Author Topic: Buy it For Life Reel Mower  (Read 7933 times)

SpacemanSpiff

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Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« on: November 13, 2013, 07:34:01 PM »
Just moved into a place where I will be needing to cut the lawn next summer.  The yard isn't too big, so I'm going to be using a push reel mower I decided.  I've been looking on craisglist for the last 2 months, but the closest sale I could find of a decent one was 45 minutes away, which pretty much drives up the cost beyond what I could pay for a new one.  As such, I've been shopping around online, but have had a little trouble finding a reel mower of the buy-it-for-life variety.

After some online searching, it seems people are fairly high on the American Lawn Mowers (a brand - not just referring to mowers made in the US).  I was contemplating getting the American Lawn Mower 16" Bent Hand Reel Lawn Mower - 705-16:

http://www.tools2parts.com/American-Lawn-Mower-705-16-p/1240-2012.htm?gclid=CPy82Zme47oCFVRnOgod8D0AUA&click=1006

but I wasn't sure if there were better options out there.

Anyone have a recommendation for a reel mower that will most likely still be going strong 10-20 years from now?

captainron

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Re: Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2013, 07:45:14 PM »
I tried a reel mower about ten years ago but found that it wasn't very effective if you let the grass get too long.  If I didn't mow a couple times per week in the early summer when the grass was growing fast then I had a hard time doing it at all.  The mower would just push the tall grass over instead of cutting it.  I might try again when I have more time.  aka FIRE :)

I am sure you can make it work if you want to.  Sorry no reco

girly mustache

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Re: Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2013, 09:35:25 PM »
I had that mower but found it too heavy and narrow for my needs. The wider the mower the quicker the grass is cut :). Previous poster is correct - you need to keep the grass from getting too tall or it's really tough to mow... Currently I use a Scott's 20" and that seems to work for me. I do really like not having the noise and gas of a regular mower... Good luck...

dantownehall

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Re: Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2013, 08:02:01 AM »
A Scott's 20" is also what I use.  It does a good job, but you do have to not let it get overly long.  I think next year I will also buy a little electric weed whacker to round out my lawn care tools.

adesertsky

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Re: Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2013, 08:33:16 AM »
I have a Scott's reel mower (owned for 4 years) but the handle has snapped on it from flipping it over to clean it out/sharpen/etc.  I currently have it super duct taped on which makes for awkward pushing.  It does work great once you get the adjustment of the blade right.  However, if anything breaks, you can just order the part and put it on!  From that perspective, you could certainly own one for life.

daverobev

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Re: Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2013, 09:02:35 AM »
A Scott's 20" is also what I use.  It does a good job, but you do have to not let it get overly long.  I think next year I will also buy a little electric weed whacker to round out my lawn care tools.

Pretty much the same situation as you. I need a strimmer to do the edges.

nawhite

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Re: Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2013, 09:08:21 AM »
I'm using an 18 inch Fiskars reel mower http://www.amazon.com/Fiskars-6201-18-Inch-Staysharp-Mower/dp/B0045VL1OO . I will admit that it cost more than your standard reel mower ($125 on craigslist vs the $40 ones I could find), but it is well worth it in my opinion. Significantly easier to push, to maintain the blades, to adjust the height, everything about it is very well designed. I've had it for 1 season and the owner before me had it for 2 years.

I'm definitely putting it in the "bought it for life" category.

Everyone who complains about reels not working well when the grass gets too long is right but at the same time, you shouldn't be cutting more than 1/3 of the height of the grass anyway. Even if you don't get a fiskar, get a reel mower with a large height range because the correct way to deal with long grass is to take 1/3 off the top, then wait 2 days or so, then take a 1/3 off the top again. Most people with reels find they need to mow 1-2 times per week. With the fiskars I can go from 1"-4" so I'll let the grass grow for 2-3 weeks, then do 2 passes over 2 days. First pass at 3.5" second at 2.5". Because I can do a really high pass, it isn't any harder to mow.

acroy

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Re: Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2013, 09:12:02 AM »
I've tried American and Scotts - found both to be of poor build quality.

Hold out for a used Fiskars

http://www.amazon.com/Fiskars-6201-18-Inch-Staysharp-Mower/dp/B0045VL1OO

$200 new, they should pop on CL for around $100. I have one I'd sell you if you were close :) They are a NICE unit. Chinese, but very solid build quality. I forced this thing through my Tiff Bermuda most of the summer (3-4 times per week) It took some punishment and laughed it off. heavy blade, solid handle, stayed sharp sharp.

Finally bought a used $75 Craftsman gas reel mower as my lawn is just too tough/dense for a push mower. Feel like a wussypants but heck, I sure tried.

pdxvandal

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Re: Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2013, 10:43:33 AM »
Bought a used Scott's reel mower off Craigslist in 2000 and have had it ever since. I pay to get it sharpened once every two years.

The Scott's models built in the 1970s were made to last ... all metal, no plastic. Quiet, burns a few calories and very gas efficient.

