If you're looking at different ride-on mowers, one of the first things you're going to have to decide is whether you want a mulch mower, which collects the cut grass in a bag, or a discharge mower, which spews all cut grass outwards as soon as it is cut.

If you decide on a discharge mower, you'll then have another important decision to make: Should you opt for side discharge or rear discharge? Side discharge mowers do have their advantages, but they tend to be better suited to certain niche tasks. In general, most people will find themselves happier with a rear discharge ride-on mower.

No worries about the spray

Probably the most compelling reason to opt for a rear discharge mower is that you'll be able to mow alongside obstructions. After all, the grass trimmings will be sprayed out behind you; it's pretty much impossible for those trimmings to hit any walls or ornaments since you would have needed to mow straight through them! With a side discharge mower, this isn't the case. You'll have to be careful about mowing near your house, fencing, pond or other obstructions since the side discharge pipe can blow grass trimmings in their direction. This will often mean needing to make a few manoeuvres to ensure that the discharge pipe is pointing away from them instead of towards them. As well as taking up more time, this will push up your fuel costs.

Never hit the same grass twice

When you use a rear discharge ride-on mower, life is relatively simple. You can simply ride up and down to cover the lawn evenly. This is something that you can technically still do with a side discharge mower; the problem is that you might find yourself having to go over uncut grass that has already been covered in trimmings from the grass next to it. That makes achieving a clean cut a lot harder.

More even trimming distribution

There are plenty of benefits of having grass trimmings sprayed back across the lawn, but it's best if those trimmings are distributed evenly. Once again, rear discharge models do better than side discharge mowers. Because of the way mowers discharge grass trimmings, more will come out one second than the next. This means that you'll notice uneven piles coming from your side discharge mower. A rear discharge mower will still spray out trimmings in this fashion, but they will tend to spread out more evenly because they are being sprayed out behind instead of to the side and covering a larger area in the process.