NotTaR of small Gasoline Engines and Rotary Lawn Mowers : Rotary mowers                           
 Copyright © 1994-2007, Samuel M. Goldwasser. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of this document in whole or in part is permitted if both of the following conditions are satisfied: 1. This notice is included in its entirety at the beginning. 2. There is no charge except to cover the costs of copying. I may be contacted via the Sci.Electronics.Repair FAQ (www.repairfaq.org) Email Links Page.

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Rotary mowers

These may be gasoline or electric (AC line or battery) powered. A spinning blade or blades whirls at the selected cutting height and lops off the tops of you grass by side impact. This is most definitely brutal treatment of your poor defenseless grass! The length of the cutting blade determines how much of a swath is cut on each pass - typically 18 to 24 inches for a walk-behind mower; up to 36 inches or more for a riding mower. Mowers with large swath widths may use two or more smaller blades instead.

The uniformity, consistency, and just general appearance of a lawn mowed with a rotary lawn mower is not quite up to the standards of that of a professional reel mower. You will never get the perfect manicured look though some models may come close. However, the simplicity, lower cost, and need for less and more easily performed maintenance will generally overcome the desire for perfection unless your lawn is featured regularly in "Better Homes and Gardens" magazine.

Gasoline powered rotary lawn mowers are by far the most common type used by homeowners and many professional landscapers as well. Most walk-behind mowers use a manual recoil (pull) starter though electric start is available on more sophisticated (and more expensive) models and generally standard on riding mowers and lawn tractors.

The main disadvantages of a gasoline powered mower are the need to deal with the handling and storage of gasoline and routine engine maintenance at the end of the mowing season to assure easy starting next season and to prolong engine life. However, most of this is pretty straightforward. See the section: General preventive maintenance. Small gasoline engines also do contribute to air pollution but new mowers must meet more stringent EPA requirements as of September, 1996.

Electric rotary mowers are also available in both plug-in and cordless (battery powered) versions. However, since gas mowers are generally more powerful and not limited by the length of a power cord or charge of a battery, they continue to dominate the market. Electric mowers are, of course, non-polluting but the electricity had to be generated somehow.

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