Stop Making These Common Mistakes When Buying A Lawnmower

Lawnmowers are one of those investments every homeowner needs to make. It doesn't matter whether you live on a postage stamp or a vast acreage. If you have a lawn, it needs to be mowed. The machine you choose is going to aid you in your efforts. However, you need to be careful when it comes to buying a lawnmower. All too often, mistakes are made that can turn what seemed to be a worthwhile purchase into a headache.  

Seeing as your lawnmower is going to be one of the most used pieces of equipment you'll ever own, you want to decrease the likelihood of buying the wrong one by asking the right kind of questions. Is this mower within my budget? Is it powerful enough? Is it too big for my lawn? Is it comfortable and easy to operate? These are questions you need to have answered before you go out shopping for your next lawnmower. Otherwise, you're more likely to make a mistake. 

This list is designed to provide you with an idea of what happens when you don't get these sorts of questions answered. You could end up with a lawn mower that's too complicated to run, uncomfortable, and just too big for your yard. These 10 mistakes that can very easily be avoided, but are not easily remedied when made. Therefore, it's crucial to ensure you don't make them in the first place.

Choosing the wrong mower for your yard

Take a good look at your yard. How even is the terrain? Are there any obstacles like trees, shrubs, or perennial gardens? Are there areas where you need to make tight turns? Taking all of the various characteristics of your lawn into account is important, because it is going to dictate the kind of mower that you buy. A classic lawnmower purchasing mistake is to buy one that is all wrong for your yard. For example, you don't need a zero-turn mower for a yard that's only a few hundred square feet. 

In general, the smaller the lawn, the smaller the mower you are going to need. If you can get away with just using something like a weed whacker, then more power to you. But lawn size isn't the only thing to take into consideration before you buy. Remember those yard obstacles? They can dictate the type of mower you buy, too. 

An even lawn, with very little in the way of obstacles, is going to thrive when mowed by a simple, front-wheel-drive push mower. They are easy to maneuver and can get in tight places. For more hilly terrain, rear-wheel-drive mowers with big back tires are the way to go. By taking the time to understand these aspects of your yard, you're going to have more knowledge to make the right purchase. 

You don't need a rider mower

The appeal of the rider mower is understandable. Who among us doesn't want to be gleefully riding across the lawn, allowing the machine to do all the work? Now, there is reason enough to buy a rider mower. You could have a yard that is just plain too big for a standard push mower. However, for the vast majority of American homeowners, this isn't the case. 

According to Home Advisor, the size of the average American lawn is around a quarter of an acre. This is not a large space and could very easily be mowed via push mower. Using a rider mower on anything less than half an acre is a bit of overkill. Obviously, if you are someone who has limited mobility, you can use a rider mower for a smaller yard. But, for those who are able-bodied, a push mower is going to be the way to go for a smaller yard. 

Now, the fact that rider mowers aren't needed for most suburban yards does not mean they don't have a place in wider lawn care. On the contrary, rider mowers are fantastic at dealing with overgrown lawns with efficiency, and are frequently used by landscaping companies to make quick work of clients' lawns. Still, while the temptation to buy one is palpable, you're most likely better off with something smaller — at least to start with. 

Not considering the power source

When you're considering the kind of lawnmower you are going to buy, its power source needs to be taken into consideration. There are three main elements that power a lawnmower: gasoline, electricity, and pure human strength. It is usually a mixture of human strength combined with either gas or electricity that gets the job done. These power sources need to be on your mind when you are planning your purchase.

Think about your home. Are there gas stations nearby? Could you easily go fill a 5-gallon canister when you need to? Or would it be easier just to plug in a battery for a charge? You want to keep your personal preferences in mind, too. For those more environmentally conscious, an electric mower is going to be the best option. 

While the majority of folks are going to opt for gas or electric as the power source for their lawn care, it's important to remember that there are still old-fashioned, motorless push mowers out there that require nothing but you to power them. These are great for small lawns, and are also good to have on standby in case you lose power or don't have enough cash to fill up on gas. At the end of the day, the power source you choose is the one that's going to be best for you, and your lawn. 

The cheapest isn't always the best

With the price of just about everything continuing to rise, there is something to be said for choosing the cheaper, more affordable lawnmower options. However, this is not always going to be in your best interest. As the saying goes, cheap doesn't always mean good. Those machines that are built cheaply are not designed to last long term. This is true with cars, hiking gear, garden tools, and lawnmowers.

According to Home Guide, the average price of a powered push mower is between $100 to $500. So, it's very likely you can find something in the $300 range that is going to meet your needs while also being a decent-quality machine. Naturally, prices rise the larger, fancier, and more technologically complex the lawn mower is.

Once again, consider your lawn. That cheap powerless push mower is not likely to last more than one season against your massive and fast-growing yard. In cases like these, it is best to spring for a more expensive, well-built mower. The fact that it will stand the test of time will only save you money down the road.

Not enough power

In general, gas lawnmowers have more power than electric ones. This is why commercial landscapers use gas mowers to deal with dense vegetation, branches, and other types of lawn hazards. Homeowners, however, need a lawn mower powerful enough to cut their yard with minimal struggle. Still, you should ask yourself what you're planning on using your new mower for. 

