Push Mowers

Thinking about getting a push mower to do my flat 1/2 acre yard. Any other SD’ers have one and would share their thoughts?

Pros: (I hope) Quiet, No expensive gas, Few moving parts to break, Exercise, Pollution free
Cons: Doesn’t cut high grass, too much of a workout

Thanks for any help.

I don’t own one and the few times I used one they didn’t seem to work particularly well. I believe it would take a lot of time cutting the grass on that large of an area with a push mower. You will have to sharpen the blades regularly to have it work properly.Check out an eletric mower if pollution is your concern.

My grandfather and my father used push mowers for years—up until I got old enough to shove one around, and then it was my turn. Why you would want to inflict such an ineffecient, cumbersome, outmoded, outdated, antiquated piece of torture equipment on yourself is beyond me. Buy a sheep or two, if you don’t like power mowers----you can always kill 'em and eat 'em if they prove too troublesome to keep.

How about an electric mower? I don’t know if 1/2 acre is what they consider small, but it could be worth a shot. You wouldn’t have gas, but you would have to recharge it.

<eddie izzard>
…and he’d flatten the grass and put the mower away and the grass would go SHOOONK!
</eddie izzard>

We tried this when we first moved into our house on a fifth of an acre. We were full of lovely environmental dreams of peaceful afternoons with the soothing sound of a push lawnmower, with the added benefit of some exercise.

It was a bust. It took three hours to mow our lawn–a fifth of an acre, remember, not your half-acre. The push mower flung all the cut grass out in front of the blades, so you were mowing through an ever-mounting pile of clippings, and the blades went dull quickly. We sold it to our friends who had a postage-stamp yard for $50 (half price), and were well rid of it.

I have a quarter-acre lot, but only about 700 square feet of that is (well, was) grass. I’ve always used a push-mower, and it worked just fine as long as I wasn’t too lazy to get out there before the grass got more than a few inches high. I used to get it sharpened and oiled once a year, and that worked well. Now, however, we’re letting the grass die off so that we can xeriscape the yard. An unfortunate side effect of this is that we have weeds coming up, and the mower won’t cut through those at all.

If I had half an acre to mow, I believe I’d find myself a nice electric mower.

I have about 1/8 acre of grass and love my push mower (AKA reel mower).

It’s quiet, doesn’t throw exhaust fumes in your face, lightweight, doesn’t require pulling a cord over and over to start it, and doesn’t require multiple trips to the gas station for fuel and the repair shop to get it fixed.

Every time you finish the lawn you MUST spray the blades with WD40 to displace the moisture and keep them from rusting.

On the few occasions that I’ve used a gas mower (twice in 6 years when my reel mower was being professionally sharpened) I was astounded at how much HARDER it is to mow with a gas mower. It’s heavy and the wheels never help much.

Also I’ve gotten into the habit of pausing every once in a while just to take in the scenery (birds, progress of the lawn, etc). A gas mower you’d have to restart.

As for reel mowers throwing clippings in front of themselves, they really tend to throw the clippings to one side orr the other (my reel mower throws left). Same as a regular mower without the grass catcher.

      • Push-reel mowers I haven’t used since I was a kid, so I can’t comment on those.
  • What I will add however is that if you get any powered push-mower, only get one that has the huge wheels in the back. They are FAR easier to push around than the ones with the little wheels are.

Buncha girlie-men! Get one of these!

Just bought a new push mower, a Yardman™ based on Consumer Reports ratings. This replaces a mower that lasted 14 years. I have a 1/2 acres of lawn, for which I use the push mower for about 1/3 of it, and a riding mower for the rest. I have cut the whole thing with the push mower, and it takes about an hour and a half. Pretty good workout too. The new mower has 6hp, 21 inch cut, can side discharge, rear bag and has mulching blades. The larger size rear wheels definitely make it easier to push and manuever.

