Are Lawn Mower Blades Universal? A Clear Explanation
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We all know that if you are going to get a good cut on a lawn you need to have sharp blades on your mower. But what happens when they start to wear out? Do you need to hunt down a specific blade type for your mower or are lawn mower blades universal?
We will answer that question in this article as well as give you some tips on how you can improve your lawnmower’s performance.
To put it bluntly (no pun intended) the answer is NO, lawn mower blades and not universal. Lawnmowers come in a huge amount of shapes and sizes and they can take many different shapes and sized blades. Each mower blade is designed specifically to attach to the spindle and the blade needs to be a certain length and shape to cut the grass effectively. If you were to fit the wrong blade to a mower then you could damage the mower, the lawn, or even yourself.
Now that we have got that out of the way, there are some guidelines that you can follow to determine what types of lawnmower blades are suitable for your mower.
Can you get blades that fit more than one lawnmower?
The next question is can you buy a generic blade that fits more than one model of mower? The answer is yes, there are blades like that available on the market. The next thing that I would like to follow up with is “Don’t buy one”
This is highly dangerous and a bad idea. Imagine a blade spinning at speeds of up to 200 mph. Now imagine that the blade is slightly off because it’s not the exact blade for the machine. This is going to cause a huge amount of stress on the machine and the blade may even become loose. This video explains a bit more about the physics of how the blade works
Can You Replace the Manufacturer’s Blades with Another Manufacturer’s Blade?
You can sometimes buy generic no-brand aftermarket blades rather than the lawn mower manufacturers’ blades. These are usually quite a bit cheaper. However, you would need to be a bit more careful in your selection process as you don’t want anything to go wrong. Buy it from a local lawn mowing shop. Do not buy them online unless you recognize the name of the aftermarket manufacturer and you know their parts are good.
If we buy genuine blades for our machines we pay around 33% more. However, we have a quality aftermarket manufacturer that we trust so we buy blades from them.
Types of Lawn Mower Blades
Sometimes you can buy different kinds of blades for the same machine. Most come fitted with standard mower blades but sometimes you can buy something like a mulching mower blade for the same machine. These are the most common blades.
These are my favorite types of blades. We buy a lot of Mulch/Catch machines and these usually have a 3-in-1 blade bar blade.
Here are the main types of bar blades that are available for lawnmowers and the differences between them:
- Standard/Straight Blade – The most basic type of blade. It has straight cutting edges that provide a simple, even cut. Good for general mowing but doesn’t perform well in long or wet grass.
- Mulching Blade – Has specially designed scalloped or wavy cutting edges that finely chop grass clippings and return them to the lawn as mulch. Good for mulching mowers as it recycles clippings as fertilizer.
- Lifting/Anti-Scalp Blade – Has raised or bent lifting edges that help prevent the blade from digging into the ground. Good for uneven lawns or areas with lots of bumps/depressions to avoid scalping.
- Hi-Lift Blade – These are my favorite blades. They are similar to a lifting blade but with more dramatic lifting edges that cut higher above the ground. Good for very long or thick grass. Allows the mower to cut without clogging.
- Wide-Cut Blade – As the name suggests, it is wider than standard blades to cut a wider swath of grass per pass. Faster mowing time but can be harder to maneuver.
- Aluminum Blade – Lighter weight than standard steel blades. Good for riding mowers with powerful engines to reduce weight/vibration. More prone to damage though.
So in summary, the blade type depends on your mowing needs – standard for general use, mulching for recycling, lifting for uneven lawns, etc. Wider or hi-lift cut higher/faster.
A lawn mower disk blade is a circular cutting blade that is flat like a disk rather than having sharp cutting edges like a standard mower blade. Here are some key things to know about disk blades:
- Safer than standard blades – less likely to cause cuts or injuries if contacted since the edges are dull.
- Won’t scalp or tear grass like sharp blades can. Gives an even, level cut.
- Easier blade to install and replace since it’s just a flat disk.
- Can function as a mulching blade, finely shredding clippings.
- Cuts are not as clean and precise as a sharp blade. The grass may be more crushed than cut.
- Takes longer to cut grass than standard sharp blades.
- More power is needed from the mower engine to do the cutting.
- Disks wear out faster than blades since the cutting action is more abrasive than slicing.
- Can clog more easily in thick, wet grass versus a standard blade.
- Generally more expensive to purchase than standard blades.
So in summary, disk blades are safer but don’t cut as efficiently as standard sharp blades. Better for occasional residential use versus serious lawn maintenance applications.
Summing Up – are lawn mower blades universal?
When it’s time to replace your worn lawn mower blade, it’s important to get the right replacement blade for your mower. First, identify your lawn mower blade by checking the part number or brand name.
Most replacement blades are designed with a curved cutting edge to match the curve of standard blades. They will have a center hole to mount on the spindle of your mower.
Some common specialty blade types include high lift blades and gator blades. High lift blades have an extra curve along the cutting edge to cut taller grass more efficiently. Gator blades have additional lifting capabilities for uneven terrain.
Make sure to get a blade with the proper fit for your mower. Many replacement blades claim universal fit, but measurements still need to be checked. The blade size and keyhole shape must match your existing blade mount.
Whether standard curved blades or specialty high lift/gator blades, lawn mower blades must be kept sharp to perform well. Dull or damaged blades should always be replaced rather than attempting to sharpen, for safety reasons. With the right replacement blade, your mower can maintain a well-manicured lawn.
Sharp Debate: To Sharpen or Not to Sharpen New Blades
When you install a brand new set of lawn mower blades, do they really need sharpening straight out of the package? Or are they ready to cut right away? This common question sparks debate among lawn care experts.
Many people automatically sharpen any new blade before use, assuming the factory edge can’t compare to a custom sharpening job. But is this always necessary? Join us as we investigate this issue further and get input from industry pros.
We’ll look at how blades are manufactured and tested, whether a factory edge is truly “dull,” and the potential risks of over-sharpening. Plus, learn some simple tests you can do to determine if your new blades are sharp enough for the job.
Find out if you’ve been wasting time sharpening pristine blades or missing out on optimal performance. The answers may surprise you! Read on to get the facts on this sharpening controversy and make an informed decision for your mower.
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