There may be 2 feet of snow still on the ground here in Chicago, but it is March and spring is coming. It’s time to get all your lawn and garden toys ready for spring. Some of you may want to replace an existing mower and some of you are new to the pleasures of home ownership. The hot thing for 2014 will be Lithium Ion power , AWD and Hybrid technology. We will have reviews on some of these products, but for right now here is a list of the new products you will be seeing in 2014.
Cordless Lithium Ion Mowers – Small Yards –
For those who have small properties, don’t want to deal with the maintenance of gas or just want to be more environmentally friendly. Electric mower generally have a single handle to adjust the cutting height. They are quiet and generally easy to operate. Good brands to look out for are Greenworks and Worx. This year there are newcomers from EGO and Kobalt to boost up the competition. Look at what other garden tools you are going to use and see if they share the same battery platform as the mower. A shared battery has many advantages. The ease of use factor comes in to play also because the lack of a gasoline powered engine. 5 year warranties are aplenty with these mowers. Electric motors generally have awesome torque so cutting long grass should not be an issue. Battery power will generally last for the average sized yard. Anything bigger may require an extra battery or charge.
Gas Powered Mowers – Small to medium sized yards –
Gas powered mowers are good for almost anyone. They require fresh fuel and maintenance. They are also louder an electric mower. Todays gas mowers are quieter and much easier to start than ever before. In the 80’s and 90s everyone wanted a reliable Honda motor for their mower. Today pretty much any engine you get will be reliable like a Honda without the premium cost. This year we will really see the push of the AWD (All Wheel Drive) mower. For hills and inclines AWD is the perfect fit. The mower will practically pull you up the hill. If you want a mower that will last, look for the lower cost units that have less bell and whistles on them. They have less to break and will be more reliable over time. Good gas mower brands are Husqvarna, Troy-Bilt and Craftsman. If you let your grass grow long and procrastinate cutting I would suggest getting a higher horsepower motor to deal with the stress.
Zero Turn Mower – Big yards –
Zero turns are usually for over an acre and generally are the fastest mowers you can get. They give you unparalleled control and are fun to operate. It takes a while to learn how to control a zero turn properly so you do not damage your yard when turning. You need to operate them with both hands on the bars at all times. John Deere, Husqvarna and Troy-Bilt all make good zero turn mowers.
Articulating Rider – Big yards –
The articulating rider is very common in Europe. It’s big advantage is that it can cut under things like bushes and trees. The front deck extends past the unit and easily pops up for cleaning. Articulating riders from Husqvarna also have attachments like snow blowers, brooms and plows that can be easily attached. It takes a bit to get used to this style of mowing. Once you do, you will never go back. Control and comfort triumph here. We are currently are reviewing this unit.
Lawn tractor or Garden Tractor – Yes, there is a difference –
Lawn tractors generally are for just mowing and light towing. Garden tractors are more heavy duty and usually include bigger HP motors and beefier transmissions. If you plan on just mowing get a lawn tractor. If you plan on hauling and pulling ground engaging equipment, get a garden tractor. This year Husqvarna and Craftsman are releasing a keyed touchpad starter system. Pedal hydrostatic models are easy to operate and is a great feature to look for.
Hybrid ATV Mower Generator –
Hybrids must be cool because everyone who is cool in Hollywood drives them on their way to their private jets. The Raven pretty much started the Hybrid ATV mower market with the short lived MPV-710. For 2014 they are releasing a new and improved model the Raven MPV-7100. This new and improved Raven is sure to turn some heads this season.