Mulching vs High Lift vs Standard Blades – Which Is Best?
When it comes to lawn mowing, the type of blade you use is one of the most important factors in achieving a healthy and well-manicured lawn. Different blades offer unique benefits for various types of grass and terrain. Understanding the differences between mulching, high lift, and regular blades can help you choose the best blade for your lawn mowing needs.
- Lawnmower Blade Profile and Function
- Standard Mower Blade Design and Function
- Pros and Cons of Regular Mower Blades
- High Lift Blade Design and Function
- Pros and Cons of High-Lift Blades
- Mulching Blade Design and Function
- Pros and Cons of Mulching Blades
- Mulching Vs High Lift Vs Standard Blades Comparison
- Which is Better High Lift or Mulching Blades?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Lawnmower Blade Profile and Function
I think that we all appreciate the ultimate goal of any lawn mower blade design is to cut grass as efficiently and evenly as possible. Well, this is true of standard lawnmower blades for sure, but standard blades are a one-size fits all approach. Depending on what performance we require, different mower blade profiles can serve us better in different situations, for example when mulching or requiring side discharge. Standard blades also often referred to as low-lift blades, feature a relatively flat profile, with a moderately curved outer edge. This profile creates lower levels of suction, and a greater degree of range when lowering the deck to make shorter cuts. They are also well suited to mowing on sandy or gravelly surfaces, making the standard blade a versatile option. High-lift blades are similar in profile to low-lift blades. The primary difference is the angle of the curve on the blade’s outer edge and the slight teardrop shape. The steeper blade angle creates more suction or uplift and delivers a larger upright surface area to expel the grass clipping from the deck. Making the high-lift blade a great option for side discharge, or wet or long lawns. Mulching blades also known as 3-in-1 blades, can be used to bag, discharge, or mulch clippings. Their curved blade and larger cutting edge, serve to lift and recirculate the clippings within the cutting deck, allowing for multiple blade passes to re-cut the grass into smaller pieces. Lacking the steeply curved edges and suction of the high-lift blade, the mulching blade deposits fine clipping on the lawn surface.
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Standard Mower Blade Design and Function
A standard mower blade (low-lift) is the most commonly used mower blade due to its versatility. They are designed to provide a well-groomed lawn with an even cut. The profile cuts grass evenly and efficiently and is best used on lawns with relatively shorter lengths lawns. The flat cutting blade faces downwards to cut the grass, while the curved outer edge faces upwards, preventing grass clippings from becoming tangled in the blade. The length of the regular mower blade typically ranges from 19-22 inches, and the width from 2.5-3.5 inches. The design helps promote a clean-cut and uniform grass height across the lawn. Mechanical Action: Whilst spinning, the cutting edge of the blade slices through the grass with a scissor-like motion. A combination of centrifugal force and air pressure creates this motion. As the blade spins, the centrifugal force pushes the air outward and creates a vacuum in the blade’s center. This vacuum pulls the grass towards the blade, allowing it to be cut. Additionally, the blade is designed with a sharp edge angled slightly downward to allow for a cleaner cut. Air Circulation: Standard blades are designed to create a moderate vacuum effect, pulling the grass clippings into the chamber and creating a vortex of air around the blades. This helps to reduce clogging within the mower deck while also creating a more efficient cutting action. The air-circulating blade also helps to keep the grass blades upright and increases the quality of the cut and reduces scalping. The vacuum effect also helps to suck in debris and clippings, resulting in a clean, finished cut. Grass Clumping: Grass clumping is a common problem for many mowers, but it can be reduced or eliminated by the type of blade used. Regular blades create a moderate amount of lift and air circulation, which helps prevent clumping. For long grass or wet grass, the high lift blade is preferred due to the increased suction and airflow created. Suction Power: Standard mower blades generate a moderate amount of suction, which has its benefits and limitations. Low suction is useful when mowing over dusty or sandy surfaces, keeping airborne particles to a minimum. Whereas the standard blade often struggles in long or wet grass compared to the high-lift blade.
- Versatile and can be used in many different mowing situations.
- Have a long lifespan due to their sturdy design and construction.
- Great for cutting and bagging grass clippings.
- Can handle thicker grass and weeds.
- Easy to sharpen and maintain.
- Low cost compared to other blade types.
- Helps provide an even cut throughout your lawn.
- Moderate air circulation, meaning lower control with the clipping distribution.
- Increased clumping with wet or long grass, resulting in more clean-up.
- Lower suction so not ideal for side discharge and cannot mulch
High Lift Blade Design and Function
High-Lift Blades are designed to produce a strong lift force, enabling the blade to move more air and cut grass faster than traditional mower blades. They are usually longer, wider, and curved, increasing suction power as they cut through the grass. The design also helps to reduce clumping and improve the dispersal of clippings over the lawn.
High Lift Blades are designed to create better air circulation, which can help dry out the lawn quicker and help prevent lawn diseases such as fungus or brown patches. The increased suction power generated by these blades also helps create a cleaner cut and can reduce tear-out or ragged edges on your lawn.
The increased lift force generated by high lift blades helps them stay off the ground and creates a better cutting angle, providing a smoother cut. This also reduces the energy required for each mowing session, resulting in a less tiring job for the user.
Mechanical Action: The high lift blade is designed to create an air cushion between the blade and the grass when in motion. This air cushion reduces friction and resistance while the blade cuts, resulting in a smoother and more consistent finished product.
The larger, thicker edges of the high lift blades also lift up the grass before cutting it for improved performance. As the mower moves forward, clippings are propelled forward into the grass bag or into a side discharge chute for easy disposal.
