If you live in a home with a yard, you probably use at least one kind of grass cutter to keep your yard looking tidy. Grass cutters have different intended uses and come in many types and sizes, but they all have roughly the same use: to keep the grass trimmed. Whatever your grass-cutting needs, a tool stands ready to help you do it. Choosing the right grass cutter for the task makes the work easier and leads to satisfying results.
Lawnmowers are the most common kind of grass cutter that most homeowners use. Mowers may be rotary types, where blades swirl horizontal to the ground, or reel mowers where blades cut vertically. Typically gas or electric powered, rotary mowers may be self-propelled or rely on manpower to make them move. For large areas, reel mowers are pulled behind lawn tractors. Smaller versions are manually pushed across lawns. Lawnmowers are designed to keep grass cut short, but a good rule is to never cut off more than one-third of the height of your grass. Most mowers have levers that allow you to raise or lower the mowing blades to cut the grass to your desired length.
Edge trimmers are a common style of grass cutter, used primarily along edges of your lawn and areas that a lawnmower cannot reach. They feature a gas or electric motor and a spindle that spins a piece of hard plastic line that cuts grass off when the line hits the grass. Some heavy-duty trimmers are equipped with cutting blades, but these are geared toward cutting thick brush rather than the grasses cut with edge trimmers. People often use the term "whipper-snipper" to describe this useful grass-cutting tool.
If you want your yard to appear meticulous, you may make use of a set of handheld grass shears. These manual grass cutters or trimmers work as large, scissor-like devices for trimming your grass. While it's impractical to cut the entire lawn with this type of tool, they are useful for cutting the edges of your lawn, especially next to patios or close around trees or gardens. This prevents accidental damage that can be caused by mowers and trimmers. Manual grass shears work best with sharp, clean blades. Operate them in the same manner you would a large pair of scissors.
If you want to tear up your lawn and seed or re-sod it, a sod cutter will make the work easier. Homeowners don't typically own sod cutters, because they aren't needed on a regular basis. Instead, sod cutters can be rented from garden centers or equipment rental stores. Sod cutters look like a cross between a lawnmower and a tiller. They have sharp, spinning blades that cut through the grass and its roots, lifting up large strips so you can roll them up and remove them. Sod cutters work for removing grass for new garden spaces or preparing for a new lawn.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.