Choose the right mower and chainsaw to suit your needs and budget

WANT VERSUS NEED: When it comes to mowers and chainsaws, it is important to get the right machine to suit your needs then make sure you get them serviced regularly.
WANT VERSUS NEED: When it comes to mowers and chainsaws, it is important to get the right machine to suit your needs then make sure you get them serviced regularly.

There can be nothing more relaxing and rewarding than getting out in the garden and digging, cutting, clearing and clipping.

As many Australians have found out recently during COVID-19 lockdowns, gardening can be a stress reliever and a great way to fill time, as well as a chance to spend productive time in the great outdoors.

However, if you have been using your mower and chainsaw through the pandemic stand-down, now is the time to get your machines serviced and ready for the season ahead.

According to the Mower Doctor, Frank Zacka, servicing garden machinery is vital to keep them performing at their best.

"It will keep them running at their peak performance and increase their life," Frank said.

"If you don't get your machines serviced, you'll have running issues, which means downtime. It will reduce their service life and create additional expense."

Timing of servicing is important - having a mower in the shop during peak grass growing is not ideal.

"You're looking at the best time being winter, preferably in the second half," Frank said. "That way they will be ready to run in the busiest period, which is spring and summer.

"For chainsaws, the best time is in later summer and during autumn, so they are ready to go for winter."

Chain maintenance and sharpening is vital for extending the life of a chainsaw.

"Cutting with a blunt chain will damage the chain as well as the bar and equipment," Frank said. "Sharpening is a key feature of maintenance."

Frank emphasised that servicing shouldn't just be a once a year specialist job, with ongoing, at-home maintenance also important.

"There is also daily maintenance, checking the oil, checking the fuel, checking the air filter," he said.

"It will all increase the life of the machine and decrease the number of problems."

In the market?

Maybe you're in the market for a new machine, but have no idea of where to start.

Whether it is a mower or a chainsaw, Frank's advice is the same - be honest with yourself and the dealer about planned and possible use.

"People are just thinking 'I need a saw that cuts wood', but there are different quality saws and different uses for those saws," he said.

"For household trimming there is a domestic range, a smaller range; but they would be hit and miss to last a season if you are doing wood cutting."

When it comes to mowers, it depends on the type and size of lawn being mowed, and how much you want to spend.

This will then dictate whether you need a push mower or a ride-on, the size of the engine, overall construction and other variables. There'll be decisions including the width of the cutting deck and the types of wheels and bearings.

"You need to make it as easy on yourself as possible by having the right machine for the job," Frank said.

"If you look around and get a product that is fit for purpose, it will do the job for many years.

"We just have to figure out the correct machine to suit a person's needs."

Ride-on mowers magnify these decisions further.

Because they are more expensive, what you use it for and what you can afford becomes more important.

If a machine ticks all the right boxes and has a regular servicing and maintenance regime, the right mower should last many seasons ... but even then it will depend upon usage.

"Every yard is different, every use is different," Frank said.

"There is some posturing when it comes to mowers. Some people want the top of the range and a specific badge on the front, but it may not be the best machine for you.

"The stronger the machine, the longer life it will give you. It comes down to dollars, but there can be overkill.

"Good value for money should provide good, strong reliable machinery."