John Deere X300 Select Series. Photo: JohnDeere.com
If your current lawn mower was built to last, it's probably been a while since you've shopped for a new one! When your trusty mower does finally cut its last blade, you may find it challenging to choose a replacement.
Knowledge can mean the difference between owning a machine that lasts and having to make a return trip to the garden supply store, so we sought out John Deere for advice on how to choose a lawn mower.
Slideshow: 10 Top-Rated “Grass Guzzlers”
Know Your Yard
Before you even type “lawn mower” into Google, take a look around your lawn. Familiarity with the property your mower needs to handle will help you narrow down the options.
How large is your yard? If it's less than a half acre, a walk-behind mower should do the trick. If it's larger than a half acre, think about a riding mower-but don't forget maneuverability. If you'll need to circle around a tree or two, then your assessment should include a riding mower's turning radius.
How about inclines? On hilly terrain, a riding mower or self-propelled walking mower will make your life easier. Also, bear in mind the quality of your grass-is it thin or thick? To ensure optimal performance on dense or coarse grass, opt for a machine with higher horsepower and taller wheels.
Before purchasing a riding mower, take its comfort level into account. Look for models that feature adjustable seats; arm rests and lumbar supports are an added plus. Mowers like the John Deere Select Series X300 even boast a built-in cup holder.
One of the most important details to weigh is safety. Any mower you're considering should automatically shut down if the operator releases the push bar or leaves the seat. In the case of riding mowers specifically, look for foot controls, as these encourage the operator to use both hands on the wheel. And of course, remember the importance of a parking brake!
Keep in mind that your new mower might, and probably will, require maintenance over the course of its lifetime. Save yourself time, money, and headaches by choosing a reliable manufacturer that offers speedy repair service.
To minimize the number of potential problems, insist on proven reliability. Each brand has its own strengths and weaknesses, so before you make a final decision, check customer reviews (on a site like ConsumerReports.org) of the mower you have on your radar.
As important as it is to choose the right mower, it's only the first part of proper lawn care. Watch our video to find out more about the right way to care for your yard.
For more on lawn care, consider:
Top 5 Tips for a Greener Lawn
How To: Mow Your Lawn Properly
Mower Maintenance: 5 Ways to Keep Your Lawn Mower Up and Running