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I know: Ever since Tim Taylor first grunted in prime time — a sentiment now mirrored by Top Gear‘s Jeremy Clarkson’s cry of “pooooowwwwwweeeeeerrrr!” — the idea of a pushing a reel mower around the yard seems a bit unmanly. And that’s the biggest load of crap I’ve heard in a while. Read on to find out how my experience dispelled that myth — about about an interesting new take on the reel mower by Fiskars.

A couple of years ago, Sean and I performed a pretty extensive electric mower test for Wired. When the mowers arrived, we laughed at the lightest and simplest of the bunch: a Sunlawn. Essentially a sickle-type reel mower, but with an electric motor to drive the reel so you simply push, it was totally the runt of the bunch and the butt of many of our early jokes.

But everything changed when we started actually mowing. While other heavy, powerful mowers donk’d out early or gummed up with grass, the little battery-powered reel just kept on mowing. It performed surprisingly well in high grass, and mowed more grass than you’d imagine possible on a single charge. Oh yeah: It was a lot lighter, too, which made pushing it a hell of a lot easier.

The revelation: If you’ve got a small, suburban yard, you can totally skip all the maintenance and storage issues associated with a standard gas-powered mower by simply going electric — or even human-powered.

Enter Fiskars, famous manufacturer of scissors. As the reel mower has more in common with scissors than a standard gas-powered whacker, is it really that surprising they decided to give making one a go? They hope that by tweaking the blades they can solve some of the most serious downfalls of standard reels: quick-dulling blades and lack of cutting power.

Their new model, the Momentum, incorporates large, heavy blades that act as flywheels, storing up energy as you push to give you the extra oomph needed when you encounter high grass or thick weeds. And the blades reach across the entire width of the mower, eliminating strips of uncut grass under the wheels. They’ve also included a forward-throw discharge chute, allowing the mower to spread clippings so you spend less time cleaning up and more time appreciating your lawn.

But best of all, this mower looks really light. We haven’t had a chance to try one yet, but I’m guessing it’s really easy to push. And that means it’ll store easily, too.

Of course, the real question is how much will it cost? We look forward to finding out.

Momentum Reel Mower [Fiskars]


11 Responses to Fiskars Makes Scissors — And Mowers!

  1. I bought a reel mower for my 1/4 acre lawn.

    it was soon replaced by a cheap black and decker electric mower.

    I WISH a reel mowers worked in the real world with weeds that are significantly taller than the surrounding grass – but as far as I’ve seen they never will.

  2. Shalin says:

    Just saw the video for the Momemtum reel mower – really neat stuff. I think I’ll have to take a look at this – the flywheel is a smart addition. I’ll bet this thing will be anywhere from $200-400 though… 4yr warranty is pretty good…

    But…how big is too big of a lawn?

    I’ve a gentle/moderately sloped front and backyard that totals about 4000 sq.ft.


  3. Greg A. says:

    When I first bought my house in October I searched and searched for a reel mower. I thought it would be the way to go since our lawn isn’t that huge. I couldn’t find one for under $90 seemed dumb not to just pay the extra 30 bucks for a cheap gas powered one.

  4. Roscoe says:

    There’s a growing sentiment that a modern 4-cycle mulching mower might be the greener option.

    With a good mulcher, you can all but eliminate any kind of yard waste being bagged up and leaving the yard. For a 1/3 acre subdivision lot, you could reasonably mow your yard all season on <5 gallons of gas, and never have any leaves to rake.

  5. tedknaz says:

    I have a cheapo reel mower which works just fine for my little bit of grass in my yard. This looks really neat though; I’ve got a fiskars branch saw that I really like. I’m guessing the quality will be good.

  6. Chaz says:

    Would like to try it out. When will it ship?

  7. MattC says:

    I am not a shill, however I purchased a Newton 6.2 cordless battery mower. ( I looked at a Remington and B&D versions, but wanted a removable battery due to lack of a garage). I found that a cordless battery mower to be a perfect option for a 1/4 acre lawn (mine still has enough juice after mowing to probably do another 1/4 acre). Maintenance is nill, always starts, and no need for oil/gas/tuneups/etc. While a reel mower (especially the Fiskars one pictured above) would work in my circumstance, I really like the power and convenience of my cordless one.

  8. JKB says:

    I find using a reel mower peaceful. The slicing sound is so much better for your calm than a motor sound. My aunt bought one for the grandkids to use near the house but turns out they are a bit hit or miss. I used it to cut close to the house and raised garden in between times when her daughter-in-law cut the larger yard with the riding mower. Worked fairly well and the grass seemed better cut by the reel. i’d sometimes be stressed out and mow about 1/2 acre with the reel.

    Other pluses are that it rolls right over hoses and other obstructions, doesn’t pile up cuttings,

    They do have their problems. Some can be overcome by proper sharpening just like any good scissors. But they don’t lift so flat weeds and grasses can gain over the regular turf. Any grasses or weeds higher than half the reel height will get bent rather than cut. Although with skill you can do a quick 90 degree turn to catch them. Sticks or in my case pieces of mulch jam it.

    I’m surprised some eco-dreamer hasn’t developed a reel mower with fewer negatives. The flywheel is a start for trimming and cutting smaller sticks. Larger diameter wheels with gearing for variable reel speeds. Easier access for reverse rotation when sharpening would be good. I thought a second reel mounted higher and forward to pre-cut high grasses/weeds at just below half height of the lower reel for the final cut. Perhaps some rake tines to lift flat weeds/grasses for cutting. The handle on the ones I’ve used need to be set higher so as to limit reel roll when an adult hits a thick patch grass and the reel slows.

    Sure, that’s a lot of fixes but the surprising thing is why the makers don’t improve the product.

  9. VMA says:

    I’ve a Gardenia reel mower and have used it for my suburban lawn for 5 years now..
    It’s a lot more work than a gas mower, but things I like about a well-maintained reel mower:
    1) it cuts the grass blades instead of whacks it with a dullish blade.. so the grass is heathier
    2) because of (1), less grass juice stains for my pants and shoes, and none of those “I just mowed the lawn” smell either… that smell of mashed grass + exhause + gas fumes..
    3) the noise (or lack of it). Instead a well-maintained reel mower should sound like your grandmom’s vintage Singer sewing machine.. to me at least that sound is so sweet compared to your cheapo gas mower.

    I’ll definitely want to try this Fiskers one.. the 2 improvement i see from the one I own are:
    1) forward-shute for the grass clippings
    2) cut height of 1-4″ .. OMG I can actually cut my grass every two weeks now!!

  10. Bob says:

    We have a small irregularly shaped lawn. We use an old school unpowered reel mower. The flywheel sounds good. We do a lot of start stop, back and forth to clip between planters.

    I’ve thought that a reel mower would lend itself to battery powered electrics.

  11. fred says:

    I thought to buy my daughter one until I saw the pricetag ($199.99) at Lowes.com

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