Lawn mower lowest setting. Learning the Correct Height to Cut Your Grass Isn t a Tall Order

Learning the Correct Height to Cut Your Grass Isn’t a Tall Order

Mowing your grass correctly is one of the best ways to cultivate a healthy, thick, verdant lawn. But it’s easy to get wrong. The ideal mowing height for most grasses is 2 to 3 inches, but it isn’t an exact science.

For example, if your grass gets a little longer than normal, it’s not advisable to chop it right back to its optimum height; taking off too much at once is bad for the lawn. Overzealous lawn mowing can cost you time and money to correct, particularly if you have to reseed your lawn.

Take a look at our handy guide to grass mowing height to learn how best to mow your lawn.

What’s the Best Height to Mow Grass?

The optimum height for most grasses is 2 to 3 inches. However, a few types of warm-season grasses do better shorter, including Bermuda grass, centipede grass, and zoysiagrass, which you should keep at 1 1/2 to 2 inches for the best performance.

Also, consider that, if you’re overseeding your lawn, you should cut your grass around half an inch shorter than normal to allow the new seed you lay to better penetrate between the grass blades and reach the soil. Then, let your lawn grow to half an inch higher than normal before you mow it back to its optimum height.

It takes more than just tossing around some grass seed and hoping for the best to transform thin, patchy turf into a lush green lawn. Follow these expert tips.

How to Measure Grass Height

While you could get down on your knees and measure grass height each time you mow, spare yourself additional bending and stooping and draw a line on your preferred mower tire at 3 ⅔ inches off the ground. That way, when it’s time to mow, you’ll just push your mower out, review, and get to cutting.

However, it may take some dialing in; be sure to explore your tire adjustment options to get that optimal height for your grass type. How to measure grass height should come naturally once you’ve pinpointed the best tire adjustment for your grass.

The Current Height Dictates How Low to Mow

Mowing isn’t an exact science and, although there are some general guidelines for the ideal length of grass by type, you can’t necessarily just mow the lawn straight to this height. To maintain the health of your grass, you should never cut off more than 1/3 of its height.

If you’ve been on vacation, for example, and you come home to see your lawn has reached a whopping 6 inches, you can’t just hack it back to 3. If you do, you’ll shock it, and there’s a good chance you’ll kill large swathes of it or leave it vulnerable to disease. Your lawn can take a full season or more to recover.

To solve the problem of an excessively long, scraggly lawn, you mow it by a maximum of 1/3 of its height, and you increase the frequency with which you mow to once per five to seven days until you bring it back to the optimum length. Then you can return to your regular mowing schedule.

Does Grass Type Affect Mowing Height?

Yes, grass type affects the ideal mowing height. Some warm-season grasses do better when kept shorter, but cool-season grasses perform better and remain healthier when kept slightly longer.

Just remember that whatever the type of grass you have, cutting it too short damages the grass, increases evaporation in hot weather, and can damage the soil health, too.

Take a look at the most common types of lawn grass seed and the optimum growing height.

How Often Should You Mow the Lawn?

It depends. There’s no firm answer to how often you should mow the lawn other than whenever it needs a trim. Your local climate and the conditions within your own yard dictate how fast the grass grows and, therefore, how often you should cut it.

The frequency will also change throughout the growing season, with weekly mowing being common in some locales during the height of the season, but only every two to three weeks at other times and in other locations.

Creating a beautiful, thick lawn starts with choosing the right seed for your climate and soil type

Tip for Measuring Grass Height

The best way to keep an eye on your grass height is to draw or tape a line on one of your lawnmower’s wheels that’s the optimum upper height for your grass type. Remember also to add an arrow or other indicator that tells you which direction the measurement runs.

FAQs About Mowing Grass

Is mowing good for grass?

Mowing is very good for your grass. It encourages the grass to grow back thicker and healthier. Keeping a lawn thick and healthy will also block out weeds.

Can Mowing Tall Cause Problems?

When should I cut the grass?

Midmorning is one of the best times to cut the grass. By 10 a.m., the dew should have evaporated, and the lawn should be dry enough to cut. Cutting your grass at this time also allows your grass to recover before the heat sets in.

Do you mow or edge first?

It’s a personal choice whether you mow or edge first. Some believe that mowing first is best as, once you’ve mowed, you can see the problem areas before edging. Others believe that edging first prevents damage to plants and shrubs, and it is easier to then maneuver the mower.

Setting the Cutting Height on the Mowing Robot Correctly

Before you adjust the cutting height on the mowing robot, the robot must be switched off. On some models, you cannot reach the settings without switching it off. This is important for safety reasons.

