Author Topic: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?  (Read 8847 times)

MVal

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Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« on: March 17, 2017, 10:39:58 AM »
I just rented a house where I am responsible for the lawn care. What are some thoughts on Mustachian lawnmower choices? Are reel mowers practical and usable, or do you wind up wasting more time cutting the grass and breaking your back than is justifiable?
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CargoBiker

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2017, 10:41:44 AM »
You have to keep it sharp using a lapping compound (get some at an auto parts store), and keep it well adjusted.

You need to mow frequently... twice a week maybe.  If the grass or weeds get too tall, it won't cut them, it'll just run them over.


Works fine on a small lawn.
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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2017, 11:08:43 AM »
Growing up, my family used a reel mower. They are a giant pain in the butt UNLESS you have a very small yard and also mow frequently.

I share a corded electric mower with my friends, and I'm very pleased with it. It gets the job done and I don't have to mess around with gasoline or oil.

fattest_foot

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2017, 11:10:09 AM »
We use one. It's self sharpening (although, how well that sharpens we'll see). We've had it for about a year and a half though and have no complaints.

Aelias

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2017, 11:30:08 AM »
We have one, but more often than not, just end up using the electric weed-whacker :)

honeybbq

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2017, 11:33:49 AM »
We use a pushmower (not sure what reel means?). It is fast and QUIET. Noise pollution is real, too. I'm a relatively petite female and mow our backyard just fine with it. It's a bit hard on the hills in the front. But we have pretty limited green space. Not sure I would want to push it around a huge suburban yard, but for our urban house, it does the trick.

WildJager

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2017, 12:06:17 PM »
We use a pushmower (not sure what reel means?). It is fast and QUIET. Noise pollution is real, too. I'm a relatively petite female and mow our backyard just fine with it. It's a bit hard on the hills in the front. But we have pretty limited green space. Not sure I would want to push it around a huge suburban yard, but for our urban house, it does the trick.

A reel mower and push are the same.  The reel refers the to cylindrical blade structure that spins.

We use one.  Works fine, but as others have said you have to maintain it.  I suppose that's true for gas mowers too, but the way their made means they can power through dull blades vs what a reel mower can do.  Keep em sharp and lubed, and it's almost a joy to cut grass.  Very quiet and it's fun watching the mechanics do their thing.

As others have said, if the grass is too tall you might need to manually trim some patches. 

MoMan

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2017, 12:16:08 PM »
I used one for a couple of seasons--still have it. Mine is self-sharpening. The cut width is pretty narrow and the blades miss quite a bit, so I often had to go back over everything twice at a different angle. I really hated it, and my property is only 1/4 acre with a 2300 sq.ft. house. (My giant English Mastiff thought the whole thing was a game and loved to chase me around while mowing).

Three or four years ago I bought a used Black & Decker 36v (cordless) from a neighbor. I LOVE IT! No gas and no maintenance other than sharpening the blade. It has enough power to get through some pretty tall stuff as long as the blade is sharp, and does a decent job of mulching, so I don't use the catcher bag that came with it. As a bonus, I can fold up the handle and store the unit vertically against the wall of my garage, which is a huge space saver. Keep it plugged in to charge while not in use. And very quiet compared to gas. I was concerned about battery life, but it seems to hold a charge without any problems, even though it's probably 6 or 8 years old. And mind you, I live in Houston which means mowing from March through October, and in the summer you need to mow every 4-5 days. I'll definitely buy another (someday).
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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2017, 12:25:58 PM »
My partner insisted we get one (less maintenance/cords/gas etc) when we got our house... it's definitely a bit of a workout with the amount of lawn we have right now. But it works pretty good, it's quiet, and the exercise isn't such a bad thing! We're also planning on converting most of the lawn into something non-lawn, ie: mixed borders, raised garden beds, paved etc, within the next few years so eventually the lawn maintenance will be pretty minimal.
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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2017, 12:47:30 PM »
No, but I would like to acquire one.  We currently have a gas-fueled mower but as a small petite person, it's really hard for me to push and turn, and the noise bothers me.  I'd like a reel mower so I can actually do that particular house chore more frequently, with less noise.