Air Circulation: When the mower is in motion, the larger edges of the blade lift up the grass and essentially scoop out a of air between them. This of air then creates a cushion that reduces friction and resistance from the blade cutting through the grass. As the blade passes through, it sucks up clippings and propels them forward into either a side discharge chute or a grass bag for easy disposal.
Grass Clumping: A high-lift lawnmower blade is an efficient way to reduce grass clumping. The larger edges of the blades act like a scoop, lifting up the grass before cutting it which significantly reduces clumping. The clippings are propelled forward into either a side discharge chute or a grass bag for easy disposal after they have been cut.
Suction Power: High-lift lawnmower blades create powerful suction capable of pulling grass clippings up into the deck and expelling them for side discharge or bagging. The fan-like suction makes high lift blades ideal for cutting tall, compact grass.
- Improved performance due to an air cushion between the blade and the grass.
- Reduced friction and resistance while cutting.
- Clearer finished product with a more consistent cut.
- efficient at picking up clippings for easy disposal.
- Prone to damage from pebbles and stones that get picked up in the cutting path.
- Higher risk of breakage during regular operation.
- expensive than other types of mower blades.
Mulching Blade Design and Function
Mulching blades are designed to cut grass clippings into smaller pieces. This allows for the clippings to be reincorporated into the soil and replenish nutrients that have been used up. Mulching blades usually feature a curved design which creates suction when cutting grass, allowing for the better reincorporation of the clippings.
Mulching lawnmower blades can also provide better air circulation as they create turbulence when spinning. This allows the grass to stand upright and promotes healthier growth. Mulching blades tend to spin faster than regular blades and are less likely to cause damage to grass due to their curved shape.
When it comes to grass clumping, mulching blades are highly effective. The curved design helps reduce the clippings’ size, resulting in a more even dispersal. This eliminates the need for frequent rake-ups and reduces the time needed to maintain a healthy lawn.
Mechanical Action: Mulching blades have a curved design that works by cutting the grass multiple times, creating small pieces as it rotates. This helps to break down the clippings faster and makes them easier to decompose back into the soil. The curved shape also creates a powerful suction that helps move the clippings through the deck for efficient cutting.
Air Circulation: The curved blade helps to create relatively powerful suction and excellent air circulation. It’s the exceptional air circulation that retains the grass clipping in an air vortex, allowing the blade to make multiple cuts, reducing the clippings into small fragments of grass.
Grass Clumping: The mulching blade is designed to be highly efficient at reducing grass clumping. The curved shape and powerful suction of the mower blade pull the grass clippings up into the deck and evenly spread them around the blade. This helps to keep the grass from clumping together, allowing for smoother cutting.
Suction Power: The curved design that lends itself so well to air circulation, also generates excellent levels of suction. The mulching blades sit above the standard blade and high-lift blade in terms of suction power.
- Increases decomposition speed by accelerating microbial activity
- Reduces grass clumping and results in smoother cutting.
- Creates a powerful suction that ensures the grass is evenly distributed.
- Can mow large areas in less time due to increased efficiency.
- Can be more expensive than other types of blades due to the additional features it offers.
- May require extra maintenance, as mulching blades can quickly become clogged with debris.
- May not be suitable for wet or dense grass conditions, as the extra suction may cause the mower to bog down.
Mulching Vs High Lift Vs Standard Blades Comparison
Here is a comparison between high lift, mulching, and regular blades that describes their physical attributes, and characteristics.
|Standard Blade||Low profile||Versatility||Low profile cut|
|High Lift Blade||Curved edges||Long or damp grass||Strong suction|
|Mulching Blade||Curved blade||Mulching grass clippings||High suction and air circulation|
Which is Better High Lift or Mulching Blades?
If I could only select one type of lawnmower blade then I would recommend high lift. They offer good versatility, create excellent airflow and suction to aid side discharge, and have the capability to mow longer lawns.
Mulching blades on the other hand bring other qualities. If you regularly mow the same lawn, then you know the grass is never going to be too long for a mulching blade. This means with regular mowing you can mulch consistently delivering precious nitrogen-packed clippings back onto your grass.
Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when choosing between high-lift or mulching blades. Consider both pros and cons before deciding what works best for you and your lawn.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are high-lift blades good for side discharge?
Yes, high-lift blades are suitable for side discharge as they are designed to provide better suction power and air circulation, resulting in a cleaner cut. They also help prevent grass clumping while mowing, which is an important factor when discharging clippings.
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Mulching Blade vs Regular Blade: The Most Concise Comparison
Comparing a mulching blade vs regular blade is very confusing when it comes to choosing the right mower for your lawn. Both of these fall in similar price ranges, so why should you go for one instead of the other?
Read this article where we clearly outline the major differences between these two blade types and their respective advantages. Read through this guide to learn which one is better for your lawn and grass in all aspects of lawn care.
- Mulching Blade vs Regular Blade Comparison Table
- What Are The Differences Between Mulching Blade and Regular Blade?
- What Are The Advantages of Mulching Blade?
- – Their Three-In-One Cutting Property
- – It Cuts Grass Into Much Smaller Pieces
- – Can Be Used To Fertilize The Lawn
- – Mulching Blades Works On Lower Power
- – Mulching Blades Make The Grass Lush
- – Mulching Blades Save Time and Are Eco Friendly
- – They Offer Two-In-One Service During Mowing
- – They Can Be Used On All Soil Types
- – They Can Be Low Lift or High Lift Blades
- – Less Frequent Mowing
- – Do You Have To Mow Slower When Mulching?
