A Reely Good Product: Fiskars’ Reel Lawn Mower

Put aside your preconceived notions about reel lawn mowers and check out the Momentum, an updated model from Fiskars.

  • reel lawn mower
    Not your average reel lawn mower: This model mows over the competition.

  • reel lawn mower

My first mowing experience was with a heavy old reel lawn mower; my dad thought it was safer for a 7-year-old kid than a gas-powered rotary mower. I swore back then that I would never mow with a reel mower again — a self-imposed pact that remained intact until my recent encounter with Fiskars’ new Momentum reel lawn mower some 45 years later.

The Momentum’s claim to fame is its InertiaDrive technology, which means the mower stores kinetic energy in the moving reel (much like a heavy flywheel). I figured that stored energy would help me power through heavy grass and small twigs, but assumed it would come at the cost of making the mower difficult to push. I was wrong! The Momentum is easier to push than any gas-powered, walk-behind mower I’ve operated. It’s lightweight, which, coupled with the special gearing incorporated into the InertiaDrive system, makes it even easier to push than my cordless electric lawn mower.

The Momentum reel lawn mower devours heavy grass with ease. Its VersaCut design positions the drive wheels behind the cutting reel, and the cut is nothing short of beautiful. This mower doesn’t leave annoying strips of uncut grass where outboard drive wheels flattened it. The inboard wheel placement also allows you to cut to within about an inch of walls, curbs and trees.

Some assembly is required, but the process is simple and takes all of about three minutes. So far, I’ve not needed to sharpen the 18-inch-wide blade or adjust the reel, thanks to the StaySharp technology: The reel and cutting blade never come into contact, which reduces the amount of friction and wear on the blade. They come to within 0.003-inch of each other, though, which is close enough to shear the grass. The only maintenance I’ve performed to date is blowing the blades clean with compressed air after every couple of uses.

I can’t remember the last time I was so taken with a lawn mower, much less a reel lawn mower. The Momentum is now my go-to choice for cutting the hard-to-access portions of my homestead’s lawn, and for trimming around the gardens and trees and along fence lines. I can cut as much grass as I want on a single bacon-and-eggs charge, and I don’t need to wear hearing protection or keep track of gas levels, oil changes, or battery charging. At about $250, Fiskars’ Momentum offers you some of the most effective and lowest-price (environmentally and monetarily) mowing available.

10/25/2010 1:46:23 PM

Hey Josh -- Reel mowers can't effectively cut grass that's taller than the top of the reel. The knife tends to knock the stuff away from the reel so it never gets pulled in and sheared. That happens with tall blades of grass but it is worse with the seed stalks. Crabgrass is particularly problematic because it sends its flower stalks out at all angles. If it is pointing away from the reel, there's an even better chance that the mower will miss it. Try planting some white Dutch clover in your lawn. It will fill in some of the bare areas where the crabgrass gets a toehold and will help shade it out. Or you can do like I do, turn the sheep into the yard when the crabgrass comes on in late summer -- they love the crabgrass and the clover.

10/25/2010 9:28:51 AM

My wife and I are new homeowners and bought this as our first mower at the beginning of the summer. My only complaint is that it doesn't cut weed-grasses like crabgrass once they become stalky. On bad weeks, we've had to go over much of our lawn with an electric trimmer to take down those stalks. Otherwise it has been fantastic. Easy to push, no noise or gas fumes -- mowing the lawn is a pleasant outdoor activity with it. Next year we'll be better about keeping the crabgrass out of the yard from the start.



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