MerryMcQ

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2017, 12:56:01 PM »
We have one, with a larger suburban lot and a little hill to mow. Works awesome. I'm a petite woman, and it takes me about 20 minutes to mow. My 12 year old kid mows too. I prefer it for a kid, not as many moving parts, no fast blades... if he stops moving, it stops. No gas or oil to store, no hassle because the ladt person didn't charge it, no cords... Mine mulches as I mow, so no raking up either.

And I can mow early in the morning without bugging any neighbors with engine noise. It's kinda zen like. No stinky exhaust either.

On the other hand, it doesn't work if it's raining (yea Seattle weather) and in the spring, I have to mow 2 or 3 times a week so the grass stays low. Tall grass is a pain with it.

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2017, 12:59:43 PM »
I did use a reel pushmower for one season. It's OK if you have a small flat yard and mow frequently. The main reasons I quit are (1) I don't want to mow more than once a week during the summer and (2) I have trees that drop lots of twigs and needles that jam the blades. I splurged on an cordless electric lawnmower and it's one purchase I have not regretted.

MVal

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2017, 01:06:57 PM »
We use a pushmower (not sure what reel means?). It is fast and QUIET. Noise pollution is real, too. I'm a relatively petite female and mow our backyard just fine with it. It's a bit hard on the hills in the front. But we have pretty limited green space. Not sure I would want to push it around a huge suburban yard, but for our urban house, it does the trick.

A reel mower and push are the same.  The reel refers the to cylindrical blade structure that spins.

We use one.  Works fine, but as others have said you have to maintain it.  I suppose that's true for gas mowers too, but the way their made means they can power through dull blades vs what a reel mower can do.  Keep em sharp and lubed, and it's almost a joy to cut grass.  Very quiet and it's fun watching the mechanics do their thing.

As others have said, if the grass is too tall you might need to manually trim some patches.

I don't think reel and push are exactly the same. A reel mower is a type of push mower, as opposed to a riding mower.
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bogart

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2017, 01:39:21 PM »
We bought one and almost immediately returned it -- the grassy part of our lawn (which is small) is closely ringed by trees, and within about 3 feet of starting to push the thing (and mow) it would get one or more sticks caught in its reel, and stop, necessitating turning it over/on its side to extract the stick and then starting again.  As we're never going to have a stick-free grassy space, we decided it wasn't right for us and bought an inexpensive gasoline mower.  It handles the job just fine.

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2017, 01:47:56 PM »
We have one. Tip: don't buy new, they're super easy to find used (or at least, even in my relatively small local CL, they were easy). Like other have said: fine if you maintain it, stay on top of mowing, and have a small yard without sticks. Under our tree in our backyard, I just rake first to get any sticks up.

If life gets out of hand and the weeds get tall, we borrow a neighbor's gas mower for a once-over. Otherwise, the reel mower won't get them.

Maybe we'll upgrade to an electric sometime, but I never want a gas mower again.
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Chris22

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2017, 01:59:50 PM »
Reel mower wouldn't work for me for a variety of reasons, but I'd be interested in a (cordless) electric once my 10y/o gas mower bites it. 

One question though, I store my mower (and other yard equipment) in an unheated shed in Chicagoland; would sitting in freezing or below temps all winter affect the battery in the mower?  Is it easy and convenient to remove the battery and store it in a warmer space (say in my basement crawl space)?
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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2017, 02:00:43 PM »
I have one with adjustable height. If the grass is tall I set it to the highest level, then I cut again at a shorter level. My gas mower use to cut with more precision, the reel mower tends to be less even but inconsequentially. If you're super into your lawn, this might bother you, my neighbor is one of those who has to have the lines from his gas mower all perfect, he can't handle any imperfections.

I also have mown the grass at 6 AM and 11 PM; it was dark, I was home for a few hours before leaving again for a week. I can mow at any time, gas mowers have noise bylaws to follow. In addition, they're safer, my reel mower doesn't throw rocks at kids and cant chop your hand if you stick it in the blades (kids are crazy, I've seen numerous children with mower amputations). From an environmental view the VOC's from gas mowers are horrendous, you're stuck breathing that in with gas.

Overall my favorite part is the tranquility of mowing. Get a drink holder attached and its very peaceful walking around. I like listening to the birds sing while I mow. Big bonus, it doesn't stir up dust/grass pollen, way easier for people with allergies.

