How To Measure The Deck Size of Your Lawn Mower

Like every other appliance and tool we use regularly, our lawnmowers eventually reach the end of their lifespans. Although they can last decades with proper care, there may come a time when they refuse to work correctly, and fixing them would be excessively expensive. So, you may find yourself looking for a new lawnmower.

Since your old lawnmower worked perfectly for your yard, easily maneuvering between ornamental trees and flowerbeds, you need a mower that matches its size. But how do you measure the deck of a lawnmower? Let’s find out.

What Is The Deck On A Lawnmower?

The deck on a lawnmower (also referred to as a cutting deck) is the part that protects the user and engine from the blades. It helps ensure safety in the event of blade malfunction and prevents debris from flying off the blades while mowing. Tiny rocks and stick debris could cause injury without the deck to prevent them from flying in the user’s face, so it’s an essential part of the setup.

How Do You Measure Deck Size On A Lawnmower?

Although measuring the deck size of your lawnmower seems like a straightforward task, it can be a bit tricky, especially if there are pulleys in the way of obtaining the correct measurement. However, it’s doable with a bit of effort, so here’s what you’ll need:

  • Tape measure
  • Piece of wood, bricks, or something similar

To make things easier, prop your mower up on a chunk of wood or a few bricks. This will elevate the mower, so you don’t need to lie on the ground to measure. Otherwise, you could push it onto a trailer or ramp to easily access the cutting deck.

Extend your tape measure across the widest point on one side of the deck (back or front) to the opposite edge. Try to keep the tape extended across the middle of the deck. Ensure you keep the tape measure level and account for the added with due to the anti-scalp rollers and discharge chute.

Note the size. To determine the area of the mower deck, you’ll need to measure the length of the deck. So, run your measuring tape along the top of the deck, extending the tap from front to back instead of side to side. Note your measurement, then multiply it by the width to determine the mowing deck’s total area.

Riding Lawnmowers

If you have a riding lawnmower, you’ll need to elevate it before measuring in most cases, as the deck might not be easily accessible. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Wheel chocks
  • Measuring tape
  • Floor jack

If your mower’s cutting deck isn’t accessible from the topside or pulleys are blocking a clear measuring path, start by raising the mower. Chock the mower’s rear wheels to keep them in place, then raise the front of the mower by about 6 inches using a floor jack. Using your measuring tape, measure directly across the broadest part of the deck from one side to the other. Note your measurement.

If your lawnmower has a circular deck, find the widest part of the circle. Use your measuring tape to find the diameter of the circle, which represents the width of its cutting deck.

What Is The Deck Size Of A Lawnmower?

The deck size of a lawnmower varies based on the type of lawnmower in question. The cutting deck may be as small as 14 inches wide on the low end, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, the cutting deck may be as wide as 72 inches.

Zero Turn Mowers

Zero Turn Mower

As the name implies, zero-turn mowers have the ability to turn on a dime. Unlike other riding mowers and lawn tractors, these mowers feature a mowing deck positioned in front of the machine. This allows users to easily maneuver the machine without an issue, making mowing much more manageable.

These mowers come in a few different cutting deck sizes, including the following:

  • 36 to 42 inches: best for 1- to 2-acre yards
  • 42 to 54 inches: Perfect for 3- to 4-acre yards
  • 54 to 72 inches: Ideal for more than 4 acres

Reel Mowers

American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Red

These mowers are considerably different than a generic gas-powered push mower. Unlike most modern lawnmowers, reel mowers are mechanically powered, so you have to push them to cut the grass.

On these mowers, the blades rotate vertically, unlike other mowers, where the blade spins horizontally (called rotary mowers). Reel mowers tend to be considerably smaller than most lawnmowers, as they usually feature a cutting deck with a width between 14 and 20 inches. They’re ideal for small yards of less than half an acre when purchasing a gas or electric lawnmower isn’t logical.

Gas And Electric Push Mowers

Craftsman 140cc 21 Inch 2-in-1 Gas Push Lawn Mower with Craftsman Engine, Liberty Red

These mowers feature a small engine that spins the blades tucked underneath it. Some designs feature an attached bag for easy clipping removal, whereas others don’t have this feature. The engine may be powered via gas or electricity, depending on the particular model.

Generally, these mowers are manual, so you need to push them across your lawn. However, there are self-propelled varieties available that can drive themselves over your lawn with your guidance.

Gas and electric push mowers usually feature a cutting deck ranging from 16 to 30 inches in width, which is ideal for yards smaller than one acre.

Riding Mowers And Lawn Tractors

Riding Mower

Like zero-turn lawnmowers, riding mowers and lawn tractors are ideal for larger yards with extra acreage of grass. Lawn tractors are multi-functional – they can do more than simply mow your lawn. Riding mowers, on the other hand, are merely for mowing.

However, since they’re similar in many aspects, they come in similar sizes. You can buy one of these mowers with a 36- to 42-inch cutting deck, which is ideal for 1- to 2-acre properties. Or, if you have a larger lawn with 3 to 4 acres of grass to cut, you might want to invest in one with a 42- to 54-inch cutting deck.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is It Better To Buy A Larger Lawn Mower?

While it might seem like bigger is always better, especially for lawnmowers, this isn’t always the case. Larger lawnmowers are usually more expensive, so it might not always make sense, especially if you have a smaller yard.

Generally, it’s best to stick with a reel mower or a gas/electric push mower if your yard is smaller than one acre. A reel mower works best for lawns smaller than half an acre, as it’s a reasonably small mower. Gas and electric push mowers are ideal for yards smaller than one acre.

If you have a larger lawn with several acres of grass, using a push mower or reel mower will take a long time. While it’s entirely doable to use one of these mowers on a massive lawn, it might make more sense to invest in a riding mower or lawn tractor, especially if your yard is three or more acres.

Do Smaller Lawnmower Decks Cut Better?

Although smaller lawnmower decks don’t necessarily cut the grass better, they can create a better result than a larger mower deck. They’re not nearly as heavy as their larger counterpart, so they usually don’t leave noticeable tire tracks.

On top of that, they tend to create a smoother cut. This is because the smaller cutting deck follows the ground’s contours, ensuring the grass is cut evenly all the way around. There’s also usually only one blade working, not multiple blades. Larger mowers with numerous blades can create uneven lawns, especially when one of the blades is bent or improperly set up.