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Push Mowers: Frugal, Environmentally-Friendly and Better Than You'd Think

Updated on May 20, 2009

We bought our push mower - also known as a reel mower - because we wanted to be environmentally friendly. We've stayed with it for a host of reasons - which include economics and ease.

You've probably seen a reel mower at some point in your life - at least, if you're of a certain age and nearing the middle of your life. However, the push mower you likely saw belonged to your grandparents and was not only cranky but hard to get across the lawn. In fact, lawn cutting was a serious work-out, especially if you were deemed the grandchild who had to push that reel mower around the yard.

Well, your grandfather's push mower only resembles today's model in shape and function. Otherwise, they are completely different tools. Today's version is a smooth moving and light-weight implement that makes a breeze of your lawn mowing chore.

A typical push mower, also called a reel mower. From
A typical push mower, also called a reel mower. From

The Reality Of The Reel Mower

For lawn care aficionados, the reel mower is often the implement of choice. Our lawn has never been as healthy as it has since we started using this tool to cut our lawn.

The reason? The grass is cut and not torn.

This can be the downfall of many lawn mowers. If the blades are not sharp enough, the grass is not cut but jaggedly torn. That tear means that your lawn loses too much water - leaving the chance of scorched grass on a hot summer day as a much more likely event. The website English Gardening explains that the precise cutting action of the reel mower results in a very smooth finish to the lawn - which my family can also attest to.

As a result of using this mower - and remembering to cut our grass to at least 3 full inches (as opposed to a shorter length) - we've been able to save on watering our lawn, while still maintaining a lovely green yard.

The Economics of the Reel Mower

While the reel mower is extremely environmentally-friendly, it's also a money saver for a variety of reasons:

  1. It's powered by you! No electricity; no fuel of any kind. However, a well-maintained push mower is easy to push across the lawn and cuts cleanly. Just be sure not to leave too long between mowings; you get the best performance from a regular schedule of cuttings.
  2. This is a garden tool that ca last a lifetime. My grandfather's reel mower was still working almost 50 years after he bought it, when I started doing his lawn. With regular greasing and normal care, you can be using this mower when your grandchildren have children of their own.
  3. Maintenance is a breeze. The only things that you have to do with a push mower is oil the moving parts and sharpen the blades. This can be virtually cost-free, if you sharpen the blades yourself with a sharpening stone. This is the handy little tool that you keep in the kitchen to sharpen your cutting knives. It performs perfectly on those mower blades too.

No electric or gas powered lawn mower can compete with the economy and longevity of a good quality reel mower.

Is it time to replace your lawn mower? Not every lawn is a good candidate, but if your lawn is smaller than 3000sq ft., then why not consider stepping down in technology but up in green?


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      Tess Rousseau 8 years ago

      This sure is eco-friendly and it reminds me of my childhood, which was all push mowers. Oops, I guess I'm dating myself! I sure got a lot of exercise from cutting grass and eliminated the costly 'gym'.