Mowing Calculator – Estimate Time to Mow

Use this calculator to estimate how long it will take to mow your lawn, given the size of your mower and the mower speed (or walking speed if it’s a push mower).

mowing speed table

How to Save Time Mowing

If you want to cut down on the time it takes to mow your lawn, you have to either get a larger mower (riding mower), go faster (riding mower or zero turn mower), or both (zero turn). And now there is another option – robot mowers. They don’t actually mow the lawn that fast, but they don’t require you to do any work at all. This effectively means you can mow your lawn in literally no time. Of course zero turn mowers and robot mowers can be quite expensive. But the price of each is falling quickly. And if you really hate to mow, or would really rather be doing something else, they are well worth the cost.

Time to Mow a One Acre Lawn

If you mow your lawn, you might be considering ways to cut down the time it takes you to do so. To save time, it helps to have a good idea of how much time it takes to mow and how big the lawn area you are working with. There are a couple of variables in play: method of mowing and the equipment being used. Factoring all of these things together can help you figure out how to more effectively mow your lawn.

The size of your mowing property and the nature of your terrain will be the prominent factors in starting to figure out this process. Based on the acreage and how steep the landscape you are working with, you can select the appropriate mowing equipment. The other two factors are the mowing span (which varies greatly based on equipment), as well as the propulsion speed of the machine.

For those interested in figuring out an estimated time that it would take to mow an area of a certain size can use a formula to calculate their time in hours (or minutes) of how long the mowing would take. The key factor to keep in mind is the number 108.9, which is the preset factor of acres per hour dimensions, including a 10% time differential for taking turns after every swath. Mowing also typically calls for a small overlap of previously cut swaths, which will be accounted for by calculating with a factor of 0.9 instead of 1.

(108.9 / (width of mower deck X 0.9 X walking speed in mph) ) X 60 = minutes it will take to mow

Time to Mow Under 1 Acre:

For properties of 1/4 of an acre or less, a standard reel mower is sufficient if dealing with a mostly even, debris-free lawn. Reel mowers are very low maintenance. They are manually powered, efficient, and inexpensive. However, the idea of attempting to push them along for a wide area is surely daunting. On top of that, a manual lawn mower is not meant for taller grass, weeds, or the inevitable twig that might be in the way. Remember, its speed is only as fast as the person pushing it along, therefore, the bigger the area, the more time and energy-consuming this will incur.

If one were to attempt to tackle an acre with a reel mower, the maximum width of most reel mowers is about 22” and typical walking speed is about 3mph, so using the handy formula:

(108.9 / (22” X 0.9 X 3) ) X 60 = 1 hour and 49 minutes/acre

Self-propelled mowers are also suitable for smaller areas, though they can handle a bit of a rougher job, and they will move a bit faster than the reel mower’s walking speed. At about 5mph, either a cordless or corded version is generally low in noise and still lightweight enough to be easy to maneuver around and turn without much effort. Self-propelled motors can move forward and backward, while easily handling somewhat rougher terrain.

Using the formula with an average speed of 5 mph and the average mowing range per swath of about 41”, we can conclude that it would take just under an hour to cover an acre:

(108.9 / (41” X 0.9 X 5) ) X 60 = 35.5 minutes/acre

About 1 Acre:

For lawns over half of an acre to an acre, there is more vast territory to work with. With more area to cover, a self-propelling mower of an electric variety isn’t likely to have a battery that holds up, and the gas lawn mower is not likely to have enough gas without refills. More importantly, just imagine a slow-rolling self-propelled dealing with such a wide area. It will be taxing not only on the machine but on its operator as well.

For 1 acre in size, a riding lawn mower is recommended. These gas-operated lawn and garden tractors have more powerful endings and come with an assortment of attachments that can expand the range of lawn mowed in one pass significantly from what most of the self-propelled can handle. On the downside, these machines do suffer from a less than stellar turning radius, which makes it a bit difficult to maintain an evenly trimmed lawn area.

riding mower

Riding mowers are versatile, being able to not only serve as lawn trimming equipment but also as snow moving equipment in the winter. This versatility, however, does come with a hefty price tag when compared to some of the smaller, more lightweight options. The machines can also be a challenge when it comes to getting around certain obstacles that could be in your lawn (large stones, trees, etc.), and owners need to have sufficient space for storing them, but covering the range of an acre is significantly less complex when operating one of these machines.

As riding mowers go at a max speed of 10mph and have an average mowing swath of about 40 inches, we can use the formula used by the mowing calculator to find how long it would take to mow an acre.

(108.9 / (40” X 0.9 X 10) ) X 60 = 21.8 minutes

Time to Mow 5 Acres:

For a lawn of 5 acres, a zero turn mower is a mower’s greatest tool. These are large mowing beasts, but they turn easily, steer better, and make much more precise cuts than their smaller riding mower counterparts. They do take up a significant amount of storage space, require ample maintenance, and are quite pricey. It also takes time to learn to use these machines and to adjust to taking turns correctly, as lawn damage can occur if done incorrectly.

zero turn mower

Using a zero turn mower to handle a large lawn will be a quick process. Using the provided formula we can find that mowing 5 acres with a zero turn mower (moving at approx 13mph) with an average swatch coverage area of 52 inches is:

(108.9 / (52” X 0.9 X 13) ) X 60 = 10.7 minutes/acre

Time to mow 5 acres = 54 minutes

Robotic Lawn Mowers:

Robotic lawn mowers are another option. These self maneuvering machines can cover a variety of area sizes based on the model and battery capacity. These certainly take the work out of mowing but could take time to set up. These can handle an impressive variety of sloped areas, including some models that can tackle up to 45% of land angles. Most do not have the battery to handle a full acre in one charge, however, there are a select few robot mowers that can handle larger lawns.

In general, robotic lawn mowers are a lot slower than traditional mowers. This method makes time largely negligent as you are required to do no work yourself. They do require time to setup, but this is just a one-time requirement. Mowing once started is entirely automated, allowing you to enjoy more free time.

Calculate Mowing Time

Feel free to use the equations listed here to calculate the time to mow any size lawn. Or you can figure how many acres you can mow per hour. This is especially handy for professional landscapers to know.

2 thoughts on “Mowing Calculator – Estimate Time to Mow”

  1. I’m trying tofigure out the amount of fuel used per acre of mowing so I can better quote properties so I can plug into an equation and see how much I will need to mow for to ensure a profit. Any help there?

    1. I think the gallons per hour or gallons per acre of your particular mower simply needs to be measured.

      There’s too many variables to perform a calculation that’s meaningful. Your mower’s work level will vary with landscape, height of grass, type of grass, if grass is wet or dry, and so on. So you’ll have to mow a known area and determine the amount of gas used by reading your gauge as accurately as possible. Then, based on the volume of your tank, you’ll know the number of gallons of gas used. Then you can multiply by the cost of gas per gallon to get the cost to mow that amount of land.

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