Powering Down: Why Manual Mowers are Better

The grass may be greener on the other side of the fence but you still have to mow it. – Proverb

lawnmowerWhen I moved into my house last August, the yard was mostly dirt, weeds and moss. At the time I was so overwhelmed by the work of owning an old house, that I thought, “good” moss and dirt are low maintenance. I’ll worry about it next spring.

When next spring came, I bought a big bag of grass seed, tossed it on the barren ground, sprayed it with water and hoped for the best. I was pretty sure nothing would grow. Somewhere I got the idea that grass was really really hard to cultivate. But, amazingly, it grew. And grew and grew. Now we needed a lawnmower.

This may not seem like a big deal to those of you who have been mowing since high school, but owning a lawnmower is a jarring rite of passage for former apartment dwellers. For my entire adult life I’ve avoided owning the fleet of lawn care machinery my suburban parents did battle with. Lawn mowing always seemed like an unpleasant, loud, polluting, dangerous chore, and the tool one used for it (the lawnmower) was an expensive, cumbersome piece of equipment that wouldn’t fit in our extremely narrow one-car garage. Moreover, I dreaded the effect it would have on my five year old. He can’t keep away from anything noisy and mechanical, so I was sure I’d be yelling myself horse warning him away from the deadly, spinning blades.

Enter the old-fashioned rotary mower. The Scotts push reel mower we bought was a hundred dollars cheaper then the least-expensive gas-powered or electric mower and it fit in our tiny garage! We brought it home from the hardware store and my husband assembled it in under ten minutes. It was whisper-quiet and it cut the grass beautifully, but there was an even bigger benefit that I hadn’t anticipated. My son wanted to help, and it seemed safe enough to let him. Supervised by my husband, he pushed the mower and called out, “This is so fun, mom! I want to do this every weekend.”


  1. Santino says:

    My family owned one manual mower.
    I think is still in the garage.
    Great find Kim:
    20″ under $100 is a good deal.

    other compared sizes:

  2. Jefferey says:

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