A Cut Above: 6 Styles of Lawn Mower Blades

When you buy a new lawn tractor or mower, it will probably come with a general-purpose blade. Manufacturers install blades that will appeal to the widest range of consumers, so they use blades that are sufficient for most situations but not targeted to any specific application. When it’s time to replace the blade, you’ll find many choices in addition to standard lawn mower blades. Before you buy, you’ll want to give it some thought on which type of blade would be best for you.

Popular lawnmower blades:

1) Mulching Blades
As people have become more environmentally aware, the idea of recycling grass clippings to nourish the lawn has become popular. Why bag up and dispose of clippings that otherwise could go back to reinvigorate the lawn? The key is to chop up the grass clippings as finely as possible so they quickly decompose and not pile up. To achieve that, mulching blades have long cutting edges and curvier blades that help circulate the clippings and increase the frequency of cutting. The blades then allow the clipping to settle to the ground. Mulching blades are great all-around blades, but they are not recommended for exceptionally dense turfgrass.

2) Toothed Blades
Lawn caretakers who desire a very uniform look to their lawn often choose toothed blades. These blades create a strong suction so that grass is pulled upwards. With grass blades standing tall, they are cut at the same height, giving the lawn a manicured and uniform appearance. The teeth expand the available cutting edges, thus chopping the glass clippings into ever finer pieces. In this way, toothed blades are similar to mulching blades. However, toothed blades are better at cutting turfgrass that is denser than is recommended for mulching blades.

3) High-Lift Blades
Homeowners who have very thick grass or like to allow their grass to grow a little taller will appreciate the strong-suction performance of high-lift blades. Like toothed blades, high-lift blades pull the grass upwards so that it is cut uniformly, creating a manicured appearance. So far, toothed blades and high lift blades sound quite similar in performance. Here’s the difference that will be a deciding factor for you. Toothed blades are better for people who want to mulch their glass clippings, while high-lift blades are better for anyone who wants to bag the clippings. Additionally, high-lift blades do best with a mower that has a more powerful motor. High-lift blades are not recommended for thin turfgrass, lawns with sandy soil or areas with bare patches. The high suction tends to pull sand and dust upwards.

4) Medium-Lift Blades
Commonly chosen as great general-purpose blades, medium-lift blades do many things well. People with average lawn-care needs often choose medium-lift blades. With these blades, you’ll get a neat-looking cut, but maybe not as uniform as you’d get with a toothed or high-lift blade. Medium-lift blades may be used on any type of soil and work well with side-discharge mowers.

5) Low-Lift Blades
If you have thin grass, bare spots or sandy soil, a low-lift blade is the right choice for you. Its low suction is less likely to pull sand and dust toward the mower or damage thin grass. Low suction is gentler on areas where grass is less hardy or you need to be mindful of soil erosion. With less suction, these blades are not recommended for bagging the clippings, but rather for side-discharge applications. Mowers with smaller engines will also benefit from low-lift blades because they require less power to operate.

6) 3-in-1 Blades
Often chosen for versatility, 3-in-1 blades work well for bagging, discharging or mulching grass clippings. Like most general-purpose products, they do a good job for a variety of applications. Two types of people often choose these blades: 1) People who want to handle clippings differently as seasons change and 2) Lawn care services with clients requesting different methods for handling clippings. It’s common for lawn services to have some clients who want clippings mulched while others may prefer to have them bagged.

The Bottom Line on Blades
To the casual observer, a lawn mower blade is a lawn mower blade, but there really is a lot more to it than first meets the eye. With a closer look, you’ll find a big different in performance based on design. That’s why it’s important to choose the blade that best serves your needs depending on the condition of your lawn.

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