SELECTING A MOWER

If you are shopping for a walk behind rotary lawn mower, consider the following factors which may affect mowing operations:

- Who will be using the machine most of the time? Will they tire quickly if they have to push the mower all the while or would a better choice of a self propelled mower?

- Does the mower have deflectors at the discharge chute that force objects thrown from it to be ejected toward the ground rather than upward in the air?

- Does the mower start easily? Ignition systems have been improved to simplify manual starting of the mower.

- Is it easy to operate? Are controls within easy reach? Is the handle adjustable so others can use the mower without difficulty?

- Do you want to vary the cutting height of the grass during the growing season? Manufacturers use several methods to adjust the cutting height, including wheel levers and bolted wheels. Consider the ease with which you can adjust the cutting height when shopping for a mower.

- Consider your preferences for lawn care. If you don’t bag grass clippings as you cut the lawn, then you will likely find the “engine kill” mower quite acceptable. With this machine, the engine will shut down and the rotary blade will stop within three seconds after you release your grip on the operator controls. With this “engine kill” mower, the pull rope starter must be located within 24 inches of the top handle, or the protective foot shield must surround the entire mower housing.

- If you use a grass catcher to bag lawn clippings, then the mower which features the blade brake clutch should be considered. With this mower, the rotary blade stops within three seconds after you release the operator control bar, but the engine continues to operate. This allows you to empty the grass catcher frequently (the blade being stopped) without having to turn off the engine. When the catcher is returned in place, you simply engage the operator control to resume cutting grass. On these mowers, the starter cord may be found on top of the engine housing.

- Can you do some mower maintenance yourself or is the machine so complex that it must be returned to the mower shop for routine maintenance and repairs?