September 19, 2014

Get Real with Reel Mowers

I have done a guest post over at Re-Nest about the old Reel Mowers. No longer are they a thing of the past!Honestly, if you haven’t used a Reel Mower in years then you don’t know what you’re missing! The advancements in the design and manufacture of them is light years ahead of the “olden days”. They are easier to push, easier to use and better yet, they are a great alternative to petrol guzzling noisy lawn mowers!

Check out the post here – Get Real with Reel Mowers!

Did you know that according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a traditional gas powered lawn mower produces as much air pollution as 43 new cars each being driven 12,000 miles? That is a lot of pollution just to cut the lawn! Have you ever considered the old reel mower? It actually helps you get fit, reduces air and noise pollution and, don’t forget, it keeps that lawn perfectly manicured! But forget pushing your grandparents’ old rusty mower around… these new models are sleek, sharp and a breeze to use.

mower

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Comments

  1. One problem – you can’t buy a good quality one in Australia. If someone knows – please let me know. I can’t find the Easun NaturCut (featured) anywhere in Australia.

    Sure you can go to a big-chain hardware store and get a push reel mower, but they are of poor quality. Nothing like the ones being discussed in the article/s.

    So MyGreenAus – where are these in Aus?

    • Hi Brian,
      Good Call – I have been searching the net for a fair while now for some actual valuable information about our options in Australia. The article I wrote was originally intended for the US site RENEST but you have a valid point… what are our options here back home!!

      Okay – so bear with me: Yes, I know you are not interested in the big-chain hardware, but I will link it regardless:

      Flymo Push Mower:
      http://www.bunnings.com.au/products_product_flymo-push-mower_1129.aspx

      Also direct from FLYMO their range of reel mowers, they don’t sell direct online but you can email them and ask for a nearest supplier:
      http://www.flymo.com.au/node2417.aspx?nid=16704

      Here is another review of the Flymo H40 push mower

      Ozito also sell a hand powered mower:
      http://www.ozito.com.au/productinfo.aspx?prodid=LMP-301

      I did a quick ebay search too:
      A seller is selling a second hand ozito push mower: Ozito Reel Mower

      Deals Direct have a hand mower – but it appears to be out of stock, but was a GMC mower:
      http://www.dealsdirect.com.au/p/5-height-hand-mower/

      Al-Ko have a push mower available:
      http://www.productreview.com.au/showitem.php?item_id=49211, but I did a search on the company site and it wasn’t listed but they have showrooms around the country, so you could contact them and ask directly. Al-Ko Website

      Talon Tool is another brand that is sold in Australia:
      http://www.talontools.com.au/pages/lawn_mowers.htm

      I also read that Aldi’s at some point sold a push mower branded Gardenline, but that is all I could find about that!

      So from all this research I do think there is a gap in the market for reel mowers in Australia. Definitely a lack of online resources for these products and also most brands don’t even sell online.

      if only we did have access to some of these American brands that have been listed in the Re Nest article, I tried to find any of them available in Australia and then find proof of it, and boy that was HARD.

      This is the best I could come up with Brian, but if anyone out there, manufacturers or resellers know more and can help shed some light for us, please LET US KNOW!

      • Firstly, thank you for the fantastic post Beck.
        In regards to the online availability of Push Mowers… I have good news! You can now purchase AL-KO Push Mower through the recently launched AL-KO Garden online store (www.alkogarden.com.au). The link to our push mower and catcher combo is http://www.alkogarden.com.au/products/ms380cstmp38box.

        I hope this helps!

        Regards,
        Emile Theodore
        E-commerce Coordinator
        AL-KO International Pty Ltd

        • Hi Emile,

          Thank you so much for letting us know about these push mowers! I know people have been looking for them and now being able to order online would be a huge help.

          Thanks for letting us know – this looks like a great product!

          Has anyone out there used an ALKO mower to give a review??

          Beck

      • I believe that Fiskars in Melbourne will import their mowers by request.

