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7 Best Mulching Blades of 2024 for a Pretty Lawn

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by Bryan Mckenzie

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Home » Lawn care » 7 Best Mulching Blades of 2022 for a Pretty Lawn
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While to mulch or not to mulch seems an everlasting question many gardeners won’t agree on, a lot of lawn care enthusiasts are eager to switch to mulching rather than bagging nowadays. Indeed, mulching your grass clippings has a lot of benefits. First of all, it keeps the lawn healthy by increasing nutrient supply to the soil. It’s also a way to save time and energy. By using the best mulching blades, you’re spared from the need to bag larger grass clippings and enjoy a better-looking lawn.

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While there’s a whole generation of lawn mowers advertised as mulch mowers today, there’s nothing to prevent you from using a set of well-fitted blades to convert your traditional mower into a mulch-friendly one. Read about the best models for this purpose below. A shopping guide is included towards the end of the article, too.

7 Best Mulching Blades You Can Trust

Below are some mulching/gator blades models that I know to be good either from my own experience or from my friends and relatives. Remember to choose one that fits your mower!

1. Oregon G3 Gator Mulching Blades

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Oregon is a US-based company that produces a whole range of gardening and outdoor equipment and tools, including a line of professional tools. It has a lot of dealers across the country and offers very consistent customer service, which is a big plus for products meant to last.

Made to last is something these blades definitely are. Oregon relies on austempering to increase the material’s fatigue strength and resistance to impact. This is paired with cutting-edge sharpening technology (pun not intended). When installed on a lawnmower, the blades use an aggressive angle that provides for intense airflow, ensuring effective performance. Apart from this, the Gator blades are quick to use and save you a lot of energy.
The resulting grass clippings are really fine. Our mower does a good job of spreading them across the lawn, too, so there’s no need to make any adjustments afterwards. G3 blades work regardless of weather conditions and how tough the grass is due to the airlift they create before actually cutting the grass as well as their well-thought-out-design.

In my opinion, Oregon G3 Gator blades are truly the best lawn mower mulching blades due to their extreme efficiency and durability. I have been using them a lot recently and don’t feel like there’s much to be desired. Our lawn looks nice and healthy, and they definitely make the process less of a chore for me. I highly recommend this model to anyone interested in keeping their lawn healthy.

With a total length of 18-1/2 inches, a center-to-center distance of 3-3/4 inches, and a 5-point star center hole, the blades will fit a wide range of 54” mowers by Decker, Husqvarna, Craftsman, and Poulan Pro.

Positives
  • Highly reliable
  • Effective
  • Good in any weather
  • Works well on tough grass
Negatives
  • Pricier than some competitors
  • Might be difficult to install for beginners

2. Maxpower 561713XB Blades: Best Mulching Blades for Riding Mowers on a Budget

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Shoppers on a budget will appreciate how affordable this 2-blade kit is as compared to most competitors. This is a set of US-made commercial replacement mulching blades that stands out due to its quality build. The blades will fit a variety of mower models with a cut of 42”, mostly by Poulan, Husqvarna, and Craftsman. Each is 21 inches long and 2-2/1 inches wide and comes with a 5-point star-shaped center hole. The latter fact is associated with likely difficulties in installation if you are a beginner. On the other hand, it ensures a secure fit and helps the mower preserve its best RPM with the blades installed.

The cutting edge design is very effective in that it cuts even the toughest grass. Weather conditions hardly matter with this model, so I suggest considering it if you are looking for a heavy-duty solution that won’t hurt your budget. Our neighbor has been using the blades for some months now, and he says they do spare him a lot of passes. His lawn looks really neat, too.

I’ve noticed some mulching blades reviews on the web complaining about chute clogging. According to the above-mentioned neighbor, this product is one that eliminated the problem, which is another bonus.

Positives
  • Fits snugly if used on a 42″ deck
  • Highly durable material
  • Perfect for heavy-duty operation
  • No chute clogging
Negatives
  • Just a little bit less effective that my favorite
  • Not so easy to install

3. Maxpower 331528b: Best Mulching Blade For Rough Tasks

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MaxPower specializes exclusively in the production of replacement parts for the garden and home power equipment. In their range of blades, you can find products for many popular models. The MaxPower 331528B is an excellent and inexpensive item that handles heavy-duty tasks with ease. If you often have to chop not only grass and leaves but also branches, cones, and nuts, this model is definitely for you.

