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Barrette's Small Engines Inc. - SmallEngines.ca FAQ's
What is the difference between mulching (3/1) & high-lift (2/1) cutting blades ?
Mower blade terminology can be a little confusing. Local colloquialisms and engineering terminology (such as: "3/1" or "high lift" blades) have also contributed to this confusion.
Essentially there are only TWO basic styles of mowing blades used or approved for use on our current products.
1.) The standard style of mowing blade is essentially designed for cutting grass and effectively discharging the clippings out from the deck to fall onto the lawn or be captured into a grass collection system. Standard blades are also referred to as : " 2 in 1 blades " (discharging & bagging ) OR " high lift blades", as they are designed with a higher lifting air flow.
2.) Mulching blades generally have a more curved style surface and frequently include extra cutting surfaces along the blade edges. These blades may also come in a " + " design which is actually an arrangement of two individual blades arranged in a fashion to enhance mulching. The " + " style mulching blades are normally found on older style units as advancements have been made in mulching technology over the years eliminating the need for " + " style blade design in modern mulching mowers.
Mulching blades may also be referred to as: "3 in 1 blades" ( mulching, discharging & bagging ) OR "All-purpose blades".
Bear in mind that the re-circulating air flow design of 3/1 blades makes them less efficient at discharging grass clippings compared with a standard 2/1 blade. As with most all-purpose tools there is some give and take as opposed to using a tool designed for a more specific purpose.
Persons experiencing less than desired performance of cutting or discharging while using a 3/1 blade may want to inquire about the availability of a 2/1 blade. Along these same lines, persons that have 2/1 blades and want to mulch clippings should check into the availability of mulching blades or a mulching kit*.
The type of blade installed on a new mower is a decision the retailer selects for each model mower based on their interpretation of the needs of their local customers. If unsure of which blade is on a particular model, inspect the blade. Our blades have part numbers stamped into them. Then compare these part numbers with the units Operators Manual or Parts List.
There are many other styles of blades available. However, since we do not manufacture or recommend the use of these "other" aftermarket styles of blade options we will leave them out of this discussion. Persons wanting more information on special application or aftermarket blades should contact the companies that make these products. Customers using non-OEM blades do so at their own risk. The use of unapproved (non-OEM) blades may void any or all of the mower and engine factory warranties.
*MULCHING KITS - generally consist of mulching blades along with a mulching plug (necessary to close off the discharge opening in order to keep the clippings contained under the deck for re-cutting) along with any necessary hardware for installation. Please check with your parts distributor regarding the contents of a particular mulching kit.