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Product Review 4: Lawnmowers

Who Makes the Best Residential Lawnmower Review

While it may seem to be an aside to the immediate question of a lawnmower review, it is noteworthy that there are various benefits to having a healthy and well-kept lawn. The following information, in this
respect, should be of interest:

Homes and businesses that have well maintained grass areas extend a favorable impression to the general public and the lawn increases the value of the property by up to 6%.

Climate is controlled at ground level by turf grasses as they cool temperatures appreciably, thus working as exterior “air conditioners”. Eight healthy front lawns have the cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning – enough for 16 average homes. Also, dust and smoke particles from the atmosphere are trapped by turf which helps make the air cleaner.

Fire retardation buffer areas of well maintained lawn grasses around buildings is good insurance, and groundwater is enhanced in two ways by a dense turf. Turf grasses increase infiltration of water and also clean the water as it passes so that underground water supplies are recharged for use.

Health of humans is enhanced by turf grasses as they function in cushioning the surface on which we walk or play, cleaning the air, generating oxygen and creating a serene landscape. Oxygen generation by turf grasses has a major impact in making our environment habitable. A 50×50 lawn produces enough oxygen for a family of four. Also, noise is absorbed by grass areas which cut down on excessive sound, a growing problem in urban areas. Grassed slopes beside lowered expressways reduce noise by 8-10 decibels.

Lawns are estimated to occupy an area of between 25,000,000 to 30,000,000 acres in the United States (the size of the 5 New England states) and as the population increases so too will the amount of turf grass acreage.

These are all beneficial values from healthy lawns. Having stated all the foregoing, since the lawn needs to be cut and maintained it is today generally agreed that one of the primary ways in which to enhance a healthy lawn is, when cutting the lawn, to return the grass clippings directly to the turf. The best way to do this is to “mulch” the grass.

To be done properly, mulching necessitates chopping and re-chopping the grass clippings into very fine particles. This enables these clippings to rapidly – typically within a few days – decompose and return necessary nutrients as well as moisture back to the turf. Mulching not only is beneficial to the turf; but, it also reduces cutting time (no need to stop and empty the bag) and, more importantly, keeps grass clippings out of the landfills!

However, there are associated difficulties with proper mulching. It is certainly easier for a lawnmower to cut and then immediately discharge the grass out from the cutting deck than to cut and then retain it under the deck in view of the re-cutting/mulching process. Thus, there can be inherent problems with using mulching mowers and this can result in uneven cut conditions as well as unsightly and unfavorable clumps of unmulched grass laying on the lawn. Only better designed mowers can even begin to mulch well.

The biggest difficulties arise in the earlier Spring months in which the grass is typically growing very fast and tends to be lush (read “thick and wet”). In this situation, it can be difficult to regularly mulch the grass. Typically, even better mulching mowers cannot always adequately handle such lush conditions, necessitating changing back to a bagging mode. This defeats the entire purpose and can frustrate the homeowner. However, at least one lawnmower manufacturer has engineered a solution to this problem.

Honda has provided a unique design which they call the “Clip Deflector”. Any other mower requires that the user either bag or attempt to mulch, or (as a lesser option, cut and immediately discharge the entire grass clipping). The Honda HRX lawnmower, however, stands alone in its ability to be “tuned” to the grass conditions simply by properly positioning one top-mounted lever. This enables the machine to be set from full mulching to full bagging, and, anywhere in between. In this way, it can be set so as to mulch as much as possible under difficult grass conditions, and simply discharge the excess into the bag. By this means, mulching can still be accomplished without having to resort to a full bagging mode.”

Of course, there are any number of additional advantages to owning a Honda mower – a precise, hydrostatic drive system (the user adjusts the walking speed specifically to the desired pace – no 1-2-3 fixed- speed system), a blade-brake-clutch to eliminate endless restarting (the engine always runs once the mower is started – the blade only will stop when the safety handle lever is released), a virtually-indestructible Nexite cutting deck, ball bearing wheels, and much else. And, of course, Honda makes Honda-built products with Honda engines. It is for the above and other, associated reasons that Honda has been the #1 rated lawnmower since the 1980’s.

A straight forward, factual review to enable the homeowner or property manager to cut through the marketplace clutter of advertising so as to properly select a quality residential lawnmower that will perform to expectations and last for years. The advantages to mulching the grass vs. bagging the grass are discussed.

Keith Petersen is an owner of The Eardly T. Petersen Company in Westfield, NJ, USA. This family-owned business has been providing first quality products and service to the Westfield NJ, Union County NJ and metro NY area marketplace for almost 60 years. Additional reviews on Emergency Power Generators and other products can be found at A simple, straightforward review by a 40-year industry veteran to provide the homeowner with the proper understanding of the different aspects of bagged vs. bagless vacuum cleaners so as to enable an intelligent choice as to which type of vacuum cleaner is best.