Most people when they want to improve their lawns that go to the store and buy the latest fertilizer but one thing that’s often overlooked is, what is the best way to deal with grass clippings and how you can handle your lawn clippings? Now you can mulch, you can bag or side discharge but which one you pick has a major impact on the look and the health of your lawn. So today we compared – Mulching vs Bagging vs Side Discharge, and give you honest pro and cons!

So here I’m gonna demystify, how you handle your grass clippings and help you make the right choice to decide which one is best for you.

Best way to deal with grass clippings


Bagging Benefits:

First, I’m going to talk about the good points so bagging is a very safe method if you’ve got long grass or you’ve got a real mess on your hands.

Bagging can usually be the best method to clean it up if you have a lawn full of weeds. Bagging is also very good because bagging is gonna remove anything on your lawn whether it’s leaves, weed seeds, sticks or any other material. So for those situations bagging is the best, anything on your lawn is gonna go right in that bag.

The last plus for bagging is that it gives a nice cut, it is gonna use most of its power to just spin that blade lift, the grass cut it, and it goes right to the bag.

The biggest one is the fact that you’ve got a bag full of grass clippings or whatever else comes off the lawn, now you’ve got to deal with disposing of that.

Bagging Negative:

So disposing of grass clippings can be a real problem for a lot of people especially if you’re in places like the city or you just don’t have access to private land to dump those clippings.

Pro –

  1. Bagging is great because it allows you to mow in nearly all conditions.
  2. You’ll be able to completely remove all the debris going right into the bag.
  3. You’ll be able to mow fast and you’ll get a high – quality cut.
  4. It’s the best all-around and choice.

Cons –

  1. You must dispose of clippings.

side discharge lawn mower

You may also like, How to Stripes in your Lawn Article

Side Discharge

Side Discharge Benefits:

Side discharge is pretty interesting, it used to be the way that everybody cut their lawn way back in the 50s and I think most of us can probably remember that image, but things have changed.

So side discharge is not that popular anymore especially with homeowners but it is with professionals and the main pros for side discharge are power and quality of cut.

So again think back about that mower, it’s spinning those blades and with no bag to fill. You get an excellent quality of cut because the blades are going to be lifted very high from that power and you’re gonna have speed because you can go very quickly because you’re blasting those clippings right out.

The vacuum ability goes down those blades won’t stand up as straight and you won’t get as good of a cut, the reason is that a small homeowner’s lawn mower is not gonna have a lot of horsepowers. So if you start with a lawn mower that doesn’t have a ton of horsepower and you add a bagger to it or you decide you’re gonna mulch that takes away from the cutting power and it also can reduce the vacuum ability.

Now side discharge isn’t just for the professionals, those benefits are also good for the homeowner. If you’re in a situation where you’re able to use side discharge, you will get a lot of power from a smaller mower to get excellent quality a cut and you can go very quickly so if you’ve got a lot of lands or even if you don’t time, it can be money for you as well.

Side Discharge Negatives:

If you’re in an area at home or you were tights or you’ve got a neighbor, you have to shoot those clippings somewhere and they can make a gigantic mess. The clippings fire out they go all over the place, now if you’re mowing a field at home or you’ve got a large piece of property that’s not going to be an issue and things are much better than those old mowers with side discharge you tend to see them do a better job at spreading the clippings out so in that field situation or a large yard side discharge be pretty good.

Pro –

  1. You can mow in nearly all conditions.
  2. You’re going to get some of the fastest mowing speeds.
  3. You’ll also get a high-quality cut.
  4. The best part is the non-stop mowing.


  1. Side discharge is the clipping discharge they shoot everywhere and depending on your situation that may be a problem.

mulching lawn mower


Mulching Benefits:

When you say mulching to most people who deal with lawn care, it’s like their eyes light up. Mulching is like the answer to everything but the issue with mulching isn’t quite that easy.

First being you don’t have to get rid of those grass clippings so if you’ve got a bad back or you just want to go out mowing, you just want to hit that mower.

Start going mulching is great because you can just keep walking and going forward, you don’t have to stop so that’s a huge plus. If you put those clippings back down on your lawn they will decompose and they will feed the lawn, that’s another big plus and that’s obviously good for the environment as well because you’re going to reduce possibly how much fertilizer you need.

Mulching Negatives:

The first negative about mulching is that you may require special blades for your mower. Now newer mowers are coming with blades that can be used from mulching or for bagging.

So that’s not as much of a problem but you can’t mulch with every mower or at least you can’t mulch effectively. Mulching requires the right conditions to work well and if you go into mowing your lawn and your lawn is too long, to begin with so you’re gonna have a problem with mulching because your mower has to use some of its horsepowers to grind that grass repeatedly until it finally can break down and you’re moving across to go to the next section to cut if your lawn is a little too wet.

When you mulch what happens is you’re gonna slice that grass and then those liquids will get spun around the mower, they’ll build up on the bottom and they’ll also kind of go all over the grass.

You can’t mulch effectively with wet grass you can’t handle it on a day where it’s raining so that can be a limitation for a homeowner and that’s usually why you’re gonna see that most professionals rarely will mulch.

Another negative about mulching is the impact on your lawn so in my situation, I had a very poor lawn and over the past couple of years, I started a renovation.

Most of the renovation took very well but a big thing that I changed was I used to mulch and I switched to bagging and what I experienced was that if you have a poor lawn to start mulching is not going to really help you.

It will make things worse especially if you’re trying to mulch a lot of leaves so a big thing that you have to consider before mulching is this your grass if you’ve got lousy grass, to begin with mulching a whole lot more of it along with weed, seeds, and grass.

It might cause you more harm than good and when I’m bagging I can go as fast as the mall will go. If I use the mulching mode because the machine has to do more work to cut that grass I cannot go as fast.

Pro –

  1. Mulching could be a great option as long as you understand that you need to mow under specific conditions that mean not too wet and the grass can’t be too long.
  2. You’re going to also have some reduced mowing speeds but you will get non-stop mowing.
  3. Mulching can provide nutrients to your lawn.

Cons –

  1. You can have issues if you don’t keep a close eye on the variables.


Here is the Mulching vs Bagging vs Side Discharge! So I hope I was able to give you enough good information to make the right decision for choosing the best way to deal with grass clippings and how you want to handle your lawn clippings.

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