Mowers are used to cut grass, plants, small trees, and other ground-based vegetation. These machines include dedicated mowing machines and attachment boom, flail, and deck mowers.
Mowers are powered either by an internal combustion engine or by a rechargeable battery.
- Engine-powered mowers use gasoline or diesel fuel and are the standard for larger, higher output mowers. They have a longer range of use and quicker refueling/reuse capabilities than electric mowers. The disadvantages are exhaust pollution and higher repair costs.
- Electric mowers use rechargeable batteries or power cords to operate. They offer instant torque for quick response and acceleration, low repair costs, and no pollution. They suffer from short range and long charge times.
Mowers can cut grass using booms, cylinder cutting, or rotary cutting.
- Cylinder mowers utilize a multi-blade continuous helix and a base blade to which the rotating helix guides the grass for clean and even cutting. They are generally used for high quality lawn care. These mechanisms provide a cleaner cut, but are generally more expensive than similarly-sized rotary mowers.
- Rotary mowers utilize blades mounted to a shaft that rotate at high speeds to cut grass. These designs are more simple than cylinder designs and thus tend to cost less. They are also more versatile better suited for larger and more diverse (rough) terrain.
- Boom mowers utilize are blades or cutting mechanisms attached to or dragged behind the mower. Many are mounted by long hydraulic arms and are suited for mowing banks and hillsides where the tractor or vehicle stays on level ground. The mower or tractor vehicle typically provides power and control for the boom attachment.
There are also some less common cutting designs such as flails which utilize small blades on the ends of chains attached horizontally to a rotating axis.
A mower must also be selected to the size and power output required for the application. The size and cutting width are important for optimizing cutting efficiency based on land size and grass type. The mower must provide a suitable cutting height or range of heights. Horsepower is important in determining a mower's blade and drive speed, as well as its torque when climbing steep sections and under load. For push-mowers and mowers that must be transported, weight is an important consideration as well.