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2017, 02:14:33 PM »
I've used one for the last 4 years or so.  I got a pretty fancy one (Fiskars Staysharp Max) that's supposed to keep its blades sharp and is easier to push than others.  I have a pretty flat quarter acre lot and it works well for that.  Takes me about an hour to do.  It doesn't do a perfect job, but it's good enough for me. 

I do also have a gas mower that I bought used, which I mostly got to mulch up leaves in the fall so I don't have to rake.  The reel mower is definitely more of a workout and takes maybe 20 minutes longer than the gas mower.  Most of the time, it's worth it though.  No real maintenance (check the blade alignment maybe once a year) and I love how quiet it is.  Mine shoots the grass out front and it's kind of fun to watch and more pleasant to be walking around without the roaring noise and pollution of the gas mower.  It's also lighter and easier to maneuver and store.   Some days I'm lazy or the grass gets too long, so it is nice to have the gas mower as a backup.

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2017, 02:38:59 PM »
We use a pushmower (not sure what reel means?). It is fast and QUIET. Noise pollution is real, too. I'm a relatively petite female and mow our backyard just fine with it. It's a bit hard on the hills in the front. But we have pretty limited green space. Not sure I would want to push it around a huge suburban yard, but for our urban house, it does the trick.

A reel mower and push are the same.  The reel refers the to cylindrical blade structure that spins.

We use one.  Works fine, but as others have said you have to maintain it.  I suppose that's true for gas mowers too, but the way their made means they can power through dull blades vs what a reel mower can do.  Keep em sharp and lubed, and it's almost a joy to cut grass.  Very quiet and it's fun watching the mechanics do their thing.

As others have said, if the grass is too tall you might need to manually trim some patches.

I don't think reel and push are exactly the same. A reel mower is a type of push mower, as opposed to a riding mower.

I should have clarified.  A push mower is generally considered a non-self driving motorized mower to most people.  I was just trying to explain it in the context of honeybbq's post.

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2017, 08:49:15 PM »
I had one for a couple of years and ended up really disliking it.  My yard is not at all level and the wheels stuck often.  I had the same issues as other posters with tall grass/weeds getting run over rather than cut.  I finally switched to a cordless electric mower which I love. 

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2017, 09:37:20 PM »
I have used one for years on a small grassy area and it does an adequate job. It is satisfying to mow with human power and very little noise. It is light enough to carry with one hand and compact enough to hang up in the garage.

However I would not recommend buying a reel mower if you have:
 1) Many trees - the small twigs, bark, leaves, etc jam up the cutter and more quickly dull the blades. I have a lot of oak trees and usually have to rake before mowing. So the job takes more than twice as long.
 2) Large yard - I find the effort to push it is not that much more than using a gasoline push mower, but the width of most are narrower than your generic Briggs and Stratton push mower. So it will take more passes to mow the whole yard.
 3) Tall grass - If you are growing Fescue or other tall grasses it is not recommended. Most reel mowers only work well for shorter creeping grasses like Zoysia or Bermuda. Even then if you let the grass get too tall a reel mower will not cut it all, as the mower will push longer blades over such that the grass blade tip does not enter reel opening for the slicing action to take place. A vacation or long rainy period can easily put you behind schedule making it difficult to get the grass back under control.

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2017, 09:49:31 PM »
I bought a late-1970s Scotts model (metal instead of plastic bearings) 15 years ago. I get it sharpened every other year by a local guy. Love it. Quiet, decent workout, no gas, few moving parts. Yes, you have to stay on top of your grass, but if it's a small-ish lawn, it's perfect.

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2017, 06:42:57 AM »
We've used push mowers and are on our 11th season.

First one was a Craftsman with a Briggs & Stratton mower.  Cared for that thing, repaired it multiple times.  Bought a Honda this year.

Wish I would have paid the little extra for the Honda the first time in hindsight.  Many mowers out there are made pretty crappy now.
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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2017, 10:48:59 AM »
We've used push mowers and are on our 11th season.

First one was a Craftsman with a Briggs & Stratton mower.  Cared for that thing, repaired it multiple times.  Bought a Honda this year.

Wish I would have paid the little extra for the Honda the first time in hindsight.  Many mowers out there are made pretty crappy now.

