Knowing how much time you need to mow your lawn will make your daily planning much easier to follow. After all, you do not want to disturb your neighbors any longer than you have to. Mowing time is also a crucial factor when it comes to buying the right model. So, how do you calculate this time for each lawn?
First, divide your entire lawn into lanes by dividing the length of the lawn by the width of your mower deck. Then, divide the length with the mower speed, and you’ll get the time for cutting each lane. Finally, multiply this by the number of lanes, and you’ll get the time it takes to mow the entire lawn.
Now, your mowing time will depend on several factors and will greatly vary for different mower types. Therefore, it might seem a bit confusing to figure out the time for your lawn.
That is why, in this article, we will take you through the step-by-step process of calculating the mowing time for each type of mower.
Types of Lawn Mowers
It is best to know the different types of mowers available out there before buying one. Because the time it will take you to mow your lawn will differ noticeably with each type. Without further delay, here are the common mower types you can find on the market.
Zero-turn mowers are well ahead of their competitors when it comes to speed. They can mow an acre of lawn in less than an hour when using a standard residential model. Big, commercial ZTR mowers can go even faster and have wider decks, making their cutting time significantly shorter. You can bring this time down to 10 to 15 minutes by using the largest variety of ZTR mowers. Although, that will prevent you from reaching small spaces or turning a tight corner. Therefore, these are better for very large areas and open fields.
On the flip side, some push mowers can get the job done anywhere between one to two hours. Of course, this is considering that you can mow non-stop and without much fatigue.
Lawn tractors with no zero-turn feature revolve somewhere in the middle. They have a wider cutting area than push mowers but are slower than ZTRs. But, you can still cut your lawn at a decent rate.
How Fast Can You Mow Depending on Your Mower’s Type?
|Mower Deck Width (Inch)
|Time per Acre
You have to propel these mowers manually without external support. Their mower deck (the part that cuts the grass) usually ranges from 16 to 22 inches.
This sort of mower is best suited for smaller-sized lawns and for reaching narrow spaces. They are a lot cheaper, although they require more physical labor. With push mowers, the cutting speed depends almost entirely on your physical condition.
These mowers can either run on electricity or batteries. Regardless of the power source used, they can move on their own, without you pushing them. All you have to do is steer it to make sure it is going in the right direction.
Because of their automatic nature, self-propelled mowers are far superior to push mowers in terms of speed and power.
Riding mowers are those you can drive like golf carts or tractors. They are, however, different from tractors in regards to the positioning of the blades.
These models are very helpful when you have a large area to cover. So, you will frequently see them in a sports arena or golf course, for example.
Zero-turn Mowers (ZTR)
This is the variety of riding mowers we just discussed. The main asset of ZTRs is that they can turn corners in a very small space. So, the maneuverability with these mowers is a big appeal. You can easily get into tight spaces and much closer to the place you want to cut.
Lawn tractors also are riding mowers, but with a key difference. Here, the blades are located near the middle of the vehicle, whereas on riding mowers, the blades are located under the front deck.
Which Factors Determine the Mowing Time?
Multiple factors do. Sometimes, it can also come down to your physical condition, particularly with manual mowers. However, the factors below are common for all types of mowers.
Size of the Mower’s Deck
The mower’s deck is the part that encases the blades so that they do not touch anything other than the grass. You will typically see this part in the front of most mowers. Tractors, on the other hand, have them more centrally located.
The width of this deck determines how wide of an area you can cut with each passing. Thus, the wider the deck, the wider your mower’s reach. That is why large mowers require less time to cut your lawn. Of course, they are also more expensive and harder to maneuver.
Size and Shape of the Lawn
Saying that larger lawns will require more time to mow is stating the obvious. But the shape of the lawn also plays an important role.
It is much easier when you have a wide, open lawn to operate in, with little to no obstructions. In this case, all you have to do is go in a straight line and make the occasional turn when you reach the edge.
But let’s say the lawn has curves or slopes at irregular intervals or that there are physical obstructions in your way. You would need to account for these inconveniences and make adjustments, which will most likely cost you more time and effort.
Speed of the Mower
A mower’s speed differs substantially from a kind of mower to another. Typically, a mower with a stronger engine will cut grass at a faster rate.
But, the speed also relies on the size and sharpness of the blades, as well as the power to weight ratio for a given mower.
Keep in mind that this only applies to push mowers, which require a great deal of physical strength to maneuver. The speed, in this instance, depends on how fast you can push, how efficiently you can turn around a corner, etc.
How Long Does It Take to Mow an Acre, per Mower Type?
Now, let’s take a look at the mowing time based on each type of lawn mower. The biggest distinction among different mower types is their speeds, and their speed will be determined by a few factors, such as engine power, weight, etc.
Another determining factor is the width of the mower deck, which determines how wide of an area you can cut with each step. Taking all these into account, here is the mowing time for some of the common sizes of mowers of various types:
To keep the calculation simple, we first need to convert the value of each variable to the same unit. Here, we used inch as the standard unit and converted all other values accordingly.
These are the variables we have to work with:
- Width of the mower deck (in inches)
- Number of lanes in an acre
- Length of each lane (in inches)
- Speed of the mower (in inches/hour)
Once you have the values for each variable, use this equation to find out the time needed:
- Number of lanes = Width of the lawn ÷ Width of the mower deck
- Time = (Length of each lane ÷ Speed of the mower) × Number of lanes
If you follow these steps correctly, you will obtain the time it takes to cut each lane, as well as the whole lawn.
