A mulching blade, known also as a 3-in-1 blade, is a type of lawnmower blade designed to chop grass into the smallest pieces possible. The best mulching blade will be affordable, high quality, and long-lasting. It will also be able to fit most 54-inch decks and will be made of a much harder metal than a factory blade.
A good mulching blade is well worth the money. When your lawnmower is equipped with a mulching blade, the particles that end up coming out of the mower are almost dust-sized. The idea is to cut those clippings as small as possible, so they can decompose faster (Source).
Compared to standard blades, mulching blades have a distinct edge. These blades not only cut the grass but as they spin, they carry the grass into the mower’s deck. Inside the mower, the mulching blade then cuts the grass several times again, chopping it into ever finer pieces (Source).
There are many factors to consider before buying a mulching blade, and if you don’t know what to look for, you could end up buying the wrong one. Before purchasing a mulching blade, you should consider its size, price, mower compatibility, and strength. It’s also important to consider whether or not the blade has an anti-rust coating.
In this article, we will take a detailed look at all the top-rated mulching blades. All the models in this review will cut grass into fine pieces, whether you are mowing your yard at home, or you are a professional working on a customer’s lawn.
What Are Mulching Blades?
Mulching blades are grass-cutting blades with an unusual shape. You can easily mulch grass clippings with these blades as they are designed to make the work easy and efficient for you.
The best mower blades have an enhanced cutting edge with many curves. Upon spinning, these blades don’t just cut the grass but carry them to into a mower’s deck. Then the blade cut the grass clippings some more to reduce their size.
It is best suited for short grass, instead of overgrown fields. Using them for tall grass may clog the blades due to their extraordinarily-curved design. That’s one reason why mulching blades need to be used two to three times a week.
As mulching blades can cut the grass into short pieces, it gives you the advantage of using the chopped grass as compost. Thus, using mulching blades has given people the flexibility of utilizing the cut grass efficiently.
Are Mulching Blades Worth It?
Mulching blades are worth it if you want to cut down grass into really small pieces. The benefit of cutting mulch to dust is that it can decompose faster.
Comparing The Best Mulching Blades
|The Oregon G3 Gator Blade Set of 3|
|Toro 131-4547-03 22 Recycler Blade|
|Max Power 331981S 21-Inch Universal Gold Metal Mulching Lawn Mower Blade|
|Stens 335-859, 2 in 1 Mulching Blades for Deck MTD Cub Cadet Troy|
|Rotary 12963 PK3 Copperhead Mulching Blades|
1. The Oregon G3 Gator Blade Set of 3 — Best Overall
This blade is austempered heat-treated. As a result, it has a 20% harder steel, which makes it hardy, durable, and long-lasting. Consequently, its hardiness also guarantees that harsh conditions such as branches or walnuts will not affect the blade.
This package comes in threes. It will flexibly fit any 54-inch deck for lawn mowers no matter the brand. It can accommodate Poulan Pro, Husqvarna, and Craftsman, or unbranded mowers of the same size.
Why the Oregon G3 is Our Top Choice
The Oregon Gator blades are 18.5 inches long, 2.5 inches wide and .187 inches thick. Coupled with the unique design, these specifications ensure the blade will cut through grass quickly and easily. That means you do not need multiple passes to cut your grass to size unless your grass is knee-deep high or over 2 feet.
Made in the USA, the blades are easy to attach. You’ll spend minimal time getting the mower ready. Additionally, the blades are easy to sharpen when they begin to get a bit dull. They also have a proper clipping discharge, which makes the mower a hundred times more efficient.
- High-quality and long-lasting
- Fits most 54-inch decks
- More hardened than factory blades which break down
- Not the best fit for a six-leg star mounting spindle
2. Toro 131-4547-03 22 Recycler Blade — The Best Replacement Blade for Toro Recycler 22 or Toro Branded Lawn Mowers
Please note that though the blade is listed as a Toro OEM blade—the same blade that Toro Recycler or Personal Space 22 comes with—that is not so. If anything, it is more of a rotary copperhead blade.
Likewise, that does not diminish its effectiveness. It actually increases effectiveness because it is made from premium-grade high carbon steel, which ensures it has better performance and long life.
That means it cuts grass that is really fine and can quickly deal with grass that is a little wet without leaving brown spots. Plus, it will last for a considerable amount of time before you need to replace it.
The specs on this are 21.68 inches long, 2.25 inches wide, and 0.15 inches thick. These, combined with the vertical teeth, provide cutting efficiency. Meanwhile, the cutting surface accounts for the mulching; although a common observation is that the mulching is not on par with the mulching observed on the original blade.
Lastly, the blade is sharp on arrival but is also easy to sharpen when it goes dull. It is easy to install, too, which ensures you won’t waste time during the installation process.