When the robotic mower is off, you can open the cover. Depending on the model, you will find either a large adjusting wheel, which allows you to adjust the cutting height mechanically, or you will have to adjust the cutting height electronically via the display.

If you don’t find a dial – it is very large and hard to miss – you probably have a model where you can adjust the settings in the display menu. Most of the time there is a menu button that will take you there. There you can access the cutting height settings.

There are a few models where you need to adjust the cutting height by means of a set screw on the bottom of the machine, such as the Stiga models. On most lawn robots, however, you will find the settings on the top under the control panel cover.

On mowing robots with mechanical adjustment, for example, you will find an orange bar showing the current position of the adjustment. This can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

On devices with electronic adjustment, the current setting of the cutting height is usually very easy to see in the menu.

In this video both ways of adjusting the cutting height are presented.

What Cutting Heights Can Be Set for Mowing Robots?

The cutting height of the mowing robots can usually be adjusted in centimetres or in steps. If you are not sure how many centimetres correspond to a step, it is best to consult the manual. Here is an example of how the steps are usually assigned. However, this may differ for your model.

  • Level 1. 0.8 inches
  • Level 2. 1 inches
  • Level 3. 1.2 inches
  • Level 4. 1.4 inches
  • Level 5. 1.6 inches
  • Level 6. 1.8 inches
  • Level 7. 2 inches
  • Level 8. 2.2 inches
  • Level 9. 2.4 inches

Most robotic mowers offer adjustment possibilities between 0.8 inches and 2.4 inches. Some models even allow a minimum cutting height of 0.6 inches, while others also allow a maximum cutting height of 3.15 inches.

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Below, we’ve listed the results of our extensive research of the cutting heights of many popular models.

  • AMBROGIO L200 Carbon Blackline: 0.8 inch. 2.2 inch
  • AMBROGIO L250i Elite GPS: 1 inch. 2.8 inch
  • AMBROGIO L350i Elite GPS: 0.9 inch. 2.5 inch
  • AMBROGIO L400: 1 inch. 3.4 inch
  • AMBROGIO L60 Deluxe: 1.7 inch. 1.9 inch
  • AMBROGIO L60 Elite: 1.7 inch. 1.9 inch
  • AMBROGIO L85 Elite: 1 inch. 2.6 inch
  • Honda Miimo HRM310: 0.8 inch. 2.4 inch
  • Honda Miimo HRM520: 0.8 inch. 2.4 inch
  • Husqvarna Automower 115H: 2 inch. 3.6 inch
  • Husqvarna Automower 305: 0.8 inch. 2 inch
  • Husqvarna Automower 310: 0.8 inch. 2.4 inch
  • Husqvarna Automower 315: 0.8 inch. 2.4 inch
  • Husqvarna Automower 315X: 0.8 inch. 2.4 inch
  • Husqvarna Automower 430X: 0.8 inch. 2.4 inch
  • Husqvarna Automower 430XH: 0.8 inch. 2.4 inch
  • Husqvarna Automower 435X AWD: 1.2 inch. 2.8 inch
  • Husqvarna Automower 450X: 0.8 inch. 2.4 inch
  • Husqvarna Automower 450XH: 0.8 inch. 2.4 inch
  • Husqvarna Automower 535 AWD: 1.2 inch. 2.8 inch
  • Husqvarna Automower 550: 0.8 inch. 2.4 inch
  • Husqvarna Automower 550H: 2 inch. 3.5 inch
  • MCCULLOCH ROB R1000: 0.8 inch. 2 inch
  • MCCULLOCH ROB S400: 0.8 inch. 2 inch
  • MCCULLOCH ROB S600: 0.8 inch. 2 inch
  • REDBACK POWER RM18: 0.8 inch. 2.4 inch
  • REDBACK POWER RM24: 1 inch. 2.5 inch
  • ROBOMOW RC306: 0.6 inch. 2.4 inch
  • ROBOMOW RS612: 0.8 inch. 3.5 inch
  • ROBOMOW RS622: 0.8 inch. 3.5 inch
  • ROBOMOW RS630: 0.8 inch. 3.5 inch
  • ROBOMOW RX20: 0.5 inch. 1.8 inch
  • WORX Landroid L 20V WR150: 1.6 inch. 3.9 inch
  • WORX Landroid L 20V WR153: 1.6 inch. 3.9 inch
  • WORX Landroid M 20V WR140: 1.2 inch. 2.4 inch
  • WORX Landroid M 20V WR143: 1.2 inch. 2.4 inch

What is the Correct Cutting Height for the Robotic Mower?

