I told my mom recently that I had gotten a reel mower to cut the grass in the smallish yard my wife and I have. Once I explained what a reel mower was—it’s such an outdated item—she mentioned that her dad had one of those, too, when she was kid—in the 1950s. That’s when I officially became the oldest person I know.
As much as I enjoy its simplicity, I tend to feel a little nerdy when I use my reel mower. Even here in Austin, where such a mower might be considered hip and eco-friendly, I feel like the weirdo cheapskate on our street who uses an antique to trim the grass. Previously I was just the weirdo cheapskate on our street, and I was OK with that.
Even when I bought the thing, the people working at the store were chuckling at me as I made my way to the checkout line.
“Going old school, huh?” one employee said to me as she scanned the box it came in.
She snickered when I bought the warranty for it. On second thought, a warranty was stupid to buy. One could go to the toy section of most stores and find toys that are more expensive than a reel mower.
I should have reminded her of the reel mower’s pros:
- No engine to malfunction
- No fuel/oil needed
- No exhaust to pollute air
- Makes little noise
- Takes up little room when stored
- Low to zero maintenance
I’ve noticed more people using reel mowers lately, though. I saw one the other day that was so elaborate it almost looked like a gas-powered mower with all the attachments it had on it. Another person at the end of our street has one that even has a bag hooked to it for collecting the cut grass.
Sure, it takes a little more muscle to push a reel mower, but I need the exercise. It gets jammed when mowing over twigs and sticks, but that’s eliminated by policing the yard beforehand. It has trouble on uneven terrain, but such areas can be addressed with a weed wacker.
If you have a smaller, fairly level/even yard and you’re in the market for a lawn mower, I recommend getting a reel mower. It’s beauty is its simplicity. And if anyone gives you funny looks for using an outdated machine, just give them a funny look right back.