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Difference Between Mulching Blades and High-Lift Blades

​The performance of your lawn mower depends on several factors. One of which is its blades. Lawn mower blades are the most essential component of the equipment when it comes to cutting off the grass. Its sharpness, shape, and thickness determine how the grass should be cut. Therefore, paying proper attention to what blades you are to use for your lawn mowers is vital to have a clean-cut lawn. The type of lawn mower blades you are to choose should also be suitable for your cutting needs as there are different kinds of blades and how should they be used to function well.

Two of the most commonly used blades are mulching blade and high lift blade. Now, what exactly are their differences?

Design. High-lift blades are a specialized blade for lawn mowers. It is designed to have larger wind wings. These wings are about 1 inch to 1 and 3/16 inches in size. Since high-lift blades are longer than the usual blades, these blades have a larger angle with respect to the ground. The angles on the corners of the blades create the illusion of a "high-lift" hence, the name of the blade. High-lift blades are composed only of a two-blade layout that can easily be seen underneath the mower deck.

Meanwhile, mulching blades are also a specialized type of blade but have a curved design. These blades have two distinct cutting planes along the blade's edge. Some other old-style mulching mowers have two perpendicular blades that are incorporated into the design.

Mechanism. High-lift blades are also known as the standard lawn mower blades. These are often called 2-in-1 blades since these blades are commonly used for discharging and bagging grass clippings. The high inclination made by the high-lift blades allow the air and clippings to be lifted during mowing. The blade lifts the collected grass clippings and guides them along a discharge until it makes its way in a removable bag.

While high-lift blades are intended for lifting the air and grass clippings during mowing, mulching blades are designed for creating a fine layer of evenly distributed clippings that return nutrients to the lawn. This means that the grass of your lawn is cut, but the shape of the cutting deck keeps the clippings up in the air above the cutting blades. Afterward, these clippings are dropped and are re-cut. Then, the vacuum created by the blades should be able to force down the grass clippings into the ground to break down quickly to provide nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphates to the lawn. Due to this kind of mechanism wherein the by-products of the clippings are returned back to the soil that the mulching lawn mower blades got its 3-in-1 usage term. These blades are not only used to cut and discharge but can also mulch as well. However, mulching blades cannot give the same type of light and discharge power as high-light blades.

Airflow. Due to its cutting blade design, the high-lift blade handles larger amounts of air into its system. Mulching mowers have a re-circulating airflow since some of the air being introduced into the cutting deck area are used again as a vacuum to push down the clippings. It is important to take note that when it comes to discharging grass clippings, a high-lift blade has a higher efficiency than a mulching blade.

Dealing with grass clippings. High-lift blades create a high amount of energy or suction. This force can discharge grass clippings out of the mower at a greater rate than mulching blades. When high-lift blades are attached to a side-discharge mower, this can result into clippings being thrown farther away side-discharge mowers with low-lift blades. This will reduce clumps of grass on the lawn and also reduces the chance of grass and leaves from clogging under the mower deck. High-lift blades is also

grass-clippings

​a better choice if you prefer that the clippings would be thrown away than mulched. This is beneficial if for a cleaner and sharper-looking lawn. As clippings are removed, this can also reduce debris from the lawn. High-lift blades are also recommended for lawns that are not mowed frequently. This is due to the length and inclination of the blades that can also cut overgrown and dense grasses without clogging the mower deck.

The use of mulching blades is highly recommended if natural fertilization is to be employed and added into the lawn. With mulching blades, instead of bagging these right away, these are recycled back into the soil to give the trimmed lawn nutrients. By doing so, it can be said that mulching is an environmentally friendly way to deal with grass clippings.

You cannot use a mulching blade if you are to bag lawn clippings. This is because a bagging blade has a bend or a wing at the back that is designed to create a greater airflow to direct glass clipping into the bag. Now, this will depend on which type of lawn mower do you have. Most of the walk-behind mowers have combination blades, which can cater to all modes without changing the blade. The lawn mowers that is recommended for mulching blades, however, have a unique design for the double cutting action needed for good mulching. If you are to employ bagging with mulching blades, then this could reduce bag filling.

So, if you prefer to bag the grass clippings, it is best that you have a lawnmower suitable for high-lift blades. On the other hand, if you don't mind not getting that perfectly-manicured lawn and would want to have a healthier-looking lawn without adding any other chemicals as fertilizers, then it would be best to have a lawnmower that can go with mulching blades.

Power requirement. High-lift blades will need a higher power requirement than most of the standard blades. If the lawn mower cannot supply the specific power requirement these high-lift blades need, then it would be difficult for the mower set-up to cut the grass properly. Also, this can result in premature wear and tear of the mower engine and components.

lawn-mower-power

It is recommended that high-lift blades should be used with mowers that have a higher power capacity.

​Mulching blades, on the other hand, is more suitable if the lawn mower engine has a lower power capacity. These blades use up less horsepower than high-lift blades as the airflow is recycled back into the system. These blades also do not focus on the lifting of grass clippings, therefore reducing the power requirement.

Maintenance. Since high-lift blades are more exposed and in contact with high longer grasses and debris due to its blade design, these blades should be regularly inspected and maintained. These blades are usually made of metal which can be prone to corroding after some time. If there are signs of wearing, the blades should be replaced immediately to avoid further damage of the lawn mower equipment. For mulching blades, these can wear down a little bit faster than the high-lift or standards blades because of its more exceptional cutting design and lower overall lift that can be more prone to clogging.

The frequency of use. Since high-lift blades can cater to overgrown grass, these blades are more suitable for lawns that are not mowed frequently. Mulching blades, on the other hand, needs to be used in lawns that are cut every three to four days due to the grass clippings' tendency to clog under the cutting deck and on the piles of grass on the lawn.

Downsides. High-lift blades are not recommended for sandy or dusty soil conditions. Particles such as dust or san can be sucked into the deck will accelerate the wearing on the blades and the equipment. Mulching blades, on the other hand, are not suitable for overgrown grass as this can result in clogging under the deck and piles of grass on the cut lawn.

Summary:

It has been shown that there are quite a number of differences when it comes to high-lift and mulching blades. There are a lot of factors to consider - the power capacity of the lawn mower engine, type of lawn mower, kind of grass that should be cut (if these are overgrown or not), maintenance, state of the ground (whether it is sandy or not), the frequency of mowing, and your preference on how you should deal with the grass clippings.

​Both of the blades have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. At the same time, it gives you the variety of which to use for your lawn, depending on what you have and your needs. It is essential that in choosing the right blade, you should be able to consider its possible effects to your lawnmower, as well.
  • January 3, 2019
Leslie J. Shearer
 

Gardening is my passion and I have a deep relationship with nature. Growing plants and digging deep to germinate flowers and vegetables brings positivity in my life. With this blog, I hope I will be able to share my wonderful gardening experiences with the interested readers.

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