Now you know how to correctly adjust the cutting height on the robotic mower and which adjustment options are available. But before you send your mower off to do its job, you must decide which setting is best for your lawn. Many people do not know that the correct height setting is crucial for the health of the lawn, or that there is more than one “correctsetting. The correct cutting height depends on the type of lawn or its use, the season, weather conditions, and other factors. In the following section, I will show you the different types of lawn and what other factors influence the optimal cutting height.

Practical Lawn

The most common type of lawn is the practical lawn. Here, more robust grass varieties are used, as the lawn is subject to heavy use. It may be used for playing sports, barbecuing or even sunbathing.

The ideal cutting height here is about 1.5 inches, give or take. You can generally choose any height between 1.25 and 2 inches, but be careful to not go any shorter, as then the lawn will no longer be able to withstand the stress.

Display Lawn

The name of this type of lawn, in which mostly the varieties red fescue and ostrich grass are used, already reveals that this is a yard which is mainly used for ornamental purposes. It is therefore under less stress, and can be mowed slightly shorter than a practical lawn. A minimum length of 0.75 inches should only be undercut in exceptional cases.

Shaded Lawn

This can be either a normal, practical lawn that is in the shade, or a special “shade lawn” which is designed to thrive in shady places and stand up to the moss and algae that like to grow there.

Regardless of which one it is, in both cases it is recommended that the lawn should not be mowed shorter than 2 inches. This is because less sunlight reaches the lawn, grass needs a larger blade surface area to be able to absorb sufficient energy. You can even let the lawn grow up to 2.75 inches long.

Deviations from the Recommended Cutting Height

The above-mentioned guide values for cutting heights are a good place to start. However, they may vary depending on the situation. Some examples of these are:

The One-third Rule After Vacation

When you return from a vacation where your robotic mower was not in action during your absence, but was stored inside the house, your lawn will have had enough time to become very long.

If the grass has reached a length that is 0.75 inches or more above the maximum cutting height of the robotic mower, you should first mow it with a conventional lawnmower, as it has become too long for the mowing robot. Not only does this have a negative effect on the mowing process, but it also means that too many cuttings are produced at once, which can cause the grass to begin to grow moldy.

Even if the lawn is still short enough for the robotic mower, you should observe the so-called one-third rule. This rule states that you must never cut more than 1/3 of the length of the grass, otherwise it will be too damaged and have difficulty recovering.

How to Properly Mow a Lawn. Is Mowing Tall or Short Better for the Roots?

This means that you should not cut to the regular height after returning from a vacation during which you allowed your grass to overgrow, but gradually approach the desired length. For example, if your lawn has grown to 3.5 inches and you want a 1.5 inch high lawn, you should first mow at 2.25 inches, after which you can adjust the cutting height to 1.5 inches with a clear conscience.

lawn, mower, setting, learning, correct

Temperature and Season Influence the Ideal Cutting Height

Depending on the temperature and season, there are some important things to consider. For example, if you are approaching several particularly dry and hot days, the cutting height should be set to about 0.5 inches higher than usual. This protects the lawn from drying out and burning. You should also water the lawn during this period. If your lawn is generally very short, you should stop mowing for a while before the heat wave hits, so that the grass has time to grow to a safe length.

Even in Autumn, it makes sense not to cut the lawn below 2 inches. This is for a similar reason as with a shaded lawn. Due to the shorter days and the flatter sunrays, the blades of grass no longer get enough light. A larger blade surface ensures that the grass is supplied with enough solar energy.

Cutting Height for Freshly Seeded Lawn

Freshly seeded lawns generally require special treatment. You should allow them to grow to 3.15 to 4 inches before the first mowing. After this, you can mow the grass down to 1.97 inches. However, a normal lawnmower may be necessary for this, as grass that is 3.94 inches tall is not manageable for most robotic mowers. You should also read up on special care considerations for a freshly-planted lawn.

Cutting height for wintering

If the cold season is approaching, you should trim the lawn to 0.75 – 1.25 inches during the last mowing before the cold hits. This will allow the lawn to winter better.

Further Tips on Cutting Height

To recap: Too short a cut can damage your lawn and encourage weeds to migrate. But mowing too rarely also promotes weed growth. Frequent mowing is generally good, but you should not cut your lawn too short.

This formula also applies: The shorter the lawn, the more often it must be mowed to keep the lawn healthy. However, some are of the opinion that too-frequent mowing damages the lawn, as the grass will begin to grow to the side as a defense mechanism. With robotic mowers, however, it does not seem to do any real damage to the lawn if you mow daily. However, the mower should not necessarily run all day.

If your lawn has a problem with growing strongly to the side, you can straighten it out to counteract the problem. Turf grows between one and two inches per week, with temperature and rainfall being a major factor to the rate of growth. It is best to experiment with the frequency of mowing. With robotic mowers, it has proven to be best for most owners to have them mow every other day. Since they usually do not mow the entire area in one go, this is still relatively gentle on the lawn.

