Best Lawn Mower Blades for Mulching
Today, a lawn mower is a motorized device that is used for trimming grass. Lawn mowers have been around for centuries, but it was not until the mid-1900s that manual mowers (reel movers) became replaced by motorized ones. They began to spread around Europe, America and the rest of the world, as suburban housing expanded and engines became more compact in size and energy-efficient.
Modern lawn mowers consist of two main components: a horizontal blade, which rotates and cuts grass, and a deck, which prevents clippings and other objects from shooting in all directions. For easier movement and convenient operation, lawn mowers are equipped with wheels and handlebars. Also, there are self-propelled mowers with transmission, so that the operator can control the process by simply riding. These mowers are great for handling large lawns.
- 1 Why Use a Mulch Mower
- 2 Mulching Blades vs. Regular Blades
- 3 Choosing Best Mulching Blades
- 4 Mulching Blade Brands
- 5 Caring for a Mulch Mower for Tall Grass
Why Use a Mulch Mower
If you see a lush and green lawn behind your neighbor’s fence and haven’t seen him/her rake it once, most likely, he/she uses a mulch mower (one that uses mulching blades). Mulching mowers do not just cut grass and throw clippings around. They kind of churn them and add the mass to the soil, thus, feeding the grass. This versatile procedure is much less labor-intensive than raking and bagging clippings.
Mulching Blades vs. Regular Blades
In some cases, there are good reasons to use mulching blades instead of regular ones.
- Regular blades are intended just for cutting grass. As the blade rotates, it just cuts off the top part of grass and throws the clippings around. Many mowers with regular (standard vs high lift) blades feature side-discharge chutes, through which clippings are thrown around the place. Some models are equipped with a clipping collection bag. Regular blades are also known as two-in-one blades because they actually do two jobs: cut grass and fling the clippings around or in the collection bag. These blades have a flat form.
- Mulching blades are a little more versatile. What makes them different from regular blades is a slightly curved shape, which, indeed, makes all the difference in the world. Some mulching blades have planes at the opposite ends with teeth, which are intended for driving clippings inside the air vortex rather than cutting them. There are also cross-shaped mulching blades with planes arranged perpendicular to each other.
A mulching blade has a curved profile, which produces a unique effect. As the blade rotates, it creates a kind of turbulence beneath the mower’s deck, which will not let the clippings fly outside until they get cut and recut dozens of times. The rapidly rotating air carries the clippings toward the blade and then back again, and they get cut repeatedly into a fine mulch, which is spread evenly over the lawn. As the mulch decomposes, it feeds the soil and whatever grows on it, providing all the necessary nutrients. Therefore, if you use a mower equipped with a mulching blade, you actually apply a self-contained fertilization method without having to use chemicals. Because mulching blades can do three jobs at the same time (discharge, pack and mulch clippings), they are known as three-in-one blades.
All these advantages make a mulching lawn mower (as well as mulching blades) a good investment: it takes a moderately long time to trim and fertilize your lawn without much effort. Finally, it entails zero environmental impact, as the mulch decomposes naturally and becomes part of the soil.
Mulching mowers solve another problem: they help household owners deal with leaves the same way as with tall grass. This will prevent shading of your lawn, add a good share of nutrients to the mulch, and save you a lot of hard work. This can also be a big benefit if your municipality does not allow placing bags with leaves near roads.
Choosing Best Mulching Blades
Just like every other item, a mulching blade should be chosen based on two criteria: durability and efficiency. One should not forget about the type of the lawn mower he or she has either. There are two main types of blades available in the market:
They differ in shape and the curvature of the cutting element. Standard blades have plain edges, while Gator blades have angled teeth, which direct clippings in a specific way and, thus, contribute to more thorough mulching.
Users should be very careful when selecting blades: before buying one, they should read what type of mower this or that blade is compatible with. Sellers boasting that they have the best mulching blades for lawn mower of any type should be avoided. Check specifications and make your choice. Make sure you get blades of an appropriate length, so that it will fit in the deck. Second, note the size and shape of the hole in the blade’s center to ensure it fits for your mower model.
Durability is crucial. If you fail to choose high-quality blades, you will face an annoying prospect of having to replace blades all the time. This will give you a lot of trouble and cost you quite a penny. Please, engage with reliable and conscientious sources (Husqvarna, Honda, etc.) and get maximum information on blades prior to making a purchase. Also, learn as much as you can about mowers, lawn tractors, and other advanced household items.
