Types of Lawn Mower Blades Explained

Approx Reading Time: 9 minutes

There is nothing better than having a perfectly cut lawn.

And I am sure that you will agree with me that this is a sight to be seen.

But how does one achieve that?

Many of us may be underestimating the importance of the mower’s blade we are using. And this is the part of the lawnmower that determines what the quality of the cut will be.

Not all cutting blades are created equal.

The design, shape, and material; everything about one blade is important.

If you are reading this, maybe you are going to be buying a replacement blade or just looking to make the best decision on your next lawnmower.

Below I share all the information about the different types of lawnmower blades that I have found while researching this interesting topic.

What Are the Different Types of Lawnmower Blades?

There are a few different types of lawnmower blades that you may stumble upon. Each one of these has its pros and cons.

Reel Blades

These are the standard and most basic blades which are used in the manual reel lawnmowers.

The reel blades have a helical shape that cut grass in the same manner scissors cut paper.

When the reel blades lose their sharpness, they can be sharpened manually.

However, the biggest downside to reel blades is that they usually cannot be replaced if broken.

Standard Blades

The standard lawnmower blades (also known as deck blades) are the basic type of blades that are used on most lawnmowers today.

These are usually straight blades that are suitable for cutting well-manicured grass lawns.

They do not provide good mulching or lifting capabilities and do not perform well with tall or wet grass.

Lifting Blades

Lifting blades are categorized according to how sharp is the angle of the lift (or curvature).

Low Lift Blades

The low lift blades have no more than 3/4 inch blade lift. The lift is located behind the cutting edge of the blade.

The small blade lift found on the low lift blades maintains low airflow and suction.

Low lift blades are best used for cutting short and dry lawns in sandy and dusty terrain.

As a result, you can cut your grass efficiently, and at the same time keep the amount of dust, debris, and noise relatively low.

These mower blades are primarily used for side discharge.

Medium Lift Blades

They have a lift generally between 3/4 to 15/16 inches.

The medium-lift blades are right in the middle between the low lift and high lift blades.

They create a decent amount of airflow and cut and do well across differently sized lawns.

High Lift Blades

The high lift blades have between 1 to 1-3/16 inch curve.

The high lift blades have a steeper blade curvature and as a result, create stronger suction.

The high lift blades are more efficient at lifting and collecting the grass clippings. This is why the high lift blades are frequently used for collecting and bagging. Overall, they create a cleaner cut compared to low-lift and standard blades.

One of the downsides to the high lift blades is that a more powerful engine is required.

High lift blades are great for cutting tall grass, but this will require a mower with even more horsepower.

On the negative side, high lift blades are not suitable for mulching.

Their primary purpose is to cut the grass and discharge it quickly. As a result, the grass clippings are larger and take more space in the bag.

These blades should not be used on sandy or dusty terrain. The dust and sand which the blades will lift can wear them out prematurely.

Extra-High Lift Blades

There are also extra high lift blades that can have a curvature of 1-1/4 inches and more.

These blades will create powerful airflow and suction of the clippings but will also require a very powerful engine to keep up with the increased demands.

Just like the high lift blades, these will perform well with tall grass but are not recommended for use on sandy or dusty terrain.

Notched Rolled High Lift Blades

The notched blades are very similar to the high lift blades. What differentiates them though, is the little notch located at the end of the lifted edge.

The Notched high lift design creates superior air suction and movement compared to the standard high lift blades.

These are great for lawns with taller and thicker grass. They can deal with slightly wet grass too.

These blades provide for better bagging capabilities compared to the standard high lift blades.

Notched Rolled Air Lift Blades

These are a slight variation to the standard notched rolled high lift blades.

They are not that much different but are more suited towards finer grass and improved bagging of the grass clippings.

Mulching Blades

The design of the mulching blades is very different compared to the standard blades.

The mulching blades have a wider cutting edge along the blade and have a very distinct curvature to them.

The blade is designed in a unique way so that it can lift the grass clippings and keep them in the deck, where the blades will continue cutting them into smaller pieces.