- – Are Mulching Blades With Teeth a Better Option?
- – Why Does My Mulching Mower Leave Clumps of Grass?
- – Why Does My Lawn Mower Leave a Strip of Grass in the Middle?
Mulching Blade vs Regular Blade Comparison Table
- The cutting edge is straight
- Some might have a small curvature at the end of the blade
What Are The Differences Between Mulching Blade and Regular Blade?
The main difference between a mulching blade and a regular is that the mulching blade is shorter and has a curved edge. It can cut the grass into much finer clippings which can be used as mulch or fertilizer. The regular one is able to cut taller grass in comparison.
What Are The Advantages of Mulching Blade?
The many advantages of mulching blades include cutting, storing, and dispersing finely cut grass tip clippings over the lawn.
A mulching mower uses much less power which helps you to save up quite a bit on fuel and electricity bills. These toothed blade sets also tend to fertilize the lawn while mowing it.
– Their Three-In-One Cutting Property
When used in lawn mowers, Mulching blades can cut leaf blades. store them in a bag, or mulch them so you can put them to further use. So basically, these blades were created to give the standard blades a run for their money!
It cuts the grass tips into very small and fine pieces and then spreads them evenly on the surface of the grass. If you do not want this to happen, you can always go back to the option of simply bagging the cut grass ends and then using them for whatever purpose you wish.
The blade performs its three functions simultaneously: mulching, bagging, and discharging. The efficiency and speed of cutting are also more than the regular blade.
– It Cuts Grass Into Much Smaller Pieces
Mulching blades have the ability to cut grass into very small clippings. So that even if you lay these clippings on the surface of the mowed lawn, it gives a very neat appearance overall.
These small clippings decompose faster as compared to larger ones. Using them as mulch for the grass or plant pots will break down quickly and release their nutrients into the soil.
These small clippings can also be added to your compost pile. They will quickly break down and turn into compost without changing the overall texture of the pile, unlike larger grass blades and food scraps.
– Can Be Used To Fertilize The Lawn
Mulching blades are the only lawn mower blades that can help you fertilize your lawn while mowing it. It first cuts the grass blades into precise small pieces. These pieces are then sucked back into the mower deck, where it is cut further into even smaller-sized pieces.
You then can spread these finely chopped clippings over the entire lawn as a form of fertilizer. Compare this with a regular type of blade where you will have to collect the cut grass clippings, cut them into finer pieces, and manually spread them evenly over the lawn.
Because these clippings are very finely chopped. they will decompose faster, and your lawn will have quicker access to the nutrients released. This type of natural fertilizer works better for lawns instead of using chemical feeds.
– Mulching Blades Works On Lower Power
Surprisingly, a grass mulching lawn mower works on much lower power compared to other types. This goes for both electricity and gasoline-fueled riding mowers. You can save electricity and fuel bills while providing top lawn care.
– Mulching Blades Make The Grass Lush
Using a blade mulching mower you can spread the cut grass clippings as mulch over the lawn. Mulch prevents excessive water from evaporating from the surface of the soil. It helps a lot when it comes to retaining water during the hot summer months. Grass clipping mulch has been known to help retain as much as 80 percent of the water in the soil.
Combine this hydrating property with the Rapid release of nutrients by the finely cut grass. Your grass will grow thicker and lusher than ever before.
However, not all grass types do well when mulched. This trick works only in grass types with wide blades, such as tall fescue and crabgrass. Tall fescue is a popular cold-season grass that responds well to mulch spread by a mulching blade.
– Mulching Blades Save Time and Are Eco Friendly
Using a mower with this blade type will save up a lot of your time when it comes to collecting, storing, and later dispersing the clippings. Even if you do not want to spread the cut grass on the lawn as mulch, you still have the option of bagging them separately.
over, the ability to convert grass into much is good news for the environment. You will get the opportunity to recycle your organic waste, which also means much less fodder for landfills.
What Are The Advantages of a Regular Blade?
The advantage of a regular mower blade is that it cuts even tall grass finely and then bags the clippings away. Unlike bagging and gator blades, these blades can be used on all soil types.
– They Offer Two-In-One Service During Mowing
A regular mowing blade allows you to cut your overgrown lawn grass quickly and efficiently. It works by creating a vacuum. due to which the grass blades stand up. This blade then easily cuts through this upright grass in one swift motion.
Another in-built property of this blade is allowing the lawn mower to bag and store the cut grass clippings simultaneously. If you are someone who despises their lawn when it is covered with grass-clipping mulch, then this is the blade of choice for you.
Gator Blades vs High Lift Blades: Which One Is Best?
Most older lawn grass mowers came built-in with this type of blade. You may purchase one separately and attach it with a modern mower if you want to use some of its properties. Many new designs of mowers allow users to attach and use different blades according to how they want the grass cut.
– They Can Be Used On All Soil Types
Regular blades can be used on all types of soil in which grass has been grown. Whether your lawn is composed of sandy or clay-like soil, either type can be mowed using these blades easily.
The only prerequisite to using these for lawn care is that the grass needs to be slightly taller. It cannot cut through the grass patches that are smaller in height. If your lawn is uneven or sloping, your grass will get cut quite unevenly.
– They Can Be Low Lift or High Lift Blades
Low lift blades are a modification of the standard blades that are useful on sandy soil types. They are less curly than normal ones and only three to four inches long. They do not suck the grass blades too high. so the sand or soil does not blow up around a lot. Because of their small size, these blades work for much longer periods.
