Machines to Cut Grass: The Best Options for You

Weed Eater Tips & Tricks

machines to cut grass
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No matter the size of your yard, maintaining it can be a tedious process if you don’t have the right set of tools.

Cutting grass is one of the most common types of yard work, yet many people don’t realize the variety of machines to cut grass to make your job easier.

The right grass cutter is going to depend on the size of your hard, your personal preferences, and several other factors.

The only way to make the determination about which tool is the right choice is to learn about all of the available options.

Machines to Cut Grass

When it comes to maintaining a lawn, there are two primary types of machines that are designed to cut grass. These are lawnmowers and grasscutters.

Generally speaking, grasscutters are used to cut areas that are more detailed or hard to cut with a lawnmower. On the other hand, lawnmowers are made to cut grass quickly and effectively.

Lawnmowers can cover a lot of ground relatively quickly, while grasscutters can cut with precision even in tight spaces.

Each of these tools has its specific uses, and there are even different subtypes within these categories.

To get a complete understanding of your options, it’s important to learn about them and why people might choose to use them.

All About Lawn Mowers

As mentioned previously, lawnmowers are made to cut grass on a larger scale quickly and efficiently without much need to worry about the specific details.

Of course, there isn’t just one type of lawnmower, and the performance will greatly depend on the specific model that is being used.

What It Does

Understanding how a lawnmower actually functions will make it easier to know the differences between similar devices.

The lawnmower uses a rotating blade to cut the grass. The blade height is controlled by a level or a nut so that you can cut the grass at different heights depending on what you need.

In many modern lawnmowers, the wheels are somehow connected to the blade. This is so that the blades move in conjunction with the wheels themselves.

Additionally, the wheels and blade help to push each other forward.

The exact way that a lawnmower functions will depend on what type it is and the style of that particular model. Still, it’s good to have this base understanding before moving on.

Types of Lawnmowers

There are a number of different types of lawnmowers on the market. They can generally be broken up into two primary categories: walk mowers or ride mowers.

1. Walk Mowers

Walk mowers, also known as walk-behind mowers, are one of the most common and versatile types of grass cutting machine on the market today.

Most people will have used a walk-behind mower before, and this is what many homeowners think of when they think about using a lawnmower.

These mowers either need to be pushed, or they will have some type of front- or rear-drive in them to allow the mower to be self-propelled.

Self-propelled mowers are much easier to handle, especially when dealing with hills or difficult terrain. The problem is, they are also more expensive.

Among walk mowers, there are lots of different features that you can consider looking for depending on what type of yard you have:

  • Front-wheel drive: suitable for even ground with obstacles, easy to pivot
  • Rear-wheel drive: goes faster on uphill and sidehill mowing
  • Removable bag: option to bag or not to bag grass
  • Adjustable mowing height: easy to change the grass cut height
  • All-wheel drive: ideal for combination type yards
  • Motor type and size: high-efficiency motors are good for tough conditions like tall grass
  • Two-function mowers: can mulch and bag
  • Three-function mowers: can mulch, bag, and side discharge
  • Ground speed control: change how much the mower pulls
  • Transmission type
  • Control type
  • Wheel size and ratio
  • Brake clutch

As you can see, there are dozens of different features that are available in different types of walk lawnmowers.

All of these come with a price tag, but you aren’t likely to need all of the features.

The key is to focus on the features that will have a genuinely useful effect on how you cut your hard.

If you aren’t sure what features you would most appreciate, ask around!

See what types of lawnmowers your neighbors and friends are using, ask them what they wish their mowers had, and see if you can give their mower a try sometime to know if that style is going to work for you!

Until you have used a few different mowers, it will be hard to get a true understanding of what differences these features will have.

2. Ride Mowers

Another type of lawnmower that is commonly used yards that are ¼-acre or larger is the ride mower.

As their name suggests, you sit on a riding mower to use it. It is then driven around your hard much like you would drive an ATV or golf cart.

