Which Mower Blade Should You Use?

Are you using the right blades for your mower? Depending on the soil and the type of mowing you do, your current blades may be limiting your mower’s performance. Here’s what you need to know to select the right blades, whether you’re mulching, bagging or using your deck’s discharge chute.

How Does a Mower Blade Work?

Mower blades have two functions: create vacuum and slice through grass. Vacuum pulls the grass straight, so the blade can cut each piece to the same length. Increasing the surface area of the blade helps it cut more grass with each pass.


To mulch grass, the blades have to make enough vacuum to keep grass clippings in the mowing chamber. With each cut, the clipping floats up, then falls back down to be cut again. Once the clipping is small enough, the air pressure can’t keep it from falling below the blade and onto the ground.
High lift blades are twisted, like a fan blade. This keeps the grass in the mowing chamber as long as possible. Honda’s Twin Blade mowers use two blades stacked on top of each other. This cuts the grass twice in the first pass, and twice with each pass through the mowing chamber. Other mower manufacturers use blades with jagged edges. They only cut once on the first pass, but they can cut multiple times with each additional pass.

Side Discharge Blades

The less the mower has to cut, the less power and mowing chamber space it needs. Side discharge blades have almost flat sides. This moves air toward the ends of the blade, instead of up into the mowing chamber. These are great for cutting thick grass. You can still mulch clippings with these blades by making a second pass over the lawn.

Bagging Blades

These are shaped like mulching blades, side discharge blades or something in between. A side discharge profile helps throw grass into the bag, while a mulching blade slices up clippings, making them more compact. Some manufacturers offer “2-in-1” blades with profiles and edge designs to cover bagging and either mulching or side discharge.

Blades for Sandy and Rocky Soil

Sand and rocks are hard on blades. Soil with high sand content erodes blade surfaces, and the resulting dust can cause respiratory problems. Sandy soil blades have hardened edges that are resistant to sand, and have a low lift profile to minimize dust.
Marbain blades use a tempering process that gives them a hard surface that’s resistant to impacts. This makes them ideal for rocky soil. Scag fits all of their mowers with these blades, while versions are available for other mowers.

Do You Need New Blades for Your Mower?

When you need parts and service for your mower, go to Shank’s Lawn Equipment. We’re an authorized dealer for most major mowing brands, including Cub Cadet, Honda, Wright, Scag and Exmark. Our shop is at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. We also ship OEM parts and accessories for the brands we carry across the United States and Canada. Visit us at www.shankslawn.com.

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