High-lift blades are another modified type of regular mower blades. Their blade edges have vertical angles along their length. which creates a very high level of suction. This makes it perfect for smoothly cutting very tall grass blades by pulling them upright.
Naturally, you cannot use this high lift blade on sandy terrain because it will kick up a lot of dirt. It also uses a lot of fuel and energy, which might wear out the mower quickly over time. The good news is that it can bag the cut clippings safely.
– Less Frequent Mowing
Using regular or standard blades means you cut much less frequently for two main reasons. First, these lawn mower blades can get tall grass without getting their inner machinery choked up.
Secondly, these blades cut close to the ground. which naturally takes a long time for the grass to grow. So you get to rest before it is time for the next mowing. If you have little time for constant lawn maintenance or are someone naturally disinclined toward mowing, this should be an important consideration.
– Do You Have To Mow Slower When Mulching?
Yes, you must mow your lawn slowly using a mulching blade. This blade works by cutting each blade of grass multiple times so that it gets chopped up into very fine pieces. This is important to turn grass into organic fertilizer or mulch for use in the lawn or garden plants.
That is why it is important to go slowly because if you rush the job, the grass will not be cut up properly. Instead, the mower will leave large and unsightly pieces of grass clumps over the lawn. This will not only be less efficient but will also put a strain on the engine.
– Are Mulching Blades With Teeth a Better Option?
Yes, toothed blades are better at mulching grass than non-toothed ones. Technically, any blade with teeth cannot be considered a true mulching blade.
Still, when you compare it to non-mulching blades like high or low-lift ones, it does a much neater job of turning grass into usable mulch.
The teeth do not cut the grass themselves. Instead, they propel them back toward the mower’s deck, where the actual cutting occurs.
– Why Does My Mulching Mower Leave Clumps of Grass?
A lawn that is wet is the number one reason your grass gets clumped together after being cut by a mulching type of mower. It is natural for grass blades to stick to each other when they are wet or even slightly moist with dew. That is why you must wait for the lawn to dry before mowing it.
The second reason might be that the grass has just grown too long. Mulching types of blades are just not very good at cutting longer blades. They become less efficient and start throwing out clippings in clumps instead. It is better to resort to a regular blade type if you have let the grass grow too long.
If the grass is dry and short and still this problem persists, then you need to check your mower. often than not, the blades will need sharpening at their edges. If you are still operating a very old type of mower, it may need to be replaced or upgraded.
– Why Does My Lawn Mower Leave a Strip of Grass in the Middle?
If your mower leaves a strip of grass uncut in the middle, its blades are not balanced properly or have been installed incorrectly.
All mowing blades are beveled and meant to be attached to the mower in a certain way. If both or even one of them is improperly attached, grass mowed will be cut unevenly and poorly.
We have discussed the differences and merits between mulch and regular blades used in mowers. Mulch-type blades not only cut the grass finely but also spread it over the grass as mulching material.
On the other hand, the regular type of blades has the advantage that they can cut much taller grass as compared to the mulching and other types. In our opinion, you should keep both these blade types because most latest versions of lawnmowers can use both interchangeably.
Mulching Blades Vs Regular Blades | In-depth Comparison
To understand the main difference between mulching blades and regular blades, specific terms are used to compare different types of blades you should know before mixing it all and getting the wrong knowledge.
First thing you should know that blades are of two types that would fit any lawnmower.
Here are the other terms commonly used for lawn mower blades:
Mulching blades: the sole purpose of the mulching blade is to produce mulch.
Standard blades: Also called “regular or normal blades,” are 2-in-1 purpose blades that cut grass and secondly side-discharge it or send it to the bag of your mower.
Bagging blades: These are made for a bagger (a mower with a bag attached to it). Bagger blades can either be regular or mulch type.
Hi-lift blades: These blades have lifted edge parts that help lift grass high and cut it efficiently. Primarily these are used as bagging or discharge blades.
Gator blades: As the name indicates, Gator is a brand name; the Gator manufactures these blades. These blades can be mulching type, hi-lift, regular, bagging, or discharging kind.
So, from the above discussion, it is pretty much clear that there are two main types of lawnmower blades, and different terms are interchangeably used for each blade depending upon the purpose they serve.
The main types of lawn mower blades are
So let’s deep dive into it.
So, Here I will be discussing only mulching blade compared to regular mower blades and the sole purpose of our discussion would be to get most basic ideas of these blades, what common things they have and what different things they have.
First Lets know their basics:
Know Mulching Blades
A Mulching blade is 3 in 1 blade that suck up grass like a vacuum pump and hit the side of grass with its sharp edges that cut down grass. The metal flaps of mulching blades then come into action and bring that pieces of grass into rotation. They keep rotating it until the grass is cut into small pieces. And know that everything happens under the deck of mower real fast.
Characteristics of Mulching Blade
Natural Fertilizer Producer
The first amazing thing to know about the mulching blade is that they produce mulch. Mulch is a natural fertilizer. Actually, it is the grass clippings that I am calling here mulch. When mulching blades acts they cut out grass again and again under the deck of mower and make fine pieces at the discharge chute which once spread on grass acts as natural fertilizer.
Grass clippings once cut by mulching blades, are laid on the topsoil of grass, which on decomposition in 4-5 days give out its nutrients including nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium to the soil. And yes, those nutrients act as natural fertilizer.
- Mulching: Producing mulch via repetitive motion and cutting grass again and again into small clippings
- Bagging: Sending the grass clippings to the bag of mower if your mower is equipped with a bag
- Discharging: DIscharging means if your mower doesn’t have bag, a mulching blade discharge clips our of mower’s discharge chute.
