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Captain Worley

Reel Mower

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Since until recently, the engines on lawnmowers haven't had to meet any emissions regulations and weren't all that great for fuel usage. Has anyone replaced their power mower with one of those old reel type push mowers, and if so, how did you like it? I've been thinking about what toi replace my current mower with when it dies. I have about a quarter acre of centipede to mow

Any thoughts/advice/info?

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I used to mow lawns as a teenager and actually had a few elderly customers who preferred their lawns be cut with the reel mower. I actually had 3 of them at the time. I like the cut better, they're not hard to use, and for a relatively flat, small, urban type yard they should more than suffice.

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my dad has one, and the cut is amazing! Grass blades are sliced and not frayed (think "split-ends") and the mowers are typically easy to use. They are not as heavy as you would think, and do a much better job than power mowers. The obvious problem is lawn size. i would suggest that a half acre or smaller is easily doable with one of these, however once you start to go larger (or steeper), it gets a little exausting. Keep in mind though that with these mowers, you dont have the constant loud noise/hot exast/dangerous flying rocks to damper the mowing experience. it's actually quite pleasurable.

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I like the idea behind the reel mowers and they do work well, but a good one is relatively expensive.

Since you are looking for advice, the other option is an electric mower. If the yard is small enough and you don't mind the cord, they do a good job also, require no maintenance, and if you go to a place like a Black & Decker outlet store, you can usually find a re-con for less than $100. I would not recommend the battery models.

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I had one and didn't like it honestly. I had to go over the same spots 2, 3 times or more to get it completely cut. And this was right after I sharpened the blades. Maybe it just wasn't a very good brand.

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My loft doesn't have any grass, but I used to mow my mom's lawn before I moved 700 miles away. I've always hated mowing lawns, but I've found the old reel types sort of enjoyable. If I do have a lawn of my own someday, I'd probably get one of these. No gas or oil consumed, more exercise, less noise. You can't lose!

A note on noise: If I were to set up my drums out on my mom's driveway and start playing at 10 a.m. on a Saturday, it's probable someone would complain about the noise. The average lawnmower makes the same amount of noise, though it can be argued the sound is more consistent and more easily ignored. Funny how these loud machines came to be so acceptable considering the decibels they crank out.

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I thought about the electric, but don't want to drag the extension cord around and rick cutting it. I did consider the battery model. Does the charge not last very long, metro?

SG3, why did you have three of them? Were they all set for different heights, or are different blade configurations used for different types of grass.

Are they harder to push than a non-selfpropelled mower? I realized the cuts a good bit smaller, so that might help out some. I want more excersize, but I don't want to kill myself.

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My neighbor uses one to do the grass right outside his house. But we have 4 acres of grass, he has almost ten...so riding mowers it is!

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I tried using a reel mower several years ago. Purchased one of the better rated models at the time (a Scott's I believe). While it was very easy to push and delivered a very clean cut it didn't do well on anything but very good grass. We had a mix of more, well, weedy growth (which we liked just fine for the most part - violets are great in the springtime and stay green in my area even in the heat of summer).

Any kind of bare patches, or mounding grasses (fine fescue, for example), or crabgrass just doesn't get cut because it doesn't stand up. The reel excelled wherever we had nice lush, thick turf. Elsewhere it left the lawn looking not much better than before. It also doesn't mulch, so it's best to get one with a catcher for the clippings if you want to keep things looking tidy.

Grass in my area is predominantly Tall Fescue with either Bluegrass or Fine Fescue mixed in. Those need to be cut pretty high to stay healthy. Reel mowers just aren't a great tool for this job. At the time we gave away the reel and purchased the most efficient and low emissions gas mower we could find (a Honda at the time). If I was making the same decision today for my 1/4-1/3 acre I'd buy battery electric as they've come a long way.

If you have shorter grass varieties to cut and keep your yard pretty weed free I'd predict that you'll be happy with a reel. A good quality reel mower is not hard to push - much easier IMO than shoving and turning a non-self-propelled gas rotary mower. And the time spent mowing is much nicer - no exhaust stink, noise, vibration. Just a brisk walk with all the smells of the yard and sounds of your 'hood.

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Reading this all just makes me think how horrrible my parent's mower is. They've had it for 20 years I guess, it used to be our grandfathers. I don't live at home, but once and awhile I do the family a favor and mow it when I'm home. There is always smoke and fumes coming out, and my clothes smell like they were crammed into a truck's exhaust pipe. From what I've been told, that's not right because mowers shouldn't be giving off that much exhaust. But how should I know? Our old house was on an urban lot the size of postage stamp, and my dad cut the grass in about 10 minutes.