FWIW:  the OP is talking about one of these:


Side comment: I once bought a VERY expensive, high end Honda.  I loved it.... until it only lasted 3 years.  I went back to the cheapo mowers.  The Honda was well built, but poorly engineered.
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Chris22

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2017, 11:08:00 AM »
We've used push mowers and are on our 11th season.

First one was a Craftsman with a Briggs & Stratton mower.  Cared for that thing, repaired it multiple times.  Bought a Honda this year.

Wish I would have paid the little extra for the Honda the first time in hindsight.  Many mowers out there are made pretty crappy now.

FWIW:  the OP is talking about one of these:


Side comment: I once bought a VERY expensive, high end Honda.  I loved it.... until it only lasted 3 years.  I went back to the cheapo mowers.  The Honda was well built, but poorly engineered.

Interesting, I've always heard the Hondas were great but pricey. My plan for when my Craftsman craps out, and it's showing some signs, is either a cordless electric or the absolute bottom line Honda (I don't need any features, just a mulching blade).
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Spork

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #25 on: March 18, 2017, 11:24:05 AM »
We've used push mowers and are on our 11th season.

First one was a Craftsman with a Briggs & Stratton mower.  Cared for that thing, repaired it multiple times.  Bought a Honda this year.

Wish I would have paid the little extra for the Honda the first time in hindsight.  Many mowers out there are made pretty crappy now.

FWIW:  the OP is talking about one of these:


Side comment: I once bought a VERY expensive, high end Honda.  I loved it.... until it only lasted 3 years.  I went back to the cheapo mowers.  The Honda was well built, but poorly engineered.

Interesting, I've always heard the Hondas were great but pricey. My plan for when my Craftsman craps out, and it's showing some signs, is either a cordless electric or the absolute bottom line Honda (I don't need any features, just a mulching blade).

There are a ton of low end mowers with Honda engines.  The high end Hondas have (or at least had... maybe they fixed it) problems in that the mulching blade was 2 extremely hardened steel, unbendable blades -- as was the shear pin.  The crackshaft and connecting rod to the piston are not.  If you hit a stump or a rock, you're doomed.
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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #26 on: March 18, 2017, 12:15:53 PM »
I just mowed my lawn with a reel mower. I have the Scott's 20". A reel mower is more work, but it is rewarding. When the grass is high, I will mow it at the highest level, and then mow at a low level to help prevent needing to re-mowing. Especially in spring. I enjoy it but I have a smaller yard. If your grass is like mine, I will mow a line, and then mow over it in the opposite direction. There seems to be a technique to being efficient with a reel mower. Or maybe I just need to get mine sharpened haha. Small sticks are the bane to a reel mower's existence.

Whatever you do, do not wait too long to mow, especially in spring. Or you will feel like a guy in an overgrown jungle with a very dull machete.
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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #27 on: March 18, 2017, 06:23:44 PM »
We have one, with a larger suburban lot and a little hill to mow. Works awesome. I'm a petite woman, and it takes me about 20 minutes to mow.


What I'd your definition of larger?  I have a self propelled mower and it takes me more than an hour to mow my mid (about a quarter acre grass, though it is hilly. It's one of the smallest lots in the division) size suburban lot...   20 minutes sounds tiny!

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #28 on: March 19, 2017, 07:27:39 AM »
I've been keeping my eye out for a used pushmower, to do the areas of my yard that are hard to get to with our riding mower. We have several fruit trees that hang low and are close together so hard to manuever the rider through it.

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2017, 11:32:15 PM »
We bought the cheapest reel mower available when we rented a home with a postage stamp yard for a couple of years. (the size of two patios, total)  I agree with others about the sticks/twigs fallen from trees.  It stops the blades (and wheels) very suddenly, and was a bit too jarring.

In the new home, I have started to replace our grass with a clover lawn, that also needs mowing.   I must say that the reel mower does an easy and lovely job.  Clover is a lot finer and easier to mow than grass, and I can just fly over it, compared to the loud noisy pushmower.  I actually prefer the reel mower on the clover, and dry flat grass areas without sticks.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 01:22:12 PM by Goldielocks »

Just Joe

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #30 on: March 20, 2017, 08:18:15 AM »
We have a reel mower and love it. One benefit not mentioned is that the reel doesn't stir up dust or pollen while mowing. When we use our gas mower there is a cloud of dust over the yard that riles our allegeries. We like to have the house open during warm weather and this forces us to close up the house.

