Is it Bad to Pull a Lawn Mower Backwards? (Solved!)

You should not pull your lawn mower backwards for a number of reasons. The greatest point of emphasis is the dangerous position you can put yourself in by pulling a spinning blade near to your shoes. In addition to this dangerous situation, pulling a standard push mower backwards does not change the direction the mower’s blades are spinning, meaning that you can wind up with grass that is unevenly cut as the mower travels backwards over your lawn.

The rest of the article will go into detail about why you should not make it a habit to pull your lawn mower backwards, the safety and mechanical circumstances that make this a bad habit, and the few times when you can very carefully pull your mower backwards.

How are push mowers designed?

Modern day push mowers are composed of a combustion engine which powers a beveled, double sided blade that cuts grass as the operator pushes it across their lawn. The length of the cut is determined by how low the operator sets the blade relative to the given surface.

How often should I bring my mower in for maintenance?

When you find that your mower is leaving a jagged, uneven cut, your blades either need sharpening or the bevel of the blade has become unbalanced and needs to be re-calibrated. Home Depot recommends that you bring in your push mower every 50 hours of run time or annually (whichever comes first) to have the oil changed.

How important is lawn mower safety?

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates that roughly 37,000 injuries are incurred from power mowers each year in the US alone. The vast majority of these accidents are lacerations from the mower’s blades caused by improper use of the mower. The second most common injuries are burns from the mower’s engine, meaning that it is always important to keep an eye on the components of your unit’s exhaust and air filtration systems.

How should I safely use a power mower?

A major point of order in proper use of a lawn mower is to never pull a running mower backwards. Even ensuring this point of emphasis, one should always wear closed-toed shoes and keep children away from a running mower at all times. Furthermore, always mow across an incline, never push a mower directly uphill as it creates a similar safety hazard as pulling a mower backwards towards the operator’s feet.

Should a push mower’s front and back be level?

No. The rear end (the end closest to you as the operator) of a push mower should sit higher than the front. This is because you only want the front blade of the mower to cut the grass. If the blade is cutting your lawn on the both front and back ends, you risk extra strain on the engine and a harder time pushing the mower. This discrepancy in angle means that you risk a jagged cut by pulling your mower along your grass in the opposite direction it is supposed to meet it.

Are there any mowers that are safe to pull?

There are mowers that are designed to be dragged behind the operator, but they are specifically made to be towed behind a motorized vehicle such as an ATV. These are typically only used on farmland and would be considered excessive for a suburban yard. Never try to manually pull a tow mower.

Why can’t I pull my self-propelled mower backwards?

Some power mowers have an engine that also provides a slight forward propulsion, meaning that pushing the mower requires less physical exertion from the operator. Some customers are confused when the same is not true when trying to pull the mower backwards. This is a very intentional safety feature from the manufacturer, providing further proof that you should never be dragging the mower towards your feet.

Are push mowers with reverse systems safe?

In recent years there have been a series of mowers that advertise the ability to mow both forwards and backwards with relative efficiency and safety. While these advancements are welcome in the field of horticulture, it should be noted that no safety system is perfect, and good mowing practices should always be observed.

When is my child old enough to operate a power mower?

The American medical community generally agrees that a child is capable of understanding and following safe mowing procedures no younger than his or her 12th birthday. At this point, the child is considered developed enough to know what to wear and how to operate a mower, including the cardinal rule of never pulling a running mower backwards.

Are riding mowers safe to use in reverse?

Riding mowers are considered safer to operate in reverse as the operator’s feet are not the direct path of the blades. However, the user still has limited visibility in this situation and diligence is still required in the mower’s operation. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children not operate a riding mower until they are 16 years of age.

Why does my mower cut better in reverse?

If you ever find yourself in the odd situation where your mower actually does cut better in reverse it means that your blades need to be sharpened. The leading beveled edge that cuts the grass when operated properly has grown dull and needs maintenance so that the mower can be used safely again.

Is it ever acceptable to pull my mower backwards?

While it is generally considered unsafe to mow in reverse, you may need to gently pull back to help yourself pivot the mower out of a very tight spot, such as when mowing around the edges of your yard. Even then, you should be very careful with your movements and only move backwards enough to pivot your mower out of very cramped spaces. Generally though, it’s better to avoid getting into such a situation in the first place rather than backing your way out of it.