It makes me wonder how much gas that thing is wasting. It's self propelled too which I suppose makes it even worse.

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They need to get it tuned up, sounds like to me. Mine is 10 years old and doesn't smoke, smell, or use a buch of gas. Well, I guess that's relative. I can mow the whole yard for almost a tank, maybe 3/4-7/8 tank.

I have heard the EPA is going to start regulating emissions on these soon.

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Good article about the 'resurgence' of reel mowers in America today. They are still a small percentage of all mowers sold, but numbers are up dramatically from 1980's lows.

MSNBC article about Reel Mowers

I've had one in the past, and might contemplate getting one in the near future. I have a small yard that is fairly level and have told myself numerous times that it would be good exercise to mow my yard with one of these....

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A reel mower was fine for the urban home I owned in SoCal. The yard was flat, the lot only 1/12 of an acre. And the grass pretty much stopped growing anyway by late June... you could let it get kinda brown looking in such a dry climate, and not look too unusual.

But my yard in NC is too hilly, and there is a longer growing season. So, a self-propelling mower it is.

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I use a reel mower on the small patch of grass behind my apartment. It would be a waste to trouble ourselves with a power mower for such a small yard.

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I have a reel mower that I inherited and I use it often. They're great; they're lightweight, efficient, and easy to maintain. I never see them at retailers... where you go to purchase a new one?

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I have a reel mower that I inherited and I use it often. They're great; they're lightweight, efficient, and easy to maintain. I never see them at retailers... where you go to purchase a new one?

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The local Ace hardware store has two or three of them. Might want to try there.

I gave up on the idea after hearing they weren't too good on weeds and bahaia, both of which seem to have taken over my yard. Maybe after the centipede starts running again I'll revisit the issue.

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I don't mow any lawns, but when I do, I think I'll use a manual one. All of the pros and cons are exactly what I think of whenever I mow a lawn. I hate the noise while working, the bulkyness, trying to get it started, hearing them in the morning... I've never had to deal with any of the repair or gas aspects either, and I bet that's a pain too. And if a manual is cheaper, and cuts better, then that's that for me.

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I have a small hybrid bermuda lawn. About four years ago, on a lark, I ordered a push reel mower off the home shopping network, just to see how it worked. It does a fantastic job on my small lawn, as long as I mow often enough not to let it get too high. I have a 15 year old snapper rotary mower that I thought did a good job...but there is no comparison in the cut the reel mower gives.

A portion of my front lawn is on a pretty decent slope, so from down the street it looks like a manicured golf green. One day a couple of years ago, after mowing, edging, and trimming, I was sitting on the bench at my entry way admiring my work and cooling off with a glass of iced tea when a golf ball rolled up. Sure enough, a neighbor out chipping away in his yard, said apologetically that he couldn't help himself, and had to try and lay one up on my lawn.

The mower works works well on the finely textured Bermuda, but it didn't do quite as well on the more coarsely textured small patch of Centipede I got rid of last year in my back yard.

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I've used a Reel Mower exclusively for 9 years now.

The honest truth is, it's horrible.

I've decided I don't care, and would rather have a lawn that looks like it was cut by a Flowbee than burn gasoline to mow my lawn, but I think the truth is you'd need some golf-course-grade reel mower to get a good cut.

My search "Quiet Cut" wasn't even that cheap...9 years ago it was $150. I'd guess it's more expensive than that today.

There are some other challenges: You cannot get the blades sharpened by a regular lawn mower company. I've had take it to a hand-sharpening guy that specializes in small blades. He's 75 years old and the only one who did that service anywhere in metro-Kalamazoo (250,000 people, countless mower shops).

Another challenge is the frequency of cutting: We have to cut our lawn often or it gets long. When it's long, the mower just folds over the grass and doesn't cut it (leading to that Flowbee look).

I should add a friend of mine bought a similar reel mower by Scott's (with a wider mowing "deck") and had similar issues, gave up, and went gasoline.

So I'd say this: Buyer beware. If you care more about the environment than your lawn's appearance (like me) then it's ok to buy one. If you feel social pressures to have an immaculately groomed lawn I'm not sure a value-priced reel-mower is a good choice.

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my former neighbor in my hometown has a rechargeable lawn mower that they use. it works like a regular electric one, but has no cords. it's pretty nice and very quiet.

i have used all sorts of lawn mowing equipment and for small patches on flat ground, and i do like the reel mower quite a bit. i've found them easier to maneuver than a small gas powered one because of the 4 wheels that don't rotate.

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