I see the reel as a maintenance mower but the gas mower gets the real chopping and grinding done. I might mow once or twice at the beginning of the season with the gas mower and then switch to the reel until the yard gets out of hand. Tiny sticks and debris stops the reel cold as already mentioned here.

I looked into the battery mowers when I bought my current gas mower. The batteries last just a few years so you'll need to do a little research about the cost of replacement and sources for the batteries. If you are lucky the mower will use some sort of commodity battery that you can source from the cheapest retailer online rather than buying a proprietary battery for more $ but same utility.

Back when our kids were young we had a used ride on toy that used these ~$75 batteries. A little homework and I discovered it was a standard sealed lead acid battery that could be had for $35 locally with a plastic top and bottom frame that disguised the battery's true origin. They had even put a sticker over the original manufacturer's label. I popped the frames off and used hot glue to attach them to the new battery.

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #31 on: March 20, 2017, 12:24:23 PM »
I use a 40v Greenworks Electric Mower.  I have (3) batteries which I share between the mower, weedwhacker, and a blower.

Its a bit pricey to get into the electric game, but I'll admit that I don't mind doing yardwork now.  Its neat using equipment that sound like small vacuum cleaners when running.

Granted, we have a pretty small lot.

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #32 on: March 20, 2017, 01:46:51 PM »
In response to the, gas mowers are crap now comments... you are right.
I managed 5 home improvement stores and sold at least 10,000 lawnmowers in the 1990s and 2000s.
Part of it is cost savings on the deck frame, etc but on the engines, it is mostly emissions standards.
CARB came out with small engine emissions standards (back in the late 90s I believe) and all of a sudden all mowers were built to meet that spec.
overnight, they became very lean, and consequently, very intolerant of old fuel, dirty plugs, or a dirty carb.

I have a 1994 craftsman with a brigs and stratton engine that starts on the first pull every time. I haven't done any maintenance besides sharpening the blade or changing the oil in 10 years.
I dont even drain the gas out of it over the winter.

Try that with a modern mower and you'll be taking it for repair for sure.   

Chris22

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #33 on: March 20, 2017, 02:09:07 PM »
In response to the, gas mowers are crap now comments... you are right.
I managed 5 home improvement stores and sold at least 10,000 lawnmowers in the 1990s and 2000s.
Part of it is cost savings on the deck frame, etc but on the engines, it is mostly emissions standards.
CARB came out with small engine emissions standards (back in the late 90s I believe) and all of a sudden all mowers were built to meet that spec.
overnight, they became very lean, and consequently, very intolerant of old fuel, dirty plugs, or a dirty carb.

I have a 1994 craftsman with a brigs and stratton engine that starts on the first pull every time. I haven't done any maintenance besides sharpening the blade or changing the oil in 10 years.
I dont even drain the gas out of it over the winter.

Try that with a modern mower and you'll be taking it for repair for sure.   

I don't know how modern "modern" is, but my 2008 Honda-engined Craftsman gets (ab)used the same way and I've never had a problem.  In fact, I'm not sure I've ever even changed the oil.  The engine is great, it's everything else that's falling apart.
"If I could get all the money back I ever spent on cars, I'd spend it on cars." - Nick Mason

KCM5

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2017, 02:12:38 PM »
Reel mower wouldn't work for me for a variety of reasons, but I'd be interested in a (cordless) electric once my 10y/o gas mower bites it. 

One question though, I store my mower (and other yard equipment) in an unheated shed in Chicagoland; would sitting in freezing or below temps all winter affect the battery in the mower?  Is it easy and convenient to remove the battery and store it in a warmer space (say in my basement crawl space)?

The battery for our electric mower is removable. We also live at your latitude and keep the battery in the house charging year round. Grab the battery on the way out to mow - its tiny and light, so no big deal.

