Shopping for new blades can be challenging and confusing, with several options available in the market. Besides variations in blades, you will also have to deal with different terminologies.
For instance, blades are sometimes described by local names like 2-in-1 or 3-in-1, while some manufacturers use engineering terms like low-lift and high-lift.
The market has many blades you can choose from, but these blades are often categorized into two major groups: 3-in-1 and 2-in-1 blades. Other variations come from these two categories, so when selecting blades, decide between the two.
The terms 3-in-1 and 2-in-1 show the number of ways a blade can process grass clippings. But what is the difference between mulching blades and high-lift blades? This article dives deep into the differences and highlights which one is ideal for your lawn.
If you are also interested in learning the differences between Mulching Blades and Regular: How they differ and Which One Is Better? I encourage you to read this article.
What Is a High-Lift Mower Blade?
This blade is designed for regular cutting and discharging the grass clipping into a collection system from the deck. The blades are called high-lift because they create higher-lifting airflow. They also have deeper curves at the ends, which help in creating suction that circulates and expels grass clippings.
The high airflow from high-lift blade mowers prevents clogging, especially when mowing wet or tall grass. However, this 2-in-1 blade may not be ideal for mulching because they scatter grass clippings on the lawn.
What Is a Mulching Blade?
The mulching blade, also called 3-in-1, is an all-purpose blade used to cut grass clipping into smaller pieces. The blade often features a curved style and an extra cutting surface on the edges.
Since the resulting grass clippings are intended for mulching purposes, the manufacturers design these blades for cutting grass clippings into finer pieces to avoid damaging the lawn.
The increased cutting edge and curved surface cut the grass from the lawn and suck it into the deck, where it is shredded into smaller pieces before the mower drops it on the lawn.
Mulching Blade is ideal for lawns that are regularly mowed every three or four days because if you use mulching blades to cut tall grass, it can lead to grass pilling under the deck and clogging.
You might also be interested in reading: 5 Best Mulching Blades (And picking the perfect one!)
What Is a Low-Lift Mower Blade?
Since we have discussed high-lift low blades, you may wonder about low-lift mower blades and their functions. Low-lift blades are manufactured to perform optimally in dry sandy conditions.
Low-lift mower blades come with an inward curve that helps to lift grass and provide an accurate cut while discharging grass clippings by the side. This technique limits the dust generated by the mower when mowing dusty or sandy environments.
In addition, low-lift blade designs enable the sand to flow through the mower’s wing profile, thus creating a vacuum effect to lift the grass as it mows.
Mulching Blades Vs. High-Lift Blades: What Are The Differences?
The table below highlights the main differences between high-lift and mulching blades, focusing on their designs and functionalities.
Mulching Vs. High-lift blades
|Criteria||Mulching Blade||High-Lift Blade|
|Design||Curved blades generate increased deck circulation for mulching. It also enhances the blade’s surface area for cutting.||The blades have straight cutting edges with an aerodynamic design to generate the lift.|
|Back Edge Curve||The curve on the back edge of the blade is gentler||It has a steeper curve on the back edge of the blade to generate more lift.|
|The Length Of The Cutting Part||It has a longer cutting edge than the high-lift blade to help cut grass clippings finer.||It has a shorter blade since it does not need to shred the grass clippings finer.|
|Adaptability||Mulching blades are suitable for shorter lawns, thus lacking adaptability.||High-lift blades can perform on a variety of grass|
|Mulch Creation||This blade can use grass clippings since it cuts them into smaller and finer sizes.||The grass clippings from high-lift blades are often longer and thicker, which is unsuitable for mulching.|
|Operation In Sandy Soil||Since the blade has gentler suction, it is suitable for sandy cutting grass in a sandy environment.||High-lift blades will such some dirt or sand into the deck and spew them onto the lawn, damaging the growing grass and leaving the blades dull.|
|Frequency Of Use||Mulching blades cut short lawns and should be used between 3 and 4 days.||It is designed for long grass that is cut every 15 to 20 days.|
|Grass Clumping||It experiences clogging when cutting tall grass||It rarely experiences grass clumping since it cut the lawn once.|
|Power Requirement||It consumes less power, resulting in less wear and tear on the engine.||It needs a high horsepower engine to rotate the mower deck.|
Advantages Of High Lift Blade
This section covers the benefits and drawbacks of high-lift blades vs. mulching blades.
- A high lift blade is ideal for all conditions.
Regardless of the grass variety or condition you want to mow in, you can use high-lift blades to perform the task. Their adaptability makes them useful in that sense.
- The extra lift helps with other discharges.
Since high-lift blades have a large curve at the back edge, they generate extra lift through increased airflow. This force allows the mower to discharge the grass clippings from the deck faster, thus avoiding clogging.
This feature is handy when mowing thicker and longer grass because the amount of grass entering the deck at any given point is well-controlled.
- An excellent choice for lawn stripes.
The suction underneath the high-lift blade mower encourages an even cut, thus creating defined lawn stripes. If you love lawn stripes, you can invest in a high-lift blade instead of a mulching blade.
Disadvantages Of High Lift Blade
High lift blades have several advantages, including:
- A high lift blade might be unsuitable for mulching.
High-lift blades will not do you justice if you intend to mulch your yard or use the grass clipping to mulch your garden. High-lift blades often cut longer and thicker grass clipping which can smoother your growing lawn since they take longer to decay.
- A high lift blade requires a powerful mower.
If you want to see the real benefits of high-lift blades, you will need to invest in a powerful mower with a relatively bigger engine. This is because these blades can strain weak engines and cause damage.
- High-lift blades are unsuitable for sandy soil.
Although they can still cut grass on dusty and sandy soil, they will suck the sand to the deck, damaging your lawn and dulling itself. And it can damage the deck in the long run.
Pros of Mulching Blades
Mulching blades have several advantages, including
- Mulching blades offer more available options.
Mulching blades provide three different cutting options. And they also come with a bag to discharge your clippings.
- Mulching blades provide value for money.
Since you have three functions with a mulching blade for one price, we can say that you get value for your money.
- A mulching blade is a green option.
Grass clippings from a mulching mower can be used to mulch the lawn, which turns into organic fertilizer when the grass decays. This means that you will limit the number of chemicals applied to the soil that would cause soil and water pollution.
Cons of Mulching Blades
Before investing in mulching blades, it is vital that you examine their drawbacks, as discussed below.
- Mulching blades offer High mowing frequency.
Since mulching blades are suitable for cutting short grass, it is vital that you do not allow your lawn to overgrow before mowing to avoid clogging. If you forget to mow your lawn during the required period, you will be challenged to use mulching blades. During the summer, you may need to mow your lawn twice a week to keep them at a manageable length. And this can be time-consuming and costly.
- Mulching blades lower bagging effectiveness.
Since mulching blades offer limited lift, they are not effective when you want to collect the grass clipping for mulching somewhere else.
You might also enjoy reading: What to Do with Grass Clippings After Mowing? (Here are 6 useful ways!)
Mulching Blades Vs. High-Lift Blades: Which Ones Are Better?
High lift blades will also be suitable if you want to bag the grass clippings to feed your animals, whereas mulching blades will do well in sandy or dusty environments.
The blade one chooses depends on what one wants to do with the grass clippings. For instance, a mulching blade will be the best choice if you want to mulch your lawn, but if you want to cut overgrown grass, a high-lift blade is an obvious choice.
While it is expected that when we see a debate about X vs. Y products, we want to know which one is best, in some instances, there is no clear winner. For example, some manufacturers indeed produce more quality blades than others, but when comparing mulching and high-lift blade, it is not possible to say which one is the best.