From lawn tractors to rear-engine riding mowers and zero-turn mowers, there is also a huge variety of mowers in this category.

The right choice for these mowers is going to depend on your budget, yard size, and handling capabilities.

Most people who own a suburban home or a home with just a small plot of land will go with a rear-engine mower.

This is because these mowers have the best balance of price and functionality.

For those with an acre or more to mow or with a yard that has obstacles to be mowed around, using a zero-turn mower is likely to be preferred due to the improvement in both speed and maneuverability.

Both of these types of riding mowers are going to be more expensive than walk-behind mowers, but their cost is often paid off in the return of how much time you save very quickly.

Pros and Cons of Using a Lawnmower

Lawnmowers aren’t going to be the right choice for every yard or situation.

Simplify your decision about whether you need a lawnmower or a grass cutter by using this quick pros and cons checklist to highlight what matters most for your needs.

  • Quick and efficient
  • Good for large yards
  • Variety of price points
  • Durable
  • Excellent maneuverability
  • Good value
  • Can be expensive
  • Not good for detail work or small spaces
  • Larger learning curve
machines to cut grass

All About Grasscutters

While many people haven’t used the word grasscutters before, most have actually had some experience with using these tools!

The category includes many common yard tools that are used to maintain specific aspects of the yard.

At their base level, that is what a grass cutter is—a tool that can do detail work or specific work on grass that isn’t just cutting a huge expanse at one time.

What It Does

While lawnmowers cut grass in large amounts at once, grass cutters cut grass in very detailed, specific ways.

This means that if you needed to get into a corner where your lawnmower won’t fit, you could find a grass cutter that can do this type of up-close work.

If you have an area where grass grows right up against delicate plants, using a grass cutter rather than a lawnmower will keep your plants safe.

These cutters have small blades and cutting edges that can fit into specific spaces as opposed to the larger blades that are used on lawnmowers.

Essentially, grasscutters handle grass in areas where using a lawnmower would be impractical, difficult, or downright impossible.

Types of Grasscutters

Let’s go through some of the most common types of grass cutters and what they do.

1. Hedge Trimmers

Hedge trimmers are very commonly used to trim bushes or hedges down as lawnmowers cannot be used to do this.

These can be manual or electric, and they usually have a rectangular blade that oscillates to cut the hedge.

There are different types of cutting blades that can be found on this type of machine. They are specifically designed to be used with bushes and other thick hedges.

2. Manual Shears

Manual shears are large, scissor-like shears that can be used to cut grass, hedges, bushes, lawn edges, and more.

While they work better for some applications than others, the only real limit to their versatility is the gardener’s imagination.

Shears must be maintained by sharpening them regularly, and they are used just like scissors but on a much larger scale.

3. Sod Cutters

A sod cutter is a piece of large, electric equipment that can be used to remove entire sections of lawn or grass.

Most homeowners will not own this piece of equipment and instead choose to rent them as needed. These can usually be found at retail rental locations.

Sod cutters are great for removing and rolling up pieces of sod to use elsewhere.

They can also be used to simply clear the lawn of grass in an area where you would like to build or make a new garden.

4. Edge Trimmer

An edge trimmer is a very motorized tool that can be used to cut and clean up the edges of the lawn around your driveway, sidewalk, or other lane edges.

Typically, these trimmers use a thread cutting system similar to a string trimmer. It can easily remove grass that is growing out of control.

This tool is lightweight and has good maneuverability for small yard jobs.

5. String Trimmer (Weed Wacker)

String trimmers, often known as weed wackers, are the most common type of grass cutter owned by homeowners.

These portable devices are easily carried to specific parts of the lawn that can be hard to trim and maintain. They are used to cut and clean up a variety of types of grass.

From cutting the actual grass height down on hillsides to cleaning up edges of the yard, the string trimmer can be very useful.

While most units use threads, there are some models that have blades or wire mounts to ensure a greater level of durability. Still, the strings are easily replaced if you stick to a string model.