Is the Robotic Mower Allowed to Mow in Wet Conditions?

It is often not advisable to mow lawns when they are wet, as the grass will clump together, causing the mower to not mow properly. However, this does not necessarily apply to mowing robots. Whether you should mow in wet conditions or not depends on your model.

The problem of clumping does not usually arise with mowing robots, as they only ever cut off a very small fraction of the grass. In fact, mowing robots from the manufacturer Husqvarna are said to be able to cut wet lawns even slightly better than dry ones.

On the other hand, your mowing robot can get stuck in the soft moistened ground and its wheels can spin, which can damage the turf. The same applies to steep slopes in wet conditions. Some robotic mowers also get louder when they are mowing wet lawns, and become dirty faster than they do when mowing in dry conditions. This means that especially heavy robotic mowers have their problems when mowing wet lawns.

On the other hand, it is particularly important to mow the lawn regularly during rainy periods. If your lawn robot stops mowing for a longer period of time, because it doesn’t want to mow in the rain (rain sensor) the grass continues to grow uninhibited and, especially with a lot of rain, very quickly.

If your robotic mower is then used again after a long period of rain with no mowing, it must be able to cope with a fairly tall lawn. The grass clippings are then much longer because the lawn has had more time to grow since the last mowing. Unfortunately, the mulching technique does not work well with long grass clippings and can cause the clippings to mat or rot.

In any case, the prerequisite for mowing wet lawns is that the mowing blades are really sharp and that the lawn is not too long, or that the last mowing operation was not too long ago. There is also a special feature for slopes – here there is a risk that the mowing robot loses traction and its wheels spin when it is wet and on a steep gradient. This damages the turf.

What else Should You Consider Before Mowing?

In general it is important that you do not change the blades too seldom. The normal turntable blades must be changed approximately every 150 mowing hours. Some harder models made of titanium will last 220 mowing hours. With mowing robots that use a mowing cross instead of a turntable, as is the case with Robomows, you only need to change the blades once per season.

How often should you end up mowing the lawn? This depends, of course, on the equipment, the size of the lawn and the weather. However, a proven average is every one or two days, or at least three times a week. If the area output of your mowing robot is approximately the same as the size of the lawn, or even larger, this is a good guide. In the article How long does your robot mower take to mow your garden, you will find more information about how often you should mow.

Otherwise, you should observe the usual things – do not leave any objects on the lawn that could damage the robot itself, such as stones, toys, clothing or gardening tools. Thick, protruding tree roots can also be a problem, as can large piles of leaves. So make sure to remove these things from the garden before setting your robot loose.


Adjusting the cutting height on the mowing robot is very easy once you know how to do it. Choosing the correct cutting height can be more difficult, however, because many factors have to be taken into account. Mistakes that are made here can have a massive impact on the quality of the lawn. With the right setting, however, you will have a very healthy and happy lawn.

Related Questions

How often should you change the blades on the mowing robot? Depending on the mowing system, the blades need to be changed at different intervals. If the mowing robot has a knife disc with several small, freely swinging blades, these need to be replaced approximately every 1 to 3 months. If the mowing robot uses larger star knives instead, it is sufficient to replace them once per season.

The Best Reel Mower for Your (Small) Lawn

We’ve reviewed this guide, added competitors, eliminated older models, and reconfirmed our decisions on our picks.

Reel mowers aren’t for everyone. They’re designed for small, flat lawns, and they take some effort to push around. But they provide exceptional cut quality and a completely unplugged mowing experience, so they offer things no other mower can. We think the best one is the Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower.

For the healthiest grass

The Scotts makes the cleanest cut, has the widest cutting path, and jams the least of any reel mower, and its unusually tall 3-inch max cutting height makes it more versatile for different grass types.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 145.

During initial tests with a golf course grounds crew and in years of follow up use, the Scotts-branded mower has the best cut quality of any of the mowers we’ve tested, and its unusually tall maximum cutting height of 3 inches makes it a versatile choice for different types of lawns and grasses. It has a 20-inch cutting swath—the widest available—and at 34 pounds, it’s light and easy to maneuver. It was also the only mower in the group that didn’t jam during testing.

Good cut, less elegant

This mower cuts almost as well as our main pick and has a taller cutting height, but it’s bulkier (making it harder to turn around) and more expensive.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 250.

If our main pick is sold out or otherwise unavailable, we also really like the Fiskars 18-Inch StaySharp Max Reel Mower. Its a solid mower with a 4-inch cutting height is higher than any other reel mower’s. In testing the Fiskars cut well, but it wasn’t on par with the Scotts and didn’t handle tall grass quite as well. It’s also heavier and bulkier, making it more of a chore to turn around, it also costs more than the Scotts.