Mulching blades are lacking in suction, lifting, and discharge power compared to the standard blades and even the Gator blades. This can be either good or bad, depending on what effect you are trying to achieve.

Mulching blades are not recommended for use on overgrown lawns as this can clog the underside of the lawnmower.

Overall, mulching blades are not great for bagging and side discharge, but they can do a decent job if you are in a pinch.

A good example of this type of blades would be the Maxpower 561713XB, you can buy it on Amazon.

Of course, before you buy anything you should double check if the blade itself is compatible with your mower.

Gator (Toothed) Blades

Gator blades aim to combine several different features into one.

Gator blades can be used for mulching, bagging and side discharge (this is why they are referred to as 3-in-1 blades). They have a unique design where the curved part of the blade is cut into several teeth.

The serrated part of the blade usually has a bigger curve, which allows for better suction and lifting of the grass clippings compared to the standard mulching blades.

However, the teeth do not cut the clippings. Instead, they are used to direct and push the grass clippings into the center of the blade. Once there, the grass can be cut into even smaller pieces.

And since the teeth are not used for cutting, they do not need to be sharpened.

The Gator blades produce a very finely-cut mulch, which creates a more clean looking lawn. You will also have better bagging capacity due to the smaller clippings.

You can have excellent results mulching leaves too, as they will be rendered into very fine leaf powder.

Keep in mind that the grass clippings will be a lot smaller and thus will spread over a much smaller area when side-discharged.

The Gator blades are best used with shorter grass, although some people have reported good results with even taller grass. With that being said, this is the only aspect where the Gator blades usually underperform.

Some people have also reported that Gator blades can be a bit noisier too.

The Gator blades are like the jack of all trades of the lawnmower blades, but in a good way. These are considered some of the best all-around lawnmower blades.

If you want to give them a try, you can buy a set of Gator Fusion G5 3-In-1 Mulching Blades from Amazon here.

As always, make sure to buy blades that are appropriate for your mower.

Do Lawnmower Blades Have Different Dimensions?

Mower blades can be very different when it comes to their shape, dimensions, measurements, and the type of mounts.

These details are crucial when it comes to the different types of lawnmower blades, as not every single blade will be able to fit in every lawnmower.

For example:

  • The diagonal length of the blades can vary from 6 to 32 inches;
  • The width can range from 1.5 to 4.25 inches;
  • The thickness of the blade can range from 0.1 to 0.33 inches;
  • The number of holes on the blade can be either one or three and can come in different shapes; and
  • The blades that have the two outer holes will often require the use of a blade adapter, whereas a blade with just one center hole will not.

Are the Different Lawnmower Blades Made From Different Materials?

Nowadays, mower blades are different in the sense that they are typically made from softer low carbon high alloy steel.

The modern mower blades are durable, but making them softer allows them to bend if and when they hit a rock or a piece of wood.

The blades are purposefully designed to be soft because this makes using your lawnmower a lot safer.

If they are made of harder steel alloy, the blade will not bend but break and shatter.

And when we consider the fact that this can happen while the blades are spinning at extremely high RPMs, it can result in shrapnels of hard steel flying everywhere.

Is there a difference between the blades on one-blade and two-blade lawnmowers?

Design-wise almost all the different types of lawnmower blades can be used on both single blade and multi-blade lawnmowers

The only difference is usually going to be in the dimensions of the blades.

On multi-blade mowers, the blades usually need to overlap a little to produce clean and consistent cuts.

This means that the blades on a two-blade mower may be a little shorter compared to the blades found on a single-blade mower.

The different types of lawnmower blades are usually interchangeable, if the blade and the lawnmower mounts match.

Which one will be best for you will depend on your personal preferences, the type of lawnmower you have, and the lawn conditions.

Conversely, some blades may underperform depending on the type of mower you have.

For example, a mulching blade can be installed on a regular mower, but for it to do a decent mulching job, additional accessories have to be installed.

Peter Toth

Hi! I'm Peter, the owner of BackyardGadget. Working around the house has always been a big part of my life. I've created this site to share my experience, and to help people choose the right tools for the job. Thank you for stopping by!