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diggerdee

reel mowers

diggerdee zone 6 CT
February 19, 2007

Hi!

Was reading a different post here and steve_o mentioned his reel mower for his lawn.

I've been considering one of these, but have been hesitant since most of the info I've found on them has been from the manufacturers as opposed to actual users.

So....

Any recommendations? Will these work on uneven ground? (I have a fairly level piece of property in general, but lots of little hollows and bumps).

Any opinions, suggestions, experiences are welcome.

Thanks!

:)

Dee

Comments (56)

  • althea_gw

    Plus, a reel mower is much easier to store. They take up very little space.

  • aachenelf z5 Mpls

    I use a reel also and have for years. I know it wasn't an expensive model, but does the job for me since I've gotten rid of almost all my yard. I love the thing even if it doesn't work the best in tall grass or with twigs.

    I had the funniest thing happen a few times last summer. On at least a couple of occasions, people walked up to me and asked what I was doing and what that "thing" was? They had never seen a reel mower before and thought the whole concept was very funny. People, people, people..............

    Kevin

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  • diggerdee zone 6 CT

    Thank you all for your input. I think the model I was looking at was a Brill. It was highly recommended on the website, which wasn't Brill's website but a "green store" website.

    I was wondering about the stick thing. I have a lot of oaks and there are constantly sticks on the ground. I guess I have to decide whether I want to keep on bending over to pick them up!

    I have about an acre of land, but about a quarter of that is woods, and then there's the house and a quite large asphalt area at the end of the driveway. I don't even really have a "lawn" per se, lol. Almost one quarter of the mowable area is moss (or something moss-like), and the rest is weedy, patchy grass with lots of moss mixed in. My goal is to eventually get almost no lawn, and to fix-up the lawn that is left so it is even and lush.

    Anyway, I've got an American Express gift check and I think I may use it to try out one of these mowers. Maybe I'll try a Brill.

    Kevin, when I was a kid we had a yard that was about twenty feet wide by fifteen feet deep, with a three-foot-wide sidewalk going through it. We had a reel mower, and I think many of the neighbors (with similar yards - a street with rowhouses) also had these. While they are not seen much nowadays, I think it's kind of funny that there are those who don't know what they are!

    I already know my neighbors will think I've really lost it when they see me out there. I might just have to mow REALLY early in the morning just to avoid them!

    Thanks again everyone!
    :)
    Dee

  • aachenelf z5 Mpls

    Dee

    Here's another way to look at reel mowers. Yup, they are a bit more work, but I simply consider all these manual things additions to my regular workouts. We all need to workout more - right? So as you're pushing this thing around and becoming more fit, trim and eventually ending up with the body of a Greek goddess, who's going to be laughing then? Your neighbors the slugs? I think not. HA! You'll be running circles around all of them.

    Kevin

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT

    Gee Kevin, what makes you think that I don't already have the body of a Greek goddess, lol?!

    Not that I do, of course, despite the lifting of 40lb bags of manure and the lugging of New England rock (not to mention my cinder block beds!) Actually, it's not even the physicality of bending over so many times - its the repetitiveness of it and thinking, "*#@$!! Another %$#& stick!"

    I suppose I could make it a punishment for my kids. "What do you mean you didn't do your chores? Go pick up every twig on the front lawn this instant!"

    :)
    Dee

  • joepyeweed

    One time when I was using my reel mower, a neighbor stopped in his car and yelled out something like "Where is the motor in that thing?"

    I slapped my rear end and said "Right here!"

    He got a big chuckle out of that.

  • macbirch

    We're reducing our lawn and I've been thinking of trying to get a mower like my grandfather had. I wish they'd standardise the terminology though. Googling for "reel mower" or"push mower" in Australia got me powered reel mowers and non-self propelled powered mowers. Then I remembered the term "cylinder mower". No. just another term for reel mower. "Unpowered mower", "push reel mower", etc. Finally found a retailer that has what I want, way up north in Cairns. Tried the manufacturer's website. Sweden. Links to New Zealand. Oh. here's another retailer in Victoria. No, only sells their ride-on mowers. With blocks getting smaller and lawns getting smaller and people thinking about the environment more you'd think lots of places would be selling these things! The search continues.

