questionsany opinions on reel mowers?

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I use one. I like that maintenance is very minimal - oiling the gears and sharpening the blades is it.

The thing is, I have no idea what brand it is ... except that it's OLD; made in England is cast into the side of the frame. Best $15 yard sale mower ever.

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I asked a similar question 'bout a year ago. I'm going to point you in that direction cuz it had some helpful feedback.
http://deals.woot.com/questions/details/6288ea5c-f2e0-47ed-80c8-3da90794c565/lawn-mower-gas-or-non-gas#12

I ended up going electric. Too many sticks in my yard for a reel.

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I also use a reel mower. My current one was left for me by the previous owners of my house, but it's a very nice one. Reel mowers are environmentally friendly (zero energy!) and don't annoy the neighbors or my own ears with loud sound. FWIW, my ex came up with this theory that leaving the cut grass on the lawn serves as mulch and I'm willing to run with that, largely because I have zero interest in unnecessary lawn work. :) My neighbors have never complained.

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@wilcononomous: If we could afford electric, I probably would go that way, but the pockets for a grad student are not deep...

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@anorion: I know the feeling. I got lucky and found mine on clearance at lowes right in my ballpark range budget-wise. The main points I would throw out there is the size of the lawn, the amount of debris from trees etc, dandelions, and whether or not the ground is uneven. all things to consider. If it is a small to midsize (easy to manage) lawn, a reel mower is ideal.

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I've had issues. Some types of grass they will cut amazingly well and with other types you end up taking six or seven passes and it still looks like crap. I use an electric now. The cord is annoying but it cuts really well.

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problem with reel mowers - you need to keep on top of maintenance or the blades dull. I oil mine regularly, and hti it with a sharpening stone once a season. cuts effortlessly. I also have an electric, which i use if i let the grass go too long, and it gets to the 6" mark lol.

Also i went through several reel mowers, and the cheaper ones are flimsy as hell (if buying new - used is a different story - some great quality to be had from a 40 year old 10 dollar mower lol) - if buying new, decent reel mower will cost you almost as much as a cheap gas mower.

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@neuropsychosocial: he didn't come up with the theory - it's already been well established, BUT it only applies if you cut regularly, so you're leaving short bits... "a little off the top" so to speak. If you're leavingt entire lengths of blade from cutting off inches of grass - you're not doing your lawn any favors, and it'll be a dried straw mess by august... it simply won't mulch itself enough to be absorbed in the soil if you've created that much. 1/2" at a time will break down quick enough before the next mowing. long lengths you should rake up and compost, or use as mulch in plants.

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My grandfather had one in his yard when I was a kid. Pretty sure the frame was cast iron and the thing was like a tank. I'd "play" and he'd get at least some of his grass cut.

I like that they're selling them again, but think the prices are a bit inflated because of the whole "green" aspect. We joked about getting one and having the kid mow our lawn with it (which he was actually interested in), but we've got a lot of slope in the back yard that would make it a difficult prospect. A decent mower is an investment. You can buy the cheap sale ones now and re-buy when it breaks, or put a little more in for something that will last longer. If you absolutely can't afford a better mower from the store, take advantage of yard sale season.

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@goatcrapp: Thanks for the additional information! I'll definitely keep that in mind. This is my first year being in charge of lawn 'n' garden myself and I definitely need to do research to learn more about it.

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They are fine. Raking and bagging the grass is the real pia when you use one.