In short, The working mechanism of mulching blades is just a repeativtive motion for cutting grass into small pieces which is called a natural fertilizer or mulch.
Curvy Design and Divided Airflow
The design of mulching blades is curvy on the edge. The basic purpose of these designs is to bring in grass with more contact on the edges of moving blades. It help the mower to chop grass effectively.
Where the divided airflow is a functionality of mulching blade that comes with the teeth on in it. As you can see in the picture, the curvy design and teeths of blade are well highlighted.
It should be clear that the edges are the one that cuts the grass clippings not the teeth of mulching blades as teeths are only made to bring in more air flow and keep pushing grass towards the edges of blade again and again in order to produce fine grass clippings just like coarse dust which we called as Mulch.
Mulching Blades Pros and Cons
- It creates multi directional lifts for repeativie cutting
- Doesn’t discharge or bagg well
- They cause less clogging and bogging of mower
- They fit on many mowers
- Needs higher power capacity
- Good for cutting tall grass
- Produce Natural fertilization
- Needs lower power capacity
- Best performaing blade when it comes to mowing after every 3-4 days
- Makes the lawn look healthier and cleaner
Know Regular Blades
A regular blade is a blade that do regular functions which are only two: Bagging and Discharging. They are also called as 2-in-1 blade which means they do bagging or discharging when moving under the deck of mower. The best thing about regular blade is that they are good at throwing away grass out of your mower.
Characteristics of Regular Blade
Regular blades characteristic that I would like to mention here are
Extended Metal Flaps
Regular blades has long and extended metal flaps which means they have bigger wings that cut the grass and discharge it out in one rotation. They don’t cut grass again and again as mulching blades do.
As you can see in the picture2, they have curvy angle in their body which means that angle is made to create high lift and throw the grass clippings out of mower more forcefully.
Best for Discharging
As mentioned earlier, regular blades are powerful in sense of throwing grass out of their rotational circle which means they are good at discharging. If you put bag against the discharing whole they can help you bag grass in a mower/bagger.
Strongest Air Flow and Originality
As the regular blades are uni-directional, it means they creates strong air flow at one time, cut the grass and through clippings outside mower in no time.
Regarding originality means these blades fits in originally place on the shaft of mower. They are genuine parts that comes with brand new mowers.
Regular Blades Pros and Cons
- It creates one directional lift
- Good for cutting tall grass
- Good at using in lawns that are not mowed regularly
- Discharge and bag well but does mulch well
- Good for lawn and yards where you less mowing like after 4-5 weeks
- They cause less clogging and clumping
- They does not fits on many mower like mulching mowers, they are mower specific.
- Can’t be used in dust conditions
- Needs higher power capacity
Comparison Based on Different Parameters
There are different parameters of mulching blades compare to regular blades, I have enlisted specific parameters which will make it crystal clear to understand the basic differences between mulching and regular blades.
Shape is the primary difference considered when it comes to the comparison of mulching and regular blades.
Mulcher blades have more curved edges than regular blades.
The curved edges or cutting portions are either flat or bears serrated teeth. Serrated-teeth edge creates enhanced airflow than the flat one because air moves more easily through them when the blade moves under the mower’s deck.
Another classy thing about the mulching blade is that its curved surface creates more vacuum than the regular type, enabling your mower to cut grass clippings repeatedly.
It is recommended to mulch every 4-6 days to maintain your lawn, as the finer the mulch produces, the more nutrients are added to the ground.
If you talk about the shape of the regular blade, they are the flat ones in form and made to work at lower mower settings.
You can use regular blades if you want more even strips on lawns, and you can easily remove piles of cut clippings from your yard. It is recommended to mow after 10-15 days if you are using regular blades.
Tip or Edge of mulching vs regular blade
Lifting Capability or Aerodynamics
The lifting mechanism depends on the shape of the blade. The lifting capability of the mulching blade compared to the regular blade is low as it sends grass clippings back to the cutting edges multiple times and produces more thin cuts.
High lift regular blades work uni-directional; they send clippings in the deck and throw them on the ground via discharge-cute or in the mower bag.
As mulching blades are made to keep the grass clippings inside the mower and chop them repeatedly until they produce a finer mulch, they are not suitable for discharge.
Regular mower blades cut the grass clippings and disperse them more efficiently on the ground, but it will not produce a good cutting.
How does a mulching mower work?
Dispersal of grass clippings depends on the type of mower. If it is a 2-in-one mower, it will either discharge it or send it to the bag part, which is exhibited by the regular blades.
On the other hand, mulching blades do not disperse grass clippings nicely; instead, grass clippings exit the mower deck to a shorter distance.
Trapping Under the Deck
Trapping is also referred to as the Recirculation of grass clippings under the deck of the mower. It depends on the design or aesthetic of the mower. There are lawn mowers with adjustability settings at different heights to cut grass better.
Mulching blades are more curved and recirculate grass clippings more efficiently due to the airstream they produce, resulting in quality mulch best for the topsoil of your lawn.
However, regular blades aren’t such a trapping type, and they are made to lift grass cuts high and discharge it outside or in the bag.
Regular blades cost you more time than the mulching blades, as, after mulching, you don’t need to carry the bags full of clippings or piles of grass on your lawn to be cleaned up.
Compatibility of Blade
Mulching blades are generally compatible with new models and fit well as compared to regular blades. You can also use a mulching kit to mount mulching blades on the mower.
A mulching kit is a mulching blade with a plug to easily fit the mower and perform qualitative cuttings under the deck.
Mulcher blades produce fine clipping than regular one due to repetitive rotation and length wings they have.
