Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Yard Mateys! Part: the third

Today we will pick up where we left off:

Are the aforementioned Skil Shrub Trimmer and the Fiskars Momentum Reel Mower so easy to use, that even a baby could do it?

Today I will review the Fiskars, the Skil review can be found here

And as I edited in last time, I'm doing this of my own volition and was not paid or compensated in any way by Skil or Fiskars. We paid our own hard earned cash for these products, so they damn well better work.

Shawn had finished mowing the yard and I had finished using the shrub trimmer, when I looked out into the side yard and noticed some random blades of grass that hadn't been cut by the mower. I guess this is a common complaint when people first start mowing their yard with a reel mower after using a gas powered mower for years. It appears that grass needs to be 'trained' to be cut by a reel mower-mow one direction one week, a different direction the next until the grass learns to grow straight up (i get the feeling that the gas mower either blows the blades multiple ways so they'll get cut down by the blades, or it creates a mild suction which accomplishes the same thing). I figured that this was as good a time as any to start pushing the mower through the grass to see how it handles. Though I guess I should really wait until the grass is taller so I get the full experience rather than the grass is already cut and I'm basically just pushing a mower through it for no reason. But we'll deal with that later.

Oh I should mention that we've got St. Augustine grass. And, if you want to get a reel mower, you should really do some research beforehand to make sure that the mower you get is good for the grass you have. I believe the Fiskars and the Scotts are good for St. Augustine but the Brill isn't good for it. (thankfully the Fiskars and the Scotts are much cheaper than the Brill.) from the research Shawn's done, it sounds as if the thicker the grass (St. Augustine, Zoysia, and Bermuda...so basically the grasses used in Austin), the tougher it is for the lighter mowers to cut. All this means is that for our grass, you want something that is a bit heavier so it doesn't just rest on top of the grass not cutting anything.

So I start 'mowing the lawn' and let me just say that while it's nowhere near as easy as a self-propelled lawn mower, it is a hell of a lot easier than our current gas mower. I can barely push that thing up the small hill we have--I have to get a running start. No such need with the Fiskars. The Fiskars is apparently easier to push than other reel mowers because it's a 'touchless' system. All that means is that the reel and the stationary blades are insanely close together, but they don't actually touch. So there's no blade friction, and you can go YEARS without having to sharpen the blades.

The mower is obviously very quiet. Much quieter than the gas powered mower, and much quieter than the neighbors and their damn jackhammer. I don't know why they were jackhammering, but it was loud and it was annoying. Thankfully it was also 10 in the morning on July 4th when they started doing it.

The Fiskars throws the grass clippings in front of the mower so there's no green grass stains on socks...or grass clippings in shoes. Though to be fair I think ever since we've gotten this thing, Shawn's mowed in bare feet.

The only downside I really noticed was that it doesn't handle corners and edges very well. It's tough to get it to follow a curve (but then I'm not sure I would have done better with the gas-mower). And we've got the area by the drive way where the grass is currently growing sideways and the other mower pulls the grass up enough that it can get trimmed--with this one, we have to go out with the weed whacker if we want the grass along the edges of the driveway to get trimmed.

Overall I'd give it 4.5 stars out of 5. It gets major points for ease of blade height change (you can change it with one hand and without tools--there's a little knob that changes the height of the front wheels which changes the height of the blades), ease of pushing it (I'd never mow the lawn with the other mower), and quietness. Plus the touch-less system is pretty freaking cool, as is the spitting the grass blades out the front - makes it a lot easier to tell when an area is done. It loses points for the cement edge mowing, and lack of being able to cut up the long 'strings' of St. Augustine grass.

1 comment:

bond said...

This is tempting me to try a pushreel mower again. I think our last one was just cheaply made. I wish I could remember the brand, but it was 6 years ago and at the time the only pushreel in stores in the Kyle/Buda/San Marcos area. It doesn't sound anything like this. Dang it! We really don't need 2 mowers, but I really want one!