While it copies the original MTD blade in shape, it can also fit mowers from Cub Cadet, Craftsman, and Troy-Bilt. Note that its center hole has a bow-tie design, making the item unsuitable for some models. I recommend that you read the complete list of suitable machines from the manufacturer before purchasing it.

The product is 21 inches long and 2.25 inches wide, but the cutting edge is slightly longer than usual. It lets you cover a larger area in less time. I like that it is made of durable and tough metal, which means it will keep its sharpness for a very long time. It is essential when dealing with large debris. Not all budget models are made of such excellent quality.

The blade itself is well-balanced and cuts the grass perfectly even. However, like other users, I ran into difficulty tearing off the stickers. You will need to make an effort or use a special product to get rid of them. It may seem to someone that a small piece of paper with glue shouldn’t be an issue, but it can still have a negative impact on your mower performance. Therefore, I still recommend removing the stickers.

Positives
  • Suitable for many models
  • Made from durable metal
  • Does not require sharpening
  • Has an extended cutting edge

 

Negatives

 

  • Stickers are not easy to remove

4. MTD 942-0741A: Best Mulching Blade for Push Mowers by MTD

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MTD is a well-known American manufacturer of mass-market outdoor power equipment that has been in the market for over eight decades now. The model under review will make a good replacement or addition to walk-behind mowers by this brand.

Designed to fit 21-inch decks except for those made of cast aluminum in some specific models, the blades come with a four-point center hole. Only one is included in each pack.

A friend of our family used to own a relatively old MTD on which he tried this blade, and he was generally satisfied with it. According to his review, it’s one of the most durable pieces he’d ever come across with his mower. While it does require occasional sharpening, it can stand up to the rigors of tough, wet grass, and does a good job of mulching generally. The friend did mention random blades of grass sticking out here and there, though. Besides, it takes some time for the blades to get sharp as they come with a kind of protective coating applied to them, compromising their cutting ability for the first half-hour or so. Otherwise, however, this is a decent long-lasting tool for MTD lawn care equipment.

Positives
  • Relatively robust
  • Generally good mulching performance
  • First a wide range of MTD details
Negatives
  • Needs time to get sharp
  • Might miss a blade or two

5. Rotary Copperhead: A Budget-Friendlier John Deere Lawn Mower Mulching Kit

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The history of Rotary dates all the way back to 1957. It is one of the global market leaders in aftermarket power equipment spare part supply, offering an extensive range of products designed primarily for lawn mowers.

While also made by a trusted brand, this two-pack blade kit is more affordable than the previous model. It’s also made to fit 42” cut John Deere mowers. The John Deere owning relative I’ve already mentioned has some experience with these blades. In her opinion, they could easily compete with the more expensive Arnold model in terms of performance. They do have a weak spot, however. The Rotary blades don’t really arrive sharp; there’s a layer of paint covering the cutting edge that you need to knock off before using them. Otherwise, the result might be disappointing. The blades are unlikely to perform better than the original John Deere ones straight out of the box. However, they easily outdo the stock kit when sharpened a bit, leaving hardly any uncut patches even in wet weather.

The relative has also mentioned bumping into a brick as she was mowing her lawn with these blades. They did survive, pretty much unharmed, so I think it’s a great option for shoppers on a budget looking for a heavy-duty tool. The installation procedure is relatively easy.

Positives
  • Extremely durable
  • Leaves no uncut streaks
  • Works well in any weather and on any grass
  • Easy to install
  • Not so expensive
Negatives
  • Might need pre-sharpening

6. Husqvarna 954636867: Best Mulching Blades for Husqvarna Mowers

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Dating back to the 17th century, when the original firearm manufacturing company was founded in Sweden, Husqvarna Group is now a true giant in agriculture and gardening that hardly needs to be introduced. Its history as a lawn mower manufacturer began over a hundred years ago.

Riding mowers by this brand are quite popular; I have more than one friend using them to trim their lawns, and this blade is the most common choice when it comes to mulching. Firstly, it’s an original spare part made by a trusted brand. Secondly, the model is both a long-lasting and efficient tool.

