Buying a mower
What's your budget? A good mower will cost between $300 and $500. Much like cars, mowers come with a variety of options that affect the price.
How long will your mower last? Mowers generally come with motors that list a life in terms of hours. Look at it this way: If you mow for an hour a week for 50 weeks a year, a mower with a 500-hour motor would last you up to 10 years.
Does horsepower matter? Horsepower is a traditional, macho consideration, but it needn't enter the power picture. For most quality manufacturers, horsepower is the last thing they determine.
Care and feeding
Make sure the bottom of the lawn mower is clean. Get in the habit of cleaning it before you store it.
Get the dipstick and check the oil. This should be done at least once a year.
Look the mower over. Is it in good working condition? Are all the bolts tight? If something needs lubricating, don't use motor oil, which only attracts dirt and dust.
Remove the spark plug. Check the blade. It doesn't have to be razor sharp, but it should be smooth with a good edge. If it has nicks, cuts or gouges, have it professionally sharpened.
Fill the mower with fresh gas and push the primer button. If you've primed it properly, it should start within two to five tries. Otherwise, it may need service. After you mow, let the machine cool before rinsing it and storing it in a dry place.
Move in one direction for half the year and switch directions for the other half. Repeated mowing causes small ruts to form and changing direction can prevent a rippled appearance.
Depending on the weather and what kind of grass you have, try to mow once a week.
Don't cut the grass when it's wet. While sprinklers are healthy for your lawn, never mow right after watering. You'll be awash in grass clumps and the result will probably look ugly because you won't get a clean cut.