Mulching blades consume more energy than regular blades, and they require more horsepower from the mower engine to work correctly.
Clumping of Grass
Mulcher blades comparatively work better on wet grass well as they will clump and hurt your lawn.
Mulching blades are more durable than regular blades as they are thick and built with high-quality material.
The former one wins the race regarding the overall benefits of the mulching blade and regular blade. As mulching produces mulch that serves as a natural fertilizer to your lawn, that’s the significant difference mulching blade makes here.
Comparison Table: Mulching Blades vs Regular Blades
Mulching blades are way much better than regular ones because they produce fine clippings, add nutrients to the soil, help you get rid of raking leaves, less grass clumping, maintain sharpness, and consume less energy and quality over a long period.
What kind of blades do you prefer? What are your final thoughts on this? If you have any queries or suggestions, let me know in the comment….
After doing my master’s in agriculture, I went on with this field for more than 15 years because I love working in green. I have experienced using modern machinery and techniques that can help farmers and landscapers to achieve something great. My goal will be to deliver you the best reviews and information to make the right decision.
Attaching one of these clump-busting blades to your mower can help make your lawn more beautiful and healthy.
By Tom Scalisi | Updated Feb 25, 2022 3:59 PM
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Unlike standard mower blades, mulching lawn mower blades are designed to push grass clippings into the bagger with more airflow. Many mulching blades also have teeth that slice through grass clumps, dispersing cut grass into the bagger or onto the ground so they can make their way back into the soil.
Adding mulching blades to an existing mower is a snap for any DIYer with a socket set. And while most are made for gas-powered mowers, you can find mulching blades to suit an electric model, as well. Keep reading to learn more about this mower accessory and see top picks for the best mulching blades available.
- BEST OVERALL:Rotary Blades for Deck/Craftsman/Poulan/Husqvarna
- BEST VALUE:MaxPower 21-Inch Universal Mulching Mower Blade
- UPGRADE PICK:8Ten LawnRAZOR Mulching Blades for MTD Cub Cadet
- BEST FOR RIDING MOWER:Oregon G3 Gator Mulching Blade Set
- BEST FOR LEAVES:Oregon Mulching Blade Gator G5 21-Inch for MTD Mowers
- BEST FOR ZERO-TURN MOWERS:8TEN LawnRAZOR Set for Gravely, Scag and
- BEST UNIVERSAL BLADE:MaxPower 21-Inch Universal Mulching Blade
- BEST FOR ELECTRIC MOWERS:EGO Power 21-Inch Lawn Mower High Lift Blade
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Mulching Blades
While professional landscapers are familiar with these hopped-up grass-shredders, mulching blades will likely be a new concept for many. Here are some things to consider before buying a mulching blade for your push or riding mower.
Long story short: Having the right length mulching blade for your mower is crucial. Mowers and all of their components are designed specifically for a certain length of the blade. Installing a too-small mulching blade will provide less than optimum results in three ways:
- You’ll make more passes (i.e., work harder), as the cutting area your mower can cover is now smaller.
- For multi-blade mower decks, you’ll be missing small strips of grass altogether, leaving the lawn looking like a mosh pit with multiple Mohawk haircuts.
- Your bagger will be ineffective due to the lack of airflow that a smaller blade provides.
Lawn mower blades that are too large will slow your mower down considerably if they even fit under the deck. As well, you’re likely to cause more clumping due to the slower speed and the lack of space under the deck that the larger blade creates. Plus, a blade that is too long can be a hazard, potentially striking the mower’s body or another blade in a double- or triple-blade mower deck.
Most lawnmowers display their cut size on the side of the mower (22-inch, 48-inch, etc.), so check your model to find the appropriate length. If it’s not there, refer to the owner’s manual under the replacement parts section.
Mulching blades are considerably heavier than standard lawn mower blades. They’re thicker, and the design of the more aggressive lift angle requires more material by default. Because of this, they may cause your mower to run slower. Users with older riding mowers may find that their mower wants to stall when engaging the deck. The increased inertia of the mulching blades provides more resistance than the mower was designed for.
While this is a necessary evil in the mulching process, you may avoid blade-induced bogging if you stop the mower before engaging the cutting deck. This will reduce the amount of strain on the engine and once the blades are up to speed, the machine should be able to function without complaint or sputter.
Number of Pieces
If you’re looking to upgrade the grass blades on your riding mower, you’ll want to purchase a kit with the correct number of blades. Most riding mowers have two or three blades, and all should be replaced with matching blades for optimum mulching performance.
Replacing only one mulching blade is a bad idea for two reasons:
- You probably won’t see the benefit of better airflow or mulching, as the standard blades will still cause clumping.
- Since mulching blades are much heavier than standard blades, installing differently weighted blades will disrupt the mower’s output, as one blade will run slower than the other. This can result in turbulent mowing and a less enjoyable experience for the user.
Fitment and Mounting Options
There are several different mounting hole styles on today’s mowers; most commonly, five-point star, six-point star, bow-tie, and universal fit. The spindle (where the blade attaches) under the mower deck is designed for one of the shapes listed above, and blades matching the spindle should install with ease.
The easiest installation methods tend to be the five-point and six-point stars, as they only require the user to remove one bolt. Universal kits are not always the best option since they’re not designed specifically for any specific mower, but they do take the guesswork out of which blade is right for your mower.
