The Arnold Deluxe Universal Dethatching Blade for Walk-Behind Mowers is our choice for one of the best lawn mower blades, mostly because it takes the guesswork out of choosing between a discharging and mulching blade. With this blade, you can mulch, discharge, dethatch, cut, and more. For other great recommendations, check out the following guide.
Our Top 5 Picks for Best Lawn Mower Blades:
#1 Rotary Lawn Mower Blades for Discharging or Bagging
#2 MTD Replacement Mulching Blade
#3 Oregon Gator Mulching Blades
#4 Arnold Deluxe Universal Dethatching Blade for Walk-Behind Mowers
#5 Maxpower Replacement Blade for Walk-Behind Mowers
Types of Lawn Mower Blades
There is more to choosing lawn mower blades than finding the right size blade for your specific lawn mower model. There are actually a two main types of lawn mower blades that you should be aware of before you shop, as lawn mower blades are usually more specific, rather than universal.
The main types of lawn mower blades are known as discharging and mulching.
Discharging blades are the standard type of lawn mower blades. This is the type you see on most older push mowers. They allow for side discharge of grass, or for bagging grass, while lawn mowing, if the lawn mower has that capability.
These blades are also known as 2-in-1, because of their discharging and bagging capabilities. They also sometimes have the name “high lift”, because these lift blades allow for more air flow under the deck for side discharge and bagging grass.
Mulching blades, on the other hand, are used specifically for mulching grass into smaller clippings, to be spread back on your lawn to encourage growth and turf health. They have a significantly different design than regular lawn mowing blades that allows them to chop the grass into smaller pieces while you mow.
Mulching blades have a curved design with several cutting surfaces along the edge. The number of cutting surfaces determines how small the grass clippings will be. These blades are also known as 3-in-1 blades, because they are able to be used on lawn mowers with side discharge, bagging, and mulching capabilities (source).
Some lawn mowers have mulching capabilities with a specific mulching setting, which will engage the mulching blade to create the airflow needed to properly spread your grass once mulched. If your lawn mower doesn’t have a mulching setting, you may not get the results you’d expect from mulching blades.
The following video by Power Equipment Parts World gives a helpful visual to show the differences between these types of blades:
How to Find the Best Lawn Mower Blades for Your Mower
Of course, your specific model’s manual should be able to tell you what the best lawn mower blades for your model are. But, you may find want to look for a better price from a different manufacturer, an upgraded blade than the original, or try a new type of blade that will work with your lawn mower.
Fortunately, you’re not always stuck with just one type of lawn mower blade. But, you do have to keep in mind some important features to look for when shopping around:
- Blade size. Lawn mower blades come in specific lengths and widths. It’s important to know both dimensions that will work for your mower. Blades that are too long won’t fit, and blades that are too short won’t maximize your cutting area. Width isn’t quite as important, but matching the width of the blades intended for your lawn mower will help improve performance.
- Blade shape. Get to know the type of blades your lawn mower has by taking a look at them. How are they constructed, and how many blades are there? You’ll need to match up the number of blades and their shape, parallel or perpendicular, for optimal performance with your new blades.
- Blade holes. The blade holes, where they attach to the mower, need to be matched up in your new blades, too. They typically come with one, two, or three holes. Measure the hole size and the distance between them to more accurately choose a replacement blade.
- Blade number. Look for a manufacturer number on your original blades. This number can help you search for identical blades, or other blades that match the specifics of those blades (source).
Taking Care of Your Lawn Mower Blades
Your lawn mower blades can last for a while, if they’re constructed well and you take care of them properly. It’s extremely important to clean your blades, and inspect them, regularly, to maintain an optimal performance from them.
Always refer to any literature you received with your blades when you purchased them for optimal care and maintenance practices. Additionally, according to DIY Repair Clinic, there are some general care tips that will help prolong the life of your lawn mower blades:
- Clean your blades after each use. This will prevent buildup from grass and debris that, if left on for long periods of time, can promote rusting.
- Inspect your blades before each mow. Look for any bending, damage, or rust that can affect the safety of your blades. Replace blades immediately.
- Most blades should be replaced every year or two, but this depends on how often you use your mower, and the thickness of your grass. Refer to your regular inspections to determine when changing blades or a replacement blade might be needed.
- Ensure that your blades are always kept sharp, as dull blades will affect the cut of your lawn.
Sharpening Lawn Mower Blades
If your lawn mower blades become dull, they’ll end up pulling at your grass, rather than cutting it, which can leave a ragged lawn look. Fortunately, you don’t always need to replace your blades right away, and can, instead, sharpen them for optimal performance.
Before blade removal, Family Handyman suggests marking the blade with spray paint. This helps you determine which way to reinstall the blade, as it can be easy to reinstall it upside-down. Keep in mind, you may need a wrench to remove the blade. Keep all bolts for reinstalling the blade after sharpening.
Use a metal file to sharpen the blade with the same angle as the original cutting edge of the blade. Do this to both ends. To test the balance, hang the blade from its middle hole on a nail and see if both ends balance. If not, adjust your sharpening of the side that hangs lower.
Our Recommendation for Best Lawn Mower Blades: Arnold Deluxe Universal Dethatching Blade for Walk-Behind Mowers
There are some lawn mower blades that are created as universal lawn mower blades, like the Arnold Deluxe Universal Dethatching Blade for Walk-Behind Mowers, that can do a variety of things for your lawn. This blade is our recommendation for best lawn mower blades because they’ll meet the different needs of the average lawn.
With these blades, you’ll still need to determine if the 21-inch length, and the one center hole, will work for your blade replacement. If not, Arnold has other sizes and styles you can choose from.
But, this universal blade takes the guesswork out of picking either a mulching or a discharging blade. This replacement does both, and more, including dethatching, scalping, and raking. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time wondering what type of replacement to choose, this can be a good choice for you.
This Arnold blade comes with replaceable nylon lines that help with dethatching. If you notice that they look worn down, you can use the part number listed on the original packaging to order replacement line. Other brands to check out are Husqvarna and Craftsman.