Mowers are made of many different components and offer a surprising amount of customizability. Based on your lawn type and the job you need to do, you can raise and lower the cutting height. This is done by lowering or raising the mower deck, but even this isn’t all that you can do.
Lawn mower blades themselves can be swapped out, giving us a choice between hi-lift “all-purpose” blades and low-lift mower blades. Standard blades are usually mulching blades or blades with a slight upward curve on the blade edges. These original blades can be changed for a high-lift mower blade that might come in handy on thicker, taller, and weedier turf. Find out more about mower blade types below.
Is There More Than One Mower Blade Type?
There are multiple types of mower blades, and each one can perform different jobs. The main difference between blade types is the blade angle. The original machine blades usually have a low or gradual angle at the back of the blade that helps clip grass short. It can be attached to a mulching kit to reduce grass clippings into even finer pieces than other blades.
“High-Lift” blades have a steeper angle than low-lift blades, which helps increase lift. The steeper the curve, the higher the lift allowing optimal performance without excessive grass collection, even when dealing with wet grass. The higher-lifting airflow prevents clogging and overheating, and repeated cutting leads to dulled blades.
High-lift blades have deeper curves on the end to increase airflow, push clippings further, and prevent clogging with wet and tall grass but can kick up dirt and dust on sandy terrain. Other options exist, such as the 2-in-1 blade and the 3-in-1 blade. These blades have different grades at different points along the back of the blade and can complete lawn tasks in a wide variety of conditions. Both sandy conditions and taller grass can be handled with a multi-purpose blade.
Conditions in which to Use each Mower Blade
Choosing whether to use a high-lift blade or a low-lift blade depends on the conditions of your lawn and what you are trying to achieve. If you are doing end-of-the-year mowing, you may opt for low mulch blades that will cut the turf short and add some natural fertilizer. During the active spring growth of cool-season grasses, you may want a higher type of mower blade to get through all of the thicker grass. Depending on the conditions of your yard, choose your blade.
|High Lift Blade
|Low Lift Blade
|Dirt and Sand
When Are High-Lift Blades Best?
Airflow is the name of the game when it comes to a high blade angle. Many times when we think we need a larger deck size or more power, the cheaper and easier solution is to have a different type of blade installed. Sometimes you don’t even realize there are other blade types until you need replacement lawn mower blades and see that there are different ones.
I’ve found good quality high-lift blades from a reputable company that can easily handle weedy turf and grass at the height of its spring growth. There have been times when my original machine blades couldn’t keep up with the robust growth of my cool-season grasses after fertilizer and some late spring showers. Changing to hi-lift blades made my mowing twice as easy and saved me hours of cutting increasingly duller blades.
After trying out individual blades for different conditions, I gravitated towards having a set of high-lift and mulching blades. Having both these blades allow me to handle my turf all year with the least amount of work and damage to the grass blades. With this setup, I have been getting better stripes without adjusting mower decks because a high-lift blade produces straighter blades due to its vacuum effect.
I was surprised to discover that these types of mower blades were all-condition blades and good for just about any turf. This is nice because different blade attributes lead to better cuts that can help with mulching, patterns and easing the workload. The increased airflow is designed to push turf into a bag or out the side chute with higher velocity. A bagger blade with a bagging attachment can catch more clippings in a single cut reducing the number of times a blade touches the same area of turf.
The underside of the deck and the surface of the blades stay cleaner with a higher tilt that provides lots of air circulation and reduces clumping. The correct blades for thick turf are high-lift blades, and they do better in wet and weedy lawns as well.
When Are Low-Lift Blades Best?
For compact grass and shorter grass, the high-lift blades may miss some of the plant material. Low-lift blades can cut grass cleanly at short lengths and bend grass going in the opposite direction. With little lift, the grass is not sucked up and falls right where it is cut. This is a benefit in lawns that are susceptible to thatch.
High-lift blades pull a lot of air, and that can suck up the soil and dirt if the terrain is not covered completely with turf. A dusty lawn or sandy soil can be picked up and kicked around with the wrong blade. A low-lift blade will clip the grass without tossing bits of dirt and stone around the yard. This is also important if you are trying not to spread weed seeds.
Warm-season grasses like frequent and short cuts that promote healthy roots and prevent overheating and thatch build-up. Most summer weeds need to grow to a certain height to produce seeds, and these low-lift cuts are great for keeping them short. This and the grass clippings left where they drop can help suppress weeds that are common in poorly-managed lawns. Other blades can be useful, too but try them out on your turf first to see what is best overall for your lawn’s needs.