To balance your lawn mower blade, you hang it from a nail to find out which side is heavier. Then, you sharpen the heavier side to remove enough material until the two sides are the same weight. You can tell your lawn mower blade is unbalanced if your mower is vibrating, your lawn isn’t getting trimmed evenly, or if it takes you longer than usual to mow.
Everyone wants the perfect lawn. But it’s impossible to trim your lawn properly with an unbalanced blade. Unbalanced blades create uneven cuts and are extremely damaging to your lawn mower. An unbalanced blade is also unsafe because it can cause your lawn mower to fall apart. Read on to learn more about balancing lawn mower blades!
How do you know if your lawn mower blade is unbalanced?
There are a few telltale signs that your blade is unbalanced:
- If your lawn mower is strangely vibrating.
- If your lawn isn’t trimming evenly.
- If mowing is taking longer than usual.
Do not ignore these signs. It might start with just subtle vibrating or a slightly uneven trim, but once a blade is unbalanced, it will only get worse. The sooner you catch the problem, the more damage you can prevent.
How do lawn mower blades get unbalanced?
Your blade gets worn down over time by cutting your lawn. Some grass needs different blades- thicker grass might need a blade designed specifically for thick grass.
But usually the grass isn’t the problem.
More likely, branches, sticks, chunks of dirt, and rocks have set your blade off balance.
It can be tempting to just plow right through everything. It takes extra time to go through your lawn and pick everything up before mowing. Or even worse- having to stop mid-mow to pick something up. But it’s worth the trouble to avoid an unbalanced blade.
Why should you balance your lawn mower blade?
Having a balanced blade will keep your lawn looking the best it can. You don’t want to go through the trouble of mowing your lawn only for it to look haphazard due to an unbalanced blade.
On top of this, unbalanced blades shake the inner compartments of your lawn mower and can cause damage like loose bolts, which can make the lawn mower fall apart. This is extremely unsafe because your blade is sharp and can injure you.
The engine won’t be able to handle the extra vibration for long either. If your engine gets too damaged, you will likely need a new lawn mower.
Most lawn mowers last roughly 10 years according to My All Green, but an unbalanced blade will surely cut that lifetime.
How do you balance your lawn mower blade?
There are five steps to balancing your lawn mower blade.
- Take the blade off your lawn mower.
- Balance the blade.
- Center the blade.
- Sharpen the heavy side of the blade.
- Put the blade back on the lawn mower.
Now, let’s go further in depth on each step so you know how to balance your lawn mower blade.
How do you take the blade off your lawn mower?
It might be easy to take the blade off of your lawn mower, or it might be a long process. It depends on what lawn mower you have.
If you are using an electric mower, be sure to unplug it before touching the blade. If your lawn mower is battery operated, take out the battery.
Turn the lawn mower on its side and remove the blade based on the instruction manual. If you lost the manual, there are databases of instruction manuals online.
Be sure to wear heavy-duty gloves while touching the blade. Your lawn mower blade is very sharp and it is easy to cut yourself by accident, especially if you are picking it up and moving it around.
How do you balance the blade?
You need to hang the blade so that you are able to balance it. You can even use a nail in the wall. Preferably you would be using a magnetic blade balancer.
To use a nail, put a large nail into the wall of your shed or garage. Balance the blade by putting the nail into the hole in the center of the blade.
Center your blade and make sure both ends are able to droop down. It is extremely important that your blade is centered.
How do you center the blade?
Once the blade is centered perfectly, hold it in place for a couple of seconds.
Let go of it very gently, careful not to knock it either way.
The heavy side of the blade will drop down, and is considered the unbalanced side. Now you know which side to work on.
You should repeat the process by turning your blade 180 degrees and trying again to make sure you got an accurate reading.
How do you sharpen the heavy side?
You can use an angle grinder to sharpen the heavy side of your blade. According to Norton Abrasives, angle grinders are the most versatile tool you can own. Sharpen the blade by moving the grinder side to side on the same angle as the blade.
The reason you sharpen the heavy side is because sharpening it takes off pieces of the blade, making it lighter. You want it to weigh the same amount as the other half of the blade.
Once you’ve sharpened the blade, hang it back up. You might have taken off too much, or not enough. Repeat the process until it hangs evenly.
How do you put the blade back on the mower?
To put the blade back on the mower, first turn the mower on its side. Make sure it is unplugged or the battery is removed.
Put the blade back onto the mower and tighten the bolt firmly with a wrench. Put the wires in their correct positions and you’re ready to mow again.
The instruction manual should walk you through exactly how to do this.
Should you balance your own blade or have a professional do it?
You should always have a professional balance and sharpen your blade for you when it’s an option. Professionals are more precise. It is also safer for a professional to do it because it’s their job.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.