Sunday, April 13, 2008

Gilmour Reel Mower RM30 - A Review (Part I)

The doorbell rang Friday afternoon and when I opened the door, there on my front porch, sat a box with the picture of a Gilmour Reel Mower on it. I brought it in the house, opened it up, and that's exactly what was in it. Ten minutes and six nuts and bolts later, the mower was ready for use, including the grass catcher.

Too bad our lawn wasn't. But I was anxious to try it out, so we took it outside and I pushed it the length of the front lawn, just to get a feel for things. I'd never pushed a reel mower before, and judging from the varied comments I'd received from my earlier post about them, I didn't know what to expect.

I'm not a big person, nor am I particularly strong, especially in my upper body, but I didn't find the mower hard to push at all. True, the grass at this point is very short - pieces of grass that I cut were just half an inch long with the cutting blades set at the lowest level (adjusts from 1-3 inches). But I didn't find it much different from pushing the gasoline-powered one we'd been using.

There are always small twigs here and there in our yard and we generally try to pick up the larger ones before we mow. Still, there are a few that we miss and when I pushed the Gilmour over these, they didn't get caught in the mower unless I slowed down. As long as I kept up a good pace, the mower went right over them without stopping.

Since we'd had a rain shower earlier in the day, the grass was a bit wet and when I finished trying it out, there were bits of grass stuck on the mower and the blades. They recommend cleaning the mower with a soft brush or cloth, not water. It would be so much easier to just hose it off, but they probably advise against it to help prevent corrosion. Once it's cleaned, it stores with the handle in an upright position, so it has a pretty small footprint.

The blades on this mower are self-sharpening, which is a nice feature. It cuts a path 20 inches wide and the detachable grass catcher is included at no extra charge. There are dual wheels, unlike some reel mowers that have a single set. Dual wheels (two larger front wheels, two smaller back ones) make for a more stable mowing experience. The handle is comfortable, with the grip being covered in foam padding. The mower was noisier than I expected, but still quieter than its gas counterpart.

Part of the reason I'd been considering buying a reel mower was for the exercise. Our property is an acre in size and my intent was not to mow the entire yard with this, but to do those areas where the grass seems to grow faster than others and other small areas where the riding mower has a more difficult time of maneuvering. I can see doing the entire front yard with it, which would give my upper arms and my thighs a good workout. Those were the muscles where I felt the exertion the most.

I'll post a progress report later when I'm able to mow a decent height of grass. It will be interesting to see how much more difficult the mower might be to push, if at all. My overall impression of the mower at this point is very positive!

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.


Frances, said...

Hi Kylee, after your previous post about the reel, I got mine out and have used it three or four times. The first time was the hardest, some places the grass was pretty tall. Where the grass is thinner, it is an easy push. I think yours is a better mower than mine, purchased in 1997 and heavy. I hose it off, didn't read the directions, but spray it with wd40 occasionally, so far no rust. Our lawn is on a hill, and it gets my heartrate up to push it uphill, especially since you have to keep a rapid pace. Don't know if this can be the mower of choice all summer, when it gets hot. May have to revert to the corded mower. Thanks for reminding me to use the reel, however and good luck with yours and your workout!

Rose said...

I'm glad to know you are intending to use this in only certain areas. I was picturing you mowing your whole yard with a reel mower and thinking you must have a lot more energy than I!
Catching up today on reading blogs, I saw your post about the blue poppies. I was about to order a few things from Michigan Bulbs (can't resist the buy one, get one free offers); now I'll have to add the poppies to my order. Thanks for the suggestion!

Katie said...

Kylee - thanks for the review (1/2). I've been eying one of these for a few weeks, and perhaps might take the plunge, for I feel guilty about having so much grass in a dry environment that we can't sheet mulch until NEXT year....and mowing it with a traditional lawn mower gets me into an environmental quandary every time we need to mow...keep up updated.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Sounds good so far. I'm glad you decided to give it a try.

Randy said...

I've often considered buying one of those. If you continue to have success I may give it a try. I'm curious to know how clean the cuts are when you grass get's taller.

Nancy J. Bond said...

A lot of people are switching to this type of mower -- it's great to have a first-hand review!

Gotta Garden said...

Oh, this is very timely! I have been looking at a Sunlawn one online. My local HD doesn't have any (can you believe that). I guess I should check to see what Lowe's might have (first). I wasn't thinking about getting the grass catcher as I just let the clippings fall. I hadn't thought about the extra wheels...a good thing to consider. Thanks for the review!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I will be anxious to hear how it goes with the mower. I hope you like it. It would be wonderful not to have to fool with a gas powered machine for mowing. You sure got the cadillac model. A grass catcher too. wow You will have lots of green for your compost pile.

Kylee Baumle said...

Frances ~ Romie pushed it over in the neighbor's yard, which is full of weeds and tall grassy stuff (not regular grass). It pushed pretty much the same, he said, but it didn't cut the tall grassy stuff very well.

Rose ~ I know Michigan Bulb doesn't have that great of a reputation, but I've had great results with things that I've gotten from them. Keep us posted on how your poppies do!

Katie ~ I think this one is a pretty good choice if you decide to get one!

Mr McGregor's Daughter ~ I think this will be a good thing when all is said and done!

Randy & Jamie ~ We're curious about that, too.

Nancy ~ I always like practical reviews of products, too.

Gotta Garden ~ That surprises me that HD doesn't have any of these! Lowe's had two models when we looked there. So far, so good with the Gilmour!

Lisa ~ It really doesn't cost that much more to get the extra features, at least not with the Gilmour. I'll let everyone know how we like it about a month from now.

Gil said...

Hi Kylee. I enjoyed reading your comments about the Gilmour reel mower. I'd been considering a Scott's Classic, but was turned off by the flimsy handle. My wife and I have just over a quarter acre in Jefferson, La. outside of New Orleans. Our little Cairn Terrier MacKenzie hates my Snapper mower and charges it furiously barking every time I cut the grass, hence he has to stay inside and pout while I work in the yard. I don't want the little guy to get hurt.
I just ordered my Gilmour today and I'm looking forward to cutting our grass in a way that's quieter and healthier for the yard. Now little Mack can hang out with me while I cut the grass and chase off any tresspassing critters he may see, without getting hurt by the noisy power mower.
Oh, I also like your title. We love "God's Little Acre".

Anonymous said...

Hi Kylee,

My husband and I have been considering a reel mower. Our yard isn't that large, and for the past few years our neighbor has mowed it for us. Well, they've moved, so now we must do it ourselves. I have been reading up on reel mowers, and have been seeing a lot of positive feedback about them. I love that the reel mower reduces our carbon footprint too. The only other criteria I'm looking for is something made in the USA. Can you tell me where the Gilmore is made? I'm having a hard time finding out which, if any of the brands out there are made in the USA.

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