riding lawn mowers range from 36 inches (91.44cm) and 54 inches (137.16cm). This dimension is also similar to lawn tractors too.

Generally, riding lawn mowers are up to 4 feet (1.21m) in height and 6 feet (1.83m) in length. A typical riding mower has a speed of 4-8mph.

The dimensions of zero-turn mowers are similar to several riding lawn mowers. Usually, they are about 4 feet (1.21m) tall, 4 (1.22m) feet wide and 6 (1.83m) or 7 (2.13m) feet long. 

The difference between them is that some of them have larger mower decks.

Notably, the cutting decks of zero-turn mowers range from 36 to over 72 inches. Zero-turn mowers are faster in a straight line and more maneuverable than lawn tractors.

They have an engine with a horsepower of 17 HP to over 25 HP.  Their battery-powered mowers have a mowing time of over one hour.

Walk-Behind Lawn Mowers

Walk-behind mowers are made up of push and self-propelled mowers. Reel/cylindrical mowers are the most simple and cheapest variety of lawn mowers.

Push and self-propelled lawn mowers come with cutting decks that range from 18-36 inches (55.88-91.44cm). These mowing machines are around 5 feet (1.52m) long and 3 feet (0.91m).

The cutting width of reel lawn mowers is typically 13 inches (33.02cm). Reel mowers are around 2 feet (0.61m) in length and 3 feet (0.91m) tall.

It is important to note that reel mowers are ideal for small lawns. Anything too large will leave you frustrated and exhausted.

With an 18-22 inch mower deck, homeowners should be able to cut a mid-sized lawn in 40-50 minutes.

While using a walk-behind mower, I recommend a rear-wheel drive over front-wheel drive because they ensure better traction on bumpy or sloped terrain.

The engine horsepower of several gas walk-behind mowers ranges from around 160-190cc while the runtime of several battery-powered mowers ranges from 25 to over 60 minutes.

Corded electric mowers are tethered by a cord for an unlimited time of operation.

Guidelines for Choosing the Right Size Lawn Mower For Your Yard

Here is a table showing a set guidelines that will help you pick the lawn mower that can fit your yard:

Yard SizeLawn Mower TypeDeck Size
Less than one acreWalk-Behind Mower18-36 inch deck width
1-3 acresRiding/Zero-Turn Mower36-42 inch deck width
3-4 acresRiding/Zero-Turn Mower42-54 inch deck width
4 acres and aboveZero-turn mower60-72 inch deck width

Factors To Consider Before Choosing the Correct Sized Lawn Mower for Your Lawn

Here are some factors to consider before choosing the correct sized lawn mower for your lawn:

Lawn Size

You need to determine the amount of acreage before getting the right sized lawn mower for your lawn. 

If you have a lawn that is less than one acre, you can get a push or self-propelled mower that has a deck size of 14-36 inches to mow your lawn.

Furthermore, homeowners that own a lawn that is measured at 1-1.5 acres or even less can get a mower with a single-cylinder engine.

A single-cylinder engine with less horsepower should be enough. They can meander through obstacles but they may not be able to pull loads. This mower type is usually durable and hassle-free to use

Homeowners can also buy a riding or zero-turn mower that has a deck size that ranges from 36-42 inches for their yards that are up to 1-3 acres. 

For those with a 3-4 acre lawn, a riding mower with a deck width of 42-54 inches and an engine power of 18-24HP should suffice.

If you own a lawn that is up to 5 acres and above, you can buy a mid-grade lawn mower that is versatile and powerful.

Maneuverability

Before getting the right mower, you need to access the distance between gates, trees, and other obstacles on the lawn.

Homeowners with hilly terrain may prefer a smaller push or self-propelled mower that can enable you to maneuver around trees and other obstacles.

Furthermore, having mowers with a deck that can navigate through tight areas will save you time from having to take off the grass from the beds. 

Getting a bigger lawn mower like a riding mower with a wide blade can prevent you from mowing narrow areas and around obstacles.

Easy Storage

One of the selling points of smaller mowers is that they are easy to store, especially if it is a reel mower. Homeowners that have a riding mower may need a large garage or shed to store it. 

If you intend to store the mower in a shed or garage, ensure that you measure the space and the opening to be sure whether it can accommodate the size of the mower. 

Time Factor

The larger the deck size, the faster you will mow in a single pass. Mowers with a larger deck size and more HP will allow you to finish the job faster. 

Mower Maintenance

A larger lawn mower is faster but it might be difficult to maintain. 

For instance, zero-turn mowers can’t be lifted without a jack. So, it is difficult to sharpen their blades unless you have the required tools.

Although they are fast to cut you may just need additional maintenance for a mower of such large size.

For some walk-behind mower models, you can lift the front end or tip the mowing machine sideways. This enables you to remove the blade or wash the mower deck with ease.

Mower Type

A push or self-propelled mower if you have a lawn that is less than one acre. A push mower is a good fit for lawns that are up to 750-2500 square feet. 

This will enable you to finish the mowing task in just one hour, especially if you own a good mower brand like Toro or Honda. In addition, push mowers are ideal on flat terrain.

A self-propelled mower is preferable for lawns that are up to one acre of grass lawn,

The three factors that should make you pick a self-propelled mower over a push mower include lawn size, terrain and physical condition.

Self-propelled mowers are a great fit for hilly or sloppy terrain because they do not require you to push it up to a slope.

Compared to push mowers, a self-propelled mower that has a 20-22-inch mower deck should be able to mow a larger area without having to push the mower forward by yourself.

If you own a yard that is over one acre, it is preferable to pick a  riding mower for your lawn. Riding mowers have larger decks to enhance fast cuts on lawns.

Power Source

Homeowners with small or mid-sized lawns may go for electric lawn mowers because they are lightweight and eco-friendly. 

In addition, they have enough capacity to mow yards that are less than one acre.

For homeowners with larger lawns, gas-powered mowers should be the preferred choice. They are powerful and they will give you a longer runtime to mow. 

The Soil of Your Lawn

If the soil of your lawn stays wet, using a bigger mower on it can put extra strain on the lawn. In this situation, the soil can sink and cause damage to the grass.

Therefore, if your lawn stays damp for most of the time, you should select smaller and lightweight mowers.

Are Wider Decks Better?

Not always. Although they help to cover large areas for faster cuts, they may find it difficult to maneuver on a small property with lots of obstacles.

Mowing machines with wider cutting decks need more blades. For instance, a 64-inch riding lawn mower comes with three separate mower blades under the mower deck.

It is impossible to put a single 64-inch mower blade under the mowing machine because it would require a large deck and a massive engine to drive the blade.

Having a wider cutting deck with multiple blades also means that they might not follow the contour of whatever it is that you are cutting.  

Is My Yard Large Enough for a Wide-Area Mower

Wide-area mowers are not ideal for most homeowners. They are meant for commercial use, especially for recreation fields, mowing parks, and other flat and wide properties.