There are an abundance of lawn mower brands and models available for purchase these days, and with so much choice crossing over in prices from the very cheap to the very expensive, it can sometimes be a difficult decision to choose the right mower for our needs and budgets.
There are three main lawn mower types, the Cylinder Mower, the Push Mower, and the Rotary Mower - which is the most commonly used lawnmower type purchased by homeowners. For the purpose of this article, we'll be discussing the Rotary Lawn Mower, but most of the principles discussed can also be carried over to other lawn mower types as well.
The easiest way to look at lawnmowers and their different capabilities, strengths, weaknesses and prices is to group lawn mowers into 4 main categories. Once the categories are understood, making a decision as to which is the best mower for our requirements becomes much easier - not only to decide between - but to recognise in the shop as well.
Price Point: $200 - 300
These lawn mowers can be found for sale in department stores such as Big W, Kmart and Bunnings.
Their build quality is extremely poor, they produce very poor quality lawn mowing, often lack features such as height adjusters, parts break easily, the engines are unreliable and often difficult to start, and they lack in power which restricts their usefulness. The expected lifespan of these unknown Chinese branded lawn mowers is extremely short, and with no spare parts available, the only option is to throw these mowers in the bin when they do break down.
This is then followed by having to purchase another lawn mower. The cheap price is a false economy, it's always better to initially spend a few dollars more and buy something a little more worthwhile.
Price Point: $300 - 500
These mowers can be found for sale in department stores such as Big W, Kmart and Bunnings. They are not seen in mower shops.
These lawn mowers look much more like the mowers we've known and trusted in the past, and wear trusted brand names such as Victa. However, these lawn mowers are not the standard mowers that we've known in the past, they have been cheapened in every way possible in order to provide a cheap mower which the retailer is demanding to be produced for sale.
Ball bearings in wheels are replaced with bushes, and every other part of the lawn mower which can have it's quality reduced to save money, is eventually compromised to bring down the sale price. The result is a much less reliable lawn mower.
These mowers should be purchased by anyone who has only low needs from a lawn mower, and may be considering buying a cheap Chinese mower.
These mowers are better than the cheap and nasty mowers in the following ways, they are stronger, have better engines, last longer, are more reliable and spare parts are available for when they break down, including engine parts, but repair bills can often reach almost as high as the purchase price.
Price Point: $500 - 800
These lawn mowers are only for sale in Lawn Mower Shops.
These lawn mowers may look exactly the same as their cheaper counterparts which are found for sale in department stores, and they will also wear the same trusted brand names such as Victa.
But there are big differences, the parts used are of a higher quality, engines will offer more power and reliability, they will take more abuse, produce a better quality finish, and spare parts are readily available for repairs.
Ball bearing wheels make the mower easier to push, even small things such as paint quality are improved for longer life, and the overall design is usually better ergonomically. They are a much better and easier mower to use over time.
This lawn mower is best suited to the average lawn owner who expects a decent machine to do a good job, last for a long period of time with high reliability, and low repair requirements. These mowers should be considered the median level lawn mower, and the standard purchase option for the overwhelming majority of people.
Price Point: $800 - 2,000
These lawn mowers are only for sale in Lawn Mower shops.
Commercial lawn mowers are built tough, to last a long time, they are top shelf in regards to quality, reliability and long life. Spare parts are often cheaper and in abundance, they are easy to operate and produce low fatigue compared to other mowers.
They can be considered by the homeowner when they have a larger than average property to maintain, or the owner wants a machine which is easy to use, will last for a very long time, will rarely if ever break down with domestic use if it's looked after properly, and is a pleasure to use.
If the homeowner plans to own and maintain a lawn for 10 years or more, one of these machines will not only provide the best experience and quality finish, but will easily become the cheapest to own over this period of time. This is in comparison to repeated replacement costs for cheap mowers, repair costs for median mowers, and the longevity, durability and low frequency breakdown problems with commercial machines, which may possibly never break down under domestic conditions and if properly cared for and serviced.
Choosing a new lawn mower is like most other purchases, we get what we pay for. While the best of the best is often not necessary, it can often become the best and most economical purchase over time. Equally, it's certain to say that the cheapest option is often the most problematic with frequent replacement necessary, often making it the cheapest - the most expensive over time. But for most of us, we can rest assured we are buying a decent product for our needs with good reliability and practicality when we choose a median option.
But in the end, it's always a personal choice, as always - it's better to be as informed as possible beforehand and choose our lawn care purchases carefully.