6. Backpack Grass Cutter

Backpack grass cutters are usually a combination tool that uses the power of a string trimmer and a hedge trimmer, as well as different types of interchangeable blades.

It is used to clear out difficult-to-access areas.

Since the bulk of the weight of the motor is worn on the back rather than carried, it becomes easier to cut down brush, grass, and other obstacles that would otherwise be inconvenient to deal with.

Pros and Cons of Using Grasscutters

Since there are many different types of grass cutters, there is a good chance that you will benefit from one at some point.

Overall, there are some serious benefits and drawbacks that you should keep in mind when you’re determining what type of yard tools are going to make your life easier.

  • Less required storage space
  • Handles tight spaces well
  • Tackle specific tasks with ease
  • Can be rented for one-time use
  • Good maneuverability
  • Requires less gas and power
  • Takes a long time to handle larger areas
  • Not all tools can handle all jobs
  • Needs to get more specific tools

How to Choose Between a Lawnmower and a Grasscutter

Knowing about the different types of mowers and cutters will help, but the only way to truly take on caring for your lawn is to figure out which exact type is going to make the most sense for your needs.

When choosing a type and model for your yard management, use these factors to make your final decision.

1. Type of Grass Cutter

First, consider what type of grass cutter makes the most sense to you.

Which stood out to you as potentially useful as you were learning about the different types? Which did not sound like they would be necessary for your yard?

The first thing that you need to do before you shop for any specific item is to choose the specific type of grass cutting machine you want to use.

If you don’t do this first, your search for the best fit will be too large and varied to be successful.

2. Yard Layout and Size

Next, consider the size and shape of your yard.

If you have less than ¼-acre to manage, you can probably get away with using a walk-behind lawnmower to do the bulk of your cutting and then use other tools to manage the edges.

If your yard is bigger than this or you want to make sure that you can cut even faster, you may want to consider upgrading to a riding mower.

If your yard is very large, using a tractor mower is going to make the most sense. A zero-turn mower can get the job done quickly, as well, if used properly.

Beyond that, most people will require at least one type of handheld grass cutter, like a weed wacker.

This would be used to manage the grassy areas around the house, sidewalks, and garden beds. In some cases, you can artfully cut these things with a walk-behind lawnmower, as well.

3. Budget

The budget is always going to be an important consideration when choosing anything.

Thankfully, there are lawnmowers and grass cutters available at a wide range of price points, so this shouldn’t be an incredibly limiting factor.

Set your budget with considerations towards how durable any particular item will be. It might be worth it to spend a little bit more to get a cutter that will stand the test of time.

4. Maintenance

Does the mower or cutter that you are interested in require a lot of maintenance? Can you do that maintenance yourself, or will the machine need to be serviced by a professional?

It’s important to find out these things in advance.

Many zero-turn mowers and larger riding mowers are going to require some type of professional upkeep to work for many years, so you want to be prepared to handle this.

Additionally, even standard walk-behind lawnmowers may need to be serviced, so it’s best to know how to get services done ahead of time.

5. Safety

Safety should always be a key factor in your choice, especially if you plan to use a larger riding mower.

These vehicles should not be operated by anyone that hasn’t taken the time to learn how to use them carefully.

In fact, all large machinery should be used with great caution at all times.


Now that you know as much as you do about machines to cut grass and the variety of options available, it should be much easier to make a choice about which is going to be the right fit for your yard.

In some cases, you might actually want to have two or more of these items on hand to really handle all parts of your yard.

In the end, only you will be able to make the final decision about what type of setup is going to make sense.

Both grass cutters and lawnmowers have their benefits, so choosing whichever one isn’t a wrong choice.

The key is to focus on your yard type, budget, and what type of performance would most suit your situation. From there, one or more of these devices should be an easy choice!

About the Author

Steve has been gardening for over 20 years now. He enjoys sharing his experiences with others.

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