Mulching vs Bagging vs Side Discharge – Which one is the Best?

We all have different opinions when it comes to mowing our lawns. Some prefer to discharge grass clippings back to their lawn, while others prefer to bag and dispose all the grass clippings.

Well, all of this depends on a couple of factors which includes the length of your grass and if your lawn is prone to various unwanted substances such as weeds.

The good news is that, most of the lawn mowers are compatible with all the equipment that you will require to perform any of these three functions. 

So it’s really not something that most gardeners are usually worried about.

However, the decision will solely lie on you depending on whether you’d like to mulch, bag or discharge the grass clippings on your lawn.

So whats the best way to mow the lawn? The best way to mow your lawn is by mulching with lawn mower that has mulching capabilities. This may be the best possible method that you will be able to use and will have a major positive impact on your lawn. Let us explain why?

On benefit that comes with mulching is that your soil will always be able to maintain its rich nutrients which will allow your grass to grow healthily. It will also allow you to have a lawn that is full of thick grass which means that your lawn will always look neat and healthy throughout the year.

Bagging on the other hand will always ensure that your lawn remains neat every single time you decide to mow it. However it serves no benefit to your lawn as the clippings will basically be stored in the bag which you will end up throwing in a waste bin.

Side discharge on the other hand, is the least popular mowing method these days and it’s quite clear why it fell out of favour by most gardeners.

Most lawn side discharge lawn mowers are quite powerful.

However, this method is very messy as the grass clippings can even be thrown as far as your neighbour’s lawn. Now we don’t want that happening, do we?

As well always want to follow proper lawn mowing etiquette.

When to Mulch, Bag or Discharge Grass Clippings


To be honest, this is one of the most preferred methods that gardeners usually prefer to use when mowing their lawns. It has really been the revolution of lawn maintenance and it’s very difficult to dispute this.

This is because when you mulch the lawn mower will return the grass clippings back to the soil which will allow the soil to retain all of its nutrients.

Without doubt, this plays a very big role as it will enable the grass on your lawn to grow healthily with all of the soil’s nutrients. Mulching will also enable the soil on your lawn to retain all of its moisture.

This will allow the roots of your grass to receive adequate water every time you water our lawn which enables the grass to grow properly.

It also allows the shoots to look green and moisturized throughout. You will also end up saving some money when you mulch because you will be required to buy less fertilizers.

You can also mulch if you want to reduce the amount of erosion that occurs on your lawn. This can really come in handy especially if you live in an area where it rains often as the mulch will act as a cover which will reduce water run- off.

For sure, this method will allow your lawn to maintain all the nutrients in the soil which will be very vital for the growth of grass. You’ll also be guaranteed thick grass which will enable your lawn to look beautiful throughout the year.

Unfortunately, mulching does come with a challenge. You are required to be very careful when you are choosing a lawn mower that can mulch as not all lawn mowers are compatible with mulching kits.


Before going for bagging, you should take check which type of grass does your lawn consists of. Various lawns are different have different variety of grass which is totally normal. 

However, it is best that you bag grass clippings if your lawn consists of very long grass. It is also advisable to use bagging if you always prefer your lawn looking neat immediately you finish cutting the grass.

This is because when you attach a bag to a lawn mower, all the grass clippings will be stored in the bag and then you will be able to dispose them in your dust bin once you are done.

It is also a very good way to get rid of unwanted substances in your lawn  such as leaves and weeds as you won’t be forced to do double work.

Once you mow your lawn you will also be guaranteed of a cleaned up lawn which in the long run will also help you save on a lot of time.

It is also important to note that this method does have its downside.

Disposing off these grass clippings that are stored in the mowing bag can be really difficult especially if you live in an area where you don’t get garbage services. Or if you don’t own a very large land where you could dump the grass clippings. So, you should also have this in mind before settling for bagging as an option. 

Also read –> Should I Bag my Grass Clippings if I Have Weeds

Side discharge

This should most definitely be your preferred method especially if you intend to purchase these powerful lawn mowers.

I don’t mean that lawn mowers which don’t come with a side discharge are not powerful, so don’t get me wrong. Side discharge used to be really popular in the past and it came with most lawn mowers.

One benefit that comes with side discharge is that your lawn will always receive a perfect cut every time you go to mow your lawn.

This is because lawn mowers that come with a side discharge and without a bag usually have superior cutting deck adjustments as compared to mowers with a storage bag. Their blades can be lifted higher which will enable you to get an even cut throughout your lawn even if your lawn consists of long grass.

This method will also allow you to cut the grass on your lawn quickly as grass clippings will be disposed immediately through the side discharge.

Using a storage bag will definitely slow you down as you will have to keep ion stopping to empty the bag especially if you are mowing a medium sized to large lawn.

The vacuum ability of lawn mowers that come with a side discharge is also greater than other lawn mowers.

However, using this method can be really messy especially if you have neighbours who share your fence. This is because grass clippings can end up being thrown to your neighbour’s compound which may not sit well with your neighbour.

You are lucky if you have a big lawn as the grass clippings will be discharged to your lawn and you’ll be able to clean up the mess later without any pressure.

A summary of the purpose and challenges of each of these methods of dealing with grass clippings.

Mulching vs Bagging vs Side discharge





Mulching kits return the grass clippings back to the soil after mowing which enables the soil to retain its nutrients.

Some lawn mowers don’t come with mulching kits therefore you may be required to buy one separately.


This stores all the grass clippings in the storage bag which you will be required to dispose of in a waste bin.

You may find it difficult to dispose of the grass especially if you live in an area which doesn’t have waste services.

Side discharge

This enables a perfect cut on your lawn due to great vacuum ability, as the grass clippings are thrown back to the lawn immediately they are cut.

Grass clippings may mess up your neighbour’s lawn especially if your lawns are closely connected. 


You’ll agree with me that mulching does come with a lot of advantages and it will ensure that your lawn grows healthily.

However, you shouldn’t also disregard bagging and side discharge as they also serve their purpose quite well.

Therefore, you should be keen on exactly what you intend to do with your lawn before you implement any of these three methods when mowing.


Do lawn mowers come with mulching kits?

Well, some lawn mowers actually come with mulching kits but some don’t. Therefore you should purchase the kit differently if you get a lawn mower that doesn’t come with this kit.

But you can put mulching blade on any mower.

Which method will enable me to have an easy time tidying up my lawn?

The best method will be mowing your lawn with a mower that has a bag. This is because it will collect all the grass that has been cut and store it in the big.

Grass clippings will be thrown back to your lawn when you use a lawn mower that has a side discharge therefore this may not be the best option.

Also read

How to mulch leaves without a mower

5 Fun and Creative Ways to Cut Grass Without A Lawn Mower



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