Switch to a Reel Mower

I know we all love convenience, but have you ever thought of the impact a gas lawnmower is having on the environment?

We recently moved from an apartment to a house, and quickly borrowed a lawn mower from a family member.  When my husband cranked up the lawnmower, there was a huge amount of white smoke that went up.  I sarcastically quipped, “That’s really good for the environment.”  He replied “It always does that every time I start it up.” I heard these words and just felt terrible, and thought that there had to be a better solution.

I did a quick search online and check out some statistics I found:

“One hour of lawn mowing with a gas-powered lawn mower produces as much pollution as driving your car for four hours.” Source HERE.

“Each weekend, about 54 million Americans mow their lawns, using 800 million gallons of gas per year and producing tons of air pollutants. Gas mowers represent 5% of U.S. air pollution.” Source HERE.

It is estimated that over 17 million gallons of gas is spilled and wasted by consumers refueling lawn equipment every year. Source HERE.

I was a little disturbed when I read these statistics, but I can’t say that I am surprised.  So what am I going to do about it?  We’re going to go get a Reel Mower.



Costs less than gas mowers.

Won’t require fuel.

Maintenance is easier and cheaper.

Is more quiet.

Is better for the environment and your own yard.

Will give us some good exercise!


It may take you longer to mow your yard.

Getting a reel mower is a great way to save some money, and to help the environment at the same time.  How many of you out there use a reel mower?  I’d love to hear some feedback!  I’ll be going out to get one after I do some deal hunting (you know me, looking for the best price).

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  1. I have a back yard the size of a postage stamp, the front yard is a bit bigger, but not much–no point in using a power mower. With a little regular maintenance the reel mower works great and I can mow any time w/out disturbing the entire neighborhood.

  2. I to decided to change from a gas mower. I did this a few years ago first by trying a Reel Mower. First one model then another. None of which worked good at all, hopefully you’ll have better luck than I. I currently use an electric mower with a few extension cords. I was told that there are some rechargeable battery powered models out or soon to be out and am excited about that.(no more using the extension cords)

  3. We have been using a reel lawnmower for 12 years now. I love it! You don’t have to worry about any rocks being thrown if the kids are playing in the yard, I won’t allow the kids outside when the neighbor is mowing because they allows throw rocks. We paid $70 for it at Menards back then and have it sharpened twice a year for $14 each time. I have no idea how much it would cost yearly for a gas powered mower, but I know we are saving money and the environment!!!

  4. Oh my gosh, I have used one of these and never would again. It takes significantly longer to mow your yard, and if you live in a wet or humid climate with lots of rain in spring or fall, it is VERY difficult to mow with one of these when the grass gets a little bit taller.

    I will say that is it VERY VERY good exercise however! :)

    $ Money Savin’ Momma $’s last blog post..Another FREE Hallmark card code 5/13/09

  5. My neighbor had a brand new one in their yard sale for $40. Be sure to check Craigslist.

  6. We use one and really like it! We don’t have the most glamorous-looking, perfectly manicured lawn in the neighborhood, but it does a nice job. We also don’t use any fertilizer or weed-killer. As surprising and disheartening as the stats on using a gas-powered mower are, check out the health hazards of using fertilizer and/or weed-killers! Perhaps a future post idea???

  7. I agree with Money Savin’ Momma- well my husband does. He is selling ours for $25, maybe less. Our yard is kinda big though, and he never kept up on it. Sometimes he’d wait 2 weeks, others 1 1/2 weeks, and even weekly cuts weren’t enough.

    Tosha’s last blog post..Meijer Trip 5/12

  8. Not only is a reel mower totally unrealistic for most homeowners unless their yard is 4 x 4, but the grass needs to be cut really short or it “naps” over. I would hope the lawn equipment industry would come out with something better but for right now, I’m sticking with my gas mower.

  9. We have an acre of yard to mow- I do not think this would go over well with the hubs, no matter how environmentally friendly we like to be in every other aspect. 😉

  10. I have a hard time believing some of those statistics. My husband fills up the 2 or 3 gallon gas can for the lawn mower only about every 8 months, and we live in Florida where we have to mow almost every week half of the year. It probably varies a lot by how big your lawn is and what kind of mower you have.

  11. We have a very large and hilly yard that needs to be mowed every week so a Reel Mower isn’t anything we’ve ever considered. We did, however, recently have to purchase a new mower so we got one that can bag the clippings or mulch the leaves. We’re using the clippings and mulch in our compost to use on our garden.

  12. We use one and I love it. It has it’s downsides though, they don’t like twigs and you will come to a screeching halt when you hit one. Also we have cut our grass 3 times this week alone. But it is great because it helps the environment and who can complain about you cutting your grass in the middle of the night. I did that just to say I did.

  13. Very cool that you are giving alternative ideas. I think it sounds great for my 7 year old – some good old fashion labor. Do post if you buy one, how much and how well it works. If you like it we might consider it.

  14. We have both kinds of mowers. We like both because there are some things that reel mowers will not cut and our gas mower does not create a cloud of anything when we start it. Take care of it and it will run clean!

  15. We have a reel mower and we love it. It is nice to mow in relative silense. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a shame that so many people don’t even CONSIDER it. Again, we love it. But, we do have a small yard — not tiny, but small.

  16. I just realized I spelled “silence” wrong!! I don’t know how to correct, so sorry for my typo (I hate spelling errors!)

  17. I cut my lawn with a reel mower, and have no issues. Sure its a little more work and takes me 10 or 15 min longer than with the gas mower, but works fine.

    Just make sure you have a good weed eater since you wont get as close to the fence, etc, and can use it to quickly clean up some patches that maybe are a little to long for the reel mower. I use a electric grass hog that is cordless and combined with my reel mower I can get the job done that took 35 min with a gas mower in 45 to an hour.

    hurt’s last blog post..Google Reader Shared Items For May 22, 2009

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