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Most people think of reel (or push) mowers as those rusty old clunkers they had to manhandle through their lawn when they were younger. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Today's reel mowers are much the same design of the old-time favorites, but are lighter in weight, easier to use and easier to maintain. Our goal was to finally get rid of our gas lawn mower and since we are converting most of our grass to garden, an eco-friendly reel mower made perfect sense.

Before I get into the review of our new Scotts 20" Reel Mower, here is a little primer on reel mowers and their benefits. Unlike the gas and electric rotary mowers you’re used to and that are the most popular mower on the market today, most reel lawn mowers don’t have an engine. You can buy high end reel mowers with an electric engine, but we will not discuss those in this article.

Reel mowers rely on very sharp blades and operator supplied power. The reel mower blades also spin differently than those of a rotary mower. There are usually 2 cutting blades on a rotary mower that spins just above the ground and parallel to the grass. The blades of a reel lawn mower spins at an angle perpendicular to the grass. This means that when you push the mower, you are actually cutting the grass and not smashing the ends of the grass. This action is actually healthier for your lawn.

The benefits to using a Reel Mower are 100% pollution-free alternative being easy on the environment, including benefits in safety, noise-level, maintenance and cost. There are, however, some drawbacks. Reel lawn mowers can not chop up twigs laying in the grass as they get stuck in the blades and you’ll have to remove them by hand. Reel mowers cannot mulch up fall leaves, which is an inconvenience, and have difficult time properly cutting long grass. This can be an issue for vacation times or long periods of rain.

On to the quick review. Using the 20" cut Scotts Reel Mower on our urban lot has been great. It takes about 45 minutes to cut our lawn which is comparable to our gas mower. We did not find it any harder to push and even our 5 year old has fun pushing it with dad ;o) The construction of this reel mower is very tough and easy to maintain. I have not had the opportunity to sharpen the blades yet, but will write up and article on that process and my opinions at that time. The only downside to the Scotts reel mower is the flimsy handle. For the price and the ruggedness of the cutting unit, we find the handles are too light weight and flimsy when turning and handling the mower. We will remedy this by fabricating a custom heavy duty handle.

Overall we are extremely happy with this purchase and it also makes you feel good, physically and environmentally. Although our goal is to convert most of our grass to garden, we will still have some lawn to cut, so making an environmental choice for a mower is good. Plus, nothing makes me happier then using my Reel Mower in the front yard waving at my neighbore on his gas ride on.

Keep it Green!

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