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5 Types of Lawn Mower Blades Explained (With Pictures)

person cutting grass with lawn mower

Mowing your lawn is necessary to bring out that well-thought-out, eye-catching landscape. The right blades will go a long way in helping you meet all your mowing needs. After all, the part that does the actual mowing is the blade and as such, it influences your lawn’s appearance more than any other part of the mowing process.

So whether you are buying a new mower or replacing your worn-out blade, you need the correct information about the different blades on the market.

In this article, you will learn about blade types and how they affect the outcome of your mowing. So, here is a list of the five common types of lawn mower blades and how to choose the best one.

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The 5 Types of Lawn Mower Blades

1. Medium Lift Blade

As the name of this blade suggests, medium-lift blades produce minimum or medium suction when mowing. The blade produces its lift from its curved edges when it rotates. The airflow rate during this process lifts the grass and helps the blade cleanly cut it, making it suitable for an overgrown lawn.

A medium-lift blade is unsuitable for bagging your mower’s grass clips and debris since it doesn’t create enough suction to lift it from the ground. So if you buy this blade, pick up a rake as well to help you clean up!

One more drawback to the low suction power of a medium-lift blade is that it will leave smaller clumps of grass on your lawn, making it look uneven. This is because it requires dry or damp conditions to work well.

So before choosing this blade, consider the surface of your property and the length of the grass you are mowing.

Pros
  • Suitable for both damp and dry surfaces
  • It can easily cut dense patches of grass
  • Due to low suction, it works on all types of soil
Cons
  • You cannot use it on a low-lying, less dense lawn
  • You cannot use it to bag debris

2. Mulching Blade

A mulching blade offers more cutting edge than the medium-lift blade as it has more curves on the outer and inner surface. The double curving allows the blade to cut grass into smaller pieces by first trimming and pulling the cuts into the deck. It then cuts them again with the inner curves as they fall back to the ground. Ultimately, this method helps recycle large debris and the mowed grass into mulch, providing organic nutrients for the soil.

In addition, because it can cut short grass and is double cutting, the mulching blade is perfect for weekly mowing. These features complete the three functions of the mulching blade, making it a 3-in-1 blade.

However, it tends to clog when cutting overgrown grass because it throws the grass up against its deck after the first cut.

Pros
  • Performs three functions
  • Helps provide the soil with organic nutrients
  • Provides instant mulch
Cons
  • Clogs when used on overgrown grass
  • Low suction power
  • Cannot cut thick grass

3. High-Lift Blade

The vertical angle on the edges gives the high-lift blade a distinct look from its counterpart. This blade produces maximum suction from the ground as air moves vertically to the deck, pulling the grass with it. As a result, the blade’s one clean cut reduces clogging when cutting overgrown, dense grass. In addition, the vertical curves also enable you to bag grass cuttings as you mow.

The blades’ vertical angles help them cut with high precision for a clean and neat finish. However, the blades are made to cut and discharge the grass quickly, making them unsuitable for mulching.

High lift blades are not suitable for use on sandy terrains as they have such a high suction power that they will pull sandy soil along with the grass. And the constant bombardment on the upper surfaces will eventually damage your mower deck.

Another disadvantage to using high lift blades is their tendency to require a lot of power to function correctly. To produce the necessary suction to cut through your lawn effectively, the blades need to spin fast, drawing more power from your engine.

Pros
  • Works perfectly on long grass
  • Leaves the lawn looking neat
  • You can use it to bag the debris as you mow
  • Produces a high suction on the grass.
Cons
  • Requires immense power to perform effectively
  • It cannot mow on loose soil
  • It is not durable compared to other types of blades

4. Low Lift Blade

As their name suggests, low lift blades have low suction power because they create lift behind their cutting edge. Low lift blades also have fewer curved edges than the standard or medium-lift blades, producing less grass lift than high lift blades.

However, low lift blades offer more protection to the deck due to less suction. Furthermore, when the dust settles on the deck, it causes the blades to wear out before their time.

Low-lift blades are fitted on side-discharging mowers with no more than 3 to 4-inch blades. Their fast cutting makes them a good choice if you are mowing on a sandy lawn where your grass growth is not dense. In addition, this blade drains little power and has a low noise profile, and fitting it on your mower will help it last longer as it creates less strain on the engine.

Pros
  • Does not drain your engine power
  • Does not produce too much noise when mowing
  • Durable
  • Does not clog the deck
Cons
  • You cannot use it to bag leftovers
  • Cannot be used on sandy lawns
  • Unsuitable for cutting long and dense grass
  • Does not produce much suction

5. Gator Blades

Like the mulching blade, gator blades tend to perform three functions simultaneously. The blade incorporates features offered by the low and high-lift blades with those of mulching to create a unique lawn cutting finish. The serrations on the edges are a distinct feature to look for when searching for this lawn mower blade.

However, the compromises made causes them to fall slightly short in each performance area. Nonetheless, these blades remain popular and are excellent for all-around grass-cutting use.

On the other hand, gator blades don’t produce as much suction as specialized suction blades, but they still create enough suction that helps pull the grass upwards. And their unique pitching angle continuously pushes the grass towards the sharp cutting edge for precise cutting. In addition, the serrated edges help cut the grass multiple times to produce fine mulch. By mulching the grass using the gator blades, you provide your lawn with the necessary nutrients to grow and have healthy green grass.

