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5 Reasons to Consider a Reel Lawn Mower

May 26, 2009

By TC Thorn

Back in the old days, a people-powered push reel lawn mower was all anyone had. Gas and electric mowers weren’t an option. But then these modern replacements came along, and soon the push mower became something of an antiquated notion.

Thanks to the environmental movement though there has been a renewed interest in people-powered mowers, and quite a few reel mowers are on the market today, many of great quality that can last with minimal maintenance for years and years. And if you’ve priced gas mowers lately, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at how affordable these guys are (the top of the line models rarely go above $200, and you can buy new ones for less than $100).

I’m a reel mower owner myself, so I can speak from experience as I give you a few reasons to consider a reel mower:

5 Reasons You Might Want to Get a Reel Lawn Mower

1. Reel mowers are eco-friendly and sustainable.

Perhaps one of the main reasons people go for reel mowers is they’ve read about how horrible for the environment a gas-powered mower is. Giving off far more carbon emissions than a car (unlike with a car, you don’t have to take your lawn mower in for an annual inspection), gas mowers are environmental pollutants to the extreme.

2. Reel mowers are quiet.

In addition to being un-eco-friendly, gas mowers are also noisy and annoying to your neighbors. You’ve doubtlessly had the experience yourself: you’re outside enjoying a sunny day, maybe puttering in the garden or reading a book, and the next door neighbor fires up the lawn mower for an hour of noise making. It’s hard to relax with that going on!

A push mower doesn’t make any noise.

3. Maintenance is a snap.

Even if you’re not a green freak, you’ll appreciate how simple a reel mower is and how easy it is to maintain. There’s no fuel to be purchased, no oil to be changed, no spark plugs, air filters, fuel filters, etc. etc. etc. Every couple of years, you might need to sharpen the blades, but that’s about it!

4. Pushing a reel mower is good for you and your lawn.

Modern reel mowers are actually pretty easy to use, and I’m not sure pushing mine is much (if any) harder than pushing a heavier gas-powered mower, but knowing you’re cutting the grass by your own efforts, makes you feel pretty good.

Also, studies show that a reel mower is better for your lawn too. The blades work differently than with a gas mower (snipping, such as with scissors, instead of tearing) and are better for your grass. On golf courses, they actually use reel mowers (albeit pulled by tractors) to cut their large lawns, because they’ve found them to keep the grass healthier and better looking!

5. Reel mowers don’t get more expensive to use down the line.

When gas was up to $5 a gallon, you probably started to think twice about purchasing some just to pour into mowing your lawn. What does a lawn do, after all, except look good? As I write this gas prices are lower, but there’s no telling what the future will bring. The folks who study peak oil are pretty convinced that we’re close to an era where demand will outstrip supply. Why have all these tools in your garage that require gas to use when you can choose an eco-friendly, non-noise-polluting, human-powered alternative that will never get more expensive to use?

The author has written more about her reel mower experiences at her sustainable living blog, “Off the Urban Grid.”

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