For the healthiest grass

The Scotts makes the cleanest cut, has the widest cutting path, and jams the least of any reel mower, and its unusually tall 3-inch max cutting height makes it more versatile for different grass types.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 145.

Good cut, less elegant

This mower cuts almost as well as our main pick and has a taller cutting height, but it’s bulkier (making it harder to turn around) and more expensive.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 250.

Why you should trust us

We spoke with Jason Kruse, assistant professor of environmental horticulture and turfgrass specialist at the University of Florida. As his bio states, Kruse’s responsibilities include “managing the University of Florida turfgrass Envirotron teaching and research facility, planning and implementing turfgrass educational field days and leading the statewide turfgrass teaching design team.” The guy knows a lot about grass.

For testing, we enlisted the aid of the grounds crew of the Diamond Hawk Golf Course in Cheektowaga, New York, a bunch of people who are serious about mowing. While using the mowers, they picked up cut blades to carefully examine how cleanly the mowers cut; they also bent down to compare the color of the turf after each one made a pass, and pushed all the mowers around on various lengths of grass.

Here at Wirecutter, we’ve been covering lawn equipment since 2014. As for the specific topic of grass-cutting implements, we’ve written extensive guides to both lawn mowers and string trimmers in addition to reel mowers.

Since the first version of this guide, we’ve recommended the Scotts as well as the runner-up Fiskars, and we’ve continued to use both models in assorted locations, paying attention to their long-term performance and any ongoing maintenance needed.

lawn, mower, setting, learning, correct

Who should get a reel mower

Before getting a reel mower, you should be aware of their pros and cons. Simply put, a reel mower is not a direct replacement for a regular mower.

As one of our long-term testers said, “I love [my reel mower]. It makes mowing feel more like a pleasant way to spend time outside and less like something I need to grit my teeth and power through.” On the other hand, a second long-term tester stated that he regrets purchasing a reel mower and has “frequently considered selling it to get a cheap electric mower.”

Reel mowers are better for the lawn’s health. They snip the grass blades like scissors, while rotary mowers tend to shred grass blades. According to University of Florida assistant professor of environmental horticulture Jason Kruse, “The scissor-cutting action of the reel mowers results in less damage to the leaf tissue, which in turn puts the plants under less stress.” He continued, “They lose less water, are less susceptible to disease, and generally look better when cut with a reel mower.”

Reel mowers are also good for the operator’s health. Because you hand-push the mower and it isn’t motorized, it takes effort to use, especially if you have a large lawn. Keep in mind that the turning wheels are what rotate the blades, which adds to the resistance. So the task is not as simple as, say, pushing an empty furniture dolly, where you’re pushing the wheels and nothing else. According to a article, (which in turn credits Harvard Medical School, among others) a person weighing 175 pounds would burn approximately 251 calories by pushing a reel mower—which the article refers to as a hand mower—for 30 minutes. This is 51 calories more than someone weighing 185 pounds pushing a mower with a powered blade for the same amount of time.

Reel mowers also require minimal maintenance and are much, much quieter than regular mowers. Aside from lubricating and sharpening the blades every few years, you don’t have a lot of upkeep to do on a reel mower. As for the noise, many users of reel mowers cite the gentle snipping sound the tool makes as a key benefit. Gas mowers, on the other hand, require gas, regular tune-ups, oil changes, and winterizing. They’re also noisy and smelly. As one of our long-term testers said, “I love [my reel mower]. It makes mowing feel more like a pleasant way to spend time outside and less like something I need to grit my teeth and power through.”

But for a reel mower to be practical, you need a fairly small lawn. Anyone with more than a quarter acre (roughly 10,000 square feet) will find weekly mowing with a reel mower exhausting. One long-term tester stated that he regrets purchasing a reel mower for the size of his lawn and has “frequently considered selling it to get a cheap electric mower.”. In contrast, another of our long-term testers has approximately 1,000 square feet of lawn, and mowing takes her about 20 minutes.

A reel mower works best with a strict adherence to a regular cutting schedule. If grass gets overgrown, a reel mower will merely push it down and roll right over it, so if you tend to go a while between mowings, you should stick with a regular push mower. One long term tester had to wait so long for the reel mower to arrive that once it got there, the grass had grown so high they needed to hire someone to cut their grass. And the necessary diligence goes beyond the schedule: Reel mowers can’t mow over twigs and leaves as gas mowers can, so additional attentiveness to pre-mow lawn cleanup is required, as well.