      • There is not a mower sold in the big box stores that are of any worth. The bunnings, masters units such as ozito, flymo, 909, alko, talon etc etc are not precision ground cylinders and mainly pressed together. When the grass gets to be a bit tall you should try pushing one and then you will understand.
        The best hand mowers are heavy in weight, the heavier the better. Large cast wheels are generally best and considerably easier to push. It is a shame the better units made are not brought into OZ.. It seems money talks louder than the brain can think, quality built products that lasts will cost more in the beginning yet will outweigh costs in the future.

    • Actually there is a place in Perth Western Australia that has imported many of the Mascot Silent Cut 21 Inch & Mascot Silent Cut 18 Inch Push Reel Mowers. These mowers are still made in China but they are then sent back to the United States to be sharpened & assembled. The pinion gears are metal & not plastic like all the other push reel mowers that we can get our hands on. They are quite expensive but they are worth it as they are meant to last for years. Feel free to contact me through this post for more information.

      Mark

      • Thanks for the information Mark! If anyone needs more information, hopefully they can contact you or get in contact with us to pass on any information.

      • Hi Mark,
        You say this company has imported “many” Mascot reel mowers. Do you know how many they have imported? If so, how many and how do you know? I am just curious because I know of a company that might want to sell this excellent mower if there is a good market for it.

        • As copied from an email i received Oct 3.

          Good morning Mark,

          Marjorie King of Mascot Deluxe reel Mowers has forwarded your request to me. We have a 21 Deluxe Model and a catcher available for inspection at Westland Turf at 25 Shields Crs
          Booragoon, WA, Tel: 9330 8787. Sharpening kits and handles are available from our Perth stock. Please email me your address and I will post you a Mascot Brochure.

          Regards,

          Nick Bell Mob: 0413 940 259

      • Hi Mark, I’m from Perth and have been using the Flymo as well as the Al-Ko on my Palmetto for quite sometime. I much prefer the Flymo, it has served me very well and still going strong. I’m interested in the Mascot and would appreciate if you’re able to advise the company in Perth that I can look into this. Many thanks.

        • As copied from an email i received Oct 3.

          Good morning Mark,

          Marjorie King of Mascot Deluxe reel Mowers has forwarded your request to me. We have a 21 Deluxe Model and a catcher available for inspection at Westland Turf at 25 Shields Crs
          Booragoon, WA, Tel: 9330 8787. Sharpening kits and handles are available from our Perth stock. Please email me your address and I will post you a Mascot Brochure.

          Regards,

          Nick Bell Mob: 0413 940 259

  2. Sorry, none of these suggestions would pass as a decent reel mower. The labels and paint is different, but they all use the same plastic one-way catch gear hidden inside the wheels. This part wears out quickly in any real use (see part G301336 on page 4 of the AL-KO manual HERE https://www.alkogarden.com.au/attachments/Product/14133/ms380cstmp38box.tag.manual.pdf?ts=1318816346) .

    I can also confirm that the handlebar assembly breaks easily on the Flymo – maybe on the others too. I find these offers more of an insult to those of us who really use reel mowers.

    I think Brian hit it bang on when he said “you can’t buy a good quality one in Australia” – they are all China garbage. Too bad MTD forbids Wolf-Garten from selling their mowers in Australia anymore :( Crap for choice confirmed, sorry guys.

    Nice article, just not for Australia.

    • Shame that the parts don’t last longer. I would love to know more information about replacement parts from the manufacturers and what kind of life can you get out of each mower? I think this is a huge opportunity in the market at the moment for Australian made reel mowers. Clearly there is a market!

      I did a quick search on the brand “wolf-garten” and found a reseller in Australia but unfortunately they do not have any push style mowers available. http://www.wolf-garten.com.au/ maybe if you are interested in purchasing one, you could contact this group on email and see if they are able to sell some here.

      For everyone else who wants to see what the Wolf-Garten brand looks like check it out here: http://www.wolf-garten.org/index.php?id=665&no_cache=1

      Thanks for your comments Ben, I hope we can get some more information on the products in Australia and if anyone has had any luck tracking down a Wolf-Garten, let us know!

