For every lawn owner, the expensive time will come when you need a new lawn mower or new blades. So, if old faithful’s blades have “given up the ghost,” the moment has arrived to invest in brand-new mower blades.
It goes without saying, but the main job of a lawn mower is to cut the grass! Therefore, its blades will need to be sharp enough to cut your lawn evenly and properly.
When it comes to new lawn mower blades, a common query is, “do the blades need to be sharpened?” Is this required or can you just go ahead and attach them and begin mowing? Well, the condition of the blades is critical in how well it cuts the grass.
In today’s article, we are going to discuss whether you need to sharpen your new mower blades or not. We’ll also explain how to tell if your blades may be dull and how to sharpen them safely.
Let’s cut to the chase! (pun intended)
To Sharpen New Lawn Mower Blades Or Not? That Is The Question
It may sound silly! After all, why would you need to perform maintenance on something that is brand new? Well, many people believe that new blades for lawn mowers need to be sharpened because of the powder-coated paint finishes applied to them by manufacturers.
Because this can be quite thick around the blade’s edges, many believe that the blades are dull and require sharpening.
The truth, however, is that you usually do not need to sharpen a new lawn mower’s blades. In most cases, you just need to remove the new blade from its protective packaging and attach them to your mower, after replacing the old ones.
Because they are new, you will need to break them in for a little time. The good news is that this is simple and requires no additional time or preparation on your part.
If you have purchased a brand-new lawn mower, then this will also come with new blades. But, the same applies.
You will not need to sharpen the blades as they would have been sharpened during the manufacturing process.
Why Do New Blades Come With A Powder-Coated Paint Finish?
As we mentioned above, the presence of powder-coated paint on new mower blades mistakenly makes people think they need to sharpen them before use.
However, this paint does have a few purposes:
- It acts as protection – when you come to install your new mower blades, you will need to handle them. The paint finish acts as protection as it dulls the cutting edge of the blades, meaning there is a much lower risk of cutting yourself during installation. Whilst we recommend wearing protective gloves, the paint finish means you don’t necessarily need to do so.
- Helps to prevent rust from forming – rust is like a cancer for metal. When it comes to your lawn mower, you want to prevent rust from forming in any of its parts. This is especially true of the blades. The paint finish acts as extra protection from outside moisture and, therefore, prevents rust.
- Protects the blades from getting damaged – it is easy for a new lawn mower or new lawn mower blades to get knocked around and dropped during transit. Even when fitting new blades, you can easily drop them or scratch them on a hard surface by accident. If this occurs, you could end up damaging and blunting the blade before it has even been used. The paint finish, though, protects the blade from such damage, so you can start mowing with a Sharp blade immediately.
Although this paint finish can be quite thick, it doesn’t have to be removed. This is where the breaking-in period comes into play.
The protective paint finish on your new blades is not designed to be long-lasting. After a little use (usually only 30 minutes or so), you will notice this paint start to come off the blades. After this time, the protective layer will wear away and the sharp edge will start to cut the grass.
Even at this point, mower blades do not need to be razor-sharp. In most cases, they just need to be as sharp as a butler knife to cut through grass effectively. The fast rotation of the blades is what makes the blades lethal to the blades of grass.
The time it takes your blades to break in is typically determined by the type of grass you’re cutting. Some types of grass are much thicker and more abrasive, so the paint will usually wear off quicker.
If your grass is softer, the paint may remain for a little longer. But, no matter the type of grass or mower you have, the paint will eventually wear off completely, leaving a sharp enough blade to easily cut through your lawn’s grass.
Signs Of Dull Lawn Mower Blades
It is quite easy to tell if your lawn mower’s blades have become dull. The main symptoms of dull mower blades are:
- The blades are unable to shred the grass – if the blade is dull, its cutting edge will catch the grass but, instead of clean, crisp cuts, it will take whole clumps out of the ground.
- You may notice the tips of the grass blades turning brown or white – a few days after mowing, the grass tips may turn white or brown. Upon closer inspection, you may see the blades are ragged on their ends.