- Can fit a wide range of Toro branded products
- Works better than the original when cutting grass
- Might not be ideal for most lawn mowers that are not Toro branded
3. Max Power 331981S 21-Inch Universal Gold Metal Mulching Lawn Mower Blade — Best Universal Blade
The blade has sharpened vertical cutting teeth, which facilitates a fine even cut. You will not need more than one pass unless your grass is high. Likewise, when mowing in the morning and the grass is a bit damp, the teeth and cutting surface guarantees no clumping.
Additionally, the blade has a greater cutting surface for increased mulching. As a result, both the cutting of grass and mulching are at 100% when using this blade.
Moreover, the blade has a one-inch center hole that has reducing washers of 3/8 inch, 7/16 inch, 9/16 inch, ½ inch, 5/8 inch, and 13/16 inch. This facilitates greater versatility because you can use the washer to reduce the bore and ensure the blade fits the mower you are trying to fit the blade to.
However, note that the center hole is round and that means if you have a star adapter, you may need to adjust if you want the blade to fit well. On the other hand, the blade is conveniently easy to install on any mower.
Finally, it essential to know that the blade has a centrifugal airlift design, which facilitates a uniform chopping distribution.
- Made in the USA
- Coated to prevent rusting
- Adheres to all the quality assurance checks.
- Does not provide for a star adapter
4. Stens 335-859, 2 in 1 Mulching Blades for Deck MTD Cub Cadet Troy — Best Value for Your Money
No products found.The first thing to note about these blades is that the Stens company manufactures them. Stens is a well-known industry leader in the manufacture of aftermarket replacements parts.
They are known for high-quality products and these blades are no different. These blades come as a six-piece package. The fact that the six-piece package is affordable guarantees you get value for your money.
The blade is 18 inches long, 2 ½ inches wide, and .149 inches thick. While it is not a universal blade, the 6-point star center hole ensures it comfortably fits a wide variety of models aside from the ones listed.
Additionally, it is made from a high-quality alloy of carbide and industrial-grade steel, which makes the blade hardy and durable. The hardiness ensures the blade will easily handle harsh conditions such as roots, sand, and pebbles.
Meanwhile, the six blades can easily last you years before you have to replace them. It also saves you the hassle of ordering replacement blades now and then.
Lastly, the blades are easy to install and the cutting does not affect the effectiveness of the blade.
- Economical price
- High-quality and long-lasting
- Works well in both natural conditions and tougher conditions without compromising on efficiency
- Might be hard to clean in some situations
5. Rotary 12963 PK3 Copperhead Mulching Blades — Highly Rated Mulching Blade
First, the blades are made from titanium alloy alongside a bit of carbide. The alloy ensures the blades are as strong as possible. That means they are long-lasting.
Additionally, the fact that they are strong guarantees they can handle rougher conditions without breaking down. The harsh conditions may include using the blade on a sandy yard, using it on an uneven yard, or using it on a yard full of branches and root outcroppings.
Second, the blades have unique, differentiated teeth that give the best result. They cut grass uniformly and facilitate excellent mulching.
Moreover, they have a six-star hole that can comfortably fit a majority of past and present lawn mowers. The blades are 18 ½ inches long, 3 inches wide, and .204 inches thick.
However, note that it requires three blades to fit a 54-inch cut and that is why the blades come as a set of 3. Remark, too, that because of the titanium alloy, the blades are a bit heavy compared to most.
The increase in weight helps facilitate better mulching but it is possible your mower may not be able to handle the load. Therefore, ensure you check your mower’s HP before purchase.
Finally, similar to the Stens’ blades, these blades are manufactured by a reputable company and are easy to install.
- Sharp and efficient
- Uniform mowing and mulching
What Is The Difference Between Mulching Blades And Regular Blades?
Upon looking at them both side by side, you will notice that the design of a mulching blade is much curvier than a regular one. The unusual design makes a mulching blade do additional things while cutting and bagging grass clippings.
Unlike regular blades, mulching blades can avoid scattering the grass clippings. Their 3-in-1 action will let you do the cutting, mulching, and rotating the leaves and grass clippings.
Due to the presence of more cutting edges and curves on a mulching blade, you can keep the grass clippings rotating within the mower deck instead of scattering around. Rotating blades are not that capable of doing this.
Mulching blades are capable of cutting the leaves and grass into tiny bits through its rotating action. Regular blades cannot keep the clippings for that long inside the deck and immediately discharges them.
Regular blades are designed to lift the cut grass upwards, while mulching blades are sculpted to circulate the grass clippings, chopping them finely – similar to that in a food processor.
To help you decide, here is a review of the best mulching blades.
Is Mulching Better Than Bagging Leaves?
Mulching has certain advantages over bagging leaves. Here are a few:
- Simple Operation – Mulching with a mower is a much simpler process. You do not need to take care of additional duties, like bagging, when mulching.
- Practicality – All the leaves are chopped to tiny bits in this process, which can be used for nourishing the soil later. With bagging leaves, you throw away the litter without any significant use for it.
