Lawn Mower Blades 101

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Lawn care equipment does two things. It breaks stuff and it moves stuff. Case in point: the lawn mower blade. The blade smacks into the grass, the grass breaks and the air from the blade moves the broken grass away.

Sure, it seems pretty simple. The “blade goes round…grass goes down” but when you look at it from an industry standpoint its actually a pretty significant component; one certainly deserving of a little respect. After all, a lot of time and money has been put into its development, and marketing, and stuff.

So given that this unsung hero of the lawn care world has become the foundation of this multi-million dollar industry; I thought it was time someone took a good, hard look at the simple but majestic Lawn Mower Blade.

Standards and Hi-lifts and Mulching Blades…oh my!

For most residential applications, we’re looking at three types of blades- Standard, Hi-lift and Mulch. And the difference is not so much in how they cut, but in what they do with the clippings.

Now, before all these fancy schmancy, new-fangled options came around, there was the standard lift blade. It was good enough for dad and its good enough for us. This run of the mill work horse knows its job and does it well. It was never designed to displace the clippings in any special way. It just shoots them out of the side discharge chute and there you go; and when your grass is not allowed to grow too long between cuttings it still works just fine.

Standard lift blade

Hi-lift blades cut the grass no differently than the standard lift blade, with the only real difference being that the angle of the blade increases the amount of air flow generated under the cutting deck. This increased air flow causes the speed of the discharged clippings to increase. This blade is ideal for bagging or just really tossing those clippings across the lawn…if you’re into that sort of thing.

High Lift Blade

Finally, we look at the mulching blade. Often unique in design and appearance, the mulching blade is; for all intents and purposes a hi-lift blade on steroids. Frequently, the angle of the blade will resemble your average hi-lift, though some feature increased drag angle on the back of the cutting side, or in some cases air fins which resemble claws.

Mulching Blade

A couple of things about mulching:

Mulching blades don’t work so well if your discharge chute is not blocked. For the blade to cut the clippings enough to mulch them, the grass must remain under the cutting deck.

Cutting grass that has been allowed to grow too long may result in clumps of grass clippings strewn about the area.

And as is the case with any mulching blade, cutting wet grass will often result in messy, soggy piles of grass clippings decorating the lawn and/or frequent clogging under the deck.

Finally, there is the stand alone…the “Ninja” blade.

Some years back, Snapper Products engineered a super-mulcher known simply as the “Ninja”. With six individual cutting surfaces the Ninja is a force of nature that will ‘frappe’ anything it comes in contact with.

 Snapper-Ninja-Mulching-Blade-21-7026407AYPSnapper Ninja Blade

Cutting wet grass with a Ninja blade may result in green “paste” coating the bottom of your cutting deck.

Now, there is always someone out there trying to re-invent the wheel, There are blades with attachable fins, blades with holes for plastic tines to go through. Heck, I once saw a blade on top of another blade (cause apparently one blade wasn’t enough to cut the grass); but for my money the three stooges in this story are the Standard , the Hi-Lift, and the Mulcher.

Time to “cut” on out of here.


We carry a large selection of Lawn Mower Blade. If you need help finding your Lawn Mower Parts, please complete the Lawn Mower Parts Request Form and we will be happy to assist you.


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Bill Brown

Bill is the head of content creation for the LawnMowerPros Blog and DIY section. He’s been in the Outdoor Power Equipment Industry for years and he’s still learning new things everyday. You can often find him creating featured articles, DIY guides, videos, graphics and much more.