  3. I talked to the dealer who has the website here. Thats how I know you can’t get them. Turns out, Wolf-Garten is now owned by another company that forbids sale of Wolf-Garten mowers in Australia so that they don’t compete with other products from MTD.

    I suspect the majority of people who try reel mowers and have problems just assume it was a dumb idea to start (especially after feedback from their mates), and just go back to a powered machine “like the rest of the street” and buy what the Australian mower dealers are really trying to sell anyway. They never realize that the reel product was inferior to begin with, and the entire Australian market is a setup to drive everyone to a specific status quo.

    Well, I’m looking into an option to have metal aftermarket parts cast/machined, but most users are probably not this serious.

    • Hi Ben,

      Thanks for clarifying all this for us.

      It is really disheartening to hear that they won’t sell into the Australian market and don’t want to compete with MTD.

      I have memories of 25 years ago pushing a very old reel mower around my grandparents front lawn in Bentleigh, Victoria! It was a rickety old machine but my grandfather lovingly took care of it and it is still with my family today! Not the easiest thing to use but certainly has a lot of sentimental value.

      I do think a lot of people have very bad experiences with reel mowers and then opt for a petrol mower. It is a real shame (no pun intended)

  4. Hello Ben,
    Thank you for your post.
    AL-KO’s 38HM Soft Touch Push Mower is covered under a 2 year warranty, outside of warranty period, the part you have mentioned is made available to all of our customers as a spare part.

    If you would like to discuss this further,
    please feel free to contact me via the details below.

    Regards,
    Emile Theodore
    E-commerce Coordiantor
    AL-KO International Pty Ltd
    (03) 9767 3700
    http://www.alko.com.au

  5. I would dearly love to get a reel mower. On the internet I’ve been eyeing the Remington rm3000, the Scotts Classic and the Greenworks 250xx range. Particularly the ones with the wide cutting height range as I’m only renting and the next place I live might not have the same type of grass. I’ve just recently sown in some Arid Smartgrass and since I’ve only got a small unit I don’t need anything powered. However two items are a concern and are preventing my buying one.

    1) The Arid Smartgrass I’ve sown is a tall fescue type grass and needs to be cut around the 5cm+ mark. None of the reel mowers I’ve seen available in Australia go near that. The US models do – but the shipping costs to import to Australia – even just from sites like Amazon – is at least 100% (usually more) of the product cost (so at least doubling the cost).

    2) I’m living on a very restricted budget. It’s not like reel mowers are complicated and bulky pieces of machinery. I just can’t understand how they can ask for over $100 for it.

    So when my local hardware store has only the one model available (versus the multitude of powered mowers), and they are asking $140 for it when it cuts to maximum height of 3.5cm, there’s just no way I’m buying.

    I guess I’m stuck with borrowing my dad’s whipper snipper – which I really didn’t want to do, considering using it will result in a less clean and probably uneven cut. But – already available and no-cost-but-the-fuel whipper snipper vs paying $250+ to import a reel mower that will cut to the desired height – guess which way I’m leaning.

    I tell you what – given the low amount of options available to Australian consumers in the reel mower area, if there was someone out there with the inclination to spend their time putting these machinese together, they could have quite the little cottage business on their hands – just from people who want more range than the one model in their local hardware store, or people who are searching for something that cuts to a better height.

    • Hi Erica,

      Thank you for your comments and I totally agree that if someone locally in Australia was interested in either:

      a) manufacturing Aussie made reel mowers here or,
      b) importing a wide range of reel mowers and set up a nice online business with reasonable shipping (Australia Post… are you listening! REASONABLE shipping)
      I expect they would do a very nice business. The market in Australia does want this product and, of course, with the right marketing you could showcase these products outside of the original niche!

    • Just another side note, we do have Emile Theodore from ALKO occasionally popping around to check out the site, so maybe she can advise if their mowers reach the height you are after.

      • Thanks for the reply Rebecca.

        I did check out the Al-ko site and was duly impressed by the swish presentation video they put together for their ‘soft touch’ reel model. Unfortunately it only cut to 3.5cm >.< (bugger)! If it weren't for that one point I'd have bought it.