  • steve_o

    With blocks getting smaller and lawns getting smaller and people thinking about the environment more you'd think lots of places would be selling these things!

    Unfortunately, the reel mower, like preserving the environment, is one of those things which people find more exciting to think about than act upon. In the U.S., most reel mowers are marketed to those considered too cheap to buy a "regular" powered mower; the good ones are imported (from Sweden, Germany, etc.). The guys on the lawnmower forum here tend not to think about reel mowers unless they're caring for a golf course -- and then, of course, it must be powered. :-p It's a shame, really, that reel mowers don't have the mindshare that other "green" products do.

  • flora_uk

    Macbirch, you could try googling 'hand mower australia'. Several links come up. And there's always e bay. I'm sure there must be some old British hand mowers lurking in suburban sheds down under, along with the Morris Minor spares. I use a push mower for the grass paths on my allotment. £39.99 at Homebase, a big hardware chain over here.

  • macbirch

    Steve, I got so excited about the prospect of getting a reel mower that I forgot that I won't need one until next spring at the earliest. I think I'll be using shears or something on the tufts of green that have come up after recent rain from the lumpy yellow mass that used to be our lawn before the drought. Can't see myself pushing anything over it.

    I wonder if the idea of getting a reel mower makes sense to me because my grandfather had one. His reel mower and my father's powered mower seemed completely appropriate for the particular lawns they were used on. I'm not too cheap to use a "regular' mower, it's just that my new reduced lawn shouldn't need one.

    Thanks Flora. One of the links led to another link to a hardware store. Who knew hardware store sites could be such fun. Oh yes, and I got some good info too. I'm going to ring the local branch tomorrow. Knowing some brandnames should help.

  • deercub

    My grandfather gave me a Pennsylvania 3.5hp real mower when my wife and I first got married. That was back in 83 and it ran perfect and I have no idea how old it was. I chucked if after the one season I used it. What an idiot I was.

  • steve_o

    I wonder if the idea of getting a reel mower makes sense to me because my grandfather had one. His reel mower and my father's powered mower seemed completely appropriate for the particular lawns they were used on. I'm not too cheap to use a "regular' mower, it's just that my new reduced lawn shouldn't need one.

    I wasn't being cheap, either. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me to go to the trouble of buying a reel mower to save on the pollution and hazardous materials involved with a power mower, only to have to junk it after 2-3 years because it cannot be repaired economically. Besides, I have a little lawn on a city lot. I sure don't need a big rider. :-)

    Maybe it's just me, but I like a lot of things which supposedly have been "new and improved" today. I still enjoy playing vinyl albums (though CDs sound good, too, and I own an iPod), I shave with a 40-year-old metal safety razor, and I'm just as comfortable with my old manual-focus SLR as I am with my new digital. Certainly there are many things which are better than they used to be. But I'm convinced that sometimes we are sold a bill of goods on good stuff being "improved".

  • postum

    Another plus about reel mowers - I feel comfortable letting my 7yo dd mow the lawn (while I monitor.) i wouldn't let her touch a motorized one. We both benefit from this!

  • corar4gw

    After my husband died (about 13 years ago)I sold a lot of his "boy toys" - the big old power mower was the first to go. I bought a little duplex with a little yard and bought a reel mower for all the reasons listed above. But there are a lot of widows and retirees in my neighborhood and more than one female neighbor stopped to ask if they could take the mower for a trip around the yard. They were amazed at how light it was and that I sharpened the blades myself with a reel mower sharpening kit. One neighbor even gave her power mower to her son and bought a reel mower like mine. My own son thought I was crazy until he used it. DUH!