Are you using it just to cut grass? In this case, a lower horsepower gas mower or a smaller electric mower is going to serve you just fine. The majority of turf is soft enough so as not to need more power to get it cut. However, if you are routinely using your mower to pair back brush, mulch leaves, or take care of the twigs and branches that fall in your yard, you are going to need a more powerful mower with better blades. A small motored mower will very easily become burnt out doing all that work. 

Many buyers don't know what they are planning to use the mower for when they buy it. This can lead to the mistake of purchasing a less powerful lawnmower than your lawn actually needs. Not to belabor the point, but you really need to know your yard front and back before buying a new mower. 

Buying a mower you can't start

There are few landscaping woes worse than a lawnmower that won't start. For the vast majority of folks, it is the pull string starters on their gas mowers that bring the most issue. The good news is that today, many gas mowers come equipped with keys or push-button starts, but these can run on the more expensive side. However, most gas mowers will only have the pull string. If that breaks, or you don't have the upper body strength to pull it, you need to consider alternatives.

Electric mowers, on the other hand, are very easy to start. Most of them only require a small key and a push button to get going. They require very little upkeep other than keeping the battery charged and the blade beneath sharpened and cleaned. When compared to the more complicated operation of a gas motor, it's easy to see why electric mowers are becoming increasingly popular. 

Plus, gas mowers are notorious for having engine problems if they are not maintained regularly. If you're not someone who is mechanically inclined towards doing their own maintenance, you're better off with an electric mower. Lack of regular maintenance on a gas mower is going to lead to bad things down the road.

Buying an uncomfortable lawn mower

As strange as it may sound, not taking your comfort into account can actually be a big mistake when it comes to buying a lawn mower. Mowing the lawn can be a strenuous activity. We all have our physical limits, and if running behind a push mower is becoming too tough, you'll want to consider something different so as not to hurt yourself. However, similar to working out at the gym, having the right form when mowing can make things a lot easier. 

Your form is a big deal when it comes to push mowers. Having one where you can set the handlebars to your height is going to be huge in terms of pushing comfort. The straighter you stand, the less strain mowing has on your back. This is important if you have a rider mower, too. Is the seat firm enough to support you and keep you comfortable while you're mowing? Your machine needs to work for you in this regard. If you're not comfortable, you could end up getting hurt. 

There's another factor at play here, too. If you're prepared to pay good money, sit or walk behind this thing for at least an hour a week, and maintain it so it stays running, the least the machine can do for you is be comfortable. 

Not having proper storage

Congratulations! You've just bought a shiny new lawnmower! Now, where are you going to put it? All too often, we find that we don't have the space we thought we did for our new lawnmower. The garage is too full, and we don't have a shed in the backyard. It'll be found outside, under a tarp or something, right? It might be for a little while. But that is not a long-term storage solution.

Improper storage for your lawn mower is going to leave it open to all sorts of potential damage. Things like rain, wind, and even extreme heat can cause lasting impacts. Moisture is a huge problem. Not only will it destroy the metal of your mower by bringing in corrosion and rust, but it will also affect the electrical system. This is true whether you have a gas or battery-powered mower.

Rodents can be another issue. If your lawnmower is sitting uncovered in your yard, it is a perfect hiding place for small rodents to make themselves at home. They could very easily chew wires and make nests where they have no business being. This is why keeping your lawnmower in a cool, dark, weathertight place is so important. It's just going to extend its life, making it worth the money you paid for it.

Not buying local

There is a lot to be said for buying online. The convenience is second to none, and more often than not, we get exactly what we pay for. But, while more and more of our purchases are heading into the online sphere, there is something to be said for purchasing your lawnmower from a local dealer. Online descriptions of mowers can only tell you so much. Sure, you get an idea of its horsepower and capabilities, but what is the thing actually like? Just like with shoes, it's impossible to find a perfect-fitting lawnmower without trying it out.

This is where going to a local dealer can really come in handy. Chances are, any question you have about the lawnmower can be answered. Dealers are trained and have the experience necessary to answer almost any query, however simple or complicated they might be. You also get that important hands-on experience. You can try out rigs, look at multiple models, and see which ones work for you.

Plus, you're putting money back into the local economy and could potentially save some cash if you take advantage of sales. So, while it might not be as easy as buying online, it is almost always worth it to visit a dealer.

Not doing your homework

Your lawnmower purchase is not going to mean a thing unless you've done your homework. Don't just buy something for the sake of buying it or because you heard that it was good. You need to do the research and put in the time to make sure that whatever money you invest into a machine, which could be thousands of dollars, is going to be worth it.

Many lawn mower models will have owner manuals available for you to read online. See if you can find one for the model you're interested in. Does it seem overly complicated to use, or is it relatively straightforward? Answers to these questions can also come from the reading of reviews. Seek out those that are thoughtful and appear to be honest rather than those that are emotionally charged. There are going to be pros and cons to any machine, but if the cons outweigh the pros it's time to look somewhere else.

All of these mistakes are ones that can easily be avoided before you fork over the cash to pay for your machine. In the end, doing all of this due diligence is going to get you the right lawnmower for your property.