Should You Use Side Discharge on Lawn Mower?

Side discharge is a feature that lets the mower cut the grass and immediately eject the clippings out of the side of the mower. It allows for a greater amount of suction and less clogging of blades, making it ideal for mowing long or wet grass, as well as larger lawns where efficiency is important.

By using side discharge you can also mow faster than with bagging, as with the bagging method you need to stop often to empty the bag. However, this method can be messier than others, so it may not be the best choice if you have buildings, windows, or cars close by. 

Speedy Mowing with Side Discharge

One of the biggest advantages of using side discharge on a lawn mower is speedy mowing. As the clippings are ejected from the side, there is less likelihood of clogging up the blades and causing power loss. This allows you to mow at an increased speed and cover more ground in less time. According to a survey of 880 lawn care professionals, 180 of them preferred to use side discharge. As one lawn care pro puts it, “Side discharge is easily the fastest method to use.”

Side Discharge for Long and Wet Grass

When comes to mowing long or wet grass, using side discharge can be a game-changer. As GreenPal’s survey found, 180 out of 880 lawn care professionals prefer this method for a reason. Side discharge allows the clippings to be ejected out of the side of the mower, making it less likely to clog and lose power. Plus, it can handle the extra-long and wet grass with ease. However, it can be messier than other methods, so make sure to take precautions. As one lawn care pro said, “I recommend wearing goggles and a mask when mowing with side discharge.”

Less Clogging with Side Discharge

Using Side Discharge on Lawn Mower

Side discharge mowers are known to have less clogging of blades. As one article puts it, “Due to the open flow of air created by the side discharge chute, this type of mower has a greater amount of suction. With the clippings being blown away from the mower, there will be less clogging of the blades, and therefore less power loss.” This means that you can mow your lawn at an increased speed without having to constantly stop and unclog your mower. It’s a small but significant perk of using a side discharge mower. 

Messy but Efficient

Side discharge may not be the cleanest option for your lawn, but it’s undoubtedly efficient. As the mower expels the clippings outwards, it can leave a messy lawn. However, it’s perfect for those who want a quick and precise job done. “The clean deck on these mowers allows for more precise cutting, which leads to a faster job overall,” says one expert. Plus, with a control valve lever that allows you to adjust the direction of the clippings, you can avoid making too much of a mess. 

Cons of Side Discharge

One the main cons of using side discharge on your mower is the ejection of clippings. When mowing, the clippings can be ejected unpredictably, possibly hitting anything nearby like windows, cars, or even people. This can be especially problematic if you are using the mower in a busy area, making side discharge a less safe option. According to the experts, “Side discharge will fling the grass clippings from around the deck and is not recommended for small or enclosed areas where there are more hard surfaces or people.” 

Ejection of Clippings

One of the biggest advantages of using side discharge on your lawn mower is the ejection of clippings. As the mower cuts the grass, the clippings are immediately ejected out of the side, which reduces the clogging of the blades and the loss of power. This allows you to mow at a faster speed, which is especially useful for larger lawns. As one expert puts it, “Side discharge is great for large areas where you need to move quickly and have lots of open space.” So, if you want to save time and increase your efficiency, side discharge is definitely worth considering. 

Hazards of Side Discharge

One potential hazard of using a side discharge mower is the risk of injury to the operator or bystanders from flying debris such as rocks, sticks, or even small toys. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Lawn mowers can cause serious injury and even death to children who are playing outdoors,” and recommends that children be kept at a safe distance while mowing. Additionally, side discharge can create unsightly clumps of grass and debris on the lawn, which can lead to fungal growth or attract pests if left unattended. It’s important to weigh the risks and benefits before deciding whether to use side discharge on your mower.

Mulching vs Side Discharge

When it comes to deciding between mulching vs side discharge on your lawn mower, it all boils down to the conditions of your lawn and the surrounding area. Mulching is best if you have shorter and dry grass that you want to use as natural fertilizer, while side discharge is great if you have a larger open space and need to mow quickly. As noted by our survey, 70% of lawn care professionals prefer mulching, but side discharge is a default for most mowers. Keep in mind that mulching mowers can become bogged down with excess grass and aren’t great for long or wet grass, while side discharge can throw grass and debris everywhere. 

Conclusion: Is Side Discharge Right for You?

side discharge on lawn mower

Using side discharge on your lawn mower may be the right choice for you if you prefer a clean and precise cut, have a large yard with tall grass, and value time efficiency. As one of our surveyed lawn care professionals pointed out, “Side discharge allows me to mow several acres of property much faster.” However, it is important to be mindful of the potential mess that side discharge can create and to make sure to adjust the control valve lever to avoid any safety hazards. Ultimately, the decision between side discharge and other lawn care methods will depend on your personal preferences and needs for your lawn.