Regular Blades VS Mulching Blades: Full Comparison

Regular Blades VS Mulching Blades Full Comparison

Or, maybe standard blades are the best type to stick with? Well, you’ll need to learn more about these blade types before making that all-important decision.

All in all, there are two main types of mower blades on the market - regular and mulching blades.

Regular blades, also referred to as standard or 2-in-1 blades, are designed to simply cut grass and then discharge the clippings on the ground or into a bag.

Mulching blades, also known as 3-in-1 blades, are a great way of feeding your lawn. As with standard blades, these cut the grass and discharge them in the same manner.

But, this type of blade also mulches the grass. In other words, the blades shred the grass into fine, small particles. 

But, which type of mower blade is best for you? To help you decide, we have compiled this article to compare both regular and mulching blades.

We will discuss the pros and cons of each blade type so you can make an educated decision on which one suits your needs best.

Let’s get started!

What Are Regular Blades?

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Also known as 2-in-1 blades, regular mower blades cut grass evenly and discharge the clippings into a bag or spread them over the lawn behind the machine.

A standard blade is designed to vacuum the grass. The grass stands up straight for a clean, even cut before being discharged quickly after each cut. 

Regular blades are ideal for simple lawn cutting but they can not mulch grass. But, these blades allow you to collect the grass trimmings, so the lawn appears tidier and cleaner afterwards.

The bagging process also takes up loose debris and leaves, resulting in a more manicured cut.

If you do not mow your lawn regularly, bagging the grass is typically the better option. This is because grass can easily clog under a mower’s deck if it becomes too long.

This can leave behind unsightly clumps of grass on your freshly mown lawn, leaving behind a messier appearance.

What Are Mulching Blades?

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Mulching blades, also known as 3-in-1 blades, can also be used for discharging and bagging grass clippings. The main difference between these and standard blades, though, is that the mulching type can mulch grass trimmings. 

Because of a curvier blade design, mulching blades have an increased cutting edge.

Therefore, the blades are capable of cutting the grass into much smaller, finer pieces.

However, this design means the overall lift and discharge of the grass is not as powerful as a standard blade mower.

As the “3-in-2” name suggests, mulching blades can handle grass clippings in three ways:

  1. You can bag the grass clippings
  2. You can discharge the grass clippings
  3. You can mulch the grass clippings

The majority of modern mowers are compatible with mulching blades, but some will not accommodate them.

Therefore, before considering mulching blades, you should first do some research and find if your particular mower is compatible.

Mulching blades are a great option for lawns that require cutting every three to four days or so.

The blade’s mechanism works perfectly on shorter grass. If the lawn is overgrown, clogging can occur, leaving piles of grass on the lawn.

Regular VS Mulching Blades: The Differences 

Most modern mowers are fitted with regular cutting blades during the manufacturing process. However, many can accommodate mulching blades in case you want to make the switch. 

So, what are the differences between the two? Below are just a few of the key differences between regular and mulching mower blades.

The Blade’s Shape 

This is perhaps the biggest difference. Regular blades are designed with an almost perfectly straight cutting edge.

This is an aerodynamic design and is perfect for cutting blades of grass quickly before discharging them from the mower’s deck onto the lawn or into a bag.

As for a mulching blade, the design is more curved resulting in a greater surface area. This is so the blade can effectively cut the grass and shoot the clippings out as quickly as possible.

Mulching blades are designed to produce more circulation within the deck. This is so it cuts the grass several times until it becomes a mulch or very fine. 

The Cutting Edge Length 

The second most obvious difference between regular and mulching blades is the length of their cutting edge.

The curved nature of a mulching blade doesn’t only increase its overall surface area, but its cutting edge is much longer. Therefore, they can mulch the grass further.

Regular mower blades do not require long cutting edges as the main goal of these types is to cut and discharge grass clippings as quickly as possible. 

Pros Of Regular Mower Blades 

The type of blade you use depends on your lawn’s grass type and how often you need to cut it. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using regular blades to see if they are what you require.

Not Prone To Clogging As Much

Regular blades tend to generate more lift. They act like a suction, vacuuming the blades of grass upwards until they are straight.

Then, the blades can cut the grass evenly and quickly before discharging the clippings away from the deck effectively.

Therefore, if you do not mow your lawn frequently, or simply miss a few mowing sessions, the longer grass shouldn’t be too much of an issue for the standard blades.

Creates Lift

Regular blades generate a much better lift, especially when compared with mulching blades.

Standard mower blades tend to produce a medium lift, but there are high lift blades available if you require a greater lift, too.

So, if you want to bag your clippings every time, standard blades are considered the better option. 

Provides A More Even Cut

If you mow infrequently, you can still depend on regular blades to give your lawn a pretty level cut.