For convenience, we assumed the following factors to get the results showcased in the table:
- The lawn is a perfect square with no obstacles.
- Each lane is similar in width to the mower deck with a 10% overlap.
- The mower works at maximum speed for the entire duration.
- The turnaround is negligible for push mowers and lawn tractors that have no zero-turn facility.
Obviously, these criteria will not match with every single lawn. So, you have to take these into consideration and properly measure your lawn to obtain the correct result. However, the steps and formula are pretty much the same for any lawn.
Push mowers have a maximum speed of 3 to 4 mph, and their deck ranges from 22 to 30 inches. This gives push mowers a cutting time of a couple of hours.
So, with a standard push mower, you can cut about 0.6 acres per hour. Given that the average lawn is around a quarter of an acre, you can expect to finish mowing in half an hour or so.
The pace will go down if you decide to take a break or find obstacles on the lawn.
Riding mowers can go much faster because they are self-propelled. With those, you can trim an acre of lawn in 30 to 50 minutes. Therefore, a standard lawn should take you about 10-15 minutes.
Those mowers are faster than push mowers, but there is a trade-off. With a push mower, you can carefully trim every inch of grass. Although this will be more draining, you can ensure the quality of the cut.
With riding mowers, you need to track back if you miss a spot by accident. You also cannot reach certain narrow areas, particularly with the larger variety of ride-on mowers.
It is easily the quickest way for you to cut your lawn. A ZTR provides you with the convenience of a ride-on mower but shortens the required time significantly since turning corners or a rough spot with a ZTR does not consume as much time as with tractors or other riding mowers.
With a ZTR, you can clear out an entire acre in less than 10 minutes if the lawn is in pristine shape. So, most lawn owners can mow their lawns in a few minutes with practically no hassle.
Gas & Electric Mowers
This classification is purely based on the power source of the mower. Gas mowers run on an internal combustion engine that generates a lot of noise and power. These are comfortably faster than battery-powered or electric mowers.
On the other hand, you will find electric mowers easier to maneuver into tight corners and spaces, especially battery-powered ones.
How to Mow Faster?
Now, not everyone can afford a riding or zero-turn mower, and not everyone needs one either. You can get by perfectly with a push mower or electric walk-behind model if you know what you are doing.
Although these options may be slower, they will give you more time to efficiently mow your lawn. Plus, you may apply a few tricks to speed up the mowing process, regardless of the type of mower you are employing.
Start With the Features First
We based our comparison of different mowers on a perfectly square lawn with no obstacles. But in reality, there will always be special features in most lawns, such as a flower bed, walkway, or any other decoration.
Thus, it is better to clear these areas before getting into any pattern. Otherwise, you will need to readjust your mower every time you near these places, which will take a lot of time.
Mow in a Pattern
One of the most common and efficient ways of mowing lawns is in a row pattern, where you divide the lawn into multiple lanes. This works perfectly with lawns that have a definite shape with minimal obstructions in the middle.
However, a circular pattern can better suit some lawns, especially round ones. Turning is much easier with this method, particularly around trees and other structures. You can start with the edges, as doing so will give you more space and freedom to move your mower around.
Let the Grass Dry Up
This is a mistake people make when they first start to maintain their lawns. They try to get ahead by mowing their turf very early in the morning, sometimes at 6 or 7 a.m. The problem is that your grass will be very wet at that time because of the due it collects overnight, and wet grass is notoriously difficult to cut.
Thus, we recommend you wait until it is 8 or 9 a.m. before taking out your mower. This will allow sunlight to evaporate most of the moisture. Fresh, dry grass is easier to cut and will neither clog your equipment nor create clumps in the yard.
Choose the Right Mower
If you have the right mower at your disposal, you can trim your lawn efficiently and quickly. You do not have to overshoot your budget by purchasing a bigger one that you do not need.
First, consider the size of your lawn. If it is between ¼ of an acre or below, a push or electric walk-behind mower is ideal. It will give you plenty of maneuverability in a small area without consuming too much of your time.
However, if your lawn is between 1 to 2 acres, it is best to go with a self-propelled model. Ride-on mowers are easier to use, but you can save money by picking a powerful electric mower instead. Now, if the area is 3-4 acres or bigger, we recommend you go with a tractor or a zero-turn mower. This most applies to big residential areas or sports arenas.
Then, you should look at the shape of your lawn and how many features it has. If it is a small or medium-sized lawn with many features, you are better off using a walk-behind mower.
Maintain Your Mower Properly
A determining reason why your mower takes a long time to mow may be that you have not taken care of it properly. As with any equipment, you have to do regular check-ups and repairs to keep it in top shape.
The blades on your mower will greatly impact how quickly and effectively you cut the grass. If they have become rusty or loose, they will leave uncut grass all over the place. This will, in turn, cost you time and effort.
So, make sure the blades are always clean and sharp. To do so, clean the discharge chute and air filter, and oil the gears regularly.
Mowing the lawn is one of the hardest parts of being a lawn owner. But with the right mower and proper maintenance and planning, you can save valuable time and effort.