Reel mowers are troublesome on sloped or bumpy lawns. The torque that turns the blades comes from the wheels as you roll them along the ground. On an uneven surface, the wheels lose contact with the ground as they bounce or as the weight shifts on a slope. As one of our long-term testers put it, “Small dips can lead to grass getting missed, so I often end up mowing from two or three different angles to try and get it all.”

In fact, the results in general may not be what you expect. One of our long-term testers said that their mower “often totally misses taller strands of grass” and that they “have to go back and snip those with a pair of shears.” Also, on most reel mowers, the blades are inboard of the wheels, so you’ll have a wider gap of unmowed grass against a fence or a stone wall.

How we picked and tested

To figure out how to pick the best reel mower, we spoke to Scott Dunbar, superintendent of Diamond Hawk Golf Course in Cheektowaga, New York. He explained that reel mowers can cut much closer to the ground than rotary mowers. At the golf course, the crew uses reel mowers to cut greens and approaches but uses gas-powered rotary mowers for the rough. But the average homeowner isn’t cutting the lawn for use as a putting green—in fact, cutting your lawn too low is terrible for its health. Turf experts suggest never cutting off more than a third of your grass’s length; cutting too close to the ground can cause the grass to dry out and get scorched in the summer. This means that a mower’s minimum cutting height isn’t a useful measurement, since you’re unlikely to use that setting.

The maximum cutting height was a crucial detail. We used this spec as our primary factor in eliminating mowers from contention. Few reel mowers are able to get above 2½ inches, which may not be good for your lawn. “[Cutting height] is one of the primary complaints I have against the majority of reel mowers that are marketed for home use. Most residential grasses (both cool- and warm-season) have recommended heights of cut that are at the upper limit or even exceed the height of cut that is possible with some of the mowers,” said University of Florida turfgrass specialist Kruse. “While it would be possible to use the mower, the long-term health of the turf could suffer significantly,” he continued.

Other factors were also important:

  • How easy is the mower to adjust?
  • How hard is it to push?
  • How wide is it?
  • How much does it weigh?
  • What have other reviewers said about it?

We took our final four mowers to a golf course. There the grounds crew helped us adjust the blades to the exact same standard they used on their mowers so that the blades could cleanly slice a piece of paper. Over the next three hours, we pushed all four mowers back and forth on different-height grasses. On hand were course superintendent Scott Dunbar, a member of the grounds crew, a mechanic who maintains the course equipment, and an equipment salesman who happened to be at the course that day. These guys are all turfgrass experts who deal with grass and mowing equipment every day. They really took to the task of comparing these mowers, examining every aspect closely and answering all our questions about turf and cut quality.

Our pick: Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower

For the healthiest grass

The Scotts makes the cleanest cut, has the widest cutting path, and jams the least of any reel mower, and its unusually tall 3-inch max cutting height makes it more versatile for different grass types.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 145.

The Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower is the reel mower to get. Of the tested mowers, it offered the cleanest cut and the easiest adjustments, and it was the only one that didn’t jam. It also has a wide, 20-inch cutting swath—the widest we found—as well as height adjustments between 1 and 3 inches, which is a more versatile range than we saw on almost all of the other available reel mowers. At 34 pounds, it’s light and easy to turn around at the end of each mowing row, but it’s heavy enough that it doesn’t bounce around on slightly uneven turf.

The quality of the cut excelled against the competition. When our lawn experts were going back and forth with the mowers on a variety of grasses and lengths, they noticed that the Scotts model would leave a swath of totally trimmed grass with each blade snipped evenly across, no ragged edges to be seen. In contrast, the other mowers would leave a bunch of blades sticking up like chimneys after a house fire, requiring the testers to back up and go over the area again. The Scotts mower also never jammed up during testing, whereas all of the other mowers did.

The Scotts 2000-20 also snipped a wider path than most of the others. The Scotts is a 20-inch-wide mower, the widest size available (the measurement refers to the blade width, not the overall width). We tested another 20-inch model, the Lee Valley 20″ Mower, but that one was harder to push, and its cut quality was worse.

Our testers also gave the Scotts 2000-20 high marks for overall usability. At 34 pounds, it lands in the middle of our test group in weight but manages to hit the sweet spot between maneuverability and stability. The Fiskars StaySharp Max is heavier and harder to turn around at the end of a mowing row; by contrast, the lighter Lee Valley model bounced around on uneven ground and left a ragged cut as a result.

All of the adjustments on the Scotts mower are easy to make. For cutting height, it has two levers, one for each wheel. One other model we tested, the 16-inch Great States 415-16, required us to unbolt it each time we wanted to change the cutting height. Also, the height settings on the Scotts model are accurate; the 1-inch setting on the Fiskars, in contrast, actually cut much lower, practically scalping the lawn, before we readjusted it to a higher setting.