  • hunt4carl

    Diggerdee:

    If you haven't already made your purchase, check out
    Lee Valley Tools online (order their free catalog while
    you're at it - it's a major resource!). I got their
    medium-sized, 18" reel mower, and couldn't be happier. . .
    my whole neighborhood cracks up when my macho-neighbor
    starts roaring around his postage-stamp sized front lawn
    on a ride-on mower (!), and then I invariably "materialize" out of nowhere pushing my 24-lb.
    beauty and zip around my postage-stamp sized front lawn and
    finish in much the same amount of time, but quite silently
    (except for all the muffled laughter coming from behind
    neighbors' front windows). . .

    And with one of these "blasts-from-the-past", now you can
    safely let mowing the lawn be the kids punishment!

    Carl

    Here is a link that might be useful: Lee Valley Tools

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT

    Hi Carl,

    No, I haven't made a purchase yet, so thanks for that link. I do actually get the Lee Valley catalog, but didn't think of them for a reel mower. Can you tell me is your mower actually a Lee Valley brand, or is it another brand which is sold through Lee Valley? I just want to make sure I get a good quality mower. My DH already thinks I'm wasting my money, so if I get something that does not last or does not do a good job, I'll never hear the end of it, lol! I'm willing to spend a bit more if it means I get better quality.

    Thanks!
    Dee

  • hunt4carl

    It must be theirs 'cause it's got a big ol' LEE VALLEY
    label on it! Of course, that doesn't mean someone else
    might not produce it FOR them. . .the mowers are listed on
    Page 47 of the 2007 "Garden Tools by Lee Valley" catalogue,
    or you can see them online.

    And here's the way to encourage the old man to let you
    "experiment": Lee Valley offers an iron-clad guarantee
    on their products ("if for ANY reason you're not satisfied") for a full three (3) months!
    In over twenty years of buying everything from garden tools to shop equipment to antique hardware, from them,
    I have NEVER had to take advantage of that guarantee. . .

    Lots of luck!

    Carl

    DISCLAIMER: I am not now, nor have I ever been, an employee
    of Lee Valley, Inc., nor do I own any stock in the
    company. . .just a satisfied customer!

  • steve_o

    I don't know who makes their "Silent" model (made in Sweden? My Brill was made in Germany. Don't know of any Swedish manufacturers), but LV's standard reel mowers are by Great States. The big one (with four wheels) is pretty much a clone of the Scotts Classic, my previous mower. The others look like other models in the Great States line.

  • drew_in_va

    That silent reel is made by Fly Mo.

    I have a Brill Luxus 38 which is a is nice, German made pus reel that is silent and VERY light weight - its limitations are that it will jam on every little twig, the maximum height of cut is 1.8", and only cuts a 13" wide swath, and it does not cut zoyzia, St. Augustine or Bermuda grass.

    To replace the Brill, last year I bought a used Locke 30" power reel, the cut from this behemoth is simply stunning, but I found it to be overkill for my suburban lot, and I could not find ANY maintenance shops near me to service it, so I sold the Locke.

    So, this year I bought a Sunlawn MM-2 which is like the Brill Luxus 38, except it has a 7 blade reel instead of 5, it has a more solid feel to it and it cuts a wider swath (though nothing like the Locke) and it has larger tires and it cuts up to 3". All great, except the first one I bought came from the factory with what I suspect is a warped bed-knife. I have it adjusted properly, but it is leaving a strip of high grass in the middle of the blade. ARRGH.

    The joys of a properly adjusted reel mower are many, but they sure can be a PITA.

  • steve_o

    So, this year I bought a Sunlawn MM-2 which is like the Brill Luxus 38, except it has a 7 blade reel instead of 5, it has a more solid feel to it and it cuts a wider swath (though nothing like the Locke) and it has larger tires and it cuts up to 3".

    Oooh. Gotta check out that Sunlawn ... as soon as my Brill dies. Whatever decade that is.... :-)

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT

    Oh darn! I was leaning toward a Brill, but I have lots and lots of twigs, so maybe that is not the best choice. Thanks, drew, for those other options. I'm going to look into them.

    :)
    Dee

  • steve_o

    diggerdee, it depends on the size of the twigs. My Brill has no problem cruising through twigs the thickness of a computer mouse cord. It will stop cold if it hits a twig the thickness of a pencil. I have a black walnut in my yard and I kick the bigger twigs out of the way and don't worry about the smaller ones.

