Types of lawn mower blades

What’s the difference between high-lift and mulching lawn mower blades?

Here’s an overview of the two main types of lawn mower blades:

1. High-lift blades (a.k.a. standard blades or 2-in-1 or two-in-one blades).

High-lift blades are the most commonly used blades for push and riding lawn mowers. Their “high-lift” design allows for greater airflow, enabling cleaner cutting and faster discharging of the grass clippings back to the lawn or into a bag.

Note that high-lift blades are not an option if your lawn mower exclusively mulches or if you’ve installed a mulching kit on it (mulching kits provide lawn mowers with mulching ability).

2. Mulching blades (a.k.a. all-purpose blades or 3-in-1 blades or three-in-one blades).

Mulching blades are designed for push or riding lawn mowers that mulch clippings. Mulching blades cut the grass and then chop the clippings into finer pieces. This mulching enables faster grass decomposition so your lawn will reap the benefits of the nutrients sooner.

Mulching blades are more curved in design than high-lift blades and often include more cutting surfaces for their mulching work.

Older lawn mower models may use a mulching blade that’s really a pair of blades affixed together in a perpendicular fashion. Newer lawn mower models use a more advanced design in which a single mulching blade accomplishes the job.

How do you know what type of blade is best for your lawn mower?

  • Carefully read your lawn mower owner’s manual for detailed instructions.
  • Enter your lawn mower model number at RepairClinic.com for the blades recommended specifically for your model.

We do not recommend universal blades designed to fit multiple models, due to safety concerns associated with poor fitting.

Important lawn mower blade care tips

  • Regularly check blades for damage, bends and dullness. A damaged and dull blade can cause debris to be propelled at high speeds. Replace as needed.
  • Blades should be replaced every year or two, depending on usage. Replacement blades are inexpensive and easy to install.
  • Make sure blades are always sharp. Dull blades tear grass, rather than cut. This results in a yellow hue across lawn’s tips. Blades can be sharpened at small engine repair shops and home improvement stores. Blades wear over time so be sure to carefully inspect the blades for damage before having them sharpened. We’ve found that it’s often safer and more cost effective to simply replace the blades in lieu of sharpening.

Before removing and replacing blades or any other part, read the owner’s manual for specific instructions.

Related information

Things to consider when shopping for a new push lawn mower

What to do if you tip over your lawn mower and then it won’t start

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What to do if your lawn mower won’t start

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