balance lawn mower blades

How To Balance Lawn Mower Blades And Why It’s Important

Having a neat and tidy lawn is a goal for most homeowners. But you’ll only achieve this if you’re using the right equipment.

A lawnmower that isn’t well maintained won’t cut the grass as neatly or perfectly as one that is well taken care of.

One of the things you will need to do to look after your lawn mower is to balance the mower blade. But a lot of people wonder how to balance lawn mower blades and why they even need to in the first place. This guide explains it all.

Balancing your lawn mower blade is an essential part of your mower maintenance. Later, we will explain why it’s so important to do this. But first, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to do.

Tools You’ll Need

  • Grinder, file or a sharpening stone
  • Steel brush
  • Safety goggles
  • Blade Holder
  • Socket wrench
  • Safety gloves

Remove The Blade

Before you get started on anything else, you’re going to need to remove the blade from the mower. To do this, you’ll have to tip the mower onto its side but you must ensure that you do this correctly otherwise fuel and oil may get into the filters.

To avoid this, make sure that, when the mower is tilted, the air filter and carburetor are pointing upwards.

Take the blade in one hand, wearing safety gloves and use your wrench to undo the screw that holds the blade in place. You should then simply be able to lift it off.

remove the blades

Clean Off Debris

Now is a good opportunity to clean the mower blade and you can do this with your steel brush. Simply brush off any debris, dirt and rust and check the blade over for any damage. If you do happen to notice any, you may need to purchase and install a new blade.

Check The Blade Balance

The next step is to check the blade balance. When you do this, you essentially need to figure out which side is the heaviest.

If you notice that one side appears to dip then this tells you that it needs to be altered which will balance the blade. In some cases, you might notice that the blade doesn’t dip to either side which tells you that it’s already balanced.

Set The Blade Down

If you do need to alter the blade, you’ll need either a sharpening stone, a file or a grinder. The idea is to remove material from the side that dips. Do this gradually and keep checking to see whether it is now in balance.

You’ll know when this is as the blade won’t dip to either side. However, there are times that mower blades have a very significant imbalance. If this is the case, it is possible to file a small notch at the back of the blade as this will help you take away more material.

Reinstall The Blade

Once you are happy with the balance of your blade, you’ll need to reinstall it. To do this take hold of the blade and keep it steady with one hand while you insert the bolt. Tighten this using your wrench but be careful to make sure that it is sufficiently tightened. If it isn’t then the mower won’t perform as well as you would like. What’s more, loose blades can mess with the engine which can cause further problems.

Why Is It Important To Balance Your Mower Blades?

If your mower blades are not balanced then you will notice that it doesn’t perform as expected. In fact, something as small as an off-center blade can cause some pretty significant issues. But by keeping on top of mower maintenance, you can ensure that your machine cuts your grass cleanly and efficiently. What’s more, with balanced blades, it won’t take anywhere near as long to cut the grass.

You might notice that, when you use your lawnmower, the edges of the grass look ragged or uneven. Sometimes, areas of the grass may turn brown after mowing and this is almost always because of a dodgy lawn mower.

important to balance the blade

Other things that signify that the lawn mower blades need to be balanced are to do with how it operates. If you notice that the mower becomes shaky when running, that’s a clear sign something is amiss. You could ignore the problem but this is only going to shorten the lifespan of your mower.

If you want your lawn mower to perform at its best then you’ll need to make sure that you keep your blades sharpened and well balanced. These two things have to be done together as you just cannot balance the blade if you don’t sharpen it as well.

How Often Should You Balance Lawn Mower Blades?

  1. Using some pliers: you can use needle nose pliers to test the balance of the mower blade. They work in a similar way to a benchtop balancer and all you need to do is place the tip of the pliers through the hole in the blade and look at whether there is a tilt.
  2. Using a screwdriver: Take a screwdriver and either hold it in your hand or pop it in a vice. Put the mower blade onto the screwdriver through the center hole and assess the balance.
  3. Nail in the wall method: a lot of people use the nail in the wall method and all you’ll need is a nail and a hammer. Hammer your nail into the wall and hang the mower blade onto this through the central hole. Again check which, if any, is the heavier side and work on the blade accordingly.
  4. Using a socket extension: to do this you will need a ½ inch socket extension but just make sure that it is longer than the blade is wide. Place the extension down and put the blade perpendicularly on top. Slowly roll the extension and if the blade is balanced, it will balance as you roll the extension, if it isn’t, it will tip to one side.