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT

    Hmm, well, I've got about 50 oaks in my yard alone, never mind the neighbors', and I live in a windy area, so there are always branches and twigs down. Now I'm not sure...

    I did do some googling and it seems that Sunlawn IS Brill, or vice versa - one of their mowers was the Brill Sunlawn something-or-other. And the Locke website led me to believe that they only sell huge mowers for professional use. Maybe I'm missing something.

    Gee, I hate making decisions! :)

    Dee

  • coopcarcam

    Hi you all,

    Sorry to bring up an old post...but i too am in the market for a reel mower - but i wanted to see what a reel mowed lawn looks like.....does anyone have any pics they can post of thier lawn that was reel mowed> ? I appreciate it.

    Coop

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT

    So, did I mention that in addition to being indecisive, that I'm also cheap?

    All this time I've spent trying to decide which reel mower to go with, and at the same time wondering if it would be worth the $200 to spend on this, if it wouldn't get much use. (I would probably be the only one to use it, but my DH and DS do most of the lawn care.)

    So I saw an ad for a used reel mower for $20. Turns out that one was taken, but the seller was nice enough to dig out one from his dad's garage, an old Scott's mower. He was also kind enough to grease it, paint it, and test it out to sell it to me. I just picked it up today.

    I thought perhaps it would be a good test to see if I should invest $$$ in a new one. I'm sure there will be some major differences - I would suppose the newer ones may be easier to push, and I think they have a wider swath - but in the meantime I'll give this one a shot. And knowing how frugal I am, if it works, I may not even bother with a new one, lol!

    :)
    Dee

  • steve_o

    The new reel mowers are almost unilaterally lighter than the old ones. You also might want to make sure the blades are sharp -- you'll get a poor impression of how easy reel mowers are to use if it's not cutting well. Enjoy!

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT

    Interesting point, steve. The guy who sold me the mower, who seemed to be quite a tinkerer, told me that the blades are practically self-sharpening, because they hit the metal...thing... that the whole blade component sits in (sorry, I don't know the technical term.) He told me this keeps the blades sharp and that I really shouldn't have to sharpen. He suggested maybe once a year applying some grit compound to the blades and just rolling it over the driveway to sharpen up the blades a bit.

    Then, yesterday I ventured onto the lawn mower forum, and did a search on reel mowers. I could be reading things wrongly, but from what I read I was led to understand that that hitting of the blades was exactly what dulled them! So now I'm not sure what to think. I will admit to being a bit too intimidated to actually post and ask on that forum, because I'm way out of my league there, lol!

    Any suggestions on the sharpening theory? (I feel a lot safer asking here, lol!)

    Thanks,
    Dee

  • steve_o

    I think your tinkerer is full of the stuff that makes grass grow. My understanding of the two types of reel mowers is that there is the "contact" type -- the kind you have and the kind my Scotts was when I had it) -- and the non-contact kind (like my Brill). The Scotts needed blade sharpening every year; the Brill is three years old and still is doing fine. BTW, the "thing" he's talking about is called the bed knife. Nothing I could find out about my Scotts indicated that the bed knife was made of a different material than the reel blades themselves.

    Using the grit compound is called "back-lapping" and it's roughly equivalent to steeling a good knife. It helps to keep the blade sharp, but calling this mower "self-sharpening" is being generous.

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT

    Oh well, I guess I better find someone who sharpens blades, lol! But I have to add, this mower has got to be 30 years old, and supposedly this guy never sharpened the blades, and it cuts quite well.

    Well, either way, I'll give it a try over the summer, and see how it works out.

    Thank you all for your input on this thread. Much appreciated!

    Dee

  • kathygreenfield

    you inspired me!
    DH can never be bothered to mow the lawn. I made him a deal - if you buy me a reel mower, I'll do it. (For whatever reason I'm desperately afraid of the regular ones)
    I think I'll see one within the month!

