Fix-It Chick: Know your options before investing in a new lawn mower – Lawrence Journal World

With proper care and maintenance, a good lawn mower can last a long time. Whether you are a new home owner shopping for your first mower or a tried-and-true mowing guru ready to retire your trusty friend, choosing the right mower can be simple.

• Consider a manual reel mower for tiny, flat yards. Reel mowers require little maintenance and can last a life time. They do require some elbow grease to operate and cannot cut tall grass, so mowing often is a necessity.

• Electric mowers are lightweight and easy to operate, as long as there are outlets nearby to plug the extension cord into. Most electric mowers are best when operated using an electrical cord that is no more than 100 feet long. Managing the cord while mowing is a priority, and avoiding tall, thick vegetation is a must.

• Cordless mowers have come a long way over the years. Getting one with an extra battery is a great idea. Cordless mowers have limited operation time, so they are not an option for large yards. Cordless mowers are more expensive than electric mowers and tend to have shorter life expectancies, too.

• If bagging grass or leaves is an option that sounds at all appealing, purchase a mower with a bagging attachment. Bagging attachments that come with the mower are much less problematic than bagging attachments that are purchased at a later date. Purchasing a mower with a bagger usually costs less than purchasing the two items separately.

• Heavier, wider wheels with better tread last longer and make for a smoother mowing experience. Large rear wheels make uphill mowing much easier.

• The main decks of more expensive mowers are usually made from more durable heavy-gauge materials that last longer. A higher price usually means a longer life.

• Briggs and Stratton engines cost less, take universal parts and are easier to repair. Honda and Kohler motors will run smoother, start more quickly and handle larger jobs with ease. More powerful engines will cut through thicker vegetation and mulch grass clippings much more effectively than smaller engines.

• Self-propelled mowers are easier to push forward, but they do not go backwards. They weigh a lot more than a regular mower, which makes them difficult to lift and to transport.

— Have a question? Email Linda Cottin at

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