The blades come with a traditional 5-point star center hole and don’t have a serrated edge. However, they do a good job of mulching grass, leaving just evenly distributed clippings that are hard to notice with the naked eye. Their greatest flaw is reportedly the tendency to bump into whatever roots and stumps you have in your garden, so you should watch out for these. These blades will remain sharp for a long time and are unlikely to be destroyed even with the heavy-duty operation.

The kit includes a pair of 21-inch blades for 42” deck mowers.

Positives
  • Well-built
  • Remains sharp for a long time
  • Clean cuts
Negatives
  • Might bump into stumps

7. Lawn-Boy 89914P 21-Inch Blade: Best Mulching Blade for Walk Behind Mowers by Lawn Boy

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Another brand with a hundred years’ experience and over seven decades on the gardening market, Lawn Boy makes a range of 20-inch pusher mowers that can be fitted with mulch blades.

I found out about this blade model from another friend, who has been a Lawn Boy user for years now. Since she is an elderly lady, even a few extra passes with her walk-behind grass cutter would be unwelcome, but the blades do a good job of sparing her effort. Made of hard material with serrated cutting-edges, they leave behind evenly cut patches of lawn. The blades come sharp out of the box and last long even when used on wet grass.

With a round center hole, this model is not the easiest to install, which is probably its only flaw in the context of Lawn Boy.

Positives
  • Durable material
  • Sharp out of the box
  • Uniform fine mulching
  • Good in any weather
Negatives
  • Might be difficult to install

How to Choose the Perfect Blade Set

Since a lot of people seem to be unsure as to what the phrase “mulching blades” means in the context of how to mow a lawn, I decided to include a brief explanation and a set of buyer’s directions for you to make an informed decision.

What is mulching, and why bother?

Talking about lawn care, mulching is the process of cutting grass into very fine clippings that can then be left scattered on the surface of the lawn. Unlike those left by standard mower blades, these are small enough to have no negative impact on whatever lies beneath and are, in fact, quite beneficial.

Improved nutrition is probably the greatest benefit of mulching. The clippings will eventually degrade, releasing a number of useful substances such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and more. Given that these are the most important nutrients in fertilizers for home lawns, this might also help you get a prettier lawn.

For those who aren’t easily convinced by this argument, the fact that mulching saves labor might be of greater interest. Indeed, there’s no need to deal with the many bags; you just leave the clippings where they are.

Finally, since bagging as the opposite of mulching is associated with the increased use of plastic bags, which also take up precious space on landfills, cutting your grass into tiny clippings that will soon break down is good for the environment.

Some gardeners seem to have a prejudice towards mulching as a practice that encourages thatch formation, where an interlayer of live and dead matter separates the soil from vegetation. While moderate thatching does have benefits, it makes the lawn prone to diseases and other afflictions when excessive.

However, it’s not mulching that’s responsible for thatch formation, but rather the choice of grass varieties and soil condition. It’s widely accepted nowadays that evenly spread clippings that a mulching mower leaves behind don’t cause this kind of problem. There’s still a possibility that they will add to existing thatch, though, so take it into account when mulching.

Now that I’ve mentioned a mulching mower, what is it?

What’s a mulching mower?

A mulching mower is basically a lawn mower designed with mulching in mind. This means that is has a special blade or blade set capable of shredding the grass into tiny fragments and a discharge system that provides for even clipping distribution.

While standards mowers are usually built with a view for bagging or simply with a side/rear discharge chute, some of these can be converted into mulching types by installing specially designed blades and a distribution solution. Mulching kits are a popular choice, in this case, combining the two necessary components.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of mulching blades?

Mulching blades can be purchased separately if you have a mower that wasn’t built for the purpose, provided that they are compatible with the model. This enables you to mulch your lawn without investing in a newer or more advanced lawn mower.

Depending on the geometry and other characteristics, mulching blades can be installed on pusher type mowers or lawn tractors.

For those who have been asking themselves, “What is a mulching blade?”, the term refers to mower blades shaped in a way to increase cutting efficiency and ensure finer clippings. This includes an increased cutting surface area and a sharper cutting edge. Generally, mulching blades look curvier than their regular counterparts.

