These are simple to operate, easy to maintain and trouble shoot, and will last many years if taken care of. Gas powered push-trimmers come with either four-stroke or two-stroke engines with varying horsepower.
Higher horsepower engines are more powerful, work harder, and are appropriate for large yards or commercial applications. Lower horse-power engines are cheaper, lighter, and more suited to light use in a small yard.
Lawn clippings can be discharged out the side of the mower, collected in side or rear bags, or mulched back into the lawn with special mulching blades. The downside of these machines is that you have to buy, store, and handle, gas and oil.
It can be dangerous, inconvenient, expensive, and not very eco-friendly. These types are also capable of sending rocks and debris flying potentially causing injury or damage.
Electric cutters have established a niche for themselves over the past twenty years or so among walk behind trimmers. They are quieter than gas powered machines, produce zero emissions, and have less moving parts, making them easier to maintain.
The main advantage of the electric cutter is that it has all the simplicity and function of a rotary push trimmer, without needing gas or oil. The main drawback of these types of mowers is the cord.
Anyone who has mowed with an electric cutter knows how much of a nuisance the cord is. It is a constant challenge to keep track of it and make sure it is out of the way.
These trimmers are great for small yards where an extension cord will pose the least amount of frustration. Hover trimmers are a niche mower, usually used for a single purpose.
They operate similar to a regular rotary cutter with a twist. Hover cutters have no wheels and literally hover on the surface of the grass.
The machine’s unique ability to float on a cushion of air makes it perfect for mowing steep slopes where wheeled walk behind trimmers could slip, mow unevenly or pose a danger. They are often found on golf courses where they are used to mow steep bunker faces and other irregular or extremely contoured areas.
Still the classic when it comes to walk behind mowers, push-type, reel cutters survive because the design is simple and a finer way of cutting grass has not been found. Reel trimmers cut the grass differently than rotary cutters.
While a rotary cutter cuts the lawn quite violently with its sharpened, spinning blade, reel mowers cut the grass with a shearing, scissor-type cut. The scissor action provides a cleaner cut meaning minimal tissue damage, a smoother surface, and reduced opportunities for disease and insect pressure.
Under optimum conditions, reel trimmers provide a finer quality of cut than any mower available. The lawn should be relatively smooth and free of bumps and holes.
The grass cannot be wet, or longer than the mower is equipped to handle. If the grass is too long, it cannot be fed into the reel properly, jamming it and causing and tufts of uncut grass.
Therefore grass must be kept on a regular mowing schedule to avoid getting too lengthy. Reel cutters are ideal for environmentally conscious people or anyone who wants the superior cut with zero emissions and does not mind the few idiosyncrasies that they need to operate correctly.
The future is here with the advent of automated lawn trimmers. Automated lawn trimmers can be remote controlled or mow within a pre-set boundary.
The boundary typically consists of a series of radio antennae that stop the mower from leaving the area. Commercial grade remote controlled trimmers can resemble moon buggies and are used for mowing extremely hard to reach locations.
These types of trimmers certainly represent a future but most are more of a novelty than a solution to all our mowing chores. Supervision is still required, mowing patterns are difficult to achieve, and purchasing a robot will only further aid their inevitable uprising against their creators.