The Scotts 2000-20 has a cutting range of 1 to 3 inches. The vast majority of reel mowers top out around 2 inches, so we appreciated the ability to go taller, either for the health of the grass or for a less manicured look. A DIY Network article lists the ideal cutting heights for a variety of warm- and cool-weather grasses, and the capabilities of the Scotts land nicely in the strike zone for every grass mentioned. Our runner-up, the Fiskars StaySharp Max, has an even higher maximum cutting height at 4 inches, but it’s a much heavier mower with more difficult maneuvering, and it doesn’t cut as nicely.

The Scotts is easy to assemble, and doesn’t require any tools. The bolts that attach the handle have large plastic wing nuts, so tightening by hand is simple. If you ever need to take your mower apart—to fit it into a compact space like a car trunk or a small storage area—we found that the Scotts was easy enough to disassemble, too. You might need pliers to remove the small C-clips that attach the handle to the body of the mower, but otherwise it shouldn’t be a hassle.

Scotts stands behind their products. Erin Price, then Wirecutter’s Audience Development Manager, had a wheel fall off her Scotts push mower and the company replaced the entire mower for her. She told us, “I love my reel mower and perhaps love it even more now that the company was so helpful.”

It has performed well in long term testing. Two other Wirecutter staff members, who both happen to be women, also have Scotts Classics in their personal tool sheds, and they appreciate the mower’s simplicity and ease of use. Senior Photo Editor Rozette Rago had never used a reel mower before picking up the Scotts for her small, flat yard in LA, and found it quick to get used to. It was easy to figure out for two people who have never used it before. Wirecutter Producer Beth Niegelsky, who has used both the Fiskars and the Scotts, prefers the latter, “ I actually like the Scotts significantly more because it is SO much lighter.” She explained, “With the Fiskars, I basically couldn’t mow the hill of my front yard without feeling like I was doing something dangerous. It’s basically no problem with the Scotts.”

Senior Software Development Engineer Joshua Brewer had the Scotts for three years and recently replaced it for our lawn mower pick. Throughout his three years of usage, he highlighted that the Scott was “kinda fun to use.” He appreciated that it was easy to storetash, didn’t require fuel, and was quieter than a traditional lawn mower. However, the Scotts did squeak despite thorough maintenance, required multiple passes on his lawn, and his foam handle disintegrated after the first year. Overall, Brewer says The Scotts 2000-20 worked, but was much more laborious to use with a lush and dense lawn and worked a lot better when the lawn was more sparse. He’s much happier with the Ego LM2135SP now.

Supervising Editor Josh Lyon also has a Scotts and said there are bumpy parts of his lawn that he needs to go over one or two additional times, but that “the mower is so light and has such a smooth roll that even with the extra passes it takes half the time to do our entire lawn than with the gas-powered mower we used to have.” Overall, Lyon is very happy with the Scotts and says he’ll never go back to a gas mower.

Finally, even though it wasn’t a major factor in our decision, testers liked how the Scotts looked better than the other mowers (some found the Fiskars model’s oddball form to be off-putting). The Scotts 2000-20 is covered by a two-year warranty, and user reviews suggest that the manufacturer, American Lawn Mower, issues free replacement parts whenever a problem crops up.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

We analyzed the negative Комментарии и мнения владельцев at Amazon and found that most of the complaints center on the aluminum handle breaking, a plastic gear in the mechanism stripping out, or simply the realization that a reel mower is not the right choice for the owner’s particular lawn.

We investigated the plastic-gear complaint by removing the wheel of the Scotts mower and taking a look at the gear. As you can see in the photo above, it’s a pretty robust gear with deep teeth, and it interfaces with the teeth on the inside of the plastic wheel. The wheels turn as you push, and those teeth turn the plastic gear, which rotates the blades. Stripping it out is an issue to be aware of, but under proper use, the gear shouldn’t be a problem. And if it becomes one, replacing the gear is a 10-minute repair job. While it would be nice if both the wheel and the gear were made of metal, such a design would likely add money to the price tag and a significant amount of weight to the mower.

One of our long-term testers also noted that when the Scotts arrived, many of the screws holding the handle together were loose and fell out within a month. Once they were replaced, no further problems surfaced.

A close reading of the user complaints suggests that owners who were using the Scotts mower on tall or tough Southern grass had the most problems, but such difficulties are likely to be common among all push mowers and not just the Scotts.

What is the ideal cutting height for a robotic lawnmower?

The question of the ideal cutting height for a lawn drives many garden owners crazy. And yet it cannot be answered definitively because not all lawn types are the same. There are even special rules that apply in summer heat. This makes it all the more important to take the required flexibility into account when buying a robotic lawnmower.