Of course, regular mowing with mulching blades will give you a very level cut, but standard blades tend to be more forgiving on overgrown grass.

This is again down to their ability to generate more lift under the deck. The grass stands up tall and straight for a more even, level cut.

Mulching blades are more prone to clogging in longer grass. 

Cons Of Regular Mower Blades

Although there are some great benefits of using standard blades, there are some downsides to them. Here are a few.

Unable To Mulch Grass Clippings

This one is obvious, but it’s why mulching blades stand out! The fact standard blades can not mulch grass may be the main drawback of their design.

But, if this is not a big deal for you, it shouldn’t really matter.

Not Ideal For Sandy Or Dusty Terrain

One of the main pros of regular blades can also be its weakness.

The vacuum design helps to generate a more level cut, but if your lawn’s soil is quite sandy, the suction motion can suck up the soil into the deck, too.

Although this isn’t a big deal immediately, it can accelerate wear and tear on the mower.

Also, the blades may become dull quite quickly, leading to replacements more often and, possibly, a new mower every year or so. 

Pros Of Mulching Mower Blades

Pros Of Mulching Mower Blades

So, we have had a look at the pros and cons of standard blades but now it’s time to do the same for mulching mower blades.

Let’s start with the main benefits of using this design so you can compare them to regular blades. 

Environmentally Friendly 

Rather than taking your grass clippings to landfill sites, a mulching mower allows you to discharge the fine trimmings on the spot.

Therefore, no travelling is needed and your garden’s environment can feel the benefits, too.

Mulched grass clippings, and leaves, act as a natural fertiliser. Mulching creates an organic material that returns to the soil and produces nutrients for plants to use.

Therefore, the plants and trees in your garden can soak up the nutrients from the mulch and store them in their stems and leaves. 

3-In-1 Design 

Mulching blades can mulch, bag, and discharge grass clippings with ease.

So, rather than only having a 2-in-1 functionality, like standard blade offer, you can enjoy the versatility that mulching blades provide. 

Generates Natural Fertilizer 

As mentioned above, mulching blades are designed to produce a natural fertilizer.

No other blade type is capable of doing this and, when used correctly, mulching will benefit your lawn’s health over time. The result? A healthier, better looking lawn.

Cons Of Mulching Mower Blades

It's not all sunshine and rainbows with mulching blades. As with anything, there are some drawbacks to consider. Here are the main cons of using mulching mower blades.

Not As Much Lift

Mulching blades are not designed to generate much lift. Instead, they are built to mulch grass.

Although you can achieve a greater cutting surface area and better circulation around the deck, the amount of lift generated is reduced. 

Therefore, mulching blades are not as effective at discharging and bagging grass clippings when compared to regular blades.

Nevertheless, if you cut your grass regularly, this shouldn’t be a concern.

Requires More Regular Mowing 

In our busy lives, it is pretty easy to forget to mow your lawn every week, or just not have the free time to do so.

With standard blades, a few days of extra grass growth shouldn’t be much of an issue. But, for mulching blades, this can lead to clogging under the deck and a trail of grass clumps.

If your grass grows quickly, you may need to cut your lawn every two to three days with a mulching mower.

This obviously takes time and effort and, if you’re like many, it’s not a routine you particularly want to start.

Can You Mow Leaves Instead Of Raking Them? 

Autumn is a wonderful time of year. The trees start changing colour and the landscape changes from a lush green haze to an orange, red blanket of bliss.

But, with this comes the falling leaves, and if you have trees near your garden, you will know all too well the mess they leave behind.

Therefore, it’s time to take action and remove them. But, raking leaves is such a long-winded task. Good news! You can just mow them up instead!

That’s right - you can skip raking and mow over leaves to chop them up finely. You can then compost your leaves afterwards to feed your plants.

Of course, you could just leave leaves on your lawn and wait for them to decompose. To do this, simply chop the leaves up into small, coin-like sizes.

But, you may need to mow over them several times, depending on how thick the leaf layers are.

Once you have mowed, you should be able to see around 50 percent of your grass below the pieces of leaves. 

The more grass that is visible, the quicker the leaves will decompose and return to the soil as nutrients.

You can help the leaves break down faster with a lawn fertiliser, if required. But, we recommend leaving the leaves to decompose naturally.

Over time, they will enhance the soil below and provide organic matter. The end result should be a healthier, thicker-looking lawn.

In Summary

Regular blades vs mulching blades - which type is the winner? Well, in reality, there is no clear winner as it depends on your lawn and needs.

Both blade types are designed for specific needs.

If you have no interest in mulching grass and just want to discharge the clippings into a bag each time, standard blades are the best option for you.

If you want to mulch your grass clippings, however, you should opt for mulching blades. Just be prepared to cut your lawn more often.

Thanks for reading and happy mowing!

Brian Freis