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Lawnmower Features

What is a rear roller and what do they do? Here's everything you need to know about rear roller lawn mowers.

What is a rear roller on a lawn mower?

A rear roller is a wide cylinder, not to be confused with a cutting cylinder, which sits behind the cutter deck and spans the cutting width of the mower. The size of rear rollers vary, but they are usually in the region of 125mm in diameter.

As the lawn mower moves forward, the roller flattens the grass. This rolling action creates the striping effect on the grass and produces lawn stripes.

Honda Rear Roller

Some mowers, such as the Hayter Harrier 41 Cordless, have a split rear roller designed to help manoeuvrability. Each half of the roller can turn independently which prevents lawn damage when turning tight circles.

What does the rear roller on a lawn mower do?

A rear roller serves two main purposes:

1. Lawn striping

Firstly, a rear roller is essential for creating lawn stripes. In simple terms, the roller flattens the grass in the direction you are mowing which affects the way the light reflects off the grass. When viewed against grass rolled in the opposite direction, a striping effect is visible.

The contrasting colours create the lawn striping effect shown below. The stripes of grass that have been rolled away from you appear lighter, and the stripes that have been rolled towards you appear darker.

Grass stripes colours

A heavier roller mower does a better job of flattening the grass and creates a stronger, longer lasting stripe. This means larger, heavier mowers generally produce a better stripe - though many other factors come into play including the frequency of cut and the type and length of grass.

2. Cutting right up to the edge

Secondly, where you have a bordering flower bed you can overhang the lawn edge slightly. This allows you to evenly cut right up to the edge without the worry of a wheel falling off the edge and the blades scalping the lawn.

Benefits of a roller mower

Which lawn mowers have rear rollers?

There are lots of options when looking for a lawn mower with a rear roller. Rotary lawn mowers with a rear roller usually have two front wheels and the roller at the rear, though some such as the Mountfield Princess have four wheels and a small striping roller which sits between the rear wheels.

Cylinder lawn mowers often have a roller at the front as well as the rear, but the function of the front roller is more related to providing an even cut than striping.

Rear roller mowers are available throughout the range and can be:

  • petrol, cordless (battery) or mains electric,
  • walk behind or ride-on,
  • push or self-propelled.
Lawn Stripes from rear roller

If you're looking for a lawn mower to create lawn stripes, we supply over 40 rear roller lawn mowers from 30cm cutting widths upwards. We've also written a simple guide on how to choose the right lawn mower for your lawn.

Which brands offer rear roller lawn mowers?

Many of the major lawn mower brands offer rear roller mower options in their range. Allett, Hayter, Honda, Mountfield and Stihl all produce mowers with rear rollers.

Some of our most popular rear roller lawn mowers for domestic use are:

As well as these domestic lawn mowers for private homes, there are mowers with rollers for much larger applications too. Anything from sports turf such as football pitches and cricket wickets, to much larger commercial mowers for local authority and estate management.

Trimax Snake RollerTrimax Snake Roller Mower striping a golf course
Allett Regal 42 Cricket Mower
Allett Regal 42 striping a cricket pitch

Posted: 14 July 2022

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