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Mowers for home lawns

Posted by mynormas on February 5, 2012

When I restarted this website, my target was to incite and create a response from Malaysian professionals whose work involves looking after turfgrasses like golf course superintendents, stadiums or municipal councils. Yet I think 80% of the response I get is from home owners and perhaps the rest are from students. If there are any superintendents that responds, are from Indonesia. Also I suppose I can count on non-executive staff from Malaysian golf courses who did make enquiries mostly on my Facebook page.

I guess Malaysian golf course superintendents and groundskeepers are shy or don’t visit local websites preferring instead for overseas advice. But this site could also be a forum to exchange ideas?!

Anyway, to honour the home owners who have numerous times asked me about the machinery suitable for their lawns, I will try my best to give a vague and non-specific answer.

Generally, there are two types of  ‘knives’ used on grass, the reel type and the rotary type. The type that you see people use on most lawns are what we call ‘brush-cutters’ or ‘bush-cutters’. No doubt there are many other names for it but basically, it belongs to the rotary type since the knives (even though its made of nylon rope) turn in a rotary fashion.

Lima pisau yang anda boleh lihat tu ialah reel. Ia akan bersentuh dengan bedknife di bawah.

The reels are what is usually used by professionals because they give a more consistent and cleaner cut. It is also sometimes called a cylinder mower because from the side it looks like a cylinder. You can count how many blades there are on the reels. Usually, the more blades; the better the cut. Problem is, the more the blades, the tougher it is to turn the cylinder. The reel works by turning itself against a stationary blade called the ‘bedknife’. To sharpen the reel-mower, we need to sharpen both the reels and the bedknife.

pandangan seekor cacing bagaimana rupa pisau rotary.

The rotary mower is simple to use and to sharpen. It is usually a knife that turns and cuts the grass by impact. The longer the blades are (i.e the bigger the radius of the cutting unit) the less accurate the cutting height since the ends of the blades may bend slightly.

My recommendation is that the average house-owner should get a rotary mower. Unless you built a golf course green for a lawn (no please don’t ask me how) a rotary mower is good enough 80% of the time.

Should a home-owner with a small to medium sized lawn use a petrol powered mower? I would advise against it. A petrol engine needs to be serviced, it needs to have its oils checked, spark plug changed etc etc. Get an electric mower. It has its disadvantages too but I feel it is still better than an petrol/diesel one.

The only time both the recommendations above can be err… superseded is if the home-owner decides to buy one of those reel-mowers that are powered by its tyres on the ground. The faster you push, the faster the reels turn.

Ini mesin yang mempunyai motor kecil dan hanya good for trimming di tepi longkang, rumah, pagar, pokok dsb. Lagipun ia mempunyai pisau yang 'open' yang boleh dangerous kepada pengguna dan sekelilingnya.

You can buy the average machine for the average home-lawns in most big hardware stores. In Klang Valley (Malaysia) I found a few brands that might interest you. Not that I’m recommending these brands but its just so that … you know… I don’t get asked the same questions over and over again.  The brands “Black & Decker” and “Bosch” are sold in ACE hardware stores that you can find in Summit USJ, Sunway Pyramid and Mid-Valley. No, I don’t get anything whether you buy them or any other brand, but that’s nice of you to ask.

ni hanya example. keputusan di tangan anda sendiri.


4 Responses to “Mowers for home lawns”

  1. umbir said

    Informative…thanks for sharing the knowledge…


  2. Mike lim said

    Dear en normas. I am looking for a second hand lawn mowers for my proposed putting green. It is quite small and in my garden. There are so many golf clubs around Kuala Lumpur. What do these clubs do when they change to new lawn mowers. What do they do with their old lawn mowers ? I would like to buy one of their old lawn mover. Do you know how or recommend me a name I can contact.


    • mynormas said

      Dear Mr. Lim,
      Most clubs would trade in with the suppliers of their new mowers. These suppliers would then try to sell them off cheap cheap. Your problem would be to maintain the machine (change engine oil, add petrol, keep the machine etc). The price would range from RM8K onwards. What I have done for one house owner before was to look for an electric reel mower for lawn then get a mechanic to change the rollers to smaller ones so that can cut at lower height. That was about 17 years ago. I’ve stopped doing house lawns now. I don’t remember where we bought the mower. I’ll keep an eye out. With electric mowers no need to change oil or add petrol or any kind of service. You keep the old roller and when you are tired of your green, fix the old rollers back and you get ordinary mower for your lawn or you can sell the mower away? I doubt you can sell the petrol mower to anyone after a few years. If you are looking for it; look for reel mower aka cylinder mower. NOT rotary mower.


  3. Phil said

    Thanks for sharing. Others might also be interested in this short article, too:


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