The summer and fall are the seasons where your little lawn mower has a chance to shine.
When it comes to the storage of your mower, things can get a little complicated, especially if you don’t have a lot of storage space.
And even worse, during the winter things can be even trickier as the lawn mower needs to sit in one place for the whole season. So naturally, you may be looking for ideas on how to store the lawn mower in a way so that it take as small a space as possible. One such way is to store it vertically.
But can you store a lawn mower vertically? Many lawn mowers are not suitable for vertical storage. Storing lawn mowers vertically can lead to fuel and oil leakage, which can damage the mower. Some lawn mowers however, are designed for vertical storage, which can save up to 70% on storage space.
The potential damage of the engine is a good enough reasons to keep our lawn mower in a horizontal position. While I was doing my research on the topic I stumbled upon some important details and caveats, which I expand on in this article.
Is It Bad to Store a Gas Lawn Mower Vertically?
Well, how bad is too bad?
Spilling fuel over your mower can be potentially dangerous, but it will not make the lawn mower explode or something like that.
Overall you are risking ruining your air filter, spark plug, some parts of the engine, and the carburetor.
How bad the result will be will depend on storage time and the severity of the leakage.
What Happens When You Store a Gas-Powered Lawn Mower Vertically?
The problem comes from the difficulty of containing the fuel mixture (or the fuel and oil if you have separate tanks for them) from leaking.
For example, if we take a look at the fuel tank, you will discover that once turned upright in a vertical position, more often than not there is a chance of the fuel getting over and above the fuel cap, and – you guessed it – this will lead to fuel leakage.
The second place where vertical storage can cause a lot of trouble is the cylinder.
If we consider the design of a standard lawn mower’s cylinder, we will see that the oil stays at the bottom of the engine. Once you turn the lawn mower vertically, what you will find is that the oil can leak through different places like the governor shaft and the dipstick.
Two-stroke engines can run in almost any position possible. However, four-stroke engines cannot. The problem with them is that the oil lubrication system is gravity-dependant. Turning a four-stroke engine vertically can cause all sorts of problems.
The other point of concern is the carburetor. There is a fuel mixture in the carburetor bowl. Carburetors have vents through which the fuel mixture or oil can spill once the mower has been turned vertically.
This can lead to problems with the air filter as well preventing enough air from mixing in with the fuel. As a result, the air filter may need to be replaced with a new one.
Another weak point is the oil fill tube and the cap because they have not been designed to be filled with fuel or oil all the way up.
In many cases storing your lawn mower vertically can be a bad idea. You can find your lawn mower sitting in a big pool of fuel and oil, and you can potentially damage it that way.
The fuel and oil can get into different areas of the engine itself. This will cause potential problems like crankshaft locking, inability or difficulty starting the engine, excessive fuming, and ruining the air filter.
Long-term Lawn Mower Storage
People prepare their lawn mower for long term storage in two different ways. A somewhat controversial topic – some people run their lawn mower completely dry and store it for the winter that way, while others just replace the fuel and oil add some stabilizers and leave it like that.
The latter method is arguably the best way to winterize a lawn mower, but that means that you cannot really leave the lawn mower in a vertical position.
On the other hand, if your lawn mower has been drained of all liquids – although not recommended – then the chances are you may be able to get away with storing it vertically.
To find what is the best way to winterize your mower, always check the corresponding information in the user’s manual. Alternatively, you can read the article I wrote about this topic here.
Can Electric and Battery-Powered Lawn Mowers Be Stored Vertically?
Okay, I have been focusing on the gas-powered lawn mowers so far. I am sure you get the point, but you may be wondering, “Okay, but what about electric lawn mowers?”
A valid question.
Electric and battery-powered lawn mowers don’t need fuel, so they don’t have any gas or oil tanks. So there is no need to worry about fuel or oil leakages.
Of course, they do need regular lubrication, but in a different way.
This may sound like a green light for electric and cordless mowers, but not really.
According to some manufacturers, not all models of electrical or battery-powered lawn mowers can be stored in a vertical position.
Another problem with electric and battery lawn mowers is that most of them are only suitable for smaller yards. If you have to mow a big lawn, a gas lawn mower will be the way to go.
Are There Lawn Mowers That Can Be Stored Vertically?
The good thing is that there are mowers that have been designed and adapted for vertical storage.
And if you are interested in getting something more powerful, worry not. There are gas lawn mowers that can be stored in an upright position.
They are great for people who don’t have a lot of storage space because some of the models can save up to 70% space that way.
With lawn mowers that have been specifically designed to stay upright, there are specific design changes that have been made by the manufacturers.
The design is such as to prevent the fuel mixture from getting out of the engine or into the wrong areas of the mower itself.
- The Snapper XD is a cordless lawn mower that can be stored in the vertical position.
- The Torro Smartstow Recycler Mowers are a great example of an excellent, well-designed gas lawn mower that can be stored in the vertical position.
- The EGO LM2102SP is a battery-powered mower that can be stored vertically.
- The Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 50620S is an electric lawn mower that can be stored vertically as well.
The most important thing is to always double-check with the storage suggestions and recommendations by the manufacturer found in the user’s guide.
Not all lawn mowers are created equal. One model may be stored vertically while the next might not be. Do not try vertically storing lawn mowers that have not been explicitly designed for that.
There are a few points about lawn mowers and vertical storage that I’d like to expand more on.
Old Lawn Mowers
I want to point out a few things here.
Depending on how long you have been dealing with lawn mowers and mower’s engines, you will probably know that these designs are not new.
You can even find the same design on some of the older mowers from way back. For some reason, manufacturers forgot to use these designs with time.
The thing is that even with mowers that have been designed for vertical storage, the gasket can fail eventually, and this will lead to fuel and oil leakages.
This is completely normal and happens to many engines. This is why it is advisable to always inspect the condition of your mower before use. Don’t forget to follow the maintenance steps advised by the manufacturer in the manual’s guide of your lawn mower.
New Lawn Mowers
When we are talking about a brand new lawn mower, this is going to be a whole different game.
They will not have any oil or fuel inside of them, so technically, you can store them in the upright position. No fuel and oil means no need to worry about any potential damage.