Lawn Mower Buying Guide
Yard duty can be a breeze if you have the right lawn mower. Choose the best lawn mower for your needs and you'll be able to cut your lawn in no time. The trick to choosing the right mower is matching the machine to your budget, yard size and power preference. Canadian Tire offers excellent choices in the three major lawn mower categories: gas mowers, electric mowers (corded and cordless) and reel mowers.
Lawn Mower Options
Gas-powered lawn mowers - Known for their power, gas-powered lawn mowers are recommended for cutting through tall and thick grass. Our mowers feature 4-stroke engines which run quieter than 2-stroke engines and cause less pollution. Because the oil and gasoline remain separate, the chore of pre-mixing is eliminated. Gas-powered lawn mowers require periodic maintenance in order to keep operating at peak efficiency.
Self-propelled gas-powered lawn mowers - The grass won't cut itself, but these mowers offer the next best possibility. A self-propelled lawn mower can reduce mowing time and fatigue by eliminating the strain of pushing the mower. This can be a wise choice if you have health concerns or don't want to stay out in the sun too long.
Two basic drive systems are available. Front Wheel Drive (FWD) offers better manoeuvrability around trees and flower beds, as well as good traction on flat terrain. Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) offers the best traction on all terrains and on thick grass. Multi-speed options are also available.
Electric lawn mowers - Electric lawn mowers are lightweight, effortless to start and easy to maintain. They’re ideal if each corner of your yard can be reached with a 100' extension cord.
Cordless lawn mowers - Cordless mowers are convenient because you don’t have to worry about running over the cord as you move back and forth across the lawn. Cordless mowers use a rechargeable battery that provides 45-60 minutes of cutting time. Buying a second battery will extend your cutting time. Yardworks batteries are interchangeable. If one runs low, you can simply replace it with another that is fully charged.
Lithium Battery Powered Lawn mower - Lithium batteries maintain full power until battery is completely drained, unlike lead acid which instantly begins to lose power once it has started. Lithium batteries also take less time to recharge, and are lighter than lead acid batteries.
Reel lawn mowers - Scissor-like blade action provides a closer, more high-quality cut than gas or electric lawn mowers. A reel lawn mower is an environmentally-friendly choice that is also economical, lightweight and requires very little maintenance. Our new non-contact blade reel mowers can make this option even more appealing. The non-contact blade system stays sharp longer and makes the mower easier to push and considerably less noisy.
Match the Lawn Mower to Your Yard
The size of your property and type of terrain should help guide your thinking.
- Less than 7,500 square feet - Reel mower. Electric mower if entire lawn is within reach of 100' extension cord.
- 7500 square feet to 10,000 square feet - Cordless electric mower (2nd battery recommended). Gas-powered mower.
- More than 10,000 square feet - Self-propelled gas-powered mower.
- Rough terrain - Mower with high wheels.
- Hills - Self-propelled gas-powered mower
- Curves/obstacles - Self-propelled lawn mower: front-wheel drive provides more manoeuvrability than rear-wheel drive. Lawn mower with castor wheels recommended for cutting around trees, shrubs and gardens.
- Tall or thick grass - A reel mower is NOT recommended for these tasks.
Comparing Lawn Mowers
Deck size - The larger the deck, the wider the cutting swath and the quicker the job gets done. But remember that the wider your lawn mower, the harder it will be to manoeuvre around shrubs and other obstacles on your lawn. A wider lawn mower also takes up more storage space. Canadian Tire offers a range of sizes from 14" to 21".
- 4-stroke: Oil and gasoline are added separately; no pre-mixing required
- c.c. vs hp: c.c. (cubic centimeters) is the size of the engine on a gas mower, whereas hp (horse power) is the power the engine makes from it. Generally, the bigger the engine (c.c) the more power it will provide (hp). CCs are used to describe gas-powered lawn mowers, just as it is used in describing trimmers and chainsaws. CCs is the industry standard for measuring engines.
- Electric start: Engine is started by turning a key
- Recoil start: Also known as "rope start"
- OHV: Overhead valves. This engine design is more efficient and offers longer valve life as well as better fuel economy
- Push mower: Not to be confused with a manual mower, this is a gas-powered mower that is not self-propelled
- Reel mower: Also known as a manual mower
- Mulching: Grass is cut into fine clippings and returned to the lawn to act as a natural fertilizer - no bagging or raking is required
- Rear bagging: Collects grass clippings which may be used for composting. Provides the look of a well manicured lawn. A rear-bag mower is narrower and therefore easier to manoeuvre than a side-bag mower
- Side discharge: Grass clippings are dispersed onto the lawn. Best for lawns with few obstacles and ideal for cutting high grass. Some mowers have a rear discharge where grass is dispersed off to the side from the back of the mower
The Benefits of Mulching
Experienced gardeners know that mulching is one of the best things you can do for your soil and your plants. Your lawn can benefit too and a lawn mower with mulching capability can help.
Organic mulches such as grass clippings help improve the soil by adding organic matter as they decompose. This helps suppress weeds. It also and helps to conserve moisture, thereby reducing evaporation and preventing soil erosion.
A mulching lawn mower cuts your grass into fine clippings and leaves them on your lawn to decompose. This not only saves you the trouble of raking or bagging the clippings, it reduces the number of times you'll have to water your lawn.
Mowing Tips and Maintenance
- Be smart, stay safe: Always unplug your electric lawn mower or remove the spark plug from your gas lawn mower before performing maintenance
- Check blades regularly for sharpness and damage
- Clear clippings and debris from cutting deck
- Ensure pull cords are in good working order
- Lubricate moving parts including wheels
- Check spark plugs annually
- Change oil seasonally
- Store rechargeable batteries indoors, especially in winter