- Time-efficient – Since you do not have to rake or blow the grass clippings and leaves to bag or pile them.
- Cost-effective – Mulching does not involve the costs of additional maintenance and fuel for blowers to bag the leaves. You also do not need plastic bags to take care of the piles.
Can You Install Mulching Blades On Any Lawnmower?
Yes, you can convert most lawnmowers into mulching mowers with the help of a conversion kit. The installation kit comprises of a mulching blade and a mulch plate that restricts the grass clippings from leaving out of the deck.
To install the blade, you need to turn the mower over and remove the central bolt that is holding the regular blade. Replace that blade with a mulching blade. Ensure that it is tightened securely.
Then, move on to removing the discharge bag attached to the mower. After that, you need to connect the mulch restriction plate or plug at the area where the bag was attached.
While doing all these steps, keep in mind to remove the spark plug of the lawnmower. Re-attach it after you have successfully installed the mulching blade in the deck.
What to Consider Before Purchasing a Mulching Blade
When you purchase a mulching blade, it should be able to get the job done and done right. For that to happen, there are a couple of factors you ought to take into account.
Are you looking for a tool that is used to disengage the weed’s entire root system from the soil to prevent regrowth? Consider buying the best weed remover for your soil conditions. It is also helpful for preventing body strain.
The Length of the Blade
The length of the blade determines two significant factors: compatibility and effectiveness.
With regards to compatibility, it is vital to know if the blade’s length is compatible with your lawnmower. In essence, will it fit? You need to have the specs of your mower in mind when purchasing a blade. Compare those with the blade’s specifications to determine if the blade will fit. Otherwise, you will end up buying a blade you cannot use.
Second, the blade’s length determines how many passes you will need to mow your lawn effectively. The longer the blade, the less the passes and vice versa.
The Number of Pieces That Constitute the Entire Blade Package
Some blades come as a one-piece, others as a three-piece, and others a six-piece. The number of pieces will determine how the blade fits on the mower. Consider the Rotary Copperhead mulching blades discussed above. Three blades are required to fit a 54-inch cut.
The number of pieces will also determine the cost because the more the pieces, the pricier the blades. Always go for the number of pieces you are most comfortable with; that gives you the best value for your money.
The Weight of the Blade
The weight of the blade will determine how quickly you can pick up and move your lawn mower. It will also determine how quickly you will be able to install the blade and take it off.
The heavier the blade, the harder it is to maneuver it. Always go for a weight you can manage effortlessly.
The Blade’s Durability
It is essential that you always aim for durability. It is irritating and costly when you have to order a blade every three months because the blade keeps breaking down. Hence, go through the product’s page and critically analyze the material used when making a particular blade.
Is the material used industrial-grade steel? Has the steel been austempered heat-treated to make it stronger? Is the blade made of another alloy that is equally strong?
Once you’ve satisfactorily obtained the answers to these questions, you are now in a better position to purchase a durable blade.
Warranty is crucial. Sometimes you might purchase a blade with a star center hole only to realize your lawn mower’s adapter is round. In such a situation, you need to return the blade so that you can get one that fits.
Unless the blade has a warranty, the seller might refuse to take the blade back. Thus, before settling on a purchase, check to ensure the warranty is intact.
FAQ’s About Mulching Blades
Q: Can any lawn mover mulch?
If you choose a normal lawn mower with a standard blade, it would need to cut the grass much more than a mulching blade would.
Q: How often do I have to mulch my lawn?
Once a week would be good.
Q: What’s the positive thing about mulching?
Mulching controls weed prevents soil weathering and maintains soil moisture.
Ready To Buy The Best Mulching Blades?
If you have considered everything and still cannot come to a decision, then you can always use the mulching lawn mower blades’ brands to differentiate them. Alternatively, you can randomly pick from our list; we can guarantee they’re the best of the best mulching blades in the market.
Are you looking forward to having one of the lush green lawns in your neighborhood? While this is the case, seeding and fertilizer application on lawns are rather inefficient when done by hands. In this regard, you will need specialized equipment, such as a tow-behind spreader.
If you are looking for a tool that makes clean lines that separate grass from your lawn, driveway, garden bed or sidewalks, consider buying a top-rated manual lawn edger.
Good morning. I’m looking for mulching blades for both my 42″ Cub Cadet i1046 riding mower, and my 21″ Toro GTS Recycler push mower.
The Cub Cadet has three blades (two are the same length #942-04125 (16.28″, star hole), and the third is slightly shorter #942-04124, 14.88″, star hole).
The Toro has one 20 1/4″ blade (although the mower is categorized as a 21″ mower). The blade part# is 93-0241-03, and it has a round hole.
I’m looking for the best mulching blades for these two mowers. Can you assist?
Oops. I meant 46″ for my Cub Cadet…