Mulching blades are more durable than standard mowing blades due to their thickness and design. That’s an asset for mulching riding lawn mowers and commercial machines with belt-driven decks. For push-mowers with direct-drive shafts, however, this durability can be a problem. Here’s why:
- For belt-driven decks, blades are attached to spindles, which are then attached to pulleys. A belt connects all the pulleys while also being attached to the drive pulley on the motor. When a thick mulching blade hits an object (like a stump or rock), it will most likely slip a bit on the belt— a built-in fail-safe. The blade may bend, but the mower itself won’t be damaged (aside from maybe shortening the lifespan of the belt by a small margin).
- For direct-drive mowers, like standard push mowers, blades are attached directly to the mower’s output shaft without a belt or pulley. This allows the smaller motor to spin the blade very quickly, but it doesn’t provide any fail-safe capability. A standard blade will bend if it hits a stump or rock, most likely leaving the mower intact. A thick mulching blade won’t give as easily and can quickly result in a bent output shaft—fatal for most push lawn mowers.
Ideally, regardless of mower style, try to give your lawn a quick check before you start mowing to remove any obstructions or make a mental note of immovable impediments. Lifting the deck height a bit will also avoid issues; however, you’ll need to cut the lawn more often.
Our Top Picks
The following mulching blades for push-style, riding, and commercial lawn mowers are durable, heavy-duty, and are sure to do an excellent job of breaking up ugly grass clumps that standard mulch blades leave behind.
Rotary Blades for Deck/Craftsman/Poulan/Husqvarna
For those looking to level-up their grass mulching game, this set of three mulching blades from Rotary could be just the ticket. This set is designed for any 48-inch mower from Craftsman, Poulan, and Husqvarna, thanks to its five-point star mounting hole.
These replacement blades are 16¾ inches long, 2½ inches wide, and a hefty.204 inches thick. The serrated cutting edge at the back of the lift will direct the cut grass easily into a bagger, keeping clippings off your lawn. But if you skip the bagger, these blades are likely to leave a few clumps that might require raking.
- Size: 48 ¼ by 2 ½ by.204 inches
- Weight: 6 pounds
- Mounting Compatibility: Five-point star
- Compatible with most 48-inch mowers
- Comes with 3 blades
- Works with or without a bagger
MaxPower 21-Inch Universal Mulching Mower Blade
MaxPower knows that not everyone has the time or patience to consult user manuals and part numbers to find the exact model number of their mulching mower. So they designed their nicely priced 21-Inch Universal Mulching Mower Blade to fit any push mower with a 21-inch deck. The mounting hole is designed to fit over both five-point stars and bow-tie shafts, so users can install this mulching blade easily.
To make the process even smoother, all washers and fittings required for mounting on most models are included. This 4-inch wide blade has a steep lift and more importantly for mulching, seriously aggressive teeth for crushing clumps. One caveat: this blade is durable enough to take a hit without bending, which means your mulching mower’s output shaft could get damaged if you go over a stump or rock.
- Compatible with most 21-inch mowers
- All mounting hardware included
- Steep lift and sturdy teeth
- Not as durable as some comparable models
- May not be suitable for use with electric mowers
8Ten LawnRAZOR Mulching Blades for MTD Cub Cadet
If you’re looking to upgrade the blades on a Cub Cadet or other MTD-made riding mower, the LawnRAZOR Mulching Blade Set is designed to fit 46-inch Cub Cadet decks, with aggressive lift and teeth to help make mulching an easy endeavor. These blades are 23¼ inches long, 2⅜ inches wide, and.157-inches thick, and their high-temp powder-coat paint will bolster their usable lifespan.
The LawnRAZOR set isn’t the thickest or most heavy-duty set on the list—and that comes with pros and cons. On the plus side, the blades will match the RPM speed of a standard blade more closely, great for creating airflow under the direct and tossing clippings into a bagger. The trade-off is that these blades may bend if they hit a stump or rock.
- Size: 46 by 23 ¼ by 2 ⅜ inches
- Weight: 4.5 pounds
- Mounting Compatibility: Six-point star
- Designed to fit most 46-inch Cub Cadet decks
- High-temp powder-coat paint for durability
- Compatible with the RPM speed of a standard blade
- Long, sturdy teeth
- May bend if they collide with a solid object
- Not as thick as comparable options
Oregon G3 Gator Mulching Blade Set
If you’re ready to replace the blades on your 54-inch Craftsman, Ariens, or Husqvarna riding mower, get this set of Gator blades from Oregon, the best-known company in the mulching blade market. The blade set is extremely heavy-duty and durable, thanks to 2¾-inch width and.187-inch thickness. They have an aggressive lift and a set of serrated teeth to break clumps up quickly and efficiently.
Though they aren’t universal, if these Gator blades do fit your model, swapping them in is easy via the five-point star mounting hole. In fact, fully research your model number to ensure that these blades will fit—a common complaint is that they don’t fit all 54-inch decks from the intended manufacturers.
- Size: 54 by 2 ¾ by.187 inches
- Weight: 2.7 pounds
- Mounting Compatibility: Five-point star mount
- Extremely heavy-duty
- Sturdy lift and serrated cutting edge
- Easy to replace or change
Oregon Mulching Blade Gator G5 21-Inch for MTD Mowers
Oregon’s G5 Mulching Blade, designed for MTD-made push mowers (such as Troy-Bilt, Cub Cadet, and Bolens), boasts the quality and durability of the company’s other products. This 21-inch model is ideal for push mowers, as its 2 ¼-inch width and.125-inch thickness mean striking a stump or rock might not ruin the output shaft.