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT

    LOL, Kathy! You must be like me - deathly afraid of power tools! You should see me with my leaf shredder, lol. But that is pretty much the only power/motorized tool I will use. My neighbor once lent me his hedgetrimmers, and I was so afraid of them, not to mention my arms shook for the next few hours, lol, that I said never again. Now I use regular old shears to trim the hedges.

    I really think sometimes that I was born a century too late.
    :)
    Dee

  • flora_uk

    Not at all digger - you are ahead of the pack. And think what you save on gym fees. At least that's what I tell myself as I mow my sloping paths. And trimming the edges with edging shears is fantastic action for the upper arms...

  • gardenlen

    we were at the recycle centre for a local garbage tip and found a very good condition flymo (husqvarna) push mower appears someone bought it didn't understand how to use it and dumped it in near new condition, wheels where rusted up on the axle no trouble to fix that, no damage on the blades so a bit of a service and adjustment and it cuts a treat.

    got it for $15AUD not sure what these 16" models cost new but guess around the $80AUD mark or so? there was 2 at the time one was a newer model that had been used a bit apparently incorrectly, unfortunately the budget wouldn't stretch to buying the 2, so someone else got a good buy as well.

    but again i itterate whether you buy a powered model or push model learn the art of blade care and adjustment, too easy then. there is no push and pull needed we just walk up and down in rows and it cuts perfect each pass, that's the beauty of a good brand model like flymo/husqvarna they have a lot of precision in the blades. so each mow i give the blade a set check/adjustment and my lovely glady mows the lawn.

    len

    Here is a link that might be useful: len's garden page

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT

    Gee, sometimes I think if it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all.

    I'm working in the far end of the yard this afternoon, and I look up and see the neighbor kid running - literally running - across my yard with my "new" push mower. I went over and told him if he wanted to cut the grass he was welcome to, and I'd even pay him, but he couldn't "play" with the mower.

    Came home later in the evening, found the mower in the garage, and something is wrong with the darn thing! One of the tires/wheels won't roll. And my grass isn't cut! Goodness only knows what the darn kid did to it. And me being so handy (she says sarcastically).

    Good thing I only paid $20 for it, huh?

    :)
    Dee

  • lilacs_of_may

    I just bought a Scotts Elite reel mower a couple weeks ago from Home Depot. I think my neighbors were a little amused to see this 50-year-old woman out pushing it around, but hey, my lawn's mowed, so that makes them happy. :-)

    I have a lot of the problems that others have mentioned. It stops dead at twigs. And I have to cut the grass frequently. If it gets too long then the mower will just flatten it without cutting it. Then I have to take out my electric weed whacker. Except that I can't use that on the front lawn because my cord doesn't reach.

    It is a great workout. I study karate, and between the gardening and the yardwork I should be built like a brick (cough!) outhouse in no time.

    I have to admit, a cordless electric model is on my list for the future, but I'm not going for a gas-powered anything. I don't even own a car.

  • playsinthedirt20

    I bought a Brill Luxus about 5 years ago and I absolutely love it. It was expensive (maybe a bit over $200 with the shipping) BUT - it never breaks down, uses no gas or electricity, is soooo quiet, it's light and it works. We have half an acre, and about 1/4 is wooded, plus there's the house and driveway, so I don't have to mow the whole thing. It's true that you have to keep after the lawn, because it won't cut grass that's very long. (mine adjusts from about an inch to four-1/2 inches) And yes, you do have to keep stopping to pick up twigs. And it really doesn't like grass that is even damp. All that being said, I wouldn't trade it for a gas-guzzler for all the tea in China. It's non-polluting, quiet, and gives me a great workout (so I don't have to spend the $700 a year on a health club membership!) So, my lawn looks great and so do I. Also, I'm in total agreement with you about reducing the size of the turf area, and have been working towards that end for the last couple of years.

    Then there's the Huck Finn effect - my neighbors always want to know if it's hard to push - so I let them! They're all amazed at how easy it is. Get one - you'll love it.

  • lilacs_of_may

    Unfortunately, all of my neighbors are at least as old as me or older. So they all remember reel mowers from their childhood and how hard they are to push. They stick with their self-propelled power mowers.