- The cut of the lawn is uneven – different parts of your mower’s blades can become dull more quickly than others. When this happens, some of the blades may cut the grass well, but other parts will not. Therefore, your lawn could end up looking uneven.
- The engine sounds like it is having difficulty – if your lawn mower’s engine sounds like it’s struggling or mowing is taking longer than usual, your blades may be dull.
If you mow your lawn with dull mower blades, your lawn can end up looking jagged because of tears in the tips of the grass blades. And, the whole lawn can turn into an unattractive yellow color, rather than lush green.
By using adequately sharp blades, the grass can be cut cleanly and remain healthy. Not only this, but it can help your mower’s engine. The duller the blades, the more your lawn mower may struggle and the sooner it may break down.
Ragged ends to your grass can also lead to a higher chance of your lawn catching a disease. Once this occurs, you may need to reseed your entire lawn with new grass, which is time-consuming and costly.
How Often Should You Change Your Mower Blades?
So, now we know – new lawn mower blades do not need to be sharpened because they are always sharpened in the factory during the manufacturing process. But, that doesn’t mean you should forget about maintaining your blades.
In general, lawn mower blades should be sharpened at the start of each new season. By sharpening them at the beginning of every year, you can maintain the sharpness of your mower blades and keep them in tip-top shape for the cutting season ahead.
However, in some cases, you may need to sharpen your blades more frequently. This is especially true if you regularly cut an area that is littered with stones and sticks, or if the area is very large.
The more you use your lawn mower, the more often you will typically need to sharpen its blades.
When setting your mower blades into position, ensure you do not set them too low. If you do this, the blade could become damaged by different objects found on your lawn. If this occurs regularly, you will need to sharpen the blades more frequently.
How Do You Sharpen Lawn Mower Blades?
When the time has come to sharpen your lawn mower blades, you can either do it yourself or hire a professional.
Of course, doing it yourself is the cheapest option, but by hiring an experienced professional, you can be assured that your blades will be in good condition for longer.
If you decide to sharpen the blades yourself, you should start by checking your owner’s manual. This will usually have instructions on that particular mower model and inform you of the proper technique to sharpen the blades.
If you no longer have the manual at hand, there are sometimes digital versions online if you have a Google.
When it comes to sharpening the blades, you can do so using a grinding wheel. This will smooth the blade’s edge until it starts to sharpen.
But, it is important not to get too carried away as you can easily damage the blade and ruin its shape. And, before you finish, make sure the blade is properly balanced.
You can purchase specialized sharpening tools on Amazon. You should also invest in a blade balancer, too, as many people over-sharpen their blades, resulting in an uneven, unbalanced cut. This can also lead to the mower not working as it should.
We highly recommend wearing safety goggles and gloves whilst sharpening your mower blades, too. And, make sure that you disconnect the mower’s spark plug before doing any work on it. If it is electric, unplug the mower and turn off the power.
We also recommend having another pair of replacement blades, just in case something happens to your current ones.
When Should You Replace Your Lawn Mower Blades?
At some point, your mower blades will need to be replaced, no matter how often you sharpen them.
We recommend that you replace them every four to five seasons. Some may replace them every year but we believe sharpening them is enough maintenance to keep them going for a few years.
Of course, the condition of your blades will be the deciding factor on whether they need replacing or not. If your yard is full of small stones, sticks, and other types of debris, the blades will tend to wear down sooner.
Therefore, they may need replacing more regularly than those that are used on only soft grass with little to no debris.
Furthermore, the time it takes for you to mow your yard can also have an effect on when the blades require replacing. The more you mow, the quicker they will wear down and the sooner they will need replacing.
Generally speaking, you should never need to sharpen brand-new lawn mower blades. This is because they are nearly always sharpened during the manufacturing process in factories.
However, you need to maintain your mower blades to ensure they continue to cut grass properly. If not, you could end up damaging your lawn.