        Still, I left a message on their site asking if it were possible to modify their model so it cut a bit higher. Who knows – maybe they'll be interested in furthering their design to cater for a broader customer base. (Hint hint Emile ^^)

        The men in my family are pretty handy. If the height could be modified with a few extra brackets or some such thing it would be doable…

        Will have to wait & see ^^.

        • …The thought occurred that perhaps raising the cutting height might be as simple as replacing the wheels with ones that had at least 1.5cm bigger radius – but then in the pictures of the soft touch there’s this little wing thing at the back, just behind the wheel that would seem to prevent this modification…

          • That could be an idea! I am not sure of the Soft Touch specifications but let’s hope Emile spies these comments and lets us know!

  6. Erica,
    I have an AL-KO Push mower myself. They are a fantastic push mower – IMHO the best push mower on the market.
    The cutting height is OK for me but i can see where your issue lies.
    My suggestion would be to modify the height adjustment bracket on either side of the mower and also increase the size of the wheel proportionately.

    Regards,
    FA

  7. I have a Brill Razorcut and it has been going strong for 3 years it is now ready for a re-sharpen of the blades. Very easy to set up the cut heights. I have to mow around 400m2 of Santa Ana couch. the grass deflector and catcher work brilliantly. I emailed Brill direct and then they put me in contact with the importer of their product range here in Australia who ordered a unit for me at a price similar to if I had ordered online from OS. If I have an issue it is that if my Santa ana gets too high it is difficult to cut. So i have to revert to a petrol mower for lowering it a level that the Brill cuts best. the grass looks better with a reel mower cut.

    • That is fantastic that you were able contact the importer to get a competitive rate!
      I found this youtube review of the Brill Razorcut 38 online if people are interested too – http://youtu.be/bP5Sj4qAsEU

      • One thing I will say if you haven’t used a push mower before. Be prepared to walk ( lots ) as one pass on the grass is not normally enough I have found and you will have to mow more often.
        In the youtube clip watch the guys face he is pushing with some force, as it will not cut without some sort of resistance back on you and make sure that there are no things that will bind up the blades as the cutting action will stop and the wheels will slide.

    • Dean, and Grant, I understand ALKO are the Australian agent is this still not correct.

  8. Hello Dean, just wanted to find out who the Australian agent is for the Brill Razorcut mowers?

    Cheers

    Grant

  9. Hi,
    Found a link for the Brill Razorcut on Amazon that they will ship worldwide.
    http://www.amazon.com/Brill-78371-Razorcut-15-Inch-Mower/dp/B0013M2MBE

    You pay the extra $ but you get a quality product.
    Hope this helps.

    • Great link Max! This is definitely a big help for many people, plus the reviews on Amazon are a great to find out if this is what you want.

      Thanks!!

      • No worries! There’s also this aussie site which sells the Fiskars Momentum which is apparently the bee’s knees.

        http://www.rockaroundtheblock.com.au/fiskars-garden-tools/push-reel-mowers.html

        • Hi Max and other My Green Australia posters,
          We’d seen quite a bit of traffic to our site from this post in the last couple of days, so wanted to drop by and say hello. This mower has been one of our most popular products ever which speaks volumes for the quality of the unit. Our favourite features of the Fiskars StaySharp Max are that it throws the clippings forward so you don’t get covered in grass, and because of the chain driven blade system the blades spin very quickly so the mower can cut really long grass with not much extra effort from you.

          Our one tip with this mower (and it applies to all push reel mowers) is to regularly adjust the blades to ensure the best cut. It only takes 1 minute, a piece of paper, and an 11mm socket spanner – it’s explained here: http://youtu.be/UWlvNEcUOSM?t=1m15s

          We strive to keep the price fantastic (which does vary as the AUD:USD changes). We always ship the same day from Sydney – most people in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne receive their mower the next day.
          Please let us know if you have any questions either here (and we’ll respond here) or at http://www.rockaroundtheblock.com.au/contacts
          Rock Around The Block.