Mulching Blade Brands
Longer Life 595-605 Gator Fusion G5 3-In-1 Mulching Blades
The name is the right sound for what it means: these mulching blades are renowned for their durability. This is because they are heat-treated (austempered) and made from 20% harder than average steel. These Gator blades are 18-1/2 in long and 0.187 in thick and can boast of a uniquely curved shape and angled teeth, which provide intense aerodynamics and, therefore, effective mulching. Five-point holes in the middle guarantee reliable fixation. They are well suited for 54-inch decks of Husqvarna, Craftsman and Poulan Pro mulching lawn mowers.
Rotary 12963 PK3 Copperhead Mulching Blades
These blades are suitable for a wide range of mowers, which include Troy Bilt 17ARCACK011, MTD RZT, 1500 Tractors, etc. Rotary blades are 18-1/2 inches long, 3 inches wide, 0.204 inches thick. Their biggest advantages are high durability, hardness, uniquely angled teeth, and low level of noise. There are three blades in a set, which, if used properly, will last a lifetime.
Oregon Gator Blades
Oregon is notoriously eager to satisfy the needs of owners of nearly all types of lawn mowers. They come in various sizes and are made from very hard steel, which makes them durable and helps retain sharpness for longer. Oregon blades present a variety of shapes and toothing patterns. Exceptional hardness enables them to cut and mulch thick and tall grass in less than a few minutes.
Stens Mulching Blades
These blades can stand in for quite a family of mowers. They are uniquely curved and, therefore, ensure stable and intensive rotation of air and fine cutting. These blades are 6 inches long, 2 inches wide and 0.5 inches thick. Covered by a unique anti-rust coating, they can boast of high durability. However, they are narrower than blades of many other brands and more sensitive to physical damage. The pack consists of two blades.
Maxpower 331713X Mulching Blades
These are easy to find in gardening stores across the continent. They fit top lawn mower brands, such as Husqvarna, Poulan Pro and Craftsman. Thanks to the finely curves form and angled teeth, they create effective turbulence beneath the deck, which will not let a grass clipping outside until it cuts it to tiny shreds.
Arnold Universal Mulching Blades
These blades are known as universal, because there is hardly a mower they don’t fit. The curved shape and unique arrangement of teeth leave zero chance of escape for the tiniest clipping. The pack comes with a set of adapters to fit different mowers. Made of hard steel, they are notably durable and effective.
USA Mower Blades
These blades are great for Craftsman lawn mowers. With dimensions measuring 21×2.25×0.140, they can boast of a curved form, which puts air on a steady and intensive spin and ensures fine cutting. Thanks to a 5-point star-like center hole, they are easy to fix and will deal with debris and small stones in less than a few seconds. However, these blades do need to be replaced quite frequently if used a lot. USA Mower Blades are known for their high durability, reliability, ease of use, maintenance and a range of other material properties. The downside is that they wear down pretty soon and lose aerodynamics over time.
Caring for a Mulch Mower for Tall Grass
Caring for mulch blades is a little more challenging than for standard blades because of their curved shape. If you have noticed that your mower fails to cut the grass and/or spreads the mulch evenly, most likely, the blade needs to be sharpened. This should be done in several steps.
- Stop your lawn mower and pull out the plug wire to prevent accidental starting. To prevent damage to the plug wire, do not use any tools and pull it by hand.
- Drain gas from the tank and collect it in a container to prevent environmental damage.
- Put the mower in a position to allow you to access the blade.
- Fix the blade with a piece of wood (using metal objects can damage the blade and the deck) and unscrew the central nut.
- Mark the blade in such a way that you could tell the top from the bottom when putting it back (use a small amount of paint).
- Loosen the nut using a socket wrench. Do not grip the blade (even a dulled one can lead to a serious cut) with bare hands: use gloves or mittens.
- Take out the blade and vise it. Tighten it close to the middle so as to expose the cutting edges and make the filing process more convenient and effective.
- When sharpening, be sure that you are holding the file at the beveled edge’s angle. Continue the procedure until the cutting edges are perfectly sharp. Take all the necessary precautions.
- When you have finished sharpening the beveled edges, switch to a narrower file and sharpen the curved surfaces and teeth. Repeat the procedure on the opposite end of the blade.
- Check the balance by hanging the blade on a nail by the hole in the middle. If one side outweighs the other, file the heavier side. An improperly balanced blade can cause serious problems during operation and increase the risk of damage.
- Put the blade back in and tighten it. Use gloves or mittens to avoid cuts.
- Store spare blades in a cool and dry place to prevent deformation and rust.