I also have an electric-powered weed whacker for edging.

the fixer

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Re: Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2013, 10:54:07 AM »
I used a Scotts mower from Craigslist when I had a lawn and it was great! Got it for $25, and I had to drive a bit but at that price it was worth it. Keep looking, you might get lucky like I did.

Most of the yard was easy to mow, but we had one patch of extremely thick grass that was always a chore. I don't really understand why that area was so tough. If my whole yard had been like that the mower wouldn't have been suitable.

My recommendation is to clean off all the grass clippings and residue from the blades after each use (I just rubbed my finger along the channels where it built up, a pretty easy task). That should help it last longer.

BlueMR2

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Re: Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2013, 03:50:35 PM »
4 years of use out of my Craftsmen reel mower.  No complaints.  I've had to adjust it twice.  Proper adjustment plus proper height setting helped my earlier problems with not cutting tall grass well.  Cheap foam handle wrap is starting to wear.  Duct taped the ends to keep it from fraying further.  If the middle wears out I'll replace it with bicycle handlebar wrap.

Really impressed since it was so cheap.  I've save enough money in gas alone to pay for it 3x!

MrsPete

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Re: Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2013, 03:51:52 PM »
I have one.  It was about $35, purchased at the end of the summer on clearance.  I don't know the name brand, but I don't think it's a top-notch model.

Mowing with this thing is a real workout, and I agree with those who've said you have to do it regularly -- if your grass gets too high, it's impossible.  Realistically, this is an option only for people with small yards.  Or much bigger muscles than mine. 

SpacemanSpiff

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Re: Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2013, 08:03:38 AM »
Wow thanks for all the suggestions and recommendations everyone!!

Based on the feedback above, I will probably look for a Fiskars. Not sure which model, but I'm looking forward to it! Thanks again!

ScottEric

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Re: Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2013, 06:07:21 AM »
I second the Fiskars recommendation, I got mine off Ebay from one of those returns/damaged goods sellers for something like $60.  The handle was bent, but I just bent it back.  Mows like a champ, especially compared to the vintage 1950's reel mower that came with our house!  Being able to set the blade super high is a big bonus since I definitely might miss a week of mowing here and there.





I've tried American and Scotts - found both to be of poor build quality.

Hold out for a used Fiskars

http://www.amazon.com/Fiskars-6201-18-Inch-Staysharp-Mower/dp/B0045VL1OO

$200 new, they should pop on CL for around $100. I have one I'd sell you if you were close :) They are a NICE unit. Chinese, but very solid build quality. I forced this thing through my Tiff Bermuda most of the summer (3-4 times per week) It took some punishment and laughed it off. heavy blade, solid handle, stayed sharp sharp.

Finally bought a used $75 Craftsman gas reel mower as my lawn is just too tough/dense for a push mower. Feel like a wussypants but heck, I sure tried.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2013, 05:14:08 PM »
Ok, granted, I grew up in Southern California where lawns did not have to be mowed 3-4 times a week (are you serious????) but I remember a reel mower being quite straightforward to use, even for my scrawny teenage female frame. 

BlueMR2

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Re: Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2013, 05:32:46 PM »
Ok, granted, I grew up in Southern California where lawns did not have to be mowed 3-4 times a week (are you serious????)

Rainy season in Ohio I swear the grass grows a foot a day.  If I don't mow it every other day it turns into a jungle.

Stache In Training

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Re: Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2013, 10:07:58 PM »
I forget exactly the brand of mine, (I think it may be scott's) but look for deals.  When I bought mine at Ace, they included a free sharpening kit.  That will definitely help in the "buy it for life" department.

rebecuna

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Re: Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2013, 05:42:52 PM »
I finally convinced DH to try a reel mower for our 1/3 acre lawn and it was a disaster. I'm so glad I bought it from Amazon-- I returned it after using it for almost a month for the full purchase price back. I was really committed to a reel mower until I tried it. With the slope of our lawn and how quickly the grass grows... I would literally spend an hour pushing HARD and only mow about 1/8 of the lawn. Push-back up- push- back up... it didn't really "go" ever. Anyway, I know the grass was too long, but it just didn't seem like something sustainable for us having to mow multiple times per week.

All that to say... I'd recommend trying something out before you buys used, or buying new from a place like Amazon where you can return it if you don't like it.

the fixer

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Re: Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2013, 05:48:32 PM »
If you buy used and it doesn't work out, Craigslist does money-back returns with return shipping taken care of! Post it again for the same price and someone else should buy it, if you did your research and know it was fairly priced to begin with.

rebecuna

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Re: Buy it For Life Reel Mower
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2013, 07:12:36 PM »
If you buy used and it doesn't work out, Craigslist does money-back returns with return shipping taken care of! Post it again for the same price and someone else should buy it, if you did your research and know it was fairly priced to begin with.

ha ha, I had to read that twice... good point!