After moving into a new home, and realizing that I now had to cut a lawn again, I decided to test out a green alternative to a typical gasoline lawn mower. I researched a few different types of lawnmowers, electric and reel push mowers and I decided that I didn’t want a chord to run over, so I went with a reel manual push mower.
Now I know what many of you are thinking, because I heard it a lot from anyone and everyone who had ever mowed with an “old school” push mower. Everyone said “those things are terrible, they are really hard to push… yada yada yada…” but I had heard nothing but good things about these new push mowers in the product reviews.
Needless to say I decided to make the purchase and use this opportunity to really test out the product and give my readers the inside scoop on the new push reel mowers. I went over to Clean Air Gardening and got their Scotts Classic Reel Lawnmower package, complete with a rear clipping catcher and sharpening kit. Unfortunately the order got delayed for a few weeks because they ran out of stock, so when the mower finally came in my grass was really long (1 month overgrown).
Out of the box, the mower was relatively easy to assemble, however the pictures in the directions for the clipping catcher assembly were rough hand drawings making them pretty hard to read. After assembling it, I took it outside for a small test run on some short grass and it was really easy to use, but the real test would be the next day when I would attempt to tackle the overgrown yard.
The next day I went out and tried mowing my overgrown yard with the push mower and it was a colossal failure. The grass was entirely too high and the mower would simply bend the grass over and not cut it. Of course after a few minutes the tall grass would stand back up making it appear as if I hadn’t done anything even though the shorter grass blades were getting cut. Considering that my push mower wasn’t working, I went down the street to the local lawn cutting guy and hired him to do the initial cut on my law.
Even though my first try was a failure, I didn’t give up, I decided to give the mower a second chance and waited about a week and tried again. This time the grass was at a very manageable height and to be honest the mowing went very smoothly and quickly. I did not find that the mower was that difficult to push (like everyone said), although I did make a mistake of swimming laps before mowing that time and my shoulders got a little fatigued.
Now I didn’t want to write a review before using the mower a few more times to see how I really felt about it. That being said, I am now writing this review after three more successful mowing attempts with two weeks worth of growth in between each. I am convinced that these push mowers are very effective and easy to use and the sound that the mower makes is really cool and quite soothing. Also, because I know it’s better for the environment, it is very gratifying on many levels and I now actually enjoy mowing the lawn.
My final rating is 4 out of 5 stars. The reason for the one star loss is mostly because of the limitations due to grass height. This limitation only really affects people who let their lawn go without being cut for over 3 weeks. However, if you have some fast growing weeds living amongst your St. Augustine grass, you may have to pluck them up every now and then if they grow too high between cuts, because the mower will lay them down and miss the cut. I also found that the actual cutting edge is a little further in from the wheels than a power mower so you can’t cut as close to objects and fences, forcing you to come back and use a weed eater in the corners. Considering that no matter what type of mower you use, you generally have to come back with a weed eater anyway, so this didn’t weigh as heavily on my rating as the height limitations.
This mower is not for everyone, especially a lazy person because it is not easier than a powered gasoline or electric mower. I do recommend this product for anyone who appreciates the environment and will make small sacrifices for the betterment of it. With a battery operated weed eater/edger and a trusty Scotts reel mower, you can now maintain a yard without using any gasoline and only tiny amounts of electricity.