Elegant ornamental lawns or robust commercial lawns, dry summer periods or the first cut after winter: there are many factors that influence the ideal cutting height of the lawn. Unfortunately, it is not always consistent after you have decided on a lawn type. In order to be prepared for all these situations, it seems quite reasonable to attach importance to maximum flexibility when buying the robotic lawnmower.

Adjusting the cutting height of the robotic lawnmower

The adjustment of the cutting height is not much different from that of a conventional lawn mower. Sometimes an adjustment knob is located under the cover, sometimes on the side or on the bottom of the device. With some robotic mowers, the cutting height can also be conveniently adjusted via a display. The manufacturer’s instructions will tell you where to find the cutting height setting on your model. The cutting height is adjusted either in steps or progressively. Manufacturers usually specify the minimum and maximum cutting height here. The larger the range, the more flexible your robotic lawnmower.

Often, many robotic lawnmowers only have a cutting height between 20 and 60 millimeters and are not necessarily suitable for shade lawns. Other models have a range between 20 and 100 millimeters, offer maximum flexibility during any season and work for any type of lawn. However, no robot on the market mows a lawn shorter than 15 millimeters.

Since frequent mowing by the robotic mower can slightly weaken a law, ideally a cutting length from 30-40 millimeters is recommended in practice.

Pendulum suspended mowing deck. perfect cutting results

Most ground areas are not completely level. A rigid mowing deck cannot follow the contours of the surface, so the lawn is not the same length everywhere. A robotic lawnmower with a pendulum-mounted cutting deck always follows the surface leaving the lawn evenly cut everywhere and is characterized by a perfect cutting pattern.

Which cutting height for which type of lawn?

In most gardens, a lawn should not only look fantastic, but it is also used for playing, sunbathing or barbecuing. Accordingly, at the time of sowing, choose a durable, robust commercial or play lawn. In order to avoid additional strain on your lawn, cutting heights of 35-55 millimeters are recommended. A lush green ornamental lawn, on the other hand, is characterized by its dense growth and fine grass blades. The green is only suitable for loading to a limited extent, as it is much more sensitive than a commercial lawn. Thus, the blades can tolerate extremely low cutting depths starting at 2 centimeters. Please note: let the lawn grow longer during dry periods. Otherwise the blades will turn brown very quickly. Ornamental lawns especially should be watered correctly.

Shade lawns are another type and should be kept particularly long with a cutting length of around 60 to 70 millimeters. This will ensure that photosynthesis takes place on leaf surface of the blades.

Special cutting heights for special occasions

In principle, the type of lawn serves as a good guideline for the choice of cutting height. However, there are always situations that require exceptions to this basic rule.

  • Before dethatching, mow the lawn as low as possible, i.e. even commercial lawns may be cut down to 2 centimeters.
  • During prolonged droughts in summer, lawns develop a natural protective layer to prevent excessive drying. You should not destroy this layer by excessively mowing your lawn. This practice will simultaneously protect the soil from drying out even more. over, choose a longer cutting length during this period.
  • Cut the lawn back to about 40 to 50 millimeters during the last cut of fall/autumn. This way, the blades will not bend under the weight of snow in the winter.
  • In spring, the lawn starts to grow when temperatures rise. Wait with the first cut until temperatures are permanently around 10°C or above. Then cut off no more than 1/3 of the blade length. The gradually work your way to the desired length.
  • Freshly seeded lawns should first grow to a length of about 8-10 centimeters before you can mow them directly down to 5 centimeters.

Avoiding the wrong cutting height

Cutting the lawn too low or too high will inhibit its growth.

  • If the blades grow too high and are cut infrequently, fewer side shoots will form. The lawn will then become less dense. Furthermore, there will be more room for weeds and moss to grow, which can spread particularly quickly.
  • If cut too deeply, too much sunlight will reach the soil surface. Not only does this cause the soil to dry out faster, but it also encourages weed growth.

Regular cutting is therefore important and ideal for the use of a robotic mower.

If necessary, adjust the cutting intervals to the growth rate of the lawn. In spring, for example, lawns grow much faster than during a dry summer. From early to mid-November, on the other hand, the lawn hibernates and should not be mowed at all.

/3 rule for a healthy lawn

No matter how long the lawn is after vacations or winter breaks, it’s important that you remove no more than 1/3 of the blade length per mowing. If you go beyond that, grass clippings will remove too many nutrients from, and it will become more susceptible to disease.

lawn, mower, setting, learning, correct

There is no one ideal cutting height for lawns, but there is a perfect robotic lawnmower for all cutting heights. When buying, choose a model that offers maximum flexibility for every occasion so you can give your lawn what it needs in every situation.

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