Mower blades are the cutting elements of mowers. The blades are primarily made of strong metals to enable them to tolerate speed-contact with various components while mowing. The size, design, thickness as well as the material used varies by manufacturer. Ideally, a blade should satisfy three primary functions i.e., mulching, discharging, and bagging. Some can deliver all the three tasks, while others serve only one function.
There is a common misconception that all mower blades are the same when, in fact, they employ different designs that provide a variety of cutting options. Also, although a mower is configured to use blades that correspond to its measurements and holes configurations, there are still several compatible options to choose from.
Knowledge of different types of mower blades is helpful to both landscapers and homeowners, and learning how to identify them will help you achieve the desired results. Selecting the wrong mower blade will affect the look of the lawn and might damage your mower in the long run.
Types of Lawn Mower Blades
1. Mulching blades
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A mulching blade is an all-purpose kind of blade with a curved surface which enables it to function in three major ways i.e.
- Lifting-The blade starts by pulling the grass upwards and cuts it.
- Mowing- The grass clippings are then drawn inside the deck where they are reduced into small pieces.
- Mulching-The innermost curves generated pressurized air to force the clippings out.
The blades can be used to mulch, discharge, or bag grass clippings, and they are specially designed for tall grass setting. Also, mulching blades have more curves which increase the surface area of the cutting edge. This allows the grass to be chopped several times before it is bagged or discharged back onto the lawn.
Benefits of Mulching blades
- The shape of the blades keeps the grass clippings inside the mower deck, enabling them to cut the clipping over and over again into smaller pieces. The longer curved surface provides extra cutting surface, allowing you to achieve more in less time.
- Mulching blades come with the added advantage of versatility since they can perform three jobs instead of just one. They can mulch, bag, or discharge grass clippings back onto the lawn.
- Mulching blades provides an environmentally way to deal with grass clippings. Mulched grass decomposes more quickly when it is released back into the soil, releasing valuable nutrients to the growing grass. In short, they seem to make grass clippings disappear.
- Generally, mulching blades come as a part of a mulching kit which includes hardware for installation and a plug. The plug is used to close off the discharge opening, thus allowing blades to cut grass clippings into finer pieces.
2. Lifting blades
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Lifting blades are equipped with a rather curved surface which enables them to generate a vertical airflow that lifts the grass upwards. This upward movement is believed to provide a polished outcome than other blades. Lifting blades are available in three forms: High-Lift, Medium-Lift, and Low-Lift and the greater the lift, the higher the amount of horsepower as described below.
i. Low-lift blades
As the name suggests, this blade offers the lowest low suction power, with side discharge mowing making them perfect for mowing sandy terrains. The low-lift blades include a less-drastic swoop design which makes the grass clippings to stay low for easy ejection.
ii. Medium-lift blades
Medium-lift blades provide more suction power than low-lift blade but require less horsepower than the high-lift ones. These blades are primarily to pluck out thicker grasses and weeds. They are ideal for both small and larger garden, and usually, they are the easiest to find.
iii. High-lift blades
These blades offer the highest suction power of the lifting blades. It also requires more horsepower and features a more vertical swoop shape. This shape provides a fan-like suction which makes these blades perfect for bagging purposes and cutting long, compact grass. Also, this shape reduces the chances of clogging up the mower’s cutting area. You’ll find high-lift blades useful in tackling taller and denser grass.
Benefits of lifting blades
- The low-lift blades curved ends keep the air to the minimum allowing cut grass to exit the mower while maintaining debris and dust levels down. Besides, low-lift blades do not strain the engine as their high-lift counterparts.
- The deeper curves on high-lift blades create enough suction to circulate and direct the clippings into bag. Without bagging, the engine can often strain as these blades do not expel the clipping efficiently as the low lift blades.
- High-lift blades also provide high airflow to prevent clogging when mowing wet or tall grass. Besides, they cut grass cleanly before bagging the clipping or discharging them onto the lawn.
- The extra height in high-lift blades makes them ideal for compact lawns or those with tall grass. However, you’ll need a mower with a powerful engine for the blades to expel the grass clippings. Also, they should not be used in lawns with very loose or sandy soil. This is because the high-lift blades will carry the soil particle up to the deck, thus straining your mower.
3. Reel/ Cylinder blades
Reel blades feature between three to seven screw-like blades, and they are used in reel or cylinder lawnmowers. The blades are welded in a horizontally rotating cylinder enabling them to generate a scissor-like action while mowing.
With these blades, you will require to replace the entire mower in case of a broken blade unlike other types of blades that can be easily replaced. However, sharpening and cleaning kits are available for rusty or dull blades.
Benefits of Reel/Cylinder blades
- Reel blades cut grass by trapping grass between the sharp rotating blades and the stationary bottom blade. This action results in a precise scissor-like action making these blades perfect for precision cuts. The blades run close to the cutting point resulting in very low heights of cuts without scalping.
- The motion of the blades helps reduce soil compaction for a less thatch and smoother turf. Also, they do not leave visible marks for an overall attractive lawn.
- The attractive stripes created by reel and cylinder blades are naturally long-lasting and more defined than those created by other types of blades.
4. Deck/Standard blades
Deck blades are also commonly referred to as straight blades and they are usually used on horizontal rotary mowers. These blades come with somewhat curved edges, allowing them to offer a continuous flow of air during rotation, thus generating the cutting action. Deck blades are used in cutting of manicured lawns and discharging clippings effectively from the deck back onto the lawn.
Benefits of Deck blades
- The blades are aerodynamic and straight as possible, which enables them to provide a powerful lift which in turn expel the grass clipping from the deck.
- Deck blades serve as the perfect choice when mulching the grass clippings is not possible. Bagging clippings will leave behind a neatly manicured lawn by removing debris and leaves from the lawn. It is also a wise option if your lawns do not receive regular mowing.
- Deck blades can work for more extended periods which means that you can do more in less time. They are easy to install, fit in many mower models, and they offer an outstanding level of durability without compromising on the smoothness of the cut.
5. 3-in-1 or “Gator” Blades
Gator blades provide an all-around solution by covering all the bases with the 3-in-1 blades. Gator blade combines low, medium and high lifts and a mulching feature into one grass cutting technique. These types of blade feature a serrated segment at either end of the blade for all-around cutting. Gators blades perform exceptionally well in a sandy setting while giving you that high-quality mulch.
Benefits of Gator blades
- The raised teeth on gators blades draw the grass up, unlike other blades that push the grass down. Also, these teeth redirect the grass toward the cutting edge, repeatedly resulting in finer grass clippings and a clean, even cut. This also improves the bagging capacity and faster decomposition.
- Gator blades are designed with progressive geometry on the cutting edges to increase airflow to facilitate side discharge and superior bagging. The cutting edges stay sharper for longer, thus increasing the period between sharpening and replacement.
- Most gator blades feature a patented design and a unique shape that mulches grass pretty well and they can cut even through the thickest grasses without clogging. You will notice a big difference on your lawn whatever the size that may be.
- These blades are thicker than standard blades, and the good thing is that they are effortless to install. Further, they are easy to clean, you can install them on a range of lawnmowers, and they produce less noise.
No matter how beautiful your lawns are, you will never have a great garden without mowing your grass frequently. Grass overgrows quickly and to keep it in check you’re going to need a lawnmower and the best lawn mower blades installed. The blades come in different shapes and different benefit, and you will need to consider this while choosing the right one. There is no definite best blade, but instead, you should find a blade which is suited to your mower and your lawn mowing needs.