Regarding the OP, we had a Fiskars reel mower for about 3 years. The sparse grass in one part of our yard never really got shorter with the reel mower. And we have a huge tree that drops so many sticks that we basically had to rake every time before we mowed, even if it had only been three days. It just wasn't a satisfying experience to mow with that thing. The electric one is great.

davef

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #35 on: March 20, 2017, 03:02:22 PM »
 
[/quote]

I don't know how modern "modern" is, but my 2008 Honda-engined Craftsman gets (ab)used the same way and I've never had a problem.  In fact, I'm not sure I've ever even changed the oil.  The engine is great, it's everything else that's falling apart.
[/quote]

Honda does make good engines.
Still, fuel degrades over time. Every year I would have a few dozen people come in to the store at the time of the first mowing because "their mower woudn't start"
in almost every case, we drained it put fresh fuel in it and it started right up. Some engines are more tolerant than others. It also depends what fuel you use, and how old the fuel is when it goes into storage. If you have small yard and buy 2 gallons and that lasts a whole summer then your fuel is already 6 months old when it goes into storage!

Chris22

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #36 on: March 20, 2017, 03:05:41 PM »

Quote
I don't know how modern "modern" is, but my 2008 Honda-engined Craftsman gets (ab)used the same way and I've never had a problem.  In fact, I'm not sure I've ever even changed the oil.  The engine is great, it's everything else that's falling apart.

Honda does make good engines.
Still, fuel degrades over time. Every year I would have a few dozen people come in to the store at the time of the first mowing because "their mower woudn't start"
in almost every case, we drained it put fresh fuel in it and it started right up. Some engines are more tolerant than others. It also depends what fuel you use, and how old the fuel is when it goes into storage. If you have small yard and buy 2 gallons and that lasts a whole summer then your fuel is already 6 months old when it goes into storage!

I usually run the mower as low as I can in the fall and then it has a fuel petcock that I'll turn off (on?) and run it to empty.  Then I can refill with fresh fuel in the spring and it will be at least a mix of good/bad fuel.  I also share fueling duties with the snowblower in the winter, so the fuel gets cycled.  Finally, I run Shell premium in my small engines, figure the extra detergents, etc can't hurt, plus then I can fill my premium-requiring cars in a pinch with the mower can if I ever had to (emergency, etc).  The extra $.80 or so 2-3x a year doesn't sting too badly.
"If I could get all the money back I ever spent on cars, I'd spend it on cars." - Nick Mason

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #37 on: March 21, 2017, 08:10:38 AM »
Buy a corded electric off CL for super cheap. Important, use a 12g extension cord. I burnt my first mower out after ~3 years because I was using a cheap 16g cord. Bought 2x 50 ft cords from Harbor Freight for cheap many years ago and a used B&D corded electric mower for $50, been working fine since.

I did have a reel mower (push mower) and it was a PITA. Sold it. Got it for free so made a few bucks so not bad but still not worth the effort.

spokey doke

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #38 on: March 21, 2017, 08:16:53 AM »
Buy a corded electric off CL for super cheap. Important, use a 12g extension cord. I burnt my first mower out after ~3 years because I was using a cheap 16g cord. Bought 2x 50 ft cords from Harbor Freight for cheap many years ago and a used B&D corded electric mower for $50, been working fine since.

I did have a reel mower (push mower) and it was a PITA. Sold it. Got it for free so made a few bucks so not bad but still not worth the effort.

This^^^^
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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #39 on: March 21, 2017, 08:17:26 AM »
I have a neighbor that uses one and he said he sort of regrets it.  You have to cut your lawn more often, but it appears to be great exercise.  I wouldn't do it.

If your lawn is small enough, buy an electric one instead.  If it's larger, I would go with a gas powered mower.  Modern ones use very little gas (mine is a Toro and is incredibly reliable).  Unlike a car, the oil is extremely easy to change, and I do so once per year.  You simply tip the mower to it's side, and the oil pours right out.  Put in some new, fresh oil, and you are good to go for another season.  I hope this helps. 
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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #40 on: March 21, 2017, 08:26:18 AM »
Buy a corded electric off CL for super cheap. Important, use a 12g extension cord. I burnt my first mower out after ~3 years because I was using a cheap 16g cord. Bought 2x 50 ft cords from Harbor Freight for cheap many years ago and a used B&D corded electric mower for $50, been working fine since.

I did have a reel mower (push mower) and it was a PITA. Sold it. Got it for free so made a few bucks so not bad but still not worth the effort.

