Home Improvement

What Is Mow-In-Reverse? Pros and Cons Of Reverse Mowing

American National Standards Institute (ANSI) does not allow riding mower manufacturers to release any machine with reverse mowing. Most of the brands apply the same to their manual and self-propelled mowers as well. Accidents are the primary reason for such a decision because a user lacks full vision while moving backward.

Apart from that, a lawnmower cannot be much effective in its reverse motion. However, there are some situations when you need to mow in reverse. It’s the reason why some of the mowers come with an override function that’s helpful for reverse mowing.

Why Reverse Mowing Is Required?

Mowing in reverse is not recommended due to safety reasons. However, there are some scenarios wherein reverse mowing looks practical. For instance, let’s say you are mowing a landscape with multiple tight corners. You have to pull back a mower to maneuver it through different angles.

Now, what would happen if mower powers down immediately you try to bring it back? You will simply waste a lot of time to maintain that area of your property. Suppose there are tough to access corners all around the lawn, then mowing will be a tough task.

This is the situation where you need a bypass button or override switch that allows a mower to move into a reversible direction. Manufacturers understand the same and hence they are offering multiple mowers with an override button. You will find such a function in multiple push, self-propelled, and even ride-on mowers. According to GG you can check the best lawnmower for large garden here.

Mow In Reverse Function In Lawnmowers

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You need to activate the reverse mowing in any of the mowers by pressing a button and sometimes you need to take some added steps as well. Following such instructions will keep the motor and blades active, but the mower will operate in reverse.

Riding Mowers

The ride-on mowers with the Reverse Implement Operation (RIO) button allow you to back up. You need to bring the machine at halt before you press this switch. Press this button first and bring the shift lever into its reverse position. In case of an automatic drive model, you need to press the reverse foot pedal. Now you can release the RIO button and reverse the mower as well as move it forward as per your requirements. Do not push the button again.

You need to repeat the procedure whenever the reverse mowing function is required. If you try to reverse a mower without pressing the RIO button, its engine will shut off automatically because of the safety features. In such a case, you need to switch the ignition towards Off, press the brakes and start the engine again.

Self-Propelled mowers

Mowers with self-propulsion also comes with a bypass button that allows it to move back. This button deactivates the safety feature and permits the mower to move into reverse. If you try to take the mower back without pressing its bypass button, the security feature will come into the picture and the engine will shut down automatically.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Reverse Mowing

As we were discussing earlier, you need to pull a mower back to maneuver tight corners. Such a function saves your time and fuel because the blades are at work while you pull the mower backward. Also, it’s a convenient feature that makes lawn maintenance easy.

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Still, we recommend that you should reverse in mow only in case of emergencies. Safety is the primary concern. Plus, the cutting performance in reverse is not up to the mark.

Safety issues: Due to limited visibility, there are chances that you might run into someone or step into a crack. Pulling the mower backward also poses risk to your legs and feet. You might stumble or get trapped in the mower blades, even if there are flaps.

Performance issues: Almost all the mowers perform poorly while moving backward. They will not discharge the grass clipping properly. Secondly, the cutting results will be irregular. In case of a reel mower, the blades will not cut at all when you pull it in reverse.


Experienced and responsible gardeners can try mowing in reverse. Keep in mind that it’s not safe to use a mower backward. However, you can take advantage of the bypass switch or ROI button once in a while. Whatever you do, take care of your safety.


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