How To Balance Lawn Mower Blades

Presentation creates an atmosphere of confidence and comfort. Does your mowed lawn look neat and pretty? Or does your grass look a bit rough and your lawn mower vibrate aggressively when you turn it on?

These may be signs that you’ll need to start maintaining your lawn mower and check blade balance!

You may not have realized it yet, but your lawn mower does require care to preserve quality performance and functionality. One of the main aspects to focus on is the lawn mower blades.

Unbalanced and unsharpened lawn mower blades will be the reason why your lawn mower isn’t performing well.

Balancing Lawn Mower Blades: Why is it Important? 

Having blades that are off its rotation center can make a big difference, even if it doesn’t seem like it. In order for your lawn mower to operate well, the blades need to be balanced and sharpened. Maintenance for your lawn mower will improve the quality of your grass, where that clean look lasts longer, and mowing your lawn will be faster.

If the grass starts to have ragged edges or looks uneven, or perhaps a day after cutting and some patches start to brown, this is the effect of a poor lawn mower. You’ll start to spend more time mowing your lawn or it might shake awkwardly. These are all results from having blades that aren’t balanced or sharp. This will eventually lead to your entire lawn mower to have problems and a lot short life span. 

To improve the quality of life of your lawn or garden and also your lawn mower, you’ll need to sharpen and balance your lawn mower blades. You cannot balance the blades without sharpening it: they come hand in hand. How would you know if your lawn mower blades need some attention? A simple method would just be to check the results after mowing through your lawn. Does the grass have torm edges or uneven levels? Is your lawn mower shaking vigorously as you cut your lawn? Then your blades definitely need to get sharpened!

What you need:

  • A file, grinder, or sharpening stone (for sharpening your blade)
  • Goggles or other safety glasses
  • Steel brush (for initial cleaning and also after sharpening)
  • Socket wrench
  • Blade holder
  • Gloves (you might also need sleeve protection if you’re using a grinder to protect from sparks)

Step by step instructions:

Now to improve your lawn mower blades, you can follow these steps:

1. Organize your equipment

Gather your materials you use for work AND your protective equipment as well. This may include goggles, ear muffs, gloves, steel brush, wrench, a sharpening tool like a bench grinder or file, and a blade balancer.

2. Power off your lawn mower

This includes disconnecting the spark plug to prevent any incidents of accidentally starting the motor. 

3. Removal of the blade

Now you can tilt the mower onto its side, making sure it’s in a horizontal position and on a flat surface, to have the carburetor and air filter upwards to prevent any gas or oil dripping into the air filter. Then hold the blade and use a wrench to loosen the screw and remove the blade.

4. Sharpening process

Next use a steel brush to clear off any debris on the blade to inspect the quality of the blade to see if you need to replace. Either place the blade into the blade holder to file it down or use the grinder to sharpen the blade. It is important to maintain the original angle of the blade and sharpen in the same direction of the blade edge. Also make sure to clear away equal portions of metal for both of the blade sides and don’t sharpen the bottom of the blade!

5. Balance

After sharpening your lawn mower blades, the following step would be to check the balance of the blade. A good measure of balance can be assessed by placing it on a nail head or screwdriver and looking at the lawnmower blade in a static balancing position. If the blade doesn’t remain at 180 degrees, it’ll dip to its heavier side and you’ll need to sharpen it more.

6. Reinstalling

To place the blade back into your lawn mower, hold the blade carefully and insert the bolt with your wrench to tighten. Please note it is properly screwed in because a loose blade will impair the performance of the lawn mower and mess with the engine timing, creating complications on starting the mower. 

Consistent maintenance is key not only for efficient performance but also to prolong the longevity of your lawn mower. The best practice is to at least sharpen the blades of your lawn mower at least once or twice a month.

Best way to balance lawn mower blades:

Sharpening your lawn mower blade isn’t an easy task. Uneven or unbalanced blades won’t only affect the efficiency of your lawn mowers performance, but also worsen the durability of your lawn mower. We’ve been there ourselves, as fellow lawn owners, so here are a couple more balancing methods to ensure that your lawn mower remains cutting edge, if you’ll grant us this one pun.

1. Holding it steady

To assist with checking the accuracy of your blade balance, you can hammer a nail to a wall plank and then use the base of the nail as the insert for the blade.

2. Rotating the blade

You can try to rotate the blade approximately a quarter and observe to see if the blade either remains in place or continues to rotate back to the origin. If the blade stays, then it is balanced. Otherwise, you’ll need to sharpen the blade again. Remember to check both sides and brush off the blades after sharpening. If the blade keeps moving, then you’ll know that side is the heavier side!

3. Rinse and repeat

Reiterate this procedure until both sides of the blade remain in place after turning. Then you can proceed to reinstall!

Tips for taking care of your lawn mower:

Tips for taking care of your lawn mower

Now that you know how exactly to balance and sharpen your lawn mower blades, it’s important to keep in mind other aspects of looking after your lawn mower.

  • Ensure there aren’t any rocks, branches, or random debris in your lawn before starting your lawn mower to preserve further damage on the blades. You can bring a trash bag with you and make some rounds to pick up anything that may obstruct your lawn mower.
  • For hard to reach areas, try to manually or power trim with a different tool. You may have some obstacles like lampposts, flowerbeds, concrete frown sidewalks, sprinkler heads, trees, etc.
  • If you’re replacing your blade, make sure to get an appropriate blade for your needs. There are a huge variety of designs for mowers and blades and not everything is compatible with one another. There are three basic, primary functions for a mower blade: bagging, mulching, and discharging. Some blades may do all or a few of these functions, but others may focus on specifically one. Here are a few blade types:
    • Low lift blades
      • This type of blade is recommended for sandy soil lawns that have dry shorter grasses. They’re designed for side-discharging mowing so they use blades with curved ends and put less strain on the motor.
    • High lift blades
      • These blades have deeper curves to create higher levels of suction, so it’s best for bagging. This is designed for higher level wet grasses that require a more powerful engine. 
    • Deck blades
      • Also known as a standard blade that is commonly used in lawnmowers so they’re flexible to fit into a lot of models, can be used for long periods of time, and great for mulching.
    • Mulching Blades
      • This is popularly known as an all-purpose blade that can perform all 3 of the basic functions and cuts the grass into clippings of tiny pieces.
    • 3-in-1 or Gator Blades
      • This blade combines the low, medium, and high lift blade techniques into one blade. It is great for sandy terrains and can do side discharge and bagging.

We hope these tips help you as you continue your landscaping journey! In addition to looking at and smelling freshly cut grass, here’s nothing like the satisfaction of mowing your lawn yourself.

Remember to always keep your blades balanced and your sharpening tools on hand just in case you need to freshen up your lawn mower.


Author: Matt Hagens

Matt Hagens

Hi, I’m Matt the owner of Obsessed Lawn. I love to be outside working on my lawn, planning my next project. I created this website to help people like you find the best products for yard care and great advice. Learn more about me and find me on Facebook.