With the spring rains and warm temperatures, we're back to mowing the lawn on a regular basis here at Our Little Acre. That's okay, because I love the look of a freshly-mown lawn. It smells good, too.
We've been giving the new Gilmour Reel Mower we got last month a real workout. I like using it and Romie likes it even better than I do.
When I told people we'd gotten a reel mower, there were several questions they asked:
1. Is it hard to push?
Not any harder than our gasoline-powered push mower. We didn't find it noticeably more difficult to push with longer grass than shorter grass either. I did find it somewhat awkward when turning corners or turning around to go back the way I'd just come.
2. Do you have to sharpen it from time to time?
This is one of the greatest attributes of the Gilmour. It's self-sharpening!
3. Does it do a good job of cutting the grass?
One of the benefits of using a reel mower is that it cuts the grass more cleanly than a traditional gas-powered mower, which tends to tear the grass. I found that it doesn't always cut the tougher things that unfortunately grow in lawns. For example - dandelions. Sometimes it cuts them, sometimes it doesn't.
4. What happens when you come across a small twig?
We have always tried to pick up most of the sticks in the yard prior to mowing, but we inevitably miss some. It's true, the reel mower doesn't like them, but my experience is that if you keep your speed up when pushing it, it will go right over them. Slow down and it will grab the stick and stop the mower. Still, that's better than the mower picking it up and throwing it at a high speed, as our gas mowers do.
The Gilmour cuts a 20" wide swath, which is a big advantage and time-saver over some other reel mowers that have a smaller cutting width. You have to allow for more overlap with these mowers than with gas mowers, so the wider it cuts, the better. The blade on gas mowers reaches all the way to the outside of the wheels; the blades on a reel mower lie entirely between the wheels.
Speaking of wheels, the Gilmour has four, as opposed to two, which some reel mowers have. I can't imagine how much more work it would be to mow with just two wheels. Four wheels makes it more stable, requiring less effort on my part to control the mower.
During my research prior to getting the Gilmour, I'd read reviews of other mowers and one thing that people complained about was the handle. The handle on the Gilmour is very solid and gives you a good feel of control. It's got padding on it too, which provides more comfort while pushing it.
A large lever makes it easy to raise and lower the cutting blades. You can set them from 1 to 3 inches.
A grass catcher is standard on this mower, which is nice, because we can collect the clippings and add them to our compost. It attaches very easily and it's lightweight, not adding much at all to the overall weight of the mower.
One small thing that I don't like is that they don't recommend cleaning the mower with water. It's so much easier to just hose a mower off when you're finished, but they recommend brushing it or using a soft cloth to clean the grass clippings from it.
I've heard others say they like the soft whirring sound that reel mowers make. I can't describe the sound that the Gilmour makes as whirring. It's much louder than I expected it to be and perhaps it's due to the self-sharpening feature, but it's still quieter than a gas mower.
Gilmour has made reel mowers for two years now and it's available at some hardware stores nationwide (if they choose to carry it), such as TrueValue, Ace, and Do It Best. Amazon. com also carries it for $129.99 with free shipping and no sales tax.
The final verdict? Two thumbs up. It's environmentally responsible, too.
Gilmour Reel Mower RM30 - A Review (Part I)
The product or merchandise being reviewed in this blog post was the sole compensation for testing and reviewing the product. All opinions expressed here are mine, with no suggestions whatsoever by the manufacturer or distributor. If I like it, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that, too.