          • Hi! Thanks for letting us know about your site and the Fiskars products you have in stock – clearly people are interested in push mowers / reel mowers.
            If you have any other tips for caring for your mower or if you stock parts, let us know! I know a lot of people ask about parts and replacement pieces for their mowers.

          • Hi Rebecca,
            Spare parts are not available yet as we haven’t had them on the market for long, and they are covered by warranty. If you look at other Fiskars products (eg the tree loppers) spare parts are all available so we expect to see them down the track, and we can let you know when they are. You will see all the other Fiskars product spare parts here as an example: http://www.rockaroundtheblock.com.au/fiskars-garden-tools/fiskars-spare-parts.html

            The mower engineering is so rugged that it should not need replacement parts or even adjustment unless the unit is abused. Blade adjustment is simple but rarely would be needed if the mower is used on good lawn (ie you clear sticks and rocks before mowing).

            Customer feedback to us indicates that there is no comparison on the market to this Fiskars Staysharp Max (460mm) model 62016935.

            Rock Around The Block
            http://www.rockaroundtheblock.com.au/fiskars-garden-tools.html

  10. I have had a Massport (rebranded American Mower Company) 15″ reel mower since 1990, and it is going strong. I purchased a sharpening kit and compound on the internet (probably through eBay or Amazon), however the US supplier (reel in.com) do not deliver parts to Australia. I need a set of ratchet pawls (hardened steel), that are the only things that have worn out, so I will just make some up myself. When a hand push reel mower is sharp and well set up (so that the blades “almost” touch the cutting bar) they are great.
    Having owned the more budget brands it would suggest investment in a better quality (Brill, Scotts, American Mower etc), I have looked at the AlKo and the quality and robustness seems to be quite good. The quality of “plastic” parts now is very different from what may be perceived as plastic quality of the olden days.

    wil

  11. Hello all.

    You are very lucky to have stockists of such great mowers. Try living in New Zealand, where you are basically left with Bunnings or M10. There are a selected garden shops selling the American aha mower but at over $330NZD.
    I searched for the Fiskars with no luck, so ended up with a Bosch (highest cut height 33mm).
    Yes it did cut my grass, but like all other mowers these days the build quality is a shocker and I don’t hold much hope for it lasting more than a couple of years. The rear roller assembly is very poorly made with cheap plastic, and it keeps slipping. This is very frustrating as this messes with the cut height.
    The Flymo looked the best to me, made in Sweden with good quality steel. But I needed a taller cut height, as living in Auckland the grass just grows and grows! And I like it longer anyway.
    Yes Fiskars will deliver on request, their Melbourne branch were the only ones to reply to my emails regarding mowers in NZ. I even emailed Finland, NZ rep, but no reply. So they can take a running jump. I may try the American’ one next as they will cut to 57mm.

    Cheers

    Brett
    I

  12. Sorry about typing errors, the cut height on the Bosch is 43mm not the above stated 33mm.
    Even so that’s about the highest you can get from Bunnings/M10.
    Yes the plastics have improved but boy are they flimsy!

  13. Sorry about multiple texts

    Question:

    Have seen vids where people are using a grinding paste to help sharpen the blades. What is this and can you get it down here?

  14. Ok

    So after looking around for some time I decided to bite the bullet and just go off shore to get a mower.
    I ended up buying a Fiskars StaySharp Plus. I had to buy one off Amazon as they are not available in New Zealand.
    Yes that right folks even though we have grass here too, you cannot buy decent push mowers. So I had to suck it up and ship out a 20kg mower down here. Was it worth it? Oh yeah!
    Compaired to my Bosch AHM38G, it’s embarrassing.
    Yes it cost a bomb to get it here, all up I think around the $400 NZD. But I now have a mower that works, and works well.
    It is twice the weight of the Bosch and rides the ground so much better, not jumping around and missing bits of grass.
    Easy to push even though it’s twice the weight, quite with no contact between cutting points.
    I’m very happy with it, great machine.
    Yes it was expensive but I don’t have a powered mower and will never buy one for my current property, so didn’t mind spending the money on it as a decent mower here would set me back $800NZD so I still feel I’m on top.

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