So, you went to the store and bought yourself a new lawn mower. You are now ready to cut some grass! But before you begin, you might be curious about just how sharp the new lawnmower blade is. Sometimes new blades can feel dull along the cutting edge.
After all, mowing with a dull blade can damage and weaken your grass, and leave a poor finish.
However, do new lawn mower blades need sharpening, or can you start using them right away? Let’s settle this debate and determine what you need to do when you get a new mower or blade.
Do I Need To Sharpen a New Lawn Mower Blade?
Absolutely not. You do not need to sharpen a new lawn mower blade, which applies whether you’ve just bought a new lawn mower or a replacement blade for your existing one. New blades come pre-sharpened and ready to mow; sharpening a new mower blade can damage the blade and cause problems when cutting grass.
If you’re skeptical, you can turn your lawn mower over to inspect the blade’s edges. However, you should wear gloves when you do this. You might also want to take other safety precautions, such as making sure the motor can’t turn on.
Why Does My New Lawn Mower Blade Feel Dull?
You might think you need to sharpen a new lawn mower blade because it feels dull. Nonetheless, there are several reasons a new blade will feel dull. First, factories sharpen new blades precisely to the manufacturer’s specifications. These specs might vary, but they usually don’t include making a new blade super sharp.
Also, factories coat new lawn mower blades with a powder-coated paint finish; this is the main reason your new blade will feel dull. That painted finish is there to provide you and the blade with protection.
Blade Powder Coating Paint
Replacement and preinstalled blades come with a powder-coated paint finish. The manufacturer puts this finish on the entire blade, including the edges. If you were to feel the edge of a new blade, the finish would make it dull at first. However, you could injure yourself without that paint coating, and the blade could also wear out faster.
Protects Blade From Damage
Some yards don’t contain any debris. Yet, others have trees, shrubs, and rock beds surrounding them. While you’ll probably check your lawn for debris before you mow, you could miss something. All it takes is for a rock to hit your lawn mower’s blade the wrong way to damage it. The paint coating protects your new blade from debris damage and falls.
For example, you could knock a new blade edge as you attempt to replace it on your mower. You’ll be thankful for the powder coating if this happens. Your blade should not sustain any nicks or other damages that could compromise your grass.
Protects You When Installing a New Blade
Each day, 875 emergency room visits are because of a lawn mower accident. During the previous decade, 3.1 million injuries came from lawn and gardening equipment. Some of those injuries led to cuts, burns, and amputations. An overly sharp lawn mower blade could cut through your skin, nerves, and fingers.
The paint coating protects you when you touch and handle a new blade. While you should wear gloves when touching a lawn mower blade, not everyone has the correct protective equipment. The coating may save you from a serious or life-changing injury.
Protects Blade From Corrosion
The dull feel from the powder paint coating may lead you to ask, do new lawn mower blades need sharpening? But another critical thing this coating does is provide rust protection; a rusted-out lawn mower blade isn’t going to do you or your lawn much good.
Moisture from grass, humid environments, and storage areas can lead to rust. The coating prevents your blade from rusting and ensures it lasts longer.
Let the Blade Bed in Naturally When Mowing
Now that you know what makes your lawn mower blade feel dull, you might get the idea of removing the paint coating. Even so, you shouldn’t do this because cutting the lawn will do that for you. As you mow your grass, the paint coating will naturally come off the edges and keep the blade sharp.
Removing the coating will also make the blade more vulnerable to rust. You might already know about the hazards of mowing wet grass. You can slip, and the grass can clog up your mower. Your mower has to work harder and can wear out faster as a result. Besides these dangers, wet grass won’t cut evenly even if your blade is sharp.
But people often mow their lawns when there’s a bit of dew left over on the grass because it’s going to be a hot day. They want to cut their grass before it’s too hot to be outside or the UV index gets too strong. Mowing a lawn with a touch of dew is generally safe, but it will expose your blade to moisture. The grass could also be damp and stick to the blade a bit.
Most lawn mower blades last between four and five years before you need to replace them. That’s a lot of grass cutting over time if you mow once or twice a week! Let the natural process of taking care of your lawns preserve the blade’s integrity.
Pitfalls of Sharpening a New Lawn Mower Blade
The most obvious pitfall of sharpening a new lawn mower blade is you waste time and effort. Since there’s no need to sharpen a new blade, you can spend that time on something else. You could have your grass cut in the time it would take you to sharpen your new blade. And if you take your blades to a pro, you’ll save time and money.
Another pitfall of sharpening a lawn mower blade is your blade may become unbalanced, which can cause your lawn mower to vibrate. This is not a fun way to mow your lawn; in fact, using a vibrating lawn mower might become unbearable. Plus, this can cause your engine to wear out sooner since it will experience more stress.
Your grass also won’t get the best cut. Lawns with uneven cuts or tears are more vulnerable to weed growth and diseases like dollar spots. Yes, some chemicals can treat weeds and common lawn diseases. At the same time, these treatments can take a while to work and cost more money. In the meantime, your lawn doesn’t look its best.
An uneven cut could get you into hot water if you have an HOA with stricter rules about lawn care and appearance. You could get unwanted notices and fines. If disease and weed problems get bad enough, you might also have to bite the bullet and replace your lawn with new sod.
How Often To Sharpen Your Lawn Mower Blade
Most people only need to sharpen their lawn mower blades once a year; this applies to you if you live in an area with four seasons or cool-season grasses. At the end of the mowing season, clean up your mower with a pressure washer or hose to remove any grass and debris. Then, remove your blade and sharpen it before putting it back on.
Alternatively, you could take your blade to a shop or professional to sharpen it and then reinstall it yourself. If you don’t want to sharpen your blade at the end of the mowing season, you can do it at the beginning of the season. Most homeowners in northern states put their mowers away in the late fall, say the end of October or the beginning of November.
They pull their mowers back out in late March or early April. However, if you live in a region that doesn’t have winters, you may need to sharpen your blade twice a year. In states like Florida and South Carolina, there are landscapes with warm-season grasses that require mowing and watering year-round.
If you have a large yard, you also may need to sharpen your mower’s blade more than once a year. Also, if your blade sustains damage, such as running over rocks you did not see before mowing, your mower blade can dull, and you’ll need to sharpen the edges. A telltale sign you need to sharpen your blade is grass with ragged, uneven, or brown edges.
Verdict: Do New Lawn Mower Blades Need To Be Sharpened?
So, do brand-new lawn mower blades need to be sharpened? No, you do not need to sharpen new lawn mower blades. You’ll not only waste your time but could also potentially compromise your mower, lawn, and blade. New lawn mower blades are okay to use for up to a year before you need to sharpen them.
However, if you hit rocks or other debris on your lawn, you may need to sharpen your blade before the year ends. Additionally, if you have a big lawn or live in a region with warm-season grass, you may need to check your blade midway through the year.