Want to get your lawn looking neater without wasting gas or electricity? The answer if simple, grab yourself a push reel lawn mower! These are an efficient and economic way to mow the grass and most importantly they’ll give you an incredibly tidy “scissor-like” cut.
I recently invested in one myself, and have to say I am more than surprised at just how good they can be.
or read on to find out exactly why push reel lawn mowers are the future…
I have mentioned that human-powered mowers are the “Greener Choice” but don’t let that put you off! You don’t have to be a “treehugger” to choose one of these to look after your lawn.
In fact to be honest, environmental concerns weren’t top of my agenda when I ordered mine. The reasons I chose to buy a manual mower were that:
- I simply wanted something that wouldn’t be a pain to start and needed little to no maintenance when our old Briggs & Stratton gas guzzler died after many years of over-work and not being looked after as well as it might.
- For us an electric mower simply wasn’t an option due to the fact that our lawn is not very near the house. I’m personally very nervous of electric mowers because I know just how clumsy I am, and have no desire to mow the cable! Plus we’re off-grid which makes you very conscious of just how much power any electrical items use!
- A battery powered mower was not an option either. They would still eat into our electricity supply to charge. Plus batteries tend to be very bad for the environment and often do not continue to hold their charge well for more than a year or two.
So after one short season of using a manual lawn mower (a Brill Razorcut 38) here are my thoughts:
Manual Push Reel Lawn Mower Review
So, if you haven’t used a push reel lawn mower (and I doubt many of us have), but are considering one here’s what you should know:
Benefits of Manual Mowers
As I said, I bought our push along reel mower simply because I didn’t want gas anymore and an electric mower would not be practical. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised that the “me-powered mower” does actually come with some benefits too.
- Well of course it is great not to be dealing with gas and oil, or dealing with a pull start before even getting around to the actual mowing! You could choose electric instead, but then you have power cords to worry about and let’s not forget the electric plug is still using power which you have to pay for. A push mower powered by you is definitely the most environmentally friendly way to mow your lawn.
- The cut on many of the manual mowers is extraordinary. When the manufacturers say it cuts like scissors I was surprised to find that they were in actual fact telling the truth. If you are fond of neat greenery you will love the results.
- Of course using a manual mower cuts down on noise pollution, which is good for you pushing it, and of benefit to the neighbourhood too.
- There is far less vibration so I find my knuckles don’t go numb like they could with our old gas mower.
- The manual mowers are simple things, which means they are on the whole smaller and more light-weight than either electric or gas-powered versions. That makes them easier to store and easier to manoeuver in tight spaces.
- Manual reel mowers are cheaper than gas, and cheaper than equivalent quality electric mowers too.
Drawbacks of Manual Mowers
Now of course the issues with manual mowers can sometimes be brand specific which is why it pays to read customer reviews. However, when I was searching for a new mower it seemed that many of the bad reviews were based more on people’s incorrect perceptions about how a manual mower might work, rather than the realities. There are some general points that for some, may make a manual mower a less than perfect choice:
- Modern push reel mowers are far easier to use than you might expect but they are still powered by you! Now this is a benefit for me, since it is the kind of light exercise that I enjoy. But, if you are likely to find that this puts you off bothering to get out and mow the lawn you need something a little less energetic!
- Whilst these are really easy to use on a flat, well maintained lawn, you might find things a little tougher on hilly or rough ground. Our patch of grass is far from perfect lawn material and the manual mower works well enough. But on the particularly rough patches I do have to work a little harder to get the thing to work.
- You will need to cut your grass regularly. Many push mowers simply aren’t heavy enough to cope with longer grass that a gas powered machine would deal with.
If you are motivated to mow regularly and have a relatively tidy, flat patch of lawn then a push mower is fine. And don’t think you can only use these in small areas. If you can walk the area easily then you can mow it too!
Choosing a Reel Push Mower
A few things to think about when choosing a push mower:
- The wider the blades the less distance you will need to walk!
- You need variable cutting heights. If your ground is uneven, or you won’t be cutting terribly regularly be sure there are relatively high cutting settings to choose from (my Brill Razorcut is set a little low for my less than perfect lawn).
- If you’re used to the power of a gas mower you’ll need to rethink your lawn care strategy. Whilst a gas motor will plow through small twigs and toss stones out of the way, a push along manual mower needs you to clear up and get rid of those things likely to stall the blades.
- There are a few models that come with “stay sharp” blades, these are great if you want to reduce maintenance even further!
- Do not expect grass collection boxes to work as well as they do on electric or gas powered mowers. In fact, I would go so far as to say simply mow more often without a collection box and let the shorter clippings be left to mulch the lawn just like Dave B says.
There are a wide range of manual mowers available, which you can check out here. It is worth comparing reviews and not going for anything too complicated. On the whole traditional simple machines work well (that’s why the same designs have been around for so long!). Occasionally a new design turns up that is worth a look, and you can tell by the reviews whether it will be around for long or not!
Whilst having a reel push mower means I need to be a little more tidy and mow more often than when I used a gas mower that could seemingly go through anything, I have to say I am truly glad I bought a push reel mower this time around. The grass looks better, it’s nice to keep the lawn more tidy, and it doesn’t hurt having some exercise for myself too!
*Please note the link above directs to amazon as I have found they offer great deals on push reel mowers.