Then another thought came to mind. Do they still make those old-fashioned manual push mowers? I soon discovered that not only do they still make them but there are a lot of people who enjoy using them. Not all of the reviews were great. The biggest complaint was that the manual reel mowers aren't good at cutting weeds, overgrown grass, and certain varieties of grass. I am not overly fussy about my lawn so I decided it would be worth a try.
I chose the Scott's 20" Classic Push Reel Mower. This lawnmower had overall favorable reviews and was readily available at Home Depot at a discounted price. There were other more expensive brands available online but I went with the Scott's because it was a more convenient choice for me.
I've already used it several times to cut my grass and here is what I found so far:
On the plus side:
- It is much quieter than a gas mower. My neighbors will benefit from this too.
- It is easier to just stop and take a break while you are doing the lawn. You don't need to worry about restarting it.
- I like knowing that I'm getting some exercise while mowing the lawn. It doesn't seem any more difficult than pushing a gas mower (without the self-propel feature).
- You don't have to deal with any gas, oil, or spark plugs.
- There are no dirty exhaust fumes . Using a gas lawn mower for an hour is equivalent to driving a car 100-200 miles depending on which report you read.
- They do a nice job of cutting grass, not perfect, but good.
- They take up less storage area and only weigh much less.
- They are less expensive than most gas or electric models.
- They are safer to operate and you don't have to hear that loud cracking sound when you run over a rock.
Some of the drawbacks are:
- It is more likely to miss a patch of grass here and there. You may need to go over some spots a second time or touch up an area with the weed whacker.
- I don't know anything about the different varieties of grass but I noticed I have some grass mixed in my lawn that is soft and flimsy like corn silk. That type of grass doesn't cut as well.
- The mower can get jammed up if you run over an area that has a lot of small sticks. You will have to find them and remove them. This happened to me a couple of times but has not been a big problem. I just roll the blade backwards a little with my foot. That is one thing that I will miss about the gas mower. I was able to run over every stick and leaf
- The lawnmower has to be adjusted as the blades wear down. The blades need to be sharpened ever couple of years. A $12 sharpening kit can be purchased or you can just pay someone to do it.
- I need to cut grass at least once a week now. With a gas mower, I was able to get away with mowing less frequently if I wanted to.
- It does not cut as close to areas like your foundation or hedges.
- It is probably best for modest sized lawns of less than half an acre (my lot is .38 acres).
I really enjoy using this new mower. I like the simplicity of the design and the quiet operation. When I was using a gas mower I felt like a lawn zombie cutting the grass. I feel much more of a connection with what I'm doing while using the manual mower. If you need a new lawnmower and you aren't a lawn perfectionist, consider trying a manual reel mower.