  • gardenlen

    g'day lilacs,

    these modern good quality hand mowers are no harder to push or work with than what it is to start and use a petrol mower. the push and pull isn't there anymore if you learn the art! all you do is push a somewhat light weight machine around. there's no fuel to buy or mix or dump when unused, there are no filters to service or oil to change.

    oh and most importantly very low noise factor.

    len

  • lilacs_of_may

    The low noise factor is an important one in my book. I also bought an electric weed whacker. It works well, but man is it noisy! The entire city knows exactly when I'm whacking my weeds.

  • acwest

    I spend 30 min a week with my reel mower, bought at an auction afor $20. One of my earliest memories is of watching the shower of green grass fly up as my grandfather mowed his lawn. While you're mowing you can concentrate on the world around you, birdsong for example, or you can listen to books on tape. It's a very meditative time of week.
    And there are instructions on line for how to sharpen it yourself, valve grinding compound and a little tweaking so you can just pass a sheet of paper between the blades and the bed (terminology?) When I'm done I hang it on the shed wall. Very Shaker, all in all.

  • kittysmith

    Even though I am out of shape, 55 , have a fairly large yard, hate the heat (and boy do we have HEAT in Houston!), gripe about how much I have to do on weekends, have a husband who doesn't "do" the outdoors, I am planning on buying a Scott's reel mower next spring. Someone I met through work recommended Scott's for St. Augustine which is what I have, a "stand-up" grass.
    I have wanted one forever. I have a yard crew that comes out...nice guys making a hard, honest living, but the noise, pollution, expense and destruction of my plants is really stuck in my craw. So goodby to power mowers, weed whackers (yuk) leaf blowers. It should give me some much needed excercize, and I do plan on down-sizing my grassy lawn anyway. Who needs it? It's not like I'm out there playing touch football on the weekends. I want a nice bird and butterfly habitat. So wish me luck, and who knows, maybe I'll drop a few pounds in the process. ;>)

  • steve_o

    kittysmith, please keep in mind that a reel mower will not do away with the need for something which will take down weeds next to buildings and walkways. For a while, I kept using my electric "weed-whacker". But after having the third one in five years break, I gave up and now use a manual trimmer (Hound Dog makes one that lets you snip the weeds without stooping down to the ground).

    But, yeah, I wouldn't go back to a rotary mower again if I could help it. :-)

  • reelman

    Thought I would chime in. I have used the brill electric reel mower from 2004-2006. It did well but seriously bogged down if my bermuda grass got too tall or thick. In 2007 I used the Sunlawn MM-2. This one is the one. Don't have to worry with charging batteries. Can still cut if the turf gets to tall(it's adjustable to 3 inches). The seven blades makes it cut better and push easier. Performs best if you clean the blades and bed knife after each time you mow. A foaming window cleaner called Primus spayed on a rag removes all the green organic matter off the edges in minutes. The mower also allowed me to maintain the yard at about 2.5 inches all year, which saved the majority of my turf during the serious drought we had. If the yard gets too thick I just raise it up a little. I can always get it lower by waiting 2 days and cutting again.The way it disperses the clippings you really don't have to use the bagger. It is real quite and great exercise.
    My petite wife has no problems pushing it either. Seems to work for people of all different heights and sizes. I now enjoy doing something I used to hate. People say the yard has that golf course look, even with my weeds mixed in. Check sunlawn.com to find your local dealer.

  • pennymca

    Which, if any, reel mower works best with zoysia?

    I had an OLD reel mower about 26 years ago..and loved the independence from a power mower. Have been jonesing for a new one for a couple of years, especially when I get the bill from the yard guys.

    DH doesn't do yards....

  • dplooster

    We have a tall fescue lawn that I usually mow 3.5". Is there a reel mower appropriate for this type lawn?

  • CaptTurbo

    Time for a bump for this green thread in the relatively dead "Going Green" section.

