Happy Earth Day everyone!
First of all, I just want to mention that I have found Usenet, and the
ability to search past posts with sites like Google, to be just an
incredible resource for consumers. Nothing beats getting first hand reports
from the actual users of products.
For the past five years I've been cutting my lawn with a rechargeable,
cordless, electric mower from Toro, which I bought used from a local lawn
mower shop. I went that route because I live in a small townhouse which
doesn't have a garage; thus, I can't use a gas-powered mower (no safe place
to store the mower or the gasoline). The mower worked well, but
unfortunately, at the end of last season, the motor started giving me
problems. I took it in for service this spring and the estimate to get it
fixed was more than what I paid for it originally--it needed a new motor.
This was more than I wanted to pay, so I started looking for alternatives.
Last season I noticed that one of my neighbors was using a push reel mower.
This stuck in my mind, and when I realized I wouldn't be using my electric
mower this season, I started researching push reel mowers in earnest. Using
Google I found a lot of useful past posts from Usenet on this subject.
There seemed to be a number of good reports on the mowers from American Lawn
Mower Company ( https://www.reelin.com ) , so I decided to buy their "Deluxe
Light" model. Some of the deciding factors were quality construction,
reasonable price, ability to set the maximum cutting height at 2 1/2 inches,
5-blade design, and relatively light weight (27 lbs. for the 18" wide
model). I ended up buying mine from Amazon.com; one minor irksome factor is
that American Lawn Mower Co. rebrands some of their mowers which are sold in
retail outlets; I wanted this specific model, and I didn't want to buy a
mower in one of the large hardware chain stores only to discover it was
slightly different from what I thought I was getting.
The buying experience from Amazon was painless. I bought it on a Friday,
and it shipped the very next day (I didn't realize that Amazon ships some
items on the weekend!). It arrived three days later in good shape.
Shipping was free. I paid $99.85 for the mower.
I had to assemble the handle, which comes in 5 pieces. This required two
tools--a small adjustable wrench, and some needle-nose pliars to push some
onto some short, notched, posts which hold the very ends of the handle on
the main body of the mower. It took me about 40 minutes to assemble the
mower. It went relatively smoothly. My only complaint is that as I made
the last few turns to tighten the nuts on the bolts on the handle, I
inevitably ended up scraping some of the "powder-coating" from the handle
itself, which has an attractive matt-black finish. However, almost all of
the nuts are on the underside of the handle, so this isn't really that
noticeable. The instructions were easy to follow, and no components were
I used my mower for the first time today. Many of the posts I read
cautioned that twigs can interfere with reel mowers, so I spent an hour
yesterday afternoon raking my yard so it would be free from this winter's
I found the effort required to push this mower to be minimal, although it
was slightly more than I expected. About 25% of my lawn is on a very slight
rise, and I found that I almost had to jog up that portion to get the blade
moving at the necessary speed. Other than that, the effort was about the
same as with my old electric mower. Part of the reason for this is that the
reel mower is less than half the weight of the heavy electric mower. On the
other hand, there is a little extra effort required with the reel mower
because it is the person supplying the power to turn the blades.
I have a couple of "nooks and crannies" in my lawn which I couldn't mow
adequately with the reel mower--I just couldn't get enough speed going in
the confined areas. However, I just bought a Black and Decker "Grasshog"
12-inch, 18 volt rechargeable trimmer/edger, and it handled these small
areas just fine.
There was one small area of my lawn in which the reel mower had a problem
with tall grass. For some reason, the grass in this area was much taller
than the rest of my yard--I did not measure it, but it may have been over 4
1/2 inches tall. There were a few clumps left of taller grass when I was
done--that section looked somewhat uneven. I ended up trimming the clumps
with my electric trimmer; had the area been larger, I simply would have
mowed over it again at 90 degrees to the first direction.
When I was done mowing, I took a few minutes to clean the mower. I turned
it so that it was resting on the right wheel (thus, the left wheel was
positioned vertically above it). I then wiped down the cutting bar and each
of the five blades with a paper towel slightly dampened with water. After
getting as much minute grass debris and juice off these metal parts, I then
wiped them down with a paper towel saturated with WD-40.
So, that's my report for now. I have found the Deluxe Light reel mower from
the American Lawn Mower Company to be a sturdy, solidly-constructed mower.
It was fairly easy to assemble. Overall, it is easy to push, although a
little bit of extra effort is required to push it up a slight rise. It has
a problem with overly tall grass; but I knew this going in--it just means
that I will have be very regular in my mowing. So far, so good--I will post
another report later in the season after I have used this mower for several