As for the downsides of mulching blades, these are likely in situations where mulching is contraindicated, like on lawns with known thatch problem or when the weather is really wet. The latter might bring about nasty clumps, so it’s common practice to mulch your lawn when the grass is more or less dry. Finally, the vegetation shouldn’t be too tall if you want to mulch it, which means you’ll need to mow your lawn on a schedule.

How to choose mulching blades

Mulching blades come in different flavors, depending on their purpose.

First of all, some are meant for pusher types of lawn mowers, while others were designed for lawn tractors. This is usually easy to trace since it’s typical for manufacturers to list the models that this or that product will work with.

Sizes differ, too, but this again depends on what mower you have. Metal thickness can vary, though, and thicker blades are usually associated with longer life. This also depends on the material and how (and if) it’s been treated and/or coated.

When it comes to shape, there are two major categories: standard mulching blades and so-called gator, or 3-in-1, blades. The former look like a curvier version of straight mower blades, while gators also feature a serrated cutting edge. While these tend to be more expensive, I highly recommend quality gator models such as the one by Oregon that I feature as my top pick for all-around mowing, especially when the grass is wet.

Long story short, the key parameters to know when looking for a mulching blade is your mower model and its geometry as well as your intention (how often and under what weather conditions you are going to mow).

FAQ About Mulching Blades

In this section, I’m going to answer some of the questions that people often ask regarding mulching blades. Feel free to contribute in the comments section if you please!

How do mulching blades work?

Mulching blades work by lifting grass blades and cutting them several times, after which they are further shredded in the deck. The tiny clippings are then pushed down onto the lawn, forming an evenly distributed carpet due to the divided airflow. The key difference between mulching blades vs regular blades is that the former option provides for smaller remnants.

When to use mulching blades?

Mulching blades should be used whenever you are trying to mulch your lawn. That is, if you want to cut your grass into really fine fragments that will break down in no time when left on the ground, nourishing the soil with their degradation products, mulching blades are the right choice. However, there are some limitations.

If you have a lot of weeds such as crabgrass on your plot, it’s best to avoid mulching as it might cause these to spread. Further, longer grass isn’t particularly mulch-friendly, especially when it’s wet, so it might be wiser to collect the clippings if you haven’t been tending for your lawn for some time. Intensive use of certain chemicals and pesticides might prevent or delay grass clipping break-down, too, which is unwelcome.

Do Gator mulching blades work?

They do if they are well-made like the ones I’ve included in the review section. The serrated cutting edge does a good job of shredding grass into really fine pieces while maintaining a medium lift.

What is an extreme mulching blade?

Technically speaking, there’s no such thing as extreme blades. The phrase usually refers to very heavy-duty models or those where geometry provides for increased cutting surface, resulting in even finer cutting, like the ones by Arnold.

How to get best cut when using mulching blades?

First of all, you need to mow your lawn more often with mulching blades than you would while using regular ones. As a rule of thumb, do it every time the glass is 1/3 taller than you want it to be. It’s also preferable to choose a dry day because wet grass tends to clump.

What is the best use of Copperhead mulching blades?

Copperhead blades are known to be sharper than average, really heavy-duty blades that are ideal for difficult terrain with lots of stumps and roots. The general mulching rules apply to them as well (see above).

Keep Your Lawn Beautiful with Mulching Blades

A set of well-made, rugged mulching blades is a budget-friendly way of converting your traditional lawn mower into one that will beautify and nourish your lawn.

It is essential that you look for blades compatible with your equipment and take into account the terrain you’re going to use it on as this determines the sturdiness requirements.

From my experience, I suggest considering Oregon G3 Gator blades as an all-round solution that will last under pretty much any conditions. However, there are many decent alternatives, depending on your situation.

Have you already tried mulching your grass? If yes, what has been the most challenging part? Please share!

About
Bryan Mckenzie
Hi there — my name is Bryan McKenzie. Before I’d got into gardening, I worked as a landscape designer at landscape design and consultation company in Jacksonville. I enjoy sharing the vast gardening experience I’ve accumulated throughout the years with like-minded green thumbs. Read more about me and my wife.
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