However, to spread the grass clipping evenly on your lawn, you must install a mulching kit on the blade. The kit will also serve you well when bagging the leftovers you don’t want on your property.

Due to the gator blades’ high suction will not be ideal for mowing on sandy soil. Otherwise, this feature will save you the time and effort of cleaning the yard.

Pros
  • High suction power for easier cutting
  • Suitable for cutting long and dense grass
  • Precise cutting due to its unique design
  • Leaves your lawn with a clean and polished look
  • Provides mulching features.
Cons
  • Cannot mow on a sandy lawn
  • Needs frequent sharpening as the serrated edges are not durable
  • They can be a bit noisier

divider 4How to Choose the Best Lawn Mower Blade

After familiarizing yourself with the different types of lawn mower blades, the next step is choosing the best one for your mower. The choice of the blade will generally depend on the kind of lawn and mower you have. On the other hand, mowers fall under a few categories—push, self-propelled, or riding mowers. You should note that most self-propelled and hand-push mowers can use the same blades.

Consider the following factors when choosing your worn-out blade replacements.

Red Old mower in the garden
Image Credit: David Schwimbeck, Shutterstock

Length of the Blade

A mower’s blade length is a striking feature essential to its performance, but that’s also mostly misunderstood. The length of the lawn mower blade is measured diagonally from tip to tip. All manufacturers include specific blade length measurements printed on the blade and casing. On average, lawn mower blades range from 16 inches to 22 inches long.

Before being tempted to go for the longer blade, consider the size of your mower’s deck. A blade that is too long will not fit under the deck, and a blade that is too short cuts narrowly, requiring multiple passes. To save time and lawn mower fuel expenses, finding the blade with the proper length is crucial.

The Width of the Blade

The width of a blade is just as important as its length. A typical blade has a width of 2 to 4 inches. However, be extremely careful with the width, as a very wide blade can damage your mower’s deck if it does not fit properly.

However, thicker blades offer a good grip and thus cut the grass more evenly and cleanly. Blades that are too narrow and sharp become blunt faster, but reasonably wide ones keep their edges for longer. Therefore, you should choose thicker blades over thinner ones to avoid frequent sharpening.

The Position of the Blade Holes

The center hole is how the blade attaches to the spindle assembly under the mowing deck. With the exact blade length and the correct center-hole pattern or size, it will be easy to identify the right replacement lawn mower blade.

At the blade’s center is a hole where it will attach to the mower’s spindle assembly below the deck. Lawn mower blades have different center holes, so be sure to pick the right one. The designs include various-sized circles, rounded rectangles, H-patterns, and Y-patterns. Still, the most popular is the 5-point and 6-point patterns.

lawn mower on grass
Image Credit: magda-ehlers, Pexels

The Size of the Deck

The size of the deck varies from one type of mower to another. But generally, your deck will be between 16 and 30 inches in diameter. Since this is where your blade goes, you must have your mower’s deck length before shopping for a new blade.

Blade Shape

When shopping for a blade replacement, most people look for the exact shape of their previous lawn mower blade. You can find out the shape of the blade your lawn mower uses by looking at it. You can even take a picture and show it to your local dealer to avoid buying the wrong one.

Replacing an old blade with an exact match is ideal, though not a must, as you might want to try a different shape for the best performance. Either way, ensure your mowing machine has the right length and width for the blade.

Total Number of Blades

This mainly concerns those using a riding lawn mower. It would be best always to note how many blades your mower has and how they are put together. Make sure you match the number of blades and that they fit perfectly with the width of your mower’s deck.

To make an identical replacement, check the original blade’s manufacturer number. Then, match the blades with those of the same shape, parallel or perpendicular, to harness the maximum performance from your new blades.

Materials

Based on the material, a lawn mower has two similar designs and can have a considerable price difference. The cost makes the decision of the blade material both a style and economic decision.

A stainless steel lawn mower blade is the best pick. This material protects the blade from rust and helps it keep the sharp cut edge for long. Besides, stainless steel is also very strong and light, and you can expect to use such a blade for a long time.

Lawnmower in the spring
Image Credit: Ryan Nicoll, Unsplash

How to Take Care of Your Lawn Mower Blades

After choosing the right blade and correctly installing it in your lawn mower, taking proper care of it is crucial to have the same cutting experience as when it was new. Manufacturers will always include a manual on the appropriate care and maintenance.

Here is some general maintenance you can follow to safeguard your blade against rust, breakage, and malfunctioning:

  • Always inspect the blade before you start mowing. Check for any bending, dents, and possible damage that can affect the safety of your blades.
  • Make sure you properly clean your lawn mower blades after each mowing session. Cleaning will prevent rusting caused by moist grass and debris left after use.
  • Sharpen your blades every 20 to 25 hours of mowing, as dull blades will affect your lawn’s cut.
  • Replace your lawn mowing blades immediately if you notice any bending or dents that will not be possible to rectify by sharpening.

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Bottom Line

Having the right lawn mowing blade will determine the quality of the cut and the overall performance of a lawn mower. Whether you buy a new mower or replace your worn-out blade, you face the same challenges. That is why you need the necessary information to help you decide on the best blade to serve your lawn.

As you can see, there is more to having a perfectly manicured lawn, and just owning a functional lawn mower is not enough. It would be best if you took the time to choose the right blade that will perform as you intend to achieve the desired effect. So go out there and pick your blade with confidence!


Featured Image Credit: magic-k, Pexels

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