The second time I had to abandon the lawnmower and head to the filling station to lug a gas can home I decided it was time to make the purchase. It had been brewing for a while and after I read that running a lawnmower for an hour emits as much greenhouse gas as driving a car 100 miles I could think of nothing else while pushing that noisy beast around our yard. I was going to give a reel mower (a human-powered lawn mower) a chance.
I started my research on Amazon.com because I do find the reviews very helpful. The Scott’s Classic Reel Mower had around 650 reviews with an average of four stars. After reading a few good reviews I went to the bad, and found that the complaints were mostly about a plastic gear that broke for some folks, but they were a comparatively small group compared with those who raved about the mower. The $119.99 to ease my conscience was worth the risk of a plastic gear.
So like a kid on Christmas I busted the thing out of the box and a quick assembly later I was pushing the reel mower through the lawn and…uh…the blades were spinning but the grass wasn’t getting any shorter.
Thirty Google minutes later I discovered that there is some adjusting that needs to be done, so armed with a flat-head screwdriver I tweaked four screws that align a fixed edge with the spinning blade that allows the grass to be cut with a scissor motion. Bingo, it cut beautifully and easily.
In fact, it may have been my best experience cutting a lawn ever. For starters, I could hear my iPod (though the neighbors probably weren’t too happy to actually hear my singing) and at 26 pounds it is easier to push and maneuver than my gas-powered mower. It took the same amount of time and I didn’t need to stop halfway through to refill the tank.
Seeing how much fun I had, my wife decided to give it a go. Cutting the lawn isn’t something she’s really able to do much with our young children running around, but with the Reel Mower she’s still able to keep a watchful eye and hear what’s going on around her. Additionally, she enjoyed the workout it provided. Everybody’s happy.
According to my research, the maintenance appears to be rather low. The blades do need occasional sharpening and I followed the advice of one gent online who recommended wiping them down with WD40 after each cut to prevent any rusting.
Would I recommend it? Definitely, starting with my neighbors.