Update 1/31/11: Finally getting back to this one. In short, we ended up returning the mower. Our lawn is just too lumpy for a push reel mower to work. It would just miss too many pieces that a powered rotary mower would be able to “pull” up and cut. The mower worked great on those parts of the yard that were flat, and nothing beats the quiet. Perhaps in a few years when we’ve redone our lawns to be small, and flat, we’ll investigate the world of push reel mowers again, but for now, it’s back to my trusty Honda HRR216PDA.
Putting it together was a snap (though, taking it out of the box was a bit confusing), and I checked the blade alignment as per the Fiskars website/manual. After seeing it was good, I took it for a spin on the front and back yard.
Now, first, let me say my lawns are pretty flat (though, they do have a few bumps here and there). So, I did a couple passes on my front lawn, and was, honestly, underwhelmed. Thinking that maybe it was just the front lawn, since it’s not very big, I went into the back, and did (it’s much longer and straighter). Using it is pretty easy, and it cuts pretty well. The real advantage, is it’s really quiet. I actually got to hear and look at a couple birds playing in the tree. But, there are two issues that I’m not sure I care for, and they may very well be deal breakers.
- The “mulch” is rather long compared to my gas mower
- It misses a lot of grass (many missed tall pieces)
Now, these two issues are very much related. The reel mower has no “suction” that picks up the grass and cuts it. My lawn has a lot of “lazy” grass. That is, grass that lays down rather than sticks up straight. The reel mower completely misses these pieces. This could be due to the weather this year being very wet until recently. I’m not sure.
So, am I going to keep the mower? I don’t know. I’ve got 30 days to return it to Lowes if I don’t like it. And I think I’m going to take out the gas mower (with a newly sharpened blade) and go back over the lawn with it to get all the missed pieces. Then give the lawn another week or so to grow, then try the reel mower again. See how it does. I really like it being so quiet, and not using gas… but at this point, I’m not convinced it does a good enough job.
I’ll post back updates after I know more.