This^^^^

I'd be even more careful than what this says.  Remember: voltage drops over distance.  Make damn sure your mower can handle a 100ft of 12ga cord.  I suspect it may want 10ga wire at 100ft (or might not allow any gauge longer than 50 ft.)  In other words: read the manual.
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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #41 on: March 21, 2017, 10:29:48 AM »

I'd be even more careful than what this says.  Remember: voltage drops over distance.  Make damn sure your mower can handle a 100ft of 12ga cord.  I suspect it may want 10ga wire at 100ft (or might not allow any gauge longer than 50 ft.)  In other words: read the manual.

12g is absolutely fine on a 15 amp load <100'.

No one is out there purchasing 10g power cords to run electric lawn mowers. I assure you. Voltage drop is minimal on a 12g. Remember, 12g is designed to carry ~20 amps throughout a home where runs could easily exceed 100 ft of wire.

If you need >100 ft of extension cord to run a lawn mower, buy a cordless battery or cheapo gas.

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #42 on: March 21, 2017, 11:38:43 AM »
No, for the same reason I don't chisel my documents onto tablets of stone. 
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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #43 on: March 21, 2017, 11:54:23 AM »
Yup, I have a Scotts 20" and it works great. Needs to be sharpened, though. Should be sharpened at the beginning of every season. There's a guy at the Farmer's Market who can apparently take care of it.

I have a flat 5,000 sq ft plot, though. Might not work for you....

My Dad has a Toro from I think the mid or late 80s that still does a bang-up job.


steviesterno

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #44 on: March 21, 2017, 03:25:17 PM »
I have a 20" we got at walmart for maybe $100, we couldn't find used. I used it when our grass was sparse and sad, but now that we're seeding and have more of it, it's not enough. Texas grass is hearty, thick, and mad. if you wait 20 minutes too long the grass gets smashed by the mower, not cut. you have to go over most spots more than once and from like 90* angles to each other.

Even still it was a fun adventure. We pick up our small gas mower this weekend. (free anniversary present yay!). we cut the whole yard with a gas mower a few times and it cut the time in half, especially with the sticks or debris jamming the reel mower.

I don't regret the experiment, but I don't enjoy yard work. getting it done in 20 minutes instead of an hour will be nice.

you're welcome to come try the reel mower if you're local, or buy it from us cheap!

davef

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #45 on: March 21, 2017, 04:08:03 PM »
Voltage drop at 100' with a 15amp load on 12ga is 5.7volts (acceptable) 14ga 9.1 volts (borderline, depending on source voltage) 16ga 12.8 volts (do not use) Electic motors need 110 volts. Anything less will burn them up. Check the outlet in hour house with a voltmeter, its typically 115v-122v. 

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #46 on: March 21, 2017, 10:28:14 PM »
I do. They are not perfect, but then neither is having a tangly power cord or smelly empty can of gas. They are best supplemented with a battery powered weed eater. I was watching the Clint Eastwood movie where he plays a crotchety old man who is continuously pushing one of those things over his scrappy front lawn. I was like "yeah, someday I want to have a lawn just like" and now I do :-).

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #47 on: March 22, 2017, 01:16:39 AM »
I bought a cheap Remington reel mower last year. It is okay, not great. If you like a pristine yard, don't use a reel mower, as it will leave patches. However, using it is fun, and quiet. Lots more work than a gas push mower, since you end up re-mowing a lot.

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #48 on: March 22, 2017, 10:02:32 AM »
Self-sharpening Sears Craftsman reel mower I got 7 years ago.  I have to adjust the blade gap every 2-3 years.  Not any more back breaking than pushing a regular gas mower, but the cutting width on mine is a little narrower so it takes more passes.  Cuts best when set down low.  Set up high it's a little ragged.  Also, if you let the grass get way too high it'll bend instead of cutting (but cutting it way low helps resolve that).

Chris22

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Re: Does anyone use a reel pushmower to mow their lawn?
« Reply #49 on: March 22, 2017, 10:16:45 AM »
Lots of comments about "doesn't work if you let the grass get too high, etc"; do any of you travel?  We spend several weekends and often a week away from home in summer (grass cutting season) so it doesn't always work out that I can just mow whenever.  Sometimes 5-6 days or many more go by without the opportunity to mow due to travel, weather, and other commitments.  The gas mower has enough problems with 10 days' worth of late spring grass; I certainly don't want to lock myself into something that can't cope with that. 
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