Do you have many trees? With a power mower you can chop up smaller sticks, twigs and Pine Cones. But with a reel mower, you’ll have to pick up every cone, sweet-gum ball or stick because they’ll jam and dull the blades. Other than that they’re great.

I have one of these (http://www.reelmowerguide.com/brill_luxus_33_reel_push_manual_mower.html) and really like it. It’s quiet, efficient, easy to pull out of the garage, no cords or gas to worry about, easy to push, cuts the grass well.
My lawn is about 20’ x 30’ (yes, it’s a postage stamp, in front of a town house). Cutting it takes me about 10 minutes (yeah!).

The biggest disadvantages I would mention are:
Tough to use if the lawn gets too tall. I had to use my weed wacker/trimmer (electric) for the first cut of the year as I’d let it go too long.
It doesn’t do well around obstacles like trees. Because it relies on the momentum of the spin from the wheels to cut the grass, almost as soon as you stop, it stops, so getting up close to trees, etc., is tough.

Don’t know how it - or rather you - would do on half an acre.

A few weeks ago, I was taking a walk around the block when I passed a little house with a little girl out front mowing the lawn with one of these push-mowers. Happily she strolled up and down the length of the yard, as if she were pushing a dolly in a baby carriage. I was inspired, because I had never seen one before, and (here comes the stupidity) I didn’t know they existed. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I guess I never really thought about how lawns got mowed before the advent of gasoline engines. I’m a pretty noise-averse person, so the idea of a non-deafening lawn implement really appealed to me, and I said “If I ever get a lawn, I’m getting one of those things.” It’s true, though, that it was a pretty small lawn this little girl was mowing. Maybe if she had half an acre to do it wouldn’t have been such an Andrew Wyeth moment.

I’ve got a small California lawn, and have a push mower, and love it (though it needs sharpening.) No noise, no gas, easy to start :slight_smile: and mowing doesn’t take any longer considering the start-up time of a power mower. I mow once a week, so grass size is no problem. When I lived in New Jersey, and had a much bigger lawn, I used a gas mower which was okay. Some of m neighbors, with lawns smaller than mine, have power mowers, and some of them envy me.

My lawn mowing time is strongly dependent on the number of weeds I fell I need to pull from the lawn. Mowing itself is fast.

There are two things you might consider.

I don’t think they come with a catch for the grass. This means you either have to leave your grass on the ground or rake it up. Raking up half an acre of cut grass doesn’t scream “fun time” to me.

If you’re moving pretty fast and it locks, the handle promptly jabs you in the gut or chest.

We just got a new house with a very small lawn, and the previous owners left a push mower in the garage. I took it out once for a spin, and it seemed to work fine.

However, all this talk of “sharpening” has me wondering. How the hell do you sharpen a push mower? Do you have to take it somewhere? Can you do it yourself?

Damn you technology, with your gas mowers! Left me unable to cope with quaint push mowers!

You can buy a canvas catcher to attach to your reel mower. All my clippings head straight for the compost pile.

It’s actually pretty simple. You spread a sharpening solution (like grainy liquid soap) on the blades and turn the reel. I’m supposed to do it once a year on my mower, which I got greatly subsidized by the county to reduce pollution and encourage grasscycling.

Right on, HapaXL. I officially remove my two objections to the push mower. I would definitely say get a unit with a grass catcher, though. Also, it looks like these newer models have gone away from the wooden, t-bar of death handle that I remember so fondly from my childhood. So that lock up, get jabbed in the gut thing probably isn’t even a problem anymore.

I’ve used a push mower for years (although admittedly, the largest yard I had was about 1/4 of an acre). For that yard, it took me about 20 minutes to mow the lawn, and I did it about once a week. The exercise was a bonus for me. I never had any problems with my mower, take it to a local shop once a year for sharpening, etc. However, it really doesn’t handle tall grass very well, so if I wait too long to mow at the start of the season, I need to use my weed wacker before I can use my mower.