    I bought a Gilmour 20" mower from Amazon a few years ago and actually like it in spite of having the worst kinds of grasses and weeds for such mowers. SW Florida here with a lawn full of several types of tuff grasses and lots of scrub weeds.

    The reel mower is a good device for when grass isn't growing much but I have found that the rainy/growth season overwhealms it. In the dry season I have areas that are dormant and a few low areas where the grass needs to be clipped every few weeks. The reel mower is easy to put to the task at a moments notice to knock down the trouble spots while not having to wrestle the gas mower out of the shed and deal with fuel and oil checks.

    This year I decided not to use the gas mower at all but instead purchased a Neuton battery electric mower. I still use my Gilmour push mower some but with that thing I often have to mow each path twice to get that perfect look. It misses some blades unless the grass is sparse or areas of tender stuff.

    The Neuton really kicks butt in that one pass does the job and it's about as quiet as the reel mower, just a different sound. Kind of like a fan.

    Both the electric and reel mower are better for my allergies. I have sneezing fits almost always when I use the gas mower. Never with the reel or electric.

    The battery powered mower makes sense for me. It cuts this tuff mess of southern "grass" nicely on the first pass and it doesn't make the ragheads richer or pollute the air. The electric rotary mowers (or any rotary mowers) will cut the seed staulks that none of the reel mowers can get without doing a special dance turning the mower pivoting on one wheel.

    I have a large solar power system that makes a bit more electricity then I use so it's kinda cool to have a solar powered lawn mower. My yard is fairly large so I bought two batteries so I can cut the place without losing cutting power and not drain either battery down more then about 50% of charge level so the batteries are not cycled hard and should last. Time will tell on that.

    Still, if I had softer more tender types of grass like I remember feeling so good on my feet as a child in the North, I would bet the reel mower would be perfectly fine for full time duty. For me in the South, it serves as my Winter mower. Oh, and when people walking past stop and ask me what makes the thing go, I tell them it's Beer powered. LOL

  • mean_74

    I have an old, and I mean old, reel mower. I bought it from an old guy on the party line swap meet about 15 years ago. It is the only lawn mower I have ever owned. I live in MN so I don't have to worry about bermuda grass. My lawn is quite small as well, so I don't worry that I have to go over it twice with a reel mower. If I go over it 3 times, which I usually do (it gives it a very nice cut), it takes me about 10 minutes. That usually includes the time to pick up the sticks first. I love my mower. It is heavy and not very nice to look at, but it has always worked for me. Until now. The rubber has been wearing out for years now. They were hollow and the rubber wore away so that there is a deep groove all around the tire and chunks have been slowly falling off here and there. The rubber finally came off one of the cast iron wheels. I checked the hardware stores in town, but there is no part to replace this rubber. I of course put the rubber back on and put several coats of duct tape around it to keep it from falling off. Then I added some duct tape to the other wheel just for good measure. This will last me through this year, but probably not much longer. I am now in the market for a new reel mower. There is no question about reel vs gas powered. The question is - An old school one from craigslist or a new modern one.

  • librijenne

    I'm trying to acquire a reel mower off Craigslist. I seem to be one of those wives who has bargained with the husband to take over mowing if we get a reel mower. (He doesn't mow often enough to suit me, but I hate the sun, the smell, and the noise.) I figure for most of the year, I can mow early in the morning, as often as I want! I'm excited. I know my neighbors will think I'm nuts-- this IS Texas, after all-- but I can't wait!

  • flowersnow

    Jenne, I too had a reel mower in Texas (just north of Houston). As long as you do it often (like every 3 days) reel mowers work great. Mine was $80 in 2003 (2002?). A few years ago I did have the blades sharpened. We still use it-but now in Michigan!

  • woodswalker88

    I have a reel mower that I sharpened & everything! My daughter actually likes using it. It has a nice sound, and I enjoy watching it go round. Also I enjoy the fact that it doesn't pollute the planet.

    Problem is, we moved to a new house with about 1/2 acre of lawn. First time I tried using the reel mower, I got Chest Pains. I decided I was going to have to go over to the Dark Side and use a noisy electric or gas mower. Boo hoo...:(

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