This particular model shreds leaves into tiny pieces quickly, allowing them to break down on the lawn—a great choice if your yard has deciduous trees. However, if your 21-inch MTD mower is older or underpowered (like an off-the-shelf big-box model might be), this blade might bog the engine down a bit, despite its reduced size and heft.
- Size: 21 by 2 ¼ by.125 inches
- Weight: 5 pounds
- Mounting Compatibility: Six-point star mount
- Comes with 2 blades
- Compatible with most MTD-made push mowers
- Can withstand an impact with solid objects
- Cuts leaves into small pieces; minimal aftercare
8TEN LawnRAZOR Set for Gravely, Scag and
For home users and landscapers with zero-turn mowers, this set of mulching blades from 8Ten might be the perfect upgrade. These blades are designed to fit 48-inch decks from such manufacturers as Gravely, Scag, Hustler, Toro, and John Deere. They’re designed with durability in mind, at 2½-inches wide, with a massive.197-inch thickness.
These blades will rip through the grass on a high-speed zero-turn and mulch clippings with ease. Plus, the powder-coated finish will keep them in great shape through years of use. Keep in mind, though, that due to the 8Ten’s extremely efficient design, it can create extremely small particles that are bound to turn into useless pulp if the grass is wet.
These blades work best in dry grass, so they aren’t ideal for early morning landscaping jobs or post-rain cuts.
- Size: 48 by 2 ½ by.197 inches
- Weight: 6 pounds
- Mounting Compatibility: Universal
- Suitable for use on zero-turn mowers
- Compatible with many mower models
- Powder-coated finish
- Small particles may be left behind on the grass
- Not suitable for use on wet grass
MaxPower 21-Inch Universal Mulching Blade
This universal model from MaxPower takes most of the guesswork out of choosing the best mulching blade for your 21-inch push mower. It’s all about easy installation and includes all the washers and fittings needed to work on most mowers.
It’s a high-lift blade, meant to send clippings directly into a bagger, and at 2¼ inches thick wide, it’s light enough to work for most 21-inch mowers without issue. The blade lacks serrated teeth, so it works best with a bagger, not for leaves or for letting grass clippings settle in the soil.
- Size: 21 inches by 2 ¼ inches
- Weight: 2.17 pounds
- Mounting Compatibility: Universal
- Easy to install
- 2 high-lift blades included
- All washers and fittings included; multiple options available
- Suitable for use with a bagger
EGO Power 21-Inch Lawn Mower High Lift Blade
While most mulching blades are designed for gas-powered mowers, this high-lift blade from EGO Power is intended for use on their 21-inch push electric mower. This model, although light-duty in design, is meant to create enough lift to send clippings into the bagger on the back of the mower. It’s lighter than a typical mulching model, as the extra weight would quickly drain the life of a battery-powered model.
Though this blade is marketed as model-specific, a local power equipment shop might be able to make it work for an electric or battery-powered mower of another brand by replacing the mower’s spindle, or by drilling out the blade to fit. Beware, however, that modifying the blade will throw the warranty out the window.
- Size: 21 by 3.15 by 2.7 inches
- Weight: 1.75 pounds
- Mounting Compatibility: Universal
- Factory-sharpened steel blade
- Suitable for light-duty work
- Works in tandem with a bagger
- Not recommended for use with a mulching plug
- Only 1 blade included
- May require some work to install on some models
Selecting the best mulching blade for your mower can be difficult with so many options currently available. One of the best options overall are the Rotary Blades for their five-point star mounting holes, compatibility with most 48-inch mowers, and 3 blades included. Alternatively, the MaxPower blades have a lightweight 2-pound construction, universal mounting hole, and are compatible with most 21-inch mowers.
How We Chose the Best Mulching Blades
We researched the most sought-after options in their respective categories and discovered that the best mulching blades are determined by their size, weight, mounting type, compatibility with multiple mowers, and other special features included by select brands.
Our top picks range from 21-inch to 54-inch blades with varying thicknesses to tackle small or large outdoor projects and work with multiple mulching lawn mowers available. While some have thin constructions that are meant for grass clippings and leaves, others are made thick to withstand collisions with stumps or rocks and have powder-coated steel finishes for long lifespans. This also coincides with the weight of each mulching blade as some are lightweight for small jobs or mowers while the heavier options are suitable for mowers that come with ample torque.
From universal, bow-tie, five-star, and six-star mounting holes, many of the above picks have serrated teeth and high lift for leaves or dry to wet grass clippings, making them compatible with baggers. Finally, select picks come with multiple blades included to keep your grass and lawn in good shape for years to come.
Mulching blades are likely a new concept to folks who do their own yard work. Here are some answers to common questions.
Q: Is mulching better than bagging leaves?
Mulching allows leaves to break down into organic fertilizer much faster, and it’s less work whoever is mowing. For those who hate raking and bagging leaves in the fall, mulching is undoubtedly the better solution. If you use a bagger, you’ll be able to dump leaf litter in a garden bed for organic matter, or past the woodline where they can break down into the ecosystem.
Another option is to simply shred the leaves into leaf litter and leave them on the lawn. This looks a little messier than bagging but can enrich the soil over the course of the winter. As the small leaf particles work their way between the blades of grass, they’ll break down and leech nutrients into the soil.
Q: Can you install mulching blades on any lawn mower?
There are mulching blades available for most mowers, but not all mowers should have mulching blades installed. Underpowered models may not have the horsepower to spin a heavy mulching blade at an effective speed, providing mixed results when cutting and mulching.
Q: How often should I mulch my lawn?
You can use your mulching blade year-round. Most people that install mulching blades don’t bother changing them until they become too dull to cut effectively, in which case they’ll have them sharpened.