Different Types Of Lawn Mower Blades

There is not just one type of blade for a lawn mower and it’s useful to understand the differences as each type is better suited to certain jobs. When you use the right kind of blade for your lawn mower, you will notice that the mowing results are much more favorable. Moreover, using an incorrect blade could result in damage to the mower which is not something that we want!

The features of a blade such as the thickness, material and size will vary between manufacturers but you’ll normally find that you have a good choice of blades. Generally, blades are designed for discharging, mulching or bagging. Some are designed to do all of these things whereas others are designed specifically for one or the other.

Make sure that, when choosing a blade for your lawn mower, you check that it is compatible. Most of the time this will mean looking at the correct size and where the attachment holes are situated.

different types of blades

Low Lift Blades

If you have a shorter lawn or one that grows on sandy soil then you might want to use a low lift blade. Normally, you’ll see these on lawn mowers with a side discharge chute.

A low lift blade features a slight curve which ensures air flow isn’t too high. These curves also ensure that, as the grass blades exit the chute, there isn’t a whole lot of dust and debris flying around.

Low lift blades have low suction which also helps with keeping that dust and debris under control. They don’t put a huge strain on the engine which is great news for those who want to keep their mower running smoothly for as long as possible.

High Lift Blades

Compared to a low lift blade, a high lift blade has much more prominent curves at the end. This means that they create high suction power which is ideal if you’re using a mower with a collection bag or box.

What’s more, the design and high suction means that there is less chance of clogging as the grass travels into the collection vessel. You’ll also notice that these blades deliver a very neat and clean cut.

Deck Blades

Deck blades are sometimes called standard blades and these are what you’ll usually find on a lawn mower when it is first purchased. The blade has a slightly curved edge and allows a consistent flow of air which promotes good suction and cutting action.

These blades are ideal for propelling grass clippings out from the deck and also work well when mulching.

A lot of people favor deck blades as they have a long lifespan. They’ll cut very well and are often used by people who don’t mow as often. Plus, they’re pretty much universal and very easy to install.

Mulching Blades

Sometimes, you may hear people calling this an all purpose blade and it’s great because it works for mulching, bagging, and side discharge. This is all down to the curved surface.

When running, the blade lifts the grass and then cuts it. But before the clippings are expelled, they circle around the deck and are chopped into much finer pieces. When this is done, the air pressure on the inside of the blade sends the clippings out of the deck.

One of the main benefits of mulching blades is that you can deliver the grass clippings back to the lawn where they will act as a natural fertilizer. These clippings contain important nutrients for your lawn and go a long way in keeping it healthy, lush and green.

3-in-1 Or Gator Blades

If you need the benefits of a low lift blade, a medium lift blade and a high lift blade but all in one then a 3-in-1 blade might be what you’re looking for. They have serrated edges at the ends and this design allows for more versatile cutting.

One of the great things about gator blades, aside from their ability to create optimal airflow, is how long they stay sharp. If you want something low maintenance, this is an option worth considering.

Final Thoughts

Mowing your lawn can feel like hard work but if your mower is properly maintained, things get a whole lot easier. One of the things you need to do when taking care of your lawn mower is balance the blades but a lot of people wonder how to balance lawn mower blades.

It’s not a difficult task but you will need to make sure that you use appropriate safety equipment, because, as we know, those blades are sharp and can cause injuries if you aren’t careful.

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Andrew Fisher

Andrew Fisher

Andrew is a dedicated father of three who really takes pride in his lawn and garden. You'll find Andrew behind the scenes of almost everything Edge Your Lawn produces. When he's not helping readers find all the information they need, he's in his backyard working on his lawn and garden landscaping. This year he hopes to build an outdoor deck and sort out his veg patches.